This was me doing the school run this afternoon in silver shoes and my fabulous pimp fur coat.
Do you know that when my mother-in-law initially gave me this coat (her late husband bought it for her in the 70s) I did not have the confidence to wear it? I felt it was too loud and dramatic.
A month after she gave it to me, I remember wearing it out (and feeling rather uncomfortable) going back home to change into a more conservative coat. I felt people were staring and wondering, “What the hell is she wearing? Who does she think she is? Diana Ross?”
Fast forward to today, because I now recognise who I am and whose I am, I just don’t give a flying pig what people think of me. In a nutshell, what I am trying to say to you is If you are one of those women who still worry about what other women at the school gates (or even your colleagues at the office) are saying or thinking about you, you have to seriously ask yourself why are you so bothered about their thoughts or opinions. Or even their chatters.
In Nigeria, there is a saying that goes, “Unless you are feeding me or paying my rent, I owe you absolutely nothing.” And that is the way I live my life now. And you should live your life that way as well.
When I turned 30, I thought my life was over. I really did.So silly. Little did I know that my life was just getting started and very exciting. On the day of my birthday itself, I remember sending thank you emails to people who were in my life at that time. To be honest with you, I can’t really remember the content of the emails, (looking back now) I am sure they were concerned by my strange email!
To celebrate that big milestone, my best friend Lara (who was also 30) and I decided to get a tattoo. To cut a long story short, I decided to have a naughty butterfly tattooed on my left hip and it is still there. However, (after two huge babies) for my tattoo to be seen, you have to grab and lift my loose skin and have a peek.
Lately, I am thinking of having a new tattoo to celebrate my life. I don’t know what I am going to have yet and my daughters keep coming up with ridiculous ideas. My question to you is, if you are going to celebrate your life with a tattoo, what would you have?
This morning, I was a nightmare of a wife. I was cold and insensitive towards him as he headed out in the cold and dark morning.As he left, my conscience hit me. I knew he was worthy of more than I gave him. My husband did not complain or make a fuss, he just said, “I love you.” and closed the door behind him.
My husband deserves better than how I treated him this morning or even at other times. He is no angel and he has his flaws but (for goodness sake) he is a good man and I love him. Most importantly, he treats me well. He respects me. He treats our daughters well. He is a man who puts his family before himself.
For as I can remember, five days a week (whatever the weather) he gets on that train, travels to London for 12 hours just so that we can have a decent life. Because of him, I am able to focus on my business full-time. Because of him, I am able to look after our kids without having to think about the stress of childcare. Mind you, I am not writing this post because I want to tell you how good my husband is but to just remind us that (just like us) men have feelings and a whole lot of pressure placed on them as well. They have the pressure to provide for their families, the pressure to be perfect dads, perfect sons, perfect employees etc etc. Without sounding patronising, I sure you understand what am trying to say.
It also took me a while to realise that men don’t really talk about their problems. Not even to their close friends, wives or partners. Not talking about the problems they are facing, has (sometimes) made me behave insensitively towards my husband.I keep reminding him that if he does not talk to me, I will not know. Now he does… sometimes
To cut this post short, I just wanted to remind us that men have feelings – they may not voice it like women do. So, to my husband, if you are reading this, sorry I was a cold Yoruba wife this morning.
A friend once confessed to me that her interfering mother-in-law makes her feel incapable. My friend said, “She makes me feel like I am not capable of taking care of my kids or her son.” I advised her that she only had two options; 1. To put a boundary in place with her mother in law. I exp[lained that it is her duty to ensure that the boundary does not get crossed. 2. To treat her mother in law’s snide remarks as Blah blah blah. She went for option 2. It was easier for peace sake. She explained that at the end of the day, no matter how nasty her mother in law is to her, her husband still loves his mother.
As a Nigerian woman, I am not afraid to confront issues. Confronting issues stop anger from jumping into my heart. From a young age, Nigerians are taught to stand up for themselves. However, as I have gotten older, I have come to realise that there are some annoyances that are not worth the battles. Those annoyances, I treat as Blah blah blah. I treat it as noise.
This canvas case I am holding was created to empower women to speak up for themselves… when it is necessary. The rest of the time, treat the nuisances as noise, shake it off and move on. It is just noise.
