Parenting, Motherhood and 5 Ps For Fulfilling Relationships
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IlmFeed Podcast with Dr Mahera Ruby
Order bIllahi min ash shaytani R rajim Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah Dear brothers and sisters As salam o Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and welcome to another Ellen feed podcast episode. I feel really happy to hear from so many sisters and brothers in the last episode, commenting you know, after Dr. Hofer was with us commenting about where the where you're from, because we were talking about all the places that the inland feed family are from, you know, everyone listening, and I found out that Subhan Allah we were we've got listeners from all sorts of places I didn't even imagine Mashallah. So welcome to all of you. And please do share
the elephant Podcast with your family and friends so that more and more people can benefit Alhamdulillah today I've got a lovely guest. Her name is Dr. Maha rubIe. Dr. Mahara is a teaching fellow at UCL Institute of Education and visiting fellow at Goldsmiths. Her PhD focused on intergenerational learning in families who originate from Bangladesh. She graduated from the University of Sussex in chemistry, and she spent the best part of a voluntary and professional life talking and listening to people from all sorts of backgrounds. During her time as a research fellow at Goldsmiths, she co authored her first book, interconnecting worlds teacher partnerships for
bilingual learning and family jigsaws grandmother's as the missing piece shaping bilingual children's learner identities, mashallah, and hopefully we're gonna go into some of that today. Salam aleikum, Doctor, my hero.
How are you? Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah we bumped into each other, didn't we? Yeah. Because you're at UCL. And that's kind of next door to so ask. So that was a lovely interaction. Yeah, surprise, Mashallah. I didn't realize you were there. So please tell us a little bit about your background, you know?
Are you a first generation Bangladeshi from in Britain or tell us a bit more about your parents? So I'm from a family of nine siblings, and, Mashallah. And my father came to the UK in the early 70s.
And we joined him, so eight of us with my mom, we came and joined him here
in 1980, so I was about eight years old.
So when we came to this country, eight siblings, my mum had experiences of sort of living in the city a bit. So my, my father was an academic as well, when before when he was in Bangladesh, and he came to this country as Minister of religion so he was an imam here. Mashallah, so back home is his academia was in Islamic Studies, Arabic and Islamic studies. So when we came to join him here, so my mum had eight children between the ages of
20 and my younger sister was born when she when we came here.
So, yeah, so we came in 1980. And we started school locally. So me and my older sister, we went joint, local primary school. My younger two siblings, they went to the nursery. So we kind of set up home in Tower Hamlets. Okay, so that's East London, East London. So what was wonderful was that the sense of community that was here. So when we first came, it was a friend of my dad's who we stayed with. So his family was back home in Bangladesh. So we came and stayed at their place. And it was just a generosity of the community that was already here.
That welcomed us. And I do mentioned this in one of my books that what what sort of hit us when we first came particularly me and my reflection of of coming here was the change in weather.
So it was snowing when we came, so it was February. It was just white, everything was just white, and that cultural shift, and also seeing so a bit of my background in terms of growing up here, or seeing how my mum transferred her life from a village it takes a village to raise a child. So coming from that sort of village background and trying to get us to have better opportunities at education. So we then went me and my oldest sister went and stayed with my sister who was married so that we could have a better access to education with her so separation from children.
So she had to juggle quite a lot. She used to take care of my grandfather. So he was very reliant on, because she was the eldest bride, the daughter in law in the family. So she had a lot of responsibilities, which she had to sort of sit there and then come here to a
flat on the fourth fifth floor of a high rise building, there was a lot of racism in the local area, and just being able to protect her children. But the other interesting thing was seeing that we were other in our own communities. So at school, there weren't many Asian children. But the Asian children that were there was from a different part in Bangladesh. And so I ended up spending a lot of time with children from other backgrounds, so white, black, mixed race, you know. And one of the ways I would, I would vent that energy in a way was to play a lot. So I would, I would play basketball, whatever was going on.
And at home, there was a bit of tension with my mom, because I'm a girl and navigating all of that. But my brothers, you know, as siblings, we were really, really close. So what then started to form was this watching my mom become a community activist. But her environment was that women didn't go out there were very much at home looking after the family.
And the men were very much the activists and they're going around. So my father, in essence was the leader in the community was very involved in the community. And my mom was supposed to be the care of the Mother, the homemaker. But what we what we started seeing was she was she was organizing in the community, so she would drop us off to school and and speak to the women who would come to drop the children off. And she realized that there wasn't a possibility of gathering anywhere else. So she used to capture those snippets of moments that she would get with women. And at the time, people weren't wearing hijab, those who were were very closed off from the community. So there was a lot of
dynamics going on. But mashallah, what what she found a route to the community, she started to teach children in our home.
she wasn't very well lettered in Arabic, in terms of the reading. And so as a family we used to, we used to spend time at the weekends, particularly in the morning after fajr reading Quran together. And I used to observe this is my personal observation on my mum that she would learn to read Quran from my brothers and my father. And then in the evening, she used to teach the children. So her journey of learning and equipping herself, there was a certain amount of desperation, the passion to create change. And the reason I'm sharing this story is because, you know, I feel that she, my journey with her, there was times where we didn't get on as mother and daughter, there was a lot of
tension between us and resistance. But how she then became my absolute role model
of who I want to be what I want to do and how my life, mashallah hamdulillah has come to a point where I see that I'm carrying on from where she left off in some ways. I'm still with us now. So Subhanallah, she, she passed away in 2014. And that was a, that was
a marker on all our lives of the her janazah was a testimony to all the lives she had touched Subhanallah you know, it was here at the London Muslim center.
And we had to open up floors, we had to open up the halls to accommodate although there were other geneticists happening, that the sheer number of people who, who came to the janazah was a testament to this day, my dad always says, How does she manage? Where does she have the time raising eight children?
During the work she did, how does she have the time and it was just watching her multitask, not waste any time and then be able to spend time with the children as well.
We very quickly realized we're not the center of a world where we are a part of the world she wanted to create. And that's become my kind of motto in a way that we focus so much on fixing certain things in our lives. But actually, that consume us and take our take our attention away from other important things, and maybe doing the other important things may give the thing that you're focusing on so much the space to take some ownership and it's an amazing
A lesson that I've taken on board from my mom's journey, how she facilitated my father to be the community leader. But actually, she was the change maker. She was the she was the backbone. Yeah. And women's role and what does feminism mean? Actually, you know, what does being a Muslim woman mean is that it's a lot to
take on. Yeah, but she left a very powerful example. So when you say, community leader, do you mean a like a religious? Was he a religious leader? Yes. So it was, he was he was an imam in, in different parts of the country. But when we joined, my memory of him was that he was he was a chair of the Board of Trustees at the masjid here. Mashallah, so in that sense, he was he was doing his role as the chair of a masjid, but also was very much part of organizing in the community. So the Halacha is the program. So it's a community organization, that he was a part of.
