The Comprehensive Guide to Filling Your Cup & Keeping it Filled | Muslim Motherhood

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6 Steps to Control Your Anger for Good [Muslim Parenting]

To truly fill your cup, and keep it filled, means to build a balanced daily life, in which your innate human needs of mind, body, heart and soul, are met and fulfilled.

They used to say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. But today, most Muslim families are parenting alone.

The silent struggle of the empty-cup mama

By now, most of us have probably come across the phrase

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Ie. if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we’re going to find it very difficult to care for others.

I asked almost 300 Muslim mums whether they experience stress and burnout related to parenting, and a whopping 92% responded with: yes.

That’s a significant majority of Muslim women, sadly struggling to navigate motherhood successfully.

Suffering burnout is the secret illness of motherhood, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

In this post, I want to lovingly take you by the hand and walk you through the reality of burn out and how to truly fill your cup, in order to avoid it.

I want to help you wonderful, hard-working Muslim mummies find your best-self.

What to expect from this article

My goal for this post was always to make it as useful and practical as possible.

This is a core, in-depth article taking you from A-Z of parenting-related burnout and teaching you how to fill your cup holistically if you’re an intentional Muslim mama.

This is everything I’ve learned on my mission to fill my cup and keep it filled, while being an entrepreneur and home-educating, super-busy mum of 4 children. Alhamdulillah.

Table of Contents

Honest Disclaimer

Before you continue, I want you to note that following the information in this article won’t guarantee you will no longer experience burnout straight away.

Freeing yourself from burnout and reducing parenting-related stress, is a journey of self-development.

Such a journey requires time to first build an understanding of your own situation, then make a personal plan of action unique to you and ultimately form successful habits.

At the end of this article you will find my simple 4-step method to effectively help you fill your cup and keep it filled inshaAllah.

The reality of burn out - its symptoms & causes

how to stop being angry with your kids

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a busy, tired mama and who’s experienced burn out in one form or another.

Burn out is difficult to miss. It hits you head on, even though you probably felt it coming.

Burn out symptoms

You know you’re burnt out, when waking up to feed your baby in the middle of the night, serving breakfast each morning for the family, making sure the house stays tidy and preparing the evening meal all becomes so burdensome, you wish you could close your eyes and sleep for a week.

Every task seems harder and more arduous. Exhaustion and fatigue overtake you and feelings of depression can kick in.

You’re emotionally, physically and mentally drained. You might feel more angry, bitter and stressed or you might need to lock yourself away, break down and cry.

Hopes of getting a break or taking a holiday kick-in alongside feelings of internal despair. “I just can’t do it.” “It’s too hard.”

Why burn out happens – the causes

6 Ways to Maintain Energy, Positivity & Happiness [Muslim Mothers]

Does this sound familiar?

Burn out can happen to you in different ways and to varying degrees. But its cause is always the same –

“on-going, long periods of work-related stress.” (WHO)

Translate that to the life of a busy Muslim mum. Day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month of continuous physical, mental and emotional work.

Yes work.

I truly believe, being a mum is a career in itself. Muslim mums work the longest hours, training up the hardest, most unqualified recruits (of varying abilities and skills) to be the best most successful graduates possible (we want our kids to be Dunya and Jannah-ready!)

We are not only their trainers and coaches, but we are their teachers, cooks, cleaners, counsellors and doctors too. For most of our daily work we operate alone and in many situations all of this training falls fully on our shoulders.

Tackling burn out head on

You’re struggling, you don’t think it should be like this and you have dreams of how you wish it would be. It’s clear that learning how to keep your cup filled is the answer for us Muslim mamas… but what does ‘filling your cup’ actually look like? How do you do it? And is this self-care business really all about time-off, treating yourself to that handbag you’ve had your eye on for months, pedicures, girls’ nights and facials?

I see you, I hear you and I want to help.

Even though a helping hand or holiday might be what you think will fix all your burn out problems, (and yes, they can of course help) I want you to know that there is plenty you can do regularly to help yourself.

You can easily start tackling the oncoming of burnout through holistic self-care.

This is a practical parenting blog – my intention is to give you actionable information that you can implement ASAP.

It’s very important to recognise that the only person we can ever change and have control over, is ourselves. Therefore, the answer to most of our problems lies within us – be prepared to dig deep.

