As I have stated before, I NEVER thought I’d ever be in the Dream program because realistically, I feel the intensity of the program is too much for a mother whose main responsibility is raising living beings. My husband, being a man albeit a father too, thought, why not, she can do it, she has the mental capacity and interest, why not? He was the one who told me to apply and I didn’t make him sign a contract, But I asked him,
“What about the kids’ homeschooling?”
“It’s going to be full full time. You know what the schedule is like right?”
He knew. He was ready to be fully supportive.
Ok. So bypassing all the incidents and situations that would have made it harder, I’ll just say, Allah made it really easy alhamdulillah.
He is fully supportive (note present tense), and I’m on ‘let-it-go’ mode where I ignore to the best of my ability the state of the house, the state of the kids’ learning, and let me elaborate on that. I have been homeschooling ever since my oldest (turning 18 this year in sha Allah) was in preschool. I’m a stickler for organization and structure even though I was never in complete control of it all the time. I go crazy without schedule. I ran a tight ship. I taught the kids what people here call Qaidah Nooraniyah (I use the Malaysian IQRA 6 volume series, and I prefer it provided the one teaching is well versed in tajweed application). My youngest, turning 8 in sha Allah this year, just ‘graduated’ to reading Quran. However, I never finished doing the pre-Quran parts with him because Bayyinah started and so he has been going to the Quran class at the masjid. I checked him once in a while to see if he got the tajweed parts down, and…..
let’s just say that this is one of those moments where I had to take deep breaths, really calm down and tell myself,
“Let it go, let it go. Breathe in, breathe out.”
I did a better job with the older three because I wasn’t doing anything else when I was raising them at that age.
So you know what I feel as a mother while doing Dream?
Guilt. Pleasure. Excitement. Gratitude.
Guilt at times when I feel like the kids are being neglected. My only consolation is that they’re in Allah’s hands and that I can only do so much by what I had meticulously planned before Dream in preparation for Dream, and now it’s time to leave it in His hands. And if I think about it, actually, they’re doing pretty good and it has nothing to do with me, it’s all Allah. I mean, of course, it has always been Allah, but in this situation now, Allah is showing me how it has really always been Him. So Juli, it’s not you. It’s Him, maybe through you, but let it go, when Allah puts barakah, you ain’t got nothin’ to worry about.
Pleasure because I LOVE learning. I LOVE studying. I LOVE the feeling of discovery. I LOVE Quran. I now LOVE Arabic.
Excitement because everyday is a day to learn new things. Did I say I LOVE learning? Yeah….that.
Gratitude because Allah has made it really easy. I could make a list and it would never end. You can’t count the blessings Allah has given you. Hubby is supportive. Kids are supportive. Allah has also enabled me to do things really fast, pick up things quickly, finish things quickly, and have a calmer state of mind than I was before I was in Dream. Yeah. GRATITUDE is my biggest take away from my life experiences so far. GRAT!
However, let us not forget that the nature of the rigor required in the Dream program, is generally not for mothers. Yup, I said it. And fathers for that matter. That doesn’t mean fathers and mothers cannot do the program. They can, oh yes they can, but just realize that you have a lot on your plate. Be realistic about what you can handle. Have help, and when I say have help, just having the other spouse as your only help may not be enough. Sure, when Allah helps you, anything is possible, so like in any decision you make, do your istishaarah and istikhaarah. I have older kids, teenagers, so it’s not just my husband. Even then, it can get hard. Sure, everyone’s situation is different, hence the istikharah. There is no generic one-fits-all advice.
You go to class 6 days a week, even Sundays. You are in class from 8 am – 3 pm Sunday to Thursday, and you have exams every week on Friday, 8-11 am. You have the rest of Friday off and all of Saturday, but in reality it’s actually just 24 hours and maybe a bit more off, because you have to prepare for the next week’s stuff on any of those hours that you’re off. Class may end at 3 pm, but you have homework everyday except Thursday (because you have to study everything you learned that week for the Friday exam!). Doing the homework may take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on how well you understand the material and how long you naturally take to do your work, and oh yes, as parents, it will also depend on if your kids let you do your homework in peace. Yup.
So, you have to juggle your responsibilities as a wife and mother and maybe daughter (as if that’s not already hard enough without doing Dream). This is not considering that your children will get sick in Dallas. In Dallas, as I’m finding out, it’s one sickness after another. Stress. Busy schedule. Big city. Perfect combo for sickness upon sickness.
Then, you have to ask yourself, why do you want to do Dream?
Before Dream, I was actively learning the deen too, but on a part time basis, which is more realistic, as a mother. A homeschooling mother at that. At least I was home all the time. Yes, I may not be physically or mentally present too, even if I’m at home, but at least I’m home when they need me. I juggled their homeschooling and house chores while also learning online. I took Al Huda part time and it went on for 4 years. I finished Alhamdulillah. I still homeschooled the kids.