The way I mentioned, my mum is because the women weren't very much part of that fabric of activism, or just in activism in the nature that were You were you, there's personal development that starts off with personal development, which then breeds the desire to change, others who may not have access to it. So it's a roll on, it's a ripple effect that happens. And ultimately, it's the women that raise the children a certain part of their life and has a lot of interaction with the children. So my mum was able to
organize that part, the resistance from the men was that we are out, we do that women need to look after the home, it was very traditional in a lot of cultures, we have that idea. But what was different was that my mum was given the opportunity by my dad, I guess, to be able to feed that part of her need, she needed companionship. And what we noticed was that where women were suffering from mental health issues, isolation, that can trigger off lots of other things. Women were beginning to generate circles of support, where they just talk about their children and learn a bit of Quran and, and mainly, it was just that, what we call now coffee mornings. Yeah. Where women would get together
and just look after each other. Yeah. And it was it was it was such an amazing insight and foresight that my mum managed to have, maybe learning from what my dad did, and being able to observe what was happening parallel that she could do something like this for the women, but it was, I think it started off with a need of her wanting to be met. So she needed companionship, she came from a village. She came from an environment where there was lots of women there to support her to be with her. Because they knew what community was. Absolutely, absolutely. I'll tell you a funny story. Like my dad tells me that when he first arrived in the UK, this was like in 1978 or something. He said he
was met by Dr. Helene Siddiqui was from the Muslim Institute at the time, and he was the one who invited my dad. And he said he he found a note. I think it was in his flat that Dr. Kalam had set up for him. And it said, and the you know, like, like you mentioned the weather. Yeah, that's the first thing that kind of hit everyone, right, like coming from India.
And he was that he said that the note said, Welcome to this godforsaken country.
Welcome to this godforsaken country and he meant the weather, you know, you know, I hope you like the weather type thing. So I think we can't underestimate what a big change it was for the men and the women who came over here, but what I find interesting, and by the way, no wonder you're interested in family because, you know, everything you just told us Yeah, mashallah big family, you're, you're seeing lots of generations interacting. There was a time where I felt quite overwhelmed by the cultural kind of setup and the and the makeup and the expectations.
So when I did want to go away to university, there was a part of me that wanted to escape this this community and Allah's mercy, you know, Hamdulillah I think, you know, he knew what I needed, obviously, and, and the making of me. So, luckily I handled, my brother was going to the same university, so it coincided and my father agreed, and I make dua for him to this day, you know, Hamdulillah that was the just what I needed to break that cycle of negativity in a way about the community.
Um, and, you know, going away to university, my mom and dad went with us with my brother dropped us off there were in different halls, but my halls, I was sharing with five other Muslim girls. And that in itself, I don't think happened before. And I don't think it happens now. But a handler while I was there, there was that opportunity for me to be in a flat hospital sort of university campus, with other other Muslim girls. And but it was when they left, you know, watching their backs go off into the car, it really hit me that, Oh, my God, I'm by myself. Now, I can't blame anybody. Now it's the onus is on myself to be the character that I want to be. And my mom, although she was a very
public figure, in the community, she was very quiet, uncertain things, which is also a powerful thing that when my dad made a decision, she would respect it. But we knew she didn't like it very much. So the fact that I was I went away to university.
I don't think she it was sat well with her, you know, being a mother, I can totally understand now.
Of all the potential things that could happen. And I don't, to this day, I always think, How did my father agree so easily, my brother was there hamdulillah had a Mahara. And then it was it was, but I just needed that space. Like I was saying, I used to be off me to be able to know who I am. And to be able to
analyze myself and reflect. And it was a journey. And I needed that, because that's what made me come back every weekend, to be part of the Muslim community that I was trying to run away from. And it wasn't the Muslim community I was trying to run away from it was the cultural community. And it's the dean that pulled me back the Halacha is the circles that I used to use was to have a circle at the time.
A central st circle, we used to call it and we used to come back for that warmth, the sisterhood.
And, and that's what kept me going, having that dose once a week, and then going back to university and refocusing on what I needed to be I was the only hijab on campus. On my course, the only Muslim woman and I ticked all the boxes.
And, and just being a part of the textbook, tick box exercise, is that what I want it to be? And it started to mean, my mom's role started to mean more and more to me, that I can shape my identity, I can shape my trajectory of where I want to be. So hello, it's like, it's when we leave our parents, isn't it for the first time, that's when we, when we realize all the kinds of things that they've been doing for us that we've been taking for granted? And yeah, I completely identify with that. I met some teenagers, actually, last week, and one of them was asking me, you know, about moving away from home, for university and the pros and cons of it. And I think you've kind of highlighted that,
really, I mean, the pros of it all that you do, you do have a bit of an adventure, I would say yes, absolutely.
You get to
find out who you really are, and what what your personality really is, and the things, get a bit of time by yourself to think about, you know, where you want to go and where you've been. And just take stock of things and you know, and become a bit more self reliance, I guess. But on the other side, there is that, especially when you're young, that loneliness isn't when your family is not around.
And quite quickly the kind of glamour of it. Can they turn? Yeah. Yeah. So I think it's important for people considering moving away from family, for studies to bear all of that in mind that, you know, having family around is like such a big safety net. Absolutely. It helps you to kind of not have to think about quite a lot of things. And then we don't realize
but it was interesting because I think having my brother there and and having
a setup at home where we tended to eat together. Yeah.
And so that that transported itself to the campus. So we one of the things we agreed on which we did, as long as we were there was that we would always eat together in the evening, me and my brothers. And for for me what that did was you know about the loneliness
on one side it feel that loneliness sort of
fed that there's somebody here on the other side, I knew those set of eyes,
but he never imposed at all in that way. But just having that connection every
Evening. I knew I had to do him proud. I knew, you know, there's a brother here. That's, and it's again, it's about the space, the trust, and what does it look like? And he had every right to pull me up on so many things. But he always gave me the space. And I, because we had that meal together, I will share things and say this happened. Would you think that happened? And, and it just Yeah. And that's what meals do. You know, facilitating family meals, facilitating togetherness, like that opens up a safe space where you can where you can share. And I think that was ultimately my mom's comfort as well, knowing that he's there. He's quite a bit older than me. So that mature figurehead
there to look after me as well, just like a heron. Dr. Myra, you are a parenting coach as well. I shall
I wanted to ask you, you know, what do you see as in all times, you know, the, what do you see the role of parenting coaches or parenting courses as being in our community? Why do we need them? Yeah. And that's the question we're always battled with isn't sort of why? Because our parents didn't need them. Yeah.
Yeah, that is an argument. And I think, although we say that our parents didn't need them, they had more of a circle of support than we did. Maybe growing up back home, but also coming here. family dynamics are changing. So we were we knew our parents of mine, particularly mothers, we knew that our moms are at home. If I was sick, I'd be able to come home if I the school could call and there's somebody at home that I could come to the worry. And the anxiety for our children has shifted slightly where they were there's two working parents, they wonder if I'm off sick this week, is he going to put my parents out? Can they find childcare? Can they you know, there's a lot of worry that
actually, our children also take on board.
When it comes to parenting, what I've realized is that, and I've been fascinated by this for a long, long time, and a lot of my studies, and my education has, in a way become a part of what I do. So I've always wanted to be in a place where I have access to the youth, I have access to parents, but I have access to schools, you know, sort of the education system. Because it's a triangulation, it's a way you all have to work together. And I remember the first time where I realized this is that I thought I could change the lives of young people and families through teaching. And I after my I graduated,
you know, I was married, and my second year of my degree, had two children, and I had to defer my PGCE a couple of times. So I decided to go into teaching. And I and secondary in particular, because I thought teenagers like me, we have a lot of struggles we couldn't share with the community, we Alhamdulillah there was that we had the circles, we had a circle of support to a certain degree.
