It’s probably safe to assume that mothers are the closest thing we have to real-life superheroes. And that’s the idea behind the Supermama website. eniGma’s Lina Ashour talks to Yasmine El-Mehairy, co-founder and CEO of Supermama.me
Launched in October 2011, Supermama.me sought to fill the gap in medical and parenting advice available to Arab mothers. It was this simple idea that inspired Yasmine El-Mehairy and Zeinab Samir to quit their corporate jobs and devote all their time and savings to this project.
Although not a mother herself, El-Mehairy has plenty of great advice on the topic. “A mother is a person who has to manage her time in order to take care of herself, her husband, and her family. She is not a slave left at home to clean, cook, and take care of the kids. Plus, mothers must take care of themselves in order to take care of others,” says El-Mehairy.
Unfortunately, the two common perceptions of women in Egyptian society are the extremes: the housewife who constantly smells of cooking and the working mum who neglects her children. El-Mehairy believes these perceptions are unfair and don’t take into account the stress and problems faced by all women, whether they are stay at home mums or working mothers. “Mothers feel like it’s their responsibility to take care of everything by themselves. They feel that if they ask their husbands to do the dishes or carry the baby every now and then that makes them ‘less of a good mother’,” she notes.
El-Mehairy felt that all mothers were obviously not getting the support they needed and deserved. That’s where Supermama came in. And having garnered so many fans and followers since its launch in 2011, Supermama seems to have touched a cord. Last month the site had 270,000 unique visitors and 1.2 million page views with a total of 50,000 registered users. As for its tagline “everything’s under control”, well, every mother knows that’s just a distant dream. The real message here is to accept the fact that not everything will always be under control.
The website’s approach to motherhood is comprehensive. Beyond parenting advice, it features tips on health, beauty, and cooking. Even where it deals with children, it is not only about babies and toddlers but also extends to difficult issues faced by older children and teenagers. “For a long time one of our most read articles was about how to talk to your child about puberty,” says El-Mehairy.
The future looks bright for Supermama.me and they have some ambitious plans. These include working on visual elements such as infographics and pictorials, as well as expanding the video section to include more do-it-yourself material. There will be more reviews of local products and more user generated content. But the next big step is expanding to the entire Middle East and getting users from all over the Arab world.
When it comes to the business side of things, El-Mehairy has some advice for young startups: “Go ahead and do it, even if it has some flaws, because if you don’t, someone else will beat you to it.” As for her advice to mothers: “Have faith in yourself; ask a doctor or expert, not your friends; and always be prepared.” While these points seem simple enough they can all too easily be forgotten in the day-to-day life of a Supermama.