The Eye of the Storm

As a mother, I wouldn’t be unusual if I said that most of my life is dedicated to my children.  I wake up each day thinking what lies ahead of them for that day.  Then I go to sleep reflecting on the day done and wondering whether they managed to meet their personal goals and where my role was in all that. 

That sense of responsibility is, I believe, an inherit trait in any mother.  However, for me, it became exponentially larger when I found myself left to manage my four boys on my own.  Back in 2016, life had thrown an unexpected curve ball which I was not able to dodge.  Like a bolt from the blue, everything I had ever known, was thrown into complete disarray.  My husband wanted out.  The best analogy I always use to describe my situation is that I was left steering the ship and its occupants whilst our captain jumped ship.  In that vacuum, I reluctantly took control and together with my boys, we rode the rough waves until we set down our anchor.   This is how I’ve always imagined my life since my divorce, had it been narrated through pictures.

I have always known about the prophetic hadith (saying) above through which we are taught the superior position of a mother vis-à-vis a father.   It made perfect sense to me as history shows us time and again the sacrifices a mother makes for her children in every regard.  It was my own reality as a child and for many others who I have ever known.  Yet when I revisited this hadith in my mind, post-divorce, it took on a completely new meaning.

I actually realised how intense and deep the role of a mother is.  She is the one person who shrinks her own desires and expands her life to accommodate her children’s aspirations first; she buries her own pain and consoles her children first; she walks patiently behind whilst her children run ahead chasing their dreams. 

Mother is the eye of the storm.

All of this became so starkly apparent when I was left to manage my brood without their father.  I would be lying if I said I did not feel bitter and angry about that daunting prospect.   Almost four years later, however, I see life differently.  I understand the hadith differently.  I now hear the words, “your mother, your mother, your mother,” and understand how the repetition is not just an emphasis on the honour of a mother.  The fact that the father features further on, shows how he pales into insignificance in terms of his input into his children.  My own reality bears witness to this truth.

Imagine that hadith ringing in my ears as a woman going it alone.  I feel vindicated.  Allah has honoured me with an even greater share of reward than those mothers who have the physical presence and help of their husbands.  However deep that hadith is, it just got deeper.  I take great comfort from it being where I am in life on my own.  Allah has put the reins of my young family in my hands but He is there with me.  He always was and always will be, as long as I care enough for that to happen.  The truth is, I am not alone.  I never was. 

Why ‘MyMotherHalf’ ?

For years I’ve had a desire to write about that huge chunk of my life called Motherhood and yet all that time I told myself that others would have heard it all before; I’d be writing a soliloquy and speaking on a stage without an audience. Yet I always believed that the experience of writing had the potential to be cathartic for me. And so, the idea of writing a blog, I confess, is primarily a selfish one. Though I have been a terrible proscratinator, I knew one day I would take the plunge and simply get started.

Creating a blog is a daunting prospect for me.  Not because I’m a Luddite or that my thoughts and ideas are muddled but because I have no idea where it’ll lead.

What I do know is that I have lots to say.

I want to reflect on my experiences of being a Muslim mother at the helm of a family of four young teenage boys; steering the ship alone without an adult male presence and sharing the highs and lows of that unpredictable journey.  I also want to help others understand that being a mother is only a part of my life – that there are so many dimensions of existence that come within a single being. Whilst being a mother is arguably the noblest of all roles a woman may be blessed with, it isn’t the only label she wears. Simultaneously, mothers juggle so many other roles even though they are often sidelined without choice.

What might surprise readers is that this blog isn’t invariably going to be a sombre place to empty out my jar jammed with frustrations. (I’m sure I will have those moments).  But, insha’Allah (God willing), in this blog I hope others will – more than occasionally – find quite the opposite happens.  Through writing, there will be expressions of laughter, tears and just good old-fashioned inner reflection.

I write from the perspective of a Muslim and a woman and a warrior – someone whose battles are sometimes with herself and sometimes with those who have their misaligned perceptions of being a lone parent.  I don’t speak from a male-hating podium.  I stand from a platform simply to let other women, in a similar boat to me, know that they are not alone.  We serve as mirrors to one another.  No two people have identical life experiences but I hope those who stumble across my future posts will find relatable anecdotes.  What do I hope to achieve here?  I hope my musings will help women, especially Muslim women, reconcile their faith in Islam with their own daily struggles. 

I am not on a proselytising mission. Let’s get that clear from the start.  My posts will be honest and open insights into parenting alone.  By taking my readers as passengers on my own journey, I hope to give them the quiet confidence and courage to map out their own inner travels in life.

Sabia A.

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