Fortunately, I grew up in a middle class family where education is highly valued as well as expected. I am also an immigrant from Syria, where despite the fact that the country is led by a dictator, higher education for women is also valued and expected.
My father immigrated to the United States when I was five years old. He always reinforced to us that he brought his family here in order to escape Syrian dictatorship and to provide us with freedoms and opportunities that we would not otherwise have, had we stayed in Syria. He also reinforced to us that we have the advantage of cultivating the best of both cultures in order to be the best that we can be.
While growing up in Houston Texas, I had the privilege of touring many areas of the world, including less fortunate countries, where individuals, especially women, did not have the freedom and/or the opportunities to pursue higher education in order to maximize their personal and family financial freedom, happiness and success. I saw the correlation between education and achieving success. Women that were educated were not only more successful, they were also more autonomous.
Right after high school, at the age of 17, I chose to get married to a Syrian husband and I resided in Syria for the first seven years of our marriage.
While residing in Syria, I witnessed my Syrian female cousins attend college to become pharmacists, engineers, doctors, and dentists. While I was very motivated to go to college, my reading and writing skills in Arabic were not college level and there were no options for me to attend English university. I focused instead on using my English skills to help others that were learning English as a second language.
Seven years later, my husband and I moved our family to the United States, as my father had done when I was young, to escape Syrian dictatorship and to provide our family with better opportunities.
The first thing that I did when I returned to the United States was to enroll in college. I was a 25 year old mother of four children who ranged from the age of newborn through six years old.
Life became very challenging. I was raising four children while simultaneously going to school and working as a kindergarten teacher.
Furthermore, my life became much more complicated and much more challenging when I became a single mom. Nevertheless, I took care of my four children, worked, attended Texas Woman’s university, graduated magna cum laude and became a pediatric ICU nurse at Texas Children’s hospital despite the many challenges.
What were the keys to my success, in spite of the challenges? First of all, I was passionate and committed to being self-reliant. In addition, I defined specific goals and remained dedicated to accomplishing them.
I always kept my father’s mantra that with dedication, determination, and education, the opportunities in the United States are endless if one chooses to pursue them.
I prioritized and focused. I identified my top goals, and I developed strategies to achieve them.
I prioritized my family’s health (including physical fitness and nutrition) and our education. Everything else became secondary. I also became resourceful, and consolidated wherever I could without compromise.
- Nutrition: I knew I didn’t want my children’s diet to suffer, so I cooked nutritional meals daily. Rather than telling children they cannot have certain snacks, I simply didn’t even purchase them. I also realized that when children get their three meals per day, they are less likely to get hungry and snack in-between. I often included my children in cooking together. And, it is true, a family who eats together, stays together.
- Children’s Education:
- Academic education: While living in Syria, I realized that primary school education there was very strong. Children were expected to learn more complex math, reading and science at much younger ages. They do not pass children from grade to grade unless they master all the skills and objectives for the year. End of year comprehensive exams were started in kindergarten. This realization motivated me to work more with my children beginning in preschool and persisting through kindergarten in order to develop their reading, writing and math skills with my goal being that they qualify to be in the gifted and talented programs in elementary school. I was just as diligent with the kindergarten students that I taught. I am a believer that most children are smart enough to do above-grade level work if they are challenged to do so by their parents and their teachers, and when, as a result, they are surrounded by children that are also being challenged in the same classroom. Children’s brains are like sponges and clay, they absorb quickly and can be molded easily. When your child sits in a classroom with other children that are ambitious and challenged, he or she will strive to do as well as the others in the class who also are motivated to learn. On the other hand, if your child is in an on-level class and is surrounded with children who are not motivated to learn, your child may not be reaching their full potential. Furthermore, when young children are not being challenged and taught the right skills, they are not mature enough to notify their parents. They may have the potential to do higher level work, but will not reach their potential unless their educators and their parents create an environment of opportunities to exceed expectations. Furthermore, it is essential to get them into the habit of completing their assignments and making good grades.
Furthermore, while my children were in school, so was I. I became their role model – If mom can do it, so can I. We did homework together, worked on projects together, and we studied together at the kitchen table.
My recommendation: take an active role in your children’s primary education. After all, they spend half of their childhood in school.
- Educational toys and games: Invest in educational toys and games for your children. I discovered that building blocks were great. Not only are they an excellent investment for those who are on a tight budget, since one box of building blocks can turn into endless numbers of toys, but building blocks encourage children to be creative, resourceful and innovative. They truly do exercise children’s right and left brains. The only disadvantage is cleaning up so many pieces. Perhaps you can designate an area in your home just for building blocks, and of course it’s an opportunity to teach them responsibility of cleaning up after themselves.
