If you think about it, this sounds like the deadliest trio – Ramadan, summer and kids at home. Each demands patience, perseverance and strength. And we, the Super Moms that we are, are trying our best to handle all three together this Ramadan.
So, is there any credible formula how to tackle these three together without losing our cool???
It has been almost eight years now since I’ve been handling these three factors together along with the loooong power outages that accompany Ramadan every year. I’ve even held Iftars (meal eaten to break the fast) and dinners for family and friends and people have always asked me HOW I’ve managed it all.
My answer is very simple – organisation.
Yes! You heard it right. Organisation is the ONLY way I keep the show AND my sanity intact!
- Ramadan goodies
Now the question is how and what to organise? Many people think a large part of Ramadan organisation is making Ramadan goodies in advance but not me. There are two reasons why I am wary of doing so. Firstly, the unpredictable power outages that we witness in this sweltering heat and secondly, well…I’m blessed with amazing kitchen help! Yes, I am one of those lucky ones Alhamdulillah.
I don’t cook and freeze too much in advance but I do plan our Iftar meals a day ahead. This gets the morning planning out of the way including any groceries which need to be bought. This allows me to relax in the morning and this is essential because we moms sometimes have our hands full with sick or even bored kids who want ALL our attention ALL the time. On days when this happens, I don’t have the stress of meal planning and prep hanging over my head and I can simply be there for them.
- Keeping children occupied
Another thing I try to think of in advance is buying a variety of inexpensive toys for my kids. They can simply be items that I come across during grocery shopping. I start doing this six months in advance because we all know how antsy children can get in the holidays, especially when the weather doesn’t allow them to play outdoors much. The toys I’ve shared in the pictures are both from J.B. Saeed and they cost me less than Rs 300 each! And they are AMAZING to keep children engaged with minimum intervention on my part. And the plus side is that they help improve eye-hand coordination as well as focus and attention.
I usually try and keep my sons in an area where I can keep an eye on them…because you know what happens the minute children are left unattended – either there is a huge mess or something valuable breaks or they end up trying to tear each other apart! So, we all usually end up in the family lounge where they can watch TV, play or colour while I rest or pray. This helps us ALL maintain our sanity!
- ‘Non-toy’ toys
But the question is how many toys can one buy? The good news is that you don’t have to ALWAYS have toys on hand to keep your kids busy in Ramadan. I try and keep some small empty cartons handy and LOADS of stickers, of course. They can easily spend a quiet afternoon decorating with their favourite characters all by themselves.
I also have loads of colour pencils and papers at their disposal so they can create memories without me fearing the demise of my couch’s upholstery! Play dough and painting are also good options to keep kids busy and expand their creativity but both these activities need supervision and so we don’t indulge in them too often.
- Spring cleaning
What better time to do spring cleaning than in Ramadan when the reward for giving to those in need increases manifold? It is a bit hectic but it helps keep children involved as they rummage through their clothes and toys and decide which ones they would like to keep and which they would rather give away.
It becomes a learning experience as I keep emphasising the importance of de-cluttering and giving charity. Having said that, I ALWAYS make sure that my sons know that broken toys and stained clothes are NOT for charity.
- Sharing the blessings of Ramadan
Another thing which I really look forward to and enjoy in Ramadan is having my boys go out with their father whenever possible to distribute Iftari to the poor. It’s a ritual we try and follow every weekend and whenever my husband gets home early from work.
They all enjoy this activity and the values and morals it teaches them – empathy, charity, gratitude, compassion and sharing are priceless. When they get back home, not only am I re-energised after getting some time to myself but I also listen to their stories whole-heartedly!
So, all you wonderful and dedicated mommies out there, arm yourselves with bucket loads of patience and gather the blessings of this month with your children. It will breeze by sooner than you can imagine!