She puts on her jacket and grabs her lunch as she gets ready to head out to work. Her one year old notices she is leaving and grabs on to her, urging her to pick him up and not leave him. This is his time to spend with Mommy. Yet today after spending some vacation time with him, she must leave him again for work and make du’a (supplication) that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala (exalted is He) brings this trial to an end soon. They say to put up pictures of her son at work or to call him but it doesn’t help. The three months she spent with him at home taking care of him and of herself were the most precious months of her life. It has been almost nine months she returned to work and not one day passes where she doesn’t wish that she could stay home to raise him. When she hears of mothers who willingly return to work when there is no financial need, it makes her blood boil. These mothers could never understand what its like to go to work because of a financial need and NOT because “they need time away from the kids.”
Taking time away from the kids is fine for an hour or two a day but doing it for 8 hours 5 days a week is brutal. It hardens the mother’s heart and takes the mercy out of it little by little. This has occurred so much in the American society we live in that it is now a norm to leave kids as young as 3 months in day care centers and not think for a second that it is wrong to do so.
Islam fixes the above problem by assigning roles to the mother and father. Roles that are in sync with their natural abilities and desires. Roles that help grow a more educated, well mannered community rather than one where kids have all kinds of emotional and physical problems as a result of not having a mother take care of them full time. Yes it makes me angry when people question the roles Allah (swt) has assigned women and men. Roles that are equally valuable and does not mean one gender is above another. Having personally experienced the heartache it causes a mom to leave her child, even if it is to trusted family members at home, I know that Allah (swt) assigned these roles out of His Mercy.
Yet today we live in a society where women eagerly leave the roles assigned to them by Our Creator in search of an empty role assigned to them by the creation. Women today (Muslim & non-Muslim) have been brainwashed into thinking that they “can do it all” and be a mom and have a full time career as well. Nowhere will you find a man that thinks that he can have TWO full time jobs and do both jobs with excellence, commitment, and without sacrificing one job for the other. Yet women are expected to have a career and be a full time (actually more than a full time) mom as well. How is it that men would never think they can do both yet women have been trained to think they can? It is impossible. Anyone who thinks its not is lying to herself. Either the career or motherhood is going to get sacrificed if you try to do both. Take a look at a “successful” women today, the CEO of Ebay, Meg Whitman. Yes she has a high profile company generating a lot of money, but what about her kids, what about being a mother, did she succeed in that? Her children have been accused of things such as rape to driving recklessly. Hence her motherhood was sacrificed for basically having lots of money and a title.
There are women who embrace their roles as mothers first and then help the community through their skills. These women understand that motherhood comes first and that after that they can still be involved to make a better community through efforts that suit their unique roles. Hence these women are not only raising the next awesome generation but also enhancing their skills and the community whether it be through volunteerism, or freelance work they do on the side.
Hence take this humble advice from someone who knows what its like to work after having a child, do not sacrifice your motherhood for a career. Being a mother is the best job you will ever have, so give to it like you have never given to any other job and it will bear a reward for you that will be better than any career you can ever dream of.