Hafsa Rana is a content creator offering inspiration to moms at happilyhafsa.com and on her Instagram, @HappilyHafsa. She also designs children’s bedding, which she calls her passion project. She and her husband of 13 years, Omair, have two children, Adam, 7, and Zayd, 3. Their favorite places to play include Maggie Daley Park, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium and The Ball Factory Indoor Play & Café in Naperville.
CP: We especially love your Instagram. You do seem so busy. What’s your best tip for doing it all?
Hafsa: Just stop believing that you can do it all. You can do it all but not all at once. One of the things I do, I get help when I need it. We have a housekeeper who comes in every week. I have my Instant Pot. We are very strict with our schedules. Try to be super focused. If I try and to do too many things, I find I drop all of the balls.
When it comes to inspiration, what do you think moms are looking for?
Looking back to how I was (after the kids were born) … I really struggled. I felt like I lost that sense of my identity, what I loved, what gave me passion. We just get so tied down in our job as mom that we lose sight of the fact that we are also individuals and we have things that make us happy, bring us joy, that makes us feel like us. What I try and do with my content is show moms that you can do it. While you’ll have to sacrifice those extra two hours on Netflix at night, if you are truly passionate about doing something, you can have it and you can do it. … Focus on little steps and consistency, doing something as opposed to just thinking about it and never actually getting it done.
As a Muslim woman, what’s the best thing about raising kids in Chicagoland? What’s the worst?
I love how friendly everyone is. It’s that Midwestern friendliness. It reminds us a lot of Toronto (where she is from.) Everyone is just so nice, there’s that sense of community. Now that we live in the suburbs, one of the difficult things about here in our area, there is not a lot of diversity. We end up feeling, for so many people, we are their first exposure to Muslims so you always feel like you are representing an entire faith. I always worry about doing something that may upset someone and instead of just thinking ‘Oh Hafsa’s not nice’ they are going to end up thinking all Muslims are not nice. That sense of always having to go that extra mile can be a little bit tiring. But at the same time I also love the fact that I’m exposing people to this faith.
What advice would you give your younger self on your parenting journey?
It is literally the longest shortest time and to enjoy every age. I found that when Adam was a baby, I was so busy waiting for the next milestone, I didn’t enjoy the stages as they happened. I tried to be better with Zaydu. I feel like I blinked and Adam is a 7-year-old with opinions now. … These moments don’t come back. Make that time to take the kids in and enjoy that stage and not worry about whether the laundry is done or the kitchen is clean.
What is your mom must-have?
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.