Before I got married, I was a very different person. I was renowned for being carefree and not taking anything in life, including myself, too seriously. I would see women that were married with kids that were always fussing over their children and complaining about their husbands and, like the obnoxious twat that I was, would think that I would be so different when my time came. Well, I was right – I am nothing like them. I can honestly say that after five years of marriage and having had two kids, I am so much worse that any woman I had ever observed!
Whenever I heard about other people’s domestic disputes, I was full of the naïve, self-praising optimism that most unmarried Muslim girls that have never actually been in a real relationship are. Gosh, I was like a ceaseless rubbish dispenser of clichés about people needing to talk things through, the need for open and honest communication and resolving problems through compromise. Pah! As I write this, I am currently on Day 5 of not talking to my husband! Worse than that, I can’t quite remember what I am supposed to be so annoyed about, and if I don’t know, you can be certain that he doesn’t have a clue, but we are both enjoying the comfortable silence that marital disharmony brings and so have decided not to question it. Besides, it gives me an excuse not to have to do his ironing!
As for not fussing over kids, fussing is as an intrinsic part of my parenting style as a flour bin is to a Pakistani household. Just this evening I was telling my three year old daughter that she could only have a short story at bedtime and was rushing her to change out of her clothes as though I’d walked into her room to randomly find her dressed like Honey G from the X-Factor. And why? Because she had gone to bed a whole 20 minutes later than what she normally does. Like, seriously, 20 minutes! The thing is, deep down I know that 20 minutes is hardly going to cause a catastrophic imbalance in her brain development, but I just can’t think rationally when I am in the role of Anal Ambassador for Routines. Also, in the time that it has taken me to write these three paragraphs, I have been upstairs to check on my eight month old three times. Firstly, I went up because I’d forgotten to plug in the monitor in his room. So, because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hear it if he wakes up and cries, I went upstairs to plug the monitor in, which naturally woke him up and made him cry. Secondly, he was coughing for quite a while so I went up to check that he hadn’t vomited. Thirdly, he stopped coughing, so I went up to check if he was still breathing. After having ascertained that both the monitor and my baby’s bodily functions were all operating correctly, I decided that the music from his cot mobile was disturbing my writing, so I switched the monitor off!
Being a Stay at Home Mum and housewife isn’t what I always planned on becoming. It isn’t glamorous and it isn’t easy, but it is often underestimated and devalued. Things aren’t helped when social networking and internet forums provide such open platforms for people to showcase idealised versions of themselves that leave others feeling like they simply aren’t good enough. Well, this blog’s not here to present a version of me that has been created by one of those incredibly flattering Snapchat filters nor one that’s been inspired by a hijab tutorial, it’s here to present the metaphorically naked me – the me that has lumps and bumps and unwanted facial hair, the me that stays in pyjamas far more than I should (they’re not even always proper pyjamas and sometimes even transcend into a random salwar and an old t-shirt), the me that says I’m not the perfect wife or mum and I do get things wrong, but I do my best. The truth is, we all have ideas about the kind of wives and Mums we’d like to be, but the reality is that you can’t always live up to those ideals. But, do you know what? That’s perfectly okay.