The Mummary (South Africa)
I just collected 3 packets of NummiesforMummies from gorgeous mother of 3, Yusra Abass, the creator of The Mummary. They should come with tips on self-control. On the way home, I have to confess, I polished off about 5 biscuits!
They are super delicious! My son munched another 2 on his way home from school. I wish I’d known about these in my early nursing days when I easily chomped up a packet of chocolate digestives a day.
NummiesforMummies are not the full extent of Yusra’s entrepreneurial pursuits though. As a small business owner, Yusra also sells cotton nursing covers, muslin blankets and baby wraps specifically for kangaroo care for premature and full-termed babies in her online business. She is also a Doula in training.
Yusra describes herself as a student for life, aspiring to learn. Her background is in Property Management. Yusra started out at University studying Engineering, and then switched to Property Development. While following her new passions as a Mom and setting up her own business, she is also still an Independent Construction Project Manager.
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Read on to find out how Yusra has turned her passion for Mothering into a business…
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
I never really gave it a thought, until I read this question, and remembered how “entrepreneurial” I was as a child. At the age of 9 or 10, I asked my Mom how I could earn some money of my own. She would give me tasks I could do in exchange for pocket money. I would tutor my younger siblings and put on little concerts or puppet shows and charge my family members a small admission fee (giggle). I had a stall at a KTV Kids event held at the Waterfront, where I charged R5 for manicures, and sold masala pineapple on a stick, and trinkets I decoupaged. Even at that tender age, it wasn’t about the money I collected in my jar, it was about independence.
When I became a Mother I fell in love with being pregnant and breastfeeding. I loved hearing birthing stories and nursing stories.
While I was living in the UK, one friend called me shortly after her birth. She had an emergency C-section after being in labour for days and never had the birthing experience she had planned for. She was exhausted, in pain and overwhelmed. In the UK there are midwives who do postpartum home visits, but still there does not seem to be enough support. My friend felt powerless and needed a little encouragement her baby was crying frequently and she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know if her milk had come yet, or if there was something else wrong.
When I got to her place, her husband was stressed and unsure of how to help. He asked if he should go get some formula. I convinced him to wait. I felt that we needed to take a step back and try and resolve whatever was causing an upset baby. I could see that baby desperately needed milk, she was dehydrated, her eyes were sunk in, she was trying to root. My friend tried expressing with an electric pump, but there were no signs of milk. This had caused her to worry further that her baby had not gotten any milk for hours.
At the time I had also been breastfeeding my 22 month old and in this situation I had offered to express some of my own breastmilk and give it to baby with the a teaspoon. My friend gladly accepted the help and it was like magic. Baby immediately stopped crying, she was more relaxed, fed and went happily to sleep. My friend was immediately calm and happy that her child was content again. I told her to have a warm shower that I would watch baby and that she should try gently massaging her breasts to stimulate milk production. After the shower I helped her and baby get skin to skin. Within minutes, baby had found her breast and latched. It was in this moment that reinforced my love for assisting women in childbirth and postpartum care.
I feel once mothers have left the hospital there is no or very little support, this is problematic in many ways. Women are sacred, they are the foundation of a family, they carry the responsibility of nurturing and birthing, they’re great contributors to society. Having gone through pregnancy and birthing, taking care of a baby as a first time mother is overwhelming. Many women face challenges from breastfeeding, how to recover post-operatively with c-sections or with pain following trauma to the birthing canal, how to bath baby to how to hold baby and many mothers even face postpartum depression alone.
This is what prompted me to start creating and selling cotton nursing covers, muslin blankets and baby wraps specifically used for kangaroo care for premature and full-termed babies.
How many days per week do you work, on average?
How many hours do you estimate you work per day?
Mostly while my 2 girls are at school and my little one is asleep or occupied with his toys, but in between grocery shopping, while I’m showering, breastfeeding, cooking, bathing kids, after they’re asleep, sometimes while I am asleep! Yes – many ideas, like my company name, came to me during my sleep. There are no set hours attached as yet. Being at home means there’s room for unpredictability –kids get sick, there’s (extra) household maintenance challenges that crop up – you learn to factor this in and work around it.
What do you find more Challenging? Being a Mom, or being an Entrepreneur?
Doing both at the same time. 🙂
What do you find more fulfilling? Being a Mom, or being an Entrepreneur?
Ha ha, they’re both rewarding in their own right. I don’t think one can compare the two.
Do you like the term Mompreneur?
Not really (giggles) An Entrepreneur is an entrepreneur.
Has it been tricky balancing work and home life?
Always, but you kind of just have to wing it and get on with it anyway. And be gentle on your self along the way. You can’t accomplish everything in one day. You need to enjoy or at least appreciate every part of the journey even the tough times.
Do you work from home? If so, what does your room or desk look like?
Yes, I do not have an office. I have a very comfy bed, breakfast table, spacious garden with fresh air. And boxes. Lotsa boxes.
Do you think it’s harder to balance work and home life working from home?
Oh, absolutely because there’s no separating the two. You can switch off phones and disconnect from emails but never on home life, so it always runs concurrent with “office hours”.
What daily rituals are important for you to maintain work-life balance?
That first cup of coffee, kids school drop off and then I start working.
Do you feel you are living your passion?
Yes…I am getting there. I never imagined I would be where I am today and I am grateful being afforded the opportunity.
Do you feel you have already created your best work?
No, not yet, I have so much more envisioned.
What advice would you give someone just starting out as an entrepreneur?
Start. Have faith in your work, your ideas, never lose that passion. If you do, then go back to the beginning and rework those steps. If one part doesn’t work out, don’t give up things always works itself out in the end.
Which people have been enormously helpful to you?
My kids are my source of inspiration, my husband, family and friends whom I’ve bombarded with questions and who’ve been supportive and encouraged me along the way. And mothers from all walks of life. Motherhood is unique to every woman. I firmly believe in supporting “Mothering”. There is no textbook baby so how can there be a textbook parent?
Who is your target market? If I were to give you a referral, who would I be looking for?
Women thinking of conceiving, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, or friends and family members of these women.
Is your market local or international?
Local (for now)
Quote to live by: “It takes a whole village to raise a child “.
Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) Proverb
Wow, what an amazing website! I’m so glad I stumbled upon this article. The lactation cookies sound delicious, and reading the stories of other moms (especially single moms) who are starting and running their own businesses is so incredibly inspiring. I look forward to reading more excellent content like this. Thank you!
Thanks for your wonderful comments Melissa.
Wow this is such an inspiring and lovely woman you write about. What an amazing story of how she helped her friend. I had my babies at a birth centre where you went home only after a few hours post partum, yet the midwives then continued to visit you at home for the next 7 days. I always thought that was such a great benefit.
Yusra inspires me to dream a little
Thanks for sharing, Kris
Thanks so much for your lovely comments Kris.
Hello Kris, than you for the positive feedback:) I wish we had a system like that here, but I know we do not have the resources. It’s good to dream big Kris. Without dreams, our inner-beings would be empty. Women have an unbelievable power and strength to encourage, nurture and support. We need to use these positive strengths more. Building up communities, breaking down barriers. What Lauren is doing is great for encouraging and inspiring Mothers. x
Interesting article, but I am a bit confused. Does Yusra Abass sell biscuits or her services to help mothers, or both? Her website the Mummery looks very good, but I don’t see cookies on there.
She is very inspirational and I agree it is very difficult to work from home and run a family, especially if your youngsters are with you all day. Thanks for a lovely story.
Hi Michel, both. I downloaded the nummiesformummies pdf on the Order & Contact Us page on The Mummary. Glad you found Yusra’s story inspirational.