‘Wait, wouldn’t pursuing my personal goals make me a selfish mom?’ is what you’re probably thinking. You’re not alone. We have society to blame for defining the good mom as the one who devotes all of her time and energy into the welfare of her children, while her goals take the backseat.
There’s no denying that a mom who gives her all to her children is an awesome mom, fulfilling her divine role as a Muslim mother. Allaah appointed her for this high esteemed job and the reward simply can’t be numerated. However, like every job, we have to work on ways to improve results and increase productivity. And pursuing a personal goal, whether it be to memorize the quran, learn Arabic, be more fit, or start a business, is an investment to this life long career called motherhood. Here’s why:
1. You’re a happier mom
Personal goals are usually in things that give you fulfillment and thus happiness. When you’re happy you perform better. It’s as simple as that.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people are motivated to achieve certain needs in an ascending order, with the need for esteem and self-actualization being the highest. Esteem needs include the need for self-esteem, achievement, and recognition, while self-actualization needs are met through realizing personal potential and seeking personal growth. We have an innate desire to pursue goals that help satisfy these needs. Managers and leaders refer to Maslow’s hierarchy to increase motivation of individual team members, because they know that motivation breeds happiness, and happiness leads to increased productivity.
The same works for you. When you pursue your goals you’re happier. Maybe you want to go back to school, or pursue Islamic studies. Maybe you want to increase your Quran recitation or memorize more. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to master a skill or turn your hobby into a business. But because you’ve been so consumed in motherhood, you haven’t given time for these pursuits. Sadly, this can sometimes lead to feelings of resentment and wanting more out of motherhood. Don’t let these feelings build up. Making some time in the day to work on what you want can make a big difference in your mood and attitude. Make use of the times the kids are sleeping or out, so you don’t have the excuse of “children first”. You’ll discover a new source of happiness that inshaAllah will help you perform better as a mom. With the right balance, it’s a win win situation.
2. You avoid ‘mommy burnout’
Most moms spend almost all their waking hours, and sometimes even sleeping hours, crafting the ideal lifestyle for their little ones, and although the sacrifices are well worth it, `lets be honest, it can sometimes feel like a burden especially when you don’t get anytime for yourself. And then come the reminiscences of the good ‘ol single days when you had so much time to do this and that. When these thoughts prevail, then mommy burnout is brewing around the corner.
Ali ibn Abi Taalib (May Allaah be pleased with him) said “Indeed the hearts become bored just like the body becomes bored. So seek out what entertains it.”
Also, in the book Beneficial Ways for a Happy Life, Shaykh Abdurahman As-sa’di, rahimahullah, mentioned engaging in activities or seeking some type of beneficial knowledge as a means to happiness. He said it helps you forget about your worries, brings happiness to the soul, and increases performance. Having your own personal goals and setting aside specified times to work on them can give you time away to do things you are passionate about. You give yourself a break and time to rejuvenate, so you come back in the game stronger!
3. You become a role model for your biggest fans, your children
When you work on your personal pursuits you teach your children to have ambition. You show them that you can still achieve many things while carrying out your primary responsibilities. You also teach them time management as they watch you organize your time between them, house duties, and your personal work. Another important lesson they learn is that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. They’ll appreciate that ummi is an individual and may not be available around the clock. And hopefully they’re get the hint and offer a helping hand more often!
4. You inspire others
It’s not only you’re kids you’ll be inspiring, but you’ll be a source of motivation for other moms as well. Imagine the satisfaction and rewards you would gain from inspiring others to achieve something. Allaah, the Most High, says:
وَقُلِ اعْمَلُوا فَسَيَرَى اللَّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ
And Say (O Muhammad) “Do deeds! Allah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. [At-tawbah:105]
Now that you have people looking up to you, you have no choice but to be awesome.
Tell us how pursuing your own personal goals has made you a better person.