The Life of a Saudi Woman

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Life_ in general_ is a challenge. For women, it is even more challenging; for Saudi women, it is mission impossible!

Yet, we as Saudi women, are living the impossible and in fact, we are making it possible! 

To be more specific & to avoid generalizations, I am going to take my readers today on a journey to a typical day of my life: the life of a 40 year old Saudi wife, mother, & working woman…Don’t expect deep secrets though ;) 

Like all responsible women, who don’t belong to the royal/velvet class in Saudi Arabia, my life is one huge roller coaster!

Once that iPhone alarm starts doing its thing at 5:30 in the morning, I wake up and start waking up my three kids for school. After they have their breakfast and go to school, I start getting ready for work. My work place is about 30 minutes away from home…that’s the supposed time…but in reality and due to the dreadful, hideous, and poor traffic in Jeddah, it takes me over 50 minutes to reach work!

So…that’s over 100 minutes (1 hour and 40 minutes) lost on the road…or actually stuck in traffic…and that happens daily!

Once I reach work, I do nothing but work of course…Working in a private sector with high standards is very demanding, time and energy-consuming…all for the good of the society indeed. As an English language instructor and co-editor and translator, I have to keep up with everything new in the field…I have to always be creative and think of new ways to make life easier for my students, who come with minimum study and language skills and aim at learning English, so they can be up to Dar Al-Hekma’s requirements. At Dar Al-Hekma things don’t work as in most educational institutions in Saudi Arabia; there is no such thing as lecturing and then asking students to memorize and do well in tests. It’s the responsibility of the instructor to implant skills and values in students and to make sure they are strong enough to survive in the real world, to find their roles in life, and to succeed in their careers. Of course, I am not the only one responsible for this, but it’s my mission as a member of a great team and a wonderful family at Dar Al-Hekma.

During the non-stop long work day, I always squeeze 30 to 45 minutes to go to the gym that the college provides for its staff and students.

Why on Earth do I go to the gym if I have loads of work?

Well…that’s the other side of the story…I’m a woman in a world full of beauties everywhere (TV, magazine, streets….well …..yes even though they wear Abayas, they’re still gorgeous)…I am a woman and I want to be pretty and fit…In fact, I am expected to be fit…there are no excuses for being overweight in a world that has increasing awareness about health and exercise. No matter how many times Oprah says “we must love our bodies and accept ourselves the way we are”, there is this urge in every woman, I assume, to be beautiful and sexy regardless of her age. Don’t get a wrong idea now…I’m not a model! I just try my best to lead a healthy life in good shape, and that, I believe, contributes to my success as a working woman, wife and mother. No one really wants a mom, wife, or employee who has health issues! It’s harsh and sad..but true!

Back to my day…Around 4 pm, I go back home. My kids reach home an hour before me…Of course, if I were allowed to drive, I would have reached home earlier, but I have to wait for the driver to take them home and then return to me (their schools are next to my house). Once I’m at home, I start preparing for a rather late dinner (around 6:30).

Now…most Saudi women have their maids cook for them…my husband doesn’t really mind, but I cannot think of a woman, who is a total stranger to cook for me and my family and transfer her energy to them! Besides, I’m an excellent cook and I’m a really picky eater. I want my husband and kids to eat clean, tasty, and healthy food. I don’t want to be under the control and mercy of a maid, who might decide to leave all of a sudden and who is basically not a trained cook nor a professional house manager; she is just a helper at home. It’s my house and my family, and I’m responsible for them. And after all, cooking is not that big a deal! I wonder why new Saudi girls think of it as something dreadful and difficult! 

Once we finish dinner, I stay with my kids to help them with their studies, especially the youngest one, and then the youngest goes to sleep, and I stay for a while with my husband if he hadn’t fallen asleep. By now, there are about three to four hours before I go to sleep  During those few hours, I read, prepare for work, correct papers, write/translate articles, and spend some time with my two eldest kids and with my husband. I forgot to say that I do all those things while I’m extremely exhausted, but I struggle to stay alert and awake (thanks to vitamins!)

I sleep at around 11 to 12 pm to get ready for a new day.

And now it’s time for Mr. Weekend!! And boy that poor weekend is stuffed with millions of things! My weekends are divided among my kids, parents, in-laws, beauty salons to take care of my skin and hair, spring cleaning a specified room in the house, doctors’ appointments, and a few quality hours on Thursday or Friday for me and my husband alone.

And as you might have noticed, there’s no place in my life for phone calls, chit chats, hanging out with friends, or socializing and visiting family members and attending wedding parties. The only parties that I attend are the parties that my kids are invited to; I always go with them, especially the young one.

I’m trying to be a good mom, an attractive and loving wife, and a productive employee …and I try my best to do all that with a smile on my face…My mission in life, I have come to believe, is to help others and inspire them to get out the best of themselves.

Life is becoming difficult every day. As women, we have to prove ourselves in the workplace and at home, and as for me, I can never be but a giver and a person who inspires those who need to dig deep into their souls.

I could have taken the easier path as many Saudi women do; eat & drink, spend all my time chatting or hanging out with friends, spend a lot of money on trivia, and be a completely dependent woman on the maid(s), but that’s not me! It’s much easier to be this spoiled woman, who sleeps all day and has others do things for her and at the end of the day complains about not getting a Fendi bag from her husband!

