How to spend quality time with your children

So last Friday I wrote about Mommy Me Time and some of the activities that you could do to relax, rejuvenate and be in a good space to look after those you love. This is important. Remember you have to fit your own mask first before you can help others.

Now I know as a working mom you have to also spend time with your children. I find that sometimes I am extremely busy at work that I don’t engage with them fully during the week as I would want. Here are some of the things you can do to spend quality time with your children.

1. Prepare their favourite meal together regardless of their gender. If you are a mom of a boy child, remember you are raising tomorrow’s gentleman and husband. If he is going to help his wife in the kitchen in future, he needs to learn from you now.( That’s a topic for another day). YouTube has great videos for making easy recipes that kids can be involved in. On some weekends we make pizza and the kneading and mixing is so much fun for little people. Don’t worry if you don’t match the real pizza from the Italian restaurant. It’s about spending time with your children and doing something fun together.

2. If you have girls, go to the hairdresser together and enjoy getting your hair and theirs done.

3. Our boy loves cars and trains and there is nothing more he loves than have mommy help him build the race tracks and race cars together. By the way our girls are also into cars so this is definitely something we all do together.

4. Have a picnic in the garden and bring their favourite healthy snacks.

5. My kids love sleepovers but I do not allow them to go for any so once in a while we have a “sleepover” in the lounge and we bring all our mattress and talk and play games until they dose off to sleep one by one. We usually do this over long weekends when we know we aren’t going anywhere the following morning.

6. Watch their favourite TV show together with you totally engaged and your mobile phone very far away. In our house we love Paw Patrol, Blaze and The Monster Machines and Rainbow Ruby. (NB I am careful what my children watch and it’s important that every mom does). It is also important to limit screen time for children but we can talk about that another time.

7. Listen to them, their stories and be fully present. Answer all their questions and enjoy every moment with them. I am sure, well I know they will not be children forever.

Enjoy the weekend with your children and do share with me how you spend quality time with your children at muminstilettos@outlook.com

How To Make Mornings Easier

Weekday mornings are hectic in our household. Getting all of us ready and avoiding the Nairobi traffic to get to work and the kids to school on time is not easy. After trying out different routines, the following has helped our family a lot and below are some of the ways we make our weekday mornings easier.

1. Get a live-in house help. This will ensure you have help with some of the things that need to be done in the morning.

2. Prepare the lunch boxes the night before. It’s even better to make a schedule of what you are packing in the lunchboxes for the whole week and ensure the ingredients are available when you need them.

3. Pack the school bags the night before remembering to include everything needed, sports kits, library books etc. You really don’t want to be the one whose child is always missing one thing or the other.

4. Take out the clothes the kids will wear the night before. Same for you. Decide what you are wearing the night before and save yourself time trying out different outfits.

5. Make waking up pleasant. No screaming or pulling blankets off. If you use an alarm for the children, make it as friendly as possible for example their favourite rhyme or song.

6. With experience I have come to realise that our bedtime habits determine the success of our mornings. Even during weekends I now insist on sticking to the same bedtime as weekdays.

7. Wake up early and give yourself enough time to get ready and also get the children ready.

8. Simplify breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day but do not complicate it.

9. If you have to, set an alarm for the time that you need to leave the house and still aim to leave 5 minutes earlier than that time.

Try out some of the above and share with me your feedback and comments. I am always happy to hear from you and can be reached on muminstilettos@outlook.com

Have a great week ahead with easy mornings.

Mommy Me Time – 10 Things To Do

After a busy week at work and at home, you deserve to take time out for yourself and recharge your batteries. Here is a list of ten things to do during mommy-me-time.

1. Bury yourself in a great book. Some of my favorite authors include Malcolm Gladwell, Angela Duckworth, and Robert Kiyosaki. I also love glossy magazines and Destiny Woman is right at the top for me.

2. Retail therapy and window shopping is fun. I love trying out clothes and shoes. Infact I love shoes so much I even had to include this in my blog name. Take note I don’t spend money I don’t have. Just trying out clothes is lots of fun. When I really don’t want to buy, there are certain individuals I will avoid😂😂. I will not be naming and shaming them here.

