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

When school is out

School holidays are bitter-sweet for me. I will share the bitter first so that you have a sweet taste in the mouth afterwards.😊😊😊😊

My biggest concern is how do I keep three little people entertained for almost four weeks without breaking the bank? I also don’t want them in front of the TV the whole time. Yes there are some really excellent programs on TV my favourite and our son’s favourite is Blaze And The Monster Machines. It has some amazing lessons but even he doesn’t want to watch it all day. Our eldest makes sure she calls me whilst i am at work to tell me that she is bored….. so please share your tips for entertaining a six year old and two three year olds “without breaking the bank”

And for the sweet part now

1. Mornings are now peaceful in our house..at least for the next four weeks. No missing school shoes when we are already running late or tears because someone decides they are not hungry and yet cry the moment we are on the way because now they feel really hungry.

2. No homework for me. You see I have noticed that some of the homework isn’t for the child but for the parent. For example my six year old was to make a boat that would actually float and not sink. I wonder how many six year olds out there are actually able to do this. My conclusion is that this is homework for me the parent…so for the next four weeks I get to be homework free yeah!!!!

Enjoy the school holidays and if you can also take time off work and spend some quality time with these special ones..

Can you own your success?

Sometime last year I graduated from our company’s in-house leadership programme. Each graduate was asked to provide a citation of their achievements during the two year program and their career goals going forward. I had some really good achievements of projects I had led successfully. My problem was writing about it and having it read in front of all other graduates and work colleagues felt as if I was bragging and blowing my own horn. It just felt wrong. I therefore down played my hard work and achievements… I know better now. I also noticed some female colleagues who were graduating had done exactly the same.

Today I would like to share why not owning your success as a woman is counter productive and also ways to actually share your achievements without coming across as bragging.

Reasons us women down play our achievements

1. Not wanting to appear too ambitious. Our paternalistic society is okay with very ambitious man but not women. Because the majority would like to fit into the acceptable, the result is down playing our achievements.

2. Fear of scaring away potential partners who apparently are threatened by successfully women. ( This is a topic for another blog post in the future). By the way only boys are threatened by successfully women. Real man are not.

3. Concern that our achievements might invoke jealous in others and that they might then sabotage or harm us.

4. Not being comfortable with success and fear of being found out for being fraudsters. It’s called imposter syndrome and again this is a post for another day.

Whatever the reason might be, not speaking out about our successes not serve our interests.

Why is it bad?

1. Talking about your achievements does not necessarily equate to bragging or being narcissist. Let this sink in…..

2. Not talking about your achievements means waiting for someone else to notice how hard you work and then hopefully they will take action on it. Well, this could turn out to be a very long wait. I doubt any one wants to give up the power to determine their career destiny in such a way.

3. Down playing your achievements might result in you being passed over for opportunities that you want and this usually makes you resentful.

4. I believe if you cannot speak up for yourself you will not be able to speak up for others. It is therefore important to learn how to self promote appropriately.

How to own your success

A workmate from another country reached out to me about a project I had submitted that had won me a cash prize. Being the humble and modest person I am, I kept on using the word ‘we’ throughout the conversation instead of ‘i’. When he asked who the others i had worked with were, that is when I realised I was actually down playing the hard work I had put in the project by not owning up to the fact that I had actually worked on it alone. After this conversation I therefore sought to find how I could showcase my achievements without coming across as bragging.

1. For me the first thing is to be comfortable with individual success. Some cultures are more communal and emphasise the ‘we’ and others are more individualistic. I come from the former and even when I have worked on something alone, I still believe there are others supporting me behind the scenes. Being comfortable with individual success and believing that i am worthy of it for me becomes the first step to then sharing my achievements.

2. The next step is to acknowledge and highlight the hard work and effort I have put in. I have now learnt to accept compliments and not respond to well done by saying ..oh it was nothing. I sometimes still slip up and give such responses …but that’s okay, I am still a work in progress. We all are.

3. Finally where I have received support from other team members, I acknowledge it. This is where it gets confusing and mixed up. It’s about giving credit to those who have supported yet still showing my role in rallying the support successfully.

So today my encouragement is do not be afraid to shine. We are still in the month of celebrating women so owning your success is one way to #pressforprogress.

How are you owning your success? Share in the comments section below.

Mum in Stilettos

If i wasn’t afraid…

This past week i was in a workshop in Dubai organised by the Facebook Middle East and Africa office. I learnt in two days what would have taken me months but that’s not the purpose of today’s post. On the walls at the offices, there are different posters that speak to some of Facebook’s beliefs and values. All the posters spoke to me but one in particular stood out and it was written What would you do if you were not afraid?

