As I’m quickly approaching my second anniversary of ‘return to formal employment’ I thought it appropriate to share some of the tips that have helped me to fulfill my ambition and still maintain a strong sense of home and family.
I’m very fortunate in that my office is a 5 min walk from home and working hours are from 8am to 4pm. This means the there’s no long commute to contend with, and that leads to tip 1!
1. If you are looking for employment, first look for it in places that are closer to home. Having no or a short commute means that you aren’t overly tired when you do get home. Even if it means the salary is lower, it still equates the finances, because of the savings on transport costs.
2. Schedule!!! Plan ahead, and be organised. It applies to everything from the childrens’ school lunches, to doctors appointments, to a pre-planned weekly dinner menu, to even a cleaning schedule and list of chores for the house. Once you know what needs to be done, its easier to get it done.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I know that as women, we always want to project the idea that we’re always in control, or in some situations, its projected upon us, and we feel the responsibility to fulfill it. However, as I have come to learn, there is no shame in asking for help, whether this be from your children, or from your spouse. The truth is in the long run, your children will learn responsibility from having to fulfill chores, your spouse will understand just how much it is you actually do. I know that in many cultures, husbands being helpful in the home is taboo, however remember that we follow religion, and not tradition! Nabi (saw) was known for making his own food, and even mending his own clothing. Inadvertently, by asking your spouse for help, you’re actually giving them an opportunity to fulfill a sunnah 😉
4. If and where possible, don’t shy away from outsourcing either! This could be in terms of domestic help, or ordering the cupcakes for a school class party. At first I was filled with a kind of guilt, that I wasn’t able to do it myself, but realised that I needed to focus on my priorities. It didn’t matter who had baked the cupcakes, the fact is, they were at school on the date promised. Also think about the ripple effect of employment that it sustains. A small home based baker would be thrilled at the extra income, and with that time freed up, you can now actually help your grade 5 son, study for a Math test. Pay it forward for others, spread the barakah, and keep your time and energy for your children and your family.
5. Above all else, understand what your priorities are. Maintain your salaah, make time for your Quraan, understand that every moment is a blessing from our Rabb. Truly believing and acknowledging this, makes it easier to deal with any life situation. Making time for yourself is very important as well. Know that you can’t pour from an empty cup. In order to be the best you can, do what makes your soul smile, what brings you fulfillment, and in that way, you’re more willing to do everything you can to make life joyful for your family too.
No matter what path we’re on, be kind to each other! May Allah guide and protect us and allow us to each fulfill our potential and grant us contentment. آمــــــــــين يا رب العالمين