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Mom with a mission: Shahidah  Al-Amin  Zareef Parenting

Mom with a mission: Shahidah Al-Amin Zareef

In every April/May issue of P&N, we have the privilege of sharing a peek into the lives of a few fascinating mamas. Our hope is that you’ll be inspired, but more so that you’ll feel right at home in this wonderful sisterhood. The women in these pages are all about empowerment. Whether they’re building communities or building empires, they spend their days (and sometimes nights) striving to spread their light and love for the betterment of mothers everywhere.

Co-founder of BOSSMOM Nation
Home: Oakland, California
Kids: Saniyah (10), Khayri (8), Aziz (3), Nasir (1)
Instagram: @bossmom_shah
Pregnancy craving: Cheeseburgers
Go-to music: Trapsoul (a mix of rap and soulful sounds)

With a family of six(!) and a thriving business, you seem like one tough hustler. How do you juggle childcare and work?
One tough hustler indeed! I utilize a homeschool/daycare schedule for my children during the week. I’ve learned that I cannot get work done with them beside me—it’s impossible. Separating my work days gives me an opportunity to be completely present with the task at hand, instead of multitasking.

What is BOSSMOM Nation, and how did it get its start?
BOSSMOM Nation was birthed as a passion project to create a community where mothers feel supported and encouraged. What started as a blog to share stories and wisdom grew into a community and lifestyle brand. Running a business while raising babies has been very challenging to navigate over the years; I find that setting boundaries, like separating work from home life, releases a lot of stress and anxiety.

We’re digging the hashtag we’ve seen on your feed: #motherhoodismymuse. What does that mean to you?
Motherhood caused me to make a shift in my career from business owner to full-time homemaker. I was able to devote more time to my family while also building my brand online from the comfort of my home. Motherhood is my muse because I’ve found a way to create not only a business, but a community—all while keeping motherhood at the center of my inspiration.

How has your partner supported your vision and helped to keep your relationship strong?
My husband and I grew up in the same strong Muslim community. We’ve been blessed with 13 years together, with a lifetime ahead—God willing. My husband is a protector and a provider in the truest sense. He’s a family man like his father and very passionate about taking care of our family.

Staying connected in our marriage while raising our four children has presented many challenges over the years, but we always seem to find our way. We are both committed to each other’s happiness outside of parenthood. We know one day our children will go on to lead lives of their own, so the most important relationship begins with us.

How did you become a community builder and strong advocate for people?
Community life is the only life I know. My mother (a single parent) and her friends exemplified the meaning of sisterhood and how powerful it can be. I feel a responsibility to be a part of the village for mothers in need.

Your followers are familiar with your mantra “Trill Motherhood.” What does that mean to you personally?
It is for the culture. It represents truth and more of a raw, not-so-pretty side of mothering. The side we often feel reluctant to share. We live in a time where social media tends to boost more picture-perfect stories and imagery. “Trill Motherhood” contributes to the narrative of facing our fears, consciously parenting and becoming resourceful with one another.

On building a community in your own area: “Find your local mom group. If there isn’t one, start one! Create a meet-up group on meetup.com. It doesn’t have to be a well-planned-out event. Just get together, share space and converse about the things that are challenging you. You’ll be surprised how many mamas will show up and open up!”

How do you make time to take care of yourself?
Self-care has become such a buzzword for marketing products, but I think we need to focus on the things that contribute to our mental health without a price tag attached. Self-care, for me, is not about pedicures, trips to the spa, or buying myself a new pair of shoes. Self-care is waking up early in the morning to pray, read and set my intentions before I give so much of my attention to my children.

My ultimate favorite act of self-care is cultivating sisterhood. Being in the company of a supportive sister circle is good for my soul. We make time for the things that are important and make it a priority—our mental health depends on it.

You speak of influencing your children while leaving room for them to guide you, too. How does that work?
One of my favorite books, The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves & Empowering Our Children, states that a conscious parent doesn’t emerge overnight. This looks like allowing my children’s actions to act as a mirror to my own. Example: when my son is yelling and angry at his little brother. Instead of yelling at him in return, I try to consciously pause and model a better way for him to deal with his emotions in order to stop ineffective generational parenting practices.

Please advise readers on being driven by purpose over popularity—love that!
When you are driven by purpose, all that you do is rooted from your core values. Popularity is very surface level and can be fleeting. What’s popular one day can be disposable the next. Purpose comes from the core and will drive you to do great things for yourself and others.

You have some strong eyebrow game—any beauty bests you want to spill?
Well, thank you! My brows are super bushy these days, and I love Brow Power by IT Cosmetics to define the shape.

When do you feel like the best version of yourself?
I feel my absolute best when I’ve spent time with God—releasing my worries, fears and aspirations gives me peace. One of my favorite quotes is “Beautiful is a woman in alignment with her divine assignment.” I know the plan God has for me is bigger than what I envision.

Where is your business headed?
BOSSMOM Nation has some really big shoes to fill with intentions to influence a nation of mothers. We have an opportunity to shift the narrative in the way we parent our children, by remaining honest about the practices that aren’t working, seeking more knowledge and reaching out for support when things get overwhelming. One of our goals is to open a headquarters in our hometown of Oakland, where we will host workshops and create a space for mothers to work, create, engage and collaborate by sharing resources.

What’s a line of truth you want every reader to walk away with?
While raising our children, it’s important for them to see us truly take care of ourselves.