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Mum & Parenting

Lessons for kids from divorced family

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Theresa Ajewole, educationist, counsellor and mother of four, definitely did advocate for couples to divorce or give up easily at the slightest sound of argument or differences. In a chat with ELIZABETH OGUNBAMOWO, she emphatically told New Telegraph that sometimes divorce is unavoidable. And when it happens, it might not necessarily have negative impacts on the children

 

 

According to her, there are actually lessons one can learn from the consequence of such decisions. “I have a friend who was in such situation, it affected her two children but it took much effort for them to adjust. Indeed, no one would doubt the negatives side of divorce for any family or individual, but it sure has the positives side which peop le often overlook when they’re busy talking about how bad divorce can be. I think in every “bad” situation, there are gains.”
She however stated that this does not serve as an excuse for people to give up on their marriages and refuse to work on it. Mrs. Ajewole however retained that there are a few positive things kids gain from divorce.
However, Ajewole highlighted the following points as lessons that could be learnt from divorce:

Try to find happiness
If a couple are so miserable that they cannot make it work and decide to part on good terms in order to live happy authentic lives, children of divorce learn an immeasurably good life lesson. Happiness isn’t something that happens to you — you choose it. And when things aren’t so peachy, you can find a way to make things better for yourself, because you value your sanity and quality of life.
Kids see that their parents decided to turn things upside down (which stinks) but for the main goal of achieving happiness and peace for both themselves and their kids. Too many people sit around in negative situations out of learned helplessness or perhaps poor choices and situations.
When a kid sees two adults decide to make a life that is full of joy rather than misery, it is empowering later on down the line. It shows kids that you do not have to stay indebted to your unhappiness. There are options and choices!

Sacrifice
Some people exit marriage comfortably, but many of us do not. This is one of the hardest parts of divorce — the financial downfall. For me, it is scary to know that I will be evicted from my house right as the school year ends. Suddenly, we will be somewhere new (who knows where yet!) and getting adjusted to a whole life outside of this past year adjusting to being a divorced family. Kids of divorce often have parents working many jobs, as well as cutting down on extras like activities, vacations, and other non-necessities.
It teaches children the art of a dollar and what’s important; and no! it’s not toys and trips to Disneyland. It’s putting a roof over your head, surrounding yourself with people you love, and living a genuine life you want. The art of hard work and tough choices is one that your children will absorb simply by living it. Don’t be surprised if your child/children of divorce end up being hard workers and appreciative of what they work for later on.

Cooperation
Unfortunately, not all divorced parents are divorced from sane and kind individuals. With that said, though, many of us are dealing with sane co-parents. For the fortunate children in this situation, these kids learn how two people manage to cooperate despite differences.
Parents of divorce are often negotiating, learning how to approach the co-parent (or when not to), sharing the workload, picking the right battles, and managing two homes. The little ones of divorce learn not only how pivotal cooperation is out in the real world, but they also learn how to utilize these important skills.

Flexibility
Kids learn to be flexible or at least learn the importance of flexibility. More often than not, children don’t have a say in their custodial schedules, homes, and new stepparents and partners.
Children of divorce learn early on that it’s crucial to adjust to new situations and sometimes, go with the flow if you can’t do anything else. Life will throw you curveballs constantly, and when a person is rigid, he or she will struggle more trying to adapt. A child that learns the art of when and how to be flexible is a child that would grow into a confident and happily socialized adult who is ready for the real world.

Sometimes people disappoint us
What about if a child has a “deadbeat parent?” It’s not a “sunshine and kittens” situation obviously, but kids learn that sometimes even adults or people you’re supposed to trust can let you down and shouldn’t always be trusted, that people are flawed, and that we should appreciate the people who are there for us instead of mourning the ones who are not.
It’s a sad lesson that no child should learn, but it’s not a bad one to have in your tool belt as a person, since every single one of us will be let down by someone we love at some point in time. It does become problematic if a child grows up viewing all romantic partnerships as failures or has issues trusting adults and authority.

Not always a successful conclusion
I struggle with this one. I wish for my daughter that her family could have had the fairy-tale ending, but is it all woe and grief? No.
She learns that sometimes things do not work out, and that’s not always a bad thing! Not everything is meant to be forever, and sometimes we choose people or things for our lives that we should not have chosen to begin with.
Stuff happens, and we don’t always ride off into the sunset, but that doesn’t mean that our lives are set to fade to black at that moment of grief. An ending means a new beginning is coming, and perhaps this new beginning will bring you back to where you were supposed to be in the first place.
Divorce doesn’t have to be a killer. It’s not moonbeams and rainbows initially, but maybe you need to hurt a little in order to grow as a person and find that happiness you’re looking for. A better life waits ahead. Go and get it!

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Mum & Parenting

Letter to mom on valentine’s day

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I found this piece of love note written by Sarah Skinner to her mom ( of blessed memory). She says, “Love from mom is one of the best things a girl can ever have.” I hope this little piece inspires us to build loving relationships with our daughters – our kids. Enjoy!

