Stay at home moms Vs. Working Moms

1 06 2007

momteachingkids.jpgThe debate between working moms and stay at home moms seems to be raging more than ever nowadays. This is especially the case in the Muslim community. Women who work are often seen as inferior to those who stay home. What people fail to realize is that sometimes it really is necessary for the mother to work outside the home. Not every family is going to be able to survive with a single income.

The working moms often view the stay at home moms as lounging around in their pjs all day, eating bon bons, and watching Oprah.The truth is, being a stay at home mom is ALOT of work. Generally speaking, the muslim stay at home mom will be teaching her children as well as tending to the other household chores and preparing meals. Yes, her husband will probably help her (that is if he follows the example of the Prophet Muhammad). Regardless,it is still work. However, The woman who stays home and brings up her children with good manners and education and keeps the household running smoothly will indeed earn a great reward. Also, the stay at home mom won’t have to deal with as much fitnah (trials) compared to the working mom since she will be staying primarily in her home. It is essential for the stay at home mom to have a network of other muslim moms to have get togethers and let the children get some interaction. Otherwise, the children will not know how to act when out in public or when they go to school.

In Islam,the wife is not obligated to work as that responsibility falls on the husband:“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women(4:34) It was narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fear Allaah with regard to women for Allaah has entrusted them to you and intimacy with them has become permissible for you by the word of Allaah. Their rights over you are that you should provide for them and clothe them on a reasonable basis.” Narrated by Muslim, 1218.

Although the muslim woman is not obligated to work, sometimes it is unavoidable. In many cases, the family unit could not survive with one income. Often times, when a muslimah says she works her stay at home counterparts will give a look of disapproval or may even voice their opinions. She is often made to feel inferior or that she is failing somehow. However, we should not be so hasty to judge. We don’t know that family’s situation and isn’t it better for her to go out and work than to beg? Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: The Prophet said, “Allah has forbidden for you, (1) to be undutiful to your mothers, (2) to bury your daughters alive, (3) to not to pay the rights of the others (e.g. charity, etc.) and (4) to beg of men (begging). And Allah has hated for you (1) vain, useless talk, or that you talk too much about others, (2) to ask too many questions, (in disputed religious matters) and (3) to waste the wealth (by extravagance). (Bukhari, Book #41, Hadith #591)


Furthermore, we can see in the time of the Prophet(saw) some women worked as nurses for the wounded. Al-Bukhaari, may Allaah have mercy on him, reported in his Saheeh that Hafsah said: “A woman came and stayed at the fort of Bani Khalaf, and told us about her sister. Her sister’s husband used to go out on military campaigns with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He had been on twelve campaigns, and she (his wife) had accompanied him on six. She said, ‘We used to treat the wounded and take care of the sick…’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no. 313).
There are certain conditions that must be made mention of for the woman working outside the home. First of all, if it is at all possible she should try to schedule her work so that she can be home as much as possible when the kids are there. If that is not possible she should try to find an Islamic daycare center or a Muslim babysitter. Leaving Muslim children in non Muslim child care facilities is an accident waiting to happen. Before you know it, they will be singing christmas carols and painting jack-o-lanterns with the rest of the kids. She should make sure that she is wearing the proper hijab and not mixing with men un-necessarily. She should try to get her husband involved in helping out with the housework. Because, it is hard enough being a working mom or a stay at home mom but trying to do both the jobs with no help will be extremely exhausting.

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An alternative to working outside the home is working inside the home. With the internet and the technology we posess today, Muslim women have a much better chance of establishing their own businesses from home or working for a company from home. This is no longer limited to “stuffing envelopes.” Some examples of working at home are: establishing your own childcare center(this will have to meet state and gov’t standards and you will have to go through the proper procedure and have some training), Opening your own online store(can be risky)medical billing, telemarketing from home, a bookkeeper or accountant for a company or private business, journalism, and translation services just to name a few. This is a great asset to today’s Muslim woman who may wish to have the best of both worlds. You should be cautious however when deciding on an in home job. Innumerous scams are circulating the web and newspaper classified columns. Some tips are: If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Get rich quick schemes are often that just schemes. If the ad says they will need you to send them money to get started then think twice it’s probably a scam. If they ask for your bank acct#, credit card # etc dont’ give it to them, this is probably a scam. I would be willing to take an educated guess and say that most of the ads out there today are indeed scams. So, you better be careful and only choose companies that have a good and established reputation. To learn more about work at home scams click here: http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/workathomehelp/a/homescam.htm

The important thing is to be the best at whichever option you choose. Don’t be so quick to judge your brother or sister in Islam or put them down. We are all diverse but at the same time we are one ummah (nation, community). Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “It is enough evil for a Muslim to look downupon his (Muslim) brother.’
[Muslim].

