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.
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:
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
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.
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”.
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!
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 ); Allah set a purpose for each of us and He is watching!
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.
The writing juices have now abruptly stopped. Pray that I’ll manage to blog again another time! Toodles!