“You have a duty to your Lord, you have a duty to your body, and you have a duty to your family, so you should give each one its rights.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Finding the right balance between being a mom, wife, devout muslimah, and careerwoman (for some) is an issue most of us struggle with. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the multiple roles and responsibilities, and to fall short at some point. Some of us, like myself, also make the mistake of putting most of our focus on one area, while not paying enough attention to the others.
Being a mother and a homeschooler, I devote most of my time and energy into my children. I love them dearly and want the best for them in every aspect of their life. But I’ve come to realize that giving my children the best does not mean having to sacrificing my other responsibilities such as keeping the house clean or the husband happy. On the contrary, it means having to learn how to balance it all and give each one its right.
Wahb ibn Munnabih (May Allah have mercy on him), said, “Verily, everything has two ends and a middle. If you hold one of the ends, the other will be skewed. If you hold the middle, the two ends will be balanced. You must seek the middle ground in all things.” (Source: Hilyat Al-Awliya 4818)
As Muslims, we are told to be moderate, whether it is with our relationships or worship. In turn, this moderation will inshaAllah lead us to have balance in our lives. Traits such as extremism or having excessive obsessions are disliked because they stray us from the middle ground.
Moderation in worship:
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once asked a companion: “(Is it true) that you fast all day and stand in prayer all night?” The companion replied that the report was indeed true. The Prophet then said: “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave (it) at other times. Stand up for prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadith 127
Moderation in relationships:
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Love your beloved mildly (moderately), perhaps he will become hateful to you someday. Hate whom you hate mildly, perhaps he will become your beloved someday.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1997
So, how do we find the right balance?
- We can start by simplifying our lives as much as we can. With so many different responsibilities and different hats to wear it is important to weed out the things in our lives that complicate it even more. The prophet (s.a.w.) was known to choose the things that were easier (if choosing between two matters).
- Delegating tasks to each (perfectly capable) family member can really help you from losing your head at times. Teaching children (or even spouses) how to tidy up after themselves is an investment that is sure to pay off! Being a “supermom” does not mean having to do it all, but it means being able to efficiently manage the household as you would any business. Think of yourself as the C.E.O. of your own home ;).
- Make dua. One of the duas we make every day after our prayers is “O Allah, our Lord! Give us that which is good in this life, that which is good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire.” It is okay to enjoy the halal pleasures of life but we have to make sure we are not forgetting the hereafter and neglecting our prayers, seeking knowledge, reciting the quran, etc.
- Holding ourselves accountable: Our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) had countless responsibilities outside of the home but he still managed to be the perfect husband, and father. He gave everyone their haqq (their due rights). There are numerous hadiths that talk about the rights of neighbors, your parents, your children, your spouse, your Muslim neighbors, etc. As Muslims, almost everyone, and everything has a right upon us, and we will be asked about it one day if we are heedless of that. Therefore, we need to constantly make sure we are not falling short in fulfilling all our duties.
- Making the most of our time: It would be very difficult, if not impossible to fulfill all the rights of the people around us, if we do not learn to use our time wisely. That’s why it’s important to examine our lives to see what may be draining us of our time and resources and keeping us from our other priorities. It may also be worthwhile to look at how we can be more efficient and productive with our day to day responsibilities, especially if we tend to have more things on our plates.
So, remember, while in the process of trying to win the “best mother of the year” award, make sure you are also not a runner up for the “worst wife ever” award 😉 While taking care of your dunya, make sure you are also taking care of your akhirah. If it is one thing which Islam teaches us, it’s that the key to success is being able to achieve the perfect balance in all areas of our lives.