I had the pleasure of interviewing an awesome wife of 34 years, mother of 11, grandmother of 13, a teacher for over 30 years, educator of hundreds, children and parent author, who serves the community and offers helpful parenting advice, by writing popular e-books.
She is known as Grandma Jeddah, well-known for her e-book, ‘Disciplining Without Disrespecting.’ Grandma Jeddah is one of those jewels of a woman, who can balance a busy life, with being a dedicated wife, and mother to many kids. To be a mother of 11 is no easy feat, but she has found the balance of making it a fulfilling and peaceful experience. So enjoy an interview with Grandma Jeddah, as I ask her to share a little about the mother behind all the helpful advice.
When did you start writing as Grandma Jeddah?
Well, I started Grandma Jeddah when I published my first e-book ‘Discipline without Disrespecting’ in March of 2011.
What made you start the Grandma Jeddah websites and write ebooks?
I wanted to start another home-based business. I’d had several businesses in the past, and for different reasons, I wasn’t unable to continue with that. So I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of selling e-books. First I had to think of what type of book I’d write. I had done some research and read that it’s best to write about something that you are very experienced at, something that you know well and that others could receive benefit. So, I pondered it for some time. Finally, I came to the conclusion that the one thing I have a massive amount experience and knowledge in, and that could benefit others, is how to effectively discipline children in a calm, patient, and respectful manner—in particular, those with severe behavioral problems, Masha’Allah.
Did anyone help you with the ebooks and websites for Grandma Jeddah?
I thank Allah the Most High for helping me and guiding me to put everything together. I did loads and loads of reading and research to figure out how to put my website together, how to start a blog, how to set up my bookstore and the other things that go into the business. Actually, at first, I began with a free website and bookstore. Then I switched to a web hosting service. Even though I had to pay fees, they had 24/7 customer service to help me with questions regarding the website, email service and shopping cart.
How did you cope with all this and 11 kids mashAllah?
At that time, I had 9 of my children still home another two were married and had moved away. I started writing the book during Ramadan in the summer of 2010. So I had more free time than usual because it was summer. During the school year, I teach. Summer was an excellent time for me to start on a new project. I tend to do a lot of my work in the evenings and late at night. At that point, the kids are usually doing their own thing or sleeping.
What is the age difference between your children?
Well, it ranges. To tell you the truth, lol, I really don’t remember all of their ages. The ones in their 20’s and 30’s I tend to “guesstimate.” But generally speaking, I’d say most are about two years apart. The closest two are a little over a year apart. And the ones that are farthest apart are about four years difference.
It is quite refreshing to talk to a parent that has more kids than me for a change :-). Did you have any help raising your 11 children?
Again, I thank Allah Most High for helping me. My husband and I raised them. Both of our parents, at the time, were non-Muslim and they both lived in another town. So I stayed home and took care of the kids while my husband worked.
That must have been challenging. Where have you lived most of your life?
Most of my life I’ve lived in Los Angeles, California, right across the street from a masjid. We have been blessed to live among many Muslim families, Masha’Allah.
MashAllah that is a blessing! Tell us a little about your hubby as a dad?
He’s an excellent provider, and he fits the motto that says, “One of the best ways to be good to your kids, is to be good to your wife,” Masha’Allah.
Tell us a little something about your children?
My kids were the inspiration for me writing my first parenting book. I didn’t always discipline my children in the calm, respectable manner in which I do today. In mock (or not) protest, sometimes my older ones tell me they wish I knew about this parenting method when they were growing up.
What has been your hardest part of parenting?
I’d say the hardest part of parenting is regretting the mistakes and errors I’ve made.
What has been the best part of parenting for you?
The best part of parenting for me has been virtually all of it—from the time of carrying the baby in my stomach to delivering it (except for the intense labor pains— and even that is compensated for once I see and hold my precious new baby.) My children are companionship for me, Masha’Allah There is No Power or Might except with Allah.
Beautifully said! What is the best advice you can share for parents with young kids?
The advice I would share is, “Be gentle, kind, understanding, and tolerant with your children.”
I so agree! What’s the best advice you can give to parents with teens?
When managing teens, I’d suggest parents read my statement above. This makes managing teens a lot easier. It’s critical that parents develop a close and pleasant relationship with their children while they are young. This will, insha’Allah, help parents have a more harmonious and cooperative relationship with their children once they are in their teen years. This agreeable relationship will allow the parents to continue to have influence over their teen’s decisions and choices in life, insha’Allah. I would also remind parents that children at this age are often influenced more by what they see than hear, so try to be the example that you want them to be.
How did you school your kids?
All my children attended an Islamic school, Masha’Allah. I’ve taught all of them at one time or another at the school. Some of my kids who have special needs, I’ve also taught at home.
What should parents teach their kids first in Islamic knowledge and why?
From my understanding, it should be Tawheed. They should be taught that there is only One God, Allah. He is the only one we worship and pray to. He Created us and everything between the heavens and the earth. The reason for Tawheed first, is because this is what will get them to Jannah, insha’Allah. This is what will help get them through the difficult periods in life, also. And this is what they will need to know to counter-proselytizing from other faiths.
Alhamdulillah, that is spot-on! Tell us something about your 13 grandchildren?
Well, most of my grandchildren live in other countries. One lives here in the same city nearby, and I see him quite often, Masha’Allah. Sometimes when I see, talk to or think about my grandchildren, I think of how it is such an enormous blessing that Allah chose to allow 24 new Muslims (11 kids + 13 grandkids) to come into this world through two humble people whom He guided to Islam — my husband and myself.
Please share some of your day-to-day activities as a mom?
Well, during the school year, I usually get up in the morning around 7:30 or so, to help my two youngest kids get ready for school. Then I start on some of the work that needs to be done with the Grandma Jeddah business. After that, I homeschool one of my kids until about 1:00 pm. Then I leave to go teach at our Islamic school. I teach 7th and 3rd/4th grade. At 3:00 pm, I leave school for home. I then take a walk several blocks for exercise. On my way back, I might stop by the grocery store for a few items. When I get home, I start on dinner, interspersed with helping out with homework. In the evening I might do some reading or studying and direct the youngest ones to get ready for bed. At night I often do a little more work with the Grandma Jeddah business, and then I go to sleep.
Wow, a busy mom with a full day mashAllah. Who is your favorite hero or what’s your favorite quote?
My favorite verses from Quran are the ones that describe Jannah, and say what the believers will be rewarded with in the hereafter for their struggles, trials and difficulties.
JazakAllah khair Grandma Jeddah for offering parents a solution to the hardships of parenting, marriage and much more!
You can find GrandmaJeddah’s ebooks and website at www.grandmajeddah.com