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While mommy blogging is rampant in the blogosphere, Muslim mommy bloggers are rare but on the rise. Being a new mother and a Muslim, I had unique queries about taking care of an infant, like when can I start praying on the floor after a C-section, or whether a baby’s poo or pee cancels out one’s wodhu. While on the lookout to check if there are any specific Muslim mommy blogs, I chanced upon the website Muslim Mummy. I contacted the author of the blog ,Fouzia, to discuss baby, blogging and what it means to have Islam put in the mix. Below are the excerpts.
Izzie: How did you come about starting a mommy blog?
Fouzia: I initially had no intention of starting a mommy blog. My friend introduced me to the blogging world by suggesting that I start blogging about my work as my work at that time involved going into prison [as part of a citizen’s advice bureau]. I did a few blog posts but as I wasn’t enjoying my work I didn’t want to blog about it at the end of the day. I then discovered the world of parent blogging and thought I would have a go. In all honesty I did not take it seriously at first but I started enjoying it and it took off.
What are the challenges and/or advantages in being a “Muslim mummy” in the mommy blogosphere?
Being a Muslim mummy blogger does have its advantages. You can have different topics to talk about and provide a different view of a topic. Also sometimes you can get review opportunities as companies want to reach a different audience. Disadvantages can be that some people do not want to read your blog especially if the title is ‘Muslim’ or they read it to find fault and comment negatively.
What is Project 365 about? What was your inspiration behind starting it?
Project 365 is a project that a number of bloggers undertake. It is all about taking a picture a day, creating memories to look back on. I decided to take part in 2012, but only lasted a month or so but in 2013 I completed it. It is a great way to look back and remember what you did and see how things have changed. It is all about community too, reading the other blogs that are taking part and sharing their pictures and essentially getting an insight into their lives.
Being a new Muslim mother, some of the varied questions I have are specific to being a Muslim and a mother (for example, about praying after a C-section). Have you considered writing about such unique worries a Muslim mother has?
To be honest I have very rarely touched on detailed topics which solely relate to being a Muslim mum, I am hoping to change this soon. I did however try to start a Ramadan series on food around the world last year but I just got busy with Ramadan, am hoping to try it again this year Insha Allah.
As I do have a following of non-Muslim readers I think it would be ideal to start mentioning things that a Muslim mother specifically faces. I also did recently talk about starting to wear a hijaab.
Baby pictures in your blogs explicitly do not show your children’s faces. Any particular reason for it?
I prefer not to share my children’s faces on the blog for privacy reasons. People say that people can easily take pictures of children on the streets due to camera phones but that does not mean I want to make it easy for people to get pictures of my children by putting them on the internet. It is better to be safe than sorry, have heard many stories of photos being lifted and used by others
What is the book you are reading now? How did you interest in writing begin?
At the moment I am currently reading a guide on how to use my Nikon camera to its full potential! But the last book I read was ‘Honour’ by Elif Shafak.
I always enjoyed reading from a young age and loved writing short stories at school so my interest in writing has been there from a young age.
Which is the blog you like reading the most?
There are many parent blogs that I read and follow. I could name a few but one I do follow is Karima’s Crafts. She had a 30 day of Ramadan crafts last year and although I am not crafty myself I love seeing what she will come up with next.
Any particular reason you don’t post your own pictures? Does that have to do with an interpretation of Islam, or your own privacy?
It is more to do with my own privacy. I generally am uncomfortable with my picture being taken so would not like it on the internet. However, I did recently share one picture of myself and the girls on instagram, which was taken on holiday.
How supportive is your family about your blog?
My family do not know anything about my blog. My husband knows the name and has seen the site a few times but does not know much else about it!
How different are your kids, and how different are your experiences about blogging about each of them?
My two girls are very different. Whilst my eldest is a quiet, shy child, my second is very active and very sociable. I didn’t start the blog when my eldest was a baby so I have blogged more about the youngest, starting from pregnancy.
What are the challenges that you face while blogging regularly?
Time management. My main challenge is actually finding the time to blog at the moment. With an active toddler it can be difficult to sit down and write anything. I have many ideas floating around my head but currently have no time to get them down onto the blog!
Are there topics you really want to discuss but consciously don’t because you are Muslim?
Yes, things like birthdays and anniversaries, father’s day etc., as there is such a debate every year about them being haraam that I want to avoid that on my blog.
I can see that almost all mommy bloggers also blog about their pets. What do you find interesting writing about your cat?
My cat Rosie generally features in my posts when I am posting about activities we have done at home, as she usually gets involved to. Animals can become part of the family so I wouldn’t leave her out! And it makes a change from blogging about baby related things.
How do you get so many companies to review their products?
I usually do not contact companies direct, they contact me. However sometimes there are ‘shout outs’ on Twitter on Facebook for reviewers that I respond to if I feel the product is relevant to my blog. If you have done previous reviews that stand out then a company is more likely to ask you to review their products.
Some of the challenges faced by new bloggers are the technical side of things, for eg: webhosting, getting your own URL, getting featured in Google searches etc. How did you manage to learn these aspects of things?
In all honesty….Google. Anything I didn’t know I googled as there are many tutorials out there and I taught myself. Also being in various blogging groups helps as updates are shared and advice is given. Fellow bloggers are usually quite helpful if you are stuck and I have often turned to twitter for help!
What are the tips you would like to share with anyone who is trying to start a blog of their own?
Blog for yourself. Do not start worrying about stats and what rank your blog is placed in any chart as that will take away the joy you have in blogging and make you forget why you started in the first place.