May 12, 2011

A sense of accomplishment

I love the whole 50's housewife look from the lipstick to the apron. :-)

Alternate title: It doesn't take much :-))

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll and good morning! Yeah, technically it's still morning (10:22 am) but for Muslims, our day starts waaaay earlier. Say before sunrise actually. The first of our five obligatory daily prayers, Fajr, is prayed before the dawn. Masha'allah my husband stays up but after I make him some strong, milky tea (or coffee if his stomach permits!) I usually crawl back into bed.

Alhamdulillah my husband tries to implement the sunnah in his life. It is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet saws to go to bed after Isha and stay away after Fajr. Unfortunately this is one sunnah I have had trouble with. See, I like my quiet time. Alone. Completely. So I stay up til about midnight (now that Isha is closer to 10 pm) so I can have that time. Alone. Yeah. :-D

I always digress; I guess that should just be a regular feature, my introductory ramble. lol

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As most of ya'll know, I battle kidney disease. Yeah, I'm sounding dramatic today. BATTLING KIDNEY DISEASE. However, it really does impact my daily life, more now as I've gotten older, fatter, and had so many health issues in the past 1.5 years. One aspect of my life where I've let it take control is in home maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep.

Wow, that sounds so official: The Department of Home Maintenance, Cleaning, and Upkeep. Yeah, I know Upkeep and Maintenance are synonyms but to me, maintenance is mechanical issues and upkeep is the deep, sporadic cleaning. Sorry for the definitions, but just so we are all on the same page. :-D

As I was saying, the DHMC&U has suffered greatly. I wasn't able to hire an interim director and my subordinates balked and would have mutinied, had we been aboard ship. As it was, I am just met with whining and general refusal to do said chores.

However, the past couple of weeks I've had more energy than I had been experiencing and I'm trying to take advantage of it! The other day I cleaned all the applicances and wiped down the kitchen cabinets; I've been vacuuming twice daily (morning and after supper) and just in general trying t

Let's just do a list, looks more impressive that way! What I've accomplished extra (not dishes, cooking, shopping, doctor appointments, playing with Aaminah, chauffeuring kids to school and activities, etc. etc. etc.)

1. Cleaned outside of all appliances and wiped down kitchen cabinets

2. Vacuum twice daily on most days.

3. Keep Aaminah's toys in the correct bin. You know, Mrs. Potato Head's pieces in her heiney, all small toys in one bin, all pretend jewelry and purses in another, blocks separated by type. :-) I loooove to do those things!

4. Went through Her Highness's clothing and took out TWO GARBAGE BAGS FULL of 24mo to 3T fall/winter clothing, alhamdulillah. AND found a family in need here to pass them on to, alhamdulillah!

5. Keeping the laundry to a small hill instead of a mountain. :-D

6. Washed our propane grill we bought last year. It had a layer of pollen and dust embedded in the light sheen of grease which always seems to coat these things. A pot of soapy water and a few of clean to rinse and voila! looks brand new again. :-)

7. Polished my leather sofa and love seat (and leather footstool) with lemon oil. Polished every surface except the back of the couch because it is against a wall and I didn't want to move it. ;-)

8. Took car through super-fun power washer (Aaminah loved it almost as much as I do LOL) and then vacuumed it thoroughly. It feels great to have a shiny, pretty car. :-)

Hmmm I wish I had more to pad my list but you know what? I've really lightened up on myself. When it was just me and Aaminah, with my boys at times, life was so much easier in terms of housework. Now, to keep a family of 6 fed is a chore in itself between the cooking, the shopping, the schlepping. :-D

My wish list:

1. Clean off top of my dresser.... eek! It has clothes on top along with some various and sundry junk items. Our apartment is not large, a 3BR for 6 people. It wasn't designed very efficiently and what space is here is lost in weird hallways (3 of them!) and a strange kitchen and bath.

So closet space is non-existent almost. Our walk-in closet is designed so weird you can't really store much in it. Also I get vertigo easily and I can't look up to the (too high for me to reach) rack because I get sick. :-))

2. Go through my clothes... ya Allah. What a chore that will be! I have sooo many shalwar kameez, abayaat, etc but I'm too chub for most of them right now. Some, due to my husband's preferences, I will never wear again so boo hoo. I need to find them a new home before they are so out-of-style no one wants them. :-)

3. Clean all the baseboards. Yep, pet peeve.

4. Do summer shopping for my family. I HATE THIS! Aaminah is a breeze and cheap, A is easy unless he wants some shalwar for under his qamis (thobe). Hard to source and the last ones I bought were uber-cheap material. :-( Yousef is easy but the girls.... Oh my!!!! Almost impossible to find modest affordable clothing. I think we'll be getting them abayaat from now on; we'll see how that works.

As Muslims, our first priority is to dress them modestly. We are finding it increasingly hard, especially with our budget. I simply can't pay $40 for a long skirt and another $40 or so for a tunic top. Which aren't easy to find this season anyway.

In the past, we've done dresses as shirts with a long sleeve underneath. However, the undershirts are very snug on their arms which isn't modest. The pants they wear underneath show their legs. We are commanded by Allah not to show our shape; my stepdaughters both wear hijab and are "of age" so it's not something we take lightly. We want to have a clear conscience when we stand in front of Allah.

My husband and I both would be happy dressing them in the large legged pants like you find on Shukr but we just can't swing the cost. One outfit there is $70 to $100 easily. Just not do-able. So it's off to search online for modest, affordable clothing in the correct sizes. Insha'Allah I'm successful!!! :-)

Ma salaama....


Banana Anne said...

