I am a working wife and mother. This is how I combine 26 flights in 2 years, job, children, blog, husband and the MSc.
First, this is one of the longest articles I have posted but this matter deserves every single line.
I am a private person but some things have to be shared to break myths and encourage other women in similar shoes. I must also add that this piece would be absolutely impossible without the support of my husband.
Now to the crux of why you are here. Is it possible for a woman to actually have a stable career, raise kids, and be a wife, school and more? My answer is YES but not without some compromises and not all at the same time. Let me break it down.
picture credit: howafrica
I am a young mum of 4, I work full time and I’ve grown to a decent peak of my career, within 12 years. I just completed my 2nd Masters’ degree and I’ve made 26 trips in the last 2 years. I mentor, I am a sister and more! Recently, people have been asking how I do it! In the last 1 week, I got the question twice so I felt it is about time to share to encourage women out there. After all, this is what mrsceo stands for.
- Hardwork and courage: There is no magic pill or secret potion. Sometimes, I almost break down in tears wondering – how did I get myself into this hot mess! Why do I keep going? I realized during one of my moments of deep reflection that it gives me adrenaline and life! Doing all this gives me the courage to look into my daughters face and tell her she can be ANYTHING she wants to be. Does this mean it is easy? On the contrary, it is tough. So the Number 1 TIP is that you must be courageous and you must want it. I started my MSC when I felt I had settled into my level at the time at work and I could safely take on a school program. However, shortly after that, I took on a role that kicked off my ‘Ajala travel’ life. I had 2 options: to stop the MSC or to continue. I chose to continue knowing fully well I must not allow it affect my work or family significantly.
- You can have it all, but maybe not always at the same time: The 1st year of the masters was exciting but as I got into the end of the 2nd year and work intensified, I got really stressed. I was barely getting 5 hours of sleep for 24 months so when I failed my last module with a painful 49%, I broke down in tears knowing only 1% stood in my way of starting my thesis. Infact, it wasn’t just tears, I wailed! Morale is you can’t always have it all at the same time. At this point, I chose to prioritize my work and took a 3 months break from school. Sometimes, you need to pause something to finish another.
- When you fail, you try again: Notice I said when you fail. Not if! After my 3 months break from school, I tried the module again and passed. The rest is history. I finished my thesis and now awaiting final program scores so pray for me!
- You are NOT SUPER WOMAN so build a support system: Ok, you are a superwoman, we all are! However, you don’t have super powers. When we had our children, I didn’t want to let go of some things. I had the guilt that most mums have. The feeling that I wasn’t there enough! That I couldn’t do exclusive breastfeeding for 2 years like my great grand mother did, that I had to go back to work after 5 months. For the 1st year of their birth, I insisted on bathing them myself before work, cooking their meals, changing the diaper with my super sterilized hands, pounding yam every Sunday for my husband like my family tradition, going to market myself, doing homework with their elder sister. After a year of doing it all, I noticed I was always snappy at home with my nannies and even with hubby a times. It was a clear symptom of a looming burn out. I wasn’t looking as pretty as I wanted and i extrapolated I would age fast at that trend. So, I CHILLED! I had a heart to heart with My Oga at the top. We agreed on things I should delegate and things that CANNOT be delegated. I realized that if I don’t pound yam every Sunday, the skies will still be blue. I realized that falling into Mile 12 mud won’t put my name in aso rock. However, the things that cannot be DELEGATED are quality time with my spouse and children, intimacy with spouse, being there for children’s important school activities, planning family meals and ensuring my home runs like it should even if it means I have to order foodstuff from an online store. I run my home, but the nanny and the home assistant do chores. I lead them. Even when I travel, I plan the family menu ahead. I make arrangements with a lesson teacher to do homework. I lead this support system- Nanny, home assistant and lesson teacher. Yes, we pay for their services but this cannot be compromised. After all, what is the point of the ‘executive life’ if our children don’t get care. So morale is put your money where your mouth is. Another support system is your spouse- whenever I travel, my spouse makes an extra effort to come home earlier on those days to be with the children. Lastly, my darling mum has my nannies’ phone numbers so she is my virtual monitor. Whenever I travel, she calls the nanny daily . Who is your support system? Trusted friends? Family?
- Leverage technology: This is key. One of the items I cannot do without as a working mum is home internet. This way, I can leave work early even if I still have work to do because I know I can connect from home later at night (when spouse and kids are done with my services :-)) and continue urgent official matters. With technology, I can blog at night at home. With technology, the MSC was made possible online. Another way to leverage technology is to install cctv at home or your business office for monitoring. You can also download educational videos for your children to help with academics.
To be continued.. Do you find this helpful? any other tips? Please share.