A productive citizen

As one of my long-time blog readers, Adnan, commented, the shadow of silence stretches long upon this blog. The truth is, teaching qualitative research methods to graduate students in an intensive course leaves me very little time. Any little extra pockets of time must be claimed by my daughter, who is becoming acutely aware of her mother’s absences.

The list of friends and relatives who wonder why I don’t call is becoming long. The list of errands and absolutely-must-do’s is also lengthening daily. The list of “wish-I-coulds” rots in the back room. THAT list now includes a day dream: merely sitting in the sun and dozing. The bigger daydreams – vacations, road trips, beaches and bed-and-breakfast getaways – are a laughing matter. What used to be necessities – 3 full meals, good sleep, and occasional naps – are now becoming irregular events.

But an income is a good thing. It is good to know, when the bills roll in, that they will be paid, inshaallah. It’s good to know when you’re hungry, that you don’t have to think too much about grabbing a meal on the go (you can’t make a habit of it though). And as many of my readers know, it is nice to have health coverage. It’s nice to have transportation. And yet I am always aware of having been the person who could not count on all these things so blithely. I am aware, too, of the vagaries of the job market, and of the uncertainty of the economy. Times have changed. Futures are much more uncertain. We work hard, and we remain on edge.

Sometimes it seems as if our incomes pay to enable us to do our jobs and pay our taxes, and not too much else. As the mother of a young child, as a daughter and a sibling and a friend, I find that I don’t have the freedom or the time to connect adequately with the things in life that – well, give me life. Such as chatting with loved ones, visiting friends, playing with the toddler, and, – breathing freely and reflectively. I work, I remain dissatisfied with my efforts, there is always more I should have done, and there is always more to do YESTERDAY.

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16 thoughts on “A productive citizen”

  1. For some strange reason, I have been thinking about R. I don’t know why. Wonder whether it was because of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul – that I’ve been reading. Or was it because everytime I hear something about my niece, I also wonder about R. She must be talking quite a bit now, right?

  2. She is! She’s picking up a lot of her language from (ulp) kid videos … so she talks in Charlie-and-Lola-speak and Strawberry-Shortcake language. Thank you for thinking of her, and keep her in your prayers, Vinod.

  3. She lives!!!! It’s great to hear read your ‘voice’ again. I’m glad you have a job but we all miss you here. I know you must miss your baby girl like crazy! I understand your need and her need for together time… God bless you!

  4. Hi Shabana – I just printed out what I found simultaneously preposterous and sobering: a time organization ‘schedule’ by Julie Morgenstern for a ‘working mom/runner’.

    It blithely requires the woman seeking organizational help to get up every day at 4.30 am (including weekends) and take 4.30-6am as ‘self-time’. Then the rest of the day keeps getting better (including a mere hour and a half to shower, dress, unclutter the house, have breakfast and ‘funtime’). 9-10pm is marriage time and 10-11pm is self-time spent reading, relaxing &/or laying out clothes. And superwoman only needs 5hours or so of sleep because 11pm is when she goes to bed. All this scheduled w.out an ounce of apology or pity or mercy or anything else…

    I am very worried.

    However, I am also glad to hear that you’re doing ‘well’ and so is baby.

  5. Congrats on your job, yah, I know am late, lol. It is hard to do so many things at one time. Just go with the “flow”. People who truly know you would believe that you are “thinking” about them even if there isn’t enough time for you to call/write. How is R?? Am almost halfway done with toilet training, hehehehe, gives me a headache just to think about it, went thru some problems coz she wouldn’t poo on the potty, have no idea why but apparently most kids get “scared” of doing that, I think they think it’s a body part or something, okay, I already grossed out the pple here. Anyways, take care.

  6. It is so good to be in touch with you guys. I wish I could blog oftener just so we could connect in these virtual spaces more regularly.

    mm, I’ve seen those nice little timetables that don’t provide for mere mortal women who actually do need a full night’s sleep, and who eat more food than a shake for breakfast, a salad-with-walnuts for lunch and 3 pasta shells for dinner. What’s up with that? I studiously avoid mommies who actually do get up long before the double-digits-a.m. time because they make me feel icky. Not about them – about myself.

    And as you put it, I am doing ‘well.’ 🙂 It could always be worse!

    Thanks, sf, for the congratulations. No, you’re not late. I’ve barely figured out this whole employment thing myself. And congratulations on potty training. We are still way behind … The latest progress I made was suggesting that R sit on the potty, and she said tentatively, “Okay?”

  7. Reading your thang, it clarifies why I’m glad I stepped back from academic/teaching aspirations and went for creative. Not that part of me wouldn’t want to be rushed off my reading and teaching feet, but now I want to reflect and create – for as long as I can – around what I hope are crucial issues, but standing outside the storm. Yet without folks like you, drawing as I do so much on the writings of academics, it wouldn’t be possible. So thanks. And if I can be so bold as to venture some advice: don’t be scared of enjoying the whirlwind, even when it hurts a bit. 🙂

  8. Hahahahaha, N didn’t want to do it too. I started giving her stickers. I showed her some stickers and told her if she goes potty she will get a sticker! 🙂
    I know those women who have that kinda breakfast, I can’t “swallow” that! I eat because I have to. A friend once said that those are the kind of women (hey, its a joke) that are always “angry/angry looking” because they are hungry, LOL.

  9. Haven’t been here for a while, have missed reading your blog Shabana. My 6 month old son keeping me busy. Funny, I’ve been thinking about R too. She must sound so sweet learning how to speak.Love to her and take care of yourself, you have so much on your plate.

  10. I think yur obviously overwhelmed because you have a young child, no maid and you work 🙂

    its kind of obvious. when yur a stay at home mom or a part time working mom, you just have more time to relax and still get things done and you can multi-task as well: do the dishes and get on the phone etc.

    the other thing is that having no major help in the US is hard. or wait..help is expensive to hire.

    the other thing is that if you actually utilize those morning hours like from 6-10,they have barakah and you’ll see how smoothly your day goes when you use those hours. I’m sure you know this but a good reminder never hurt anyone .. right 🙂

  11. i miss your blog from 2 years back when you suddenly decided that you would not like to talk about your family a lot.though i understand why you did it,i still miss it.your writing so real and really tells the feeling of an immigrant so better than any body else.

  12. nfm: well, when you’re a stay at home mom, you have more time to… run after the toddler, to be honest.
    i made myself NOT work after musa went to sleep last night, and NOT work after fajr/before he woke up this morning, just so i could get one full night’s sleep… and STILL found myself dozing off while reading to him, two times today – too tired to take him out, so we’ve been in the house all day.
    well, sure, i’ve semi-cleaned the kitchen, and taken a shower, and then when he napped i got about 1.5 hours of work done which is not much when it comes to photo editing…
    but if he’s awake, the only multitasking going on is washing dishes while running after him to stop him from doing this or that…

    to be fair, yes, i am doing what i want to do – spending time with him all day long, and also pursuing, albeit haphazardly, a part-time career dream of mine. but my point is – like shabana’s – that no matter what, you’re sacrificing somewhere. and my sacrifice right now is sleep/relaxation. oh, and a little more income would certainly help…

    and to be completely fair – i think shabana works 100 times as hard as i do so i’m not comparing myself at all!!!! 🙂

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