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*These are just my opinions. This article is not meant to be career advice.*

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15 responses

1 06 2007
Sumera

I personally dont think women shoud go to work only if its a necessity. It is sometimes not about money or material gain – but for the social contact, learning, stimulation.

I suppose its harder to maintain a work/home balance if you have children – but if you work in a good field (such as teaching) then I dont think one should give that up unless it was absolutely dire.

Staying at home isn’t for everyone – Its not for me and I don’t see myself being a stay at home Mum either.

Insh’Allah.

1 06 2007
southernmuslimah

Thanks for checking out my blog and commenting Sumera! I think it is about balance. In Islam everyone has rights and obligations. It is a religion of check and balance. Parents have rights over their children and then children also have rights over their parents. One of the children’s rights is to be taught Islam . If you can do that and maintain a career outside of the house then Alhamdullilah. Some women can do that. Others can’t. Other factors that need to be considered are who is looking after your children and what are they going to learn from them? Are you going to be able to put them in an Islamic daycare facility or do you have a Muslim family that you can trust with your children?

On the flipside, I realize that there are also stay at home moms who don’t teach their children or really spend anytime with them. They may be home but their children are basically just playing by themselves while the mom does what she likes.

In the end, like i stated in the post, It depends on the individual family and their needs and desires. No one has the right to look down upon or judge the working mom or stay at home mom.

1 06 2007
Amina

Assalam awalaikum,

Just wanted to point a little note here my friend actually goes to work and university for her masters she has 2 kids under the age fo 5 and is expectign another. On top of this her husband stays home and runs his own home business. It can work but both parties have to be willing to do their share of the work. For them it works. They learned to balance. Balance can be achieved it is just how you work out the situation. I loved your post. I thought it was awesome mashallah. Ur writing style is awesome! I am really enjoying your posts.

amina

3 06 2007
carimuslima

As Salaam Walakium Sis,

This is so true nowadays I totally agree with you. Being a stay at home mom is challenging already even if one has only one child. Now imagine having one or more and working outside the home as well. Subhanallah, this is more than a double shift another reason why many have tried to estimate a women’s would-be income for being just a homemaker. If i remember it correctly it was over the $100,000 mark. Now add working out of the home and you got “CACHING” ;) lots of dough. But no money can ever replace those smiles of our babies, and the rewards we get inshallah from Allah (swt). I have great respect for those who have to work outside also, most of us don’t realize how fortunate we really are not to worry about making ends meet just to pay the stack of bills. Life is getting really hard now, and that requires some mothers to seek jobs outside or in the home to help their husbands or because they’re single parents and have expenses to pay on their own. This really gives all of us alot to think about. Being a woman isn’t easy in this life, but full of so many blessings from Allah. We should always keep this in mind, and stop like you said judging moms who have to work or just want to work to have extra cash for themselves. We’re not in their shoes, and we should be happy enough that we fill our own shoes and stop sticking our noses where they dont’ belong because everyone’s circumstances are completely different, and Allah knows best what their family is going through. Subhanallah May Allah give us patience, and compassion for one another, and give us the ability to help one another instead of harming our sisters/brothers in Islam. Amin Hugs ;)

7 06 2007
Precious Modesty

Thanks for writing about this sister! Before I got married and had a baby (about 9 months later – alhamdulillah), I had been working since the age of 16. My daughter will be 2 next week inshallah, but it is still difficult for me sometimes to know that I am not earning my own money and all like that. But, I feel blessed to be ABLE to stay home with my beautiful daughter because I would not want anyone else taking care of her and being as close as she and I are. :smiles and tears:

For some women it works, for others it doesn’t and what I got from an Oprah show about this topic is that working and non-working women think that the grass is greener on the other side. The stay-at-home mom misses the fact that she did not have a career and the working mom misses the time that she did not share with her children. What is amazing is that the children of these two mothers said that their mom was the best! I guess it’s not just about the quantity of time that a woman spends with her children, it’s also about the quality.