I’ve always imagined doing something part time as I did before Dream, and I never imagined or even considered doing Dream because as I said, the schedule is not for mothers. I thought of doing Access actually. But Allah gave me Dream. Alhamdulillah. There has to be a reason.
The zakaat of learning weighs heavily on me. As a mother, I feel deficient and I admit that this thinking itself is deficient. As a mother, I can’t give back the way a single person can. However, as a mother, my way of giving back is different. However, being in an environment where most people are not mothers, you do feel the pressure of doing what is expected of a Dream student (at least as how I see it). So it becomes a matter of mind over matter where you have to strengthen yourself emotionally and mentally and tell yourself over and over again to look at things differently. I guess this in itself is Allah’s gift in that it is a catalyst for growth for me. I truly see it as a growth process. Allah puts you in certain situation and tests you, and you have to come out of it somehow, right? As a result, you grow.
After Dream, at least right now, it feel hard to go do something part time again. You feel like you’re not doing enough. After Dream, going back to my life before is a challenge in itself. I love my schedule before Dream. I feel it’s more realistic. But, Allah has given me this and it’s a growth potential so somehow I have to make my way through this somehow, and I trust Him in that it’s all good. Show me what to do Ya Rabb. Make me feel at peace with whatever it is. Give me that balance that I struggle to attain everyday. Put barakah in my effort and please help me purify my intention and give me taufeeq to refresh my intention everyday. Make my children of those whom you are pleased with and make us all of ahlal Quran. Ameen.
Of course there is more.
Some days, I’m battling things in my heart. Some days, it’s external battles but I struggle to keep my mouth shut and I exercise mental power so it doesn’t open. I know I fail some days.
I’ve always wanted Dream for my kids. I never wanted it for myself. But as it turns out, I’m the one doing it first. I expect the kids to follow suit. Now seriously, it would have been more realistic for them to do it now, than me, because as it turns out, I’m the one going to class everyday and they have to do the cooking and taking care of Z. It’s supposed to be my job, right? Allah’s wisdom. Maybe I’m the way-paver. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to be and the reward is meant to be given through that way. Whatever it is, alhamdulillah.
I’m not complaining. I love this. But guilt is what gets me. Because my children are my responsibility. The good thing about the pace of Dream is that it doesn’t give you that much time to dwell on your negative thoughts (if you let it, it will, but then you’ll be having trouble with your studies, so, common sense says, don’t dwell on your negative thoughts). I’m literally training myself to be positive and fight the negativities with positives, even when they seem illogical sometimes.
So, would I recommend mothers to do Dream?
I don’t know.
You are the best judge of your own situation and strengths and weaknesses. Istikharah is the key. Tawakkul is the key.
If Allah puts you in it, embrace it wholeheartedly, even when it gets hard. And it will get hard.
If Allah gives you something else, Dream is not the only thing out there. And maybe, it isn’t the right time.
I didn’t want it. Not for myself anyway. Allah gave it to me.
So really, I don’t know.
On that note, as a mother, I will say that sometimes, people think that just because you’re a mom, you can’t do many things. And some people will give you grief if you choose to (while being a mom) do something deen related but will praise and support you to no end if you choose to pursue a career or higher secular studies. That stuff, chuck it. You have to know what you want and why you want it, don’t listen to those wagging tongues.
However, if you’re limiting yourself BECAUSE you’re a mother, meaning, you say that you’re too old to learn, you’ve left the world of studying for so long that you can’t bring yourself to study again, then I will say, don’t do that to yourself. Learn. Part time. Consistently. Take it seriously. An educated mother is an educated mother. I love studying so it’s easy for me to say, but it saddens me to see some mothers limiting themselves in this regard. We CAN do it. It doesn’t have to be full time. It just needs to be consistent.
Don’t say you’re too old to learn. You’re just insulting yourself.
And yet, there will be those mothers who may not be learned people, but Allah has reserved for them immense reward and station that may even exceed those mothers who are actively learning. Never look down on anyone. We are all struggling not against each other, but against our own nafs.
Each of us has been decreed a place. We can only ask that it be good, whatever it is.
I had to write this. My mind had a blockage and I knew I had to write this all out. That was the علّة for this post. And now, I will continue practicing for the Reader’s Final. Bismillah…
Oh…almost forgot to put this disclaimer:-
The question, “I’m a mommy, should I do Dream?” if answered by a current Dream momma might be different if you ask her after she’s done with Dream. So for documentation purposes, this is what I say right now. The answer might or might not change after I’m in sha Allah done with the program. Hence the ‘During’ in the title.