If you are a small business woman like me, you’ll understand how what I am about to tell you can murder your confidence in your business. If you are not a business owner, then, I’ll describe it as when you go to a dance, all your friends are boogieing down on the dance floor with some gorgeous men and you are standing alone… no one has asked you to dance with them. You start to ask yourself if you are beautiful enough.
Some weeks ago, I travelled on the train from Surrey to East London (on the day of a train strike) with a very heavy suitcase, full of my products and a confidence that I will sell almost everything. I had the confidence because my products are fabulously Beautiful and well priced. However, the market proved me wrong.
I sold only one item for £6.00, the table cost almost 10x that amount and my confidence was about to be hit. I had two choices, either to feel sorry for myself or to just take it as one of those things and learn from the experience. I chose the latter. I chose the latter because I believe in what I do. Also, you spending your hard earned money to support me proves it. What am I trying to say? You are Enough. Believe in yourself
When my kids were younger, I was one of those mamas who bought the best for them but bought crap for me. I thought that was what good mamas were supposed to do.
I am sorry (and without feeling a tinge of guilt) but now, I treat myself to good things. I treat myself well. Who wants to go around looking tired and haggard? Plus, I don’t want to go about town looking like I am my husband’s mother instead of his wife. You know what I mean? When the husband looks young and the wife looks worn-down, grey-haired and sluggish.
Now, I buy good clothes, good food and good everything for myself. I do this because I love me and I am teaching my daughters how to look after themselves before another. Looking after yourself by putting yourself first does not mean you love your kids less.
A lot of people ask me why I created the #MAMAQUEEN slogan. My answer has always been the same. Women are born QUEENS. If you are a woman, this makes you a QUEEN.
When you now have kids, your kids are born into royalty. They are born with a crown on their heads. Right now, I am teaching my daughters not to take their crowns off for anyone. They must NEVER do this to make others feel comfortable about their insecurities. They must always wear their crowns. Queens and Kings don’t male themselves small because they want to be liked by others.
Without going into a lot of details, this daughter of mine and I have had some rough few weeks. But things are getting better between us. I’ve had to be really tough on her. I’d be a bad mother if I did not. I believe that sometimes we have to be tough on our kids when we see them going down the wrong path. To be tough on them is not an easy thing to do but We can’t stand by and watch them throw their Lives away. As parents, we have to step in and stop whatever nonsense they are doing. That is what I did. And I will continue to do.
I love great photos. I love beautiful Instagram feeds. As I have mentioned here before, sometimes, I have to bribe, beg or bully my daughters into taking photos of us looking all happy for my Instagram feed. Sometimes, they are interested, and other times, they are not. Cocoandliquorice shares a funny (but honest) post on her Instagram feed on what it took for her to snap this amazingly beautiful photo. With her permission, I share it with you here. Enjoy x
“This right here is the very reason why my feed doesn’t contain photos of us walking hand in hand on a moonlit beach; or of Coco running barefoot through a cornfield with a flower garland in her hair. We’re just not that family. I wanted to get a shot on point for KemiKids. I’ve purchased yet another piece of her AWESOME hand wear. (She’s also just launched a super cool jewellery line so please.check.it.out)
However trying to incorporate comedic props (which as you can see was Coco’s idea) whilst balancing on my hunkers so I’m the correct height and my head isn’t cut off I just thought F**kIt and gave up. My blurred left knee indicates the loss of balance and right after this shot; I fell on my arse onto a scabby cigarette butt. (There is no third party to assist with photography so my iPhone is on a timer, propped up on a stack of books on a public footpath) We are THAT kind of family #TrueStory.”
I am a MAMA WARRIOR. I LOVE US
“What is this here to teach me?”
This girl gave me a fright yesterday. She fell down the stairs in our house as we were getting ready to leave for school in the morning. She did not hit her head or anything like that but she did complain of a pain in her back. Not wanting to be late for school, I checked she was okay and went to grab my shoes. However, my mama instinct kicked in and asked me to check her again. As I went back to check her, she passed out in my arms for a few seconds.
Surprisingly, I was calm. And if you know me, you’ll know that I am not a calm person. I guess I had to stay calm because her older sister was freaking out. To be honest with you, I was more worried about her older sister who thought her younger sister was dying right in front of her. To cut a long story short, she is fine. The doctors said the shock of the fall was what made her faint.