On that note, let me go run around with my baby. Asalamualaykum! :o)

11 06 2007
shabana

assalam ualaikum
thanks for such beautiful writing.it has cleared lot of things in my mind.i have two kids and still think that my husband is over stressed and i am staying home .the idea of babysittig at home is good.thnks for spending your time on such good posts

26 07 2007
Amy

As-salaamu Alaikum

I have neither kids nor a husband to care for, but neither parents nor husband to care for me. I make my own money because I don’t have a choice–I am looking for a husband and one thing I’m insistent on is both the permission to work if I choose to do so after marriage, and the ability to stay home to take care of my kids inshaaallah. The point is to not work unless they will be properly taken care of.

Both my sisters (non-Muslim) are working moms, but after one had her second child, she really lamented going back to work because she wanted to spend time with her kids. And she has the opportunity to work from home on occasion.

Growing up, I was in a household that did actually need two incomes. My parents worked hard to get us into a Christian (we were Christian, though now I am Muslim alhamdulillah) private school, and the tuition was very high, but they thought it was important for us to not grow up with such a worldly (satanic? lol) influence as would be found in public schools. There were 4 kids. But even so, when I and my brother were young, that is until we actually started school, my mom stayed home with us. So income was tight. PB&J sandwiches were mostly bread and the kool-aid was more transparent than not. But we got by. My mom never put work over her kids though–if I ever needed her, she was there for me. And all my siblings say the same.

I read an interesting report once that suggested a two-income household might not be so much better off financially than one. If the woman is working and the man, and the children are in daycare–daycare is a pretty big expense, plus the added expenses of cars and car maintenance, food preparation, etc. If a woman can stay at home she’s less likely to have a high budget spent on quickly prepared (and therefore more expensive) meals laden with preservatives, and eating out tends to be less frequent. The point was that having one income is easier than some people think–income is cut but so are expenses and if the couple budgets appropriate money isn’t necessarily going to be an issue. And Allah swt tells us in the Qur’an that he will provide for us and for our children so we shouldn’t fear poverty on that account.

For me, I think I’ll want to work, but mostly because it’s so important to me to actually do work, and something larger scale than just my own home. Limited mixing with men, and proper hijab are no-brainer additions to the equation. At the same time, I have a lot of respect for women who do stay home because they are doing a very important job.

24 08 2007
UmAbdurrahman, "Blanca"

As Salaamu Alaikum Sis:

Mash’Allah, what an inspiring post. I can totally relate to being a stay home mom for the summer which I truly enjoy and then having to get back into the swing of things by going back to work in the Fall. I have found that being able to work and watch my son grow both at home and in an educational environment has truly been rewarding, Alhamdulillah. However, on the flip side of this a single mother has even more of a struggle I think. Granted when you are able to stay at home and are able to budget expenses on one salary, that your husband provides Alhamdulillah.
A single mother who has no one to look up to but Allah to provide is by no means someone who should be recognized in so many ways for the efforts she makes to go out everyday to secure her child’s (ren’s) basic needs. So much to juggle with. It is not easy for any Muslim or non-Muslim woman to do this as a mother’s role is countless.

24 08 2007
Good Hope

Recently I have found a great book about the sad and ugly reality inside the day care centers. Please see the book details below.

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The Cultural Devastation of American Women: The Strange and Frightening Decline of the American Female (and her dreadful timing) (Paperback)

by Nancy Levant (Author)

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In this book, Nancy Levant extends a compassionate rebuke to the American mother and career woman. Drawing upon her experience as a daycare professional, she offers insight into the thoughts, feelings, and diets of America’s children in daycare — all of which have suffered because of the woman’s repudiation of the traditional role of motherhood.

“Mommy says Daddy is a idiot.”
“Dad says mommy should cook dinner for us.”
“Dad is never home.”
“Daddy says mommy is never home.”
“When’s mom coming?”
“When’s dad coming?”
“Why are they always late?”
“Did mommy forget to get me?”
“If they don’t come, can I stay with you?”

Repeatedly quoting her daycare children, Levant opens a window into the family life of the contemporary household, and the contemporary woman who makes it. The perspective provided is unique and rare, as it is one that is seen through the eyes of the child.

