My Muslim Mums in Business series focus’s on inspirational Muslim women, who are balancing the art of motherhood along with running businesses.
Please introduce yourself and your business.
Assalam alaikum, my name is Javeria Fatima Zaidi. I’m a mum of 2 girls, children’s author, and counsellor in training. You can follow my journey on Instagram (@jfzaidi), Facebook (Blog – Scribbles by JFZ) or Twitter (@jfzaidi).
What makes your business different from your competitors?
I write a specific type of story: called therapeutic stories. If you read my two published stories, you’ll see that the characters don’t live happily ever after. At the end, the character is seen striving to make positive changes, and sometimes they fail. And that’s ok. That’s the message I want to send to children through my work. Life isn’t a fairytale. Its not all doom and gloom, either. It’s somewhere in between – and the sooner we help children see that, the more chances for them to develop resilience.
What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?
Coming from a practising Muslim family, the two most inspirational role models have always been our Prophet’s first wife (Lady Khadijah) and his daughter (Lady Fatima). One was an exemplary businesswoman, while the other committed herself to housework, despite having a helper. Even though I can never compare myself to these great ladies, it gives me comfort to think that regardless of what I do, I’m following in their footsteps. Whether I do housework or I build my business – both are equally prestigious.
Is your family supportive of you being a working mother?
Of course. If I didn’t have the support of my husband, this would never have worked out
What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?
It’s about finding the balance. How do I manage things so that nothing gets neglected? Honestly, I’ve not found the balance yet. I home educate my girls, so my priority is always them. My business has to come second. For now, I don’t mind. Thankfully my husband is able to provide enough that I don’t need to work. This allows me to take my time and not be too stressed about the business side of things. When my girls are older, inshaAllah, I can build on the foundations I am laying now.
Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business?
I have a busy schedule – too busy, frankly. I’ve been trying to scale back. A typical day would be too detailed for this article, so I’ll try to give a general overview of a typical week.
I have a whiteboard up on the fridge, and this holds all the details for myself and the girls (hubs has his whiteboard at his workplace). Each day there is a specific set of tasks to be done in various categories: house, studies, my stuff (which includes my own studies, marketing my books, working on upcoming projects).
I’ve divided the day into chunks. Between breakfast and lunch we do homeschooling and daily chores: sweeping, dusting, taking out the trash, etc. I have a routine for myself: koora, khana, kapray. (Trash, Food, Clothes). This little phrase keeps me on track with household chores. I make sure that all trash from the various rooms is collected/taken out, get dinner started, do a load of laundry. Then one household task per day: for example, Fridays are for cleaning the toilets. Somewhere in between, prayers, meals, bath times and showers all happen. After the girls’ bedtime, I do my prayers and sit down to work between 9.30 and 11.30pm.
I must say, though, that all of the above is my ideal scenario. All too often things don’t go as smoothly as that. There are days when dinnertime arrives and nothing has been done. And then on some days I find myself free from all the chores and get a rare moment to do some work-related stuff during the day. Its all quite fluid – and I’m learning to be ok with that.
What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?
- You set your own hours
- You get to pause your work and listen to a child’s silly joke
- You get to take a mental health day without having to explain yourself to someone
- You set your own hours! Sometimes (mostly!!) its difficult to maintain that discipline.
- Because you’re at home, it can be hard to stop interruptions or ignore distractions.
- Mostly you’re working on your own – unlike in an office space, where you have a
team who can support you. There are times when it becomes too much.
On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?
This is such a good question. I’ve had some extremely tough days.. things that I’ve not shared with anyone but my husband and my 2 close friends. On such days, its important to remember your WHY. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Making little reminders of this WHY for myself helps – journal pages or posters that I can
look at regularly. Or even just mental notes to myself – as soon as I start slipping into a
downward spiral, I pause, leave everything as is – and take some time for myself to reflect
on my WHY.
Where would you like to see your business in the future?
I would love to see my books in every home in the world; for my name – a Muslim name – to be as normalised as Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl.
What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?
I would say: before doing anything else, prioritise. Be very clear on what your priorities are.
Then go after them with everything you’ve got!
Javeria Has kindly offered book Tracey Learns to Lead to my UK based readers at 50% off – offer is only valid for 5 days after the publication of this post and for UK mainland customers only. You will need to send Javeria a DM on insta with the code MuslimMummy50. She won’t be able to offer the discount unless these steps are followed.