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Working Mum Wisdom #3: Eman Al Madani, Emirati, single mum of 2, entrepreneur, CSR
"I eat the ugliest and biggest frog first!"
One of the best things for me working at Dubai Chamber is that I get to know so many Emiratis (the local people of the United Arab Emirates). When I worked in the private sector in Dubai (for almost 8 years), and even having lived in Dubai for 15 years before I moved to the Dubai Chamber, I rarely encountered Emiratis. Those who I did encounter, were clients or at senior positions, so my communication with them was limited.
However, working in an environment with so many Emirati’s around me has opened my eyes to new aspects of the local culture, and deepened my love for the country.
I’m so excited to bring to you today’s newsletter where I feature one of the most amazing Emirati women I have met at Dubai Chamber. Although going through many hardships, she is a beam of light always shining with positivity and an eternal optimist.
Meet Eman Al Madani, CSR specialist, budding entrepreneur, and single mum of 2 toddlers
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a hybrid Emirati (mum filipino, dad Emirati), born and raised in the UAE. I hold a BSc. in Environmental Health from Zayed University and a MSc. in Sustainable Design of the Built Environment from British University in Dubai. I work as a senior executive in Corporate Social Responsibility at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and have more than 15 years of experience.
I’m passionate about sustainability, a mother of 2 and a recently born entrepreneur. I love reading, hiking and exploring new things….I’m always ready to join you for new experiences!
Q. You are a single mum to 2 toddlers, you have a full time job, and you have your own business. How do you do it all?!
It’s not always perfect holding this title, but here is what’s helping me thrive:
Prioritizing myself: As hard as it may be, putting forward things keep me sane is very important. As a mom trying to keep up with work challenges, children’s daily needs, business requirements and workouts, I tend to forget myself and am sometimes hard on myself. So I set reoccurring monthly reminders for a spa day and a social outing as a refresher activity and a reminder that I matter too.
Having a daily routine for my kids: This is one of the most useful things I have done to maintain a stable lifestyle for them, especially as we went through a tough time during the separation from my husband. Since their daily activities didn’t change at all, they were not impacted as much. This was also helpful for me because when they were put down to sleep around 7.30pm, I had time to finish off household chores, business needs or even just watch TV.
Giving my children independence: I truly believe that our children are young adults who deserve to be respected and to have their say in what they believe in. And for them to be independent I needed to give them the tools to be self-sufficient in handling their basic needs with minimal or no help from me.
As a single parent, it is too tiring to have them dependent on me for everything, so I taught them how to feed themselves, dress themselves and find their way around the house safely. With constant two-way communication, they now understand that mama needs her own time as much as they need theirs and they don’t cause much of a fit if I need to leave them behind for work, long as they get at least an hour or two of quality time with me daily.
Decluttering my household: I needed to be efficient with the way I worked around the house so I don’t waste time searching for the other sock or forget to buy an ingredient for dinner. I found the KonMari method of tidying households best suited for me. Everyone at home knows where things are located (most of the time at least) and it’s helpful.
Seek and accept help: Even though I prefer to do everything myself, I cannot do it all alone, so I seek help from family members when needed and do not shy away when they offer look after my children while I do the chores.
Continuous learning: I do not expect myself to know it all so I constantly look for better ways to improve what I currently do and how I raise my children. I seek this growth from experienced people, books, social media and experts.
Q. What is your ultimate life goal as a working mum?
To find “meaning” in every stage of my life.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration?
From other successful working mums and those with similar goals and values.
Q. What is your best productivity hack?
I eat the ugliest and biggest frog first!
I follow the “Eat That Frog” technique as much as I can to help me finish up the most important things I need to complete that day. Every morning, I list my tasks for the day and tackle the most challenging and time consuming task first (in other words, the ugliest and biggest frog!). This applies at work, home and business.
Q. What is your parenting mantra?
“Lead by example”
I think the best way to teach your children ethics and apply healthy habits is by doing it yourself first. They are very good observers and they will do what their parents or guardians do. As a single mom who is spending more time with them than their father, their observation of me is magnified, so the pressure is on. However, the more I remind myself of the importance of leading by example, the easier it gets.
Q. What do you do in your 'me-time' and how does it help you?
I’d read….a luxury I don’t have as much as I used to before becoming a mum. So I dive into a book whenever I can. I also love socializing, but now I am more selective with who I spend my time.
Q. Tell us a bit about your business EEZEE doodles and what inspired its launch?
I am the co-founder, designer and production manager of EEZEE Doodles. A startup founded by two Emirati moms who want to provide the world the gift of sustainable, quality and meaningful play items.
Throughout my life, I’ve been fascinated by arts and crafts and have explored various media like oil painting, upcycling and henna art. My interest in art was cultivated further after becoming a mum where my passion to foster creative growth in children was sparked.
The products we produce are made based on research on what our children need to learn about. We want them to be tolerant, creative, educated and not forget their culture. Adding a sustainability touch to it was also necessary to teach children about environmental conservation while playing.
Q. What's it like being a mumpreneur?
It gives me a sense of fulfillment and independence. That I am me and my business is me (if you get what I mean? :)
Q. What is your advice to mums looking to go back to work, or to venture into entrepreneurship?
Write down your goals, set your targets and deadlines then take that first leap. It is the first step that is most challenging, but you will learn from it and move on.
Q. Favourite tool that makes your life easier?
My phone calendar, haha. It’s a quick and easy way to set up my schedule and reminders so I don’t forget my kids’ hats on hat day or an important business meeting.
Q. Parenting book / advice that was a game changer for you?
Gina Ford’s Contented Little Baby book was my life saver when I first had a baby.
Best parenting advice:
Disregard any pressure you get from society. Your child will thrive with your love regardless if they were breastfed or formula-fed. Be kind to yourself. You’re doing great.
Q. Best thing you have read or watched lately
I love watching documentaries, the latest one I liked was Seaspiracy on Netflix
The 5 Second Rule is still my favorite book to be honest. It’s a game changer and it encapsulated so many self-help books I had read. I read others after this but this one still impresses me.
Q. Favourite quote
“I tried and failed. I tried again and again and succeeded” – Gail Borden
I am constantly inspired by working mums like Eman, and every single one of you in this community.
If you have any questions or comments for Eman, do leave a comment here or hit reply and I will make sure she gets your message.
If you enjoyed this and feel like someone else can benefit from this conversation or this community, please share!
Have a great week.