But when I started my teaching, there was one ad nauseam interested in the homeschool visits, the links, and I still struggle with this homeschool link as we say it, but it's actually school home links, you don't get much of homeschool links, what you do get school telling parents and families what to do and how to do it. They parent in the home. So you know I have a challenge that label as well. So what I became involved in was this homeschool support, where teachers would go home for troubled children, and visit the home. So there was one particular visit that I did with the head of year. And when we visited the home,
this mother could not believe she had other children. But this teenager was going off the rails this young boy. And to me, it seemed pretty true. I could see what the route can be he wasn't getting the positive attention that he required. And in school, what tends to happen is the naughty children will there's so much negative attention given with positive incentive, if that makes sense. So you get sent to the head teacher and they say to you, you can access some lovely thing that's paid for go to the museum. So we invest, and it's a confusing place for the child to be at one. On the one hand, you're being disciplined or punished. On the other hand, you're getting all these nice
incentives to be better. Whereas the good coasting kids, children, young people, they're expected to just carry on because they could and that there's no recognition in except for maybe 100%. Certificate for attendance, and there's not much that goes into investing in them. So anyway, on this home visit, what I was taken aback by was a shot on the mother's face of her child being in trouble. And how could it be my child is so good at home is an angel is This is that? And the teacher said Well, no, we've written to you here we've said
to the to the parents are kind of in a denial of what their child is up to, and thinking is the phase, they will get go out of, you know, come out of it. Teenagers, it's a phase, you know, my husband did it, I did it, whatever. And then they'll come out, and there'll be okay. And it was that experience that actually made me realize is that parents are in denial because
she doesn't want to see her child in a bad light? Or are they in a denial? Because they don't have the tools to deal with it?
Yeah, so is she in denial? Because she doesn't know what to do? What do I do, as soon as I acknowledge that my child is bad or not going on the right path and not engaging?
The teacher is going to leave, and they have a set of tools and resources to deal with it at school. But what do I have?
I've just been told my child is a bad child, or is not on track. Now, what do I do? So when people don't have the tools? Yeah, they tend to gloss over the problems over the problem paper over the cracks. And yeah, pretend the problems don't exist. And what we what sometimes referred to is like a spring effect, what happens then is that you either focus on the child's behavior, and you try to deal with it. So it becomes very behavior oriented, you're a bad child, you're not doing this, right. Why aren't you doing this, why you're not doing that. You're not praying, you're not fasting, you're not doing your homework, you're picking on your sibling. So we try to we sort of focus,
excuse me on their behavior, or we take it out on ourself, I've done so much, you're not grateful, I've sacrificed so much, you're not, you're not at least do it for me, have respect for me honor me as a parent and behave? Well, what's missing, there is a connection with the child, as a child, not projecting my story onto them. And my experience onto them and my value system, which might coincide with theirs, but I don't know, because I haven't really built a relationship. So what then happens is the gap gets bigger and bigger and wider and wider. And you just start ranting and fighting over something where it's like the iceberg effect, where you focus on something that's in your face in
front of you, but you're not dealing with the underlying issues that actually caused it. Talk to my hero, can I take you back? Because, okay, I'm a real advocate, you know, in, in our Muslim community, for
mothers focusing on the whole gay, especially in the early years, and I would say, focusing solely or mainly on that. And the reason for that is, apart from, you know, the fact that, you know, I have my own experience, I read quite extensively on the topic, you know, psychologists,
books about babies, and the effects of, you know, the attachment parenting and having that, especially that one person who's there, who's that constant kind of rock, you know, it was just there.
And I feel that one of the beautiful things about Islam, about our deen is that within our marriage contracts, yeah. There is this recognition of the fact that motherhood and looking after the home is such a, such a valued and such an immense project, I would say, right, that Allah subhanaw taala, he removes the, the kind of the burden, I would say, of having to provide for the family, from the shoulders of women and from the shoulders of mothers. And he puts them quite squarely onto the shoulders of men. Now, I know that, you know, cultures change, societies change, and there are there are certain shifts, and of course, like, you know, especially as children get older, there are
the child care needs us. They change, right. So it's, however, I do, sell, I do worry, I must say about our community that, for example, when I went when I went to Malaysia, and even in this country, you know, sometimes I meet sisters, and when I'm talking about motherhood, and things like that, and they'll come to me and they'll say, you know, I've just had a baby, my baby is just, you know, within the first year or whatever, and my whole family is pressuring me to get to go to work. My whole family is pressuring me and saying, you know, I've got a degree, it's a, you know, you should be using your degree, right? As if mothering and raising the next generation of human beings
is not, you know, enough of a worthy thing to do, you know, with your education, you know, so, sometimes I worry
that the gift that Islam gave us as women, which is to not carry that burden, right. And it's there for a reason. You know, I've read books, like, for example, why love matters by Sue Goodhart, I believe. And in that book, she talks about how one of the greatest worries that women have is, especially if they don't have a partner. So single parents is the financial burden. And it can be so great that it affects them. It affects their parenting, right?
And in that you can see Subhan Allah, you know, Allah subhanaw taala. For that very reason. It seems one of the wisdoms is that he hasn't made that her primary concern in our society isn't that's not the case. You know, people don't look at the roles of men and women in that way anymore. I mean, in the wider society, and sometimes I fear that one of the things that made our parents generation strong, was the fact that there was somebody focusing on the whole, you know, so wouldn't you say that one of the key means, and I'm not talking now, as you know, maybe it might not be politically correct, like to to advocate this in a professional setting, right. But within our Muslim community,
as people who talk to women, and wouldn't you say that one of the things that we've got to start advocating is that, you know, what, we need people focusing on the home, especially in the early years, and something like looking after babies cannot just be, it's not the same. Somebody who loves a child looking after them. Okay. And somebody who's paid a minimum wage, who has no connection with the child looking after them, there's just no comparison. Right? So don't you think that one of the things, key things that we need to stop advocating again,
and saying to our sisters, that it's okay, you know, is being stay at stay at home moms, or at least focusing on those early years, especially.
Even if it if that's the soul, and, you know, the, the focal point of their lives, and
I totally, totally agree with you. And I think it's, it's so important for women to be able to own that narrative, yeah, and create that narrative, and recreate that narrative.
Because it is so important that we understand what our core duties are.
As men and women in a society, that's what keeps a cog wheels going, and, and normality to be present in the family.
And in society, as family has been the cornerstone of society.
what I would say is that, you know, we, what I find from my work, and I can share lots and lots of stories from the parenting courses, and the coaching that I do is what happens when you have
a woman, a mother,
the expectation of society for her to sacrifice, and as soon as a sacrifice, we see it as our role
of primary role
in the in the family in the community. But in wider society, it is a matter of sacrifice, you sacrifice sleep, you sacrifice, there's a lot of sacrifice that is involved. And part of that sacrifice is equated with being self less.
Yeah. Giving up a lot. So in a average couple, where you have the first child, the expectation, say in our parents generation, is that you wouldn't have heard of men during the night shift. What is that?
Right? nappy changing? What is that? So that narrative has slowly started to change where men need to be more hands on, you have potentially if you have some parts of Europe where it's longer, and the benefits of that in a child's life. So although we have this model of
the father being the breadwinner, and the mother being the homemaker, I don't think it's so black and white in Islam. I don't think it's this image of a it's about your mindset is about the lifestyle. It is about what you want to how you want to live, as well. And as you earn more money, you want your eyes look upwards to veteran,
prettier lifestyle, I guess. But in terms of just looking at the basic makeup of this child, if, if we were to focus on the child, what is the need from that child?
that child needs the Father as much as the mother in order to be a whole child, and as sister grandparents, right, extended family, it is part and parcel of who you want to raise as a whole child and talk about this whole child quite a lot. So in this whole child, this child isn't just being raised by the Mother, the Father, the grandparents next and found that this teachers, this arbitration, there's so many neighbors or so many people involved in that child's life. And you're and I agree with you totally, that there has to be a gatekeeper, to facilitate all of those things, to monitor all of those things to
sort of, at the end of the day to reflect on who's had an impact and effect. Now if this child is going from adult to adult space to space, that child, where does it offload at the end of the day? Where does it get? Where does that child? How do they navigate so children are very resilient. And that's what I found, from my research. credit to the children on this matters. Mercy on children. Yeah. But actually, as parents even stay at home mom, her complete role is just raising her children, you will see those children growing up to be quite unappreciative. If that mother doesn't know the tool she needs to raise a whole child. Yeah, yeah. How to discipline Yeah, because it just
disengage, disengage mother being standards.
