Naturally, we’re all in the pursuit of happiness. But once you achieve that happiness, it becomes a natural part of your living. Mothers deal with a ton of pressure from so many different angles, it’s no wonder why Allaah has entitled her to three times more deserving of respect and kindness than the father. But in all that hustle and bustle how does she thrive? How does she stay happy? Happy moms practice certain habits and possess special traits, but hardly see a need to mention them. This is what they do:
1. They give and don’t expect anything in return – They give from their time, their money, their knowledge, their resources. They’re simply generous. As much as giving is a selfless act, it is extremely fulfilling and often brings more happiness to the one giving than the one receiving. Human beings have an inner desire to be useful to others. Happy moms, in the mist of their busy lives and tight resources, are always asking “What can I offer? How can I help?” Giving is more valuable when it’s sincerely done for Allah, because then you only hope for a great reward from Allaah. You understand that Allaah will give you more than what you gave out. In that respect, happy moms don’t expect anything in return from others, while unhappy people are quick to remind you of the things they’ve done for you.
2. They stay out of drama – Parenting wars. Social media disputes. Backbiting. Gossip among friends… Happy moms simply avoid it. We either create drama by speaking without contemplating the effects of what we say/write, or we invite it by responding to and entertaining rumours. I know it’s sometimes difficult to avoid when negativity is directed at you, but the happiest people know not to pay attention to “fitnah makers”. They follow in the steps of the servants of Ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful) as in the ayah: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth humbly, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace”(Al-Furqan:63)
3. They give thanks – Gratitude to Allah for the countless blessings He’s given you is a step towards achieving long lasting happiness. Thanking others also goes a long way, because it can be equated to thanking Allaah, as in the hadith: “The one who doesn’t give thanks to people, doesn’t give thanks to Allaah” .
4. They act as cheerleaders for other moms – They are forever encouraging and motivating others, and are genuinely happy at their successes whether they know them or not. Happy people want to see other people happy. And this is the idealized level of iman in wanting for others what you want for yourself, as in the hadith: “None of you [truly] believes, until you love for your brother(/sister) what you love for yourself”[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]. When you practice this hadith, you’ll experience a whole new level of happiness and satisfaction. Trust me!
5. They constantly make excuses for others – We know the great importance Islam places on husnuth-than (good opinion); that is always viewing your sister in Islam in the best context possible. Even when her actions and words towards you aren’t positive, offering an excuse for her helps you, not only to deal with her better, but to cope with your emotions in a healthier manner. When you make excuses for others you destroy the victim mentality that plunges you into sorrow. To be able to turn a clearly negative remark or event into something positive is character empowerment because you learn to quickly defuse differences and open room for cooperation. Make excuses by placing your sister’s words and actions in a better context. Maybe she’s having a bad day. Perhaps she meant it like this. Perhaps she didn’t realize this. Maybe I misunderstood. etc.
6. They nurture important relationships – Although there is great value in self-sufficiency and complete reliance upon Allaah, having a close network of friends and loved ones for emotional and moral support is also important. It’s not about having many friends, but its about nurturing and working to maintain those relationships that matter. Holding on to those few individuals you can turn to share moments of joy and sorrow, seek advice and have adult conversations with are likely to help you achieve happiness. Relationships don’t last long, so its up to you to maintain and nurture them.
7. They make dua’ for others – Along with making dua for themselves, they are always sure to remember others in their dua. Whether it be dear loved ones, a friend, a stranger just met, or the general Muslim body. Having concern for the welfare of others to the point that you remember them as you communicate in secreacy with Mujeeb ad-da’awaat (The Answerer of Supplications) is therapy for the soul. The greater blessing in this is that an angel stands above you as you pray for others and replies with each supplication, “And you too”. A little tip happy moms may not be sharing!
8. They learn from other moms – At the core of happiness and contentment is humbleness and happy moms aren’t afraid of not being no-it-alls. Never look at other moms as competitors, but rather view them as resources to gain from, team players in raising the ummah. Don’t shy away from asking for help or learning from other moms despite their age, backgrounds, and experiences. And don’t look at other moms’ strength as proof for your short-comings. This is unhealthy. Happy moms refuse to let guilt or jealousy consume them and so they are proactive in networking to benefit from other moms’ successes.
9. They prioritize – They understand that doing it all and being it all is not only unhealthy, but ineffective and not required of any mom or human being. As mothers you have priorities, at the top being your Islamic duties towards your spouse, children, household, and you also make room for other important things like your personal pursuits, commitments etc. Understanding what needs to be done, and what can wait grants you the satisfaction of knowing that you’re taking care of the major things. This in turn helps you stay organized so you don’t feel guilty and regretful over spending too much time on the less important things.
10. They live days of purpose – Happy moms view their days differently. Their days are focused. Either there are set goals and plans to be achieved or the intention of motherhood is always present. Either way, there is a purpose attached to the hustle and bustle of their daily routine.
11. They place importance on self-development – Happiness is not found in perfection. Recognize that you’re not perfect, and Allaah has never asked you to be. What is important, and what happy moms realize, is that we are full of short comings and there is always room for improvement. Islam doesn’t request us to be free of flaws, but it encourages us to always be in pursuit of a better you! When you work on yourself spiritually, physically, emotionally, situationally etc., you take ownership of your happiness.
“True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul.” [Al-Bukhari]
12. They make a way to pursue personal goals – It’s not enough to dream and have goals, you have to be in the pursuit of them to achieve satisfaction. Being a mom really shifts your schedule and priorities, often making it very difficult to continue with a personal goal. However, happy moms find a way, even if it means delayed achievement and harder work. They look for alternatives and never use motherhood as an excuse. There are circumstances that may require you to abandon a goal altogether as a mom and wife. But trust that Allaah will reward you for your sacrifice. However, this shouldn’t stop you from picking up a new goal and dreaming a new dream because this is a steady stream of happiness you can’t miss out on.
13. They accept their children for who they are – This sounds like common sense, but really, constant comparisons to other children and wishful thinking of your child being different or actively trying to change your child to fit your idealized version of what a child should be is a recipe for motherhood misery. Love your children unconditionally and embrace their uniqueness.
14. They seek forgiveness – Don’t be surprised that a sinner can achieve such great levels of happiness. We’re bound to err, but what distinguishes us is our repentance to Allaah. Repentance brings about tremendous benefits to your life and soul. It has to because it is an act of worship beloved to Allaah. As the famous hadith exemplifies, Allaah is even more happy at the repenting servant than a traveller is when he finally finds his belongings after losing them and waiting for death. Get into the habit of seeking forgiveness for every small and big mistake. Can you possibly be a miserable mom while Allaah is happy with you?