I have been reflecting on this over the last few days and it occurred to me that there are things i did not do because i was afraid. Afraid that i would fail, afraid of rejection and afraid of disapproval.

I started this blog over five years ago just a year after our first daughter was born. I felt overwhelmed as a first time mum trying to balance my work demands and my family demands. I therefore started writing down some of the challenges i was facing and how i was dealing with them. Because of the fears i mentioned above, i did not link my blog to any of my social media pages. Once in a while i would share a link to the blog on my Facebook page and only tag close family members. I feared disapproval and rejection if i put it out there. I had many ‘what ifs’.

At the beginning of this year i resolved to deal with my fears and see what would happen. I rebranded my blog, opened up Facebook and Instagram pages and a Twitter handle. I can tell you right now that pushing through my fears is actually less frightening than living with the fear from helplessness. It’s still early days but the responses to my blog posts show me that there are other young working mothers out there who are wondering how to manage it all and if i wasn’t afraid, i would have created this platform earlier.

What would you do if you were not afraid? Share your feedback in the comments section. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Mom In Stilettos

Experiencing motherhood guilt?… it’s perfectly okay..

Is it just me or there are other working mums out there that also experience motherhood guilt? Initially i thought the longer i was a mother, the easier it would get…but no. Next week Thursday i will be 6 years a mother and it has not really gotten better. Here are some of the things i feel guilty about.

1. I feel guilty about having a few minutes to myself. Three kids under 6 is not a walk in the park. Sometimes i just want time to be ‘me’, not a mother wiping bottoms, not a peacekeeper stopping a fight over the pink doll and definitely not being cross examined by little people on why they should eat their carrots. To find ‘me’, I have resorted to locking myself in the bedroom and at times in the bathroom, wherever works at that particular moment and ignored soft little knocks on the door and immediately felt guilty for doing that to ny children.

2. I am that mum that misses school functions and that really makes feel guilty. I missed my daughter’s swimming gala the other term and when i received the videos of her receiving her certificate, my heart just broke. One time our daughter told me she was the only one whose mum was not picking her up from school everyday and that made me feel very guilty.

3. I feel guilty when i get too busy at work and get home when my children are already in bed.

4. I feel guilty when we leave the children at home in order to have ‘us time’ with my hubby and i can’t stop talking about them or checking on them every other hour.

5. And i also feel guilty about feeling guilty….😟😟😟

On really a serious note though, i have learnt in my few years as a mother that my children are perfectly okay and a lot of this guilt is about me and the things i need to deal.

So its perfectly okay …….

-It’s perfectly okay if i lock myself wherever i choose in order to find myself

-It’s perfectly okay to be passionate about my work as it allows me to give my children opportunities they would not have if i was doing something else

-It’s perfectly okay to spend time with my hubby without the kids. If our relationship is healthy we become better parents to them.

-And it’s perfectly okay to be a great mom and a great boss lady too.

Do you sometimes feel motherhood guilt? Share in the comments section below.

Mominstilettos

Fit your own mask first….

Pre flight, aviation operators always announce that in case of emergency, you should fit your own oxygen masks first before assisting children or anyone else who might need help. You know why? Because without your own mask fitted, you cannot assist anyone else.

As a mother it comes naturally for me to put the needs of my family first. It’s almost instinctive. I don’t have to think about it. I noticed that my weekends were almost no different from any other weekday. It’s grocery shopping, kids weekend activities, sometimes a birthday party or a play date which i have to stick around for because… well i prefer it that way and a quick catch up with a friend over coffee. Before i know it the weekend is over and i hardly feel rested.

This weekend i intentionally made sure my Saturday was free. I woke up at 10am and just had a very relaxed day at home doing nothing in particular . After church on Sunday i did the same, made lunch and just hung around just not doing anything really. I think every mom needs to do this every so often. We are so busy taking care of others that we neglect to take of ourselves.

Without you in good health physically, emotionally and spiritually you are not really able to take care of those that really need to be taken care of by you.

I don’t always get this right all the time but here is how i ensure my own mask is fitted first.

1. Spiritually, my relationship with God is important and i nature it through reading my Bible, communing with Him through prayer and fellowship with other believers. This also takes care of my emotional being. Why carry burdens when i have a saviour?

2. Physically i try to excercise and keep fit. I am not very consistent here and i have to admit I can do so much better in this area but i do realise the importance of physical exercise for the body. I however also watch i eat…and i really also have to thank God for good genes….

As you get into the new week, remember to take care of you also….fit your own mask first. Enjoy your week.

Mom in stilettos