Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stay-at-home-mom

Remember some time back, i wrote a post on Dream Big. This time around we spoke on women. On men being the bread-winner of the family while women being t he nurturer.

My brother pointed out that, no doubt that reason being for women to go out and work basically is to help support the family financially but have we ever given this a thought?

""The French Economic Philosopher, Jules Simon said, Women have started to work in Textile factories and printing presses etc... The government is employing them in factories, where they can earn a few francs. But on the other hand, this has totally destroyed the bases of family life. Yes, the husband may benefit from his wife's earnings, but apart from that, his earnings have decreased because now he is competing with her for work." (The Muslim Woman, Dr. Muhammad Ali Al Hashimi, p. 446) The famous English Writer, Anna Ward said, "I wish that our country was like the lands of the Muslims, where modesty, chastity and purity are like a garment...it is a source of shame for England that we make our daughters examples of promiscuity by mixing so much with men. Why do we not try to persue that which makes a girl do work which agrees with her natural temperament, by staying at home, and leaving men's work to men, to keep their honor safe?" (The Muslim Woman, Dr. Muhammad Ali Al Hashimi, p. 447). "

From the above article, it points out that...if women were to stay home, wouldn't that create more work opportunity for men. Men need not compete with millions of women in this world to get a job. And with less work force, a person would hold more responsibilities / job scope in an organisation which wont it automatically means bigger wage? Say, instead of having 20 staff (men and women) in a company, we now only have 13 staff (all men). Work responsibilities for the 13 men would increase and the profit of the company would be devided by 13 instead of 20. Won't that means, the men bringing bigger income home? In a way, the more women working, the higher the competition becomes for men to get a job. It creates competition

Yes, some would not agree with this. I personally not suprised that people disagree with this. Afterall, as a stay-at-home-mom i always get those kind of look "ohh...dok rumah". but the article further elaborate;

On a personal level, while I know that many women will not admit it, but the actions of the Western woman speak volumes. They really do believe that it is better for a woman to stay home than to work. Notice that women with husbands in the upper income level rarely work, especially if she has children. My sister in law and my brother have been married for over ten years. She refuses, to this day, to have children because my brother can not afford to fully support her and her children in the style to which they have become accustomed, unless she also works. She refuses to be a working mother and is constantly pointing out her sister who is more successful because she was able to leave her job when she became pregnant.

All this proves one basic point, that since Islam is the religion of Allah, and No one Knows better than Allah how to safeguard the dignity, honor and success of the woman, the way he has chosen for us is the best, and we have the West to thank for proving this to us.

People look down when I said I'm a stay-at-home-mom, someone even questioned me.."why bother go to university then? might as well save that space for someone else" In a way she saying that, if I did not enroll into uni, someone with lesser qualification could have entered using up my slot. I was of coz offended by this statement. Islam never stop us from gaining knowledge

During the Gulf War, a Western reporter interviewed a Saudi woman. The reporter, trying to make her feel inferior, asked her, "Doesn't it bother you that you are not able to go and get a job as a waitress, if you wanted to?" This woman, may Allah bless her, answered, "Are you joking? I am a woman with maids and servants, why would I want to lower myself to such a task." Think about it, the job of waitress is a glorified servant. No woman actually aspires to it, most are forced to do it because there is nothing better for them. And, many of these waitresses are nothing more than cheap entertainment for men. When questioned about not being able to drive, Saudi women point out that having a driver is a luxury that most Westerners aspire to, why is it a humiliation only for Muslim women? In the same vein, the Western woman hopes for the ability to be a stay-at-home mother. It is a status symbol, yet they try to make us feel inferior for making that choice the most common and preferred one. The West loves to make us feel inferior due to our choices, yet given the same choices, they look to reach what we have. Allah keep us from following their example and make us an example for them. Western society has made the stay at home mother so ashamed of her role in society that a movement was actually needed to make the housewife feel more fulfilled. It became necessary to have a media campaign that educated American women about the fact that being a mother was just as valid a choice for a woman as being a working member of society. Think about it. I have read articles that say that the American woman was fooled into thinking she could have it all. Magazine after magazine talks about the failure of "quality time" with children. Children do not need quality time, they need a physical presence that will guide and mold them, and that presence is not a babysitter who really does not care about the values she instills.

