We strongly believe in communication, having a little laugh each day and knowing our duties as a couple to make our marriage work.
Tahirah Mohamed is a mother to seven children whom we named our Tahirah Modest Nursing Kurung after! It is definitely rare in Singapore to have more than two or three children but her story will make you reflect on how parenting is not about the numbers but about your resolve to make it work.
Tell us about your family’s story! How is it like being a mum to many?
Logically, four seems to be the right number for my husband and I when we got married. We decided to have it as “mission accomplished” when I gave birth to my fourth child. However, three years after the birth of my one and only daughter, I made a resolve once again to not have any more children; so just 5 and no more! Yet, there was a little nagging part in me that wanted to know how it would be like just to have one more child. –laughs- I wanted to be pregnant again, to feel another human being growing in my womb, to hold a tiny baby in my arms and to watch another child grow.
A year and a half later, it wasn’t just another “one more”; Allah bestowed me with two more – twins! Zayid and Ziyad are indeed double blessings. Alhamdulillah!
Being a mum of 7 kids is an experience unlike any other, and I am lucky to have the chance to try my hands at this insanely complicated parenting challenge. I am just loving and embracing the insanity in our everyday. It may seem such a difficult task but I believe in taking a leap of faith. Most importantly, cherishing what I have right now, that is, a family to love and to be loved, is such a beautiful blessing.
What is the biggest challenge you face so far? Tell us about your feelings!
My challenge is managing our finances. We are a single-income family. I am the main caregiver while my husband is a senior executive. We live simply and spend within our means. We definitely need to be stringent in our budgeting but we are not lacking in anything. Food makes up a big part of our expenditure and a portion of our money goes to my kids’ monthly appointments. We spend our holidays through staycations, visits to places of interests and to Johore Bahru or Kuala Lumpur instead of trips to expensive, exotic, faraway places.
We heard that you also have two children who have special needs. We would love to know more about these beautiful children! How do you manage?
My oldest son has high functioning autism also known as Asperger’s Syndrome. He was diagnosed when he was 9 years old. I knew that he might be autistic but since he had no delay in speech and motor skills, I didn’t think it was serious until his behaviour invited stares from the public and remarks from his teachers. Having him diagnosed opened up a lot of help and opportunities. The teachers were more accepting and patient in teaching him. Despite his condition, he continued to improve in terms of social communication and interaction. He has also joined a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) that promotes discipline and teamwork with his peers and participated in leadership roles, too, that greatly aided his development.
Meanwhile, my second son was diagnosed with ADHD also at the age of 9. His challenges were frequent inattention and managing his emotions. Like his brother, he, too, continued to overcome his challenges with determination. His inattentiveness (daydreaming) comes after 20 minutes after a class begins. Can you imagine the knowledge he missed every day? I was very proud of him when he received the Best Progress Award last year.
Over the years, I realised that I should not judge them by world standards but instead celebrate and embrace every milestone they achieve as something worthy of celebrating. As their mom, I let my kids explore, learn and grow at their own pace. Their conditions taught me not to set any expectations for the love of learning.
Although at times we do question why we are in such a situation, remembering that those whom He loves most face the hardest tests in life because He wants us to earn a higher place in Jannah gives me the strength to carry on.
What is a typical day like? Share with us some routines or tips that have helped you.
I drink a warm glass of water when I wake up each morning. I recite Surah Al Insyirah in my solat Subuh. That Surah calms and helps me to start my day with positivity. Looking after seven kids with no helper while keeping yourself sane is not easy. I recite Tasbih Fatimah because that was what our Prophet PBUH taught Saiditina Fatimah RA when she was overwhelmed with household chores. Alhamdulillah, I believe there is nothing that I can’t overcome with His grace. My whole day is spent with my toddler and twin boys. Towards the afternoon, all my schooling kids are home. After lunch, I oversee their homework and later we have dinner. After Maghrib is my children’s Iqra’ time and lights out for all the children by 9pm.
Throughout my day, I always hydrate myself with plain water and snack on dried figs for energy. I never skip meals. My husband is my greatest supporter. He buys supplements and essential oils to keep me healthy physically, mentally and spiritually as we are raising ‘gifts’ for the next generation of the ummah.
Do you still have date nights? How do you ensure couple-time? What about me-time?
Yes, we do have date nights. Since I am always occupied with my family, my husband has always been the one to ensure our date nights happen. We strongly believe in communication, having a little laugh each day and knowing our duties as a couple to make our marriage work. Once a week, we will have an ice-cream or dinner date while updating each other about our day, the children and our future plans.
For my personal time, I love to read. I love the feeling of empowering myself with knowledge but I found myself with little time to read books. Thus, Facebook groups or Pages that interest me and articles by intellectual individuals who inspire me and other educational websites are my resources and inspiration. I also love photography. My subjects are usually my kids and nature. Taking photos of flowers and the skies make me feel closer to our Creator. It is my way of expressing my gratitude of how beautiful His creations are. I also relax by listening to music and watching English, Malay or Korean dramas.
What is the best advice you would give mothers who may be struggling with a huge family?
Find joy when caring for your family. Love your children but when you feel overwhelm, ask for help. You are not a supermom. Therefore for house chores, simply delegate your older kids to help out. Make time to bond with your children each day.
A quote that I live by is: “Be patient with the test that God has given to you because God wants to reward patience. Patience must be with wisdom, not by just relentlessly giving up without perseverence.”
Who is your strength and inspiration? How does this person keep you going?
My dearest aunt, Nafisah Suheimi is a trainer, coach, curriculum developer, practicum supervisor, marriage facilitator and entrepreneur.
Let me share three of her quotes on why she is my strength and inspiration,
- “We don’t manage time – we manage our priorities. We make time for things that are important in our life”
- “A good chat with Son that reminds me the importance of communication in parenting – positive, confident and supportive”
- “Share happiness in public & spread positive energy, keep disgruntlement in private & curtail negative energy.”
Her positivity in life continues to inspire me to this day.
To honour Tahirah, our Tahirah Nursing Kurung was named after her.
The Inspirational Ummi Project was born out of a desire to share the secret stories that mothers hold behind their everyday struggles. Mothers are known for their quiet strength, and every mother is inspirational. Blessed Ummi hopes to share more of such stories because we know that sharing makes the motherhood journey less lonely, because we know that struggle is the middle name of motherhood. Struggle can be beautiful, and struggle need not be lonely. There is much we can learn from one another. All ummis we feature will be honoured by having a collection named after her and all stories will be permanently on the web Just a little something we can do to leave behind a legacy of stories to empower current and future mothers, and to inspire all of us to live life to the fullest despite our own personal life journeys.
This Ramadhan, we feature 4 amazing ladies whom we named our Eid collections after. Read about them below:
- Umm Anissa – Founder of Muslim Kid Genius, Doctoral Student specialising in Education, Founder of Artique Visuelle SG
- Maryam Shaistah – Homeschooling Mother, Owner and Baker at Mary Hadalittleoven and a Montessori Advocate
- Faten Bamadhaj – Owner of Petite Dress Boutique, a local social entrepreneurship startup specialising in custom-made designer dresses for girls