When Rukaya was born, I was in bliss. Though it wasn’t easy – as many of you may relate to. It was hard between the long nights, constant feeding and body aches. But I was also living in a bubble that was just us.
I wasn’t working and had made the decision not to return after maternity leave. I didn’t really have a social life, hence hardly any social obligations. I lived in NYC – where delivery is right not a privilege! I felt no pressure to care for anything but us.
I had been nervous about this change because I knew it meant stepping away from a huge passion of mine – stem cell research. But I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t miss it. It was like Rukaya had replaced my passion.
However, nothing lasts right? It’s all a phase.
Fast forward to toddlerhood, and the terrible twos and all its glory! Toddlerhood popped the bubble of bliss. Not because of her, but because of me. Toddlerhood was a time when Rukaya no longer needed me every minute.
I had some free time, but not much to fill it with. Well, not much I was passionate about to fill it with – laundry was simply not my passion. I started to finally miss work.
As luck would have it, we moved across the country to Napa, CA. Moving from a big city to a small town was isolating itself. A lack of community to help me raise my child, was simply devastating. I truly struggled in finding my passion.
I was polishing off my second Masters and seriously contemplating going back to work. The only problem was that I lived in a small town, so there wasn’t many opportunities that fit my passion. I also didn’t want to go back to work unless I was going to love it.
Time passed, and I took up crafting as a hobby – talk about your stereotypical housewife! As I applied that to teaching Rukaya Islam, a new passion was born – Zair Zabr Play. The bubble of bliss started to reform. Rukaya needed me still, and I had something I believed in with my heart to fill my extra time.
Zair Zabr Play flourished, I saw myself learning new things, meeting new people and fulfilling a greater purpose in life. All the while being able to be there for Rukaya and feel needed as a mom.
But just like before, nothing lasts – it’s all a phase.
Rukaya enrolled in full-time school and was gone for most of the day. I slowly felt my self transitioning from Mom to supervisor. Sure, she needed me still – but it was mostly at the end of the day. She was starting to have a life that was independent from mine.
Zair Zabr Play was growing, but I couldn’t help feel like I was still missing something. That’s when I decided to look into going back to work. When I found a position in (stem cell research), I was forced to really evaluate a few things.
Why do I want to go back to work? What does that mean for all the other things I am doing in my life?
There were many reasons as to why I wanted to go back to work, but it boiled down to one fact: I wanted to be something that was independent of being a mom. Zair Zabr Play was great, but it was so entangled with my identity as a mother.
I wanted a place where I got to feel the parts of me that existed before Rukaya was born.
What does that mean for the other things in my life? Well, for now, it means I am super focused and motivated! Zair Zabr Play is alive and well! I actually have new products coming out and plans to grow it. But I am being wise about my intentions behind each project.
Zair Zabr Play is my sadqa-e-jaria. I want it to be saving grace when the dust settles. So I am making sure when I chose a new direction for it, it’s main purpose is to give back and grow our Islamic community!