My journey from being a career-led, high performing teacher, working abroad and leading colleagues as an assistant head teacher to a full-time home schooling mum has not been easy. I left a financially rewarding yet stressful job to be a full-time mum.
It was so that I could be there for my children, my husband and my home.
All of a sudden I realised that all my problems stemmed from me…within me. I was not in control of what is outside but what is inside of me.
This desire for wanting to be a homemaker rather than a career-maker was a seed that was planted in me when I worked abroad in a Middle Eastern country. I am grateful to Allah that he exposed me to women who are real role models. Women, who know their purpose in life. Women, who carried themselves with so much honour. Women, who were raising wholesome children and future scholars. I was in awe of these great women who the world does not know about. I learnt from them how to be with my family.
You see we all read theories on marriage life and raising children but for the first time in my life I actually came across women who were “doing it right”. I told my self at the time that I couldn’t do that because I have to work right? Bills to pay, stuff to buy, places to see! So I carried on when I returned to the UK working like a robot telling my self “Bills to pay…stuff to buy…places to see”…until I wore my self out. My high performing very demanding role meant that my family, which is the core of a society, was suffering. I will never forget waking up at 2am and writing my resignation letter to my head, which I handed in the morning at 6.30am (yes, those days work was 6.30am to 6.30pm). I have never in my life felt so great about a decision I made!
I recalled my interaction and knowledge of those great teachers who taught me how to take care of my family. For me working full-time and taking care of my family did not work. I realised that actually bills got paid, I don’t need any more stuff and I live in a wonderful country were I can see different places around me all the time.
When I freed my self from the rat race I was able to focus on:
Self –care, by taking time with my prayers and dhikr, eating well, exercising, meeting with family and friends and most important of all reading books!
Building relationships, by spending time with my husband – we actually have time to talk, going on dates with my husband, spending time away together, praying in jammat and attending gatherings of remembering Allah together.
Parenting, by consciously attending to my children’s needs, cooking for them, eating together, taking them out without the stress of work and most important of all loving them and trying to be a good role model.
I didn’t have to stop being ‘me’ in fact I had more time to be ‘me’. Now, I am not saying quitting your job and taking care of your family is the answer to all of life’s problems but what I am saying is that we can only control that which is within our reach starting with ourselves. A good friend told me when I had my first child “Sort yourself out first and your child and husband will be fine”. At the time I thought she was being harsh and unsympathetic but I thank her today because I too would tell my loved ones to start with themselves first.