As we dive deeper into bringing our favourite Pakistani Expat Influencers up close, the lovely Marium Hosein hopped on board with us and we’re super delighted to share her journey as a lifestyle Influencer.
Marium Hosein is a 35 year old mom of 2, Mikayl is 3 and her daughter Laila is 6. She’s been married for a decade now and moved to the USA in 2012 when her husband landed a surgical residency spot at Brown, who later finished up his residency in New Orleans, did his fellowship in Omaha, and now they’ve settled in a small town in Illinois.
Apart from her personal accomplishments, Marium’s an Early Childhood Development Specialist, being the daughter of an Army Officer she’s spent a good part of her life residing in small contontment all over Pakistan.
So, when we asked Marium the standard introductry question “Tell us about yourself: who you are, where you come from, where do you live and what do you do etc?”, she responded by saying, “The Who you are question so unique, because to quote the great Whitney Houston “I’m every woman, it’s all in me”. I’ve needed to adapt to so much in life that I feel like I’m a homemaker, a teacher, a mom, a wife, a chef, advice giver, professional cleaner, boo boo fixer, professional potato chip eater and the list goes on.
SiddySays: What is your blog about? And what made you decide that this is what you wanted to do?
MH: I had actively watched this space about 6 years. I loved seeing the creativity and heart felt content out there. And thought to myself, “do you think, anyone out there is interested in seeing the struggles of an immigrant Dr’s wife? For a while I struggled with depression and anxiety. Salim was a foreign medical grad, we had a lot of highs and lows in the process of him becoming a surgeon. And in the process of him doing what we moved to the US for, us becoming expats, me giving up a career & choosing to stay home with my kids, listening to unsolicited advice about that decision, all the while honing my creativity when it came to cooking and becoming a homemaker. I wondered if maybe there would be someone who could relate, or perhaps needed to hear the story to give them hope. Because when I moved here and I had Laila, I needed to see someone who had been through this grueling process to tell me that it all works out.
Part 2 of making my profile public was that I truly enjoyed cooking. And for someone who didn’t know much about it when I moved to the US, I felt like sharing some tips, tricks and recipes that I had learnt.
But I had thought for a very long time as to why do I want to share things about my life in a public space. It wasn’t just one day, “ok I think I will because so many people I know are. It looks so easy.” A lot of thought went into me being here and how I would talk about things bearing in mind that I was opening myself and my family to public scrutiny and unwarranted opinions.
SiddySays: How did you decide to blog about (your niche) or shift towards it?
MH: I thought how wonderful it would be to share recipes that worked for me. Sharing advice on cleaning, self care in times and places where it’s really the last thing on your mind and just show ordinary little things that happened in my day that someone could relate to. This included me speaking in Punjabi in my stories. This wasn’t planned at all. It was a complete fluke,
And it’s funny because I only started speaking Punjabi after I moved to America. I think for me it was a coping mechanism for being so ridiculously homesick. I almost always start speaking Punjabi in cases of extreme emotion: happiness and exasperation. And the amount that everyone’s been able to relate to it has been overwhelming.
So in answer to your question: the reason I started and continued to share here was mainly because of the love, acceptance and affection that came my way. And I’m so utterly grateful for it.
SiddySays: How do hate comments affect you?
MH: So for me, I really had to filter from what a hate comment was, to someone actually saying something using the incorrect terminology, I often say to people that being a content creator is sort of like being in the service industry. After reading said comment, I try to approach it with some tact to really get a sense of exactly what that meant. I take a step back and look at it from a critical view and see, can this feedback help me grow. Is there something worth me introspecting into. If it is, and has been on many occasions I learn from it. Having a growth mindset helps. However the block delete features on IG have come in handy. I will say that the hateful comments do take up headspace, and I’m actively working on allowing them less room.
SiddySays: Share one favouite post of yours that actually helped make a positive difference amongst your followers?
