Motherhood Doesn't Need to Tip Your Scale
One of the problems in motherhood is that a mom can lose her individuality as a woman. She doesn't know herself anymore and sees herself only as a wife and a mother. She's neglected the person she used to be and doesn't know what she enjoys doing anymore. This is the sad status of many moms who forget how to balance motherhood with being a woman. Mothers get so caught up in their duties of seeing to everyone else's needs, that they forget their own needs. They lose themselves in their role of wife and mom and then after many years, discover an emptiness inside and may even become bitter. This usually happens when your kids get older or they're all in school, their dependence on you lessens, and you feel like your brain needs stimulation. If you look to the past generation of mothers you know, how many of them achieved their dreams? Sadly you will notice not many of them, but those that did, lead more fulfilling lives.
Motherhood is an uphill trudge, but you can find ways to make it less straining and more enjoyable. You don't need to accept that as a mom, you have to give up who you are and what you enjoy doing. You don't need to neglect yourself and the things you love. A mother has the right like everyone else, to have time to be someone with aims and goals. All it takes is self-reflection, confidence, and a to lose the guilt!
Here is my list of suggestions that every person, not only moms, should ask themselves if they don't have a clue what they want to do. Find a quiet moment in your day to think, grab a pencil and notebook, and begin. Start by asking Allah SWT for guidance and inspiration and say bismillah. Read each question carefully and write down your answers honestly and uninhibited.
5 Self-Reflection Questions to Ask Yourself
1. What do I enjoy doing?
This can be anything you love or want to do. A few examples could be; studying deen, picking up another language, learning to cook a new cuisine, taking up cycling, hiking, painting, gardening, or simply setting a coffee date with a friend once a week.
2. What are my hobbies?
This is anything that you loved to do before you had kids or used to do in your spare time in the past. A few examples could be; reading books on specific genres, scrapbooking, sewing, Islamic studies, photography, fitness, illustration, organizing etc.
3. What goals do I wish to achieve?
This can be anything you want to achieve before you die. A few examples could be; writing a book, traveling to a new place, furthering your studies, starting a business, getting fit, volunteering, studying fiqh etc.
4. What am I good at?
This should be anything that you are really good at in this point of your life. You need to be confident in your abilities when answering this question. You can ask those who are close to you to answer this if you don't know. A few examples could be; creating digital art, making handmade items, homeopathy, business acumen, technology, nursing, teaching, writing etc.
5. What am I able to do right now?
This is one of the most important questions after answering questions 1-4 because it determines what you can start doing now. Depending on how busy you are in your life, pick at least one thing from your list that you can set time aside for. Next, make a commitment to do it and stick to it for a specified time frame. For example, you start to attend a weekly halaqa, study for one credit in the evenings, pursue a part-time career one day a week, volunteer at a local charity twice a month, start walking in the early morning while everyone is asleep, or start a blog etc.
Remember, your one thing must not cause you more strain because you're still a busy parent. It should cause you joy and give you a purpose besides parenting. Being a mother doesn't need to be your only purpose.
6. What are the benefits of doing this?
This should be the premise of your self-reflection because to do anything without a mission is simply a time-waster. You must analyze what benefit you will derive from achieving any of your hobbies or goals. For example, if you study deen, it will increase your knowledge of Islam and in turn give you the knowledge to teach your children. Another example would be to get a part-time job to pay for something your children need, to get away from the monotony and boredom of being a stay-at-home mom and keep your mind sharp, or to get fit and lose weight so you can have a more productive life. If your goal has a mental, physical as well as spiritual benefit, that's the best.
It can be quite difficult to answer these questions about yourself, especially if you have forgotten about your needs for a long time. You will need to dig deep inside yourself to discover what type of person you were before, and what type of person you have become now. I can promise you that when you are done analyzing yourself, you will have so much more self-realization and self-worth. Once you begin achieving your goals or do something you love, you will enjoy your role as a parent much more inshAllah.
Parenting does not need to consume you and be your only pastime. You do not need to feel guilty for wanting to be more than you are while raising children. If that's what you do and you are happy where you are, that's achieving your goal too. Success is finding fulfillment in your life and doing what you love with purpose. Reach for your dreams!