by Naila Sheikh

"Do you work?"

"No, I take care of the kids...but I've always worked."

Pause. My eyes shifting, heart beating a little faster. Work? Define work? Am I not working? Hell, all I know is that I am working my ass off. Have you met my kids? 

"Once the kids grow up, I'll be back in the work field, because right now they need me. This is very important work."

"Oh, yes", says the stranger.

"I write from home, mostly blogging.  Sometimes for an online magazine..." I say quickly to sound somewhat interesting, or I don't know, fill this deathly  silence while she's ringing up my order.


Why is she so slow? Can you hurry up? If this is work, then I would've done a million things  at the same time. Seriously, where is my order? I am nagging. I know. She is nice. Just stay put. These are basic life questions, okay. People ask. Nothing new about that.


Money is the culprit, I tell you. Money, you vicious, sneaky son of a B****. You make and destroy lives. You become the motive behind all actions, good or bad. And those that are considered good, such as the selflessness of a mother, is questioned because of you. You dominate the world with your valuable currency;  attempting to buy, trade, kill and diminish anything lesser than you. Those who own you may be happily satisfied, but this temporary settlement in bank accounts or in the form of material goods, is your facade of 'safety' whilst, all along it is not just that. It is status, comfort, ego-boosts, ownership and pride.


I've earned you from a very young age. I've paid your taxes, waited on your arrival, used you to pay car insurance and some of my shopping indulgences. I've definitely earned you hard when financing my own wedding. The every dollar in my belonging  was valuable -  insurmountable obstacles,  effort, sweat and WORK. There you go. Work. Yes. I said it. I worked. I worked so much that sacrificing my social life at a young age of 19 seemed logical. Heck,  even college life, because you didn't let me concentrate. You were constantly reminding me of a guilt in me, that would creep up, tell me to be concerned about you rather than enjoy  life. I did as you expected from me. I befriended you. We became buddies. I talked daily to my clientele about you, so that you could loan them their dream mortgage. My language about you and your benefits bettered. I mastered you. I knew you.  I excelled in my marriage with you and still, I knew, at that age, not to be crazily in love with you. I knew you'd leave one day. I knew you wouldn't care and so, I invested you, saved you and was able to buy my wedding dress at 23, jewelry and all the bells and whistles that were required to make it look like a celebration. My purpose was to beautify everything and everyone around me, to grant me this one celebration that I had WORKED for.


The day my daughter was born, I divorced you. I consciously chose  to be at home and WORK for my offspring. To give them all my love and care that I had killed myself, deprived myself with while earning you. The days stuck in traffic and praying to God that I was more than 'that'...and the days presently stuck in my four walls, are of stark contrast, yet a forceful flashback to remind myself  that even though I earned you with all my hard work, I still was working for myself. This however is a whole different animal; this WORK, albeit for my children and inwardly for me, it is for the greater purpose of being. This work isn't easy; it is repetitive, mundane, mind numbing, done in solitude  and whirling thoughts - sometimes in self-depreciation and immense sacrifice, but the outer world doesn't see it. They see, that I've stopped having you and instead chose to reproduce, spend and spend some more. 


To that spending, the spending of you per se, I have learned how to and in what measurements. My skills while earning you are translated in all money managing domestic pursuits. I budget you. I very much appreciate your providing power. To give my family a roof over our heads and food on our tables. However the mention of you, isn't you anymore. This blessing, is only, solely, and absolutely from Him. The One who provides, who listens to my whisperings and crazy ramblings. The one who sees my  efforts as real WORK, giving me courage and sanity through his Divine Words; that the path I am currently on, this selfless work slaving through the day, is indeed...


the BEST, most gratifying work of my life.