Working wife/mom: Introduction

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been thinking of working from home, entrepreneurship/ business and that kind of stuff. OK, let me go back a little. I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, a choice that has raised quite a debate from my friends but that is a topic for another day. Now that I’m married and planning to add to my family (ahem) I’m even more convinced I don’t want an 8-5 job.working mum1

One of my very close friends got a baby at the start of this year. After her 3 months leave, she went back to work last month. We met recently and she told how she would quit employment if she could. Then she said, “I’d love to be there for my son, never miss the milestones as he grows. I feel awful being at the mercy of my house-help and my boss.”

As I listened to her I realized I wanted the same thing too. And which mother wouldn’t? No mother wants to come home and find her baby started walking while she was in the office! Plus I have heard terrible stories of house-helps who tell you they’re leaving at 7:00 am just when you’re leaving to go to work. Woe unto you if you have a bad boss. I once had a colleague who brought her baby to work because she had no choice. Sigh.

I would love to be there for my baby’s first word, to teach my children about God and instill good values in them. I do not like the idea of a stranger (house-help) teaching my kids weird values/behavior or worse putting them in front of a TV to pick up whatever is on air as she goes on with her life.

I went to a parenting seminar during FOCUS conference 2011 which was jumping the gun since I wasn’t even married yet 🙂 It’s never too early to start. Yes? Anyway, here is something the speaker (Dr. Mukolwe from Navigators) said that totally changed my thinking.

     “No one wants to be a house-girl when they grow up, circumstances force them. They are there because they have to be. You have to remember that to them, that is just a job. That is not their child and so they have no obligation to go beyond duty of feeding and keeping your baby clean. They cannot love that baby the way you do.”

Family vacation

Family vacation

Having said that, I know most women would quit employment in a heartbeat if they had the chance. So, what is stopping them? Money. When you look at your family expenses; mortgages/rent, food, fare/fuel etc you begin to appreciate the fact that you have 2 salaries in the house.

Am not oblivious of the role of money in life. I would love a relatively comfortable life where I have a roof over my head (hopefully not a rented one), I can take my kids to good schools and even go for vacation every now and then. I’m painfully aware that all these things need money and it doesn’t grow on trees (thanks mom for the constant reminder.)

But I have been thinking, do you need to be employed to have money? No. There many people making much more money in freelance work and business than they would be making in employment. Not to mention the flexible working environment.working mum2

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying women should not work. Even the Proverbs 31 woman was not lazy; actually she is the most hardworking person I’ve read about – merchants came from far away lands to trade with her. What she did however was work around her family. We read about her setting portions for her maid servants and making clothes – I doubt I fall here 🙂 She even buys land – a vineyard to be precise! But note that her household affairs are in order.

Verse 27: She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

It is these thoughts of being there for my kids (and husband 🙂 ) that got me thinking about freelance work and business. I’ve been reading up and doing a lot of research and I will share with you what I learn as time goes by.

Stay tuned….

Relax, God knows what He’s doing

Yesterday I had a very interesting chat with my mum. Age has refined me in very many ways. One of them is the way I relate with mum. My mother is your typical Nyeri woman, tough. Yes, I’m Nyeri and regardless of what the media says, I don’t beat my husband 🙂 Back to my point – discipline was not a foreign word in our house. We grew up hearing “As long as you are under my roof, …… is unacceptable” Looking back, I know this strictness was necessary because as a teenager you think you know it all.

A lot has changed. My mum is now my dearest friend, my oldest girlfriend you may say. I call her and we laugh about life, she gives me advice on how to treat my man – most of the time its unsolicited but she gives it anyway. What has changed most is I call to cheer her up and give her advice on things- and she lets me. Not just advice on which phone to buy, but serious life issues. She treats me like an equal. Very great place to be I tell you.

Mum and I

Mum preparing the bride (me)

She has been unwell for a while. She has a wound on her right hand that can’t let her do anything. For someone who is always busy, she has not taken this well. She can’t believe that she can only seat around as someone does things for her. Mum is quite proud too, she refuses to ask for money unless she absolutely has to. Now that she can’t go to the market to sell her stuff (she farms) and she has to go to the hospital every now and then, she finds herself needing money. All this has been a huge source of stress to her and she has been down a lot.

So, yesterday I gave her a call to cheer her up and make her laugh. I told her that God has a reason for everything – He knows why she’s hurt at this point in her life. Maybe He wants her to take a break and rest for a month or so which she would not do if she was well. When was the last time you visited a close friend? I asked her. Take a stroll (she lives in shags) and visit them one of these afternoons. Use this time to get well deserved rest and build relationships.

