January 15, 2012

Gratitude, it isn't just a word

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I like to think of myself as a grateful slave. I noticed I sure say it often enough. Guess in case no one is really paying attention. "Yes my life is hard, I work xx hours a week, I'm a single mom, BUT look how grateful I am???" Cue picture of me smiling, baking cookies with Aaminah.

OK so to cut me just a bit of slack I seriously try to cultivate a grateful attitude but I realized tonight how seriously lacking I truly was.

Aaminah vomited. Not really sick just an upset stomach. Normally, as a seasoned mother of 3, it ain't gonna phase me. A little puke, a lotta puke, whatev right? Well let's factor in my xx hour work week ;-) and the fact I don't have a washer and dryer in my apartment (making a late night laundry load impossible) and it becomes a big deal quick.

So I'm feeling a bit stressed and a lot crapped upon. Yes I'm gonna admit it. Today would have been the one day I had free to actually get to a laundro-mat to do the wash and now it's bedtime and little mama is exhausted. So what do I do??

Make dua? Call a friend and ask for help?

Nope. I facebook!


I post: "Aaminah vomited all over our bed. Worst part? No time til next Sunday to get to laundromat as I haven't gotten a washer and dryer yet. Alhamdulillah. (Praise God in all things.)

Yes look I me! I tacked on that "alhamdulillah" lest someone think I am ungrateful. I even translate it so my non-Muslim friends can get in on the action and admire how, even in the face of puked-on, stinky laundry, I can still praise ALLAH in all things.

So I roll up the offending pile of covers and re-make our futon (still waiting on those movers!) and settle down. Can't sleep yet, make dua???

Nope, check facebook.

And wow. Honestly I am crying right now. I had 6 people offer to wash them for me. All my bestest of best friends, my closest family members right???

Wrong. How about my middle school (daaaaang UofA, how long ago was THAT??? 27 yrs ya'll) English teacher and a friend from my school days, a sister I know at the masjid but am not tight friends with and a few others.

Wow, it was such a humbling thing. So I post something about how can I complain about ANYTHING when I have so many who would drive so far (an hour!) to pick up my dirty laundry, wash it, and return it???

My dearest sisters, Allah is truly merciful. We sit here and we feel alone and we struggle and we do our best and we fail. Yes we fail, not just in these earthly endeavors but we fail in our responsibilities to our Creator and what do we get in return?

Blessings past counting. That's what I get and it awes and amazes and humbles me. I cannot fathom the love Allah, the Creator of the WORLDS, the Merciful, the All-Powerful, has for me, His most imperfect of creations, that I should be so blessed in so many ways.

My lesson learned tonight was true gratitude and how to fully experience a humbleness of spirit that uplifted me. 

So let's all say "alhamdulillah!" and mean it. 

Ma salaama ya'll. :-)  

January 10, 2012

On being a working mom

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. As you know I've joined the ranks of millions of other American women: I am a single working mother, struggling to pay the bills, spend time with my children, deal with the enormous amount of guilt I voluntarily shoulder, and trying to balance it all out. Add to that being a striving Muslimah with marriage plans and you have a recipe for overload.

I hate it. I love it. Does that make sense? I feel sooo grateful to Allah swt that He lead me to this job. I feel grateful I can support my daughter and myself. It's nice to be useful and respected in a workplace, most of us like to have the support and comraderie of our colleagues.

I hate it. I hate leaving Aaminah (even though with friends!) for me to go out to work. I cried when she said, "I don't like mamas to work. I don't need you to buy me clothes or food!". Subhanallah. How children, as always, distill a thing to its purest essence.

My stance has not changed: mothers should raise their children. Sometimes we can't. :-( But we should and we should do everything in our power to be there for them. Sisters, please, I am not judging you. I am simply looking at how Allah swt created us. Who carries and bears the baby? The woman. Who historically looks after, nurtures, and teaches it? The woman. Fathers have their place, they are just as invaluable but in a different way.

We are told heaven is at the feet of your mother. Not because she worked and slaved in the outside world to put food on the table or clothes on your back (although if she did that as well you dang well better be loving on her now!!!!) but because she carried us in hardship and bore us in pain and raised us and taught us and loved us. Unconditionally.

So maybe some of us didn't get that but nowhere does Allah say "Respect your mothers if they were perfect". We are instructed to treat them with respect and be obedient as long as they do not ask us to do the haram. Khalas. That's it.

I'm hoping my children, despite my myriad of faults and all the times I haven't been there to "make it all better", will love and respect me. I pray they will make dua for me after I am dead and beseech Allah for mercy, forgiveness and Jannat-al-fidous for me, amin! I pray they can forgive my shortcomings and know that, no matter what, my heart was with them even when I myself wasn't.

