[For a background into the category Moms Uninhibited read here]
There are some people who make you feel like they have more hours in the day. They do more, their children are happy, they maintain the work-life balance and they take care of themselves too. No, they don’t have a magic wand, but they do seem to have a formula (we are trying to steal that here).
One such dynamic mom-duo is Saira Baakza and Selina Hasan. Besides their roles as full time moms and tending to their homes, they have brought a revolutionary idea, STEM, to Pakistan. The word STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These are all around us and affect almost every aspect of our lives. But they are more important for our children, as for the last two decades, technological advances are occurring by leaps and bounds. STEM is a much more integral part of their lives and it has become crucial for them to be savvy in the concept compared to us at the same age.
What is SmarTechs?
Saira and Selina have created SmarTechs in order to bridge the knowledge gap between students in the west and the students in Pakistan. SmarTechs is a cosy, after-school place for kids (ages 3.5 yrs to 9 yrs) to learn through play (the BEST kind of learning if you ask me!). Saira and Selina host regular sessions which are very interactive, and most importantly student-led.
A bit about the moms behind SmarTechs:
Saira, mother to three rambunctious boys, holds Bachelors in Finance and a CFA Charter on the way. Selina, mother to a two year old boy, after completing her M.B,B.S from Karachi, has practiced clinical medicine in Pakistan and England.
So, how DO they do it?!:
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
Saira: Don’t think. Just go for it. You can make any idea work, you just need to stay determined and be positive.
Selina: Go with your instinct. If it is something you are passionate about, that ensures 50 % of your success right there. You are bound to put in the work needed to start the venture and come up with creative solutions for any problems faced.
What is that one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?
Saira: You don’t need a whole lot of experience in a field to start, you can learn anything and everything. Don’t be hesitant just because you don’t have experience. Stay determined and focused; if you’re willing to learn and put in the effort – You WILL succeed.
Selina: You can do and be many things at one time. You don’t have to conform to roles pre-defined by society. Challenge perceptions and break boundaries.
Describe any challenging mom moments faced when working?
Saira: Sometimes I feel A LOT of guilt. Time spent working could be time spent making my own kids happy. I try to counteract that by doing MORE and trying to give more attention to my kids, be more patient with them and I also try to include them in my work.
Selina: Every time I take time out to work I think I should be spending it with my son instead, that he might want something from me and I am not there. Oh and he is crazy about smart phones so using the phone in his presence to call/message/email is always a challenge!
Where do you see this venture in five years?
Saira: I see Selina and me providing SmarTechs modules full time to all age levels 7 days a week.
Selina: Hopefully in 5 years SmarTechs would have changed Pakistan’s perception about educating our children in a fun, interesting and relevant way. InShaAllah we would be running programs in schools across Pakistan and offering challenging after-school programs too.
How often do you take time out for only yourself?
Saira: My work IS my time off for myself. It’s my ‘me-time’ doing something I enjoy.
Selina: Time out for myself usually means time for work or to catch up on essential reading.
I’m sure all you moms reading this are super interested in getting your offspring some SmarTechs action. Check out their website and FB page: