Sabeena is my second virtual interview. I met her via Instagram some time ago and she is so inspiring. She is also always so supportive with her words which I believe is one of the most important things we can do for one another as women. Uplift, encourage and support. Thank you so much for being here, Sabeena and for sharing your heart with us.

These are the questions I asked her:

1. Tell us a little about you... 

My name is Sabeena and I'm 44 years old, I was born and raised in England. I'm married to an Artist and Author/Illustrator/Game Developer Michael. We have 7 children together. My eldest is Amina 18, just started university this Fall, next is Adam 16, Amir 13, Aisha 10, Amelia 6, Anaya 3, and my youngest Abraham is 8 months. I've been blessed to homeschool for 14 years. I live in the suburbs of Chicago. I love this city for so many reasons. Art, food, coffee, museums, Lake Michigan, and so much more! Did I mention coffee? I love coffee. Plus it's a great city for homeschoolers.

2. What is your favorite time of day with your children?

I have 2 favorite times. The mornings with my younger kids, right after breakfast when we start homeschooling. I love their chatter and eagerness to start the day. There's something so simple and gentle about when we snuggle on the couch to read, or do an assignment. The second time is after the sunset prayers when the teens come out of hiding and we all gather as a family. My husband and I sit down for an evening cup of tea and are joined by our two oldest. It's a special time. It's short, but sweet. 

3. What is something you do that helps you know that you’re doing a good job?

For me, personally, the minute I think I'm good is when everything falls apart. I need that pressure of the naysayers, doubters, and judgmental eyes to keep me sincere and honest. Age has given me wisdom and experience. I don't worry about doing a good job anymore, but instead focus on being consistent with whatever I do. I pray a lot to God to ask for His Guidance. I've also learned to change my expectations of my children. They are not perfect as I am not perfect. 

4. What is your biggest struggle everyday as a mother?

My biggest struggle is time. There's just not enough of it. Laundry or grammar? Eat lunch or clean up the morning mess? Focus on the baby, or the 6 year old whose having a meltdown? I feel pulled in so many directions, but can only go forward and do one thing at a time. 

5. What is something you do that is just for you?

I really had to think about this for a long time. Everything I wrote was somehow related to my family. I love photography. I always have. My degree is in film-making. I'm an artist at heart. I'm always working on something in terms of film and photography. Even if the subject matter is of my children, homeschooling, or coffee. It is my outlet. In one month I can take over 2,000 pictures and only share a few with the world. The rest are for me. One day maybe I will have enough time and courage to share them publicly. 

6. Do you compare yourself to other mothers? What helps you with that?

Yes! All the time. I love taking ideas, tips, suggestion in real life and on social media. Of course I get jealous if they are doing something amazing. I'm like, “I want that for myself and my children!” However, I have trained myself to be happy for them while pursuing the same thing for myself or my children. I hate that feeling of jealousy, it's toxic and only creates more negativity in my life. I've found the secret is to lift up other moms by encouraging them instead of making myself feel bad.

7. What is something you have learned from your children?

Take a break from them. Thankfully I have an amazing tribe! My husband, parents, sisters, mother-in-law, in-laws and friends. If I need an occasional break at 10am by myself I can. I just reach out to someone and boom, I'm at a coffee shop, or book store or having breakfast with a friend. I've been doing this for 18 years. Seriously, every mom needs a tribe. When you call they come running, and not just for emergency but for 10AM coffee breaks. Remember that help goes both ways though. I try to be there for others as much as possible, and we end up babysitting quite often, too.

8. What is something you fear you’ll be judged for by other mothers?

My 10 AM coffee breaks. The way I homeschool my children. Over the years we have fallen into the realm of unschooling. Some days we love to explore our interest which may lead us to the beach, local Arboretum, or a friends house. I have had friends comment ever so politely about that. Other days we are working on a home project, making video games, binge watching Dr. Who episodes because that counts as science, right? Or sitting and doing math or language arts for 6 days in a row and nothing else. We do lots of Art and that's not so conventional. Art once a week for most people, but not us, we live and breathe it. I feel I constantly have to validate myself by telling people that both my teens who are/were in high-school are taking college level classes at the local community college. I have to trust the method we've chosen and it is showing results, but it's definitely not conventional and that scares a lot of people including myself. 

9. When do you feel most beautiful? 

There's a special prayer we make in my faith when we look at ourselves in the mirror. “O God make me beautiful on the inside as you have made me beautiful on the outside.” Without a doubt every morning when I wake up for my early morning prayers around 5AM, my hair is a hot mess, I can barely keep my eyes open and I see my reflection. Horrified, I make that prayer, and always smile to myself because God sees me as beautiful even when I think I look hideous. That's when I feel most beautiful.

Fun facts:

10. Favorite song? 

Currently: Highway Patrolman by Bruce Springteen

11. Favorite sweet? 

Pistachio Kulfi ice-cream. It's an Indian ice-cream. If you haven't tried it you're missing out.

12. Guilty pleasure? Anything mint chocolate

13. If you could travel anywhere?  To the mountains

14. Favorite color? Orange

15. Favorite time of year?  Fall-October & November


Thanks again, Sabeena. The last photo of you with your family makes me smile so much. The love is BEAMING. And thank you all for reading and for your continued support with this project.

You can find Sabeena on Instagram. @coftre