The truth about self-care - What you need to know

There is plenty of advice out there on the importance of getting your me-time and how to go about it. Magazines, social media and internet adverts brim with all the make-up, skin care, fashion finds and tv shows we MUST keep up with in order to make sure we’re not neglecting ourselves.

 “You need a break,” says Mum, “leave the kids with me and go out tonight.”

“Just buy it, you deserve it,” beams your sister, or a best friend insists, “treat yourself girl, book that manicure!”

The truth is, that while these things can bring benefit, they don’t truly fill your cup.

Fill your cup to the top, not half way

Everyone knows that money can’t buy happiness. The sparkly feeling you experience fresh out of the salon, or when you purchase the on-trend shoes you had your eye on for months, is always short-lived. It’s superficial.

That’s not what we need when we think of filling our cup.

To truly fill your cup, you need something that will re-energise you with longevity. Something to carry you through the numerous ups and downs, never-ending tasks and temper tantrums of raising a family.

Ironically and by contrast, our plates are indeed FULL to the brim and we need to re-energise effectively. Right now.

We need effortless and easy ways to quickly revitalise ourselves as busy Muslim mothers, so that we can successfully and gracefully care for our families, without fatigue, exhaustion and burn out.

What doesn’t work

Nine years ago, I had 3 children, 3 years old and under. Every day, I would look forward to the evenings when I could put the kids to bed early and finally get some time to myself. I used to think that catching up with tv shows, watching youtube, reading the news and browsing social media was what I needed to unwind. A good dose of me-time after a day full of housework and bucketsful of patience with tantrum-ing, toilet-training and teething little ones.

But I never felt refreshed or re-energised. I never felt ready for the next day. Screen time felt like a time-suck and I would find myself waking up groggy and ill-prepared.

Figuring it all out

I realised mindless distraction was not re-energising me and I knew I wanted to be present and energetic for my kids. I wanted to be a good mum.

Over the years I’ve turned the magnifying glass on myself time and time again, believing that to achieve my dreams, I needed to commit to self-growth.

Mind, Body, Heart & Soul

6 Steps to Control Your Anger for Good [Muslim Parenting]

It was through this journey of continuous self-development, I learned, that to be a successful Muslim mum, I needed to care for all 4 main pillars of my very, human existence. When I balanced my:

  • mind
  • body
  • heart
  • soul

I felt more in control, energetic, motivated and optimistic about life.

I was living my best life, (and it didn’t require any type of globe-trotting or selfie-taking for Instagram ;D).

The Secret to Filling Your Cup

To truly fill your cup AND keep it filled, requires you to build a balanced daily life, in which your innate human needs, of:

  • mind
  • body
  • heart
  • soul

are met and fulfilled.

When you start to properly pay attention to caring for each of these parts of your characteristic being, you’ll have finally unlocked the secret to filling your cup AND keeping it filled.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t require a huge amount of effort or time.

The hardest part is educating yourself towards empowerment, but I’ve got you covered. Below I will walk you through each pillar, to help you adapt and transform your self-care mindset and grow.

Keep reading until the end to find my 4-step method, to kick this insightful information into effective and practical action.

Unleashing Your mind

We are so blessed to be Muslim, as Allah has mercifully guided us to the complete and holistic truth.

I can guarantee you, that it doesn’t matter what new health discovery is made in the modern world, (if it is truly beneficial,) it will already be reflected and presented in Islam.

Mindfulness & Meditation

Take ‘mindfulness’ for example, a big buzz word these days, defined as:

“a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment”

When coupled with another current trend – meditation:

“the practice of resting and quietening the mind in order to focus and gain a conscious connection to one particular thing,”

these two techniques are hailed the natural and effective keys to maintaining mental well-being.

But did you realise that both mindfulness and meditation are already found in Islam?

Mindfulness & Meditation in Islam

The best form of salah is the one performed with khushu – ie. with full-concentration and humility.

Achieving khushu in salah, is possible when we are able to focus all of our attention to the present activity (of prayer), by controlling our thoughts and being fully conscious and connected to our Lord, Allah.

Now read the words above in bold again.

Does that sound familiar?

You’re right if  you think it does, as it mirrors the combined definition of mindfulness and meditation I mentioned earlier. SubhanAllah.

