I love to follow successful muslimah stories and trying to figure out what they do differently to achieve what they achieve. Hence I have decided to interview some inspirational, go getter, successful muslimahs each month and learn their tactics. I am going to call the series “The odd success stories”. After all we women achieve our dreams against all odds. Sleepless nights, amidst household chores, clingy babies. You get the gist ;). (You can read previous guest’s interview here).
This month for the interview series I am excited to be joined by Sr. Khadija Al-Kaddour, a Muslim Motherhood Coach. Lets get into it right away and ask her how she’s raising amazing young men along with empowering women to do the same and being super amazing on the way :).
Please introduce yourself to those who may not know you as a person and an entrepreneur.
My name is Khadija Al-Kaddour, I am a dedicated mother of four beautiful, strong-willed boys aged nineteen, fourteen, twelve and five! I am a qualified and experienced Parenting Coach and Motivational Speaker working with muslim mothers for over fifteen years. I provide both online and one on one coaching. Apart from that I also do presentations on various parenting and personal development topics, conduct parenting workshops and programs. My goal is to empower Muslim mothers to raise their boys into compassionate, resilient role models who are connected to Allah SWT.
What has been your inspiration behind what you do and what’s your vision?
I grew up with a father who was psychologically and physically abusive. I was fourteen years old when I decided I wanted to be a means to stop abuse within the homes. I wanted to see Muslim children grow up in emotionally healthy, happy, holistic, intact homes free from abuse and violence. It’s my vision that we raise a generation of balanced adults who are authentic and have the skills to live extraordinary lives (if they choose to).
I exited an 18-year marriage after enduring years of narcissistic abuse. After stepping out of that marriage, I went through a healing journey as a divorcee and a single mother. I have always wanted to do everything in my power to raise emotionally healthy boys so they don’t grow up to be broken adults. I want my boys to be resilient but also have that connection to handle the test and struggles of life. While I was healing and building myself again, I realized how powerful those tools are to build a more purposeful, authentic wholehearted living where calmness and harmony reign a home.
So that’s my vision. I want to help mothers (be they step mothers, single moms or widows) in cultivating a wholehearted, purposeful parenting journey. InshaaAllah I want the next generation in Ummah raised differently.
Where and how do you find the time to pursue your passions along with your other duties as a mother and a wife?
Knowing my values has helped me in creating a good family/business balance. For me my family comes first. Being a mother and a wife are important to me but I have learnt to keep healthy boundaries.
I have taught my children that I also have needs and they should take responsibility to obtain their needs and help me out, so we can work as a “team”. A mother does not have to prove her worth by sacrificing herself or her value. It’s about building clear connection and communication between yourself and family members. I make an effort to carve out time for myself and send out a clear message to my boys that I matter too.
As a wife in my second marriage, respect and understanding of our separate realities, supporting each other and allowing each other a space to grow, has given me the time to pursue my passions and create an income as well as enjoyment out of the content I produce for my programs and Facebook group of 1000 plus mothers from around the globe.
What does your ideal workday look like and how do you motivate yourself to get going?
Most of my work is done on allocated weekdays while my boys are at school. I utilise my time as effectivity as I can, with power sessions of 90 mins where I put full focus on work without any distractions. I have set times for my studies and business and separate days when I do coaching. So I do my planning ahead of time. I am consistent and committed. I prefer the idea of slow and steady. I learnt that from 5 years of working fast paced, taking on too many commitments which resulted in me being burnt out and overwhelmed. So even on the busier days where family or household commitments come first, I will put aside some time even if it’s half an hour during the day or hit a power 60 min after Fajr. I need to support three of my four boys from my previous marriage as I am financially responsible for their needs.
Besides that, my “why” motivates me. I endeavor to create a powerful resolution in my mind. It helps me in raising emotionally-connected Muslim boys. Using purposeful strategies, nurturing skills, inner dialogue and positive emotional response helps me parent in the world we live in today.
What would you tell other mothers, mompreneurs who have a dream they want to pursue but feel they have the time, money or support?
