Ramadan after having kids certainly doesn't feel like the Ramadans of the past. Especially when overwhelmed by new motherhood, the adjustment can be rough. We surveyed some of the most busy moms we know, and asked them their top tips for excelling in Ramadan. We've compiled a list of the most helpful ideas that were mentioned most by these super-mamas.
- Cook and Freeze
Make your life easier - cook in bulk and FREEZE food for busy days. Make this a regular practice. You can buy a deep freezer that fits in a garage, basement, or even closet for less than $150. It will transform your life.
- Simple Iftars
If this is a crazy busy season in your life, let go of the expectations of what traditional "Iftar" looks like. Cook regular, well-balanced dinners like you would any other month. Save the fun stuff for the weekends when you might have more help. Or at most, choose one easy Iftar-type food that can *easily* be prepared (like baking a few samosas in the toaster-oven).
- Listen to Quran
Play Quran in your home and in the car as much as you can. This way you can benefit from the Quran as much as you can even if you can't read as much as you used to. Playing it out loud is beneficial for the kids, too!
- Make a "Masjid" at Home
If you're home with the kids while hubby goes for Taraweeh, leave the dishes and make it a time for ibadah for yourself too. It might take longer to get started because of kids or diapers, but try to drop everything and focus and pray to Allah. Dedicate a clean, quiet private place of worship ("masjid") in your home just for this.
- Power Naps
These days are hard. Even shutting your eyes for 10 minutes will help! Don't know how to do that with kids around? Read below.
- Kids' Busy Baskets
Prepare a Ramadan basket to occupy them during the day when you want to shut your eyes or read some Quran (use Pinterest for age appropriate activities).
Yes, Netflix. For the days you didn't prepare a Pinteresty busy basket for the kids (because, you're a real human being), turn on something age-appropriate for the kids for a little bit and do not feel guilty. Seriously, don't. Use that time to do what you need to do.
- Take Care of Your Body
While you're busy taking care of everyone else, don't forget yourself. Give your body the fuel it needs - ample water, a filling suhoor, and a healthy, balanced Iftar.
- Don't Forget Your Soul
No matter how little you are able to do, include something daily that will truly benefit your soul - reading the translation of Quran in English, choosing an Islamic reminder book to read. Of course read the beautiful Quran in Arabic too, but do not JUST do that if you do not understand Arabic.
- Islamic Lectures via Headphones
Plug in your headphones while you're doing mundane tasks like driving, doing dishes, preparing meals, etc. Listen to a lecture by a speaker that captivates you (you can use YouTube or listen to Islamic podcasts). Your kids will interrupt you less when they don't know you're busy listening to something ;). Missing parts when you have to say something to them? It's ok. You will still benefit way more than if you didn't listen to anything.
- Go to the Masjid for Taraweeh (at least a little)
Especially if you can't fast due to pregnancy or breastfeeding, GO TO TARAWEEH as much as you can. It's easy to barely notice Ramadan when you're not fasting and that's not a good feeling at all. Make an arrangement with your husband to go as much as possible and tell him your eman is on the line. Many times, it literally is. And that is even more important than him going because it is a great sunnah. This is the most essential self care. Your kids need a strong Muslim mama.
- One Day for Mama, One Day for Baba
For weekends in Ramadan, choose one weekend day for your husband to takes care of getting the kids up and fed, and you sleep in. On the next weekend day (Sunday), switch. This way, both of you get one day a week to catch up on a little sleep to get you ready for the coming week. Don't have a husband that would do that? Try to work on it. If this is a period in your life where you are as busy as your husband (if not more) and sometimes even just surviving seems difficult, politely persist. It's for your own mental well being, and your kids need you to be well. It may not happen overnight, but with persistence, you will make progress.
- Make a List of all the Boring, Rewarding Things You Do
Pull out a piece of paper and jot down all the things you do every.single.day to take care of your family (there's a LOT). You'll be getting rewarded extra for all these things in this month. Sometimes Imams will say "Taking care of your family is worship, sisters. Don't feel bad about Ramadan not feeling the same as it used to." The truth is, it's not always that easy to not miss Ramadans of the past and sometimes we need a strong reminder. Doing this simple practice of making a list of all the mundane-but-rewarding things you do will make it easier for you to cope.
- Do What is Good for YOUR Life
Does going to iftars with your young kids stress you out? DECLINE the iftars and don't feel an ounce of guilt for it. Your family's sanity is more important than what people will say. Are you dying for some adult socialization even if it means having cranky kids for a while? By all means, go as much as you can and enjoy the ride. Do what's best for you and your family in this incredibly busy, special time of the year.
Whether you're a work-at-home mom or a working-outside mom, we hope this helps make your Ramadan even just a tad bit better! Share this with your mom friends because you don't know whose life might become that much easier just because of one helpful tip. And keep going, Mama. You're doin' great.