“The circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we’re weak, and sing with us when we are strong” – Sark
There was a time I used to dread the school runs and it would be the most stressful part of my day. The stress of trying to coordinate every single child and all their various requirements first thing in the morning, it’s not easy. I am not one to dress up for the school runs like some mums are (good on them!) I take a chilled approach and you most likely will see me without makeup or fancy clothes as I prefer to dress up only for occasions. And yet, no matter what I do, it always seems to be rushed and I am always somehow frazzled by something or other.
One morning, just before the summer holidays began, I did not go on the school run as my little one is poorly. My beautiful neighbours, who are like family to me now, so kindly took my kids to school. And two things struck me.
1) I used to hate school runs before because I was the only one who ever had to do them, regardless of the situation. There was no one else to pick up the pieces and come to help when you desperately needed. So to now get that little bit of respite provides an unspoken, unimaginable relief from stress.
2) I really love and enjoy the school runs now. I love the little community that has formed with my neighbours, the shared sense of belonging and unity as we walk purposefully together sharing stories, unloading to each other, strengthening friendships and touching base. The way our children have bonded, the camaraderie and competition, their chatter and laughter and how they all stick up for each other in school like a unit.
As I was reflecting on this, I realised how far I had come on this journey. How much barakah Allah has placed. I remembered how alone and isolated I felt when I first moved here and all my children got sick. How I used to make constant dua that Allah fills me with people I can love and rely on. Much like the dua of Ibrahim AS when he left his family in the desert. Or like the dua Muhammad SAW made when all the sahabahs did the hijrah to Madina and fell ill, longing for home. He SAW made dua that they fall in love with this place and that it becomes a home more beloved to them. Allah answers our duas when we call upon Him. He provides us with more than we ever imagined we could have. SubhanAllah.
So Mamas, if you have just moved somewhere new, Use the school runs when they begin again in September to form friendships and develop a network of support. Walk to school, don’t drive. Do not struggle alone. What may seem like a burden will become your source of barakah.
If you are a Mama who is already well established in your area, embrace the newbies with open arms. Take them under your wings and make them feel safe in your company. We will never lose out when we invest our time in nourishing a neighbourly bond. It could be the beginning of something beautiful for you too. X
Founder of Muslim Mamas. Nargis graduated from The London School of Economics and Political Science in International Relations and History. She then completed her PGCE in English at The Institute of Education and worked as an English teacher for many years. Nargis was born and brought up in London where she currently resides with her husband and four beautiful children. Nargis’ passion lies in building communities and connections and has worked avidly in the media, education, charity and community sectors. She loves socialising, travelling and spending time with family.