Life right now

By Aneesah, 22 Mar 16

But first! Beaches.

A tiny video montage of places in Terengganu. Because I missed making a habit of capturing videos — it’s so easy to overlook the beauty around you otherwise — and compiling them for my future perusal. I wish there were more shots but hey, maybe next time.

SAHM

It’s been about six months since we moved here; six months since I’ve been a “proper” stay (work)-at-home-mum in our own place. I wouldn’t know how to describe life as a SAHM… I don’t think I ever imagined it myself so I wasn’t sure where to put my expectations. I struggled to adjust in the beginning; it felt like I had to handle too many things at the same time, like I had so much responsibility and space that I was in charge of. So physically I had to figure out how to do things better. Mentally as well I had to change. I guess I might list down a few things that helped me settle in and manage my days:

  1. Compartmentalising: ie. thinking and doing things almost like a man (how ironic!). Usually the female brain is a jumbled, tangled mess: it’s the beginning of the day with a million things to do, and as you walk through the house to settle one task your eye catches two, three other things that need to be handled as well. For instance, I had the habit of washing dishes as soon as they existed so as not to ever have a pile of dirty dishes in the sink — but as a mum I found that this wouldn’t work. The baby is crying and needs his bath, or there were other more urgent things that demanded attention. So in many cases it was better / more efficient to “be a man” and leave off the bed-making, dishwashing, laundry-hanging until one designated time in the day when you do them all at once. Even emptying the dish rack now takes place only once a day, in the morning after the dishes have dried overnight. #compromise #efficiency #routines
  2. Set your standards and accept them: in my case this is in terms of cleanliness, orderliness of the house. Our house has a lawn and in the beginning I was reminded of how, in the neighbourhoods I grew up in, in the mornings the housemaids would be outside each house, sweeping the porch clean, tidying up bits and bobs of the greenery. It was actually such a pressure for me to do the same, but not only couldn’t I do that (with a baby to take care of), but I realised that this place is nothing like where I used to live. The standards are minimal, the life is simple. So as long as we adhere to certain rules that we decided (eg. daily rubbish disposal, weekly vacuuming and bathroom cleaning, monthly mopping, everything else as and when needed), it’s all good.
  3. Priorities: baby always comes first. This was my mum’s advice. His safety, well-being, nurturing, is far greater in importance and significance than any kind of housework or cooking or other work you “have to do”.
  4. Weekly me-time: prior to moving here, my me-time was my usrah/halaqah (sisters’ study circle) with a few friends, for 2-3 hours a week, usually at a mosque. It was four months before I joined a halaqah here, and oh Lord, I think motherhood without any me-time is a sure path towards mental illness. I’m not even exaggerating. One other thing that helped was going home (to my mum’s place) about once a month, but really weekly me-time is pretty darn important too. Prioritise it!
  5. A reset button: there are times when I feel out of control, unproductive, a little bit like a kite with its string loose. I feel that it’s easy to lose track of yourself, of your life and where you’re heading, outside of motherhood and your family life. A reset button can be a prayer, or a conversation with your husband, writing a long letter, or perhaps a mental slap in the face. For me, I had to be reminded that I am the parent and I am in control of my day (as willed by God), that I want to didik (nurture) my child and not just babysit him, that life itself is an act of worship and we should try our best to have ihsaan (excellence) in what we do. That life is not about surviving the day until your husband comes home from work (ehe :X ); Allah set a purpose for each of us and He is watching!
  6. Time-fillers: yes, staying home does give you a lot of “spare” time. I realised that people who have memorised the Qur’an have such a brilliant time-filler at their disposal. It’s not ideal or convenient to hold a book or phone in your hand when you’re feeding the baby. So far, I’ve managed to listen to loads of lectures (many from BayyinahTV) in the afternoons: I play them on the PC and use a remote app on my phone to control the computer. It’s a challenge to do much other physical work like sewing or writing when the kid is awake, so one thing that worked for me was waking up very early to do my stuff. Admittedly, I haven’t kept up with this habit (I love sleep!) but I think with enough willpower it’s a great solution.
Okay.

The writing juices have now abruptly stopped. Pray that I’ll manage to blog again another time! Toodles! :dance:

 

8 Comments

  1. Mai says:

    wow! its been long leaving comment at any blog! haha. aneesah, so true everythg that u have written!

    of course im not a sahm, but as a teacher at the afternoon session, i spent my morning at home.. doing all the chores haha.. then work.. the same routine with no me time, can drive one insane!

    i really feel that need to, kne plan out everythg and not get all panicky when things r out of control.. which is selalu sgt haha.

    org maybe rasa attending usrah or listening to lectures macam menambah kerja, but actually its not! in fact tu je masa rehat yg menenangkan …

    i hope you will be istiqamah in blogging!! i need to be the same, too

    • Aneesah says:

      Ha’ah Mai! I pun jarang comment kat blog (although I still read yours sebab still subscribed! :D ), miss the old times!

      InshaAllah kalau ada kebaikannya, moga kita terus berusaha menulis & sharing thoughts — to me it helps to “release” them into the wild, out of my sesak brain!

  2. Zakwan says:

    As I said over and over again without tiring:

    I’m proud of you. ^_^

    And only Allah can ever repay you – with Jannah. :heart:

  3. Maryam says:

    Love this post! And great tips for a newbie mom like me who has the tendency to worry and stress too much. Bookmarking this so I can read it over and over hehe

    • Aneesah says:

      Drill the words into your head! :nod:

      Haha I’m sure you’re an awesome patient mom, Maryam! ;) May Allah bless!

  4. Rabia says:

    I have been hunting you Aneesah! My journey began at Productive Muslimah (I hope you are THE Aneesah Satriya who produces fab cartoons for them?)
    If not, it’s okay, I’ve found a kindred spirit! I’m a new mommy and related to so much of what you wrote in this piece. Loved reading it…your writing is as engaging as your artwork (ma shaa Allah).

    I tried completing your contact form (which would have explained why I’m hunting you!), but it wouldn’t let me submit and advised me to leave a comment instead…so here I am!

    Please get in touch :)

    • Aneesah says:

      Assalamu’alaikum Sister Rabia! MashaAllah, I wasn’t aware that I had a hunter after me! :P I apologise for the epic failure of the contact form — this place is due for a proper spring cleaning. I shall send you an e-mail right after this inshaAllah. Jazaakillah khair for reaching out.

  5. Rabia says:

    (Here’s what I tried to submit on your contact form)

    Assalamu Alaikum and Ramadan Kareem sister Aneesah!

    I’m hoping I have the right Aneesah Satriya?
    I noted your impressive cartoons a few years ago when I accessed Productive Muslimah – ma shaa Allah, you’re very talented.

    Since becoming mommy to Rayyan in March I want to make a rewarding career out of writing Islamic children’s books…this is where you potentially come in. I’m looking for a female illustrator to collaborate on the three books i’ve written so far. You are my one and only choice so here I am approaching you!

    It would be great to hear back from you,
    warm wishes
    Rabia

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