Parenting, Poems by me, special occasions

A Toast to Every First

With her first child, a mom gets to experience every first for the very first time; the first contraction, the first labor encounter, the first overwhelming love, the first sickness, the first solid food trial, the first tooth appearance, the first step taken, the first birthday celebration, the first day of school separation, and the list continues.

With every new first, there is a mix of feelings. Feelings of happiness, and excitement or feelings of uncertainty, fear, and worry. No matter what the circumstances are, these emotions stay unique because they will always be the beginning of a new challenge in motherhood.

Last night, my eldest traveled on his first school trip. For this special event in his life, and in mine, I dedicate these lines for him.

Here is a toast for another first in my life as a mom;

Where did the time go?

You were my baby just a few years ago!

But you have grown very fast,

And those days are now part of our past!

There you are on your first trip alone,

With ease, you move away from my comfort zone!

But my heart is filled with joy

For you my darling, my big boy!

I am so proud of you,

And all the amazing things you will do!

Travel, learn, and enjoy your time,

Escalate any mountain you need to climb!

Explore, examine and rejoice

Let the world hear your voice!

This first school voyage is for you to keep,

Memories of friendships that are genuinely deep!

I love you with all my heart,

I pray for your safety as we part!

Son, have a safe flight,

God’s with you with all His might!

Until we have you back in a week,

I give you endless kisses on every cheek!

Love, Mom

About Life, special occasions

Featured on @innerseed

Thank you @innerseed for featuring me on your website www.innerseeduae.com/mom-blog-in-abu-dhabi where I was able to share, as a mom blogger living in Abu Dhabi, how I have and still support the community.

 

Mom Blog In Abu Dhabi

When we first arrived to Abu Dhabi, thirteen years ago, we were welcomed with warmth, fortune, and peace of mind. I was pregnant then, with my first child, and I thought that we would be staying for just a year before going back to France. Little did I know that we will be blessed with five children along the many facilities that Abu Dhabi provided us with. We always tend to forget that no matter what we plan for, fate simply knows better and leads us towards more suitable goals.

I have spent the first six years as a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) with my three boys where I used to spend my time engaging them in educational activities, outdoor play, and homemade art. Despite the daily challenges I have faced as a mom, I tried my best to enjoy their presence. Sometimes, I was even criticized by the society for dedicating my life solely for them, especially because as a couple, we barely went out for late social occasions.

At that time, I was satisfied with my daily life, yet at the same time, it was demanding. I used to have many moments where I wished I could just escape the endless burdens of being a mom. I admit that I missed my job, and I longed to go back in order to build my profession as a teacher. However, it was clear that it was not the time for that, yet!

Once the boys started going to school, I got the opportunity to teach there too. Fate was leading me into the right direction, and I took this opportunity with great pleasure. It was tough! Balancing three buoyant boys and work had a toll on me, yet I was mentally content and gratified.

Soon, my social life started to expand and many people started to call me for advice or for some simple information regarding parenting issues. I suddenly became the ‘Go to Person’ to a number of women in the society who were seeking some relief and assistance. I would listen to their worries, calm their fears, and counsel their apprehensions. I did it with pleasure, and it contributed in filling my soul with gratitude and peace. Moreover, it helped me mature and grow out of my boundaries. I slowly started to accept people as they are – with no judgment. In fact, I soon realized that I do not have the right to criticize anyone as long as I still battle with my own flaws, and being perfect is actually absurd!

Three years later, I find out that I was pregnant with twins! We were astounded by the news and felt overwhelmed by the upcoming hefty responsibility. There again, I had to resign from work and get myself physically and psychologically ready to take care of my, all of sudden, big family of 7!

