We were a single child family for five plus years before the birth of our daughter, alhamdulillah. Therefore the constant advice given to us was to ensure that we made time for our son after the baby arrived, after all, he had been the center of our attention for so long and he would be the one with more understanding.
Prior to her birth, we began this process, by explaining to him that not only was there going to be someone new for all of us to love, but more importantly he would be getting someone new to love him also.
Needless to say he loves and adores his little sister unconditionally, alhamdulillah and she appears to have a special smile, reserved for him only. It is us the parents who need to be wary of tipping the scales. Things were easy in the beginning, feed the baby, change the baby and let the baby sleep……leaving lots of time for our son, whether it meant cooking together, playing games, reading books or just cuddling on the couch.
Now the times are changing…..little sis is seven months old and seems to understand and demand more attention. I find myself not having the time and explaining that I can not spare the time right now, to do lots of stuff with my son, all because I need to address one of my daughter’s needs. Then I look at him, playing on his own, or when he is asleep at night, and the guilt floods in!
Why didn’t I try harder to make the time for him? Why did he have to be left to play alone for so long today? Couldn’t I have read one book at least, whilst attending to my daughter? Why, at six years old, is he so understanding and why do we take this for granted?
On the days that we home school, don’t I make the time to teach him, even with his sister in attendance? Why can’t I do other stuff with him, whilst doing something for her? On the other hand, where is the time for me to just cuddle with her and not feel guilty for spending that one on one time with her also?
In the beginning I made sure to read for him, whilst feeding her, to show him that I could be there for both of them. Nowadays I feel that I am not balancing the scale…..I try, when I interact with her to say things to her about her brother, how much he loves her, how much she should love and care for him…..because I know that even as engrossed in his play as he is, he is listening!I comfort myself with the thought that maybe I’m just new at this and I’ll get better juggling more than one child’s needs with time…maybe. Maybe as my daughter grows, things will get easier insha Allah. Maybe someone reading this will have the right advice to give to me.
At the end of the day, I just want, like most mums, to be the best mum to my children and to raise them to be the best Muslims that they can be, bi ‘ithnillah! And so I make lots of du’a and seek help from the Almighty Allah.
As I type this the time for Fajr approaches and so does my son. He comes to me, giving salaams and asking what I am doing. When I reply that I am writing something and about to pray Fajr, he says that he is going to pray also. He asks for a juba (thobe) and kufi (and those of you who know him, will be reminded of him now, I’m sure…smile) and whilst dad is getting ready, we pray our Sunnah prayer together.
Whilst we wait for my husband to complete his Sunnah prayer, my dear son, comes over to me and we hug and kiss each other multiple times…..having our one on one time, at one of the most special times of the day, the Fajr hour.
Subhan Allah! How merciful is our Rabb…….just when I was typing an article filled with guilt and regret, Allah (swt), in His infinite wisdom gave me some precious minutes with my son and reminded me of the unconditional love that we share.
Ferial Khan resides in Southern Maryland with her husband and two children. She loves to hug and kiss her children often, find some quiet time each day to read, spend time with family and friends and learn more about our amazing Deen.