sorry lar if menimbulkn controversi di sini...
those who would like to read further on the article i paste above, u may leave ur email here

*** updated:

Anonymous said...
Not everyone have the opportunity to be a stay at home mummy. My mum was a single mother and this option was never hers. I bet alot of other working mommies goes to work early in the morning with the intention of ensuring their children gets the best of education and life. while youre posting this to give satisfaction to urself as u point out people looking down on SAHM, I think you have offended a lot of working mum. :(

Anonymous:
Yes, i understand well, not everyone has the opportunity. I'm sorry to hear that your mom has to raise u and ur sibling all by herself. And al-hamdulillah she managed to do so. However I think I should have paste the whole article as the article has answer to such situation similar to yours. As in Islam, if we were to follow secara menyeluruh, it has the answer to this. In fact, you can read my post of Kutipan and Agihan Zakat, how much i expressed my dissapointment on it. By right your mom should have benefit from the zakat. I clearly read the statistic from the zakat website that said in Wilayah Perseketuan jer they had remaining of RM48 JUTA not being distributed. That is in year 2007 jer...blum campur kire tahun2 lain.

anyway, to further elaborate...here's the rest of the article:

The role of the woman is balanced but fair. She has been removed from the burden of supporting herself. This responsibility was given to the men in her life, her father and her brothers and even on the government, if the other two are not available. If she does not want to work, she does not have to. She is free to spend her time raising her children and tending to her family, social and religious life. However, if she wants to work, she is not forbidden to do so. She is encouraged to educate herself and to know her Lord, so that she can educate her children. She is discouraged from leaving her children without guidance and example. She is given the most honorable and important job in the universe, she is encouraged to be a mother.

I once had a conversation with some non-Muslims. I gave them an example: Suppose you were an alien visitor. You come to this society and view a family unit. You notice that one of them is completely cared for. The second person goes out every morning bright and early to spend the day working and earning money. This person may have a job that is intellectually stimulating, but often it is a job that requires strong physical labor. This tired worker returns to his home with offerings of food, clothing and shelter for this other mate, who has spent her time in her home, cleaning, cooking, playing with and educating children, maybe taking a break for shopping or going to the park (because her duties give her the time and luxury of doing so). Normally, the full salary of the worker goes towards maintaining this mate who stays home. Now, looking to this, which do you think is the superior one? Which is the queen and which is the servant? While we know that cooking, cleaning and caring for and educating children is a difficult job, in the long run, it is miles easier than working on the outside. We have more leisurely time, and the rewards go beyond monetary compensation. Most women, who have the choice, would never give up staying at home for going out to work.

During the Gulf War, a Western reporter interviewed a Saudi woman. The reporter, trying to make her feel inferior, asked her, "Doesn't it bother you that you are not able to go and get a job as a waitress, if you wanted to?" This woman, may Allah bless her, answered, "Are you joking? I am a woman with maids and servants, why would I want to lower myself to such a task." Think about it, the job of waitress is a glorified servant. No woman actually aspires to it, most are forced to do it because there is nothing better for them. And, many of these waitresses are nothing more than cheap entertainment for men. When questioned about not being able to drive, Saudi women point out that having a driver is a luxury that most Westerners aspire to, why is it a humiliation only for Muslim women? In the same vein, the Western woman hopes for the ability to be a stay-at-home mother. It is a status symbol, yet they try to make us feel inferior for making that choice the most common and preferred one. The West loves to make us feel inferior due to our choices, yet given the same choices, they look to reach what we have. Allah keep us from following their example and make us an example for them.

Western society has made the stay at home mother so ashamed of her role in society that a movement was actually needed to make the housewife feel more fulfilled. It became necessary to have a media campaign that educated American women about the fact that being a mother was just as valid a choice for a woman as being a working member of society. Think about it. I have read articles that say that the American woman was fooled into thinking she could have it all. Magazine after magazine talks about the failure of "quality time" with children. Children do not need quality time, they need a physical presence that will guide and mold them, and that presence is not a babysitter who really does not care about the values she instills.