So it's not about who's at home and who's not at home. It's about how equipped you are, to be able to raise the children in the context that you're raising your children. So here in the UK, we are raising and I always ask my parents, you know, how does Allah
hadith of play up to seven, teach up to 14 companionship up? From 14? How did it work with raising our children when they seen as children up until 18. In the in the European, according to, you know, the laws that we have, they're seeing children as a child up to 18. But they can sign up to being part of the army, they can have consent, you know, marriage with consent from parents at the age of 16. There's a lot of discrepancy discrepancy in the society that we live, whereas our rulings and lessons that we can learn from our deen is quite clear cut it's clear instructions which we need in our parenting. So going back to what you were asking that should do we do we need to reshift that
balance? And yes, to a certain extent, I think those of us mothers who are working women that work, they need to reset their mindset, that actually what is my ultimate focus? What is my focus? What is my, because, for me, working isn't bringing in the money. It's being accountable to the intellect and the capacity and the resources that I've been given. Yeah, to be able to do that, but also to be a role model to my children, how they need to treat the next woman that they meet, because it's taken for granted for a lot of young people, because we don't have the tools often that our children think well that women just serve women just at home, women just do this. And what I learned from my
mom, is that although she didn't have a full time job, or a part time job, her Dowa hijama, her community work was like a full time job. Yeah. So what we learned from her is that you can be an amazing mother, you can also contribute. Yeah. So what I say to new couples, and I do a course with new couples and couples to be,
you know, I say to them, what does this marriage mean to you? Yeah, what are you expecting from each other? What is it you expecting as a spouse but also as a worshiper?
Ultimately, I have a higher role, a higher purpose as an individual, which I will be accountable to, because you're not going to go to the grave with me. Yeah. So when you think about those kinds of roles, and the, the checks and balances that we need to do, I think enriches our parenting, rather than take it away from us. And I do believe and I sincerely believe, again, from my personal experience, that ideally a mother if the capacities there shouldn't work until the child goes to school, which I tried to practice that while at home, there are other things I can do. I think that's kind of more what I'm getting at. Yeah. I must say, like, you know, once we've had children,
yeah. There's the responsibility that comes with that. Yeah, you know, it's not about me, me me anymore. You know, it's not it's even even if we were to look at it from the point of view of our intellectual like stimulation and things like that.
I believe that mothering is as intellectually stimulating as you want.
The makeup, it depends on what you think being a mother is. For me being a mother is a nation being a nation builder, you need knowledge for that. You need to equip yourself for that. It cannot happen when you think I'm a mother. Now I'm at home. And I focus on that. Where do you seek that knowledge? It is intellectual. And I that's what I want to hone in on to that for women, there's a it's a journey. And what we suffer from is being left out or left behind. And we create that with each other. I don't think, well, I don't want to bring men into the conversation. But I think it's just as women if we focus on women, when I speak to another sister, oh, you got a degree, what are you
doing with it? Yeah, and I have a baby. And I've just had a child or I might have been in part time work. So we make create this notion that you're missing out, or you're being left behind. So your career is not going to be the same. You just got up to that letter. Do you want to wait a couple of more years before you have a child? Yeah, up to you get to that rank, and then do that. So can you see how we're sort of going on this journey that when am I ready? We didn't used to do that as much before. Yeah. So women's lives we are changing. Where the rungs of that ladder is what comes before what, but actually, motherhood is such a beautiful, I mean, it's a wrap. It's a mercy. It's me
knowing that I'm a woman, not everybody can have a child. And that's again, another story and another person's journey. But those of us who can who has been blessed with that, yeah. Is it advisable to put it on hold for the sake of a career for the sake of an education because, for me, there's things in life and I think our deen equips us with that knowledge. Things that happen in life for a reason we have Hadith that says marry a woman that can bear lots of children marry young women. Yeah. And it's not off putting people who have married later. But there's Barack and there's benefit in pursuing things like this because now looking back, I'm so glad I had my children when I
did. I hamdulillah because now I'm able to enjoy it and I'm handle I'm going to be a grandmother soon inshallah. So you know, Inshallah, while I'm still able to enjoy, we will be able to do that. Yeah.
There's there's, there's Baraka there's mercy, there's Rama, there's, there's so many things in following my body clock, and how I've been created by let's Mandela to carry that journey, having a child at 40. And some of us do, and it's a handler, wonderful, you can continue to do that. But if that's your first child, when there may have been an opportunity to have, I mean, I'm scared. I worry having conversations like this, because everyone's journey is different. Yeah. And I think it's so important to recognize individuals as they are their circumstances, I guess what we're talking about, in general, that we'd be advocating as the norm. And now I could advocate a norm, but
it might not fit assisters. Yeah, life at that point in time we'll have to take. So again, I think when you actually respectful and an inclusive of individual journeys and stories, as well, so I can sit here and say, No, you shouldn't go to work, but there might be a dire need. She might be the one with more qualifications than the husband. Yeah. And in a marriage where if she was to go to full time work, would it negate?
Would it say that the father couldn't stay at home and be with the child? Would it lessen the experience of that child? So again, we need to, you know, we're not shifting roles, and saying that he's the woman now, and she's become the man in the relationship. But is it a phase? Is it certain periods when certain things need to, but most importantly, I think the relationship between the couple is so important. The conversation, the arrangement, the, the understanding that they exist between because that will see them through that journey, and the narrative they create about each other to the children. Now, if the mother is going to work on the father's at home for a period of
time, and the thing is that I'm useless, he's not a man, he's not being manly. And the society is feeding that what was the children grow up? Thinking? Yeah, I don't want to be like him. And they go the opposite way where they dispersed and respect the Father. And then the mother being seen as the man wearing the trousers and is the decisions being made, but she could be just going to work but 100 alone, the family, the man is still the man. Making family decisions, making those key, facilitating those conversations, and being the leader of the family. Yeah. So we just need to and again, I think it goes back to Tools and understanding and knowledge and being honest to yourself
and the situation that you're in, and really being authentic. Why am I actually wanting to do what I want to do? Is it big
because so and so is doing it and I think I'm capable of doing more, right with a child at home, or is it that actually for me, this is my focus. And it is it is from Allah. Right? Yeah. Insha Allah, you know, hamdulillah was if I focus on this child now, the baraka will be in our relationship. And I don't even have to invest time when they're teenagers, when they're questioning who they are. So the reason for spending time with them when they're younger, is you're investing in a relationship to go through the bottleneck of when they're going through the teenage years, although we don't believe teenagers exist in Islam, but they do go through minor changes, and biological adolescence.
So that time you have a relationship where you're able to say, shall we have a chat, right?
That's really important. Because what what many people although sacrifice is a part of life, sacrifice, we sacrifice things. Now, instant gratification in order to gain something later, right. That's basically the story of life, a successful life.