We all have the same 24 hours. I have had no family support for twenty years as I have lived most of my life away from all my eight siblings and mother. My ex-inlaws gave me limited support in the past. So I know firsthand how to rely on Allah SWT planning. If you truly want something and work towards it, He opens avenues towards it: step by step with the power for dua and effort. He opens doors you could not have ever imagined. If you are determined and seek Allahswt help, anything is possible.
Have a clear vision, a “why”, a good understanding of your values and an idea of what you hope to achieve.
It took me ten years worth of sacrifices and lessons to get to where I wanted and where I am now. It’s the journey, not the destination. There’s a timing for everything and it happens with Allah’s supreme decree. I did a four-year degree mainly over eight years while giving birth twice in that time and raising four boys and being in a toxic marriage. I had to wait till late at night to work on assignments or have power morning after Fajr before the baby woke up. It was very slow, patient work.
When I divorced I had only $400 worth of savings and a credit card debt of $2500. I had no income to cover rent and no child support. That degree was the means I received a job straight away so I could support my boys and keep a roof over our head. I paid all the debts off without asking anyone.
We need to be consciously aware. What stories are you telling yourself that hold you back? What is your definition of success? What are your limiting negative beliefs that are barriers to achieving your dreams? What do I need to let go of and forgive? The motherhood entrepreneur journey for me is also healing journey as you learn so much about yourself. You feel the fear but do it anyway putting all your trust in Allah SWT.
What are some tools and strategies you use to make your day easier to manage
One thing that has helped me is to reduce the “list” and focus on three priorities each day. That way its achievable and manageable. If you have time to do more, that bismillah but getting the priorities first without distractions is so important. And choose your commitments based on your values. It’s ok to say “no”.
I have three planners-one for family, one for programs and online content and one for coaching and studies. I also have separate allocated times family only and also for worship. If you let go of acts of worship or rest/sleep, exercise and self-nurturing time for you, burnt out and overwhelm will happen. It’s so important to have consistent small acts that we keep up and build healthy, productive habits. Of course, we can have rest days and time out, as that helps us when we need to have focus productive time, but be in flow, keeping the ball rolling and look at your time alignment to make the most of the precious gift of time. For example, listen to podcast or talks on an area you want to learn more about to build your business, your health, your deen, your family, your parenting and every time you drive a car or cook. That way you use your time to the best way possible instead of mindlessly scrolling on social media.
Think of being on purpose, mindful of your actions at that moment and your thinking that is creating the way you feel. As this will put you in an empowering state or disempowering state.
Your advice for sisters reading this?
- Get a coach! I mean it. In whatever area you need support or mentoring in, research and find a credible coach who knows her area. This investment will be worth it as they can help you start up, or get unstuck on what areas you want to work towards.
- It’s invaluable to have people around you who support your vision so create at least five mentors or people around you that is your positive energy tribe that you can bounce ideas off and they fully embrace and support you in your entrepreneurship journey. AAlhamdulillah I have a tribe of positive Muslim Mother Entreprenuanors and Coaches that I connect too, follow, learn from and seek their advice. I had to create that. I have to build those connections and seek Allah SWT help to send the right people into my life to support my vision and work. Some I have never met face to face but their presence and content online have taught me so much.
- Be always open to learning.. Allocate time for self-development, even if its 15 mins s a day of reading because 15 mins a day over many years make you an expert in that area you are learning or studying in.
- Live in the moment. We don’t know the future and the past is gone. But we have today. Be joy driven and seize the day, as life is made of the passing days and the choices you make.
- One of the most profound sayings that has helped me through the struggle I have experienced in life is the dua of prophet Ibraahim AS, “Hasbi Allah wa ni’am al-wakeel (Allah is sufficient for me and He is the best Disposer of affairs).” This supplication is so beautiful and deep.
- Stay hopeful. We have to trust in Allah’s planning, and He plans what is best for us. No playing small, your life is an amaanat. What legacy do you want to leave behind in your children and in the world?
Much love my beautiful muslim sisters in faith! Allah SWT created us with the best of strengths and abilities.Llet’s use them to make the changes we want to see in the world and live a more authentic, purposeful life.
Jazakillah Khair Sr. Khadija for sharing your journey. Your insights and wonderful advice are most valuable. You can join Sr. Khadija’s inner motherhood circle 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 Odd Success Stories’!