We are told by Allah to save ourselves and our family from a fire that is fueled by men and stones (66:6). How are we going to do that if we allow someone else to raise them? How are we going to educate our children by giving them to strangers? We have a great responsibility that we will be questioned about. We should not allow the failure of the West to change us from our basic nature. In Feminist literature, the woman's language is defined as nurturing. Feminist philosophers state that a woman's style is nurturing. Allah created us in a fashion that makes us the perfect nurturer, so why do we reject that nature in search of some illusive goal of accomplishment?

While a woman has been granted the right to leave her home for her needs, (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 318), Rasool Allah told us that the best place for us is at home. There, we are free from fitnah and harassment. Look to the women of the West, the capital of women workers. They are constantly complaining that they are underpaid, overworked, they have the home duties still as well as the duties and demands of their jobs. They are over-worked and over stressed. Their families have suffered as they have. Too many of their children are promiscuous, addicted and morally bankrupt. They have so little respect for each other that many of the parents end up in nursing homes the minute they get old. Those who don't, end up fending for themselves late into their elderly years, years that should be spent enjoying the fruits of their labor, children who love, honor and respect them while caring for their every need. This is Islam. We raise our children with the values of wanting to take care of us later. My teacher once told a lady who came to him for advice that she needs to instill better values in her kids, that they should help her now that they are older. He said, if we are raising children with no sense of responsibility, it is better to raise sheep, at least you can benefit from their meat.

Our children are our responsibility. Our husbands are our leaders as well as our partners. Our parents are our trust. We can not neglect any of these duties in the search for fulfillment. If we follow our fitrah (basic nature) we will find fulfillment in these tasks. The woman can work. The woman can be a doctor or lawyer or engineer. She has the mental capacity to do so and the physical abilities. However, she is better suited to be a mother, a wife, a
daughter. She does not have to go out and sell her services, and if necessity does not force her to, she shouldn't.

Narrated 'Abdullah: Allah's Apostle said, "Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and children and is responsible for them; a slave ('Abu) is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges." Volume 3, Book 46, Number 730.

Our responsibility is our husband's home and children, which are also our home and children. The rights of Allah come first. So, we must tend to this responsibility before any other. The man is responsible for us financially, even if he has to work two or more jobs to fulfill this task. If the woman wants to help him, she may, but she can not neglect her duties to do so. Allah will question her about her home and children, she will not be asked about her personal fulfillment or her maintenance of her family (unless there is no one else to do it). The woman must do her best to be a great wife and mother. This is number one. After this, there is permissibility.


No one claims that a woman can not do many jobs, but the reality exists that while a man can be the nurturer in a home, no one is better suited for this than the woman. She has been benefited by hormones which make her more patient, a temperament that makes her more nurturing, and a gentleness that makes her a better mother. There exist the aberrant Susan Smiths of the world who harm their children, but the reality is that when we hear about such horrible crimes, we are shocked because it is not normal. We know how mothers are with their children, from the human to the bird who will peck the hair off anyone who dares to harm her children. Allah gave us an honorable duty and the tools to fulfil it. Alhamdulillah for the blessings of Allah.


May Allah protect the women of Islam. May Allah guide the women of Islam.


May Allah protect our society through the women of Islam. Ameen.


Taken from: http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=497&

More articles from the author: http://www.islamicawakening.com/authors.php?authorlist=5&

Wallahua'lam



18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not everyone have the opportunity to be a stay at home mummy. My mum was a single mother and this option was never hers. I bet alot of other working mommies goes to work early in the morning with the intention of ensuring their children gets the best of education and life.

while youre posting this to give satisfaction to urself as u point out people looking down on SAHM, I think you have offended a lot of working mum. :(

-hanum- said...

Salam,

Walaupun saya bekerja, saya yakin, apa yg terbaik bg seorang perempuan yg telah bersuami dan mempunyai anak adalah menjadi suri rumah tangga sepenuh masa.

Menjadi suri rumah tangga sepenuh masa, merupakan pekerjaan yg sangat-sangat mulia!

Mempunyai masa, tenaga dan minda yg lapang adalah criteria yg diperlukan utk melayan suami dan anak2 sepenuh masa. Dan ini tidak dapat dilakukan jika anda bekerja makan gaji, 8am-5pm.

