Being a Confident & Functional Mother
Written on: 3rd February,2010
Hello again parents. Now this is yet another topic that I am very passionate about because ‘confidence’, in my opinion, is the key to successful parenting. I am not speaking about confidence in others…rather, I am speaking about confidence in YOURSELF…It took me a long time to develop confidence in myself as a person growing up, but Alhamdulillah I was able to get there…Marriage and having my own family was something I’ve always wanted throughout my teenage years and I guess being without it through these year always had me feeling awkward and incomplete.
But Alhamdulillah, when I settled down at about seventeen years of age and I knew who I wanted to marry, I started taking my deen more seriously, I got married at eighteen and I knew what I wanted to specialize in at university, my life just started to take a whole different turn. I finally had that ability to say, YES, I know who I am, I know what I want to do and Alhamdulillah I know what I have to do to achieve these goals. Although it was not always easy and yes, I was presented with many trials along the way, it was faith in Allah(swt), the comfort of a spouse, determination and the confidence in myself to say “Yes I can do it Inshaa Allah” that got me through the trials…
It was at the birth of my first child that I had arrived at the ultimate highpoint of my life in this world thus far…It was a whole new beginning and I had finally arrived at true happiness….Alhamdulillah…Children are such a blessing from Allah(swt) and the quicker women begin to accept this truth is the quicker they will begin to see parenting in a more positive light…
Now this article particularly applies to mothers. So here are some motivational tips to help you become a more ‘Confident’ & ‘Functional’ mother Inshaa Allah:
1) It is a mother’s confidence in herself and her methods that strongly influence a husband’s confidence in his ability to care for his children in her absence. Men tend to be more realistic, thus if he sees his wife experiencing problems, he is going to worry that the methods she thought him with regards to managing the children are inefficient. A woman however tends to be a little idealistic sometimes, although most will deny this…they allow people to complicate things for them by becoming the victims of ‘loyalties’, ‘worrying what others think’ and ‘settling for a false sense of comfort even when their hearts are telling them to ‘do things differently’. I’m not saying all women are like this. Alhamdulillah there are women who are strong and aren’t afraid to follow their instincts in parenting. These women are examples to others and I recommend that all mothers seek out these kinds of mothers, observe them and use them as role models.
2) Break out of this ‘inferiority complex’. We must learn to stop depending on others to tell us how to be good mothers. Do not allow people to ‘talk down’ to you. If someone gives you advice…Alhamdulillah receive it and if you believe it will be helpful to your lifestyle, accept it and thank this generous person; as there is a clear difference between advice and criticism. If you do not see these advices as applicable to your lifestyle then still thank this person and do not be afraid to say, “Well…that wouldn’t really work for my kids, but I will remember what you said..maybe it might work later on Inshaa Allah”.
3) The ONLY advice we are required to accept without hesitation, as his knowledge came straight from the Almighty (who knew us better than we know ourselves) are the advices of the beloved Prophet(sal allahu alaihi wa salam). Use him(sal allahu alaihi wa salam) as your guide and you will be successful Inshaa Allah. You will raise children who love their deen and produce a family that is pleasing to the Almighty Inshaa Allah.
4) Don’t depend on ‘mom’ all the time – Now it’s all well and fine the first couple weeks after labour you stay by you mom for a little help as you recuperate. That’s the wonderful thing about having a mom… But unfortunately for some women this ‘recuperating’ phase seems to never end. ‘Grandma’ continues to struggle as the primary care-givers, while the actual mother goes right back to her everyday life as if the baby never happened. This is YOUR baby, so tend to them and don’t ‘dump'(again for loss of a better word) on someone else. People often take advantage of their parents, some even guilt them into thinking that the child-rearing is the responsibility of the ‘grandparents’. This is very unfair to your parents, whether or not they accept this responsibility willingly, as they have been through their share of parenting and should now be allowed to reap the rewards of their hard work. They should not be thrown back into child-rearing, or worse yet guilted into thinking that this is their job as grandparents, while you take long naps on Sundays. The role of the grandparent is simple…you let the baby spend time with them. Allow them to bond with their grandchildren and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment they can now truly understand as their children are now successful in their lives. Do not burden them unnecessarily with the tedious ‘duties’ associated with parenting once again, unless this is absolutely necessary. The grandparents are always the best choice as baby sitters when situations arise that require this, but do not take advantage of this luxury as too many parents these days do not know where to draw the line…
5) Better to be over prepared than under-prepared in every situation Inshaa Allah. Your mind will always be at ease. We cannot control the will of Allah(swt) and we may not be able to predict what the outcome of any given scenario may be. But it is also important that you ‘Tie your camel’ so that if anything unpredictable does happen you will feel secure that you did everything you could to try and prevent it. There will never be any doubt in you mind that you are at fault: e.g. “If only I had closed the gate she would have never fell down the stairs!” Thus, be thorough Inshaa Allah! I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of people who said to me “You migrating or something, why are you packing so much stuff??” But, despite the negativity, I was always the one who had extra towels for their kids, medicines for any situation, snacks that would never run out and extra clothes in the event of something crazy happening. And I remember saying once “Thank Allah I packed three pairs of clothes for this child instead of one!” as it was a situation where my son got car sick and threw up all over his clothes TWICE! Thus I changed him up and still had an extra pair for the beach:)
6) Carry your kids out with you and learn to handle them in public places – Please parents, ‘free your mind’ as they say, of this idea that carrying kids out with you is a hassle. Some call it a burden, a frustration and a sure way to make sure nothing gets done. This mentality is what ruins your outlook on parenting and it is negative ideas like these that make successful parenting out to be this unachievable goal. If you start off with negativity, the end result will obviously be negative…Don’t do this to yourself…don’t dismiss the idea that you and the husband can enjoy each other’s company with the kids around! Learn, TOGETHER, to manage your kids in public places. Do this from a young age, after they start receiving their shots, etc. Get them use to being in car seats, taking family road trips and dining out. This will benefit you family in ways you will not fully understand until you give it a try Inshaa Allah
7) Allow people to make their suggestions and give their advices, but keep in mind that YOU are this child’s mother and as a result YOU have the last say. Relatives and in-laws, while most have good intentions, there are always those few that thrive on making you feel like you don’t know anything. Some insinuate that you NEED to listen to their advice or else you will fail at parenting. I always stress the importance of a mother’s instinct. Thus if someone tells you something that just doesn’t seem or feel right, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion.
“May Allah(swt) give us all the patience and help that we need….Ameen”