It was then and there that my mother and sister strongly encouraged me to start writing about my experience as a mom of five through blogging. After all, I have always been fascinated with words and the amazing effect they have on me. My blog actually equips me with the weapon I need to address and assist women through the articles I write. Through my words I draw pictures, release my stress, reflect on my worries, and address an audience. Through my words, I reach out to all the women out there, with an empowering message to help them attain a positive attitude and be in peace with themselves whatever their social status is. That was how the journey of thehelicoptermommy started. To support my blog and my ideas, I continue to initiate and plan events that are dedicated for women in general and moms in specific. In all the events, there are always professional speakers who usually engage in talks about women’s health, moms’ mindset, and even in fun activities like baking and cooking. By organizing all these occasions, I am able to support a wider scope of women all over the world and reach out to most of their wishes and needs.

It is remarkable how much I have acquired from the wonderful people I have met and worked with along my blogging experience. With every event I organized or attended, I always come up with a better version of myself, and that by itself is a bliss.

Finally, it is funny how by having a big family myself, my life was put in a better perspective. Despite all the encounters that I have faced, and still confront, I am currently able to manage my daily life, my blog, and my career. I always declare that had I been in any other country, I would not have been able to achieve what I have accomplished so far. I believe that the growth I have reached is reciprocal because by serving the community, I am actually filling my inner seed with love and ardor.

 

Blurb: Rania HUSANT is a working mother of five and an aspiring writer. The link to her blog @thehelicoptermommy can be found on Instagram and Facebook

www.thehelicoptermommy.wordpress.com

 

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Photo credit: @nad_naddoun

 

About Life, special occasions

To the Woman Who…

To the woman who is now a grandmother and has worked hard all her life until she has finally come to her retirement stage. She who has raised her children and is now able to simply be present in the given moment. She who has ripened along the years and became the wise woman people refer to. She who patiently guides others and calms the fears of the younger generations… I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who is now a mother and who daily sheds tears of defeat because she thinks she is not up to the standard. She who holds all the worries of the world on her shoulders. She who tries to tend to her endless duties juggling work and motherhood at the same time. She who hides her fears as she wants to give the impression that everything is under control. That mother who might wish she could escape from those years and wants to fast forward her life because she thinks she will finally have some peace of mind. It could also be that other mother who feels she is missing out on her social and professional life simply because she wants to be with her child….. I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who is now a first time mom. She who feels that someone has pulled the carpet from under her feet and made her life stumble into pieces. She who silently observes the physical damage caused by the stretch marks that now smudge her body. That first time mom who is lost in the dark shadows of postpartum depression feeling guilty because she simply doesn’t understand how she can deal with all the craziness happening in her life…. I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who is now an expecting mother and feels swollen, heavy, and tired. She who wants to get over with the delivery and warmly hold her baby against her. She who might not be aware of the pain she will go through. She who wearily walks by feeling unhappy – despite her excitement- about all the body changes she is experiencing… I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who has never been able to become pregnant and experience the magical beauty of feeling her unborn child within her womb. She who has sobbed in sorrow everytime she knew she missed her chance of getting pregnant. She who longed to have that child to cuddle, caress and embrace with love and affection…. I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who has lost a child, a friend, a parent, or a partner. She who might have cursed fate for choosing her above the others. She who will never understand why she had to pass through such a horrendous experience. That woman who then pulls herself up, strengthens her faith, and just moves on. She who is filled with courage, firmness, and power soon realises that life goes on. With a broken heart and shattered dreams she also carries on… I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who is now a wife. She who has just argued with her husband thinking he doesn’t understand her needs. She who wonders why she even thought of tying her whole life and happiness to a man. She who still has dreams and ambitions which she thinks have evaporated into thin air. She might not know that through communication, one day she will get there… I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who has not yet met her lifetime partner and wishes she could live a love story one-day. She who still dreams of walking down the aisle with a charming man at her side. She who might be struggling with weight, personal, or even psychological issues… I salute her because she has struggled!

To the woman who might have been neglected and criticised by the society due to a certain incident. She who had to carry the blame of others. She who had to face those challenges on her own. She who had fingers pointed at her… I salute her because she has struggled!