And I pray for Allah swt to bless my provisions, help me maintain a grateful and humble spirit, and allow me to again be a full-time mama to my little sweetie. Amin!!!

January 8, 2012

I'm baaaaaack!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Wow, I've been on quite a break. :-) Welll a lot has happened since we last "spoke", dear readers, so let me catch ya'll up.

I am in my apartment alhamdulillah. Actually moved in the weekend before Christmas which was really difficult to get everything settled but alhamdulillah it did (somehow!) all fall into place. Oh wait I think a list is in order, otherwise I'll forget. OK so here we :

1. Moved into apartment. Yeah, touched on that. ;-) Aaminah and I are officially in our own place. We have been SOOOO blessed to have such lovely friends who allowed us to stay with them and treated us like their own families. Well better actually ;-) lol. We really tried to be good houseguests and were clean and neat and helpful but it was still, I am sure, a huge stress on the 2 families which housed us. May Allah swt shower His blessings on them, amin!

2. I got internet. Alhamdulillah! Ya'll know I like to stay in-touch so this was really important for me. However I had some issues getting the cable guy out to "git-er-done" so a very helpful friend (thanks!!!!) suggested I try tethering my mobile phone to use it as a mobile hot-spot. Worked a charm! However in US this isn't free (wouldn't you know!) so I am paying an extra $15 a month but that is so much less than normal internet (like half-price) and so far, my connection is great. In this corner anyway but alhamdulillah.

3. Which brings us to money which brings us to my job. :-) Alhamdulillah. I was working babysitting for the sister but it was not enough money. Now I am working as an office manager for a tax office (a brother owns it masha'allah) and he had no issue with how I dress. I have been in charge of training new-hires (well everyone as it's a new office) and getting the office up and running for tax season. Subhanallah it's been quite a task but I do have experience. I worked at H&R Block for 3 tax seasons as a receptionist and accouting assistant and also did taxes on the sly on the side ;-) for the past 2 years in Massachusetts.

I am salaried which means during the busiest time (from now til Feb. 20th) I'll be working 7 days a week, 10 hours a day (minimum). I am of course not happy about that but agreed as the brother really needs my help and I need the money. So for that time period the money isn't awesome per-hour but later I get a 2 week paid vacation :-) (wonder where UofA will be headed?????) and then I will only work 25 to 30 hours a week through the remainder. So no, it isn't permanent (it's taxes, ya'll) but it's sooo helpful. Insha'Allah He blesses my provisions and allows me to do everything that is needful with it, amin.

4. My stuff. Oh my goodness. This is an entire post in it's own but to be frank, I'm tired of the drama. We hired movers, you see, to move my stuff from MA to TN. I went online, got several quotes from one website and went with the lowest. They arrived to get my things and, after loading it all, informed A that he had to pay another $1000. Yes not a typo, an extra $1000. Of course we didn't have it nor did we intend to pay it. They said I had too much stuff.

Yeah fair enough, I can see I wasn't as thorough as I should have been in recounting my apartment contents but not on purpose. I had given them a list of what to pack. So I aksed the driver, what happened to my list? And he said, oh I packed all the extra THEN packed the list stuff. Uh huh. So I said ok take off what wasn't on my list and he said can't it's behind all your other stuff and I'm not doing it.

OK. So I tell him to unload the truck and leave everything. He flat refuses and tells me he is taking my stuff to a warehouse in New Jersey and I'll have to speak with the business owners.

This was December 15th. Subhanallah. Finally I agreed to pay the extra but I couldn't get it how they wanted; they decided cash only and I refused as there is no way to trace that and they have been so fraudulent. They refused to take a credit card. Wha...???? They took it for the deposit so what's up now???

Anyway I talk to the lady once a week approx and I tell her the same thing, I'm willing to pay your extra amount but $650 on credit card and $350 cash when it's delivered. She keeps putting me off. All of my personal effects, furniture, my clothes even, are there. I've bee living off the 2 abaya I brought for my 2 week visit in September. Subhanallah. I try not to stress about it because I can literally do nothing. The government entity which oversaw this was closed (guess so they could put more FBI agents in masajid) so there is literally 1 person to field complaints.

For the entire US. Subhanallah.

Anyway please make dua I get my things soon. We are sleeping on a futon (ouch!) and have no furniture. Alhamdulillah a kind sister did give me an old recliner so I am not sitting to type. :-) All my clothes and Aaminahs, winter coats and gloves and boots for her, all in storage. Subhanallah. These people are crooks. So beware East and West Movers from Hoboken, New Jersey.

OK so I'm really tired. I wanted to include pics of my new place but tooo exhausted. Insha'allah next time.

Note to self: please dont sit in a moveable rocker/recliner when typing. Your vertigo WILL kick in. :-)

Love, me.