We are delighted and honoured to interview a career Mum of over a decade with (3) three children, this is an exclusive interview and it’s loaded of a lot of tips and lessons for New career mums.
Here is a brief profile of our Career mum of the month:
Tosin Babasanya-Craig is a seasoned trainer, a certified corporate coach, teenage coach, personal branding consultant, and Interior designer. Tosin is a trained Architect but has since transited into people management for over a decade now. Whilst working diligently on construction sites, she discovered that her passion lied with coaching people and helping them to achieve their goals, and she has since carved a niche for herself in this area of service.
Tosin has worked as a Soft Skills trainer with Poise Nigeria Ltd and with Customer Oriented Management Services Ltd. Today, along with her corporate coaching activities, Tosin manages the Nigeria operations of US-based Performance Fact Inc., an education consulting and management firm.
Motherhoodng: At what age did you start to leave your child as a career mum?
Tosin: That would be at the expiration of the 3-month maternity leave from work.
Motherhoodng: What are the roles you don’t delegate at home as a working mum?
Tosin: I don’t delegate homework duties, meal plans, selecting outing clothes and salon duties. I also do not delegate punishment when the girls err. Of course, I never delegate taking care of my husband..(smiling)
Motherhoodng: Do you have a support system as a career mum? (Daycare/nanny/others)
Tosin: Oh yes! I have amazing people that have supported me over the years. My husband remains my biggest support, sometimes, I think he treats me like an egg. I was teasing the other day that I haven’t changed the cylinder head more than once in my 11 years of marriage. Mr. Craig’s middle name is ‘Efficient’. Wonderful husband and father- my husband.
Tosin: For the 6 years between my first and second girls, my major support was my beautiful ‘Mother-in-Love’, who stayed with us for two years until my daughter started school. When my second child arrived, I had to get a nanny who has to be with me for three years now. Also, my first is 9 now and can run errands around the house too.
Motherhoodng: If you use a Daycare service, briefly describe your experience?
Tosin: I have never used a Daycare service.
Motherhoodng: If you engage the service of a Nanny or housemaid, Please share your experience briefly?
Tosin: I have a nanny in her mid-thirties who sincerely cares for my children a lot. I was not really anxious about an outsider coming into my home because I prepared for it and made up my mind to show love regardless. I decided not to be too hard with my rules. If she genuinely cared and loved my kids, I could deal with her flaws. Thankfully, she is a very reasonable person. I recall that I got a few suggestions to install cameras but I decided to trust her anyway. Not like installing a camera is a bad thing, but I wasn’t ready for the distraction.
I employed her while I was still on maternity leave, so I was able to observe her and show her how I would love things to be done around my house.
Motherhoodng: How do you deal with the guilt that comes with not being with your kids all the time as a career mum?
Tosin: What if I told you that I don’t feel ‘the guilt’, maybe not yet! Whatever takes me away from them is for the greater good of everyone (smiling). The nanny goes home every weekend, so I have them to myself every Saturdays and Sundays and I make it worth their while.
When we (my husband and I) get home in the evenings, we assist with homework and spend quality time together before bed. I create time during their holidays too, I have planned my leave to coincide with long holidays. My husband is a very present father too. Because he is an entrepreneur, he deliberately creates the time to honour special school activities.
Motherhoodng: Have you missed a moment in your child’s life that you regret?
Tosin: Yes, I have missed moments, but I haven’t regretted any of those moments. Well, maybe because we haven’t gotten to those moments that it will be unthinkable of me to miss. For example, I would never want to miss my child’s graduation from school (whichever level). I have indeed missed some important moments like my children’s first crawl, first words, first steps, or some cute activities in school Etc. I remember how disappointed my first daughter was when I couldn’t make the last Mother’s day commemoration at school, it was a Monday morning! But, it is what it is. One thing is certain, I remain mummy and I love my children deeply.
Motherhoodng: Were you able to do exclusive breastfeeding for your baby?
Tosin: Not at all! Not that I didn’t try, but all my babies started life with formula because they had big birth weights and I didn’t lactate early. By the time I started lactating, it didn’t flow enough to satisfy them. The formula, therefore, came to stay.
Motherhoodng: Do you have dinner with your children all the time?
Tosin: Yes, I do, the majority of the time. Thankfully, work is only about an hour drive from home, deliberately so! I make it in time for dinner a lot of the time.
Motherhoodng: What’s your strategy to ensure your involvement in your child’s education?
Tosin: We learn together! I spend as much time as I can, being part of their learning. I read to my girls at bedtime a lot of the time. I am learning to turn every activity, fun or serious into a learning adventure. I also try very much to attend school activities. For instance, the open days in my children’s school can only be attended by parents. I am actively involved in homework too. Though my children’s school can be quite extra with projects and homework, I try not to complain because I learn in the process. Call it adult education. Also, there is a WhatsApp group for parents in my children’s classes and that keeps me abreast of happenings in school. We also enjoy baking together too.
