I love to follow success stories as that gives me a boost to work more and be active as much as I can. I also study their course plan and analyze what made them to stay separate in the crowd. Hence I started this Success stories series and I am really enjoying it. If you want to know about the previous episode please do click here
So this person is someone close to my heart. A mentor in my blogging world. She loves crafts a lot. and you would understand the love she has for the crafts and kids through her journey. Such a sweet person to have a chat with. So Today I am presenting Ayesha Siddiqua over here.
Describe yourself in 10 words.
– She likes to craft but she loves her kids more. That’s exactly ten words 🙌 haha!
Look at the humor she has! That’s one of the reasons I admire her!
Tell us about your blog.
– I am Aysh from JeddahMom.com where I blog about confident parenting, deliberate motherhood and expat life in Saudi Arabia. I share kids activities, educational articles, life hacks and tips and tricks that make a mother’s life easy. You know, stuff like how to save time in the kitchen or potty train your kid… how to find the right school or routines for children, teaching kids about Islam… like that. 🙂
Tell us about your journey so far:
– You mean as a mom..? Well… I got married in 2005 and since my husband was an expat, I had to move to Riyadh with him. I was brought up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but had gone to India for my studies. In the beginning, I didn’t like India but 10 years later, I didn’t want to leave India! Haha. The freedom, MY people, the beautiful seasons … who’d want to come back to a desert where you didn’t even know the language!
But Z – he was irresistible ☺️ and my parents would be close by, so newly married in a new city, without friends and family with a husband who loved adventure and travel, I found myself road tripping and crazy adventuring in Saudi Arabia.
Two and a half years later, we decided we should grow up and start a family. I had my son in 2007 and we moved to Jeddah. Exactly two years later, I had another child – a daughter this time, and our family was complete and perfect.
Or so I thought… in 2011, my daughter died in a medical accident at a hospital. She had a heart attack when the nurse administered her drip at a very high rate. That was when my world came to a screeching halt and then shattered into a billion pieces. Everything that I thought life was, it fell apart. Losing my daughter changed the way I saw the world but most importantly it changed the way I saw kids. Click To Tweet
Children are God’s gift to us. They are also our test. If He can give you a child, He can take it away too. It’s His right. What are you doing to deserve your child? What are you doing to thank God everyday for what He has given you? Click To Tweet
There is more feelings to all that but in short, losing her opened my eyes to many things.
Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah before the end of that year, I conceived again and we were blessed with another daughter. She, along with her brother, became my whole world. Everything I learnt about mothering with my elder two kids, I practiced on her. She was perfect. Slept on time, fed on time, played by herself and I loved making things for her. My life became very, very busy. I felt like I had been given a second chance at motherhood, I was determined to get it right.
Keep house clean, cook great food, play with kids… craft with them, read to them – I wanted to do everything perfectly. Then one day I collapsed. It was a minor stroke but in its course, we found something else. Surprise surprise! In just 8 months, I found myself pregnant again.
Two kids and pregnancy didn’t slow me down.I was adamant that I’d feed my daughter till the baby arrived. I was ignoring my morning sickness (which would last all day!) and would work till I fainted (which was quite often). The result was that in my 7th month, I collapsed again. They found that I had a rare liver disease, the result of which was that I had gallstones – one of which had got stuck in my bile duct and ruptured it. It was life and death situation for not just me but my unborn child too.
I was in the hospital and they were trying to save my life. We were told that if things went wrong, they’d abort my baby to save me because I mustn’t go into labor. It was bad. But the saddest part was that I had a 12 month old baby and a 5 year old son who were seeing their mother dying. What if I died … who would take care of my children? What will happen to my kids after me.
Alhamdulillah, God saved me. And again, it was a life altering moment for me. I realized how important it was for us moms to take care of our health. While I was confined to bed for the next 6 months, I learnt a very valuable lesson.
“Our job as moms is not just to take care of our children. It is to prepare them for the life that they’re to live.”
My 5 year old was making a sandwich for his baby sister and feeding her because mom couldn’t get out of bed. He was ‘ok’ to be getting dressed by himself. He did his homework by himself too. He was fine. He was well behaved, confident and happy. My daughter was always a perfect baby so she continued on. The new baby was fine too. My hubby didn’t mind changing his daughters diaper. He was fine. They were all fine. But when I got back on my feet, I had learnt to never ever do this to my family again. It’s been 5 years now. My condition and I co-exist but nobody can tell that I’m a survivor. 🙂 Alhamdulillah
What makes your blog unique.