MH: A few months ago, I wrote a post on a parenting series I was doing. And the topic was connection. I wrote about connection with my first born and how initially it just wasn’t there (link) MINDFUL PARENTING and the overwhelming number of messages I got on that post telling me they felt the same, and how they wish someone had talked about it back then. How they could relate to the guilt. It’s not easy taking about ugly feelings. Or to put them out there for someone to judge you. But I’m so glad I did.
I recently in my stories talked about how ugly I used to fight, how after moving to America I blamed Salim for the life we were then living. Saying something in the heat of the moment that I couldn’t take back. And how I had to look at my behavior and realise this is not someone I want to be… how I’ve actively tried to take a few minutes after a heated argument, compose my thoughts and have a conversation rather than exchange mean words. Again, the response was so wonderful. So many women talked about how they were also going to try this even though it was so hard to do. I wasn’t trying to air my dirty laundry, but I did want people to know – it’s not always a rosy filtered photo life. We all have things we can work on. Let’s work on those that can have impact on us as people and our relationships.
SiddySays: What is the worst and best comment you’ve ever gotten about your work?
MH: Worst comment: I genuinely don’t remember. I think once someone said to me, I’m unfollowing you because of your paindu over Punjabi (lol).
Best comment: it was something along the lines of, watching you speak, share your life snippets, share relatable everyday happenings has made me laugh and be grateful for all that I have in the most trying of all times.
I also LOVE how my signature Jaanies and Jaanus – is now names of cats, how people all over greet each other in their friend groups and how someone will message me and say “your jaanies and jaanus …. ♥️♥️♥️” best feeling ever.
SiddySays: Who are your 5 favourite bloggers/influencers in Pakistan?
MH: I truly think this is the kind of sawal that has no limits because I’m so very blessed. I call so many influencers my good friends. The ones who I would not be here without. We’re an amazing community.
In no particular order; @flourandspiceblog, @shehzeenr, @desibaguette, @rabiaammar.home, @kanwalful
SiddySays: What do you think is the difference between a blogger and an influencer?
MH: Aik ki website hai, dooosray ki nahi hai. Not all bloggers are influencers and not all influencers are bloggers.
SiddySays: What are the challenges you face as an expat influencer catering to the Pakistani influencers VS Pakistani Influencers in Pakistan?
MH: I’ve never considered it a challenge per se, but working within different time zones is tough.
I’ve always actually seen some Pakistani content creators over the last few years and thought “wow they’re great”
So in my mind – I’ve wanted to be able to say, wow they’re great, so am I
I think for me I also am making a very concerted effort as to not to romanticize Pakistan too much. I don’t visit as much as I would like to, and therefore I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or sentiments. I try to be careful when I talk about issues back home.
SiddySays: What are your views on the “blogger culture” and one advice you’d like to give to all the new bloggers?
MH: For me, I’ve made amazing friends over here. We celebrate each other’s wins, and are there for each other’s lows. It’s becoming part of this community that has made me feel so connected to like minded people from all over.
To the new bloggers: If you look at the number of followers you have and imagine all of them in a room. They are there for what you have to say/show. Focus on them. Connect with them. I know this gets said a lot, but truly figure out why you’re on IG, find your community, engage with them. Let someone find you genuinely. I know it may be tempting to join shout out pods/engagement pods, follow to follow loops accounts. And in the beginning of your journey of public posting there is no harm in joining a pod in order to get your platform exposure.
However, I will say that if you’re creating high-quality authentic content, it will speak volumes over a high volume of followers. And if you’re looking at it from a brand perspective, they are not looking for a huge follow count. They are looking an authentic, engaged audience. So work on that.
Be mindful of how much and what you consume on Instagram. You are a creator first and your unique voice is worth sharing. Stay true to it and your community and it will always be worth it. You have power in your Instagram platform to encourage, like, or dislike whatever you’d like.
Did you catch UrduMom with us last week?