To the little girl who is mesmerized in her own world. She who plays the different roles of a woman as she grows. She who thinks of fairy tales and dreams of rides on glittery unicorns. She who fantasizes about dreamlands and flutters around the house like butterflies. She who stands firmly to the ground speaking of her likes and interests… I ask her to find that beautiful woman inside. Find her strength, tackle her weaknesses, come over her struggles, fill in her self esteem, swarm in the beauty of womanhood, and not hinder her power to the hassles of life.

It is high time that we learn to support our fellow women. Learn to avoid negative criticism. Learn to spread positivity. Learn to be non-judgemental. Learn to accept the other!

After all, we all have our imperfections, our pains, and our apprehensions. As I have grown from that little girl into motherhood, I have learned a lot about us; women.

The least thing we would want is conviction! That is why, for International Women’s Day I salute each and every woman out there, and ask for transparency and empowerment!

About Life, special occasions

2018; I pray for Love!

To welcome 2017 last year, I asked for a limitless year wishing you and myself unlimited experiences with all the meanings the word carries.

I was not aware that hoping for boundless encounters could carry negative consequences with them!

As a matter of fact, 2017 heaved me with measureless emotions. First, I said my final goodbyes to two distinguished grandmothers at the beginning of the year. Then, my compassionate uncle passed away just a few weeks ago.

Throughout the school year, I also had a lot of pressure as I was responsible of organizing major school events and different ceremonies related to the blog. On top of that, I was managing my family on my own due to my hubby’s continuous travels.

So emotionally speaking, throughout the year, I experienced a sense of loss, stress, and doubt. I even encountered that poisonous despairing feeling that would slowly crawl through my veins sucking out my positivity and zest.

However, my inner nature and spiritual soul refuse to comply and be submissive to such a defeat. I would not accept releasing my soul to my invading thoughts. The good news is that once they are controlled I become liberated.

How freeing it is to know that if I do not attend to a thought, answer it, or even identify with it, it literally ceases to exist. It is that simple; I let a thought be nothing, then that is what it will be… nothing.

Once I free myself from those negative thoughts, I overcome whatever sadness, anger, or loss I experience.

That is why, people around see contentment and fulfilment in me as I endlessly fight hard on spreading white wings over the black veil of negativity.

It is not easily done as it is said, but with gratitiude, faith, and trust I believe that ‘this too shall pass’, and other challenges will come along. Through those losses and experiences, I learned a great deal about myself.

That is why, I would not limit myself to a year and label it as my worst or my best. After all, every single day has its own bitter and sweet moments. Some are more aribtary than the others, leaving a person shattered into pieces. However, no matter how difficult the struggle is, a person is forced to gather those pieces back, glue them into a new form, which could be more resilient than before, and just move on. Life, after all, is an accelerating train that waits for no one who does not show up on time at the train station.

I would not speculate what 2018 has for me or for my dear ones. By human nature we all wish for the best praying for harmony, health, and peace of mind. We pray for such attributes because they give us comfort and hope. They provide us with a sheltered reason to simply move on. Oh how I wish life was that simple! We would have been in heaven ages ago.

It would serve me no good if I ponder upon the past or worry about the future. It would not ease my pain or heal my inner wounds if I kept myself trapped in yesterday!

All I know and try to do is live and love that given moment, and continue to be grateful for the many blessings I am bestowed with.

From the 2017 experiences, I graduated with a new notion; the more Love I give to the outside world, the more peaceful I feel in my inner terrene!

So for 2018, I pray for Love!

About Life, special occasions

My Thankful List

With Thanksgiving coming just around the corner and the deep meanings it carries along, I decided to tell you more about my way of being thankful.

I can fill pages about the things I am blessed with as a mom living in the 21st century. Women of this era are bestowed with great opportunities which we could make good use of. Not only that, we really do exhibit a beautiful kind of freedom which makes us enjoy and appreciate life. We have reached a point where we have the right to vote, work, and participate in any domain we might be interested in.

Finally, we are all blessed with endless resources like nature, the sea, the moon, the stars, art, music, and modern cures. However, I will be stating only six of my boundless thankful list.

