A day in my life may probably be very different from a day in yours. But I’m guessing, if I tell you about my typical day, you will see a few things in there that perhaps strike a chord. Let’s find out…
I am awakened at 6:15 am by my 17-month-old daughter. She is up, bright and early and demanding breakfast, and I stumble across the hall, bleary eyed, to fetch her. Although I am in a grumpy, zoned-out mood for the 3 seconds it takes me to get out of bed and walk to her room, my spirits lift when I see her standing up in her crib, arms outstretched. Because, seriously, she is gorgeous and never, ever has morning breath and all she wants in that moment is me. And a nice warm cup of milk. So as I change her clothes and comb her hair and brush her teeth, inevitably my 3-year-old is awakened by the noise. So together, my daughter and I go to his room, turn on the light and jump on his bed, where we all begin tickling one another.
This is usually a lot of fun, but as we begin the process of getting my son ready for school, sometimes tantrums arise. Someone gets annoyed that I didn’t let them choose their own socks, someone else gets annoyed that I won’t let them play with my phone. Tantrums are their currency but around here they won’t get you too far.
Anyway. Down the stairs we go to breakfast. My husband usually leaves the house by 6 – he commutes to the city for work and leaves early so he can be home by 5 pm. So I have breakfast with the kids and then when our sitter arrives, I run upstairs, grab a shower and then take my son to his Montessori.
For the next 2.5 hours, while my son is at school and my daughter is playing with the sitter, I get work done. I am a freelance writer and editor and this is the only time I get to accomplish the day’s professional tasks. So I work fast and sometimes even squeeze in a trip to the grocery store. Multitasking and keeping an eye on the clock, 11:30 arrives before I know it.
Then off I go to pick up my son from school, and then the sitter leaves, my daughter naps, we all have lunch together and then settle into a nice long afternoon during which we play, tiny humans have more tantrums, we laugh and cuddle and have a snack and have some milk and watch TV and read some books.
At 5 pm, when my husband walks in, we all run to the door to greet him. And then we give him a few minutes to change out of his shirt and tie while we make our way to the kitchen. He comes downstairs, he feeds our daughter, we eat, we catch up, we clean up together and then we play until bath time. 7 pm we take the kids upstairs for a bath, settle them into story time and tuck them in, and at 7:30 pm we are officially free from parenting for the night. Whew! We get three hours before we turn in at 10:30 pm to just do whatever we want, which usually involves seeing what we have recorded on the DVR. Sometimes, even though we fed the kids healthy food for dinner, we’ll pop in a pizza and munch on it while we watch TV.
Until the next morning, at 6:15am, when I hear a tiny voice calling “MUMMY!” and our day begins again.
We have our family, our friends, our health and our faith. Alhamdolillah (Praise be to God), it’s a sweet life.
A day in my life is probably similar to a day in the life of many women around the country. And different from many others’. This is the point of our new book, I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim (White Cloud Press, May 2011). The book presents the stories of 40 women who are American and Muslim, and as you read these tales of courage, truth, triumph and struggle, you will find that as American Muslim women, we defy labeling. Our stories may speak to you, and you may learn more about the Muslim experience in America.
By Zahra Suratwala of I Speak for Myself to be released next month. This article demonstrates that nothing is quite to extraordinary of a day in the life of this one American Muslim Mom…what do you think?
- The Voices of American Muslim Moms
- Media Search: American Muslim Hijab-wearing Teen for CNN.com
- The only subset with no wage gap between men and women are Muslims, mashaAllah
- Women and money statistics
- ScribblingWomen.org – American women’s literature