To push my point further, I shared with her something I experienced last year. Here’s what I told her:

After we came back from our honeymoon, I stayed home without a job for one and a half months. Now, I had cleared campus in April so technically that was 3 months of no job. To make matters worse, our faculty requires students to take an internship of at least 8 weeks for them to qualify for graduation.

Planning for the wedding kept me busy up to June so I didn’t notice my lack of a job. When I came back, over half of my class had internships. Some had even finished and were already graded! Of course I had applied to so many places, but I had not received any offer. Now you begin to see my anxiety.relax3

So every morning, I woke up, prepared breakfast for my husband, packed him food for lunch and saw him off as he went to work. I would spend my day in the house, sending out applications. At some point I volunteered at a school in my neighborhood at their computer lab but with a degree in IT, I felt underutilized.

Sometime in July, a couple of my high school friends came to visit me. It was an amazing visit and we had a great time. I couldn’t help but notice they all had jobs, one of them was even driving – they packed in my spot, which I had never used 🙂 They didn’t throw it my face but I noticed.

When they left, I thought; I have no job and my friends are doing so well. I worked hard in campus, I studied, I didn’t cheat in exams, I genuinely did my assignments and project yet half the people in my class already have internships and here I am. I was so down and discouraged. As a Christian, I felt like the Lord had disappointed me, like I had gotten a raw deal and yet I had stood for God and served Him.

At the end of July I got an internship which lasted 3 months and immediately after I got an amazing job. I have learnt that God is always on point, He knows what he’s doing. Looking back, I see that God wanted me to rest, to get a bearing on my marriage. It is during that time that I learnt to bake (I had time to test my oven) and how to make meal plans (which helps me to date). I also learnt that God does not owe me anything, He will bless me because my obedience to him but I cannot use things I have done for Him as bait for him to bless me. It doesn’t work that way! So, I relaxed.relax

Are in a plateau of sorts, stagnant in a way? Things don’t seem to move? Or they’re moving but not in the way you’d like? Don’t sweat small stuff. Instead, enjoy the moment, rest if you should, this moment will pass.

Relax. God is in control. He knows what He’s doing.

A Year down the line..and a trip to Beautiful Malindi

When you have been married 1 year, you expect the sun to shine a little brighter, the moon to be bigger – OK that’s too much. You expect the universe to take note of your huge achievement. But the universe has a cruel sense of humor. It goes on like nothing happened. So you pat yourself on the back and tell yourself you’re still special..

I know all you who have been married for much longer are wondering what I’m going on about. I salute those who’ve done 7, 10 even 20 years. When I grow up I want to be you 🙂

For me though, 1 year is an amazing thing. I walked into marriage with some anxiety, even fear. This is one of those times where you have absolutely no experience. I had heard a lot stuff about marriage, most of it negative so I went into it with a lot of faith. A year down the line I can say it was a great decision. Am happy. It has not been without challenges but it has been a great ride. God has kept us really well.

So, what do people do for their 1 year anniversary?  Have a bash? Go for a vacation? Quiet dinner, that sounds reasonable. Ours was a bit unconventional so to speak. Here’s why:

On the day of our anniversary, I had traveled to shags to see my mum who had not been feeling well. As soon as I got back, my husband traveled to Lagos for work. I was beginning to think there would be no celebration. I was at least hoping for a nice dinner.

So I was pleasantly surprised when my husband one day said, “When I get back from Lagos, let’s go some place nice”

Trying not to sound too excited, I asked “Really?”

“Yeah. Sure. Let’s go to Malindi”

I didn’t hear what he said next. The cheering noises in my head blocked everything else.

So, last week, I took the entire week off and we headed to Malindi. I’d never been there before so it was a big deal for me! I had heard a lot about it and I must admit it was worth all the hype.

Scorpio Villas

I usually don’t write about places I’ve been to but this one deserves special mention. Scratch that..it deserves a standing ovation (all rise)

Scorpio Villas came highly recommended by a close friend of ours and it totally lived to our expectations. It is extremely beautiful, the food is great and the staff are so friendly and attentive. From the moment you walk in to the time you check out, this place leaves you very impressed.

I hear a picture is worth a thousand words so I will leave you to judge for yourself just how amazing Scorpio is.

Path to the rooms

Path to the rooms

Notice the water underneath?

Notice the water underneath?

Scorpio Villas - private beach

Scorpio Villas – private beach

 

Next time you want to head to Malindi for vacation, you have got to stay here. Disclaimer :Scorpio is not paying me to write all these nice things about them. I promise 🙂 If you doubt my review, drop by TripAdvisor and see what other people have said.

Here is a toast to marriage. And to many more anniversaries..and hopefully many more visits to Malindi 🙂