1. Faith:

I am thankful for the faith and trust I have in God. I know that whatever I plan for and whatever I aim at will be guided through His support. Faith gives me a sanctuary to accept challenges and over come them. Faith helps me accept peacefully what fate has designed for me. I do pray that I will always hold onto it as I progress in life, and be able to transfer this belief to my children.

2. Good health:

I am thankful I have all my five vital senses vivid and functional. Being able to read, write, enjoy food, and feel the beauty of life is a bliss by itself. It is true that we take these things for granted. Hence, exerting them without acknowledging this fact, and to only remember them when we lose them or when we are in pain, is shameful. However, that same pain that we sometimes experience, is also a blessing as it reminds us to appreciate the perfection of the human body.

3. My family:

I am thankful for the amazing gift of having my loving family which God bestowed me with. I am so lucky to have them in my life. In addition to having a warm house where we feel safe and sheltered, our home is loving and supportive. We are free to share our pains and fears, happiness and joy, sadness and disappointments – all the while knowing that we are there for each other. I would not have explored love or known the ecstasy of affection without each and every member of my family.

It is true that, like everybody else, we have our ups and downs, but it is through that kind of discomfort, we learn to stick together and solve our problems the best way we can.

4. Education:

I am thankful to have had the chance of earning a good education which has helped in quenching my endless thirst to knowledge. Moreover, through the right direction and guidance I have received, I was able to choose a profession that I truly enjoy.

Doing something that you rejoice in makes a person appreciate her work more. Hence, she becomes more productive.

5. Vacations and holidays:

I am thankful for the ability that we can travel, explore, and learn through our trips and journeys. Those moments are precious as we are able to enjoy our moments together, our children, our laughter – our bond!

Those ‘breaks’ help us get out of our speedy routine, and make us realize the importance of appreciating the given moment.

6. Technology:

I am thankful for the great inventions that were achieved across the years, with the most recent being the smart phones. Despite their negative aspects, my phone is the means through which I get in touch with my dear ones, and connect with people who can support me in my journey.

The relief I experience when I know that I can reach whomever I want by pressing a simple button, is gratitude by itself.

After all, whatever feelings I have can be easily shared with a close person, making the burden and discomfort evaporate.

By being grateful, people attract more positive vibes into their world. They create a cheerful and satisfied heart. They form a live soul filled with energy and ardor. Finally and most importantly, they reflect that exuberance towards others.

And you dear reader, what are you grateful for?

events, special occasions

My 3rd Blogiversary

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Hello guys,

Three years ago, I launched thehelicoptermommy since I wanted to share my experience as a mom of five through a real virtual world that can reach moms across the continents.

Moms who come from different places, diverse backgrounds with various beliefs and several principles. Moms who are employed and moms who are not. Whatever and wherever we come from, we are after all moms, and that is what unites us!

Yes we are simply moms who are doing our best and trying to enjoy motherhood with all the bitter sweet challenges it brings along.

We all have our own daily struggles and hassles. We all deal with such conflicts in the best way we think is correct. We make mistakes and we learn, and then a new battle arises. Yet, on the baseline, we all share the same foundations. In fact, we are all riding the same boat.

Throughout those few years not much has changed, but thanks to wonderful people like you a lot has been acquired:

• I love the fact that through blogging I have met inspiring super mamas who have left a special mark in my heart. From the inspiring moms whom I worked with, to those whom I met virtually, I have learned a lot from them and made some new good friends too.

• I can’t be more happier to be able to exercise my passion and hobby as an aspiring writer, especially because it inspires other moms in maintaining a positive attitude. Moreover, writing those words which come tumbling down on me, helps me maintain my sanity as I juggle through my busy life.

• It is always a great pleasure to know from you my dear followers and readers how much you enjoy my posts and find them beneficial. That is the best reward I can get! At the same time, going over my words again calms me down and helps me overcome certain challenges I face as a parent.

• With the blogging experience I have gained more patience and an awareness of how people and things function. Things do not come the easy way, and one needs to work hard to attain the successes one seeks.

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Today, thehelicoptermommy celebrates its 3rd anniversary, and I am looking forward to the years ahead of me.

