So Yesterday I was in a wrestling match with my daughters. And I won. Favourite Daughter Number two, Lore kicked it off. She is fiery like me. Ola is gentle like her father.
Growing up in a Nigerian home in Nigeria meant you feared your parents. You did not talk back to them, basically, you have no rights. You are just a child. I hated that kind of parenting. It killed my spirit. I was an outspoken child who got into trouble every day.
Since I didn’t like my parents parenting style, I did the opposite. John and I allow our kids to speak their minds, to complain when they are unhappy with my husband and I. We have always listened to them.
However, kids being kids don’t know the boundaries between complaining (about what they seem to be unfair) and rudeness. I had to put this right yesterday. I realise that if I don’t, they will be rude to other people outside our home and become dreadful teenagers. As much as I love my girls, I am their mother and it is my duty to teach them how to be great citizens of this world and It begins from home. They got that message yesterday and my eyes are firmly on them. My question to you is, how do you keep your kids in check without killing their spirit but still teaching them great values.
I was looking at some old photos today and I came across these ones. This is me and Favourite Daughter Number one, baby Ola. Ola is over 9 years old now. In this photo, she was just under a month old. I know she looked older but when she was born she was the size (if not bigger) than a turkey.
The day after she was born, I remember sending my husband to the shops to buy new baby clothes for a three-month-old baby. All the clothes I had taken to the hospital for her were too small.
I didn’t have a natural birth and thank God for that…she would have damaged my down below. She was a bbaby.
Looking at this photo made me realise that I was just surviving motherhood. I was not really living. I can’t remember how I was feeling. As a mother, I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no family help. It was just my fabulous husband and me winging it.
In this photos, you can see how tired I looked. I must have fallen asleep. I remember a good friend sending me a text advising me to sort myself out. She thought I had let myself go. She complained about my looks. I was angry with her. Looking back now, I had every right to be angry with her.
Today, I look at my daughter and I am glad I made all the sacrifices I made.
So, if you are a new mother and people are telling you to sort yourself out, make sure you tell them to F%# OFF. Your concern right now is to enjoy your baby and wing motherhood. Motherhood is a tough job. It is a cliché but our kids do grow up pretty quickly and you can’t get that time back.
Yes, I was fat. Yes, I gave up my career. And, yes, my hair was a mess but back then, I was just surviving so it did not matter. And it still doesn’t matter. But, why should it?
Two or three days ago, on BBC 4 Women’s Hour, women called in to talk about their various experiences (and reactions) when they had caught people watching porn on public transport. Some of these women complained to the conductors of the train or buses, some challenged the antisocial behaviour and some did nothing.
I was tempted to call in and join the conversation. You see before I had kids, one day on my way back home from work, I caught a man watching porn on the train. Despite being a 15 stone woman then, I was just too chicken to challenge this guy. I guess I was too embarrassed to even acknowledge that I knew what he was watching. I was very annoyed, though.
Fast forward to today, if I caught the same man or anyone else watching porn on the bus or train that I am on, I would challenge them. However, this depends on a lot of factors like the time, how empty the coach or bus is, who I am with etc. etc.
I believe as a woman and a mother of two girls, I am entitled to feel safe and comfortable in public spaces. Going back to what I’d do, I would put on my loud Yoruba accent and ask him why the urgency. Why can’t he wait and watch whatever he is watching in the comfort of his bedroom? I’d explain that I feel threatened.
I feel really strongly about this issue and I consider it an important one because very soon my daughters will be traveling alone using public transport. It is very important that they feel safe and not threatened.Also, as women, we also need to feel safe. I was wondering if like me, would you challenge someone watching porn in public? What would you tell your son or daughter to do if they ever come across such?
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.
In the middle of the night sometime last week, I woke up and said a prayer. And I prayed pretty hard. Not wanting to wake up my husband, I whispered my problems to my creator. I asked for help with the two things that were bothering me.
You see, in the past, when I had lost control of things, I prayed and it had helped. I must stress that sometimes my prayers are not answered but most of the time it was. For me, anytime I need guidance or I am in deep trouble, I pray. I lay it out there. It is not a religious thing; it works for me so I do it.
I remember Oprah Winfrey once telling her audience how she got the part of Sofia in the film The Colour Purple. She talked about how she prayed and sang the song, “I Surrender All” over and over again until her desire to desperately be in the film was dissolved. Immediately this happened, she got the phone call offering her the part.
For me, one of the things I wanted was more exposure for Kemikids. I wanted more people to discover the amazing thing we are doing. And guess what? It is happening faster than I can imagine. God is doing it because I have surrendered all to him.
I was wondering if like me, do you pray when all avenues are covered and you don’t know what to do? When things are out of control? When you are tired of fighting? What is the difference between prayers and meditation?
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.
It is that time of the year when we are beginning to think about what we’d like to do better in the New Year: we are now thinking about our new year resolutions for 2017. Not me.
Last year, I made a decision not to make any resolution because I have never been able to stick to them. It made me feel like a failure. So, I don’t do resolutions anymore.
If you are one of those people who make resolutions and stick to them, I’d like to congratulate you and say, “More grease to your elbow.”
For me, Instead of making resolutions, I now make a gratitude list of everything I am thankful for. I also make a list of the things I have achieved in the year.
I believe we can’t do better in a new year without showing gratitude for what we have already achieved. It is not possible. Try doing something different this year, it may just work for you. Yvonne xxx
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.
Every Saturday, my daughters go swimming. At the start of this weekly routine, I went along (with John) to watch them learn to swim. However, I stopped going as my business demanded more of my time.
Today,(despite been busy and not planning to go again) I left everything that needed to be done and went to watch my daughters have their last lesson of the year.
I went along because one of my daughters asked me to. This is a big deal for me because my daughters never make me feel guilty about running a business which means not giving them a lot of attention. My daughters are my biggest supporters. They want me to do well. So, asking me to come along to watch them swim must have meant a lot to them. So, I went along and I am glad that I did.
Since starting this business, I have really not been a fab mama to my daughters but thanks to John, our home is still ticking along. I am sure you know this but being a Mama is hard. It is full of different emotions. Being a mama and running your own business is even harder because you make a lot of sacrifices. Sacrifices that you may regret in the future.
If you are a mama and you are thinking of starting your own business, my advice is to go for it. But remember that you’ll have to make some sacrifices. Are you okay with that? What sacrifices are you willing to make for your business to succeed?
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.