The other night as I frantically finished up the evening chores and sent the kids off too bad my daughter came up to me and asked me if I would cuddle with her in bed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has answered this way but I told her “just let me finish up the dishes and what I am doing here and I will come cuddle with you.” I guess deep down my hope was that she would fall asleep and I could continue finishing up cleaning up the kitchen, putting away toys they had missed, hang up jackets, prep snacks and lunches. That I could finally sit down and throw on some Netflix or do something that I had been wanting to get done the whole day and needed my alone time to do it.
After about 3 minutes of silence I hear her say “mama are you still coming?” I instantly felt bad, she had actually been waiting. I had given her this hope that I was coming when I didn’t really have the intention of coming to cuddle with her. This mom guilt came over me and I dropped the sponge and went to her room. I invited our son to come and cuddle with us too. I mean was it going to take an extra two minutes of my time, five minutes even to lay in bed with them cuddle recite some Quran and make them feel like they are loved and cared about until the very last minute of the day. It’s about them going to sleep feeling like it was a good day no matter what happened at school or whatever fears or struggles they had at the end of the day it’s us against the world and no matter what mama is there. It was just a simple moment that she’d asked for but I was telling her without really telling her that I had other things that were more important than her.
Perhaps in my head I justify it as I had spent the day with them, running errands for them, rushing around for them, cooking for them taking them to the library, driving across the city with them and many other “mom duties”.
Of course there were hugs and kisses and laughs along the way but it seemed like all of that was not enough. It all has to end with a cuddle where it’s just us in bed fully engulfed in one another’s arms just being there in the moment. I guess I feel like my entire life is about them so I mean at some point they have to realize that I’ve already done so much for them during the day and it’s time to go to bed and leave me alone. Honestly though, would I want someone to make me feel like they wanted to be left alone, they wanted to be away from me or that they couldn’t wait for the day with me to end? Somebody who’s supposedly loved me unconditionally, someone I needed, depended on, looked up to, that I missed throughout the day and the end of the day feel like they didn’t miss me back and even worse that I am a burden to them.
Well they’re not a burden. They are a gift. They are a blessing and in our moments of anger, frustration, stress and being overwhelmed we forget. I forget that they are a blessing and that one day I would have done anything to have them.
Before we had our daughter I had what doctors called fertility issues. They told me I was infertile because I didn’t menstruate and it meant that I could not get pregnant. It make sense I guess. I mean any Biology book will tell you that you need menstruation and a cycle for pregnancy so why would I be any different? I remember how painful that moment was when doctors look me in the eye and told me that it’s possible I could never get pregnant. I can’t even describe how I felt. My heart raced faster than I had ever felt it. My hands sweaty and I was breathing as if I had just run a 20km sprint. I had wanted a baby since I don’t know when and this was not my plan. God was throwing me a huge curveball and I didn’t know how to go about this. But hearing my mom’s voice in the back of my head that everything happens for a reason and God has and we have to trust it so we went along with life normally.
My husband and I didn’t really talk about other options. We just left it at the fact that it’s possible I could never get pregnant. Then I did get pregnant and it was the most amazing and scary news I had ever heard in my life. Mind you I was six months pregnant when I found out so I felt like my pregnancy it had been taken away from me and I was overwhelmed. My husband’s engineer brain kicked in with panic and that we have 3 months to complete what should have been done in 9 months. To add to the chaos of this pregnancy I had had two surgeries not knowing I was pregnant and deep down I didn’t want to admit it but I was terrified to have an unhealthy baby. I knew the effects that multiple surgeries, multiple X-rays, CT scans and other procedures would have on a fetus. I remember my daughter’s birth so clearly. I remember holding her and thinking this couldn’t possibly be real. I felt like I was in some sort of dream and I would wake up to my infertile self. Here we are six years later with a perfect daughter. She’s bright, witty, funny, quite annoying sometimes, beautiful daughter AND a very handsome, funny, curious, active son. I can’t possibly imagine my life without them. I can’t even imagine what made me happy before or what fulfilled me.
I’ve been a stay-at-home / work-from-home mom for 6 years. I never imagined I would be at home this long but it just felt right when the time came and I don’t know if I can even imagine what life would look like without the chaos, the mess, the rushing around, the sleepless nights and busy days.
It really comes down to those moments when my daughter asks me to cuddle with her and then hugs me and tells me how much she loves me and that I’m the best mom in the world. Even on my worst mom days when I have epic mom fails and days when I think I was not cut out for this mom thing she tells me I’m the best mom in the world. Or when my son looks at me and tells me “Mama you’re so beautiful.” when I feel like I haven’t slept in days, when my hair hasn’t been dyed or even washed, when I feel frumpy and bloated and I feel the furthest thing from beautiful and he tells me that I’m the most beautiful mom in the world and no Mom is more beautiful than me.
Those are the moments that make everything okay and everything worth it and it’s in those moments that feel blessed and lucky that they want to spend the last moment of their day cuddling with me.
Mona Ismaeil is a modest fashion blogger, writer and community organizer. Mona advocates for Muslim women and promotes their civic engagement, builds interfaith bridges, and is passionate about bringing awareness about Islamophobia to light in public forums. A trained teacher and seasoned educator, Mona lectures on a variety of subjects across the province, including Islamophobia, bullying, building acceptance, and multiculturalism. Her favourite things to do are to travel and spend time with her 2 children enjoying all Edmonton has to offer! www.mymodernhijab.com