Jordan Peterson: quite controversial a figure. I do find many of his talks and explanations thoroughly insightful.
Yes, I also scrolled down to the comments section for this one. Here is one comment that particularly stood out to me:
“Modern feminism has really been a punch in the gut to me. Raising children is not the honour it needs to be. I always felt that I was a burden even though my husband and family never made me feel that way. Grew up with a hardworking stay-at-home mom. When I went to work, the guilt and inability to juggle it all was unbearable. My family was not priority according to my work. I hope a new feminism brings back the mystery of women, the value of femininity and the strength of it in its own right. Also the value and the strength of masculinity.”
What matters? One’s health and wellbeing matter. One’s family. If you choose to work, your work may matter to you. Some people only partake in economic labour because they must, while others really only partake in it as a hobby thing: an enjoyable and productive way to pass time.
Some women get extremely bored and unhappy when they stay at home. Some women become extremely unwell when they commit to carrying out high-demand economic labour roles.
The most crucial considerations, I think, ought to be: what is truly, holistically good – best – for you? For the people you most deeply care about? For your Deen?
What ought not to play such a significant role: Mere appearances. What other (no offence, but for-the-most-part-irrelevant) people think. These people… will almost undoubtedly always be thoughtlessly ‘thinking’ things.
“She doesn’t work and only stays at home? Why doesn’t she do something useful with her life?”
“She’s only a pharmacist? Why isn’t she a doctor?”
“She works all day and sends her children to daycare?! How pitiable!”
“She earns more than her husband does? Ha!”
“Her husband’s an engineer and she doesn’t work? He should’ve married someone more educated!”
“Why is she tired all the time? Surely it isn’t that hard to have two young children and have a high-flying career?”
“Why can’t she go to work all day and clean the entire house top-to-bottom every day, by herself?”
“How dare she have her own opinions? The insolence! I should never have let my son marry her! She should just keep her mouth shut and cook and clean and say ‘Yes ma’am, whatever you say ma’am’ to everything I say!”
These busybodies, so violent with their words, necessarily a) only see the outermost parts of things, and b) have committed themselves to identifying the perceived negatives in lieu of the positives, so as to soothe themselves, and so as to entertain themselves through gossip. Have no fear, though: all they are really doing is depleting their own Ajr-ic [this should be a word. i.e. relating to Ajr] reservoirs, while contributing to their victims’…
You face your own reality. You know what it is like to be you.
The truth is, when you choose one thing, you necessarily forgo its alternatives. Life, and all of its various aspects: blessings and tests. Necessary upsides and downsides, to each part of it. You inherit a ‘good’ thing: you also inherit its unique ‘downsides’. Mutatis mutandis, ‘bad’ or difficult things, and their unique perks and ‘upsides’.
Ours is a world that finds itself marred by crises: of home; of family; of loneliness and hyper-‘individuality’. Of meaning; of mental wellbeing. It is also true: sacred things like marriage and motherhood are generally no longer looked upon with due sanctity and honour.
In any case, you are a being whose (limited) wealth is time. And health and energy; the ultimately finite amounts of attention you can give to different things. Family. Talents, skills, interests. Allah is Al-Mālik, and
you get to figure out what might be holistically best for you. Seek His guidance: sometimes certain things, decisions and such, may be hard, but
We submit to the Creator, and not to (the fleeting, incomplete, and often-exaggerated takes of) creation. Your life. Between you and your Lord, and also concerning the people whom you love.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021