You're in luck: Target has a ton of long dresses and long skirts being sold now; some of the dresses are as cheap as $15! For wide-legged pants, look in the business/work section; you can find straight-cut, loose trousers there that look really classy.
One thing, though: do you let your stepdaughters pick out their own clothes? I'm not sure how old they are (you said they're old enough to wear hijab), but if they're teenagers they might not like their parents shopping for them. I would also be careful deciding for them that they're only going to wear abayas from now on, because they might resent them. It seems like they know what clothes are hijab-friendly, so I think it would be great if they got to pick out their own clothes while shopping. Teenagers love to be independent, and clothes are a vital part of asserting their independence in a halal way.

I apologize if this is too overbearing/crossing the line, especially because I don't know them or you. I just know that clothing is very important to young women, and parents dictating beyond reason what you wear might make them resentful. When I was in high school and eager to dress as close to hijab-friendly as possible (without the khimar part), my mom didn't let me. She hated the fact that I wore long sleeves all the time, and she literally forbade me from wearing long skirts more than twice a week. Even now when I go visit them, I have to put away my skirts and jilbabs (and khimar, obviously) to not upset them. Needless to say, I was very bitter about this, and still kind of am.

HijabiMommy said...

Oh, I just love the feeling of getting things done! Just be careful not to overdo it!

Insha'allah your shopping venture is successful!

Mona Z said...

InshaAllah you feel well enough to do what you need to do. I need to do a huge Spring cleaning, you're motivating me.

I've seen long skirts at for 25-30$ not really cheap but cheaper. Maxi dresses with cardigans could work too and I know you are deal/sale savvy so inshaAllah you find stuff that works and is easy on the wallet.

Oh yea, I love my alone time too, I sacrifice sleep for it.:)

Umm Aaminah said...

Anne, no you didn't cross the line. Anyt comment, as long as it's respectful, doesn't bother me. I made my blog public, after all. :-)

I totally understand your point and it's funny you had the same issue but backwards with wanting to dress MORE modestly.

We don't want the girls to resent us but they cannot pick out their own clothes. This year at Target (for their ages/sizes) I can't find any modest clothing. Either it's too short, too light weight, or very flashy. Also Hafsa, the oldest, is 13 and really picky about clothes. It's just a difficult situation.

I've been scouring ebay for some good maxi dresses but once again, unless I can get them to wear a cardigan of some type, the undershirts they wear are just too snug on their arms and the dress is always snug on the bust (most have elastic busts on the maxis.)

I do want them to feel they have a personal sense of style but it has to meet our standards. It's really a difficult task. :-)

HM, I loooong passed the phase where I allow myself to overdo it. Well, generally... lol

Mona, I would love to be able to find exactly what you are talking about. I've found a few things on ebay; if I can get A's approval we'll be all set. :-D He's pretty old skool and his family is conservative as well so his understanding of what is allowable is different from what others might feel is ok.

Insha'Allah we can find a balance. :-)

Halima said...


Just to add to what Banana Anne said: although abayas might seem a convenient solution for you and makes you as parents feel better, it might also cause the girls to resent you (you EVIL step-mother you!) and resent covering altogether- which isn't your aim.
Treat it as a challenge and involve them in it- look at it as an opportunity to get them to think about creative ways to cover and be resourceful, and a way to bond with you. After all, they need to learn to think about this for themselves and be pro-active. They will be faced with this challenge of finding appropriate clothing as Muslimas for the rest of their lives, long after Mum and Dad are there to guide them and force them.
Also- I don't know why Mums at the masjid don't pool together and share/exchange clothing that their kids have grown out of? That would be good, eh?
In the meantime- hunt out bargains and even check charity shops. But have fun with it, inshallah!

Bonnie said...

Maybe i'm missing something here but do you not use thrift stores at all? I feel like it's nearly the only place I can find modest clothing for my daughter (that I can ctully afford) everywhere else seems to sell only skinny jeans or tiny little skirts. Another great idea is to get all the sisters you know together to do a big swap as everyone has clothes they are just waiting to give away, we make a afternoon of it and all bring some food etc

Umm Aaminah said...

Bonnie, we only shop thrift/clearance/used unless there is a compelling reason. :-) I even have some posts on here detailing $3.24 leather boots and clothing for Aaminah from Goodwill.

However, it's hit and miss. I have to clothe 6 people; I can't go to the thrift store daily to look for what is in the right size, good shape, current fashion, AND modest. Oh plus seasonally correct. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I do go weekly to bi-weekly however, just to see what might be in.

Actually got A a $90 pair of sandals for $8. Pretty good deal! Anyway, at my stepdaughters' ages it's just getting increasingly difficult to find modest clothes in any outlet. But especially for those of us who need or want to bargain shop.

Halima, you hit on a valid point about them needing to learn how to clothe themselves. I'm just gonna be honest here. I don't have the energy. I've tried to have "teachable moments" with the girls but they end up acting foolish and not listening. It just wears me out. After trying to talk about this in so many creative, caring ways I just kinda get to the dictator mentality.

We've had discussions about how to make an outfit more modest, how to fix it etc but it's the same thing again and again. I just can't fight the fight everyday.

Thanks for all the comments ya'll. :-)

Aishah said...

Good work on the cleaning! That is always my problem area, the house is so big, and open to all to catch the breezes(and dust, so much dust), that it is just so difficult to keep up with when it's just me.

About the girls-do they wear simple shalwar kameez(maybe not the rhinestone encrusted ones)? I don't know if they would fit with your/your hubs modesty requirements, but before I started sewing my own, I found a couple of good deals on Ebay. Simple cotton, sometimes with a little embroidery. A couple were around $15(brand new!) for the three pieces, but you do have to search a bit, and be careful of some of the georgette ones(too sheer, and some don't come with chemises).

I am assuming that they even would wear them, maybe I am just an old fogy with a really uncool fashion sense? ;-)

Halima said...


What happened to all the comments people left here?