All ebaadah when done with a clear intention and mindfully, whether it is salah, dhikr (zikr/remembering Allah) or spending time with the Qur’an, has the power to improve our mental well-being and avert burn out.

The 3 Pillars of Caring for Your Mind

The first step to improving our mental wellbeing is to learn how to be mindful in other daily activities too. When we are able to focus on the present, on the now, we will see that stress and mental fatigue reduce considerably.

Alongside this, your mind also requires:

  • exercise
  • rest
  • nurturing

Your mind is a muscle

Your mind, or brain, is a muscle and in order to maintain its fitness, it needs to be exercised.

So many stay at home mums (SAHMs) can start to feel unfulfilled by the everyday routines of caring for a family. This negative feeling is boosted by modern society’s view of SAHMs versus working mums and can have us secretly resenting motherhood and wishing for something more.

That something more does need to be honoured as our minds are in need of fulfillment. The good news is that it doesn’t mean you need to get a job. How many career women/mothers are still stressed, depressed and unfulfilled? Don’t doubt that they are stressed and suffering burn out too.

How to effectively exercise your mind

We don’t want to add more work to our load, as we all know more responsibility/tasks, leads to more stress.

The clever secret here, is in what type of exercise you put your mind to.

When we make time to use our minds in a meaningful and useful way, we’ll notice a huge difference in our stress levels. This will balance out your feelings towards the routine, physical and mundane tasks of being a mum.

For example, when I choose to read a parenting book, my mind is working on something useful and beneficial – I’m taking notes, thinking and learning. From this mental exercise, I’m also improving my relationship with my children – it’s meaningful, useful and so fulfilling.

You can easily and effortlessly do so many things to exercise your mind in a useful way. Commit to self-growth and try visiting your library’s self-help section. Notice the difference you feel when you start working on yourself and feeding your mind in a healthy way.

Say no to aimless browsing or hours spent binge-watching, in the name of me-time. Don’t be fooled Mamas <3 Find your best self.

Give your mind a break

You probably know too well the feeling of wanting to shut everything and everyone off. Your brain is fried and it needs a break.

Today, we are taking in more information from social media, the internet and television, than we have ever done before. We know so much more about so many more people, and our minds are overflowing with an excess of useless thoughts.

Give your mind a rest, put down your phone and turn off the telly. Deep abdominal breathing, yoga and going for a walk in nature, will all help you relax your overworked mind and combat burn out.

Mindful Me-time

The vast majority of us are in dire need of more self-love, compassion and increasing our self-esteem.

I know that carrying around underlying negative feelings about my own abilities and body has added to and eventually tipped me over into burn out.

“I’m a terrible mum, I can’t keep on top of the housework, my kids are too hard and I’m such a slob!”

Become more aware of your thoughts and really analyse what’s happening up there.

Take control of the narrative in your head – try journaling or simply jotting down your thoughts. When you don’t have the time to put pen to paper, actively be the voice of an ideal best friend, mum or partner, in your head, or make a quick voice note on your phone.

Replace unhelpful thoughts with positive self-talk, just as you would comfort a loved one.

Taking away the continuous murmur of cognitive negativity, will reduce stress and anxiety and prevent the appearance of burn out.

 

Revitalising Your Body

Now you know the importance of and how to care for your mind, what about your body?

It’s all about working out, right?

Exercise is probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think of taking care of our body. We’re told it is the answer to all our problems – body image, energy levels and mental health.

We’re supposed to exercise regularly too, something like 30 minutes of cardio at least 3 times a week, right? And society has made it pretty clear as to what we ‘should’ be looking like (toned abs, peachy bum, thigh gap, slim waist and only one chin :D)

The Truth About Working Out

But trying to lose weight and control our diets can actually be adding to our burn out rather than filling our cups and renewing our energy levels.

Before you hit the yoga mat or treadmill, tune into your mental state. What is your why? If you’re exercising to attain certain ‘body goals’ you need to stop. right. there.

No busy mama needs that extra pressure in her life. Most likely you’ll fail to reach that unrealistic aspired look, resulting in even lower self-esteem, and if you do, it will be at the expense of other important areas of your life and mental well-being.

We don’t need extra expectations to fulfil. The only thing we’re trying to fill here is our cup!