When things like this happen to me, I have learned to ask myself, “what is this here to teach me?” My lesson? Not to take my daughters for granted. Life is freaking fragile.
When my nine and seven years old daughters begin to really stress me with bad behaviour, (and I’ve completely lost control of how to manage the situation ) I blackmail them. I tell them that stress is the biggest killer of women. I am not even sure if this fact is correct or not but I have heard it several times before and I say it to them. Like you’d expect, this warning makes no difference because kids don’t understand such warnings. That is why they are kids.
So,what are my daughters doing that stresses me? I am sure it is the same things that your child does that stresses you. Like not tidying up their rooms, not putting their shoes away, not wanting to do their homework, and shoving dirty clothes under their beds or back in their wardrobes. Basically, not doing what is expected of them to make life easy for you. I find such things stressful. However, what REALLY gets to me is when my daughters wind each other up. This kills me. I’ve noticed that they enjoy doing the things that lead to a quarrel between them. And,what this means for me is that I relentlessly hear two whining and high-pitched voices at each other’s throats as I try to manage our home as best as I can.
Looking back to my childhood, I did the same thing with my older sister and I remember my mum getting stressed as well. My sister and I are now very close so, I am not worried about my daughters not loving or liking each other because they do. But, I can’t stand their arguments.
Another thing that has just started stressing lately is that my seven-year-old daughter Lore has developed Severe Selective Hearing Disorder. This means I repeat myself, again and again, a chore that she needs to carry out. And guess what? She still doesn’t get it done! She pretends she is carrying out the chore but she is not. When I discover that it hasn’t been done, I shout, yell and chase her around the house. I don’t like shouting at her but I do anyway. With my darling daughter Lore, she is the perfect child in school but at home, she is a very charming female Horrid Henry. I have been told that it is normal for children to be good at school for their teachers and show their parents their rebellious side! How very convenient.
After all that, this is my question to you, how do you stop yourself from getting stressed by children’s normal misbehaving ? Do you have a reward system that you use to re-enforce good behaviour or do you just let the riot carry on? I’d love to hear from you.
About 18 years ago, an ex-flatmate (let’s call her Samantha) fell out with a mutual friend. I continued to be friends with the girl in question. And why shouldn’t I? She had done nothing wrong to me. I was quite surprised when Samantha accused me of disloyalty. According to Samantha, I should not be friends with someone she has fallen out with. “You should be on my side”, she complained. Since I owe Samatha nothing, I refused to fall out with someone who had done me no wrong.
You see, Samatha and I went to the same secondary school and this was the rule that everyone followed. When you are fighting with someone, your friends must fight with the person as well. It really does not really matter whether the person has done you wrong or not.
Fast forward to today, I am quite surprised that women in my age group actually isolate other women just because their mate is no longer friends with the woman. This is not just hearsay, I have experienced it too.
What bothers me is how can we teach our kids to be kind and decent when we are behaving this way? Fighting with another mama just because she has fallen out with your friend makes no sense.
I am lost for words. As women, what can we do to stop this? If you have any idea, please share.
Did you watch Anne Robinson‘s BBC One programme on parenting?Anne examines what it means to be a good enough mother in the modern Britain. She visited different home to observe the radically different parenting styles available in Britain. To list a few, Anne went into the home of a successful working mum who claims she doesn’t allow herself to feel guilty. She also spoke to a Tiger mum who said she is Tiger mum because she is teaching her kids how to work hard. There was also a mum-of-seven, Annie, who described her parenting style as gentle attachment parenting. In short, there were all kinds of parents -mostly mums- in this programme.
I am not to talk much about the programme, you go and watch it yourself. But, my take home is parenting has become a competitive sport and it shouldn’t be. I don’t understand why us mothers are anxious about parenting. Is parenting not meant to be the most natural thing for us? Please don’t get me wrong, I am the first to admit that I find parenting hard (and that bringing up a child is complex) but what we do not need is parenting gurus constantly reminding us on how difficult parenting is. I have come to the conclusion that these so-called gurus are making money off us by tapping into our fears. They make us feel insecure about our ability to be good enough mothers so that we can buy more of their self-help books.
Watching the parenting styles in this programme, It is difficult to tell who is doing it right and who is doing it wrong. I believe the only time we’ll be able to tell is when the kids are (maybe) in their 20s.
For me, as I have always said, a good enough mother is a good mother.