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Mum & Parenting

Necessary checks for domestic staff

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A working mom would always need a helping hand and most time we open our doors to total strangers because our family and friends are not always available to give us the kind of help we need – ‘necessary evils’ we call them. I have had my own fair share of keeping strangers in my home; most were experiences I would rather not recount.
A colleague who is a single mom needed to engage someone to pick up her kid from school and stay with her till she gets back from work. A few phone calls and a young girl was brought to her and in just two days the girl had to leave and that same day another was brought to replace her.
I couldn’t help but think how we all just bring in strangers to our homes and then heave a sigh of relief – we finally have ‘help’ and can now focus on making money. But is that really the case? I found this list of things to consider when we need to take in a stranger as help in our homes. It is never late to apply this even for those already working for us:
How safe are you with that nanny, maid, steward, cook, security guards, driver, lesson teacher, etc, whether at home or in the office?
We get domestic staff from agents, but do we bother to check where the agents live or what job they do? Do we ever revisit the addresses provided or call to see if there has been a change of address or phone numbers?
Did we register the maid, drivers, nannies etc, we keep in our homes with relevant agencies? Do we even have their photos?
Do you know that your cook, nanny, driver, steward, maid, day care caregivers or home lesson teacher etc, could have a disease? Do we even conduct medical tests for them before we employ them?
Do you know that your driver could be a wanted person by the police in another state for theft or kidnapping? Have you done a check on him with the police with a photo of him?
Has it ever crossed your mind that your security guard could even be a foreigner from neighboring countries such as Niger, Chad and Benin Republic? How do you confirm that? And if he is a foreigner, is he registered by the requisite agencies and eligible to work in the country?
Do you talk about money, your business transactions or cost of your jewelleries and other valuables in the presence of your domestic staff? You might be giving them ideas on how to get money from you and even inform others who could attack you.
Do not allow your domestic staff tidy up your room when you are not there. It could be an opportunity to search your room to know where your valuables are kept and then plan for the right time to operate and run away or even inform outsiders to carry out the operation.
Your domestic staff shouldn’t know all your movement and routines. Go home earlier than normal or leave for work later than usual once in a while. That’s the way to find out what goes on when you are not around.
Don’t allow your daughters get too familiar with your male domestic staff. We should also let our children know that our domestic staffs are not our relatives so our children would not feel obliged to cover up something they should call our attention to.
Don’t wait, do the necessary checks. Let’s keep our families safe.

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Mum & Parenting

More than 100,000 children die from cancer daily

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Many years since it has been identified as one of the deadliest medical conditions the world has seen, cancer remains so potent that it is now responsible for the deaths of thousands of children across the world. This was revealed last Wednesday by the founder and president of Children Living with Cancer Foundation (CLWF), Dr Nneka Nwobi during an event commemorating the International Day of Children Living with Cancer for 2018.

At the event titled ‘Colors of Hope Sit Out’ and held at Relate Africa in Lagos, Dr Nwobi, while offering a background concerning the purpose of the event, said: “Today is February 15 and the day is the International Day of Children Living with Cancer every year and this sit-out is basically to celebrate the day and to create awareness about cancer in children as we look for ways to increase the cure rate in the country. Unfortunately, the cure rate for Nigeria is not fantastic; we have children dying from cancer every day. More than 10 children die as a result of cancer every day.”

According to her, the Child Cancer International (CCI) estimates that up to 100,000 Children die needlessly each year from cancer worldwide because they lack access to optimal treatment. This is about 250 children per day and more than 10 children per hour, with most of the children in sub-Saharan Africa. “Abroad, 8 out of 10 children would survive being struck with cancer but here in Nigeria, less than 2 out of 10 children survive. That is about 20% cure rate here in Nigeria as opposed to 80% in more developed countries of the world,” Nwobi added.