Love your body, always

Allah has gifted us with these amazing mummy bodies –

arms which cradle, breasts which feed, stomachs which have stretched to accommodate the creation of life, tired hands which serve, stroke and caress and hardened feet which carry us unquestioningly.

Such helpful, useful and beautiful bodies.

We need to stop feeling bad about how we look and turn those negative thoughts into affirmations of gratitude. Alhamdulillah for our bodies, which create, nurture and care for the entire human race.

No one serves us like our own bodies do. No matter their size, fat count or stretch mark patterns, our bodies obey and work for us when ever we need them to.

Change your workout mindset

Don’t start a workout regime thinking that once you reach your body goals, you’ll finally love your body and feel great.

Yes, losing extra weight can be motivating and stress-relieving, but until you’re able to reach those goals, going about your day to day with added negative thoughts about yourself, does not serve you in any way.

Working out keeps our bodies fit and energised. It prevents health problems and relieves tension and stress.

Getting fit through exercise in a healthy, realistic way, is what will fill your cup.

Start your best workout routine

With this positive and grateful mindset, begin implementing whatever form of exercise you can into your week. You can start small and build it up.

But keep it regular. It doesn’t need to be every day, just consistent and mindful.

I like to alternate between cardio and yoga by looping rather than scheduling. When I can do it great, when I can’t, never mind, I’ll try tomorrow or the next.

Just don’t give up, you need to take care of your body to fill your cup, and exercising is vital. Find what works for you and go for it.

A fit body will go far in carrying you through the tough mummy day too.

Optimising our bodies - what goes in, must come out…

6 Ways to Maintain Energy, Positivity & Happiness [Muslim Mothers]

And I don’t mean in a rude way.

Feeding your body in an irresponsible way, will always manifest in a lack of energy, body ailments and fatigue.

On the contrary, whenever I shake myself out of bad eating habits and start consuming more natural and nutritious food, I always notice a huge difference in my energy levels and mental alertness.

I have found reducing sugar and processed foods and eating a more plant-based diet are the most serving, dietary changes for me.

But do your own research. I truly believe everyone is different and no one type of diet is applicable and effective for all.

The main point here is that by taking care of your body’s nutritional needs you are building it up to serve you optimally.

Transform your self-care mindset

Earlier I spoke about how the feeling after you experience salon or spa therapy, is often short-lived.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t help.

The trick here is your mindset related to them.

You can probably see an emerging trend in the information I’m sharing with you. Your mind, body, heart and soul all link together to create your existence. They are all interdependent on each other.

So, for having your hair refreshed, or your nails done to effectively fill your cup, your mind needs to believe that you are fulfilling your body’s needs.

It’s all about intention, which is entirely reflective of Islam.

Every action is by its intention.

When your mind is conscious of your innate need to create balance in your life, any action done with intention to seek that balance will allow you to experience an immense, purpose-centred transformation.

Easy, effective and everyday self-care

While you’re waiting to save up or find child-care and the time in your daily hectic schedules, to book a salon appointment, there’s plenty you can do quickly, effectively and regularly to fill this segment of your cup.

As women we naturally like to take care of ourselves and look good. But often as self-sacrificing mothers we find it so difficult to find the time to do so and before long, it can become another added burden to our lives and reason for us resenting motherhood. Not having time to make ourselves look good affects our marriages and self-esteem too.

Quick but consistent

I used to love putting on my make-up and doing my hair in the early years of being married. What started as an hour daily routine slowly reduced until I struggled to even find 5 minutes to myself and the mirror with 3 children, 3 years old and under.

The truth is, I now know that I don’t need to spend that much time or effort to feed this part of myself.

I do need to fill this segment of my cup and reap the benefit of knowing I take care of myself, but I need to do it without societal expectations and pressure (unrealistic beauty maintenance).

Today, I spend just 5 minutes each morning cleansing and moisturising my face and quickly setting my hair for the day. Those 5 minutes, alone in the bathroom, mindfully taking care of myself, play a significant part of filling my cup for the day.

I don’t need make-up to feel beautiful or presentable even though I definitely don’t have ‘perfect’ skin. I’ve grown comfortable knowing that caring for myself is good enough and filling my cup is more important than what other people think when I have to go out.

But that’s it. 5 minutes as often as I can manage.

