I have a confession: I have gone from zero to angry in sixty seconds. I’m not the calm, peaceful parent I want to be. I have gone from zero to angry in sixty seconds. I’m a work in progress. And lately we’ve been having a lot of days where my total lack of perfection is painfully obvious. Sometimes, I can’t even see calm on the horizon.
For months now, I’ve been trying to solve my parenting problems by using different discipline techniques and by rearranging my house. I set up a snacks cupboard where the kids could access it, so that I wouldn’t have to constantly prepare snacks for them. That didn’t work, because then they only wanted to eat snacks 24/7. I put the majority of our books in storage because I was tired of seeing them scattered all over the floor, but the books are still all over the floor because now the kids are searching for “that one book that we used to have” (which is never any of the books on the shelf). I use respectful boundaries, but they don’t solve my frustration.
I’ve been doing hifdh (memorization of the Qur’an) since February 2015, a month before Merry was born. A lot of people have asked for advice on how to manage hifdh along with children. I don’t really have the answer. Two years later, I still struggle to do my lesson and revision. But I can share what has worked for me, and hope that it works for you as well.
I call my hifdh teacher at a specific time for a ten minute lesson each weekday. I recite to her the last few pages I memorized, and then she gives me a new lesson to memorize.
As an auditory learner, the fastest way for me to memorize my lesson is to recite it three times right after class, and then I actually memorize it at night after the kids are in bed. Reciting it three times gets the sound of it in my head, so that when I attempt to read without looking, it’s already partly memorized.
We’ve been busy lately packing for our move next month. With three kids and moving right after Ramadan, I need to get things going as early as possible. This past weekend, we packed away all the dishes. We only kept the bare minimum that we need for our family of five. This should force us to keep up with cleaning before the stacks of dirty dishes take over. We have so few dishes now that we can’t fill a single dishwasher load!
Which reminds me… I have a surprise to reveal about our house. It has (gasp!) no dishwasher. I haven’t told many people about this because I know I’ll get a ton of criticism and people saying that it will be too hard for us. It won’t be, inshaAllah. Our plan is that we’ll only keep this many dishes out (everything we’ve packed will go straight into storage), and we’ll be forced to get into the habit of hand washing. We can always pull out more dishes from storage when we have company.
I’m back! And we’re moving! Please check my about page; I’ve updated it to reflect our growing family.
Back to moving: if you know us in person, you know that this isn’t news. As renters in the GTA, it feels like we’re constantly moving from one home to the next. Unfortunately, the stability of a “forever home” is one thing we crave but are not likely to achieve any time soon, if ever.
But this move is a bit different. In the last year or so, I’ve been a lot more mindful and introspective about who I am and what I want in life. Stress has been an issue in our family for quite a while and we all need to do some unwinding, kids included.
Sometimes kids wake up for no apparent reason and need a lot of help going back to sleep. Sometimes even older kids wake up and decide they need a hug, or to lie on your lap, or to have their back rubbed, or all three at once. Sometimes you end up awake all night, just taking care of your kids.
Maybe you had planned to spend the first odd night of the last ten nights of Ramadan in prayer, but Allah had other plans. Maybe He wanted to reward you twice: once for your intention to spend the night in prayer, and once again for your action of lovingly and patiently nurturing your children.