Saya agak terkejut bila ada org yg pandang rendah stay-at-home-mom? Bagi saya yg bekerja ni, saya yg rasa rendah diri sbb tak dapat bagi sepenuh masa dan perhatian saya pd suami dan anak.

Tapi, dalam keadaan saya yg serba kekurangan ini, yg terbaik adalah berdoa banyak2 agar Allah membantu saya dlm setiap proses hidup saya. Kerana, tidak boleh juga jika kita katakan, bila kita ada sepenuh masa dgn keluarga, apa yg baik berlaku di dalam keluarga kita tu, adalah disebakan usaha dan masa yg kita telah berikan. Boleh lari Aqidah wooo! Segala-galanya Allah yg izinkan dan Allah yg tetapkan.

Sebagai manusia, kita perlu berdoa dan lakukan yg terbik yg kita mampu lakukan.

;)

To Munirah, I'm happy to know that you are a very proud Stay-At-Home-Mom!! Keep it up!!

adaho said...

i feel u...always got the 'LOOK' whenever i mentioned that im a stay at home mom...its like them sayin im a no-brainer,n thats y im aint working...haishh...

Hida Naza said...

salam munirah
all this while, I’m your silent reader. Currently, I’m working and always envy that you can have your precious time with your bundle of joy..So, trust me. i believed, there are many other like me..hehe

mOmmy of Triplets plus One said...

thanks for the comments...i have updated my post to elaborate further...

i have not the slightest intention to offend anyone...

Ame O. said...

my co-workers said "if you can afford to be a SAHM when your baby is born, do it!" So I quit my job after I 'passed' my 1st trimester. some of my friends asked and wondered what the heck I do with my free time now that I no longer work. well, for instance, i just don't sit and sleep and eat all day. i do house chores, cook and clean for my husband, read (finally!), and enjoy my pregnancy. this is our 1st baby and we're both already 28! i worked for 4 years after i graduated college, had fun earning my own money and now i'm more than certain to leave that life behind. just for a little while until they're big enough to be placed in kindergarten. then i'll go back to work. so yes, i have my respect for SAHMs as much as i have my respect for working moms. i never wasted my degree or money or space for someone else whom perhaps less fortunate and qualification, i earned the place in college so i won't feel bad and neither should you.

to those who think they can do both at the same time, by all means, go for it and good for you. people shouldn't look down at neither SAHMs nor working moms. both of these have their own privileges.

so i'm not offended by this article munirah. it's indeed a great reading piece. p.s. i guess i just scribbled this with no real point.

-hanum- said...

Salam,

Melihat drpd pelbagai perspektif yg berbeza, SAHM adalah sesuatu yg IDEAL bg sesetangah org dan juga sesuatu yg REALISTIK bg sesetengah org.

Ada org yg bekerja atas dasar utk membesarkan anak yg kelaparan. Jadi pada dia, yg penting anak dia hidup, cukup makan. Other stuff such as value cultivation, biar Allah je yg bantu.

Ada org yg bekerja sbb nak bayar hutang biayaan pembelajaran dia di Universiti. I salah sorang lah ni!

Ada org yg bekerja untuk membantu mak bapak dia yg dah pencen dan tak cukup wang.


Memang benar jika semua org lelaki menjadi bertanggungjawab dan sanggup utk memikul amanah mencari rezeki utk isteri, anak-anak, dan mungkin juga utk maknye yg telah kematian suami dan adik perempuannya yg masih belum berkahwin, semua perempuan boleh jadi SAHM. Lagi mudah kalau kerajaan menjadi effective dan prihatin dgn membantu meringankan beban si lelaki tadi dgn memberi zakat/hasil cukai rakyat kepada si emak dan si adik lelaki tadi.

Dalam realiti hari ini, kita masih perlu berdoa dan berusaha utk menyedarkan kerajaan kita utk lebih prihatin dlm membelanjakan duit rakyat dgn lebih bijaksana dan memikirkan nasib golongan2 di atas lebih terbela.

Tetapi, jika kita mempunyai keupayaan utk menjadi SAHM, bagaimana pulak dgn pekerjaan2 yg sepatutnya dimonopoli oleh kaum perempuan? Contohnye gynaecologist, oncologist specializing in breast cancer, servical cancer, cikgu2 yg akan mendidik anak kita di sekolah tadika/rendah/menengah/universiti, pembantu2 rumah perempuan yg kita ambil untuk membantu kita menguruskan rumah walaupun kita tidak bekerja?