For this year, we will continue to empower moms throughout their journeys by holding as many educational and intellectual events related to parenting as possible. Please, let me know of any specific topics you would like me to address, so we can tackle it in the coming year.

Finally, I do hope that you will continue to enjoy my platform as without you, all of this would not have been accomplished .

With love,

Rania – thehelicoptermommy

PS: Thank you Atelier Blanc for hosting me and providing me with your charming venue.

And what other place to be when I got to indulge myself with their rich chocolate in celebration to my three beautiful years of blogging?

Photo credit: @nad_naddoun

events, special occasions

Women In Business

In the past few decades, women have achieved great successes and attained unique goals. We see them in different fields of work, inventions, and businesses. They have used their creative multitasking skills and chased their dreams inspiring and empowering others.

September 22 marks the founding of the American Business Women’s Association. Its mission is ‘to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking and support.’

In honor of such super women, I got in contact with the following business ladies who were delighted to tell us all about their startup businesses, and to inspire others attain their dreams.

  1. Razan Nabulsi – Dots and Links Skills Development Center – UAE

Being in the business for five years and a half now, Razan explains how rewarding their work is when they see tangible proof of children and adults leading significantly better lives after completing the BrainRx program. That is what mainly inspires her to continue providing people with such a unique learning opportunity.

The business life, according to Razan, has many challenges. One of them is having work life balance where she has to manage her time and prioritize her social life. Her working life makes her do only what really matters and be with people who truly mean a lot to her.

In addition to the above mentioned, the difficulties she faces at work is not being able to take a time off as she is always on call. By time, she learned to only stop at what really matters and keep her focus on delivering amazing results with all their students. According to her when a person has a focus and a clearly defined purpose, things become easier in the business life.

2. Vanessa Bosson – Hallabolou… where every child’s a star! – UAE

Working as an Early Childhood Educator for 18 years, Vanessa saw a need for a program that would allow children to learn while having fun. The idea of ‘Hallabolou‘ began in 2010 which was a dream that had been floating around in her head for quiet a while.

At the beginning, her initial concept of ‘Hallabolou’ was just a theater program, but it has expanded since then to greater aspirations to include science, technology, engineering, art and imagination. She created ‘Hallabolou’ with a unique educational philosophy behind it based on “The 5 Points of Discovery”.

As in all businesses, there are difficulties, and one of her biggest quandaries is explaining how they teach. She states that they may present similar classes and camps as other companies do, but they do take great pride in how they teach and not just what they teach. That is what they call, The Hallabolou Way.

In fact, the Hallabolou Way builds on each child’s own unique qualities, adjusts to each specific environment, and makes every child a star! Mr. Rogers once said, she quotes, “Play is really the work of childhood.” So whether it is constructing in the bRiK Programs, or building a rocket ship and watching it launch 100 feet in the air during EXTREME Steam, each program and event incorporates learning through play, which is the absolute core of ‘Hallabolou’s’ existence.

Their growth and change stems from expectations of the extraordinary, belief in a superior participant experience, and outstanding customer service. All this combines to make ‘Hallabolou’ not just a business, but an experience that she is proud to share with the community!

She continues saying that the main element that inspires her is to have fun!


She reiterates stressing the fact that learning should be an enjoyable process. Growing up with a learning disability herself in the 80’s was hard on her. She wasn’t even diagnosed until she was 14 years old. That is why, she struggled and compensated the best way she could, but it was the teachers who made learning fun, and that made the difference. They are the teachers she still remembers to this day. She ends saying that she wants all children to learn as knowledge is power and they are the future.

3. Janis Sarraf Tabet -Photographer – Lebanon

Back in 2007, Janis opened her own studio in Jdeitat el Matn and has been working in it since then. Her main focus now is capturing special moments for kids, newborns, families, and fashion photography. According to her, in order to run a photography business a person also needs to be a skilled marketer, accountant, and digital editor.

