This woman’s work

January 5, 2018

Momma and I in my college years“Women have to work.”

This is a statement I rejected from really early on. As a young woman growing up with both parents who worked and shared parenting responsibilities, I always had a distinctly different feeling about my mom working than I had about my dad working. Of course, I need to make it clear, before anyone assumes otherwise, I completely respect my mother’s choice to work now that I am an adult woman. I do not believe women must martyr themselves for the sake of their families, it is a choice and everyone can freely decide for themselves what’s best for their lives. Nevertheless, I certainly wished my mother didn’t work when I was younger up until my late teens (weird, no?), it wasn’t until I was in college that I could begin to respect her as much as I loved her and through that respect of her as an independent adult woman I could appreciate the fact that she was allowed to make choices based on her own desires and was under no obligation to do what I wanted her to do.

That being said, I missed her. It was a distinct missing that I didn’t have for my dad. When my dad was out working it seems noble, when my mom was working I just wished she was home. When my mom was home, home felt like home, there was something that could not be replaced in her absence. Because of my stance on SAHM/Ws many may mistakenly believe I must have been raised by a SAHM myself or that I must have some deep pain associated with my mom working, neither is true. I just knew from a very young age that there was a distinct value her presence gave to our home and to our lives and that I wanted to do the same one day for my own children, that I wanted the home and family to be my main focus.

Momma and I when I was just a baby

I was also fortunate that my mom didn’t have to put us in a nursery/daycare -not that I think she would have, her and my dad juggled their schedules so that one person was always home with the children while the other was at work, and so we always had the fortune of being primarily reared by our parents.

I also felt there was something valuable about serving others from a young age, at thirteen my first niece was born and I became enthralled with being a caregiver, caring for another

human life gave me immense purpose and value, I knew this was something I hoped to do when I have children of my own.

I make a lot of generalized statements on this blog about what I believe to be true whether based on my personal feelings, experience or research but there is no doubt that what is true for most may not be true for all.

When my younger sister gave birth the first thought that came to me after the sheer amazement of the event was this, “Your mother doesn’t owe you anything”. When God speaks in the Quran about mankind being grateful to his mother He says, “His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship”, He does not say “your mother sacrificed her entire life goals and career for you”, what a mother does in the months of carrying us and delivering us is more than enough to make us fall to our knees in gratitude. I do not believe that mothers must or should forsake their lives for their children, but I do believe there is immense value in doing so for both the mother and the children.

As I heard a woman say recently, women have “seasons” in our lives, I wouldn’t mind working before having children and while my husband and I are attempting to work on some specific goals that would be helped by my working, but I couldn’t foresee myself working with young children, or working just for the goal of financial independence, or working when there is no higher purpose in doing so.

There’s a lot more I can say about the value of cooking, cleaning, relationships, balance, etc. but my last thought for now is that we as women should feel comfortable about our life choices as long as its good/halal and we honestly believe it best for our lives and current situation, my hyperfocus on the value of women’s traditional work should not make a woman who decides that working outside the home is best for her, uncomfortable. And if it does, maybe that should be a push for you to reflect on your choices and if it’s really yours or rather an outcome of economic and social pressures.

Happy Friday and have a blessed weekend.

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New blog schedule:

InshaAllah, our plan is to write our more formal topic based essays on Mondays, book reviews (even if short) on Wednesdays and reflections (which may include bits of my personal life) on Fridays. Hope you’ll enjoy this new format.


  • Ayesha

    my mom was a single/divorced mom due to violence, and she was a doctor. she remarried but she alone paid all my tuition from columbia undergrad through the end of law school. i hated that she was always gone although my grandma, her mother babysat me, i had emotional problems from lack of guidance despite islamic weekend school 3 days a week. now im remarried with 2 kids after a divorce. i worked for ten years and made myself a lot of independent money through my education for which im grateful to my mom. now i have the luxury of working part time and no loans. my mom is the one, like many immigrants who sacrificed the most.

    • Noor

      That is such a blessing (working part-time and being debt free), thank you for sharing -may Allah reward your mother and grant us all to be the best women we can be especially to those who love us most.

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