I’m a working mumma. Yes, that’s right, I have to go to the office during the day time and my husband drops my 15 month old son Rayhan at daycare when he is at class and takes care of him for the rest of the week.
He is doing a good job.
Abu Rayhan has grown up children from a previous marriage, but he does have very different parenting ideas from me. So apart from me being not being really able to take part in our local muslim women’s community, I have to somehow make my parenting ideas and plans palatable to him. I have no other family that can support me, and alhamdullillah, my in-laws live in another city.
Sometimes I notice that my husband calls his siblings and they give him some ideas about how things should be such as “you have to lay the baby on a wooden surface so his head goes flat after birth”. A lot of it sounds weird to me.
Like, whenever my son has sniffles (and that is often), I’m not allowed to bath him or wash him with too much water, not to mention wash his hair or behind his ears, God forbid. My husband believes that too much water is damaging and when he has a cold or a cough he doesn’t pray because he is unable to do the wudhu ablution. This can take some winters for as long as 2 weeks.
I guess that this is a cultural thing. I have discussed this with a western doctor, and a he mentioned that he hears that a lot from patients from the subcontinent. Nevertheless, I would like to wash my child sometimes, and I must admit that I pour him a warm bath in the tub and let him happily puddle around with his rubber ducky (another plastic thing that can give germs to the baby) and drink the bath water, whenever Abu Rayhan is out of town. It is difficult to be a mumma that gets told everything how to do things with her own child. His parenting is obviously superior to mine, because this is my first child, and in his culture there are so many babies all the time. He is very indifferent and even hostile at times in regards to letting me make my own parenting choices.
I understand that it’s unusual for a muslim mumma to go to work, but I believe I’m not the only one, circumstances have been challenging and testing, so i have made the decision that it’s better for the family that I go back to my well-paid office job after a year, to be able to pay rent for a proper warm flat, not be dependent on benefit payments and other hand-outs. Abu Rayhan is in the process of setting up his own business as he was unable to find a suitable job in the time he is in New Zealand.
So while he is looking after Rayhan, I totally understand that he has a different way of dealing with his son, and that is fine with me. Admittedly, he is pretty good at putting him to sleep and feeding him, but some things I do he makes me feel as if I’m the most useless mother in the world and that my parenting completely stinks, because I just use different approaches and techniques. How do you solve a difference of parenting techniques within the family? Have you got mothers, mother-in-laws, fathers or siblings that just make you feel like your opinion doesn’t count when it comes to your children? My dilemma is that I’m away for most of the day, but that shouldn’t have to be a reason to waive all my rights towards my child and my decision making?