Alhamdulillah, I’m fasting. I didn’t think I would be able to, and while Day 2 of Ramadan may be a little early to announce success, I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to continue for the entire month, InshaAllah. The heat isn’t bothering me, Alhamdulillah, and neither is the hunger. Even the dehydration is mild despite feeding a seven week old baby. The only challenge is the sleep. Musfira fussed from 6pm until 1am yesterday. By the time I was able to put her down, I had one-handedly:
- Served iftar
- Eaten Iftar
- Prayed Maghrib
- Had the kids put to bed
- Eaten dinner
- Attempted to clean off the table
- Cooked for suhoor- daal and oatmeal
- Watched three short documentaries and listened to Surah Mulk twice
Yes, all of this was done either one-handed or hastily in between being able to put Musifra down for five to ten minutes before she woke up again. Sometimes we have weird nights, and sometimes they spill over into weird days as well- Musfira will fuss- tired but refusing to sleep- and I will rock/walk/bounce her to sleep only to have her wake up again five to ten minutes later, regardless of whether I stop rocking/walking/bouncing or even holding her. Normally, Alhamdulillah, she sleeps easily for four hours at a stretch, and that’s more than enough time for me to get stuff done in between. Occasionally, she has these weird days, and those are the ones where I never get of my pajamas and Musfira cries, fusses, sleeps, wakes, and cries- later, rinse, repeat- for hour after hour until the sun rises and sometimes even until the sun sets the next day.
So last night was a weird night. By the time I was able to put Musfira down (1am!) I was too exhausted for any Tarawih or any Qur’an, and had barely any concentration in my prayers. I crashed into bed and just two and a half hours later, had to get back out of it for Suhoor. HF kindly got me out of bed, steered me to the kitchen and placed a bowl of oatmeal into my hands as I stood with my eyes closed and my head against the kitchen door.
Then we prayed Fajr and went back to bed, and two hours later, Musfira woke up in need of a diaper change and a feed. I’m not hungry or thirsty as much as I am tired and, yes- disappointed. I love Ramadan. I need Ramadan desperately, in order to counteract the downward spiral I’ve been in for the rest of the year and to help realign myself mentally and spiritually. Ramadan is the reset button, ideally because you’re conquering your laziness, kicking bad habits, and remembering the sweetness of Ibada- ideally. In actuality, I’m so busy juggling Musfira, cooking, shopping, taxiing Khalid and Iman around town, and working that I feel like I’m losing out. My immediate thought is that I need to prioritize extra worship and the energy required to do it, but I’m not doing anything that I can cut out of my schedule. I need to take time for Ibada, but I don’t know where to take it from. If I get any less sleep than I already do I’m going to crash.
(Two nights ago I jumped out of bed to pick Musfira up. I took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and crashed face-first into a corner. The next morning I had a headache and a swollen eye, and it took a few moments for me to remember why.)
So here’s the reconciliation. Allah is responsible for any circumstances I am in, and they are all good, regardless of whether I am able to recognize that. Last night, when I wanted to pray tarawih but instead spent the six hours between maghrib and qiyaam rocking Musfira, there was good in that too. Ramadan is challenging enough, Ramadan plus young motherhood must be the next level for me. I need to push through the busy-ness and the tiredness and somehow find the energy that I need to make the most of it. I’ve always said Ramadan is spiritual boot camp. Now I’m at bootcamp with a baby on my back, a spatula in my hand, and two children dragging me backwards by my apron strings. It’s no longer enough for me to reach the end on my own, I have to make it there with a serene smile, clean and alive children, Surah Mulk memorized, and a tray of freshly baked samosas.
May Allah make the path to righteousness easy for all of us, and grant us the trust in Him to know that all of His decrees are good ones.