Munirah, I do not mean to disagree with you. I have declared myself openly that I'm also aiming to be a SAHM one day. If I can't, I hope Nisa' will be!

I bukan nak berdebat, I nak berbincang. Perbezaan pendapat itu kan satu rahmat?

;)

So, what do you think?

Mak Ammar said...

Proud to be STAY-AT-HOME-MOM!!
I can be a bisnezwoman! chef at home! Photographer! manager at home!..sumer pun boleh.. hehe

biasanya nyee stay at home mom ni kreatifnyeee luar biasaa!! hheheh

Do support stay-at-home-mom!!

Zuhaini said...

erm.. ntah la eh.. no komen, bole..? :)

Lily Ann said...

I am a stay at home mother. I can tell you that it takes more work, physically, mentally, and emotionally to actually stay at home and see to it that the children are raised up properly, dressed, fed, groomed, educated (I do homeschool) and happy. Compare that to sending them to public school and to day care while you work. That time spent with your children is priceless. How much would you sell them for. Don't be rediculus you wouldn't. Then why leave them all day for a few dollars?

mOmmy of Triplets plus One said...

well, the article does not stops women from going to work as it clearly stated in it

"The woman must do her best to be a great wife and mother. This is number one. After this, there is permissibility.
No one claims that a woman can not do many jobs..."

" However, if she wants to work, she is not forbidden to do so. She is encouraged to educate herself and to know her Lord, so that she can educate her children. She is discouraged from leaving her children without guidance and example. She is given the most honorable and important job in the universe, she is encouraged to be a mother. "

there are few things that we can derived from the article;

-how ironic it is actually, some women are left with no choice but to work for double income..but the article pointed out that by having more women as workforce, it increases the job competition, less work opportunity.

in short, less women work = less workforce = bigger responsibility per person (men) = bigger wage for men = thus there's no need of double income
(just like i mentioned in the 4th paragraph of my post)

-the article also mentioned that Rasulullah said the best place for a women is home coz a place free from fitnah and harassment, from here we can see that we should avoid jobs that does not segregate men and women.

thus jobs like teachers, doctors (like hanum mentioned) and all are perfectly fine as it does not has open interaction between men and women that could lead to fitnah.

the above has been acknowledge by a non-muslim when she wrote in the article

"The famous English Writer, Anna Ward said, "I wish that our country was like the lands of the Muslims, where modesty, chastity and purity are like a garment...it is a source of shame for England that we make our daughters examples of promiscuity by mixing so much with men. Why do we not try to persue that which makes a girl do work which agrees with her natural temperament, by staying at home, and leaving men's work to men, to keep their honor safe?"

but at the end of the day, the circumstances now is different from one person to the other. so no one is right or wrong.

thus we should not be looking down at a person regardless she's working or not.

wallahu'alam

Mrs Imran said...

I have no idea, why suddenly this entry surface..

But, I have no objection towards being a SAHM and working mum. I've been working for about 6 years and I'm always aiming to be a SAHM in the future.

Education that we get from Uni or high school does not solely for securing a job only, so don't get the idea wrong. Knowledge is huge, do not be so narrow. Working at home also requires skill and knowledge.

For me life is short. I would like to do everything that I love to do and get it done while am still can. And I don't think I can do that if I'm still working as a full time engineer.

So, Munirah...just wanna let u know that I always envy your lifestyle and how you could spend most of your times with your children.

you-know-me said...

Hi Munirah, read this with open heart :) I dont mean to create issues, but just sharing the experience of my very own mother.

Our father died when we were all very young. I was only 3, my youngest sister was 7 months. My mom was a SAHM, all of her life she devoted to her family since she got married to my father. After our father left, my mom had nothing to rely on, except for of course some insurance, houses and other assets as alhamdulillah, my father was doing well in his career.

But everyone knows money decreases, and after he left it took years for mom to get her shares, as the assets are all under my father's name (govt issue). Even mom's name was under his will, it did not help much. Her families didn't bother to help as they have their own families to look up to too.

So like it or not, mom got to work. Raising 4 small children alone wasnt easy.