- Physical fitness and recreational educational activities: With four children and very little spare time, I needed a family activity that everyone can partake in at once. I didn’t have time to shuttle children around from soccer to dance to gymnastics… So, I chose to enroll all of my children in the local neighborhood swim team at a very young age. If you are working, going to school and raising children on your own, or on a tight income, swimming is great. Simultaneously, all four were able to attend swim practice and to compete in the swim meets – even the baby – which enabled me to not have to drive four children to different locations every day. I also purchased season passes to our local theme park and Water Park. Again, this was a family activity that my children and I were all able to participate in and to enjoy while spending time together. My children and I rode the rollercoasters and went down the water slides together all summer long.
In addition, my brother owned a boat, and my parents had a swimming pool, and we lived close to Lake Conroe. We spent many weekends together during the summer swimming, waterskiing, grilling hotdogs and marshmallows. In addition to being a fun and family oriented activity, swimming is a survival skill that I believe every parent should teach their children to master. I can’t emphasize enough the benefits of swimming and the economies of scale that a family can gain from this one recreational activity.
I chose nursing as a professional major because nursing was aligned with one of my two greatest passions – health and beauty – which I believe go hand-in-hand. I believe that when you look good, you feel good, and vice versa! I also have a nurturing and caregiving personality, and I have always been fascinated with humanity, and how anatomy and physiology, as well as psychology and society affect our health, our self-esteem, and our happiness. I researched and discovered that nursing was very holistic in the sense that, in addition to incorporating medical interventions to treat disorders and diseases, nurses treat the entire person holistically – taking into consideration not only how a person’s physical characteristics can lead to health or illness, and how pharmacological interventions can treat those illnesses, nurses also take into consideration how the psychological, social and lifestyle challenges can affect a person’s health, and how those same factors can be used to develop treatment and preventative protocols. Nurses use the Nursing Process, and we take a holistic approach to assessing, diagnosing and treating individuals holistically through the assessment of physical, pharmacological, psychological, social and lifestyle factors. Then we develop a plan of care that includes interventions that treat those same factors: physical, pharmacological, psychological, social and lifestyle imbalances that result in illness. We seek to understand and to incorporate preventative and treatment protocols that incorporate how a person deals with and overcomes lifestyle as well as psycho-social, and environmental related problems and challenges, and how those non-physical attributes, factors, and variables can affect their entire well-being including their ability to stay healthy or to recover from illness, and how their medical condition will affect or be affected by their work, their family and their lifestyle.
We strive to prevent and to treat as we assess and consider all aspects of a person’s life – the interconnectedness of body, mind, emotion, spirit, social/cultural, relationship, and environment. And we consider how all of these – holistically – affect our health and happiness and the ability to prevent, to treat, and to ultimately overcome disorders and diseases, or to at least be able to cope effectively.
Moreover, the nursing profession was also conducive to being a mother of four. I knew I would be able to work full-time, part-time, evenings or weekends. And it is always in demand because no computers or machines can replace the care a nurse gives to his/her patient.
Transition to Xtreme Lashes:
When my children were older, I became fortunate enough to follow my second passion: beauty. I again prioritized and focused on my goals to develop a company and industry.
Once again, the investment I made into my education and into my children’s education paid off!!
With my family by my side: my son Maher Daoudi, my daughter Noor Daoudi, my Son Muhammad Daoudi, my brother Ahmad Mousselli, and my husband Martin Dale, we founded Xtreme Lashes by Jo Mousselli®. Without a blue-print, we created a brand new industry for thousands of women and men to be empowered with rewarding and profitable careers that enable them to empower the lives of thousands more consumers with innovative and high performing beauty products and services that enhance their beauty, self-confidence and happiness – holistically!
Our family business has grown into an extended family of many dedicated and loyal employees, trainers and international franchisees who, as a team, work together to deliver quality products, education, and legendary customer service support while providing opportunities for so many.
Xtreme Lashes by Jo Mousselli Scholarship:
Today, I am fortunate and humbled by the opportunity to be able to offer Xtreme Lashes scholarships to individuals who have the heart, passion and drive to dedicate themselves to becoming a certified Xtreme Lashes Lash Stylists. This scholarship is a $2,395 value, and includes our Business Builder Package, which consists of the Level 1 Training Program, the Certification/Directory Training Program and the Business Development Kit.
Becoming an Xtreme Lashes Lash Stylist, gives women and men the flexibility to work for established salons and spas full-time or part-time. Or, they can run their own Lash Styling businesses. This career is especially great for those with families, children, and older parents to support while they nurture, care and provide beauty products and services to empower and enrich their own lives as well as the lives of their families and their clientele.
Those who are self-driven, motivated and want to succeed– but have obstacles in their way, can now get a jumpstart with a rewarding, profitable and successful career with Xtreme Lashes.
About Jo’s Insights
Jo’s Insights was developed to give you an inside look into the life of Jo Mousselli, Co-Founder and CEO of Xtreme Lashes. Jo’s vision is to empower and enrich lives of women all over the world with rewarding careers, products and services. Take a moment to join her journey and hear about her first hand experiences, challenges, and thought processes behind everything she does at work and home. We hope you’re inspired…