Iman is the mother of three daughters under the age of 4, an MBA graduate of Rice University, and inventor of FunPlugit, a monthly subscription service that delivers a boxed kit designed to facilitate tech-free, family bonding. A busy mom, she passionately believes in spending quality time with kids. She also totally gets that the time thieves of life’s day-to-day demands tend to rob us of this experience.
By Sara G. Stephens
HFM: Tell us about yourself and your family (your age, your kids and ages, husband, pets).
IHF: I am a wife and mother of three little girls. My husband, James, has a flexible schedule, so he holds down the fort while I’m away at school or working. He and I stay in shape by trying to keep up with my 3 ½-year-old twins, Marli and Demi, and our youngest daughter, Lia London, who is 1 ½. As a family, we spend a great deal of time staying active and traveling.
HFM: How long have you lived in Houston? Did you grow up here?
IHF: I was born in New York City, but grew up in Houston. My family moved to Houston in 1990 when I was in first grade, so Houston is pretty much all I can remember. Aside from leaving to go to undergrad at Tulane University and law school at The University of Texas, I have essentially lived here my entire life.
HFM: Did you exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit as a child?
IHF: Not really, actually. Academics and sports were my focus growing up. It wasn’t until I got to college and started taking business classes that it occurred to me that working for someone else wasn’t my only option after school. To make a little extra money, I would waitress at various independently owned restaurants in New Orleans. It was at that point that I realized how fulfilling, yet difficult, being a small- business owner could be. Knowing what I know now, I will certainly encourage my daughters to think like entrepreneurs!
HFM: You’re graduating with an MBA from Rice Business School this month. How was this educational experience for you?
IHF: It has been an exhausting, yet profoundly rewarding experience. My third daughter, Lia, was born around 9 weeks before school started, so the first year of business school was extra trying for me. Finding time to pump between classes and group meetings while at school was quite a bit to juggle. Not even to mention the unreasonable urgency I had to get my baby weight off. I severely underestimated the workload and time commitment involved in going to business school, in and of itself, much less with three young children. Nevertheless, being surrounded by brilliant professors and classmates made it all worth it. I will be a much more balanced and skilled businesswoman coming out of this experience, for sure.
HFM: How did motherhood change you?
IHF: Becoming a mom is truly revolutionary in every sense of the word. Even the process of being pregnant was earth-shattering for me. I gained 75 pounds during both pregnancies and would often faint at random moments and in random places. It was quite scary for my husband and me. Nevertheless, once the kiddos arrived, all the tribulations of pregnancy fell by the wayside. Being a parent has been, by far, the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced. The responsibility is immense. Before having kids, I felt very much in control of my life. I would make plans and then carry them out–it was as simple as that. Now, I feel like I’m riding a wild buck. I rarely have a plan! Once my husband and I successfully get all three kids to bed for the night without a big fuss, we give each other a high-five! It’s the small victories that keep you going.
HFM: What does it mean to be a “Pinterest parent?”
IHF: I have always wished I could do all of those clever Pinterest activities, like some of my friends do with their kids. I think there are a lot of parents out there who recognize the value in creating with their kids. It facilitates communication and bonding and develops skills that are slowly, but surely, disappearing from school curricula. But when it comes down to the execution of such on a regular basis, who has that kind of time? I can’t speak for all parents, but I know for me, I carry around a lot of guilt because I can’t do everything I want to do with my kids. There just isn’t enough time in the day. That was my mission in creating Funplugit–to fill that void by alleviating some of that guilt and bringing those fun activities right to the family’s doorstep.
HFM: What’s your take on technology’s role in a happy family?
IHF: I don’t want to live without it. That said, too much of a good thing can be bad. Before actually having kids, I swore that I would never let my kids watch TV. Can you guess how quickly that changed once they got here? Very quickly. While we limit access to gadgets because our kids are so young, over time they’re gaining more and more access to them, so we try to make sure their interactions with technology are educational and timed. Technology can be very impactful on a family in a very positive way, but moderation is the key.
HFM: What advice do you have for moms who beat themselves up for not being the “perfect Pinterest parent?”
IHF: My advice would be to remember that you are not alone! I do a lot but still don’t feel like I’m doing enough for and with my kids. Effort is everything. Just do what you can, when you can. Parenting is a thankless job, but at some point, your kids will reflect on their childhood and remember fondly that you gave them your best effort, despite your other obligations, and there’s nothing more perfect than that!
HFM: What advice do you have for moms who have a business idea but are nervous about taking the first step toward making it a reality?
IHF: The nervousness is totally natural. I’m still nervous! Just get organized, find a mentor, and do extensive research on the industry you’re considering entering. You have to make sure you’re meeting a real need and keep putting one foot in front of the other until you reach your goal. Your business will only be as strong as its weakest link, so be obsessive about turning your businesses’ weaknesses into strengths. Building a business takes years of hard work. Just keep at it and don’t be afraid to get help when you need it.
HFM: What do you most want for Mother’s Day?
IHF: I would like to sleep until 9 AM, have breakfast with my husband and kids, and then spend the day at Levy Park—our family’s new favorite hangout spot.
HFM: What do you love most about motherhood?
IHF: Motherhood is one of few areas in my life in which I know forgiveness is always readily available. When I fall short as a parent, my kids always forgive me. They wake up the next morning and love me as though I’m a perfect mom every day. I know I’m far from a perfect mom every day, so I am infinitely grateful to them for giving me infinite chances to be the best mom I can be on any given day.