Hijrah Diaries Seven: J-O-B

Word cloud with the word "Solace" central forming a coffee/tea cup with steam rising out. "Finding Solace" appears below.

Day 112: Ok. I know that happens. I know some brothers have multiple wives on multiple continents. I know some of those wives by name. But – as if I don’t have enough on my plate right now – I really don’t need women projecting their fears onto my life. I know that! I know brothers do that and I know it is their right and I know my rights too, thank you very much. Allahualim, what is to be will be. I just don’t need to be wasting any of my energy worrying about that or about much of anything. I am struggling to be in the moment while simultaneously planning for the future, appreciating that Allah is the best of planners and being patient. This is a really tall order for me. So just shut up already. I’m going back into my cave now.

Day 120: I haven’t been going out much at all, and “out for her needs” means “exercise and fresh air” for me. Those are my needs. I need them! But I feel guilty about dumping all my kids on my m-i-l or s-i-l for babysitting and it isn’t easy to drag five little kids around on foot in Casa, actually I have yet to see anyone else doing it! So, I take them out in pairs, but then this doesn’t really give me a break does it, so I just don’t go out much. This is temporary, I tell myself. This is temporary. And Allah knows best. Oh yeah, socialization is a pretty big need too, but since I have no friends, in the physical immediate, guess that is a moot point. At least the kids have each other. And cabin fever. Gah.

Day 125: Not digging this separation thing with me being alone here in the Hub’s backhomelandia and him being alone (well, with the son) in my backhomelandia. I am stuck in a  cycle of resentment  for feeling that I am carrying too much of our load and I’m angry at myself for being unappreciative. Resentment, anger, resentment. I also have small doses of fear thrown into the mix for variety. I do fear that we will have to do this again next year and maybe every year for the rest of my life, as so, so very many people do. Oh yes, and there is also me recognizing, not really dealing with, just recognizing my feelings of entitlement. While confronted with how so many people live and accept their lives, I am impatient at how we are living ours and I am questioning – very loosely, as I just don’t presently have the concentration for too much deep thought – what kind of life I have been conditioned to believe and believed to think that I am entitled to have versus what my reality is. I feel entitled to something other than what I currently have, and that is a very ugly thing to feel. Still, not keeping my nose out of the resentment, unappreciative, fear cycle long enough to confront this entitlement business. I’m just mad. All.the.time. And like a good ummi, I’m trying to hide it – all of it. Amazingly, the kids seem far more patient with the adjustments, but I do think they have not gotten past the newness of it all, yet.

Day 133: Thinking about getting a job. I see the absurdity as I type this sentence. As if I’m not frustrated enough! Would a job magically cure my ills? It most likely would add more stress to my load, so I keep trying to suck on that unsavory word – sabr – but I know I could buy some tastier whatnots with the few bucks a job would provide. I could even take coffee breaks all by myself!

When we were negotiating our marriage I told the would-be-hub that I wouldn’t work after we had kids. We now have five kids and I have only very briefly held myself to that promise. When we had our first a year after our nikah, I felt a little guilty about handing him the full load so soon, so I kept working – for two more kids! Then I started working from home, as if the lack of drive time makes it any less work. And then when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came up while I was pregnant with our fourth, I briefly went back to work, or rather out to work – remember I never actually stopped working except that other year that we were here in Morocco.  Of course, I was homeschooling that year and all subsequent years. “Teacher” is what I believe the paid position is called. And then I went back out to work again when I was pregnant with the fifth. See, so, I don’t know why I keep thinking this should be such a cut and dry, yes or no decision to make about getting a job – here, there or anywhere – when obviously it is very very very complicated.

The husband has asked me to be patient, ride out this rough patch, but of course if I can find something to do from home as I previously have… Grrr. The major problem with working from home is that the spousal unit has always struggled with recognizing my need for allocated, separated, recognized Work Time in order to be able to effectively work at home. He will recognize this need only when I am stressed out, when things are running smoothly, it’s as if he thinks I have mastered the work stuffs and can add the childcare to my work duties. Then I get stressed out again.  I suspect that the in-laws are really going to struggle with the work-at-home ummi dynamics – on top of their current struggles with the homeschooling thing and not only the kids always being home, but also having such different rules than what Moroccans are typically used to for their kids. Pshaw, even Americans don’t understand why I let the kids play with a water table and sand box in the house! Anyway. Do I continue to let the almighty dollar command my lifestyle? It does anyway doesn’t it? Where is my mountaintop and my goat!? How much do goats cost here?

Day 135: Oh. So I just revisited some websites about the stages of expat culture shock and apparently I am exactly where I am supposed to be. The stage has even been coined “The Irritation and Anger Stage.” Excellent. I am clinically where I am supposed to be and I haven’t even been doing it right. These expatry expertys recommend A LOT less dependency than I have been partaking in. They suggest taking the bus! My God, no one in this family does that. I mean I tried to figure out the bus routes and was guffawed and discouraged by the other adults in the family. Again, too much dependency. Maybe instead of a goat and a mountain, I should figure out how to get a donkey and a wagon.

 ~~~

This article originly appeared in the May issue of SISTERS Magazine. Other entries can be found around my blog here (will organize them soon, insha Allah) and a few HERE on the SISTERS site.

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