Ameenah Soussi with Sohaib, Hicham and Akram during iftar. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Sharjah: This is the first Ramadan for Ameenah Soussi as a stay-at-home mother and she is looking forward to this new experience.

A mother of two children, ages 12 and 17, Ameenah has no time to catch a breath as she is making sure all is planned and proper for the month.

When she was still working, she would pack myriad tasks into 90 minutes keeping her office schedule in mind.

“This is the first Ramadan when I am at home all through and this has given me more space to focus on my children’s, and my own, well-being. I also get to spend more time taking care of the house,” she said.

Ameenah Soussi teaching the Quran to her son Akram. Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

She now finds great joy in every busy hour of the day, from waking up to sending her children to school to preparing iftar, suhour and putting her children to bed at night. She values the extra time to plan and spend more time with her family.

Plenty of planning went into the weeks preceding Ramadan, especially as her kids are fasting and attending school this year, she said.

 This is the first Ramadan when I am home all through and this has given me more space to focus on my children’s, and my own, well-being.”

 - Ameenah Soussi | Homemaker 

“As soon as I send them off to school I start work in the kitchen. I try to avoid making anything salty that could harm their fast.” Like most mothers, the time spent in the kitchen is a big part of the Ramadan schedule for Ameenah. This, however, has an advantageous side: she gets the opportunity to cook a variety of dishes. Also, keeping a list of recipes ready before Ramadan is helping her prepare a range of healthy meals.

“Our iftar table has to have a variety of dates, at least two types of fresh juices, samosas and spring rolls, a salad and soup and a main dish,” said Ameenah.

Prioritising prayer time

Ameenah said she likes to involve her children in preparing the food so can they learn how to be independent when they move out to study later on. “While my husband likes to prepare the fruit salad and fresh juices, my kids enjoy helping me peel vegetables or prepare samosas to be frozen for later use.”

For suhour, a few slices of bread and a cup of milk, and plenty of water are what the family usually would eat, but this year she said will be preparing light meals.

The most important aspect of Ramadan, she believes, is prioritising prayer time and making her children feel more connected to the month. One of the most cherished habits in the family is going to the mosque for taraweeh prayers every day.

“Ramadan is not only to satisfy the preferences of food, but also to prioritise prayer time over everything else. As a parent, I see it as more of a blessing than a responsibility to teach my children the meaning of the sacrifice they are doing in the month and the importance of praying and doing good.

“This month, I intend to make sure they read the Quran every day and we all will try to finish it by the end of the month,” she said.

Top tips

Prepare dishes you can freeze for use later, such as samosas, spring rolls, etc. These lend themselves to quick additions to the table.

Chop vegetables ahead and refrigerate to save time on chopping them for every meal.

Organise all the cutlery you would need in Ramadan ahead of the get togethers to save time and effort.