Some days I will take another 5-10 minutes to apply some make-up in the afternoon if I have the time, as its good for hubby and therefore good for me too.

It’s super achievable. Figure what’s important for you and take small but regular steps to fill your cup and keep you energised.

Fulfill Your Soul

Anyone who sets out on a path to find the meaning of true success in this world always realises the intense need of humans to believe in and rely on something greater than themselves.

Finding security and inner-peace

Whether we call it the Universe or God there is no denying that when we are able to connect with something that has a greater power and ability than ourselves, we feel a level of peace, security and calm unachievable in any other way.

How beautiful and perfect is Islam.

The 6 pillars of our belief include believing in the ‘qadr’ (fate/predestination) of Allah. When we truly believe in Allah, His Messengers, Books, Angels and the Hereafter, it will show through in our actions. When we stay away from that which displeases Allah and doing that which pleases Him, we can be sure that no matter how our qadr may appear, (good or bad) it is always inherently good for us.

Connecting our lives, actions and goals to Allah allows us to achieve this powerful yet peaceful state.

Think about that for a moment.

How to care for your soul

Our souls need fulfilling just as much as the rest of us.

Just being a Muslim doesn’t automatically tick the ‘spiritually fulfilled’ box.

No, humans are far deeper and more complex than that.

Start by using your five daily prayers as a form of ‘meditation’. Ie. pray as if this is your opportunity to connect your soul to Allah. Force the flurry of thoughts the shayateen bombard you with in salah, out of your mind, and keep refocusing your mind on the fact you are standing here for no other reason than to be with your Lord.

Connect your mind to your body and your soul to your Creator.

Connect to and truly rely on Allah

Watch how your cup starts to feel more balanced and how your energy levels are continually becoming refreshed.

Try to make the most of the prayers you perform when your children are asleep or elsewhere. Spending spiritual time alone with yourself is invaluable.

Relieve all your stresses, worries, anxieties and fears to the One who has ultimate control over them. Hand it all over to Him. He’s got you.

Know that living a life pleasing to Allah, will allow your soul the space and freedom to be fulfilled.

One more segment of your cup, filled.

Release Your Heart

Lastly, we’ll look at how to fulfil the needs of our hearts in order to create balance in our lives.

A lot of self-help information focuses on mind, body & soul, and initially I would also neglect this segment when trying to fill my own cup.

However, upon reflection and ultimately trial and error I realised that something else was not getting the nurturing it desired.

Unlocking the mystery

Our hearts are such a mysterious yet wondrous part of our existence. They not only perform the most vital functionality of our lives but also command our feelings, emotions and desires.

Without nurturing and attending to the needs of our hearts, we will always fail to find the balance in our lives that we are seeking. Our cups will continue to remain only part-full and stress will surely creep in.

Our hearts demand loving and meaningful connections with other humans – the very reason we unquestioningly follow the circle of life. We all aspire to get married and have children, a family of our own.

The sad reality of our hearts

But sadly, often as mothers our relationships with our children and spouses become burdensome and ritual. Mere responsibilities and to-dos.

Society does not celebrate motherhood the way it celebrates a successful career.

Subconsciously and consciously we also don’t value our work as mothers too. This lack of self-worth leads to underlying dissatisfaction and ultimately increases parenting-related stress.

We’re not content with our daily roles and tasks

A simple paradigm shift

Definition of paradigm shift:

“an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way

All we need to remedy this discontentment, is a simple paradigm shift.

Start valuing your job today. There would be no human existence without mothers. For millennia the role of mothers (indeed parents) has been invaluable. Daily work was not always driven by money and status – women did not need careers to know they were important, to know their self-worth.

You are raising the future.

This is no small task, insignificant job or lowly position.

Switch your mindset now. Don’t just feed, wash, clean, tidy and shop for your kids. Look at them, touch them, kiss them, get to know them. Talk, laugh, feel, play. Whatever their age. Draw them close as if your heart depends on it. Because it really does.

You are doing the most important job in the world, so do it properly and intentionally.

What you really need your spouse for

The same goes for your relationship with your spouse. You both need each other more than you realise. More than the salary he may bring in or the care and service you provide him each day. Because, yes, you probably could do both of those things on your own. That’s not why you need each other. Those dutiful roles are part of building something far bigger and are vital in creating a successful family.

