Salam. Please help me. Before our first son, I had a wonderful relationship with my husband. But our son has been a hard child since the beginning. He has allergic to milk which was discovered some months after his birth. The first times were really challenging. I literally slept 2 hours every day if not less as he was crying all the time and could not do anything to comfort him. The situation is still not perfect. My son is in the nursery now but still a hard child; very determined and hardly listens to us. And my husband, instead of being a supportive father, he has started to make programs for himself outside with his friends so that he is not at home. I understand it was hard for him to handle, but I was frustrated too, without any help! I also wish for some “self-time” as he does. My parents live far, so they could not visit me frequently. My son was crying aaaaall the time, I could not sleep or have any free time far from him a bit. I tried to talk to my husband to help me. He took the child for hardly an hour at the end, but it is nothing! He says he is busy: he works, runs his own business, studies, meets his friends…always something. This attitude makes me so nervous. I tried to talk to him nicely that he as the father has to spend more time with his son and help me. Then I talked to him in a more harsh way. Nothing has worked. And I am the bad because I “criticize him all the time and always complain about everything.” Before having our son, we sat down. He promised to help me. But things have changed: he realized this is hard, too hard, and it is not working as he imagined. So what can I do? I cannot just leave the door when I feel I cannot bare anymore the crying of my son – like him. I cannot leave my son alone at home. I also have dreams, things to accomplish like him. We talked many times, every time the promises, “ok, I will be with our son, go here or there, no problem…” Then after 2-3 weeks everything goes back to the same, old cycle. What shall I do?
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,
Thank you for writing in. I’m so sorry to hear of the difficulties you went through and are going through after the birth of your son. Having children is a great blessing, but it is not always a “bed of roses”. Quite often, it is draining, thus, there’s a need for both a mother and a father to be present in the home.
Allergies to milk are very common and often the source of much distress to not only the child, but parents as well until it is resolved. Alhumdulillah the doctor found out and it was rectified. No doubt while your son was going through such pain and digestive problems you were distraught. As mothers, we feel so helpless when we do not know what is wrong and we try our best to comfort our children.
At this point, your child is more or less stabilized, but is displaying behavioral issues such as not listening, being headstrong (determined) which in part may be a normal part of his developmental age, but still you (and your husband) need to set limits with your son and consequences for not listening. When he does not listen or disobeys, firmly tell him at an age appropriate level what he did wrong and his need to listen. If he persists, consequences should follow such as taking away a favorite toy, keeping him from a playdate, or sending him to his room for time out.
Young children need and often seek out boundaries for their behaviors. Often times, your son’s acting out may be a call for you or your husband to intervene and set these limits so your son can learn sociable behavior as well as self-control. It will take time, consistency, and patience, sister, but in sha ‘Allah over time you may see an obedient, sweet little boy emerge.
As far as your husband, I am sure he works hard, sister, but he also makes time for friends and sports. He also needs to make time to spend with his son not only to give you a break, but also to bond with his son, teach his son, and guide him Islamically.
While a lot of men are like your husband and think that we as mothers are superwomen, indeed, we are not. You do need your own time to gather your thoughts, relax, pursue a hobby or class, or to just socialize with other sisters. Our life should be a balance; however, with children it is often not without supports in place. In sha’ Allah, sister, please do sit and talk with your husband when things are calm and ask him if it is possible to have certain days or evenings in which he can be with your son. Explain to him that as he needs relaxation and friend time, so do you. As he has already committed in the past to taking care of him while you go out, stick with that. Set up your calendar for a few specific times each week which will be “your time”. Remind him a day or so in advance beforehand each time so he gets use to the routine that he will be watching your son. Go out, even if just for a cup of coffee, to the masjid to pray, or to the gym to exercise. By getting your husband use to a scheduled time and day that you will have “self-time”, it will be easier for him to commit to this time and get used to.
I would also seek to spend at least one night a week or 2 nights a month with just you and your husband to re-bond, reconnect, and draw closer to one another. Make a date night like you used to before your son was born. It is vital to your marriage and for helping him connect to you in ways that will help him understand that you do need help with your son. By rebuilding your relationship, it will in sha’ Allah, create more empathy between the two of you, thus, creating a more harmonious household.
If your husband is reluctant to give up his free time, please do seek out your sisters in the masjid whom you are close to to help you with your son. There are many mom groups within the communities wherein sisters take turns watching each other’s children so they can get a break, take classes, or do whatever they chose with the free time. Please do check out your options.
Sister, know this time will not last forever and you will one day miss these times, as hard as it is now. Children grow up fast and we often wonder where the time went. Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) to grant ease, try to pray together as a family as well as going to the Masjid as a family as much as you can. By building up a strong foundation of Islam within your family structure, you will find many blessings, in sha’ Allah.
You are in our prayers,