But such a life is just a pity in my opinion. Life with all its challenges, difficulties, and obstacles is much more beautiful and meaningful than just a life of “taking or waiting to see what others offer me!”

 Of course, nothing comes easily…I gave up on a lot of things in order to fulfill my main roles in life. I’ve set my priorities and made my choices …and took the road “less traveled by” as the amazing Robert Frost puts it.

If we don’t face life’s challenges, it will hit us on the face!

If you’re like me , be happy that you have the gift of working and giving others instead of just taking. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your beauty, take breaks, have fun, and be prepared for life’s surprises; the pleasant and the unpleasant ones….And of course, always be proud because you are a giving woman!

I know there are many amazing women out there, who have even more demanding and challenging jobs and lives…and the least I can  say to them is that “You make us all proud!”

Responsible and reliable Saudi women rock!!

 

Comments
  1. Mudassar says:

    This was a great article..a close, face to face understanding of a simple yet so meaningful life..So u are a faculty at Dar Al Hekma..!! Nice institution. They have been known to bring out the best female entrepreneurs.

    And yes, it has been rightly pointed that in the times of today, when information, advice and help is at the click of a button, one cant live in an ill health and pull some lame excuse..!!

    The most important thing pointed out is the fact that despite the traffic jams of Al Madina Street..or Tahliya or Sari Street..Despite d hours lost waiting inside the car..despite d cooking(d best part in a house, where a wife takes d pain to cook for d husband n kids)…u still manage time or everything..!! And that speaks of the time management skills..!!

    Great going..!!

    • Consultant says:

      Good day friend I am so grateful I found your blog page Life of Suadi Women, I really found you by error, while I was looking on Askjeeve for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t have time to look over it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

      • Maha Noor Elahi says:

        @consultant

        Thank you so much for taking the time and reading my posts …I really appreciate your kind comments :)

  2. Almaha says:

    MashaAllah, and you make me and Saudi women really proud !
    I admire and highly respect women like you.

  3. [...] This post was originally posted in Maha’s Noor Elahi blog “A Saudi Women’s Voice“. [...]

  4. Erum says:

    SubhanALLAH sister! Although I am not a Saudi women- Pakistani moved to first Jeddah but now Dammam- I highly respect and look up to women like yourself who make it a point to work hard and do their best. Life truly is what you make of it- one can complain about the limited opportunities and scopes for women in the professional arena- but it is always easier to complain and watch life pass you by- it is ALWAYS more difficult yet more exciting to walk upon the road less travelled. May Allah give you more strength- and may ALLAH make more women take a lesson from your ambition and endeavours. Ameen.

  5. Hanan says:

    Hello dear Maha,
    I was feeling sorry for my self being the “superwoman”,but after reading your great article I feel so PROUD:)
    thank you for the wake up call ^_^

  6. ما شاء الله تبارك الرحمن
    you are amazing women
    بالتوفيق يااااارب
    دمتم بكل سعادة
    ^^ ^^

  7. Amazing! I got totally absorbed in reading this. I’m sure this the life of many Saudi women out there, including my mom who recently retired. You’re an amazing and inspiring woman.True, life is very challenging for us with all the expectations we have to meet in our societies and all the duties we’re obliged to fulfill.

    Be good,

  8. John Rambo says:

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN
    Why American men should boycott American women

    http://boycottamericanwomen.blogspot.com

    I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

    Are you a man who is interested in marrying indian women? Please visit Indian-Wife.com, India’s 1st International Marriage Bride Site:

    http://www.indian-wife.com

  9. Misha says:

    A real slice of life post, and refreshing to find a down to earth yet optmistic Saudi woman’s blog. Keep the post coming. :-)

  10. ino0oni says:

    this is so inpiring
    to be honest ,it’s kinda boring to me to read about other people lives cuz everyone has his own complicated issues. But i liked this post alot it is realy inspiring !
    let me say that your life is typical like most of women here. Although i’m from Kuwait but it’s not that different.
    what makes it different is how smart is the woman to control all of this, and your just doing great.
    pleas never give up.. you are so smart and strong.. and remember no-one is perfect.
    btw, i’m still single and love my life alot and sooo scared of changing ofcourse i mean after marriage if i ever get married!
    and i don’t drive ( by my choice ) cuz the traffic is so scary and boring. I prefer reading a book on the way to work.
    and yes my brothers are pushing me to drive but NO way. i don’t want to lose the morning mood because of the stupid drivers. it doesn’t worth it…

    keep blogging..

    @ino0oni

  11. B. Willson says:

    You serve as an inspiration for then many people around you and who read your blog. But please set aside a little time for yourself! Pease and happiness.

  12. M. Imtiaz says:

    Wowww very interesting blog. We thought saudi women are different than others. Much careless lazy dependant etc…etc…! May Allah SWT bless you & your family.

  13. bb says:

    please can you describe a typical day in a life of a married unemployed women living in saudi arabia?
    thank you

    • Khab6a says:

      Well that’s depends on what is her (education, beliefs, social status) cause it really makes a BIG difference on how a woman will do in her life :)

  14. Abdullah Paruk says:

    Alhamdulillah, your story is really inspiring for me.as my late wife had exactly the same qualities & drive you describe. Allah keep you & your family well, grant you eternal happiness. Ameen

    I live in South Africa & assure you that you are surely an ICON we can look at proudly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s