But you need each other’s love. You need each other’s touch, warmth and security.

Gratitude

Finally, but equally ( if not more,) important, is being able to acknowledge our need to express gratitude.

Again, anyone who has ever set out on a path to find success in this world, whether Muslim, religious or not, always discovers that along with our innate longing to be connected to something greater than our own selves, we also have an intense need to be grateful.

There’s something so mysterious yet undeniable about gratitude. It’s easy to take, take, take. But even the richest people in the world who can purchase and have whatever they desire are terribly, if not more unhappy, than most of us.

As soon as you stop acquiring, (whether that be by eating, shopping or fulfilling our desires in anyway,) and start to ponder and list all that you have, you will begin to be aware of the magnitude of blessings upon you. It’s so incredibly humbling.

Now take that acknowledgment a step further and start to show thankfulness for those things.

Witness how your heart lightens as if it had been tied up and held at ransom. Because at least to me, that’s exactly how it is.

As Muslims, it is upon us to perform an Aqeeqah for the births of our children. And it is said that every child is held at ransom until the Aqeeqah is taken place. I.e. To truly be worthy of accepting this immense gift from Allah, we must at the very least show gratitude to Him through the sacrifice of the Aqeeqah.

Indeed, just the words ‘alhamdulillah’ which we so often utter from our lips, are words of thanks to Allah. But we don’t connect it. These words become habitual and mindless.

Connect your heart and soul when making adhkaar (zikr/remembrance) of Allah, whenever you experience and are conscious of His continuous blessings upon you. And be grateful to those around you too.

Filling your cup with gratitude, is the final step in creating that balance and energised life you are seeking.

Summary

Filling your cup is a whole lot more than we first imagined right?

It’s nice to believe that retail and spa therapy or holidays and home-help is all you need to heal stress and burnout. But if you are here because you’ve tried everything and you’re still struggling to fill your cup and keep it filled, then know that it’s going to take self-determination and drive to transform your mindset and create successful habits.

To truly fill your cup and keep it filled, requires you to build a balanced daily life, in which your innate human needs of mind, body, heart and soul, are met and fulfilled.

Where do I go from here?

No matter how beneficial and enlightening, that was a whole lot of information to digest and you’re probably left wanting a clear course of action.

So to help you on your way, below I’ll share with you the 4 simple but effective steps I use, that will power you forwards on your journey to overcome parenting-related stress and burnout.

Step 1 – Build your self-awareness

You’re convinced that balancing your mind, body, heart and soul is the secret key to filling your cup and keeping it filled, but where to go from here?

The first step is to become more self-aware. Sit down with yourself and let your worries, problems, hopes and fears surface. Counsel yourself through them.

You can write it down in a journal, record a voice note or make a video. Whatever works for you.

Try asking yourself these questions:

  1. How are you feeling?
  2. What are you struggling with?
  3. What are your hopes and fears?
  4. Which part/s of you need attention (mind, body, heart, soul)?
  5. What can you do to fill these segments of your cup?
  6. What are your goals – how do you want your life to look when you look back one day?
  7. How can you achieve them?

Step 2 - Connect to Allah

The most crucial step in filling your cup and finding balance is knowing that you are and can do nothing without Allah. Lighten the stress in your life by trusting in His plan for you.

After or whilst journaling/counselling yourself, stop to think and pray to Allah. Ask for His guidance and blessings and put your trust in Him, always.

Step 3 - Make a plan

Create a plan which serves you

Look at your daily schedule/routine and find small pockets of time for me-time/self-care.

I find going to bed and waking early before the kids, works for me, but my children are older (and sleep later). Putting your kids to bed early and making time in the evening may work better for you, or perhaps when your children are at school/nursery.

The key here is in what you do in this me-time. We all will need different amounts of me-time depending on what we have going on in our lives and how much stress we are experiencing daily. But each of us needs time to be on our own in order to centre ourselves and create balance.

This is self-care but with a new and powerful mindset.

Self-care habit looping

Create small but consistent habits in your daily me-time and do not worry or stress if you don’t manage it or if it is cut short. Motherhood is unpredictable, so imagine your me-time as a loop or a cycle. Each chance you get for some self-care, prioritise what’s needed most. Is it exercise for your body or time with your Creator on a prayer mat? Try to have a few routine activities you can choose from.

