My mother worked while I was growing up. I saw her trying her best to be the domestic mom who volunteered for everything from homeroom mother, to driving mom on class field trips, to baking sweets for holidays and shopping for teacher gifts. She hand-cleaned my clothes and sun dried them till they were crispy white, then pressed each garment to perfection. The house was spotless and you really could eat off her floor. On top of that, she cooked homemade meals (the gourmet crock pot varieties on the weekend), planted flowers in our yard and decorated our home so that it was the one place in the world I would come to love the most.
Needless to say, Martha Stewart didn’t impress me; my mother did.
Which is why I listened, finally, to this one piece of advice: “If at all possible, don’t work outside if you don’t have to. Focus on being a mom, on being a wife. If you must work, try to work from home.”
I’ve worked outside of the home before and began to truly understand the underlying stress my mom placed on herself to be everything, to everyone. There are only 24 hours in a day and a human has to sleep at least 6-8 of those hours to feel somewhat normal. Add an 8-hour workday and a 1-2 hour commute and there is very little quality time to be a quality family member.
I just don’t know how working, married mothers do it all. According to my mom, it wasn’t worth it to experiment- just take her word for it.
Two working parents can pose a big challenge on any family, let alone a Muslim one, where the roles of husband and wife are usually pretty well understood. Muslim women tend to take most, if not all of the domestic duties, like the cooking and cleaning. Many of our husbands would prefer we not take jobs outside of the home where mixing with men is prevalent and also because of the strain it puts on children, husbands, and aging parents who need our attention, care and nurturing.
They also want us to be around to cater to other family and community obligations where they really need us to partner with them from the home front.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to experience both working outside and inside of the home- on a cold Chicago winter day, who wouldn’t be thankful for not having to go out? I remember the long, long commutes in blizzards, feeling vulnerable to all the road hazards imaginable.
Today, I can equally appreciate working from home because I now have the ability to use my personal knowledge, an education I worked hard to achieve, and just plain old life experience in order to perhaps earn spending money, contribute to family savings and just keep my mind active all day long.
I also know plenty of other Muslim women who are smart, dedicated, hard-working, civic-minded, full of taqwa (fear of Allah), and just as determined to use their talents to leave behind a legacy of good deeds that are pleasing to Allah (swt).
This small list citing possible work-from-home options is dedicated to all of those women, but, of course, is hopefully useful to anyone interested:
If you have work experience and/or skills that can be transferred by email or phone, this site may be for you. It’s a great opportunity to contract services such as editing, proofreading, translation, web design, graphic design, writing content for blogs and websites, even administrative support/secretarial services.
There are many more options, but it is well worth the time to see what’s available by going to the site yourself. If you decide to sign up, know that it does take some time to set up a profile. Your skills must be very well clarified before you have a reasonable chance at winning bids on projects that clients will pay you to do.
Best of all, you choose the projects you want to bid on, and all your work can be done from the comfort of your home office (or living room, or extra bedroom, etc.)
This is a site you should go to if for nothing more than to see the beautiful pictures of the artistry created by such talented individuals who sell there. You will find everything from cupcakes to vintage aprons to business card designs to knitted baby clothing.
If you can hand sew, machine sew, knit, crochet, bake, design or collect vintage items, you can sell on Etsy. You will need a digital camera to take pictures of your items and a few basic skills of cropping and uploading your images, but sign up is fast and easy and your very own Etsy ‘store’ can be live within a few minutes.
I started mine a couple of days ago and added over 50 items, most of which are vintage pieces I’ve collected from boutiques, antique stores and thrift shops all over the country. Take a look here: http://www.yvanna.etsy.com. If you have any questions about setting up your shop, I’d be happy to answer your questions. Just send me a message from my Etsy shop at the address above.
This is a site where you can sell textbooks, regular books, music, video games and other types of games for prices that usually go for half that of your local bookstore.
Unless you are a book wholesaler or very well stocked with a plethora of all of the above types of media, you might not be able to sell here on a full time basis. However, it is a great way to not only get accustomed to online selling, but also to clear up the clutter in your home while generating money for other things.
Sign up is super easy, but you do have to forgo some banking information like your bank’s routing number. I recommend setting up a separate bank account specifically for this purpose, just for safety measures and to calm your nerves. In the end, you might be amazed at how quickly your books sell and your money in the bank grows.
You are currently reading my blog, so you probably realize that I’m biased towards this media already. Well, take into consideration that I’m not getting paid anything to write it, so I have to love it first. Let’s look at not only the benefits of blogging, but the end goals of it, as well.
If you love to write- for an audience, that is- then blogging is the social media for you. I personally feel it has been one of the best ways for me to utilize my own personal need to write as well as my desire to teach and share whatever I learn and know.
Next, all you need is something to write about. Do you love science? Want to share your daily life with your family overseas? Have a cause or organization you are passionate about? Want to have a continuous discussion on Islamic topics with other Muslims? Whatever it is you love to do, love to talk about and are willing to write about, you can create a blog as your platform to demonstrate it.
Blogs are easy to start up, even for those who are not so tech-savvy (like me). They usually come with build-in templates for design options and easy-to-follow instructions, so you can be ‘live’ and up on the web in no time. I recommend using WordPress (http://www.wordpress.com), but Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) also comes highly recommended.
Eventually, you can make money with a blog by posting advertisements on your site. This comes with time, experience generating traffic and a consistent audience following and commenting on your site. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is, but many people have had great success earning a real living at it. Check out the website Problogger (http://www.problogger.com) for more information on blogging as a business.
Start Your own Website:
I give you the advice I’m following myself, so I assure you I’m working on this one, too. The benefits of starting your own website are many, but when it comes to generating an income, you can immediately begin posting advertisements like those from Google Adsense (http://www.google.com/adsense) on your website and earn money each time they are clicked.
Now, you might ask yourself what on earth you would start a website about.
If you’re setting up shop on Etsy, then create an entire website for the product(s) you’re selling there.
How about all those hijab and jelbabs you’ve been trying to sell at ICNA and ISNA? Do you have a website for those?
If you sell a service like writing or design, create a website identifying who you are, what experience you have in the field of services you offer, list your prices, and talk about the project experience you have under your belt, if any. And if you’re also signed up with Elance.com- you’ve just doubled your advertising potential.
You might have gone to this site while inadvertently Googling your way through a project, asking the search bar how to do something like ‘get rid of the beehive on your front porch’ or ‘teach your child phonetics’.
Well, everyone knows how to do something. Just by sharing your knowledge of what you know, you can earn a little or a lot, depending upon how many people view your how-to article on this site. It’s super easy to write and publish your instructions, not to mention very exciting to see your very own ideas and research come to life in this format. I’ve done one, but plan to do more soon, insha’allah. Take a look: http://www.ehow.com/how_4502974_pots-pans-using-toxic-chemicals.html
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. If you have any more ideas you’d like to share, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share and I’ll post it up on this blog.
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