As a photographer she spends all her time behind the camera, which is normal, and she is not able to focus on issues like marketing for instance. So her challenge as a professional photographer, was to find her niche which is newborn photography, family portraits, kids photography and stick to it. By doing so, she is now able to multi-task and enjoy what she does best.

She ends by saying that her children inspire her every single day. Due to them, she switched from fashion photography photo-sessions and ended up in doing 80% kids photo-shoots by 2017. Jannis ends affirming, ‘I owe it all to my daughters, and I am obsessed about taking pictures of them. 🙂 ‘

4. Aleen Chehayeb Alame – The Garden Child – KSA

Nearly a year ago and after becoming a stay at home mom, Aleen decided to take on her passion for crafts by designing handmade accessories for young girls. That is how ‘The Garden Child‘ came to life.

Being accustomed to office work, and freelancing off her laptop, she was actually stepping out of her comfort zone by choosing handcrafting as a profession. At the same time, she knew that she did not need to wait any longer, and decided to launch immediately, acknowledging the fact that she will learn to improve as she goes.

Like in all businesses there are many challenges. One of them is the tendency in getting easily distracted by what happens on a daily basis. Still, she tries her best to stick to a schedule where her main work would be during the time when her daughter goes to play-school or takes a nap. Naturally, that helps her stay dedicated and focused whilst juggling her responsibilities towards being a mother, wife and homemaker too. Moreover, she always challenges herself by making her designs classic, yet unique at the same time.

She adds, and I quote; ‘The good part about working on your own is that you get to be in control of the direction of your creative business. Every success and failure is on you. Thankfully, I have a very supportive surrounding, starting with first and foremost, my husband.’

Aleen ends by stating that she has always appreciated anything handmade. She loves the fact that through ‘The Garden Child‘ she gets to be creative, and that she can get to bring that creativity into others’ lives.

5. Nadine Chamaa – The Kitchen Babe – Lebanon

Since the age of twelve, Nadine has had a unique relation with the kitchen. It took her some time though to establish her own business, but when she did she excelled.

She currently runs a food blog named ‘The Kitchen Babe’ where she enjoys most of her time in her kitchen. Two years ago, after her children left to study abroad, she felt she had to share the food that she prepared on her social media. Then, she decided to create a food blog, through which she shared her recipes, her approach to food, and how she prepares it in her simple yet beautiful and colorful way. She also started following different food trends in order to understand the market. Then, she worked on testing more recipes until she finally created new food concepts like her artisitc and mouth-watering “Labneh Cone”.

Soon, she started developing recipes for brands and restaurants. Then, she prompted food styling for advertisements and movies.

Some of her difficulties were mostly on learning to build a website and understand SEO – Search Engine Optimization – which were a new dimension for her. She even had to take digital photography courses so that she does justice to the food that she was creating. Sometimes she spends around six hours, researching, creating, executing, food styling and propping. Finding the right lighting, shooting, editing, posting, writing and interacting with her audience are also tasks she has mastered.

Now that her children are back and they saw what their mom has achieved while they were away, they are proud of how far she has come. Nadine ends by focusing on her belief that if a person is happy in her kitchen, it reflects on the home atmosphere. She knows that there is still so much for her to do, and since she is passionate about what she is doing, each day is a new promise for her to push her limits and create something new. She is willing to continue learning everyday and to continue to share what she learns.

6. Khadijah Lajam – Chateau de Sable stores in UAE

Khadija talks about Chateau de Sable with affection and fondness. Her business started when she had just given birth to her first baby boy at the beginning of 2009. He was only a few months old, and she was already at the design stage and sourcing for locations. By the end of 2009, she finally opened her first boutique in Wahda Mall.
Like any new business, Khadija explicitly talks about the personal and professional difficulties she passed through. Firstly, she was a new mother and was pregnant with her second. She was juggling between learning how to be a mother and setting up a store at the same time. It did not take her long to learn that its all about time management, but what has also helped her was that her babies slept a lot when young!

