I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely and such a sweet Mompreneur, Founder of Mama’s Box, Chirin Khawatmi. Chirin is a mother to two beautiful angels. Mama’s Box has recently been nominated & is shortlisted for Time Out Kids Family Entrepreneurial Award.
I will never forget my first Valentines Day card I received from Chirin which was when Adam was just 4 days old. I literally had tears when I read the card. It was the sweetest thing ever! My first valentines day card from Adam ♥
Tell us something people don’t know about Chirin?
That’s a tough one… I guess it would have to be my love for music! I love listening to music whenever I’m alone wether driving, working or in the shower. It can change my mood and inspire me !
What are the 5 most important things to you?
- My Family- my 2 year old boy Tarif, 1 year old girl Tiah and my husband Hani
- My parents and 3 sisters.
- Health – I believe good health is something so important and we sometimes take it for granted
- Mama’s Box – my third baby!
- Home – which used to be Syria, but now with the war it is somewhere between Dubai and Germany, so basically wherever my family lives.
What was your main inspiration?
Having my two children only 12 months apart is what inspired me! During this journey I often found myself wishing there was someone who can tell me what I might need each month and maybe even allow me to try it. I don’t mean a generic list found on the internet but a more customized list catered to my exact pregnancy stage or my baby’s age. Needless to say – that’s how Mama’s box came into being! I wanted to be able to help new moms and moms to be enjoy this incredible journey even more, by sending to their door step carefully handpicked goodies and essentials that mama, bump and baby can discover, enjoy and love.
How did the name “Mamas Box” come about?
Every box comes with a note from the baby sharing a little about his/her developments this month and thanking the mother for all her love and hard work! That’s how the name came about – it’s your baby’s little gift to you – hence Mama’s Box!
With such a busy schedule, how do you manage to stay in shape?
To be honest I don’t think I’m in shape yet! In the past two years I’ve only managed to squeeze in two fitness classes so it’s mostly running after my kids. I’m trying to change that now by attending some of Urban Energy’s Mum and Me fitness classes where I can take my kids along. I’ve also just started a Teatox (Tea to Detox) and am trying to cut down on chocolate, so will see how that works out!
Any quick tips for getting ready on the go?
Yes I just discovered this amazing long last lipstick from Astor which I’m addicted to. (It ACTUALLY lasts 24 hours). Also the Body Shop has a mini beauty set which includes tweezers, nail filer, scissors, etc. which is great for having mini beauty sessions on the go.
How do you maintain work life and time with your kids? Do you set hours per week dedicated to Mamas Box?
My kids are my priority – so Mama’s Box fills pretty much every free second in between. I try to arrange meetings and get a lot of work done when my 2 year old is at nursery and my 1 year old is napping! She used to take long morning naps but as she gets older they only get shorter. That’s why in the upcoming months I plan to set a certain number of hours per day on Mama’s Box.
What are the main challenges you come across as a Mompreneur?
Disconnecting completely when I am with my kids. When you are starting your own business you spend so much thought and effort that sometimes it’s all I can think about! So even if I am ‘spending time with my kids’ I sometimes find myself thinking about a new product, checking my mail or a social media post. Even my 2 year old has started telling me “Mama no Phone” every time he sees me distracted.
How do you go about fixing that?
I found that turning off my mobile data or putting my phone somewhere where I can’t see it helps in keeping me focused on my kids!
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
At the beginning I would feel very guilty about leaving my kids with the nanny if we are all at home and I needed to work or if I had and urgent meeting- but my sister in law once told me that eventually my children will understand, maybe even appreciate and be proud to see their Mama working! Now every time my two year old sees me on the laptop or finalizing orders he automatic knows “Mama working!” He also loves to try and help.
What’s your advice to mothers who want to start their own businesses?
Do something you love – that way it won’t really be work! Mama’s Box is what keeps me sane when my toddlers get the best of me and vice versa ! Also, being a mompreneur has the big advantage of being able to determine your own schedule – so make sure to create one that makes you and your family happy.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
It could be anything from going to the cinema with my husband to having a cup of coffee. Although my ultimate relaxation strategy is leaving the kids with my husband or parents and going shopping (and trying not to drift to the children’s section). I always come back feeling so refreshed!
And finally take me through a day in Chirin’s life..
Kids wake up by 6 am (if not earlier). I try to distract them with some TV time so maybe I can squeeze in another 10 minutes of sleep ( don’t judge :)). After which we have breakfast together, I get them and myself dressed. Drop my son off at nursery then split my day between Tiah and Mama’s Box. When she was younger she used to take up to 3 hour naps during which I used to get a lot of work and meetings done. However now she’s getting older, more aware and I feel she needs me more than before. So I have decided to spend more time with her until she starts nursery and postpone some of the big plans we had for Mama’s Box for just a few months. By 1pm I pick up my son from nursery – sometimes he naps other times he doesn’t. 3 pm onwards I try to disconnect completely and focus on the kids so wether it’s coloring, baking a cake, play area, pool or park I try to spend it alone with the two of them. 6 pm is a mix between feeding them dinner and cooking dinner for us. By 7 pm my husband arrives to help tuck one or the other into their cots. If I really need to I try to get work done in the evening but that’s not often as my husband and I value our time together in the evenings. Plus most of the time I’m too exhausted by then to be productive! So we either watch a movie at home, go to the cinema or for a tea and shisha somewhere!
You can follow Chirin on her instagram account @mamasbox and visit her website mamas-box.com