Fierdous from Cape Town, South Africa, is a young ‘military wife’ and mother of 2 children. She is the next contributor to our GLOBAL MUSLIM MUMMY series.
These are her answers:
1.How many children do you have, and how old are they?
I have two children, aged 2 and 5.
2. What was your first reaction when you found out you were going to be a mum?
Initially anxiety related to my being young, and then it became exciting with the usual mixed emotions along the way.
3. What was the most difficult part of your pregnancy?
I had extreme morning sickness for both pregnancies. vomited day in and day out. feeling miserable and not being able to keep even water down was the most difficult for me. the physical challenges related to my health was really hard to manage especially as I was a student during both pregnancies (matric with first, uni with second.)
4. How did you decide on your childrens names?
With my daughter I was clueless and wanted my family to help. After a suggestion of Hadiyya(gift) I liked the name, however, a name sounding similar felt more appropriate – Haadiya (religious guide).
My son got his name from his father. Being a military man, he felt he wanted his son to have the name of an islamic warrior- Salahudeen.
5. How would you describe your parenting style?
Whatever works at that point in time. I try using some of the gentle parenting principles when its appropriate but we have to be realistic and take from different approaches. I dont really follow a set ‘way’ of parenting, I just follow my instinct with what feels right for each situation.
6. What has been the most challenging part of being a parent?
Being a military mom is the challenge, you are expected to go at life literally solo, and it seems so romantic because who doesnt love a man in uniform, right? lol
It wasnt even easy being pregnant. For my second pregnancy he was away for 8 months, and both births happened while my husband was away and he only saw them for the first time months later.
7. What’s been the most rewarding part of being a parent?
Watching them develop, flourish and grow into their own unique personalities and giving them love and receiving it back tenfold in hugs and kisses. knowing they look to me for their needs and knowledge about the world fills my heart.
8. How does being a Muslim influence your parenting decisions?
When talking to my children about their behaviour and manners, I try explaining the importance of a practise in its islamic significance. also i try remembering the importance of showing my children respect as the Nabi (pbuh) did, as well as listening to their innocent wisdom (Im sure we all can relate some gems from our tots!)
9. How do you instill Islamic identity into your children, in terms of lifestyle, education ect?
I encourage them to make use of good practises, such as saying alhamdulillah, maashaa allah and astagfirullah, in the appropriate instances. Also, being the example for them is how I try to instill an islamic identity into them. While we are all constantly striving for righteousness, we slip up and sometimes the innocence of our children reminds us about what our purpose is. My daughter sometimes asks me to wear a scarf like mine, and at other times reminds me to get a scarf if we are heading to the shop. I dont believe in being a sergeant major in my approach to teaching my children about what is islamic and what is not, but I do feel they need the exposure to islams beauty and majesty so they may love it and not have a fearful idea of Allah. So I try making learning about prophets, concepts like jannah and angels etc fun and interactive.
10. As a parent, what is the most oft-repeated dua that you make for your children?
I don’t have a specific arabic dua I make for them but I often make dua that they are preserved in innocence, not damaged by the evils of the world, but made strong in adversities and grow up to be influential, successful, respected and pious individuals who will make a positive impact in the world while remaining humble and grateful for the life they have been blessed with, Ameen.
11. What advice would you offer to other parents?
Sometimes you look at other parents, thinking they have it all together, perfect life, better kids, happier home— Stop. Reflect on your blessings, on your shortcomings, and remember we all have a list of things that we can benefit from working on, and a ton more that we can say shukr for. So keep it real, make the best of what you got, and work on the things that need that extra attention. We are all imperfectly perfect. We are all being watched- by our children. Let them see you make mistakes, but also let them see you get back up and improve on yourself. That will surely build character and teach them to always stay humble, and never take anything for granted. We will never be perfect. We have Allah for that.
12. And to end off on a lighter note, share with us your favourite parenting quote/joke/meme
Jazakallah for sharing Fierdous. This has been extremely interesting, and very admirable! Firstly being such a young mum, and also having to do so much of it alone while your husband is away is truly inspiring.