Alhamdulillah I became a mom at the ‘tender’ age of 26. I had so many expectations about what motherhood would bring me but burnout was not on my mind. Fast forward to having one toddler and one on the way the burnout is REAL!
That’s why I was so grateful that I was given the opportunity to review this eBook by Nazima Qureshi and Nobera Chowdhury. These two amazing sisters teamed up to bring us the ultimate guide to going from Burnout to Bliss: a Muslim Mom’s Guide to Self Care.
and then I Got Burned
I had my first baby. I was soo grateful as I never thought I’d become a mother. For the past year or so, I have loved, nurtured, breastfed, wiped snotty noses and bums, been sicked, pooped and peed on. This is the real life of a mother.
Yes, it can be nice Instagram posts and inspirational stories about how motherhood has changed you for the better (which it has). But as we know as Muslims there is balance in everything.
I dedicated all my time and resources to my child. He was my first after all. I found out I was pregnant again just over 7 months ago. And then I got burned.
As pregnancy fatigue started to roll in, I found that I didn’t have the time to play as often I wanted to sleep. I didn’t have the energy to play horsey and throw him around, my body ached. I couldn’t cook fresh meals for him every night because I’m in a constant state of flux between heartburn and nausea.
Something had to change. I had to learn how to put myself first so I could be the mother I was before. For both of my children.
From Burnout to Bliss: Sections Dissected
The eBook is split into 3 sections.
- It’s Time to Put Yourself First
- Living a Healthy Lifestyle Goes Beyond Detoxing and Dieting
- Stories from Mothers Like You
Section one was exactly what I needed to hear. Putting myself first and not being a ‘martyr mom’ needed to be top of my priorities list. I particularly liked the section where you can write down all the helping hands you really have in your life to ease the pressure off yourself. I’m fortunate enough to have a really helpful family but in my mind, I was convinced to be a good mother I needed to do it all by myself. Even forsaking my own husband’s help. I generally come from a culture where the men are excused from child rearing business at least until a certain age.
I was turning him into my own personal burden without even knowing it. An article recently touched on this subject called “I do not help my wife.” I thought it was an interesting read at the time given the Islamic interpretation on the subject. Rasulullah (saw) cooked his own food, washed and repaired his own clothes, helped enthusiastically to raise his children and helped his wives around the home. Somewhere along the way this Sunnah was lost. It needs to be revived for the sanity of our daughters who are encouraged to reproduce and then are literally left holding the baby in one hand, an iron in the other and stirring the pot with a spare foot!
Lessons Learn from the Third Section
There’s something very humbling about reading the stories of others. I was exciting to find the array of lives highlighted in the last section. I took a lot of lessons from them, as we should all do from other women. It’s something that we frequently do from the lives of the Sahabiyaat (female companions of the Prophet (saw) and other great women in our rich Islamic history.
This is something I would have loved more of in this eBook. More from the inspirational stories of the women of the past as well as the future. They may not have had to deal with how to wrestle an iPad off a tired toddler but they also have their gems to share.
Speaking of gems, here’s some gems from the women who shared their stories in the eBook:
- Husbands can’t read minds
- Help yourself to help others
- Everyone has an opinion, you don’t have to listen
- Set realistic expectation
All of these seem like a given but when you’re in the trenches, the thought of sticking your head up to assess the situation seems like a complete impossibility. Number one definitely holds true for me. As much as we expect husbands to be able to read our minds, they really can’t. He won’t know you need support unless you tell him. SO TELL HIM! As women we have an excellent way of saying we’re fine when in fact we’re drowning.
Helping myself to help others has been at the centre of my own personal self care journey. I’m no use to anyone if I can’t function as a human being. This is where the martyr mommy syndrome came in for me tainted with a little bit of mommy guilt! It was becoming a vicious circle that needed to be broken.
Opinions. Let’s talk about people and their opinions on you as a mother. I’ll list a few that I’ve received and automatically sent to JUNK in my head.
- Oh my gosh you’re still breastfeeding?! He needs to come off soon or you’ll never get him off
- He has a milk allergy. What a shame, it must have been because you didn’t drink a glass of milk every day when you were pregnant
- You don’t send him to nursery? He’ll become anti-social
- No meat at all? Not even chicken? You’ll turn him into a fussy eater
All real opinions I’ve received. All real opinions that have been rejected because it’s my responsibility to work out what’s best for my child.
Lastly, setting realistic expectations. In my head by now my son would be reading and writing his first letters, on the road to being potty trained and doing simple maths. I’ll pause while you all laugh.
These were serious expectations I had of myself as a mother. To date, only one of these things have happened and I’m totally fine with that. I know I set the bar too high, something I’m prone to doing. I thought I’d have raised a child genius by now but having a happy child trumped making him sit with flashcards everyday. My boy’s a bundle of joy and has smarts to boot so I know eventually in his own time these things will happen. And that’s the key. In their own time. Not when I THINK they need to be happening to match up with a plan that wasn’t realistic for me in the first place.
Although I enjoyed the middle section, for me I didn’t take much from it. When it comes to my physical health, I’ve always tried to stay on top of it. The only thing I know I need to do personally is rest more which is more self care for me.
From this section, I took more from the recipes than anything else. I’m mainly plant based so I was happy to see that the recipes were too.
The only thing I would have liked to see expanded on here was breastfeeding and pregnant mothers section. Partly because of my own personal circumstances, partly because I think it’s an area that’s really lacking when it comes to Muslim women or just women in general. I would have loved to see some advice on food and how it related to lactation, quick snack ideas and recommended foods for pregnant women.
The Burnout to Bliss Verdict
Overall I think this eBook was a great success. Although it says it’s a guide for Muslim Moms, I don’t see why any mom couldn’t benefit. There wasn’t an overtly “Islamic” feel about it leaving it open to be enjoyed by everyone.
Apart from the few things I’ve mentioned, it was a very enjoyable read that I can see myself coming back to time and time again to redo the tasks and see my progress.
If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of the eBook, you can use my code CHRISTALJOAN10 from today all the way up until the 12th of October to receive a 10% discount off your purchase. All you need to do is click this link and apply the code.
(The Ebook was sent for the purpose of review. All opinions and views are my own. If the code is used, I will receive a 10% commission).
Have you experienced mommy burn out? Have you reached bliss yet? Share your story below insha Allah!