Jummah Mubarak, Happy Friday!
Jummah is a special day of prayer for us, but after motherhood, I’ve learned that any form of special prayer or time is just a special pain in the behind.
The early years of motherhood are not conducive to the kind of spiritual engagement you used to have pre-kids and it really takes a lot to keep on top of your connection with Allah. You’re often not fasting in Ramadan due to being pregnant or nursing, you hardly make it to the masjid anymore with three rambunctious toddlers, you definitely can’t make it out to Quran study classes or Islamic lecture series, and you barely have time to shove food down your face let alone sit and supplicate. I’m not even going to touch on volunteering in the community and that entire next level.
As you prioritize your child’s basic day to day needs, you also begin to prioritize the basics you need to do to complete the tenets of your faith.
Rushed/distracted salah (the five formal daily prayers) and reading tidbits of Quran to my children at night is pretty much the extent of my formal religious activity for the past few years. It also doesn’t help that every single time I stand up to pray – the minute I start there is a simultaneous trigger in Aiza and Rania’s brains where they immediately go from peacefully playing princesses to WILD THINGS. Folks it straight up turns into Lord of the Flies just feet behind me. They not only roar terrible roars, but there’s hair pulling, toy snatching, wrestling, and God knows what else threatening their survival behind my back.
It. drives. me. insane. Five minutes people, I just need five minutes to pray. Don’t talk to each other, don’t look at each other, don’t come near each other FOR FIVE MINUTES.
Now Zahra on the other hand, is in that sweet baby stage where she likes to imitate movements and sounds. She’s finally picked up on a few of our daily prayer movements and likes to join me on the prayer rug any chance she can get. She usually prefers the “downward dog” position for as long as she can keep her balance, and then her next go-to is like in the picture: sprawling out on the prayer rug in a prostration/power-nap position while I take my time to finish. I don’t know how much I’m able to focus on my prayers between toddler wars and her cute bum in front of my face, but we’ll ponder the spiritual struggles of motherhood some more another time. Because you guys have to hear what this little cutie human did.
So yesterday, I went to pray in my bedroom and the kids were quietly playing in the hallway right outside. I raised my hands, recited Allahu Akbar (God is Great), and then proceeded to begin my prayer. Zahra who had already requested I put the hijab on her before I started, proceeded to come stand in front of me, raised her hands as well, and then immediately sprawled out on the floor. Meanwhile, the toddlers, right on cue, broke out into their usual yelling and possibly shoving match.
So after a minute of being extremely still, lil Miss Zahra gets up from her comfy position, waddles over to the door, and SLAMS IT SHUT in their faces. Then calmly waddles back and lays back down on the floor in the EXACT same position for the remainder of the prayer.
She was totally over the nonsense too! She’s like, can’t a woman get some peace and quiet around here?!
I know that this prayer officially needed a do-over, because I had to seriously hold back laughter. Kid’s totally got the right attitude.
While I plan to continue having the post-prayer conferences with them about behavior expectations while mommy is busy and treating each other nicely, I think until the point has been understood, I may just adopt some of Zahra’s nonchalant approaches to dealing with crazy toddler sisters: Outta sight, outta mind.