07 Apr RESPECT SERIES- Raising Empowered Muslim Women through Respectful Mother-Daughter Bonds.
Part One: Respect from your daughter starts with respecting ourselves: Three ways to begin the journey of respectful mother-daughter relationships.
It seems that the common complaint of mothers today is the lack of respect that they enjoy from their daughters. Whether it is inability to follow instructions or even basic manners in responding to their mother, it is clearly a problem rife within most communities. According to the Oxford dictionary, respect is about having consideration and concern for another’s feelings and rights and is hence a pivotal part of what makes a good Muslim woman. As a mother and in most cases the primary carer of daughters, the first example of self-respect and respectful behaviour is that of the mothers. Being a mother of two myself, it is obvious how much my daughters mirror my own behaviour. So perhaps the first step of building a respectful relationship between mother and daughter is about us mothers taking accountability of the role we play in teaching our daughters what it means to respect and be respected.
So, what can we as mothers do to firstly manage ourselves and respect ourselves more effectively?
Cut yourself some slack. Sometimes you could be doing everything by the book and still nothing seems to go to plan, especially with children. Turn to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and accept that ultimately all power and control belongs to Him; you just need to put in the work and trust Him. We can acknowledge His control, even over our children, by frequently making du’a that they are righteous and of good character.
Self-care. Chill. Take a little time to yourself each day. Whether it is going for a walk or even just sitting down for an hour with a book and a cup of tea once the kids are asleep, it will make a difference. Remembrance of Allah, or dhikr, is also a great form of self-care where you can relax in reflection, remembering your Lord. We can see in the Sunnah an example of this when Fatimah was fatigued from household duties and her father the beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, told her: “Shall I not tell you of something that is better for you than that? When you go to sleep, say ‘Subhaan Allaah’ thirty-three times, ‘Al-hamdu Lillah’ thirty-three times, and ‘Allaahu akbar’, thirty four times.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4943).
Make time for your relationships. If you are married, take the time to reconnect with your spouse. If not, reconnect with other friends and loved ones. A lot of the respect that our daughters will imitate are the relationships that they observe us in. Alternatively, toxic relationships where we are being clearly disrespected, if not possible to be avoided, should be kept out of sight of the observing and impressionable minds of our young ones.
You can’t fill from an empty cup. So once you fill your cup with goodness, only then can you quench the thirst of others. This is what respect is all about. It is about treating ourselves AND others with consideration, care and esteem. Therefore, respectful behaviour from our daughters, or lack thereof is, in a lot of cases, a result of the respect that they have been shown.
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If you are in a harmful or toxic relationship, seek help. Please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with a network of support services especially for Muslim women, insha Allah.