A late Ramadan and Eid Mubarak to everyone!
It's been extremely busy here with my family, Ramadan is always busy, but throw in another grand baby and life is flat out hectic! First, we made the travel from Riyadh to Al Baha to stay at our 'family home' with our inlaws (basically a large house with 6 apartments for each married child). I had to do a mad cleaning because it was musty and weird walking into the apartment for the first time in 6 months, I wont lie, I was on the lookout for lizards and scorpions, but I also wanted the place to be really tidy because I brought my 1 month old. Upon cleaning I found black mold (Al Baha is a cooler, damper area) which was lovely so we had to deal with that. Once the house was in good shape Ramadan started.
This year I fasted, I'm typically of the notion that I can hold off fasting while I'm breastfeeding a newborn, but as I'm tandem feeding and not worrying about supply issues, I decided to fast. The first week was really hard, it usually is, but more so because I was feeding two around the clock. My husband then came up with the brilliant idea to change our sleep pattern so that we woke up after Asr. Not a bad idea, until I started to get really depressed two weeks later. Surprise! No sunlight IS bad for you. So I was lazy, unproductive, and depressed for the most of this Ramadan.
Having a newborn didn't help, having everyone want to take my newborn away and give me a break made me crazy. I'm grateful that they wanted to help, it takes a village, but come on THIS one just left my body. I'm not ready for a break! I did let them take my toddler, and she emerged from her serious sibling jealousy and reveled in all the attention she got. I'm so thankful for that, because it had been 4-6 weeks of screaming and nearly biting the new baby that I was dealing with ALONE in Riyadh. Glad it's over. Glad my children love each other, now.
Now Ramadan is over and I'm reflecting. Not only did I achieve NOTHING (not unexpected, I achieved nothing after the birth of my first before Ramadan 2012) but I barely scraped by as a person. I wasn't myself, I certainly wasn't at the height of my Iman. I was pissy. I was stubborn and unwilling to participate in nearly everything due to child exhaustion and fasting. I, yet again, did not finish the Quran. On Eid I woke up feverish and with the first ear infection I'd had since 6th grade- but I wasn't bummed. I didn't feel like I was in a celebratory mood! I didn't have a Ramadan! I DID fast, but what is fasting when your heart just isn't in it? Half of me thinks I just don't want to end up with 90 days of incomplete fasts or something. I'm being very candid here because I know I'm not alone in this, and I need to be truthful to myself if I'm going to fix it.
My best Ramadans were after I married my husband, he was living in Saudi Arabia and I was living in my own apartment. I was working, I was out of school, and it was summer. It was beautiful, the days were very long (17ish hours for me), but I felt a sense of fulfillment by the time I broke fast (which is why I will never sleep through a day of Ramadan AGAIN). I was reading Quran and perfecting how to pray every day, by night I was sharing Ramadan treats with my Iraqi neighbors upstairs and finishing my nights with long bubble baths and even longer prayers.
So, looking back, I knew how to do it once! What ruined Ramadan?
The hectic schedule of new motherhood.
Breastfeeding calories, or lack of, making me starve to death.
Still being relatively new to Saudi Arabia, not feeling at home.
Learning to 'navigate' worship and fasting around my husband and kids.
Saudi cultural foods overfilling me and making me lethargic.
SLEEPING by day (worst idea EVER).
Being sleep deprived because of sleep change and new baby, not waking for prayers.
I'm guilty of all of it this year, which is why even if I pop out a new baby next year or I'm breastfeeding 10 I'm still going to try to tweak Ramadan to make it better.
My GOALS or things to remember for next year which I didn't do this year are:
- Don't mess with the sleep pattern. I'm not cheating my fasts, it's not any shorter. It's not better for me. I basically hurt myself by not going outside and seeing daylight for a full month with is just STUPID.
- With that changed, making my own food and bringing it to the giant family iftar will ensure I eat what I want, or what I should be eating so I can avoid getting sick or gaining too much weight. (I overate almost every night).
- I'm going to try to include my kids in my worship as much as possible, the idea of having alone time between me and Allah was spoiled by the very blessing of the kids he gave me so I might as well embrace it and learn to deal with it. God knows it's going to be like this for the next 10 or 15 years anyway.
- Focus on prayer. Praying on time will keep me on track.
- I WILL decorate and get myself in the mood for Ramadan, which I fooled myself into thinking I had time for this year.
Inshallah next year will be better. I know it will be, the kids will be that much older, I will have grown more comfortable with where I am and as long as I'm not making stupid mistakes I'm sure I'll make the most of it.
Now to prepare for my sister in law's wedding tomorrow!