We are excited to present a new series of our exclusive interview with a working mum to you. This special feature is an opportunity for aspiring and new Nigerian working mums to get inspired and motivated by the stories of other Nigerian working mums.
Motherhoodng.com would always bring to you real stories of real Nigerian Mothers:
Oluwatoyin Are is a resourceful consumer banking professional of over 12 years. Had her first degree in Lautech 2005 and a masters degree in OAU 2012.
She is happily married for over 8 years and blessed with two children aged 7 and 6.
She has been able to juggle raising children and be a working/career mum.
Below is our interview with this amazing working mum:
Motherhoodng : At what age did you start to leave your child as a working mum?
Toyin : My first child was at seven (7)months but My mum and mother in law were there to assist Also the Second child was at 3months.
Motherhoodng : What are roles you don’t delegate at home as a working mum?
Toyin : I don’t delegate- Cooking.
Motherhoodng : Do you have a support system as a working mum? (Daycare/nanny/others)
Toyin : I have two (2) house assistants, one is a 14 year old and the second is 25 year old. The 14year old goes to school and the 25-year-old learns to tailor on weekends. My baby sister and mum have been very supportive as well.
Motherhoodng : If you use a Daycare service, briefly describe your experience?
Toyin : – My daycare experience was wonderful. I initially got a nanny that would come in the morning and leave in the evening when I return from work. After a nasty experiences with her, I decided to enrol my first child at a crèche. Both grandmas were still working as civil servants then. The crèche was situated in a clean and quiet environment and the nannies were experienced and upbeat. I had no complaints whatsoever.
Motherhoodng : If you engage the service of a Nanny or housemaid, Please share your experience briefly?
Toyin : I engaged the services of housemaid because if I were to do all the work alone, I might crash out. I work 7 am to 7 pm and the kids return from school by 4.30pm. So having someone to be at home when they arrive is a necessity. My housemaid experiences have been both good and bad. Some of them are good with their job, pay attention to details and hardworking initially, but after a while, they get carried away with the love you shower them and start misbehaving. Some of them get exposed to men along the line too and you have to do a lot to put them back on track. One of my Aunty has been useful to me with getting these maids. I don’t take Calabar or Togolese maids because most of them leave in December and more so, I don’t know their roots. I employ the services of the ones I can easily trace and I make sure I visit their parents before they move in with me.
Motherhoodng : How do you deal with the guilt that comes with not being with your kids all the time as a working mum?
Toyin: I talked to my kids and made them realize mum has to work if they want to enjoy the basic necessities and luxury of life. I try my best to ensure we are together on weekends.
Motherhoodng : Have you missed a moment in your child’s life that you regret?
Toyin : Yeah, When my son lost his first tooth and I wasn’t there. He kept it under the pillow for a month for me to see until I was back from an official trip. It wasn’t a major event but it meant so much to me.
Motherhoodng : Were you able to do exclusive breastfeeding for your baby?
Toyin : I was able to do exclusively for just 2 months due to the expiration of maternity leave.
Motherhoodng : Do you have dinner with your children all the time?
Toyin : Most times I don’t eat dinner. But I’m always home before they take dinner.
Motherhoodng : What’s your strategy to ensure your involvement in your child’s education?
Toyin : My strategy in involving myself in their studies is I stay connected to their class teachers, I often check their classwork and we do their weekend assignments together.
Motherhoodng : In your opinion, what’s the hardest part of being a working mum?
Toyin : The hardest part of being a working mum is the fact that I cant be there 24/7 for my children all the time when they need me.
Motherhoodng : Can you give us an insight into what your typical daily routine is like?
Toyin : I get up from bed by 4.45am to observe my meditation and prayers for 15 minutes. My live-in girls wake up 5 am. I prepared breakfast for the day with the nanny assist while the younger nanny takes care of the house cleaning. We wake up the kids by 5.45am and have a joint prayer for 10 minutes. The older girl prepares my daughter for school while I bath my son. This is after I had packed their lunch boxes. She gets them dressed while I go in to take my own bath as well. They then eat breakfast afterwards while I do my face beat and dress up. We leave the house 6.40am. I drop them in school while a paid driver brings them back in the evening (I don’t like school shuttle boxes}. I arrive back home in the evening latest 6 pm.
Motherhoodng : How do you achieve a work-family balance?
Toyin : I tried my best to achieve this even though it is not that easy as their dad is presently abroad. I invest so much in quality childcare like extra-moral lessons, making them watch an educative cartoon and interactive CDs. I stay connected with them at home all through the day. I compartmentalize my home and career routine to avoid choking. I try my best to limit unnecessary distractions, outings and time wasters during the weekends so we can all be together. I create special family activities like family outings, weekend picnics, swimming, visiting children park, we watch films together, have fun together, do video calls together with dad etc. I also ensured I know their areas of interest and make sure they develop themselves along that line. I’m lucky to work with a good team who understands the exigencies that could come with motherhood.
Also, I usually planned my annual vacations during summer (between Aug and Sept) when they are on long holidays as well. So all of us can travel and be together as one family.
Motherhoodng : What flexibility can employers of labour incorporate to identify with the demands of being a working mum?
Toyin: Have crèches and daycare situated close to their offices for a closer bond with parents with babies and toddlers. Be more empathic and tolerant to mothers who have special needs children.
Motherhoodng : Has raising a family affected your career growth/progression?
Toyin : No, not in any way. My organization is non-partial nor gender biased. You get all your entitlements as at when due.
Motherhoodng: Any advice for the first time working mum?
Toyin: Always ask for help when you need it. Find a hobby outside mothering. Pay attention to yourself always. Love the shape of your body after childbirth while in the process of getting your pre-pregnancy body back. Devote time to your baby while not totally neglecting your husband. Always listen to your heart when it tells you something is wrong or good with your baby. Take time out for naps and enjoy it. Sieve the kind of pieces of advice you get from other mothers as regards how best to take care of your child. Always tell your baby I love you. I do this since when mine were born. Whatever you are doing, assure yourself you are doing just great. No one was born with excellent motherhood skills, we all learnt it. Above all. Be Prayerful. Learn and master the art and craft of being a praying wife and mother.
Motherhoodng : Thank you for accepting our invitation
Toyin : Thank you for having me.
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