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.
I go under the pen name of Papatia Feauxzar; a name that embodies my Ivorian and Turkish heritage. I’m now a naturalized American citizen alhamdullilah. Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s are my home businesses. They both compliment each other; one being a publishing house and the other being a bookstore alhamdullilah. The goal is help make quality Muslim contributions seen and curate our Islamic History and contribution to the world.
What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?
Many things did. Islamophobia was one aspect of it and I wanted to homeschool my son. I also wanted to witness all his firsts. Nobody in particular inspired me; Allah did. I decided to make the change I wanted to see when I saw many Muslim writers complain about the erasure and lack of support they faced. Finally, I have always wanted to be a writer and a female scholar. So, I’m doing my part to see these dreams to come life insha’Allah.
Is your family supportive of you being a working mother?
Yes, they are now. It was with a lot of conflict and keeping my grounds though. Alhamdullilah ala kulli haal.
What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?
My main challenge is to force myself to enjoy my personal time and my family. One should always cherish one’s family first and before everything. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I’m glad I didn’t learn that the hard way or lived to regret not giving them the attention they deserve. Keeping my stress levels low too are also a challenge but with dua, I manage to obtain sakinah of mind, body, and soul through constant dhikr and listening to the Quran.
Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business? You have a number of businesses/projects running together. Does it all sometimes become a bit overwhelming trying to manage them all.
A typical day starts after tahajud. Often times, it’s hard for me to sleep until after fajr prayer when I pray it. But on days I don’t pray tahajud, the day starts after fajr. I look at my list of things to do and start planning mentally. I get my son and my husband out of the way by attending to their needs. Then, I start cooking, cleaning, checking emails while listening to the Quran. By noon, I’m usually done with my chores and to-do list of things set for the day. I do all this while interacting with my son and checking on him periodically as he plays or teach him a couple things here and there. I also teach him new words, manners, I hug him, I kiss him or I scold him nicely if he is being naughty. Then, we pray and get ready to go outside so he can get another kind of interaction; children’s play. I do dhikr while he plays with other children. I’m more productive with my remembrance of Allah when he plays. I understood that children’s play actually is a blessing on Moms to help them relax. So, I take fully advantage of my child’s plays. We both benefit from this activity alhamdullilah. While we are out, I also run errands, mail packages, etc. When we return, he eats and naps, and I pray. I get dinner ready and when the hubby gets home, I get to perform some self-care and/or complete more things on my to-do list alhamdullilah. All this seems overwhelming at times but I calm down and do one thing at a time while supplicating and before I know it, I have had a productive day alhamdullilah.
What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?
Cons: It’s more than a full-time job. It can be stressful just thinking about it.
Pros: It’s rewarding and you realize that there is ease with hardship. I witness so much by raising my son myself. I have become a little more grateful for any small to big blessings bestowed upon me and us. I have learned not to take anything for granted.
On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?
Filling my book of deeds with good deeds always keeps me motivated. I try not to loose sight of Jannah al-Firdaus. I’m not saying all this to come off holier than anyone or calmer than anyone. I say this because it has taken me a lot of practice and a lot of patience to reach this level of self-motivation. Having said that, bad moments in a day happen, and I try not to capitalize on them. I let them go and refocus on positivity alhamdullilah.
Where would you like to see your business in the future?
I would like it to be seen as an accredited House of Wisdom type of historic contribution insha’Allah.
What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?
Children are the joy in the journey. Children are the comfort to the stress you will face as a working mom. Embrace the challenge. Working moms can do it and Allah didn’t burden us. He knew we can handle the load with true dedication to a well-balanced lifestyle. Let’s be Khadijah al-Kubra radiallahu anhu; business-savvy woman in a tough and restricting society, modest, knowledgeable, respected, mother of believers, garment to a spouse, and all the great things she is known to have done or been insha’Allah. Age was just a number.
JazakAllah Khair to sister Papatia for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! You can connect with her further at: Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Fofky’s.
If you are a Muslim mum with a business and would like to feature then drop me a message in sha Allah.