3. I have some favourite shows on Netflix. I don’t binge watch them … ( by the way at what number of episodes do you consider it binge watching?). I love How To Get Away With Murder, Suits and The Good Wife. I am sure in another life I would have done law hence my attraction to these types of shows.

4. Going for a walk is absolutely therapeutic especially one in nature. Reminds me of growing up in the village and exploring the hills behind our homestead. If you are urban based, the nearest park could be a close enough to the countryside walk.

5. Go for a manicure and pedicure and get pampered. Reminds me that I am more than a mom.

6. Catch up on your sleep. This is my favorite Sunday afternoon after church activity.

7. Go for coffee with your girlfriends and catch up on what has been happening in your life.

8. Still with the girls, catch the latest movie together.

9. Go to the gym, a run or any some other sports activity to keep fit.

10. Start a new hobby, painting, blogging, cooking or anything else that you have been putting off.

This weekend I will be doing 1, 3 and 6. How about you? What activities are in your mommy-me-time?

Invitation to write a guest post for Muminstilettos

As a Muminstilettos I would love to feature guest posts on my blog. I know there are many enormously talented moms who against all odds are ‘doing it all’.

Take note we do not pay for any featured posts but will definitely help in getting more traffic to your blog.

Below are the guidelines to follow to increase your chances of having your post featured.

1. Does your post address the challenges faced by working moms

2. Does your post provide solutions that working mothers can easily implement?

3. Would working moms consider your post valuable and share it with their friends?

4. Does your post share from your own experiences as a working mom?

Once you have answered YES to all the above, please write to muminstilettos@outlook.com and I will be sure to get back to you. Share this post with all your friends.

Learning to say NO

Saying NO is not easy. Personally I gravitate towards YES. However NO is one of the words that I quickly learnt to use more often the moment our twins were born and all our three children were under three years.

When you are a sleep deprived working mom, weekends become the days to catch up on sleep and this means learning to say NO to requests and invitations without any FOMO.

I will be the first to admit that motherhood is demanding and takes a lot from you. I also know that sometimes we take on too much be it at work, with our families and even friends and we end up complaining about how we struggle to ‘balance’ it all. Part of self care and getting balance (which I prefer to call rhythm) is learning to say NO.

1. Saying NO to friends/ family

I have already said I gravitate towards YES or you could say I like pleasing others. My children’s arrival challenged this. How is it even possible to go out with three children under three to our usual girls coffee? The biggest challenge comes when our friends or family cannot take NO for an answer. For me the below have worked most of the time.

– Delay the response to give you more time but still get back with your NO.(😉😉 Now my family know how I operate..)

– With family give reasons for the NO so that they do not make assumptions or take it personally.

– How you say NO is very important as your tone of voice also communicates more than the words you choose.

2. Saying NO to children

My children are persistent. They just do not take NO for an answer (like the widow in the Bible who wanted justice against her adversary). This is a very good quality and I like that they do not give up easily. I have therefore found ways of saying NO without actually using that word. The below is a typical conversation in our home many times a week.

Zaya: Mummy I want chocolate/ candy/ ice cream….( NB this is a few minutes or an hour before supper)

Answer 1: Delayed gratification which is also conditional.

If you eat supper first and then I will give you chocolate.

Answer 2: Offer a healthier alternative

What if I offer you X instead?

Answer 3: Distract with something else that the child likes. Most times they forget about the request or should I say sometimes.

Hey Zaya come see what I found.

Answer 4: Use an authority figure the child respects. In my case its the school teacher. It could even be their favourite cartoon character.

Do you think Miss Alice would want you to have candy before supper?

Of course there are also situation where an out right NO is needed so that the child clearly understands acceptable behaviour.

Unconsciously working moms say YES to ease the guilt of being away from the children. Please do not fall into this trap.

3. Saying NO at work

Sometimes you know you are truly not able to take on more but you find yourself agreeing to certain requests for reasons I will not detail here. In some work places this is further complicated by the words they put into the contract that says ‘…. and any other duties….’

Here are my views on when to say NO at work and how to say it.

When to say NO

– When what you are being asked to do goes against your values.

– When what you are being asked to do is clearly outside of your job description and can easily be done by someone else that you know has the time to do it at that particular time.

– When you already have more urgent priorities that are already agreed and cannot take on more work without compromising the quality of what you are already doing.

