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Cut Yourself Some Slack; You're Not Doing Motherhood Wrong
Sep 28, 2022
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
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Image source: Pixabay
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
When I first started my Instagram page, motherofpear91, I intended to dedicate it to my experiences of motherhood after having my first child. The idea was born out of a creative need for myself to express my thoughts, share ideas, and create a safe space for myself and other moms to connect and relate. Over the years and two children later, the focus of my page has shifted.
It is no longer centered around motherhood because quite frankly, I became less interested in sharing around that topic after realizing that there many beneficial IG accounts focused on motherhood sharing much of the same content. While we each have our own style and taste in how we represent ourselves, it just felt redundant to keep posting the same type of content.
But then I see something on IG that draws me back in.
You may have seen this post published by business coach and mom of triplets, Sudduf Wyne, on the topic of “housekeeping is not motherhood,” in which she called into question critics who say that if you have help with the daily grind of motherhood (cleaning, changing and bathing kiddos, cooking), you’re not entirely mothering.
That post went viral and received a lot of praise and some thoughtful criticism as well (go check it out). Her words and perspective really hit home with regards to the expectations set by society on what motherhood should look like and how any deviance from this warrants room for judgment and self doubt.
Image source: Pexels
When I first became a mom, I really felt that my motherhood was defined by the labor that is required as a mom. Changing, feeding, laundry, meal prep – the list is endless. I became resentful towards the chores that defined me and how well I was executing them.
I love that Sudduf highlights the importance of the other aspects of motherhood as core characteristics of motherhood – things like spending quality time with your children, leading by example, teaching around the clock, sharing experiences together, making memories, and investing in their future and upbringing. This all defines motherhood.
What also caught my attention more than the post itself was Asma Hussein’s (author and single mom) comment. She brings to light the reality that while motherhood looks different for everyone, let’s not forget that for most people, our day-to-day chores to take care of ourselves and our family come hand-in-hand with our role as a mother and hence become part of our motherhood.
Asma explains while moms should not judge each other for choosing to mother differently – for example seeking childcare through a nanny or hiring a housecleaning service – not everyone has the financial abilities to seek external help and therefore their motherhood is combined with the physical (and often unappreciated) labor that comes with the role.
Some of us don’t live in the same city as our parents, siblings or in-laws, which creates another obstacle to seek help. I love that Asma reminds us to renew our intentions, and that when we refocus our “motherhood housekeeping” as a form of worship for the sake of Allah (S), we are in fact worshiping Him and will be rewarded for the work and time that goes into the labor aspect of taking care of our families.
Image source: Pexels
We can probably agree that for generations, we have been conditioned to view motherhood through a specific, traditional lens. And with the rise of social media, and the abundance of motherhood blogs and expectations of what mothering looks like in other homes, this has set (an often false) standard that too many of us want to reach.
We all come from different backgrounds, socioeconomic status, beliefs and lifestyles. It’s important to keep that in mind when scrolling through the internet and taking in the constant tips, reminders and information that come our way.
It’s also important to consider your season of life (as HH’s Noor writes so eloquently about here) and give yourself some grace when it comes to your mothering. Motherhood is a lifelong journey and will look differently for each person and for yourself depending on your circumstances throughout your lifetime.
If you were to ask me what motherhood looked like to me when I was a new mom, I would have very much attributed it to housekeeping. It was centered around keeping up with feedings, changing diapers, laundry, meal prep and cleaning the house. Some days were filled with bonding and cuddles, other days were filled with endless chores. Whether I liked it or not, that was my reality and I had to learn to do my best.
As my kids got older and my eldest started school, I had more time at home to get the housekeeping done while also focusing my attention on my work, interests and my youngest while my daughter was at school. I’m also at a point now where I am able to hire a home cleaning service when needed, which has been a blessing and privilege I never take for granted.
Image source: Pexels
There is no room for diminishing anyone’s role or means by which they choose to parent, whether you are capable of hiring help and focusing on other aspects of motherhood, or have to take on the labor aspect along with everything else. Everyone’s circumstances are different; both approaches are valid. Motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all formula; you have to assess your situation and see what works best for you and your family.
At the end of the day, there is a reason why Allah (S) says that jannat (heaven) is at the feet of mothers.
May Allah (S) have mercy on our mothers for the endless sacrifices they’ve made for our sake. May Allah (S) give us the patience, strength and guidance to be the best mothers to our children.
What are your thoughts on the notion that housekeeping is not motherhood? We would love to hear your point of view and outlook on the topic!
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