Here we have a special edition of Muslim Mums, Hanaa has kindly told her stories with both a video and article. The video involves a more in-depth look into Hanaa's outlook on parenthood and her tips for other Mums.
See below for the Article.
1. Please tell me about you and your background – where did you grow up and about your current family?
I am Hanaa the founder of Mindful Muslim Mama. I am a mother of 3 beautiful souls who teach me and test me every single day of my life. I am also a PhD student in the field of early childhood education and curriculum studies. I was born in UAE and lived there until I was about the age of 10. Then my parents decided to immigrate to Canada. I grew up most of my life in Ontario Canada, where I completed my studies. I went back to UAE to teach as a Kindergarten teacher for about 8 years then came back to Canada with my 2 kids and husband. That is when I embarked on the journey of graduate education and I completed my Masters in Education and I am currently in my 3rd year PhD.
2. How many children do you have?
3. From memory, when did you struggle with your child?
Parenting is something that I am passionate about. Before I had children, and I was pregnant with my first, I read a lot of parenting books. I wanted to prepare myself for this journey. I think the hardest time that I have experienced as a parent is after having 3 kids. I was not able to spend the time I wanted with each one of them individually. Guilt starts to creep at times and that perfectionism mentality makes me feel like I have failed as a parent. When I start to feel like I am having a hard time dealing with daily challenges, I realize I need to slow down and focus on what is important.
4. What is the reality of being a mum? Was there anything unexpected about the experience that surprised you?
I think one of the biggest realizations that I came to understand is the fact that I needed to unlearn and relearn how to parent. As humans, the way we react to situations usually comes from our unconscious brain which usually reacts in the same way we observed as children. I had to learn how to self-regulate and think about parenting as a long-term journey instead of just an immediate fix. The amount of patience that is required is way over what I expected. Motherhood is definitely an ongoing journey of growth and self-reflection.
5. What advice would you give to other mums?
My advice would be to educate yourself. Work on yourself before you work on your children. Do what is best for you and your family not what is best for others. Remember that your children would rather a happy mom not a perfect mom. so let go of that ideal image of motherhood which doesn’t even exist.
6. Most enjoyable moments with your child?
I enjoy playing with them, reading them books, and creating traditions to last years to come. I enjoy the moments where I am feeling low or my child is feeling low and we stick by each other.
7. At what age did you start to implement Islamic knowledge with your child? And how did you do it?
I believe that Islamic knowledge, values, and principles are things that our children will learn from the first day they enter this world. Children are like sponges, they are constantly watching us and imitating us. I believe that we shouldn’t narrow our thoughts to a specific year or time of development, I think we should focus on our actions and how are WE role modelling the Islamic teachings. Before we teach our children the things they need to do as a Muslim like praying, fasting, and reading the Quran. We need to work on developing the love of Allah. After we have created some kind of connection we start to introduce instructional teachings, which probably can start by the age of 4-6 depending on the child.
8. What advice do you have for teaching children to learn how to pray?
First, you need to pray in front of them. You should value prayer so they can learn how important and essential prayer is in our daily life. Second, read books about prayers. Talk about how praying connects us to Allah. Take children to the Masjed. Then start having a 5-minute halaqa that focuses on prayer and the steps we need to take when we are praying. Create a salah corner. when they turn 7 have them commit to 1 pray a day, and every couple of months add another one until they get to 5 prayers a day. Always speak to them gently and never punish or be punitive when dealing with prayer. We need to create a connection with Salah not distance.
9. What is it like to pray when you have children? What are the difficulties?
Praying is always my propriety. Yes, sometimes things get chaotic and busy and I tell myself I will pray in 5 minutes. However, most of the time I plan my day around prayers. What helps is to always make sure I renew my Wudu so I am ready to pray. My children always see me praying when it is time to prayer and this is something that I actually do intentionally. I want them to see that I prioritise prayer in my daily life.
10. What do you do as a family to make Ramadan, Eid exciting for your children?
Every Ramadan I buy new Ramadan books. I also create 30-day countdown goodie bags. We open one bag a day. Each bag has something different. I usually include a hadith, or a word to find in the Quraan, or a Duaa, plus a good deed card and usually a treat or a small gift. Sometimes we put a treasure map or clue cards where my kids will use to find a small gift that is hidden somewhere around the house. We also decorate the whole house with different Ramadan themed items. I put lanterns, lights, crescent moon, etc. The night before Eid we bake Eid cookies. The day of Eid always starts with opening the gifts and giving money, then we go to Eid prayer, then come home and do something special with extended family. We also like to go visit friends throughout the 3 or 4 days of Eid. We also make Eid goodie bags with a small note explaining Eid and give them to our neighbours.
Thank you Hanaa for this amazing advice.
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