Dear Mom,
Happy Valentine’s Day! I just wanted to let you know that no matter how old I get, I won’t stop finding special ways to let you know how much I love you, and I will try my best to get especially creative on holidays such as these. Some people find the excess of candy and stuffed animals that fill the stores this time of year annoying, but we’ve always enjoyed the displays. Hell will surely freeze over before the day comes that one of those adorable teddy bears won’t be purchased as a “just because” gift. How can someone not be happy with something soft to hug?

There’s always a lot of bitterness that is floating around during this time of year, especially about relationship status. I think many people must have forgotten the days of childhood when Valentine’s Day was a day we all showed our classmates a little love, indiscriminately. No doubt, it is a great feeling to have a romantic Valentine, but there is so much more to love than just the romantic aspects of it.

I’d like to take the time to thank you, mom — to thank you for letting me know what it feels like to be unconditionally loved. Your love has served as my rock for as long as I can remember, keeping me grounded and giving me the confidence I needed to shoot for the stars. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, you help me see the situation from a different (and more manageable) perspective. Whenever I’m feeling vulnerable, you remind me of my value. No matter what holes I’ve managed to fall into, you’ve always helped me see the light and find the strength to climb out.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you are a cheerleader who always tells me what I want to hear; you will tell it like it is, and you are always honest with me. If you don’t have a good feeling about a guy I’m with, you won’t hesitate to tell me. But, when that same guy stands me up on a date, you won’t mock me with an “I told you so,” but rather, you will greet me with a “you look too good not to go somewhere.” Knowing what it feels like to be loved like that is an indescribably beautiful experience. You showed me the correct way someone is supposed to be loved.

I remember when we first started watching “Gilmore Girls” together. Man, was that our show. What made it comical was how similar our relationship was to that portrayed in the show. Everyone else in our lives saw it too. I’m able to (and want to) tell you everything because I know you never judge me and you always find a way to help me understand my life a bit better.

We hang out a lot because we always find a way to have an awesome time together and the conversations between us never cease.
A relationship like that comes once in a life time and our bond has never been out of any sort of blood obligation. If I had the choice of who my mother would be, I would choose you a million times over. I am thankful for our relationship, and I will never be too old to give you a Valentine’s Day shout out.

With love,
Sarah.

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Mum & Parenting

Surviving in women’s world

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From time immemorial, men, in a typical African society, are known for taking tougher jobs due to the responsibility they are saddled with, while women take the less tough jobs like subsistence farming, cooking, and laundry work. However, the tune seems to have changed, as a good number of men are now treading where women are supposed to be. They are now seen dominating the centre stage of women’s job role like catering, hair-making, frying bean-cake e.t.c. Emmanuella Lekwauwa writes

 

