A new podcast, "Muslim Superdad and Wondermom," uses a touch of humor to address some of the more serious questions facing Muslim parents. Amin Aaser is the founder of an educational group called Noor Kids, which launched the podcast.
MPR News reporter Riham Feshir recently talked with Aaser, who is also the host of the show.
Below are highlights from the interview. They have been edited for length and clarity.
Build a better world
When we started Noor Kids some 10 years ago, our goal was to raise Muslim kids that build a better world. And the reason why we did that was because, you have to understand the experience for Muslims in America then and even now was quite challenging, right?
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!
I myself growing up in Maple Grove, Minnesota. I remember, you know, I never wanted my mom to come to my baseball games because I didn't want anyone to see her headscarf, I was like, really, like, not comfortable in my skin as a Muslim.
And by the way, that experience was not unique. That was one that many Muslim kids experienced at that time. And those types of challenges still remain.
So when we think about how we solve that problem for Noor Kids, it was, well, let's support our own community. Let's provide the resources, the tools, the investment into the Muslim community, to help raise these kids to help guide these parents.
Mental health comes with a stigma, and can sometimes be thought of as taboo.
Now, that's something that we can change. And that's an area where we can help build a brighter future for our kids. And even us as parents, being a parent is a huge blessing. But it's tough, really tough, especially when you have two or three.
It's like you're drinking from a firehose, and sometimes you wake up thinking, “Oh, my goodness, how am I going to do this? There's got to be a better way to do this.”
Using humor to talk about serious issues
The reality is, parenthood is a journey. A lot of these topics are tough topics.
We've talked about menstruation. We've talked about saving up for college funds. We've talked about intimacy between spouses, and what's the appropriate amount in order to have a successful relationship.
We've talked about mental health, but the reality is this journey of parenthood, it's a fun journey. Like we are so blessed to even have kids. And along this journey, yeah, we're going to have fun and we're going to, you know, approach these topics in a light-hearted and real life type of way.
The response so far
Yeah, we got a couple of emails saying, “Hey, look like, you know, should we be talking about sex? Is it appropriate to?”
If we as parents don't actually talk about these topics, it's not that the conversation isn't going to happen. The conversation is going to happen, but it's going to happen with people on the bus on the way home from school and we as parents won't be a part of that.
And so we can't just kind of put our heads into the sand and hope that these types of difficult conversations or topics are going to happen on their own. No, there's too much at stake for our kids our legacy. Listen together. Let's bring the power to parents.