Day in the Life of a Muslim Working Mom

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Moms everywhere struggle with balancing the needs of family, work, self, and faith. Here's how I've designed my day over the years as a Muslim working mom.

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Twenty-four hours is simply not enough to design a day where everyone’s need is fulfilled. Working moms all over the world struggle with how to fit everything in. There are needs of the kids, husband, work, self, faith, and of course, sanity (which is put in the back burner more often than not.)

Every year as a Muslim working mom has taught me to let go of things and be intentional with my time. Here is MY day. I designed it. I ditched it. I picked it up and refined it. I suck at it, but I truly love it. So here it goes.

Moms everywhere struggle with balancing the needs of family, work, self, and faith. Here's how I've designed my day over the years as a Muslim working mom.

My weekdays are broken into four parts: Morning, Work, Evening, and Night. Before I get into details, I want to make clear that this schedule represents my ideal day. These days happen only a little over half of the time.

Other than swimming class on Saturday mornings, I leave the rest of the weekend flexible.

Morning

My alarm is set to 6:00AM. My no-fail way to waking up is setting my alarm a yard away from my bed on the floor. I invested in a Phillips sunrise simulation alarm clock which has done wonders for me. The light on it starts glowing around 10 minutes before my set time, and I often wake up when the light comes on… than blissfully set my head down for another 10 minutes until alarm starts ringing. However, I get so tired sometimes, I finally hear the alarm 20 minutes into it ringing.

I love waking up before everybody else. This way I can have a slow start. However, there are more ‘slept in’ days than I like. These days I just skip the walk and prepping kids’ lunches. Instead I rush around getting kids ready and while they eat breakfast, I dress up. There are times, I put on my makeup in the car.

On normal days, my walks are around 15-20 minutes. I choose to walk because I can multi-task during my walks. I either read a book or listen to the news on Audible, which otherwise I would not have time for.

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I have simplified dress-up and make-up as much as possible. It takes me about 5 minutes to pick out and put on my outfit because I have only 7 outfits or so in my closet. Putting on makeup takes me about 5 to 10 minutes and I have about 7 items in my makeup bag.

Work

The best thing about my job is the flexibility. As long as I put in 40 hours, it doesn’t matter when I go in and come out. If you do the calculation, I work about seven hours a day. I make up the rest of the time on Saturdays. It’s not fun working on a weekend, but I don’t mind it as long as I can pick up or drop-off the kids myself.

As an Op and Project Manager, my days are a split between meetings and spreadsheets. I sit for hours! My wrist band buzzes if I sit in one place for over an hour. It buzzes at least twice every day.

I use the Xiaomi Mi Band that has an app that goes with it. It is a quarter of a price of a FitBit. I love that it reminds me to get up and move. And I love that it’s water resistant so I don’t have to take it off every time I wash the dishes, wash before my prayers, or give a bath to my kids. This is exactly how I broke my FitBit before this band.

I eat lunch at my desk so I don’t have to clock out for it. Every minute I stay clocked in is a minute I don’t have to worry about on Saturday. When the weather is bearable, I take another 15 minute walk to clear my head. Every step counts!

My husband drops off the kids and I pick them up. In a few months, I will be dropping them off and he will be picking them up. Things shift here and there all the time, but in general, my priorities have remained the same.

Evening

When we get home, kids and I are pretty hungry. We snack on light foods and I usually leave them to either TV or playing in their room while I catch up on the prayers I miss while I am at work.

For a few weeks, I prayed in my car on set prayer times. It was great because I didn’t have to worry about catching up when I got home tired, but I learned that we are not allowed to pray while sitting. I don’t have a place to pray at the office because I share a bigger space with six other people and other offices have glass doors. I really don’t want to make a show. Soon we will be moving out to a new office space and there will be a nursing room. I am thinking I will do my prayers in this room on their set times.

After prayers, I cook something simple that takes 30 minutes or so. I posted my cooking on the Instagram stories and one of WMAG’s Instagram followers suggested I get the Vidalia Choppers to save time on chopping vegetables. I got it and I am in love! It really does save time. I often stick to grain, protein and chopped vegetable type of foods and this chopper works wonders for me. I perform my forth prayer either while the dinner is cooking or after dinner while the kids are hanging out and my husband starts cleaning up.

After dinner until bed time, all of my time is dedicated to the kids and picking up here and there. We do homework, read, play with Lego, Play-dough or Rainbow Looms, color, clean their rooms or whatever they ask me to do with them. A few days a week, we take baths or showers. Before bed, we brush teeth, put on PJ’s, and recite our prayers. We hug and kiss. I ask them to say their last words, pee, drink water… everything they usually remember to do as soon as they get in bed.

When they are in bed, I either put on a lullaby or sleep meditation playlist or a recording of me reciting a prayer set on repeat. This is how they memorize new prayers and I like them falling asleep to my voice.

Night

At this time, I am completely drained, but I’m dedicated to hitting 10,000 steps which I track with a wrist band I mentioned above. I’m also dedicated to increasing my knowledge in Islam. So I go downstairs on the treadmill for the third round of 15 minute walk and read a faith-based book. I got this small treadmill desk for holding my laptop or book while I walk.

Once my band buzzes with a congratulatory 10,000 steps, I wash up and perform my last prayer.

Before getting in bed, I write either on my journal, for this blog, or for the new venture I am currently working on. I also do gratefulness reflections and see my plans for the next day. Sometimes I skip all of this to watch a movie with my husband or just chat with him.

The truth is I probably watch TV once or twice a week for a total of three hours or so. I actually love watching TV, but I’ve learned that I don’t benefit from it. I can’t relax while watching. When I get into a show, I get obsessive and it takes my attention away from my goals. I am very greedy and picky with my time.

When I get in bed, I am desperate for it. I turn on relaxation playlist and deep-breath my way into bliss.

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Umeda Islamova

Winning the lottery has been the theme of Umeda’s life—starting with literally winning a lottery to come to the United States. She’s married to an amazing man through an arranged marriage 10 days after she met him. She gave birth to premature twin girls after an experimental fetal laser surgery and 30% chance of survival. And gave birth to her son 28 months later. Umeda earned an MBA focused in strategy while typing reports with kids on her shoulders and reading strategy books as bedtime stories. Currently she manages a tech company which she transformed from a minimally viable software to more than 22 implementations across the U.S. She hungers for balance, deep and honest conversations, creativity, and information. She also feels passionate about supporting, mentoring, and empowering women to aim high while maintaining balance.

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