Besides managing her time, the market in 2009 was different. Back then, there were not many malls in Abu Dhabi. In fact, there were mainly Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall which were very established and had no vacancy. Luckily, Al Wahda Mall had just opened then, and she had to prepare a very well thought of presentation to secure a space over for her.
The difficulties did not stop there. The market was less established in terms of entrepreneurship and sourcing for contractors who are familiar with retail for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). A lot of the bigger groups had their in house design and execution teams for their concepts. Fishing around Abu Dhabi for small things like a graphic designer for paper bags took a lot of effort!

She even mentioned how once the contractor was not meeting his deadlines, so she took the liberty to paint part of the store herself, and help with the clean up too in order to successfully meet the target date.
Once the set up was done at Al Wahda Mall’s boutique, she started learning the in and outs of retail in UAE and the rest as she said is history! Khadijah did not stop there and has played a major role in helping keep the ball rolling for their subsequent stores in Yas Mall and Dubai Mall!
I loved how Khadijah got the inspiration of managing her own business! She simply says that it was all about her family. In fact, her father is a businessman and was always an inspiration. At the same time, her mother consistently continues to work on developing herself. Naturally Khadijah grew around them as her role models.
However, the final push for her to go into this field was also family, but this time it came in the form of a cute little baby boy in her life! When she gave birth, she found shopping in the UAE to be hard. There were not too many choices. She either had to invest a lot of money in big brands which babies basically outgrew or soiled themselves in, or she had to settle for generic brands which didn’t suit Ali, her son, well. It turns out that he had eczema and she had to be careful around fabrics with a polyester mix which is unfortunately a lot of what retailers produce. She wanted to be practical, but it was hard with the offering given then.
One evening she just looked at her husband and discussed how all she wanted were nice clothes that are affordable and of utmost quality. She smiles as she repeats his words saying, “If nothing you want is available, why don’t you do something? I’m sure there are more mothers like you!”.
At first, she was hesitant as she already had a lot on her plate at that stage of her life! However, he pushed her to work on it encouraging and supporting her through that life-changing year. Today, she celebrates her seventh year in Abu Dhabi, and they have just finished five years of operation in Dubai as well!

7. Afaf Balaa – Da3douka – Lebanon

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Afaf’s journey with ‘Da3douka‘, which is a natural homemade play dough made with 100% food grade ingredients, started as one of the products that she provided children at home and her mobile workshop known as ‘Junior Art’. The children used to play with play dough as they learned, while having fun, and relieved their energy at the same time. Soon, parents asked for having ‘Da3douka’ at their own homes, and that was how the idea of selling came up, back in 2013.

However, Afaf’s husband got sick, and she was forced to minimize her operating work in order to stay by his side at home. He, unfortunately, passed away in 2015 and did not live to see her succeed. Despite all what she went through, Afaf did not give up and wanted to pursue her dream. She strongly felt that her husband has always encouraged and motivated her to move on with her project, which was her dream since 2010. Her main challenge at that time was finding a matching fund! That did not stop her. She got her loan and started from home.

Being a specialist in Early Childhood Education, she believes that art is a form of education that enhances the necessary skills and confidence to meet life’s challenges. She developed ‘Da3douka‘ with the intention of helping kids develop their communication, socialization, and fine motor skills. Finally, she ends by saying that working with kids inspires her everyday!

8. Rania Wehbe – Engineering for Kids of Lebanon

To Rania’s delight the less than six months start up business ‘Engineering for Kids of Lebanon’ is growing fast and customers are more than satisfied with the outcome. The center brings STEM education to children in a fun and challenging way. In fact, STEM is relatively a new curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Currently ‘Engineering For Kids’ is operational in 30+ countries worldwide in addition to 35+ US states, and Rania has succeeded in bringing it over now to Lebanon! Their programs and classes stay current, meet strict safety requirements, actively engage kids both mentally and physically, and encourage them to think creatively and intelligently. They offer various fields of Engineering programs for boys and girls aged 4 to 14 years old divided in the following programs: Junior engineers (4-6 years old), Apprentice engineers (7-11 years old), and Master engineers (12-14 years old).

