As-salamu `alaykum sister.
Al-hamdu lillah that you have recognized your lifestyle to be a problem. At the end of the day, all and nothing is displayed on the T.V. screen stealing away your valued participation in life.
One can only take a guess as to how this has come about as there is not enough to go on with the information that you have provided. It could be that all your past efforts as you were growing up were ignored, refused or rejected, so why bother. One of the things that we as humans also ignore or just simply fail to realize is the power that the human mind has over the body, to the extent that it can change the body chemistry. This has finally been established in medical science although this has been understood in holistic medicine for a long time.
The mind actually requires the brain to do, or not do, what is necessary and rejection in whatever form has an effect. Over a period of time, feelings of rejection produce a specific activity in a specific part of the brain – the cingulate gyrus. This area is where emotional and physical pains meet and so the reaction is the same. One limits ones receptiveness, or to put it more simply, one attempts to find a safety level by which one can feel free from the pain. This of course, removes one from the fullness of life, the difficulties by which we learn and mature.
Unconsciously one becomes selfish (this includes being selfish with ones self) as a means of self-preservation. Thus, as a result, even though one might be conscious of what is happening, one loses the means by which to overcome it. Not realizing that this is in fact what has happened makes one frustrated and with increased frustration one can either:
• Seek artificial means by which to ignore it
• Pretend to participate in life, lacking genuine, commitment to anything that does not directly effect one.
• Be obsessive about particular things to the exclusion of others in order to maintain a degree of control
Sometimes a shock occurs in ones life, through the laws of nature bestowed upon us by Allah, to help us to wake up before it is too late! It is in this manner that Islam trains us away from our most basic instincts so that we may rise above them and control them. In this context, training means the development of the will and the ability to tell right from wrong and act according to ones best judgment and not give in to negative influences. When we become shallow in our approach, it is difficult to achieve anything really productive or creative.
We must hold onto our links with Allah to help guide us back to our purpose in this life through the wajib(requisite duties) in Islam which assist in our training to become better people. If we do our duties without question, eventually a door of realization will open to show us the way forward with less effort. If we sit and question, we make ourselves vulnerable to stagnation. As the song goes, ‘Busy doing nothing working the whole day through, trying to find lots of things not to do’!
The act of prayer is an aid to us in that, when done with focus, it replenishes our bond with our Creator, relieves the mind from all those daily distractions, renews our commitment to life, exercises joints and muscles through the subtle stretching, contraction and relaxation and increases blood circulation.
Just think, while you are spending all that time sitting in front of the T.V. how selfish you are being. You are compromising your physical health by not being active. Physical activity also stimulates brain activity and so by being lazy you are reducing your capacity to cope with situations and to find solutions. Activity helps to boost your immune system and reduce vulnerability to ill health. All the potential that has been bequeathed to you by your Creator is in fact wasting away, so you are not contributing to life as you should and therefore remove yourself from the right comment on the ills of society.
Your family is being denied the benefit of your good qualities that look after their needs and helps them in this life. So yes, you are correct in your fear that it will in turn affect your relationship with your son because your attitude deprives you of the right to comment on his behavior and his deeds. He may react negatively by rejecting you and seeking the worst of the outside world to fulfill his needs, or he may react positively by refusing to be anything like you, but still rejecting you and anything that you may have to offer.
Why not try to take one hour of the time that you sit in front of the T.V and see what you can do in that hour. Better still; take one hour in the morning and one hour when the family is at home. For instance, try to think of four factors during that hour: you, your son, your husband and your unborn child. Allocate fifteen minutes each:
• For yourself: do obligatory prayers if they are due and if not do a two Rak`at/prayer ending with a du`aa’ and share with Allah your concerns. Sometimes a realization can take place during that process of sharing if you do it without judgment or expectation.
• For your son: see to his needs whether they be the care of his things, preparation for when he returns home, or just simply listening to his days activities and any concerns that he may have.
• For your husband: do the same as for your son, including the care of the home in which he will want to relax after a days work.
• For your unborn child:, be mindful of what you eat, meaning eat healthily. By doing physical things for yourself, your husband and your son, you are making yourself fitter for the time of delivery, increasing blood circulation and therefore increasing the flow of nutrition –and remember your unborn child is with you in whatever you do, including time spent reading the Qur’an and your prayer times. What affects you and your mental well-being will in turn affect your child. Would you be physically and emotionally fit for this baby if you continue as you are? Attend those check-ups at the clinic so that things can be done to improve prospects of your unborn child’s health and a safe delivery.
In this way, you can help to train yourself back to life and appreciate the joy in giving unconditionally to those closest to you. When the time is ripe, then you might consider going further field, in agreement with your husband of course, and do some voluntary work or take up a class in something that you are interested in. Join a Muslim women’s circle where you can give and receive emotional support, as well as learn from others more about Islam. By the way, who does the shopping if you are in front of the T.V. all day? If your husband is doing this, then it is time to take over. Be mindful of what you buy not just in terms of nutrition, but also in terms of those companies that support suppression of others.
We know it might all seem quite difficult to you in the beginning because your life as it is now has become a habit. Allow for this, do not have high expectations that it will all happen like a ‘push of the button’. Once you can get past the one hour in the mornings and in the evenings of allocating T.V. time to you and your family with ease, extend that hour into two and so on.