But I think sometimes we over em, we mentioned we talk about motherhood and the investment in motherhood, as too much of a sacrifice, when actually it's an investment. Yes, what you're putting in Yeah, is going to come out one day, you know, even if you don't live to see the fruits of your, you know, children growing up and etc. Even in your grave, you know, you will, you'll benefit from the daughter of that child. So, I really just feel Subhanallah it's just, Dr. Murray, you know, I've had a few conversations with young moms who are quite, perhaps they're going through some kind of postnatal depression or, or they just baby blues or something like that. But often, they really
don't. They haven't. The narrative hasn't been taught to them regarding what motherhood is, like, why are you doing this? Why is this important? And I think what that does is, billing reads, yeah, belittles motherhood, it breeds that sense of, I'm not doing anything, when actually, you know what, like, subhanAllah there's so many, apart from obviously, going to parenting courses and learning about parenting techniques. There's certain inbuilt things that Allah has put in us as mothers that we naturally do. Just the way we talk to our kids has a different effect than if a stranger was talking to them. Just the way we play with them. The love is it's they feel it, you know,
subhanAllah is, and it's building their brains in literally building their brain connections. Right. I think
we've got to remind mothers, how important they are. Absolutely.
And I think you and I, and this is a big assumption I'm making, we have had the blessing of being raised in functioning families.
A handler, which then was a part and parcel of how we were raised.
And that exists in a lot of families now. And often. I wonder, why is it maybe it wasn't talked about as much when we were growing up? But more and more questions. Children are questioning their faith, coming from practicing families coming from madrasa background come from Islamic education, background
agnostic and sort of the atheism they're questioning they're questioning their identity gender fluidity, there's so many things that are going on in our community.
Is it because as families we are so afraid that our children will lose the the that we become quite not militant but quite desperate. In imparting are the as a it's regimented? It's it's a bunch of rules. So you know, one of the questions I asked moms to do when they go home is ask ask their children to describe them spiritually.
How do children's teenagers see us as a spiritual being and one mom was sharing I found it really interesting and it's a repeat that I do here well the children's are well mom I think you're quite religious. MashAllah you pray you fast you you're paying
their actions. But actually, those teenagers don't like them on very much when it comes to the behavior.
So when we think about our spiritual selves, shouldn't our actions transform our behavior, right that we are nice to our children things like being patient patient, not losing our temper. Yeah, not losing our temper, not judging them not being suspicious. Not checking through their bags without their permission lying lying. The small
white lies that we seek to protect something else. And they don't see it. So they see you as a religious person. But they don't because of a bunch of tick box. Actions that you do. Exactly. So as parents, we're not just, we're not a religious only. We are also the other than o'clock. And all of that is so important in our it's not just rituals, rituals. And so when we go to pray what our children says we're rushing because we don't want to we're scared of the fire of hell. Yeah. I can't miss a Salah. How often do we come out of a silence? I needed that? Yeah, yeah, that's grounded me and our children hear us say that. Because that's your spiritual self. When I'm able to forgive my
child, and say, You know what, I am only forgiving you because I'm afraid
of Allah not forgiving me for the mistakes I might have me. I'm forgiving you. And can you imagine the forgiveness Allah subhanaw taala has for you. The mercy the blessings and they connect to Allah initially through you. Absolutely. Yeah. So as being at home as mothers, often you'll find mothers who exasperated who feel unappreciated, who feel unloved who feel
unacknowledged? And if that's what stay at home mother who's going to do to us? Is it worth that journey? How do we enrich it? We need a collective? Yeah, we need to be with each other. We need to nurture each other's journey. We need to and you're and I agree with you. We need to tell each other this is brilliant. Yeah, enjoy it. Joyce actually went on a parenting course once and the first whole part of it first day of it. Was you working on yourself? Yeah.
You find out who you are. Yeah, imagine so Pamela. So I do think that that's really important, isn't it? Sometimes, it's really easy for us.
For anyone really to blame their situation, their spouse, their family, their there's their, the way I was brought up, there's so many things you can blame.
But I think once you just just say to yourself, you know what, I'm an adult, whatever has happened to me, right, I'm gonna find a way to deal with it.
And whatever kind of shortcomings I feel that I have, instead of blaming other things, you know, let me
let me get on top of this, let me find a way through this, because, you know, I have a mind. And I have Allah subhanaw taala. And he, he will help me if I take that responsibility on and seek help and seek a way out of a way to change my mindset and grow my mindset. And so I think I think it's really important for all of us, but especially mothers and especially women in the community were in a community that doesn't always value motherhood, right? And why does society to work on our own mindsets and actually questioned some of the some of the messaging that we get, you know, from wider society? So for example, I'll just give you a couple of examples like, okay.
Is it okay for me to live within my means? You know, that sounds like a really basic question. Right. But I think for our parents generation, a motherly, they would they would not have this attitude of, you know, you know, what, oh, you know, I really want to have x y Zed. And because of that, now, I'm going to have to sacrifice something that's more important. Yeah, for that right. Now, I know, like you said, we can't say, you know, one size fits all. However, unfortunately, that that kind of notion of living within your means has become radical now. And that's really strange, isn't it? Because as Muslim Subhanallah in all the books of, you know, purification, and so, it
talks about an hour, you know, this idea of living and being satisfied with what you have. That's not to say you should not be ambitious or have aspirations but that is to say that actually probably the things that Allah has given you are enough for you, you know, for you to get on with so I really think that some of these old what people would think of as old but really Islamic kind of attitudes and o'clock we need to revive them you know, this idea of because Subhan Allah Dr. Myra, you know, even when we do when people do Chase and chase and chase after dunya right, so often
they steal satisfied they still don't feel satisfied what are they chasing? It's a it's a story that's been sold to us Yeah, that there's there's a mirage there somewhere and and
It looks really great. Yeah, you're feeling quite thirsty, you need to chase that. And, and I just going back to what you were saying, I find that really interesting is, you know, we need to get to a place where it's it's being grateful gratitude and gratitude. So it's being grateful for some people.
The journey before getting to that is a whole journey, right? Because from my coaching, what I find is a lot of the parents that come to me come with issues with children. My child's not behaving, my child doesn't respect me. But actually, you're, you know, as we were saying, as you start to unpack, it's about the luggage and the baggage that they're carrying. So somebody who needs to live within their means. What was that experience for them? Right, living with within the means for their parents? Did it mean that they had to do without certain things? So for some children, it might be that everybody was wearing Nike, and I had to wear sensory stuff or whatever. Yeah. Something from
the market. gola. gola. Yeah. So something from the market and for me, that experience was really painful. I don't want my child to have that. So they start to overcompensate. In order to compensate and overcompensate you need money. Yeah. So you will go after our generation does tend to do that. Yeah, you will.
Yes. Like, you'll go after something that will make your children happy. But in the process, what you've done is forgotten that that experience for me has made me grateful.
Right, okay. Yeah. has made me grateful. And I learned to share for my child, what I'm giving them now is a journey of selfishness. Right? They're just spoiling them. You spoil them. Yeah. So the next time you say, Well, honey, I can't afford that. So what do you mean, get another job? I have an experience of where I went to visit a family with a teenager says Why can't I have that dad can just do cabin at night?
My son said that to us? Yeah. So can you can you see the journey of somebody who's coming to an experience of living in their means, can then go totally where they don't actually want to go? Right? So because we I get I completely see what you're saying. Because sometimes, you know, we've grown up seeing other people go on holiday every year. And this idea has been fed to us by the media as well must go on holiday every year or every holiday time, right.
And then we think that if we don't provide that for our children, they're going to be like, scarred or something. Right? For life. When actually, actually, when I think when children look back on their childhoods,
the things that they remember,
are not the material things. It's their feelings. It's yeah, it's this, this also this myth of quality time, you know, when I say myth, what I mean is this idea that you can pack out your whole day, and put a little slot in there for what you call quality time.