The rising unemployment rate, perhaps forced many men, mostly graduates to embrace different vocations aside white-collar jobs. They now venture into vocations that were aforetime presumed as female jobs.
One of such men is an executive chef of a hotel, located somewhere in Ikeja, Mr. Raymond Alabi.
Alabi, who moved into catering due to his passion for cooking, said he studied Sociology at the university and later enrolled into a catering school to acquire the needed skill. He averred that his passion for cooking led him to the hospitality industry since 1989 even before he enrolled to study Sociology. “As matter of fact, I have gone through all kinds of training in hotel management. I am also a hotel consultant and manager. I know that the job of a chef goes beyond mere cooking. It involves knowledge of continental and local dishes, and being good administrator who can manage the kitchen.”
He described catering business in Nigeria as lucrative, that the only shortcoming he had discovered in his career was the difficulty he had in convincing big companies to award contracts to male caterers, “However, my clients have since become convinced of my capability because of the quality of my services and cooking skill,” he said.
Alabi asserted that men are now taking over the chef works in most Lagos hotels. This is because, “men have more energy and time than their female counterparts. And this is because women have more demands, beginning from the home front.”
Another male caterer, Mr Oluwasesan Olaibo, who works with a catering firm in Onipanu, area of Lagos state, for almost a year now, said that most aspects of catering service deal with a lot of cooking and requires a lot of energy. Before now, Olaibo had been into screen-printing for seven years, but later opted out of that business because of low turnout of customers and poor income.
Speaking on what led him into the trade, he said that he went into catering because of finance. He averred that he had not really wanted catering as a profession but after his Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 2014 he went into catering to raise money to obtain the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) form and to sponsor himself in the higher institution.
Another caterer at Ibile Foods and lounge, Ilupeju bypass, Lagos, who simply identified himself as James, said that men going into catering business tend to do so carefully to avoid refusal of which could lead to loss of customers.
“As a caterer, who has been privileged to work in various organizations, I had to learn how to prepare local and continental dishes of different tribes and countries. This makes one exceptional in the business.”
He stated that most organizations employ male caterers based on their house policy and previous experiences with female caterers though; there is the challenge of getting clients convinced on the efficiency of male caterers.
James said that he realized the lucrative aspect of the business while working at a hotel where he discovered that only men were allowed to do the cooking, while ladies serve drinks and attend to customers.
Smiling, he said: “Men are putting more time into catering than women. When you go to restaurants, you will notice that ladies like it when men attend to them. Most ladies used to beckon on me serve.”
Another caterer, Mr. Tobi Davis, who works at a branch of Sweet Sensation, a popular eatery had been into catering business for four years. He disclosed that he ventured into catering business because of his keen interest in cooking. Davis said: ‘It amazes people when they see how well a male caterer handles cooking. People are eager to see how well a man can cook and bake pastries, amongst others.” Davis said that before now, when it comes to catering and other skills, people always look at the direction of women. He said that things have since changed in the 21st century. He said that men joined the moving train and were performing beyond expectations. “Not all women can make sausage rolls. In preparing snacks, men take the prize because of the difficulty involved in handling the machine.”
He complained that the socio-economic situation in Nigeria was influencing negatively on catering business and urged the government to encourage male caterers. He said that there are set of young people who are motivated by what is happening in the catering industry. “The most important thing is interest. For instance, not all graduates would be opportune to work with his/her certificate.”
Another caterer, Mr. Kenneth Agbamuche, working with Sweet Sensation, around Ketu/Ikosi area of Lagos, believes that catering has a lot to do with passion and claims that men are the best in whatever profession. He described himself as coming from a family of caterers. According to Agbamuche, he had been into catering business for 18 years and still counting. He learnt the trade from his late mother, because of his interest in the trade. “Besides, my elder brother is a chef at Eko Hotel, while my two other siblings are also caterers in other reputable companies. Passion is what brings out the best in a thing. Without it, you will not be able to accomplish your mission. Catering job is sensitive. It’s like hospitality in the sense that you are giving out life to people. It’s all about food and it has to be tasty.”
He stated further that if he had his own restaurant, he will employ male caterers who will assist in serving the guests. According to him, many men are working in big hotels, than eateries and fast food joints. This is because the way the fast food joints operate is different from the hotel. The male professionals are better than the female in the area of cooking.
Mr. Amadi Uche, who works with catering firm, shared his experience in the field. He said that having worked with the catering firm for more than four years; he had come to understand that catering is something young men can venture into because it is something that gives the opportunity to do other things. According to him, “catering goes beyond preparing local dishes because one has to also learn how to prepare other meals. In catering business, men are preferred because they are focused and disciplined. And when it comes to working, they are not easily distracted.”

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Mum & Parenting

As a mum, do you hand up or handout?

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Children are born naturally desiring to have all their needs met, all the time. When a child cries we ask, ‘What do you want?” and they are always so glad to tell us to go get the moon, and minutes later they have had enough of it and want something else. Kelly Nault is one of the mums who have inspired me with her ideas on good parenting. She co-parented two blind brothers for seven years. When describing them she often stated that when they weren’t bouncing off the walls, they were literally pounding on them and no one would work with them.

They both had a deep sense of entitlement – a sense of “I am blind so therefore everyone should serve me” and many people would due to their physical disability. People felt sorry for them and would give them handouts for no reason other than their blindness.

The owner of a corner store in the neighbourhood, for example, would refuse to take the boys’ money and instead gave them their candy for free! This entitlement mentality ran deep in both of them (as it does in many children today) and affected everything and everyone around them.

I will share the rest of the story in Kelly’s own words: ‘While at the skating rink one day, Grant (the youngest) refused to take his skates off by himself. He cried that he just couldn’t do it (even though I had seen him do it before). Frustrated, I encouraged him as best I could, and then left him alone to sulk as I went to take off my own skates. No sooner had I turned my back than the rink manager appeared and started to take Grant’s skates off for him. I could tell by the smirk on Grant’s face that he was pleased with this arrangement.

Quickly, I walked up to the rink manager and said, “I know you want to help Grant and I am sure he appreciates it. But the best way you can help him is to help him help HIMSELF so he can learn how to take his skates off. There might not always be someone around to help and, therefore, it is important for him to learn how to do it on his own.”

The rink manager shrugged, gave up and walked away. Grant finally did take his skates off…after a painful 35 minutes! We left the rink that day and the memory of this frustrating event faded from mind. But unbeknownst to me, this memory stuck with Grant.

Over a year later Grant said to me, “Remember how that guy at the skating rink didn’t think I could take my skates off ?” I slowly remembered. He continued, “Well, a lot of people don’t think I can do very much on my own because I am blind.” To which I smiled and replied, “Yes, but we both know better don’t we? And I can’t think of anyone better than you to teach the people just how capable you truly are.”

You may find that it is just easier to do things for your family than to fight about it or to see that it just doesn’t get done. As moms, we are generally quicker, cleaner and don’t protest to doing those simple tasks! Yet, I have learned the hard way that the ONLY way to build ANY child’s self-esteem is to help them feel capable – to give them more responsibility. So they don’t end up always looking for what they can TAKE, rather than what they can GIVE.

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