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 Single moms working double-duty

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Numarul mesajelor : 667
Data de inscriere : 2009-06-13
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Localizare : Cairo, Egypt

PostSubject: Single moms working double-duty   Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:22 am

Whether due to divorce or a husbandand's death, more and more Muslim women are finding themselves raising their children alone than ever before. Less than a quarter of American households are nuclear family homes and we are finding that many of these American homes actually represent Muslim families.
In previous generations, divorce was abhorred. Many of todaya's grand mothers will attest to the fact that, though they might have been unhappily wedded, they remained so as for the sake of the children. Mothers from earlier generations believe wholeheartedly that it is better to suffer the cruelties of a sour marriage than endure the hardship and indignity of divorce.
However, much of this is established through culture and not a law of Islam. Although Islam considers divorce Makrooh (detestable) , many erroneously believe it to be Haraam (forbidden).
Divorce is not forbidden in Islam. In fact, it is sometimes the best arrangement for a husband and wife who are miserable together but capable of being civil to each other if separated. And yet, even if divorce proves to be the best decision for the family it is by no means an easy decision to make and live with.Single parenthood is not fun. It is a hardship,as said one single Southern California mother. She has been divorced for several years now and originally chose to leave her husband (also a Muslim) when he prevented her from practicing Islam and teaching her child about their faith.
It is not uncommon to find single sisters in Muslim communities raising their sons and daughters under the shade of the local Islamic centers. Many of these women have parted from their husbands because they have found Islam and have chosen to follow it. Some of these women are converts (reverts) and some are born Muslims that have decided to leave non-practicing or hindering husbands, choosing Islam over matrimony. These women realize their responsibility to their children to raise them as upright Muslims and they have taken a bold step towards fulfilling that goal.
Realizing this responsibility does not come easy. Many mothers who decide to leave their husbands to better raise their children sometimes go through a period of confusion and bitterness. They begin to delve into the unknown; they do not know why this has happened to them and they begin to question their faith. The grueling exhaustion of raising children alone becomes a physical, emotional, and spiritual challenge. Single moms are forced to do nearly everything themselves. A single mother's life is much different from that of a married mother's routine, as anyone could imagine. A single mom, far example, is the only one available to sit with her child at home if he is too ill to go to school. A married couple can alternate taking time off from their respective jobs assuming that the married mom has to work outside the home. A single mom has to make all of the day-to-day decisions regarding issues such as disciplining the child by herself. She does not have anyone with whom she can confer.
A married couple, on the other hand, can find moments throughout the day to discuss matters and arrive at a joint decision. Also, many single moms do not have the family support that married families enjoy since many cultures still regard divorce as a shameful choice. Remaining steadfast, even in the face of such adversity, proves to many of these moms that they have chosen the better path.
The road that these moms have chosen, though the right path, is by no means smooth and paved. Nevertheless, it is a path that they have chosen, unlike those women who become single moms as a consequence of being widowed. When a husband dies and leaves behind a grieving wife and family, though the ultimate result is the same, the path is much different.
In such instances as widowhood, the choice lies not in the mutual agreement between husband and wife to separate. Rather, the situation arises where a woman suddenly finds herself single and responsible for her children. She becomes the only one responsible for the financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of her children. As the wife heals and begins to pick up the pieces of her family life, Inshaa'Allaah (Allaah willing), she comes to terms with the fact that we must accept what Allaah has written far us. She will understand that and go on to instill in her children this same faith. Her road will be bumpy, but she will accept the challenge and hear her burden. She will raise her children alone until either they mature or she believes she is ready to remarry and try to establish again a family for herself and her children. However, when single motherhood happens to fall upon a woman of the older generation, it is tragic.
One forty-something year old woman is a widow of nearly 12 years. After the death of her husband, she was forced to sell off her house and take her two children with her to a new state where she would find support from her extended family members. She recalls how helpful her family was in the beginning, but as time wore on, her needs became her own and not the responsibility of anyone else. She was required to find a job, and having never worked a (lay in her life, that proved to be an incredible task. But her duties did not end there. She had to purchase a home, and she was only able to do that by combining some loan money she received from family and friends and using her late husband's savings. For a woman who had never had to deal with finances, who never had to call in a plumber to fix a leaky toilet, and who never had to worry about anything other than what to make for dinner, these tasks and the hundreds of others that she faced were mind-numbing.
For her the sheer burden of physical work is probably the most difficult to deal with. Her day is excruciatingly tiring and she returns home from her job weary and ill prepared to face the task of cooking dinner. In a good week, she finds time during the weekend to prepare a few meals that she and her children can heat and eat throughout the week. When she does find a moment or two to herself, as her children are now more grown and capable of taking care of themselves, she has to think about the bills, about the old house that needs an immense amount of work that they cannot afford, about the one car that the three of them share, about her children who will one day get married (the expense of it) and perhaps leave her to move to another state or even another country.
One might say that this mother is accepting undue hardships that she should just remarry, as might a divorced mother. However, as is the case with most women who are suddenly widowed and uprooted, though they are physically removed from their husband, they hold him near and dear in their hearts and are not emotionally ready to even think about remarriage. Furthermore, the children themselves could still he attached to their father and might find it difficult to accept another man to take their father’s place. On the contrary, a divorced mother could find it easier to remarry and explain to her child the role of the soon- to-the stepfather, since her child still has the biological father to see on a scheduled basis. The child of a deceased father might more likely presume that the mother is trying to fill the role of father with another man, since the biological father is actually missing.
Though divorce and death can both lead to varying degrees of single motherhood, the actual act of raising a child by oneself is daunting and difficult, whatever the circumstance. It is our duty, as righteous members of Muslim communities, to aid these single mothers in raising upright and conscientious Muslim citizens. Just as we would help our own sisters or daughters if they were suddenly left alone, we should adopt the children of single mothers as our shared responsibility. There is much that we can do. A brother in the community can offer to take the son of a single mother to a youth basketball game. He can offer to teach him about the roles and responsibilities of a Muslim gentleman. And a sister can offer a single mom support and, sometimes the best gift of all, time. She can offer to babysit a child while the single mother takes some time off for herself. Whatever it is you decide to do, let us all support and encourage the righteous single mother, since she carries at least twice the responsibilities with only half the manpower (or should we say worn womanpower)

By Salma Sanwari
islamweb.net
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