By Ruhaifa Adil
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
You may be a working mom for many reasons. Maybe you need the extra income; maybe you are the sole financial supporter for your family; or maybe you just need the satisfaction that comes from doing something you are good at!
Having a career and making sure the family and the house are not neglected takes a lot of organization. Time is limited and so are you! However, while everybody’s needs are tended to with the precision of the second hand on the clock, you may realize that you don’t know where to find time to quench your thirst for knowledge. Learning and education need time, and that is exactly what you don’t have! The fact though is that you need to find time for this because seeking knowledge will not only help you grow personally and professionally but will also be a way for you to to tread the path to Jannah! (gist from the hadith in Sunan Abu Dawood)
Here are some tips to help the working mom make time for her education:
Setting realistic goals
The first step is to set the vision for your studies. Make a list of what you want to learn and divide it up into realistic mini-goals, keeping in mind your family and job commitments. No goal is too small, so even if it is to understand or memorize one verse of the Quran, or read one page a day from a book, it will slowly amount to a substantial amount of learning and growth with the passage of time.
Organizing your resources weekly
Try to get your resources and material organized for a week every weekend. Portable resources such as playlists of video clips and/or audio lectures, eBooks downloaded on your phone or laptop, or registering for daily email subscription lists might be a good idea. Set up syncs between your phone, work PC, and home laptop so you have your resources available whenever you find a little bit of time. (Caution: Avoid downloading illegal, pirated copies of Islamic books)
Finding the time
A lot of time can be found in the daily routine that can be spent more constructively:
- The commute to work: the going and coming back from work are literally wasted minutes as one just shuts off from all activity, waiting to reach the place where they will start the activity! Use these minutes to read, listen, and learn, and move closer to achieving your learning goals.
- Lunch time at work: Get into discussions with your colleagues about what you are learning. Discussions open the mind, and sharing knowledge is a part of learning itself!
- While doing chores: Cooking, laundry, cleaning, sorting… the chores are the same for the working woman! These are great times to put on your headphones and listen to lectures, audio workshops, Qur’an portions you want to memorize and so on.
- The time after Fajr: Try not to pop back into bed after your Fajr salah. The Prophet (sa) said “O Allah! Bless my people in the early part of the day (morning).” (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud; sound) You will find that this early morning study session will make you more alert and refreshed and this will Insha’Allah reflect in your work and your home!
- Before bed: Give yourself a half hour to read every night before you sleep. Reading before bedtime not only calms you down, but also helps you sleep better. Research also confirms that whatever you read before you sleep is better consolidated and better recalled, thus it is a great time for effective learning.
Setting up a support system
Making the journey of learning and knowledge alone is not a good idea. When the going gets tough, you need someone to help you keep at it. This someone could be your husband, like-minded friends or colleagues at work who know what it is like to be a working mom. What would be even better is to get a group of people together and set learning goals with them, where you check-in every week to make sure you have covered your weekly goals. This will help you to stick to the path and persevere even in difficult times.
Remember, a mother is the biggest influence in her children’s life. Your level of knowledge and understanding will directly affect your children; they will learn from you the value of giving importance to education. May Allah help you in your endeavour to learn and may He help you to impart your knowledge to your children. Ameen.
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks, based on the teachings of the Qur’an (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah).
© IIPH 2015