Posted in Culture, Motherhood, Relationships

GUILT!!!

I have come to believe caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

– Audre Lorde

There is a certain guilt I feel when I force myself to take a break or rest up a little. As I lay down to relax, I can’t help but feel less of a woman/wife/mother because I chose to take care of myself rather than clean the house or spread the clothes. Often, I get so overwhelmed with that guilt that I end up putting a stop to my relaxation and getting up to do whatever needs to be done. Whilst trying to figure out where this guilt was coming from, I realised this is something that is embedded in our society and culture in different ways. 

Growing up, I watched my mother and the women around me do EVERYTHING in the household. Our mothers took care of everyone but themselves. Although my mother never specifically advised me to do the same in my marital home, the expectation was set. I followed in her footsteps and tried as much as I could to be a good daughter and help out in any way possible around the house. Whenever I showed any intentions to relax or have fun, a series of questions such as “have you tidied up the house?” or “have you cooked the stew?” followed. Only if I answered ‘Yes’ to these questions, was it then acceptable for me to ‘relax’. There was a constant feeling of ‘the home needs to be in perfect order before I can relax’. 

Going into my marital home, I subconsciously carried the same pressure with me. I wanted to be a superwoman – the perfect wife and mother. I wanted to do everything like the great women that came before me. So I did. I cooked. I cleaned. I took care of the baby and everything else in between. There was a sense of fulfilment and empowerment that came from looking at the spotless house, coupled with the smell of food from the kitchen that made me feel like a good wife. I had done everything on my own. My worth as a wife was very much linked to the chores I did around the house. So much so, when I couldn’t do ALL of those things, I felt I was failing in my role as a wife. I was not enough. As you can imagine, this mindset coupled with a full time job and a baby left me feeling drained with no time to myself. I was constantly tired and cranky.

…I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish…”

As a human being, I painfully recognised that I needed a break to recharge; I tried to take the time out. This meant allowing my spouse to carry some of the household responsibilities. I struggled. Watching him do more around the home went against everything that I had observed or had been taught by women in the society. I questioned my ability as a wife and a mother and instead of feeling relaxed, I felt selfish and incapable. I felt guilty for taking a break. I felt guilty for not meeting the expectations that I had set for myself. 

Having acknowledged that I was trying to live up to the expectations that I had set for myself in my own marital home, I am now personally trying to unlearn this ‘superwoman’ behaviour and allow myself space and time to take care of myself without feeling guilty about it. In doing this, I have also realised that it is okay to let someone else take the reins. I am slowly learning to take a step back and not feel the need to do everything. I’m not there yet, but I recognise it, I am working on it, because self care isn’t selfish. You cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Do you feel guilt when you make time for yourself? If so, know that you’re not on your own. Do you feel the need to overcome this feeling and how do you do so?

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment

Black History Month!!!

Without history, there would be no future.

Hi everybody,

I miss writing these posts every week. I am soooooo busy these days, I’ve had to resolve to write every two weeks.

Anyways, let’s get to it. It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Can I just say that I never really paid attention to this month until I started to work in a primary school? Terrible, I know. My knowledge of our history is shameful, it’s so bad. But I plan to fix that. Slowly, but surely. It is important to be aware of the struggles and challenges that people went through to create the world that we live in now.

To celebrate Black History, I have decided to dedicate this post to a black woman, who I have recently come to admire and look up to; Sumayyah Bint Khabbat.

I recently watched a series about Umar Ibn Khattab, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The series touched on the history of Islam and the struggles the companions went through during the time of the Prophet. As Sumayyah was one of the companions, snippets of her life were shown, mostly focusing on her struggles after accepting Islam. My heart broke watching her go through all that pain. The series left me in awe of this amazing woman. I just could not get over the emotional  strength she displayed.

Sumayyah was a black slave, who was later granted freedom by her master. She married and had three children. She was one of the first few people to accept Islam and later became the first martyr of Islam. She converted to Islam at a time when Muslims were persecuted just for being Muslims. She and plenty of other Muslims were continuously tortured for accepting Islam. She was put through physical and emotional pain. But despite all of this, her faith did not waiver one bit. She was pressured, coaxed, bribed, threatened. She was put through the worst kind of tortures but she stood her ground and held onto her beliefs. According to Islamic law, she had every right to denounce her faith by tongue to save her life. BUT she didn’t! She held on tight to her faith and became the first martyr of Islam. She died standing up for what she believed in. This woman is goals!

She held her head high and looked the world straight in the eye. Celebrate her strength.

So, why is she one of my role models? Sumayyah didn’t just accept Islam but she believed in it and saw the truth in it. She acted on her beliefs and values. This woman, regardless of the torture she was put through, held on to what she believed in. She did not let it alter the person that she was. It’s very rare to find people like that these days. Not just in terms of religion, but every aspect of life. When things take the wrong turn, we are very quick to give up on our beliefs. We are very quick to take the easy way out. It is very easy to say that we believe in certain things ideas or qualities. But when it comes down to it, a lot of us are easily persuaded or coerced into doing things that go against those beliefs.

Sumayyah’s resilience, positive attitude, perseverance, determination, and patience are qualities that I can only pray for. To be able to have such strong faith and live it through different aspects of my life. To be able to stay true to myself when others tell me otherwise. That’s strength.

Till next time

-A