Fasting, Working and being a Mama
I still remember my first day of Ramadan last year. I was a little nervous to be honest; it was my first time fasting as a working mother. I had missed fasting the two previous years because I was pregnant one year and breastfeeding the next, both reasons which exempt (I’m not sure if exempt is the right word, we are allowed not to fast but need to make up for it another time when we are capable of fasting) Muslims from fasting. So there I was, fasting with two demanding toddlers and a start up to run and I must say it felt and still feels incredibly good.
Yes, I did miss my coffee very much and yes, seeing my children not finish their food made me more upset than ever before. Yes, I was a little exhausted from running two shifts; my usual 9am-7pm kids, work, home shift and the new 7pm-2am Iftar and Suhoor shift. Yes I could no longer get away with boiling some pasta for dinner as Iftar for my family has always included soup, salad and at least one main dish. But the feeling you get in return is what makes everything absolutely worth it. That feeling of being closer to your religion and feeling so pure spiritually and physically. That feeling of gratefulness because you are constantly reminded that there are people out there who feel this hunger on a daily basis. That feeling of family and bonding as we spend more quality time with our loved ones. That feeling of being able to take a nap without feeling guilty or knowing that your body can actually function without caffeine and finally that feeling of pride and accomplishment every single day at sunset because you managed to fast yet another day.
I’m sure all of us fasting working mothers get asked this a lot – “How do you do it?” Well here’s how I manage to get through the day.
- Nap when they nap! If you are lucky enough to have children who still nap you must take advantage of it. It’s that one-month a year when you can nap guilt free! If your kids no longer nap I am sure you allow them at least 20 minutes of tablet or TV time a day – instead of using that time to take care of chores, nap and run your chores at night instead. If you have fixed working hours and can’t nap throughout the day, take a small nap after Iftar.
- Eat healthy! When you have limited hours a day in which you can eat you tend to choose your food wisely. Yes I do indulge in my cravings in between but for Iftar and Suhoor I try my best to choose healthy, filling food options.
- Stay Hydrated. I can’t stress this point enough! It makes the biggest difference the next day. Even if you end up passing out by 10 pm set your alarm or ask your hubby to wake you up every couple of hours for water.
- Spend more quality time at home. The time between 4 pm and 7 pm when the hunger hits the hardest, I often become clumsy and slow. The good part is that my children don’t mind. So I take advantage of that, cut down on the afternoon meetings or after school activities and spend more quality time with them at home. They even help me prepare Iftar and set the table.
The first couple of days are the hardest especially not having coffee in the morning, but you would be surprised how well our bodies get used to fasting. Besides all the religious and spiritual benefits I tend to feel healthier and happier in Ramadan. I love our late night Suhoors and family Iftars but of course I am also a little bit excited about having my morning coffee in a few weeks again!