Being a working mother of three adorable girls has always been a main challenge in her life, and she has always struggled to manage. “Not to boast,” she states,”but as a perfectionist, I cannot afford compromises in either way.” Despite the challenge of finding the time while working a full-time job, she has always had this passion to build something through which she can contribute back to the society at large, and specifically to the education of children. She has realized that no matter what people do in their lives, they will always fall short of time, and it is up to each person to decide how busy she wants to be and define her role and contribution. In her case, she explains that she does a lot of planning to overcome this. That is why, you find her planning her weeks way ahead and up to the finest details. This keeps her alert and, to an extent, in control.

She explains that starting a new business is certainly challenging, and a lot of it has to do with how big of a risk appetite a person has. However, this argument is diluted when one truly believes in what she is doing. The excitement in what a person does helps in getting through all the challenges that one might face. She strongly believes that with enough faith in oneself and with an established motive, a person can succeed. After all, everyone should find out what triggers their inspiration. In her case, she enjoys reading a lot about successful business leaders, who really inspire her to achieve more. One of the inspiring things she has lately read and that is worth sharing was about a successful entrepreneur who plans his day on 5-minutes slots. To some that might sound aggressive, yet it is worth thinking of.

Last but not least, she explains that she owes a lot of what she has achieved to her husband – her partner for life. When the decision was taken earlier this year to launch their own business, the idea was not clear back then. But after extensive thought and research, she decided to take the ‘Engineering For Kids’ route, and bring these enrichment programs to the children in Lebanon. Her husband was very supportive, as they decided to get into it together. Luckily enough, they both share the same passion for educating their own children and inspire them.

She ends stating that they strongly believe that children deserve the opportunity to have such a unique experience. And as we speak, she informed me that they have just kicked off their operations out at their Center in Sodeco, Beirut. The plan, in the future is to expand to cover all regions of their beloved country, in an attempt to give all the children in different areas such a unique opportunity.

9. Shadi Khazei – Dan-Dee Designs – UAE

With the help of her two children, Shadi designed a product for water bottles to help children identify their water bottles from those of other children. The whole idea started in October 2016, but the first cap was finally created in March 2017. Currently, Shadi heads a design company in Duabi named Dan-Dee Designs.

The ‘Dan-Dee Caps, The Real Bottle Cap’ is a bottle cap that fits perfectly over the existing Water bottle caps. The inspiration for undertaking this project stemmed from her children’s frustration that they could not easily identify their water bottles, especially in large crowds, sports events or in birthday parties. That is how they worked on creating a unique cap that would be appealing to both children and adults. Until they finally developed and designed colorful and fun food safe silicone caps.

Along the way she faced hurdles which she was able to quickly overcome since there are many resources in Dubai that help budding entrepreneurs. For example, in the conception stage, she didn’t know where to begin and how to bring the idea to life. After some research, she found a work space in Dubai where she learnt about casting, design and mold making. There, and with the help of instructors, she was able to make a prototype of the caps. The biggest barrier, according to her, was obtaining a patent and registering a design. Again, through firms in Dubai who specialize in patent law this was possible. She found out that the best way to overcome obstacles is through perseverance.

Shadi adds that although their inspiration is to create fun and safe caps for kids, but as a mother, her aim is also make life a little easier for other mums. Because this creation solved a problem for her, she felt that it would be beneficial to others as well.

Those pretty and very practical designs can be seen on their website www.dandeecaps.com and on Instagram message as @dandeecaps.

Shadi concludes by explaining more about her current work where she is looking forward to creating new designs for the bottles which will appeal to all ages. At the same time, she is working on creating a website aimed for mothers who would like to go back to work full time, par time, or as a volunteer. The website will focus on helping them to land the job interviews.

In conclusion, I can say that I have been honored to have had this discussion with those fantastic business women. They all represent the strong will each woman possesses and how this will can be directed into a fruitful and inspiring future. I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and everyone one of them for participating in this project.

Please share this post on your social media as you can also be part of encouraging and empowering all the women out there!

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