Motherhoodng: In your opinion, what’s the hardest part of being a working mum?
Tosin: The hardest part of being a working mother is balancing work and home life. There is a confliction between priorities. A lot of sacrifices have to be made to have a win-win situation for all. Missing some important milestones in my children’s life is another hard part of being a career mum. Another one for me is not knowing if I’m doing the right things, ‘mothering doesn’t come with instructions’. I have my fair share of insecurity especially with regards to maintaining my authority at home. I make rules but I’m often not there to enforce them, making them less significant. I recall my 3-year old on one of those days, ‘threatened’ to report me to Aunty Shola, her nanny ‘for trying to enforce discipline (Smiling), I recollect freezing for a moment.
I remember the sadness that envelopes me when I try to carry my babies and they refuse to come while clinging tightly to their nanny/caregiver.
Motherhoodng: Can you give us an insight into what your typical daily routine is like?
Tosin: On a typical workday, I wake up at 5:30 am for a time of prayer and meditation, I change into my exercise clothes and either go jogging (if it’s bright enough) or do a 30mins exercise on our porch.
Getting the children ready for school, preparing breakfast (and mum’s lunch) and packing lunch boxes is a joint effort from daddy, mummy and the popular Aunty Shola-the nanny. We all know who does what. I am usually the last to get to the bathroom. We leave home between 7 and 7:15 every day and drop the children at school on my way to work. Typically, I resume work before half past 8 am and work till about 5 pm, a few times later.
Because I report to my employers who are 9 hours behind in time zones, sometimes, work continues at home, in the event of having to link up with them via teleconferencing.
Otherwise, I usually get home not later than 7 pm.
I check on my 9-year old’s homework and daddy usually assists with my 3year old’s homework (she is daddy’s girl, so I am the 2nd best after daddy). Family devotion happens after and the children are released to go to bed. I often read them to sleep which sadly coincides with my TV time but sacrifices have to be made sometimes. I am trying to break away from a long-standing ‘nocturnal’ habit, I don’t sleep early at all. My schedule is a little flexible during holidays, I wake up 30minutes later than usual and resume work at 9 am. During holidays, I go on long walks/jogs with my first daughter. I cherish these moments.
Motherhoodng : How do you achieve a work-family balance?
Tosin: I simply pace myself. I enjoy my work, so it is not such a burden to get things done. Because of the position I hold at work, the pressure to always be on my toes has been reduced. I could be flexible with time if I want to, but I am very conscious about laying a good example for the people around me at work. So, I resume when I should and close when I should.
I have decided to trust the process one step at a time. I unapologetically’ ask for support in areas that I can delegate. I know my peaks and my troughs. I am not a morning person, so I don’t pressure myself to deliver great outputs early in the day. I slowly ease into the day and my strength and concentration peaks when everyone has gone to sleep at night. Not that it is the best habit, but that’s just me.
I must confess that I haven’t done well with deliberately taking care of myself like I do others, for instance, before I plan a visit to the Spa, I think of a million other things I could use the money for (smiling). But, this is a major work in progress for me. I will do better!
Motherhoodng: What flexibility can employers of labour incorporate to identify with the demands of being a career mum?
Tosin: Truth be told, working motherhood is an 18-year job. Acknowledging that motherhood is a job on its own is the first step for every employer. Simple things like genuinely caring and asking about the welfare of your employee’s family is a good step. I am aware of the labour laws in Nigeria with regards to maternity leave and I think they are quite considerate. Organisations need to be ‘family-centric’. They should deliberately create ‘family gatherings’, retreat, get-away, etc.into their annual schedules. Make vacations non-negotiable for your employers, if you/they can afford it. It is important for employers to create a ‘mother’s room’ or call it a crèche at the workplace, complete with caregivers. Mothers should be encouraged to bring their infants to work. This cuts out the feeling of guilt and stress of having to leave such young people at that stage in their lives. Simply put, just be kind!
Motherhoodng: Has raising a family affected your career growth/progression?
Tosin: No, raising a family has not affected my career growth. The family has always been topmost on my list of values and so every decision I have made along the way has to be with my family in mind. For instance, I said no to a juicy offer that would have given me the chance to travel around West Africa a lot but I felt my children where too young to take that step at that time (truthfully, I have second guessed this decision a few times, but I have trained my mind not to regret my actions). When I feel that I am indeed ready, I will take the leap even on to bigger commitments.
Motherhoodng: Any advice for the first time career mum?
Tosin: I can’t say this enough, PACE YOURSELF. You can be everything you want to be, just take it one step after the other. Be deliberate about your choices. Plan! Delegate some work and TRUST!
Will you like to inspire and encourage young career mums? then send a mail to us at [email protected] to be featured as our career mum of the month and your story will be a blessing to your fellow career mum.