Letting Go in 2019
I run a pretty tight-ship. How tight? The kind of tight that days before a getaway with a friend was approaching, I wrote a timed, step-by-step, schedule of tasks that my kids would do in the four days I’d be gone and gave it to my husband and mother-in-law to use. Like, literally, 7am wake up, 7:15am eat breakfast, 7:42am catch school bus. You get the idea. I realized a couple of things after I did this (and felt a bit ridiculous). First off, we don’t have as much control as we think we do. I wrote out a detailed list of tasks that may or may not actually happen. What if the kids sleep in? Miss the bus? Have to take a bath on a day I didn’t schedule because they got dirty faster than I had planned? Second, I need to trust the people who I am parenting with. After I mentioned this list to my husband, he responded with, why? We know what to do. And guess what? He’s right! He knows what to do. My mother-in-law knows what to do! And even if they don’t do it the exact same way I do it, so what?!
My kids are pretty little. 7 and 5 years old. And I pretty much get to tell them what to do and when to do it for most things in their baby lives. But it dawned on me that it won’t always be this way. Soon enough, way sooner than I’d prefer, they’ll be able to control their own time and their own activities. They’ll shower when they want to shower and eat when they want to eat and do homework when they’re good and ready to do it. It got me thinking about my role as a mother. Is it to dominate and control these little humans or is it to set examples for them so that they can do things on their own?
Which then got me thinking about my own relationships and even my relationship with Allah. If Allah had willed it, He would have forced us to worship Him, correct? Just like needing water, food, and sleep to survive, He could have willed it that we need to pray every day. But He didn’t. If we went without water, in less than a week we’d be done. Same goes for food and sleep. But Allah willed it that we have a choice. He told us, worship me and you’ll have peace. And everyday we get to choose; do we worship the Almighty and bring ourselves peace or do we go about our lives in a constant state of conflict? That’s a choice we get to make. Instead of forcing us, Allah gave us an example of the best possible person to emulate, the Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings upon him).
And after I came out of that deep dive of spiritual thinking, I wondered, how does this apply to how we parent as Muslims? How does it apply to how we conduct our relationships? It’s pretty simple. We can’t control anyone but ourselves. We can only be the best examples for our children to emulate. How we behave when we’re angry. How we treat the poor. How we conduct ourselves in our jobs. How we are with our spouses. And most importantly, how we worship. At the end of the day, it will be the will of Allah on how they turn out and what they end up doing as adults.
I appreciate opportunities for renewal. A birthday, a changing of a season, or a New Year are all times where we can pause, reflect, and decide how we’ll approach the big tasks of life. I’ve decided now is a good opportunity to begin the process of letting go. My children will be just fine, whether I’m managing every detail of their lives or not. Instead, and as my husband so sweetly recommended, I will go on my trip and actually enjoy myself. After all, how lucky am I that I get to do that at all? But that’s another post for another day.
Until then, Happy New Year to mommies all over the world, trying to figure out how to balance it all and let it go at the same time 😊
Aseel Elborno is a mommy to 7-year old Walid and 5-year old Zeyad. When she's not at work, she spends her time playing tag, Simon says, and UNO with her kiddos. She also enjoys binge watching shows on Masterpiece Theater and day-dates with her hubby (because what mommy is fully functioning at 8pm?). You can follow her and her antics by visiting her blog at aseeldelights.com.