Humbly acknowledging her own failures as wife and parent, the author frankly speaks very directly to the women of America. She asserts women have largely rebelled against the traditional roles of mother and housewife, as these roles have been redefined by society and the media as repressive. While extolling the virtues of female liberation, she asserts, “The empowerment of women did come at a cost…”

Levant lambastes the modern “entitlement” attitude that is so prevalent today and that is heavily promoted by Hollywood and television entertainment news shows. It is this attitude, she believes, that has become a staple of the American female psyche, to the detriment of her family. “The difference between the upper and middle-class, is that the former spends other people’s money to create wealth for themselves. We spend our money to mimic them.”

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20 09 2007
sisteraddy

Nice article sister! Im surprised that working mums are looked down upon in your community. In my community its the opposite! In fact I wanted to stop working as it was getting uncomfortable fo me as a muslimah to be in the environment that I was in, however I was getting discouragement from many sides, except my husband ofcourse who left the decision totally up to me. I finally did resign, and Alhamdullilah I never felt better. Like many in the West I started working when I was in High school, now I am expecting to be a mother Inshallah, I realised there are more important things I can do than work. Each Muslimah to her own reality of life, the decision is ofcourse, individual. I remember the fitnah I had to encounter on a daily basis, on the way, at and coming home from work since I used to catch public transport. Disgusting Billboard pictures, catching packed trains, ordeal of buying lunch that doesnt have haram substance in it, interaction with the male employees at work, people staring at me for the way I dressed and pop music blaring at every corner of the station rotted my brain (my ears got sore from ear phones and I had to tolerate station music sometimes)! I had enough! I decided, that if I needed to or if I was getting lazy at home, I would work, but only if the work conditions suit me!

20 09 2007
sisteraddy

Did I mention the ordeal of making Ablution (wudu) at work? I made dua to Allah swt everytime beofore entering the toilet for no one to come in whilst my feet is in the sink!

1 11 2008
Shazia

I guess the “grass is greener on the other side” applies to me perfectly. My greatest fear, from observation of family, is that stay-at-home moms tend to overly rely on their kids as they grow up. As time goes by, they don’t seem to have a life of their own but make the kid’s life their life. I am a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids (ages 9, 7, 3) for the past 10 years and my greatest fear is overdepending on the kids i.e. not letting them have a life of their own, as they grow up. What do you think?

19 11 2008
Nesreen

Asalamualekom
Ugh! I’ve been going on and on about this in my mind for the last year and a half, when I gave birth to my first son and left work. I intended to return after 6 months but my son had gotten so attached to me, I couldn’t. And to my surprise, I find out that I’m pregnant again 4 months later! I just gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, and have started to think about returning to work but extremely scared. I don’t want them to feel abandoned and I also don’t want to resent them with time. Also, I really don’t have a support system, with my mom being dead_ALLAH yrhmha_and my mother-in-law having no time to watch them. Im also afraid of my families’(in law’s, to be exact) reaction. Also, im worried about my intention. We do need the extra income, bu tlike it was mentioned, our expenses will increase since i have no choice other than daycare. And im afraid ill not be able to give my all after an 8 hour shift to my family. Please help and give me ur opinions. Thank u and jazakom ALLAH khaeran

11 12 2008
Shazia

I’ve been home since getting married 11 years ago – raising three wonderful kids. My decision to stay at home has been because of my desire to raise my kids in a Muslim environment. Having said that, I also have a graduate degree. And, unfortunately, all the stay at home moms I know do not have the same mindset, priorities, etc. as I do – perhaps due to educational differences.

I find myself yearning to go out and do something for myself – away from the rut of cooking and cleaning all day. Is that right or wrong from Islamic point of view? Can’t I have a little of myself in addition to raising a Muslim family? Pls. advise at. Jazakallah Khair.

9 06 2010
LEYLAH

SALAAM SISTER!!!

Is it wrong to ask to be a stay at home wife/mom. As a revert I have always work ever since I was 15. I had to carry on the responsibilities of paying bills, food, clothes and you name it and I’ve probably done it. I have a bachelors in Pre-med and Pre-law, also got accepted into Med-school and Law school. I met someone and he asked me how would I balance Med- School and Married Life. I explained that its all about commitment and understanding. Also my plan as far as schedule. I also said that I would like to finish Med- school which i will in 2 years. I have this internal believe that when i become a mother I will drop everything for my family, as well for my husband. As a mother a I want to be there for them, for everything, first steps, word,smile, crawl…. As for my husband I want to be his support system. I say this because I saw how my parents were before they separated. I thought that marriage was a misery because of the hell my father put my mother through.. Please give me advice and inshallah, us sisters could help eachother.

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