I just got back from my daughters sports day when I wrote this on Thursday, her school had to cancel it on Tuesday due to the heat wave. I am so glad they managed to re-arrange today before the holidays. It was such a lovely sunny day, light breeze and the temperature was just right. Me, Riz (my husband) and Yusuf (my 1 year old) got there on time and found a nice spot with a good view of the contenders. Aliza happily waved at us, it was perfect.
I was so glad that she had sports day today because I knew she was really upset the night before and had cried numerous times. She’s grown really close to her teacher and does not want to leave year 1. Children can get so attached to people that make a genuine effort with them, I felt so upset knowing that she was hurting inside, yet I just held her close to me and told her that I understood. I am really in awe of her teacher, how much of a lovely heart must she be that my daughter cried for her, children are so real there is nothing but truth in what they say…Anyway, I have totally gone off point, where was I …yes…sports day. Anyway, Yusuf was getting a bit bored in his pushchair so I took him out and let him crawl around, within eyeshot of me, I let him go a bit further and then he comes crawling back to me. I usually let him do that in our garden too and its totally normal for us. I didn’t realise a few other mums sitting nearby weren’t comfortable with me doing that and were clearly judging my parenting and how much of a good mother I am. I soon found out later on.
Sporadically I would bring him back if he would cross the line where the children were racing or when I thought he was going too far. At one point when they were doing the fathers race, (Riz took part) I looked away for a few extra seconds and Yusuf had pushed the pushchair under the line, maybe less a metre or so in. A friendly sister held the pushchair and immediately brought this to attention. I thanked her and quickly bought Yusuf back and sat back down. I’m totally okay with him crawling around near me, it’s all plain grass and completely safe as long as he wasn’t passing the line.
Sorry….I’m getting there, bear with me. 😉 Another sister sitting nearby had clearly been watching and judging me shouted out quite loudly ‘Priorities, Priorities, Priorites’. Yes three times!! She was quite loud so that all the parents nearby definitely heard her. I was naturally a little annoyed by her graceful manner of reprimanding me, but I didn’t instantly say anything. Being the way I am, I had an urge tell this sister that it was totally not acceptable how she shouted across the field..what does she think that my children aren’t my priority? Or that I don’t care about him? Why shout across the field like that??
I’m not an argumentative person but I am assertive and if I think something is wrong particularly if its done in an offensive way, I’m sorry but I need to put it right. So as we were all about to leave I thought now is my chance, I walked over and very calmly told her that she also has little children and she shouldn’t judge me or embarrass me by shouting out in that manner. I also told that I’m totally open to advice/naseeha but she could have come over and told me in a different way. Of course, as expected she became defensive and told me that so many mums thought I wasn’t watching my child, but only she ‘had the guts to tell me’. Wow!
The kind Somali sister that had drawn this big incident it to my attention came over and told her that she didn’t understand why she was making such a big deal, these things happens. Okay now this turned in to a-semi-argument looking-chaos, slightly raised voices and she was clearly getting defensive. This was totally not my intention, I repeatedly told her that I don’t want to argue etc, the other mums passing by kind of slowed down to catch ear of what’s going on and some stopped to watch what all the fuss was about. How embarrassing!
To cut the long story short, it all well ended in a nice way, since I’m not argumentative I said I understand and held her hand and we parted in a nice way. Well what were you expecting a full on hijab pulling frenzy lol…no sisters that’s really not me, would have been fun story to write but really no.
Point of the story, please don’t judge other mothers. Some children like to stay in their mothers laps, some like to explore, some children go and then come back. Some kids can’t handle it when they are tired, some are quiet, some loud; but really no one knows the child quite like the parents do. No two children are the same and no two patents are the same. Everyone has their own way of doing things,even if you may not approve of it. There’s no harm in telling people what you do, but do not judge anyone. What works for you may not work for them.
Before I had children (and after having my first child) I admit I may have been guilty of been judgemental, not consciously rather a passive thought or maybe the odd fleeting comment like ‘they let their children stay awake this late’. I accept I’ve been there and done that. We all do it, some in a very direct way and some might subconsciously judge other mums. Even after Aliza was born I did, I’m not proud and I’ve learnt the hard way. You see things were quite different back then, I had one child and all my time was for her. She was fed by the clock, bathed and in bed by 7:30pm. We never stayed out later than 6:30pm to accommodate her sleep routine and I was just generally ‘by the book’ with everything I did. I was called ‘regimented’ and ‘army style’ but that was totally cool. That was my way of learning I suppose and I learnt loads in the first 3 years of having just one child. I was completely hooked to the child development books (still am) and I thought I needed to be perfect otherwise it really wasn’t good enough.
3 years later Ismail came along, things still stayed the same and he fell in to the same routine. It was only when I had my third child that I changed my smug perspective on motherhood and parenting. I guess I struggled, I struggled to keep things in order, the routine would go off on certain days and well what can I say, it wasn’t working as well as before. It’s only after Yusuf was born that I started to reach out to other mums on social media and try to connect with them, network and make some more sense of this newfound phase of motherhood.
I learnt a whole new way of doing things, that you can be laid back and have discipline, your children learn for themselves too and to can create an environment where they will thrive and you do not have to spoon feed them everything. You can put your children to bed late some nights, it isn’t the end of the world. Some days dinner will be a bit later, but that’s okay …that’s life. No ones perfect and neither am I. As long as we have a willingness to go, motivation and enthusiasm for our children we will always be perfect in their beautiful eyes and that’s all that counts for me now.
My boys are very active, independent and can’t sit in one place for too long. Sometimes it only takes a few seconds for Ismail to spill the milk, or Yusuf to throw the books off my bookshelf. In the same way, it took a few seconds for him to push the pushchair forward (we should have put the breaks on..my mistake) but rather than judging one another let’s seek to understand and even help another sister if we see she needs help.
Some mothers choose to breast feed, some don’t. Some mothers are laid back, some like to hold on to their child more. Some mothers are funny, some are loving, some are busy with life…mums don’t judge one another. No one can really teach you how to do things, you can take advice but ultimately you need to find your own way, what works for YOU. Motherhood is challenging, it’s draining, it’s everyday of our life and it’s heavy on our shoulders. Let’s empathise, understand and connect with other mothers rather than wanting show others down. The only way you will win respect and raise yourself is by lifting others. Help, encourage and leave a few kind words where ever you can, spread kindness and love and see how it returns to you in some of the most beautiful ways.
May Allah bless all the beautiful mothers who care for their children, whose whole world revolves around them and those who make mistakes but never give up.
Keep me in your Duas my beautiful sisters.