After another weekend of raising awareness on HIV/AIDS in the Muslim community, I fell into bed exhausted. I just spent the week fighting bronchitis and realized I got back out there too early…too quick. I knew if I didn’t start making some changes, I would fail miserably and as a result, so would my activism.
I am a new mother and a wife. My daughter and husband have rights over me. I have rights over me. My faith has rights over me. My attention is needed for the ones I love just as much as I give to my activism. So I sat down and thought about what can I do to keep myself sane? What can I do to keep myself well?
What can I do that will create balance and still give me the space to carry out my passions?
I thought about extraordinary women like Khadijah (RA). She was a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, a leader and an activist for Islam. I thought about her example…and here is what I came up with:
My 5 tips for the Muslim Mom Activist.
Remembering Allah is number one. We must remember Allah in everything that we do, every step that we take, every relationship that we build. Sometimes a Muslim mom activist may become so engrossed in her work that prayer may be pushed until its forgotten, Quran may gather dust on the shelf, reflection and remembrance become a faded memory, and attending beneficial gatherings becomes instances of the past. Islamic health is as important as your physical health. It completes the balance, feeds your soul and gives that extra umph to be successful in your activist endeavors.
Family Time is important. Don’t abandon your family. Don’t abandon your family Don’t….abandon your family. Spending time with the ones you love is not only rejuvenating, it’s vital. Be present at home first and then be present for others.
Self Care – we worry so much about caring for others, that we forget to care for ourselves. If we are not healthy, the work that we try to do will not be healthy. Our bodies have rights over us and will shut down if we deny them their rights. Schedule time for self care, even if it is a simple as taking a day off and watching Netflix…and chill.
Boundaries – The 10 pm email can wait. Set Boundaries for yourself and not only will there be less stress for yourself, your clients will respect you more. We all want to be available for people we serve and care about, but it’s important to know that yes, you can still serve others and have boundaries in place. I use to run myself exhausted with always trying to be available for others that my mental health took a back seat and my personal relationships suffered. Boundaries is a key element for success.
Patience – Activism is not easy and it may take time to reach your goals. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. You got this. When life throws you lemons, catch those lemons and throw them right back. Let them know they are not welcome here. Roadblocks will not defeat you. Take everything with stride and remember Allah tests those whom he loves.
So here are my tips. My guide as a Muslim Mom Activist. I have incorporated them into my life and have witnessed its success.
Activism is important. Activism is necessary..but don’t forget about the ones who love you the most.
Do you have tips of your own? Share them in the comments below.
Khadijah is the founder of Muslim Nannies and RAHMA (HIV/AIDS organization). She is passionate about helping the community and identifying resources to help others. She was invited to The White House and met President Obama in recognition for her efforts. She also writes for The Huffington Post. Khadijah resides in Northern VA with her husband and daughter.
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