When you need more

You may find that you need more extended breaks of time alone to keep your cup filled – especially for home schooling mothers or mothers of babies and toddlers. Try to work something out with your husband, family or friends to give yourself some time off from nurturing your family. But again, make sure that this time is spent filling the four core segments of your cup, if you want to avoid burnout.

And sometimes, you may be so deep into burnout and are seriously struggling to rebuild yourself, that a holiday or short break away from everyday life, is needed. Choose somewhere you can spend time in nature away from lots of people. At these times you need to work on rejuvenating all 4 pillars through rest, peace and relaxation.

Get organised

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Aside from creating holistic me-time for yourself, get your life more organised. Children and humans in general thrive on routine. Look at what is causing your stress and try to find ways you can organise yourself in order to address them.

For example, often I know my children are in need of connection, but the dinner also needs cooking. So I bring them into the kitchen with me and we cook and talk together.

Or to make the laundry less stressful, we purchased 4 different tubs from Ikea and labelled them, dark, whites, lights and towels. One less step in getting the laundry done.

I’ve also simplified our weekday meal plan, cooking once for two days. This small step has taken the stress out of meal planning, thinking of what to cook each day and allows me to have a few days off cooking in the week.

Simple changes can make all the difference.

Step 4 – Review and improve

A plan is only effective if it serves you. It’s going to take some trial and error before you find a routine that works for you. And with your family everchanging, you will likely need to keep reviewing and updating your plans and routines in order to adapt.

The Struggle is Real

but don’t give up. They say it can take anywhere from 2 months to a year to form a habit. So just keep swimming.

Slowly and steadily, with your trust put in Allah, your intentions clear and a practical plan of action in place, you are on your way to achieving the success in motherhood you truly desire – inshaAllah.

Remember:

To truly fill your cup and keep it filled, requires you to build a balanced daily life, in which your innate human needs of mind, body, heart and soul, are regularly met and fulfilled.

If you found this article helpful or would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share with your family and friends.

Have you read our article on dealing with your child’s meltdowns?

This article was kindly edited by Sara Fashola from @themigrantmuslimah & @deenandpapershop on Instagram – please go show her some love <3


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15 thoughts on “The Comprehensive Guide to Filling Your Cup & Keeping it Filled | Muslim Motherhood”

  1. Jazakillah khayran sister. This was a much needed read for me and has given me ideas to take action for myself insha Allah. I have 3 children under the age of 4, one is a newborn.

    1. BarakAllahu feeki dear sis, alhamdulillah I am so glad this has helped you. I have been there with 3 kids under 4 too, alhamdulillah you can start filling your cup and take of yourself from now. Please let me know what else you’d like to see me write about xx

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    1. You’re so welcome Uzma, I’m glad it helped you. Keep if fresh and alive though. These are habits that we need to build into ourselves over time. You’ve got so much going for you mashaAllah, stay in control xx

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  10. This is a very lovely and practical article, thank you so much. But why why why do us Muslims never ever ever ever involve husbands in burnouts? We are not robots, they should be helping us, why is there never ever a focus on this, ever? Everything is “our fault” somehow, our responsibility. We burn out because we’ve taken too much on or not concentrated on the kids enough or wanted too much for ourselves…. they just are allowed to get away with everything. We have nowhere to turn, not to our families, not to our own community. Nowhere…because we are expected to fill our own “cups“. Your article is going to tip someone over the edge, someone who thinks they need to plan better, pray better, let go better….. when in reality they need help. Actual help.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to leave a message. I totally agree with you. We have it very very hard. No one to turn to, no one to support us. I’m in the same boat. This is why I wrote the article because over the years, having gone through depression and acute anxiety because of being so alone and carrying so so much for everyone, I learnt that the only one I have control over is myself. And the same is for you and all other lonely, unsupported, overburdened mamas. I agree husbands need to change. Our parents, families, communities need to change. We need help, but we cant make them, or at least I cant and if you could, then you wouldnt be commenting here with so much emotion. Change starts with us. And if we have no one, we can only turn to us and of course Allah. Thats why I wrote this article, because it shows mamas how to take control for themselves. There is only so much I can write in one blog article. This is just one snippet from a whole framework of changes that we need to learn how to make. If you know how to change your husband or family or community, please write it out here x

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