And for that time, to then to force yourself to have that time, okay. I feel is a myth, because what happens is very contrived. Do you know what I mean? Whereas the magic of of being a family and being, you know, with your children with your spouse, the magic of it happens when you spend extended amounts of time together, you know, it's not just about a little shedule a little sort of time in your, although sometimes that might be necessary, you know, difficult times, I think we need to change our mindset, we need to change our sense of priority, you know, because, sadly, we might be raising children who value the wrong things. And I might challenge a bit of that.
So what what, from my experience of working in the community? And I think this is where the spirituality and the dean, Ashley, are they separated, they should be hand in hand. So your suggestion that there should be extensive time that we spent, yeah. And that's there. So we are spending lovely time with our children. But each child has a different need. So when you're spending that time together, a teenager won't speak about this stuff in front of the younger sibling. They have some stuff they need to privacy, and you're teaching them that you're important enough for me to give you this time where we can bond that won't happen in the absence of a relationship. Because
what parents tried to do is create this quality of time, in the absence of a spiritual relationship that has been built has been built over. So the fabric of your family is that we're a team. And we're a team. But there are times where I suggest to you if you've got teenagers in the house, minimum at least twice a week with that child knows my mom's free decluttered here to focus on me. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And that's what I am a special time not in the apps
Have everything else, it's a part and parcel of
a norm that happens in the family. So I remember, you know, growing up and that image, and you're so right about the feelings. So I just remember the Sunday mornings, particularly when we were talking about that after fajr, we would all be expected to read Quran together. I didn't like it very much. Great time, I just used to think I'm sleepy and tired.
As now children say, it's such a big deal.
But what I do remember is that what my dad would do is after we read Quran, we would go for a walk down the canal.
So we had a canal next to us, we would go down and walk on the way back, there's a bakery. And to this day, our siblings, we still go and buy bread from that bakery. And so the bakes Kolja. But it's the feeling of togetherness. So that bake the bread that we used to bring, we didn't have fancy jam, we didn't have All we knew was anchor butter, butter, and the hot bread. Oh, wow, we just used to take a piece of bread and, you know, butter in we used to eat it because of the love. The love is that togetherness, the warmth of the bread and breaking bread together exists just as, and we felt like a team. And my mom instilled that concept of being a team so much that she wouldn't even let us
go to play outside when other kids were playing, when they've gone home to send us all out to play. You learn to play with each other. Right? Why does it make sense? But looking back on it now. It's gratitude. But it's a journey. I don't think you'll appreciate it as a teenager. But what you do need other people that will say to you will appreciate it one day. Yeah, bear with it. Whereas now what we send to other parents is just give them mobile. Yeah. Otherwise they'll play up. Just give them lazy parenting.
uninformed, lazy, because we are not equipped to have those difficult conversations at home.
We haven't you know, we I'm afraid to have that conversation. Why are you praying? What if the turnarounds I don't want to pray?
I would rather just watch. So it's like, avoidance avoidance avoidance.
Conflict? Do you think you're actually a Muslim? Sometimes we put our children up against the wall and ask them, I don't even think I think you need to take a shahada again, so Well, actually, I don't want to what do you do, then? I shouldn't have even we shouldn't have even put that idea into their head. So the maths and the love that we need to show our children should be the base of relationships that can facilitate those difficult conversations. Absolutely. And I think we're so we are quite quick to write off children because we're not at a place to deal with what they're posing for us. And that's our growth. If we're able to do that we grow together. You see Tobia is such an
ongoing thing isn't it isn't like super, like, sometimes I think mothers are like, the voice in your head, you know, or you could be you if you choose to be that. So you'll see your child when something your child succeeds at something, who's going to who's going to plant the thought in their head? That, look what Allah gave you. Thank Allah, you know, so many things could have gone wrong, but it all worked out for you. You know, who's going to who's going to give them that? Almost like awakening to the you know, that the gifts that they have? If, you know, we're not mindful, and we're not present? And we're not. We don't see the role of motherhood as more than just feeding and
cooking. The practical. Yeah, right. The physical nourishing, right. So finally, I think sometimes I reflect back on like, how did I know Allah? Yeah, you know, and I think my mother, she used to gather us together as children regularly, and just to make that up, and allowed, so that in order so that we would
know who is this Allah? How many of us have done that to him? Yeah. So Pamela, how many of us do that? We talk about Allah. You know, we say, oh, Allah is the Greatest Allah created this, Allah did that Allah. And it's, like you said, a bunch of a list. It's a bunch of rules, a bunch of silly list. But when you actually sit with your mother, and she's crying, and she's calling on Allah, she's saying, Oh Allah, we are so sinful. Yeah, Allah, please. Yeah, Allah forgive us. Yeah, Allah, we try our best, but we still fall short yet Allah. Oh, Allah, thank you for the blessings you've given us. And then she lists the blessings that you hadn't even thought of right. And then she goes
through each member of the family. And she kind of talks to you about all you know, our father, he's out all day. He meets the situation's. Yeah. All the things
Is that he does bless him make his give us Baraka in our risk. And she would go through each person, and you know, you'd wait for your turn, you know, what's she gonna say about me? And that whole experience Subhanallah I understood and I felt a lot more from that. Then somebody given me a book about the hither Rubia. Here, as man suffered, and, you know, a bunch of facts, you know, which is unfortunate, it's valid the other day in the bookshop, I saw a book book of Tawheed, I thought, Okay, this is going to connect children to Allah. And all it was, was basically a bunch of a bunch of, let's say, jargon, I'm sorry, you know, for a child, that's not going to build that human, they
don't know who Allah is by knowing that there's these different categories, and this and that, and it goes back. And that's what gave John aktas of Hamlet. So our practice of making die you as a child sitting there expecting your name to be called, so your significance in her life, right. So you feel insignificant in your parents life, but also she has made you significant in Allah's eyes. Yeah. So each person has that significance in that relationship is again about relationships, and how we build our children's relationships to us first, so that that'd be for many families do come, but it's after gratifying our ego first. Yeah. So was it that I helped you that you got your grades,
you know, I told you to revise and look at the benefits had. So we tried to nourish our ego first, before we say, you know, I'll have someone that has facilitated this for you and be grateful, whereas that should be first. Allah Samantha should be first in our conversation with our child. You know, even when they've made a mistake, it could have been so worth Allah has your back. Yeah. Subhanallah due to Lukashenko prayer. So those kinds of things are so it's gonna say that who's going to say that if if we're not mindful if we're not mindful? And, and that needs to exist? And I think that, you know, I talk about extended families quite a lot. The uncles and grandparents, and
many parents nowadays will say that a handler we had become practicing. Yeah, my family or not, I have a drug, somebody who's abusing drugs, I have somebody who smokes, I have somebody who's not as they should be, how they dress. So there's always issues that might influence my children. What do I do? Yeah, how do I give them access. And unfortunately, then what happens is your children are then isolated. And we haven't even spoken about families in conflict, you know, divorce, separation, but life for those children, and the relationship between the adults. So ultimately, what happens is children grow up creating some narratives about people in their family.
And when they get the chance, they want to know, so they're curious. So when they do go out, and then they find out No uncle actually is a nice person, but he's struggling with something. Yeah. Or, okay, that you might be, you know, grandmother might be like this, but she didn't know any better this is after a conversation and and finding out for themselves, what then tends to happen is that child starts to resent the parents, because they've missed out on all these years of relationship. Now I understand we need to protect our children from negative influence. And research shows that there's benefit in, you know, sort of navigating that space for them. But there is a way of doing
that, where you can have honesty around it not half baked conversations, so that you create fear in your children that keeps them away from certain people. Yeah, which is very wrong. And it's not Islamic, you have made an Islamic in some sense. Can you give me an example? So an example would be that your uncle isn't good for you?