– My blog is about a niqabi, hijabi, modern, educated, crafty, desi Muslim woman raising extraordinary kids against all odds. The unique part is that my readers tell me that they come to it and see glimpses of themselves through it. Alhamdulillah.
How long have you been blogging and what made you start this.
– I started blogging way back in 2003. That’s before Facebook or any other social media. It was how my friends and I stayed connected with each other. Instead of long lengthy emails to every friend, write it once hit publish and they all come and read it at leisure.
I was an expat kid. My friends were all over the world. We were studying. Then after marriage too, I continued as I was learning crochet and tatting and needed a place to post pictures and talk about it. There were crocheters and tatters from all over the world. We’d go to each other’s site and look for inspiration or ask what thread we used or how we base that ring or stuff like that. Then when I had my son, one of my online blog friend and I who were married at the same time and expecting, decided to start a blog together. We both wrote on it.
So I had like 4 blogs going on… it was becoming too busy so in 2006 or 2007, I clubbed them all and started Words ’n’ Needles. Words n Needles rebranded to Jeddah Mom in 2016 as better described who I am.
Old habits die hard. Last year, I got a chance to speak about SEO at the Muslimah Bloggers Online conference. Ever since then, I’ve had many people write in to ask if I could help them. So, recently I started a blog about blogging. It’s called Blogging with Wisdom. Mostly for now we are discussing questions that are frequently asked but InshaAllah later this year I hope to do more with it. (Bloggingwithwisdom.com)
How many kids do you have and what do they think about you as a blogger.
– I have 3 kids now. They have grown up seeing me ‘work’. I have an office area in my house and at one time there was red tape on the floor marking my zone. 😂 They would tell their cousin, ‘you see that area? That’s moms office, you aren’t suppose to go there.’ Click To Tweet
How do you juggle motherhood with your work?
– I have strict rules about screen time for myself. I try not to work in the afternoons. There are a lot of self imposed rules actually- turn off WIFI at 10pm, no touching phone before 8am. I don’t take office calls after 5pm. And… I walk away from my blog whenever I need to.
That’s the best part about blogging, you know. Your blog will still be there, making money behind your back, even if you neglect it.
What is the best part about your work? Challenges involved.
– Best part is without doubt the ability to work from home or anywhere in the world, with my kids on my lap or nuzzling next to me. I’ve typed with one hand while running my hand through my son’s hair when he’d missed school. Then the fact that you get friends from across the world who are exactly like you. I have readers and blogger friends who I have become BFF with. I’ve travelled to the US, Canada, UAE, across KSA and even in India to meet fellow bloggers.
Challenges… I don’t consider anything as ‘challenging’ as such because blogging for me after all these years is just a part if who I am. My family knows that I have work hours but explaining to strangers what I do or that I am busy to make an appointment is difficult. People just think you are a full time stay at home mom. The idea that women can have full time jobs from home hasn’t caught up in these parts yet. Then the fact that my job involves playing and educating my kids too! Haha
Any advice for new bloggers.
– Ask yourself why you want to blog and who you blog for. Write that down and stick it up. If you ever find yourself sad, upset, wondering why you’re doing this… when blogging becomes too much, read your why 20 times till it makes sense. Also, almost all bloggers go through a stage when they start comparing themselves to other bloggers, or they will start trying to copy what is working for other bloggers. It always helps to remind yourself your ‘why’ and ‘who’ when that happens.
Secondly, your blog must not come above your sanity and your family. Never. That’s all.
Most important parenting rule that you live by?
– Be present.
‘I promise to be present with mind and soul for my kids. I will feel them in my soul to hear them out. I will understand my kids’ needs and I will enjoy each one of them for who they are. I will be present 100%’ Click To Tweet
If you were a vehicle what model would you be.
– Definitely an SUV. Most probably be a Chevy…
Jazakillah Khair Sr. Ayesha for sharing your journey. Your insights and wonderful advice are most valuable.
Do you need help in blogging? She has started a special space just to help the new bloggers. To know more about that platform click on here
You can join Sr. Ayesha’s Blogging Support Group just for muslimahs right here on Facebook.
Let me know your thoughts and comments below, and don’t forget to look out for the next installment of ‘The Mommies Around ME’!
You can very well show her some love at her instagram handle Jeddah Mom
Facebook – Jeddah Mom