I shall not bore you with the rest, as said the rest is history.

What I'm trying to say here, it's not an issue of working mom or stay-at-home-mom. I guess nobody should brought that issue up. If anyone did, it's their lost.

If the working mom is able to balance her career and family, why not? If the SAHM is able to gain some money while staying home, again why not?

But whether anyone like it or not, in my humble opinion women must earn money no matter what, and how.

If you're a SAHM and your husband is doing well to support the whole family, then make sure he provide you some allowance for saving purposes. Of course that allowance shouldn't be used for shopping, or any other purpose for that matter. Shopping allowance is another allocation. If the husband cannot fulfill that (yet), by all means, do some work. It doesn't have to be fulltime that you would neglect your kids, an extra income earning from home will do.

We will never know what will happen in the future. If we're lucky today we're still unsure if we could stay lucky tomorrow.

Drama Mama said...

In my opinion, both is acceptable. You can be a SAHM if you can afford it, and you can be a working mom if your husband allows it. After all, it is permissible in Islam.

Working women will hafta take extra precaution to avoid fitnah from surfacing. Of course if her nawaitu for working is sincere and good enough like for example a teacher who wants to help in educating and improving the life of the Muslim society, and she always have faith in Allah to take care of her well-being when she's outside home, then why not working?

At the same time, if you can afford to be a SAHM and give all out in taking care of your childrens, cook, clean and do everything for your hubby, then go for it.

Anyway, my point is that it all depends on our own situation because each of our life differs from one another. And most important thing is nawaitu, and of coz permission from your husband in anything you wanna do.

We just hafta remember that we are no better than the person next to us, cause all of us were made from the same thing : TANAH. And it's not the fact whether you're an architect or SAHM that will help us later in the hereafter, but our good deeds.

So just do what you do best, and always set the nawaitu right. :-D

mOmmy of Triplets plus One said...

you-know-me:
dear, i have all my respect to ur mom for raising u n ur siblings all by herself.

yes, you are right...we never know wats our future like, so its better to have saving for tomorrow.

and al-fatihah to ur arwah father

ummi sa'eed said...

heh...dok baca dan tak tahan nak post.

I agree with most of the post. My take? To each is own. You have a choice and whatever that may be, would be the best choice in your current situation. Some moms can afford to be a SAHM (all the better), but some moms can't afford to depending on their situation.

But I disagree on the point saying that if women does not work, it would create bigger wage for the men folk. If you take out the women, common sense tells you that the workforce will shrink, and the responsibility will increase.

What it doesn't tell you is how the businesses will react. Will they increase their workers wages with the increased responsibility? I doubt it...unless you climb in rank. Even now, companies are not functioning full strength yet the wages are the same. Fresh grads are expected to buck up and do a senior exec's work without that extra wage.

Also, for some work, the warm bodies filling up the position counts. For example, if your work is in an assembly line with certain processes in place and it takes 5 people to do it. If initially 2 women are involved in the job and they leave, the 2 spots still needs to be filled before the job can get done. Doesn't mean the other 3 will get the 2 woman's salary between them.

But yes, even though it may seem oppressive, the home is the best place for a women. Especially now where there are numerous cases of snatch thefts, rape etc of women.

NM said...

err this is just my curiosity.
are u trying to justify why u are not working? yes? no? maybe?

nina said...

IMHO, everyone should be respected. Whether you're a SAHM or a FTWM. Women should have the opportunity to choose what they want to do. If she wants to be a SAHM, then by all means, she should and should be respected for it. If she wants to be a FTWM, it's the same thing and shouldn't be seen as shirking from her responsibilities as a mother.

You might feel that being a SAHM, you feel like people are looking down on you, but have you ever thought what the other half feel. A FTWM's on the other hand might feel that they are being judged for not trying hard enough to be there for her children because she is torn between her work and her children.

On another note, I notice that you write a lot about being a SAHM. Which makes me wonder, are you trying to defend your decision because subconciously you are insecure about being a SAHM. I think it is wonderful that you choose to be with your children and you shouldn't work too hard in standing up for your decision because at the end of the day a mother's priority is always her family and children thus i fear if you work too hard to defend your decision you might be stepping on a FTWM's toes. Just bask in the joy of getting to see your children growing up in front of you.