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What's expected of a 2023 Muslim Mum?

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

Teaching Quran
A muslim mother teaching Quran on the grounds of a masjid.

Being a mother in Islam is a huge blessing and a gift given by God as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said: “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.” However despite having the privilege of being in such an honourable position so many of us are struggling to meet the expectations of what it means to be a mother in 2023. In many cases we are undervalued, never appreciated enough and are expected to be intuitively "exceptional".

When a mother gives birth, they are not only about to meet their new baby, they're also about to meet the new them. The role of being a mother significantly requires physical and mental sacrifice. Your identity immediately changes and the person you've known to be for so long becomes a stranger in the distance. You are no longer just an engineer, your new role as a mother means you are now a chef, a nurse, an actor, a teacher, a scientist, a cleaner, a mentor, an uber driver and so much more!

In today's society the definition of motherhood has changed so much due to the internet. The expectation of what a mother should be like is some what oppressive. The Internet is absolutely wild and has exposed our minds to so much more than we could ever imagine. Whilst the internet is absolutely awesome for many things, it is safe to say it has equally helped many of us mothers to develop insecurities like never before. There is information constantly in our faces and a concept of exceptionalism in a society that has created a mother who has a side hustle from home, eats organic and only home cooked meals, looks like a super model, a big bank account, sleeps early, prays daily, reads every morning, has an instagram worthy home, a loving supporting partner and super healthy kids who read Quran, ace school, learn an instrument and play sport. Whilst none of these are actually bad things, it is however not possible to be exceptionally attentive to all of those responsibilities.

There isn't a one size fits all ideology of what it means to be a mother. Everyone is on their own journey with their own experience. For the most part we are all doing what we know best. There isn't a textbook in the world that could ever guide you to be the perfect mother. We're all for the most part pretty average mothers but I once read in a book that the problem we have now in 2023 as mothers is that the pervasiveness of technology and mass marketing is negatively impacting a lot of mothers' expectations for themselves. The inundation of the exceptional makes mothers feel worse about themselves and makes them feel that they need to be more extreme, more radical, and more self assured to even matter. Despite being constantly reminded by God telling us in the Quran and throughout many hadiths how significant a mother is - we fall victim to the illusion of what the Internet shows us to be the ideal mother. There is a continuous stream of unrealistic media feeding off our existing feelings of insecurity, by overexposing us to the unrealistic standards we fail to live up to. Not only do we feel subjected to unsolvable problems in our lives but we feel like terrible mothers because a simple Google search showed us thousands of other mothers without those same problems.

Feeding your kids, getting them to school, nurturing them with the best possible food that we can access and afford, teaching them to play stick tricks in the yard and showing them how to ride a bike is now considered basic mothering or otherwise known as "survival mode". I understand, things need to change with time and children from different generations need to be equipped differently according to their era. However with mental health on the rise anything beyond survival mode that is expected to be done exceptionally is nothing short of oppression for both mother and child. It is not ok anymore to just be average or mediocre. If you're basic and average, you're considered lazy or unequipped for being a mother. It is a constant challenge for mothers today to have to keep reminding themselves that they are bringing up their kids the way they know best and it doesn't have to be how Google or Instagram has shown us or even perfect for that matter. If your children are fed, clothed, sheltered and most importantly loved by you, then you are doing enough.

Excess information then leads us to also having different expectations of our children. This also contributes to the feeling of failure because whilst one parenting trick works for one mother it may not work for you. Thus, you are then lead to believe that either your child has a problem or your skills are lacking. In most cases none of these formations are correct. Every child is different, what works for some won't work for you. Take from all, test and measure to see what works in align with your child and your family values. The pressure of implementing different parenting concepts especially for disciplining can be overwhelming but if we just take it back to the basics you will find that most books regarding child psychology all share the same message - the most important thing a child needs from their parents is attention and love. With attention and love, you are bound to conquer many of your child's disciplinary issues.

To say that the Internet is all bad would be bias of me yet it is imperative to understand that there is a fine line between reality vs deception. We are conveniently manipulated and often made to forget, most social media accounts are a complete highlight reel. I have learnt so much through social media from amazing recipes, kids activities to household hacks. In fact, as most of us don't have a village to assist us with bringing up our children - I have found that the internet can be a safe space to find communities that are relatable and great for healthy discussions and advice.

We must filter our social media accounts with what we expose ourselves to and how we mentally handle what we witness. No one's life is rainbows and fairies at all times, downfalls in life are relevant in every single person's life. We cannot give face value to our roles as mothers based on the highlight reel of a stranger. Unfortunately there is always going to be self doubt because mass media tells us it is not ok to have a messy home, it is not ok to have a misplaced pillow on the couch, it is not ok to have toys outside of the toy room, it is not ok to have books on the dining room and dishes in the kitchen sink even though this is all a part of "normal" living. We are fed an illusion that most mothers live with the perfect themed home, a pantry with matching and aligned storage containers but what the media doesn't tell you is that beyond these exaggerated and staged images most of these mothers are average just like you and I. When you see inspiration from other mothers, take it with a grain of salt.

All in all you can be the basic mother you need to be and not feel any guilt because to be a truly great and a flawless mother you would have to dedicate your entirety which is unrealistic, soul wrenching and oppressive. As a mother you are irreplaceable, you are one and your value is impeccable. We're only human and we cannot be truly exceptional at more than one thing if anything at all therefore cut your self some slack. Mediocre parenting was once upon a time a thing and it is something we so need to bring back to today's mothers.

Remember, the Prophet PBUH was asked who is deserving of good care he answered with, "Your mother, your mother, your mother then your father, then your nearest relatives in order."

In 2023, whilst the mass media and the Internet tells us to be otherwise - I want you to remind yourself every morning that you matter, you are loved and you are enough. Refine your feed, normalise being mediocre and give the children the love they need!

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1 komentář

Figen Turk
Figen Turk
20. 5. 2023

What a refreshing take on motherhood, so real and relatable! loved reading every word and cant wait for more of your blogs!

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