Why I didn’t Bake or Decorate my House for Eid: Silencing our Harshest Critic
I didn’t decorate my house for Eid. There were no cute banners, no hand-made lanterns, no fancy balloon or flower arrangements…
Before anyone jumps the gun and assumes it’s because I’m anti-Eid-decorations or anti-commercialization of Eid or something, here’s the honest truth:
I didn’t decorate because I was tired.
Between trying to make the best of the end of Ramadan, taking care of a two year old and working on a few different projects, decorating for Eid just fell off my radar. While I had enough energy to buy my daughter a nice Eid gift (albeit online and delivered straight to my door!), I didn’t think decorating and staying up all night to bake elaborate Eid treats was necessary.
Ruqaya and I went to Eid prayer together, she wore a nice dress and pretty pink shoes, and she had a blast running around and playing with her cousins all day (and, full disclosure: she probably ate more chocolate and cupcakes than she should have). It reminded me of all the Eid days my siblings and I spent growing up: fun, messy and uncomplicated. I thought Eid day went pretty well, Alhamdulillah.
Then I decided to crack open my social media newsfeeds and there they were before me – the scores of beautiful pictures of all the Eid decorations that my friends put together for their kids, all the delicious and intricate Eid treats they spent hours baking and all the fantastic places they took their kids.
Hmm, okay. Maybe I should have done more for Eid.
Maybe I should have decorated the house a bit.
Maybe I’m the worst mother on earth.
I know – it seems like an extreme conclusion to come to just from scrolling through my Instagram feed, but that’s what happened up in my brain – and that’s what happens in a lot of moms’ brains: the dreaded “I’m-a-terrible-mother” syndrome. Every parent wants to be the best parent possible – but the guilt of not being the ‘perfect’ parent builds up and can be maddening.
The creeping feeling of parental inadequacy is exacerbated by social media platforms where other parents share their best moments with their kids. We all know that social media isn’t a reflection of reality, but rather a reflection of the prettiest, neatest milliseconds of our day. Constantly judging ourselves and our parenting abilities in light of our skewed perception of the performance of others is unhealthy and emotionally unwise.
We are our own worst critics.
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the game of comparing your parenting to others’ parenting. Maybe your kid has only memorized 5 surahs while your friend’s kid has memorized a whole juz’. Maybe your Eid gift to your kid was a box of crayons and colouring book while your friend’s Eid gift to her kid was some fancy electronic device. Maybe you sometimes lose your patience with your kid while your friend seems like the most calm, competent and put-together mom ever.
Whatever comparisons exist in your mind aren’t making you a better parent. They’re only making you a miserable one. It’s always great to seek help and ideas from others to enhance our own parenting journeys, but it’s easy to cross the line between genuinely seeking ideas and falling into a sad hole of self-deprecation.
As parents, we have to constantly struggle to repel these dark clouds of self-doubt. We have to be able to improve ourselves without resorting to self-hate and guilt as a frame of mind. We do the best for our kids because we love them, because we want them to be strong and smart human beings, and because it’s our God-given duty – notbecause we are guilted into it when we see other parents doing “so much” for their kids.
You are enough. When you spend your day feeding your kids, clothing them, teaching them, driving them around and loving them, it’s enough. Even if the edges of your life are a bit frayed – your dishes sitting in the sink, your pile of unfolded laundry getting higher in its basket, crayons crammed into every random drawer in your home, no fancy Eid decorations or elaborate sweets – you are still enough.
Allah (swt) honours parents again and again in the faith. He commands us to be dutiful to our parents because they cared for us when we were young:
“Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small” (17: 23-24).
Your station as a parent is an honoured one. Not because you are perfect, but because you genuinely care for your child.
But harboring unfounded guilt in your heart and focusing on your imperfections is holding you back from embracing your own value and truly striving to be better.
Let those things go, and know that you are enough.