Yeah, I don't want you to spend time with your uncle, or an aunt or whoever it is. They don't dress properly, they are not good in the sight of Allah. And this may influence you they smoking, they're doing this, they're doing that. Yeah. What they haven't maybe added to that is, you know, that's the person. These are their actions. The person is kind, the person is generous, the person will come to you with a snap of a finger. Yeah, to protect you. However, I just am worried about their behavior, right, separate the separate the behavior from the past fishy when it's a relative, when it's a relative, when it's a neighbor, whoever it is. Yeah, whatever your child brings to you first,
unpack. What's the person like? Yeah, what are you talking about? Are you talking about the person? The o'clock of that person? Again, it's just action. If they have said they're believer, and they are a Muslim, yeah. Even if they're not you have might have non Muslim families. Are they kind or they're generous? Are they who
Are they? So as a person, they might be wonderful. But then you focus on the action. So next time you go, can you set your uncle Uncle dance back when I'm there. So you start to equip your child absolutely to be the change maker. And that breeds and builds their identity, they can get away with it, they can get away with it. Well, you can't, was that adult knows you are the gatekeeper to that child keeping that relationship away. So any chance they'll find they will try to connect, or they will alienate. And it's not good for the child. Ultimately, because I've seen time and time again, where what you've tried to do backfires. And you ended up being the not so good person, because
you've made somebody blacklisted someone. And you didn't tell me that they were nice person, they actually loved me. Right? As they're nice. Would you deny your child, the love of that does love that person, that connection of that point that the maybe the bad thing that they're doing or the bad habit, or whatever it is, it can be managed, right, and it's not the whole of that person that holds one aspect of them. And that could be a trigger to change the other person, you couldn't be that relationship, their relationship, the respect and the honor, you've given to that person will breeding your child how they honor and respect the next homeless person with him at which society is
written off. Yeah. And they start to see actually, I'm a part of that problem. If I go and speak to that person, maybe I can find out their story rather than throwing pennies at them. Right, yeah, or not paying pennies, because they'll misuse it. So we create social construction, we call it, you know, narratives around situations and people, and we actually try to feel a part of our vessel we're uncomfortable with through our child. Yeah. And that's not a good place to be. And sometimes it takes a bit of support to be able to understand what you're doing. You know, I've had parents who have, your child says, my mum doesn't love me. I've tried everything, and a child. So I do a course
with young people. And one of the questions we look at is, and I share the story of
how difficult it is, you know, the verse in the Quran,
pain upon pain.
What does that mean? So such as children, and as a mother, I can share parts of this story with you this is how difficult nightshift are breastfeeding walking around when you're, you know, you get heavier, and it's hard work. And one of the things they say is, well, we didn't know this. First of all, we just know that it was hard. But through biology, we might learn why, but actually, emotionally what it did for my mother or my father, I don't know. So that's the first part. The second thing that they mentioned is, what is it that whatever, we can never do anything that's ever good enough? In the sight of my parents, all right. We're never good enough. It's there's another
milestone that's been created another hurdle that another person that they need to compete. Yeah, they need to be nice, you're good to another Esther. And there was one particular story, I remember a girl that she was saying, you know, I really feel my mom doesn't like me.
I really feel my mom doesn't like me, I really feel whatever I do, she finds a point of hers, to pick out the negative, how she can say to me that I'm not good enough. And so we ended up having coaching with a mum and what transpired was a she was a single parent. And her child reminded her of her of her ex husband, the father of the child. So whenever she was in the company, have this child memories, flood back and come back. And so she's not rejecting the child. She doesn't know how to deal with her experience. So her child, even if she smiled, it will remind. And when the daughter started to understand that, first of all, there was a lot of anger. Yeah, that it's not my fault.
Yeah. So there had to be a lot of family coaching, to get them to a place that how do you overcome that every time she comes to you don't flinch.
Every time it's the body language is what we don't say often affects our children. So it is important that if we are going through conflict, to give a reasonable explanation to your child that says difficulties. We will work through it. It's not about you. Yeah.
And and it may result in something you might not expect. But this is something that they need to be a part of. Otherwise they start to self doubt. And they think it's about them, and they can't understand and then it then breeds a whole cycle of issues with that child. Because if you can't connect to your parent,
there's connection issues. There's attachment issues, and it will continue in that child's life as well. So there's and it goes back to do we need courses, you know, do we need support and I think we
Do we all have
experiences of how we shape stories? So there's nine of us. And each of us will could have all been sitting in the same room, but we've taken a different experience away. That's absolutely true. And if we don't share those experiences, we're not able to say to them, but could you think from another perspective, so as a sibling, sometimes you remember something. Yeah. And your sibling remembers it a different way. Like you had a great experience. They had a terrible experience. And there's no point saying, Well, you're wrong. No. But that's the that's their perception. That's how they lived it. Yeah, that's true. So it's important to have those conversations to work out each other's
truths. And why, why and come to a place where you can accept and disagree, but accept that this was our but how do we move forward? Dr. Mahara? Yeah, I completely agree with you with the especially with the teenagers, you know, having that one to one time. And yeah, when I was talking about
quality time, not being just little slots. Yeah, I was actually I didn't mean not that kind of example. I was actually drawing on.
Something that psychologist Dr. Steve Biddulph talks about in his book raising, raising happy children, he talks about the myth of quality time, but what he means is this idea that you can spend most of your day doing something completely different. Yeah, and draining all your energy into all of that and then just slotting your kids in? It's not pretentious. It can be contentious. Yeah. And that's what he meant. Yeah, that's what I meant by Yeah, but absolutely, I think each of our children need to have one to one time with their parents, because their dynamic, when they're together is completely different, you know, to when you've got them on, they're focused one on one,
like you said, undivided attention.
And they get so much out of that.
And it's, it's, it's very grounding. And I always say, you know, as human beings, we look for three things. We look for connection, we look for belonging, and we look for direction. And these, the, if any one of those missing, you see restlessness, connection, directions, direction, and belonging.
And these are three things I found, from my research, you know, the conclusion that I've come to, and I kind of promote, and, and I believe, from, from what I've read from Islam, and from practice, and from research is that, if any one of those missing or shaky, you'd have restlessness in the individual, and then they start to
chase after things that they think is going to give them that. Yeah. So if you if it's belonging, your children will start to seek other friends, gangs, and, you know, outside company, whereas if they know that they have a sense of belonging at home, that's the rope that pulls them back in, when they should come in, because they know Mommy's gonna miss me. Now she's going to tell me off, right? Yeah, so I'm going to be missed, or actually, I was given a chore. If I don't do that chore, someone so is not going to get their meal. So there's a connection. Yeah. So the belonging creates a connection. And those relationships, we talked about the,
the spirituality, the the being embedded in the spiritual self, is really important, because that then when you want the one to one time, it's natural, it's authentic, and it's, it's enriching. It shouldn't be replacing
something else. So normally, what happens is, when you have conflict in the family, you ask for one to one. So you're already going into that one to one on a negativity, right? Whereas when you have those one, two ones to bring up a negativity, it's not a big deal. It's a part and parcel of our time together. Right? Right. We can we can advise each other we can guide each other, you know, and that's also where the direction comes. Because you get to know the person. Yeah, so you have an individual direction, but you also have a collective direction. So in order to create that belonging, the sense of
connection and togetherness the direction you need, you need to
advocate and facilitate in families, the family time, and we both shared the boundaries of family time that we've experienced growing up.
