“Do what you do and do it with love and get the support of those around you”
Bookmunch Cafe owner Dareen Charafeddin’s first words as we sat to chat about women in business and the secret to success.
A very focused secret-to-success statement that covers it all really, from the passion, to actually doing the work and finding the support system to ensure success. My chat with Dareen was really interesting and great because for once a woman comes to the table really addressing the challenges that face women with very demanding careers and in all honesty. In most such conversations, we tend to always try and sugar coat the situation, make it sound less challenging, less sacrificial or having the least and most solvable impact on our lives especially that of our family’s. However, in reality there are lots of challenges that face women in business, especially when it comes to mothers who have to balance running a successful business and raising kids. There are many compromises that have to take place when both parents work, a lot of adaptation and change to the ‘mainstream’ lifestyle that we all know, and something always has to give. Yes, there is no perfect scenario, where the family is 100% covered with all of our undivided attention, as well as work in the same effect. These challenges and adaptations can put families under tremendous pressure, and in most cases, someone has to give up their dream, their ambitions to focus on raising the kids and homemaking, and in most cases it is the woman who ends up giving it all up.
But Dareen has found a formula that works for her and her family, she has found the type of support required for this and has managed to keep her family happy and her business thriving. How does she do that? What is her secret? Will it work for you too? Watch and find out as Dareen shares with us what works for her when it comes to running a business and raising kids all at the same time.
Work & Family, the reality of the matter
Before starting a family every woman is an individual too, with aspirations and ambitions. Most women are educated and quite some pursue higher education too. Unlike back in the day, most women these days will start working before focusing on marriage, and most will tell you they don’t want to get married yet, that they are still young… “we want to work, live, travel, before we get stuck at home” is a statement that most young women say and believe in these days. Furthermore, many older women, who have had a taste of work life and professional growth, would tell you they are scared of marriage, because marriage would lead to a life stuck at home, only raising kids and pleasing the family, that there would be no more life for them. While to some women homemaking, family life and a dedicated life to raising children is their dream come true, and they won’t have it any other way, for many others, this scenario is the definition of a nightmare, where the woman feels trapped and stuck.
Perhaps the key here is having a choice, to begin with and then understanding that whichever choice we end up making is ours to live with. We must understand the lifestyles that come with our choices, the demands that come with it and the inevitable limitations that accompany these choices. We must stop, and stop now, the whole act of “we can do 100% well on all fronts”. We also must stop sprinkling the glitter of “perfecting it all” and “superwoman” statements that the media along with a lot of working women keep pushing out there. We must stop all the judgements and the supermom competitions and instead we must be realistic and accept the fact that a very demanding career will mean a lot of juggling, very difficult time management where you will always have to choose priorities on top of a whole lot of limitations in both engagement at home and advancement in one’s career. Yes this is the reality of working women and you and I both know that this is true.
With that said, does that mean we must throw our professional dreams and ambitions out and give all that up? Does that mean we cannot work? Or if we choose to work, we cannot start a family and have children? I don’t think I have the answer for that, however, one thing I know is that we must be realistic in our expectations, those that we expect from ourselves, our time and our lifestyle. In the end, balance is just that: Balance. It is not perfection. The very fact that you need to balance goes to show that there will be compromises, the whole idea is balancing what to compromise and when, and that in itself is not an easy task.
On this link, watch Dareen and her family whip up one of the most traditional Arabic desserts together. They are showing us how to make Maamool in 3 different ways: Dareen’s way, Amer’s way and Lama’s way! We are making sure that you have enough time to make your own in prep for Eid!
Dareen Charafeddine’s background is the perfect marriage of both the literary and culinary worlds. Her literary experience comes from a prestigious career in education and publishing, and her culinary know-how comes from a specialization in the bakery and catering business, a business that gave her professional understanding and a passionate appreciation of high-quality food.
Dareen’s educational and publishing career has been impressive. With a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Columbia University (New York), an M.A. in Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Dareen was the perfect choice for Publisher and Manager at Kalimat for the first five years of its inception. Her commitment to the creation, promotion, and sale of previously unavailable quality Arabic literature for young people was a vital next step towards increasing the popularity of Arabic books for children, reading for pleasure, and the love for the Arabic language, in general.
Dareen’s food adventure started through her family’s respected and very successful regional bakery and catering business. Working with and tasting quality food from a young age created a solid food foundation from which she developed her own style of cooking, a style that embraced innovative yet simple cuisine. With a commitment to high-quality ingredients, the combination of style and substance has produced superb results, and as part of Dareen’s latest venture, BookMunch, Dubai food lovers can now experience wonderfully simple dishes in all their glory.
Dareen has traveled extensively and having lived overseas periodically since 1999, she brings a world of experience to the multi-cultural crossroads that is Dubai. Having dreamed of a café/bookstore where her joint passions of food and books could comfortably merge, she took inspiration from the world’s leading literary cafes, and with an in-depth understanding of the business and psychology of food and publishing, it was only a matter of time before the perfect space could be created.
And so BookMunch Café was born. Dubai’s most innovative literary café now offers a friendly environment for book lovers and foodies, families and friends, all of which can gather comfortably to enjoy the very special combination of Dareen’s two professional and life passions. BookMunch Café is only one year old today and has already won the award for Best Family Restaurant by Timeout Dubai, as well as has been nominated for several other awards.
“In this digital age, I really believe that printed books remain an integral part of our life. Nothing beats curling up with a good book while enjoying a perfect cup of tea and a perfectly baked cookie with just the right amount of chocolate.”– Dareen Charafeddine
Appreciate, love & give back a little this Ramadan 🙂