-When you have clearly weighed the risks of saying NO and can live with the consequences of that decision.

How to say NO

-Explain your situation without going into many details.

– If this particular task can only be done by you, then clearly present the most realistic timelines for completion given your current workload. By all means avoid taking on more when you cannot deliver it when it’s needed.

– If possible say NO in person. If this is not possible, a phone call is always better than an email.

– How you say no and your tone of voice matters.

Just to tie it all, do not just say NO for the sake of it. When a YES is appropriate, then by all means say YES but if you are a “people pleaser” like me then learn to say NO.

Share with me how you say no to children, family and at work.

muminstilettos@outlook.com

Put it into perspective

The Cambridge Dictionary defines putting something into perspective as comparing it to other things to allow for a proper or accurate judgement or assessment. I had an Aha Moment about this that i would like to share with you today.

The past two weeks have been extremely busy for me with a lot of travel. By the end of last week, I was really tired and looking forward to coming home to my family. Imagine my disappointment as I was checking in at the airport just after 10pm on Friday night, only to be told the flight had been delayed by two hours and instead of taking off at midnight, it would take off around 2am. I was annoyed, irritated and everything in between. I would have landed home around 5am and been home by 630am, early enough to get a few hours of rest and then spend time with my kids watching the royal wedding. I was still wondering what I would do for four hours at the airport when I saw the report about another school shooting in the US. All of a sudden my irritation with a delayed flight seemed out of place compared to the parents who were never going to see thier children again.

I will give another example. I remember one time I was looking at my computer so intently. Now I don’t even remember what the issue was on this particular day but the look on my face must have been so intense that a colleague who was passing by stopped and asked if everything was okay. Whatever my response was, it’s his response that just helped me snap out of it. “Its okay, it’s not like we are working on a cure for a terminal illness…its just cereal that we are selling

Its easy to complain about whatever it is that you might feel is not going accordingly to schedule. This week i would like to encourage you to put your situation into perspective. Is it really that bad? Take some time to appreciate and find joy in the mundane things. Let this week be about putting things into perspective.

Have a great week ahead mamas.

I think I might becoming like my mother…

In a workshop I attended last week, each person was asked to write three things about themself, one of which was suppose to be a lie. My list was as below:

1. I have a degree in Economics

2. I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers

3. I am a Sunday school teacher

Can you guess which of the above is not true about me? The workshop participants all got it wrong. Everyone assumed 2 was the lie. Indeed I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers all from the same mother and father( Hallelujah praise God).

Now that I am a mother myself, to three children aged between three 3 and 6, I wonder how my mother kept her sanity. Every single day I remind myself that if my mother could manage, surely I can too.

I have a work trip out of the country this mother’s day. After reading my children their bedtime story I asked them to each pray and as my son prayed, I found myself crying. He prayed that I would travel well and come back home safely and that I would not forget to buy the things he wants me to bring. As I was wiping my tears, I realised I might becoming like my mother in many ways than one. Here is my list of things I unintentionally find myself doing that my mother used to do.

1. I have become really sensitive since I became a mum. Last night’s praying incident being an example. I cry when my children impress me and I cry when I watch certain movies. My mum used to cry when watching movies on TV or if she listened to certain songs.

2. I can now give “the eye” and my children completely get it. Infact they completely get it that just “the eye” is enough to cause tears. This is such a victory for me. I remember a few years back when our first daughter was about three years old. I tried to give her “the eye” and she said “mummy why are you looking at me like that?”

3. I have three kids and I find myself going through all their names just to call one of them. My mum used to do that too.

4. I never used to understand why my mum would call me from outside where I was playing into the kitchen to pass her the salt which was so close to her she could have taken it herself. Well, I find myself doing similar things. Like calling my daughter from outside where she is playing so she can get me some water to drink. I guess it’s a mummy thing 🙈🙈🙈

5. I find myself unintentionally embarrassing my children just like my mum used to. Like the day she recited her words perfectly and me being the African mum “ululated” so everyone would know she was my child..😂😂. Of course she was not impressed and when I was showing her the video later, she told me not to it again. I still do it… oops!

And you… do you find yourself becoming like your mother?

Have a great Mother’s Day with your loved ones.

Muminstilettos