A handler. Sometimes when you have lots of siblings, you might not get that from your parents that one to one time you get it from siblings, eldest sibling, older siblings, younger son, so I got a lot of the one to one nurturing from my older siblings. Who would where I found my dad
direction, where they will say to me, you know, this is your gift, this is your talent. This is the skills I was giving you. Yeah. Yeah. What does beauty mean? Is it the physical beauty? Or is it the inner beauty so that such enriching conversations ways to go away and think, Well, what that guy's doing, I'm not interested, because I have value, where it means something, they're not going to disappear the next day. Or if you don't like something in me tomorrow, you might disappear. Yeah. So the consolidating those feelings are so important.
And I guess, for me, in a marriage in a sort of a family setting,
to create those three things. There are other five things I would promote, are those your five keys to fulfilling relationships? Yes, please share them with us. So those really, I mean, normally, I cover these five pieces in the couple schools as a start. And I think that's where it starts, but actually is in any relationship. So for me, the first thing I would focus on is the prayer. And you talked about the dryer. But actually, where is our focus? Ultimately, where's our thread of connection is to us, Mandela, in the sight of Allah, we are all worshipers. And that's our main duty. I have created you to worship me. Yeah. And that's our main role. So in the family, we all
one day, it's just going to be NFC, I'm only going to think about myself. So in order to do that, I need you to help me. Yeah, so this is where the team spirit comes in. So the prayer, if there's any possibility of praying together at home, doing the art together at home, you know, really, really emphasize on that. She's publishing. Yeah, and I have an example of a mother loved example. She said, when things get really difficult at home, she just looks at everybody says, You know what, let's do a gratitude circle.
Yeah, let's just do a gratitude circle. No one can deny that. So then she gets everybody around, whoever's in the room, she won't try and call others from the other room. In that situation, whoever's involved, just sit on the carpet, wherever you are, let's do a gratitude circle.
So what you've done is then taken the conflict out, to get to a place where you can deal with it. So you you're regulating, you're regulating your emotions, your yourself to be at that place. We then I think, as a family, there needs to be some things that you plan together, planning this to happen. So that's the second P. So what kind of things are you planning in the family? And the third piece progress? So in a way, are you stagnant as a family? In order not to be stagnant? There needs to be planning. So it's a little bit of a cycle? Yeah. So planning and progress are the 237. Second and third piece. So when you're planning, we tend to as parents focus on the academic side, and the
other side, and the thing is, but actually, as parents planning should also include what are you contributing? Yeah. What is your contribution? How does society benefit from you? How does your family benefit from you? Yeah, so what what role do you play as an individual in the greater picture? Okay, so the plan and the and the progress? The fourth hour say is is packed. As a family, there needs to be a pact, that it's like, your family rules? What are your top three core values you're going to live your life by as a family? Yeah, I really like the three values or five rules, whatever, you know, you have these ground rules and classroom rules, but I've found where our rules,
it's in our parents heads, they swap and change the, you know, according to our mood and where we are. So having this pact when we make these rules together, these value systems together, we sign up to them, you know, hand on hand, it's about we, we sign up to this and and we'll live by it. What that does is help the parents to put in consequences, agreed consequences. So it's a learning every opportunity is a teaching moment in parenting, I believe. Yeah. Rather than being a fight, it's an opportunity. How can I teach my child to be a better person, which means I need to regulate myself. So this this pact is this team effort. There's a safe space, this is where we bring it together.
This is where we fight. Love, you know, and we have it out. So we can deal with the big bad world out there.
So the pact and the last thing I would say is to protect so the fifth P it is to protect so whatever happens, we protect each other's honor. Wow. We protect each other's dignity. And we respect each other. Yeah, so important. Yeah. So this, this this protection, like with these garment for one another. It's not fixed. It flows with you. It bends with you. It takes your curves as it should. So it means it's on
to standing, there's there's conversation there's there's mutual respect and honor. So if you can remember that in a family as your,
you know, the way you protect each other, then you wouldn't go and belittle each other. Yeah, absolutely. You wouldn't go in no matter what happened no matter what, within your family, like when you're having an argument, you might highlight somebody's fault, blah, blah, blah. But now to take that outside.
Your rights, yeah, you protect each other's rights as individuals, and which includes honoring, because it's so easy, isn't it? Dr. Meyer, that for parents too, because you know, when they're little, they're their babies, we talk, we talk about them all the time, like, Absolutely, but even but as they get older, you know, things change, and we have Subhanallah, sometimes, you know, I might tell one of my kids off, and then my mom's have my parents have come around. And the kids might be worried, like, you know,
is, are they going to discuss anything about me, but I'll completely let go of that. And start talking about the great things that that
that that Charles has been doing. And I want him and I want her to realize that you know what, I've got your back. Yeah. I love you. I care about you. When I tell you off, I know it's not pleasant. But it's I love you. And I care about you so much, that now that somebody from the outside is here, outside our little family, I'm only going to tell them about the good things, because that's between us, we're going to sort that out. I think the message that we give our kids when we do that is I believe in you. But you're also honoring and your respect important. Yeah, you're worthy of respect. Yeah. And and it just takes me back to a store you know, an experience I had one.
My one of my brothers they mashallah, he also has nine children, Mashallah.
And his wife, I remember my sister in law was changing her baby. And it was we had a family gathering. So there was kids walking in and out, walking out. But she was really, she was really irritable. My sister in law, not irritable in a negative way. But she was she was getting agitated, agitated, that's the word. And so I said to her, maybe you okay, what's wrong? She said, I'm just trying to change and it was a little daughter, I'm just trying, I don't think would have made a difference what gender the baby is. But she was changing the baby. And I said, What's wrong? She said, I'm just trying to change the baby. I said, Oh, don't worry, you know, we're not looking. And
it's okay. So baby. She said, No, it's not okay. I am responsible for safeguarding my daughter's honor and dignity. And their higher well she learned from and so that was such a beautiful example of the role that we have as parents that when they are little is not okay to talk about them as we wish it's not okay to have them while I tell little white lies on the phone saying if they pick up the phone and say, Just tell them I'm not here. Yeah. So it's those little things that actually create the bigger picture. And that's why I call my book The Family Jigsaw because it's not just one piece that creates a child it's a set of experiences it's a it's a whole load of you know suitcase
of experiences that develop a child to become this inshallah wonderful adult that we want to see them. And, and we can't do it alone. You know, we do need to find them role models, we need to find the mentors we need to find good teachers, and that's part of our engineering, social engineering that we might do. But ultimately, they need to be supported. In order to understand these five I'm sure there's lots of things but for me, I've come up with these five the beautiful Can you can you just repeat the five again, yeah, so the prayer prayer connection to Allah the plan so we need to plan together as family to progress. So we need to see some progression in that a packed packed
family, family packed a couple packed as you venture on that journey to become the family and the last one is to protect protect each other's honor to be able to do that.
Well Desikan apparent Dr. Myra, I Subhanallah you know, Inshallah, we must have you back because I would love to speak to you about conflict and marriage and you know how to overcome issues there because mashallah, you are an expert and we really appreciate you being here. We are honored to be here and hamdulillah and I'm sure our listeners and viewers will agree that you know mashallah that was a very fruitful discussion does ocular home for specially for the five P's they are just amazing, you know, Michelle, I'm definitely going to be implementing those inshallah. Brothers and sisters that's