Speaking as members of a panel put together at the event, Mrs Adenike Ogunlesi, Janet Mba-Afolabi and Chief Mrs B. M Fadipe, condemned the state of facilities in Nigeria while they called on government and individuals to show more concern.

“Gone are the days when we used to think cancer was a medical condition for Caucasians as a result of their lifestyles but it is a trend that leadership in Nigeria does not acknowledge. Nigerians leaders do not accept that we have even the most basic of needs to survive in this country. Leadership should not be about you; it is about service to humanity and so CSR is not optional. We must raise a generation that teaches children how to care about other children,” Mrs Ogunlesi, founder and Chief Responsibility Officer of popular Ruff ‘N’ Tumble, said during her remarks.

On her own, Mrs B. M Fadipe, Directress of Pinefield Schools in Lekki, Lagos, who said she met Dr Nwobi 5 years ago through her son, said: “I was shocked to learn of cancer in children. She gave us statistics and we have been in contact since then. There are many things we can do to get involved when it comes to CSR and schools can really do a lot, organisations supporting fashion shows and entertainment shows like Big Brother Naija for instance, can do a lot to support in the area of fighting cancer in children.”

Like the other two, Janet Mba-Afolabi, a foremost journalist, said she was shocked to learn that cancer is affecting children also.
“I have had a first-hand case of a friend who died of breast cancer. We were covering Marwa together at Alausa and she came to confide in me. It was small like a pimple like this but it started growing and we started running around for money,” she said while relating the trauma associated with cancer in adults, let alone in children.

Afolabi further spoke on the essence of using the mass media and social media towards creating more awareness for the project, saying events without media exposure is deemed not to have occurred.
Also speaking at the event was Dr Seye Akinsete, who works with children with cancer at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Cancer, according to him, drains victims in many ways, not forgetting the financial and psychological scar it leaves on relatives of the children, either they eventually survive or die. He said along with members of his team, they have had to deal with cases of 179 children living with cancer in the last 30 months.

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Mum & Parenting

Police, please arrest my son!

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I was doing school runs one morning and after I had watched my son walk into the school building, I went to the admin office to discuss some issue with the head teacher. I waited for a while as she scolded a pupil in upper primary class who had been reported to her for misbehavior, “I will call Police for you”, she threatened. “No, not police, it’s the army I will call to come and carry you away! Do you know the army?” She asked and the boy nodded as his eyes went from the head teacher to the floor.

I smiled watching his reaction to the threat, apparently not moved. I had to wait for the boy to leave the office and then I asked what the poor boy had done to be threatened with police and solider. I found it hilarious. I had expected the head teacher to laugh it off too, but surprisingly she didn’t, she wasn’t laughing about it at all. She said the father of the boy had actually taken him to the police station asking the police to arrest the boy. And so she had to mention army just in case the boy was no longer afraid of the police.

I couldn’t help but have a good laugh…but I recovered quickly, it wasn’t a laughing matter at all. What on earth would make a parent take a 9 year old to the police station to be arrested? It sounded like a joke. And where was the mum anyway? I think the parent should be the ones to be arrested don’t you think?

Even if the intention was to put some fear into the boy, taking him to the police station, said one thing loud and clear: the parents have lost control and so also has the school, and now they need the police and possibly the army to intervene? And we are talking about the two foremost institutions for instilling value and discipline into our children? What a shame!

What could the child have done wrong to warrant police intervention? The head teacher explained that on a number of occasions they have had to invite the boy’s parents to the school to discuss issues involving the boy. And even the parents had shared their frustrations and helplessness dealing with the boy, and again I ask, a nine-year-old?

Could it be the little boy has some negative influence from the home environment, maybe some elder ones who are a bad influence? Surprisingly he happens to be the first child. Could it be domestic staff, neighbours, friends, the screen (media), and lapses on the part of the parents? Sigh.

I finished my business at the school and left but the thought of the boy lingered in my heart. This family certainly needs help and so does the larger society.

I remember listening to the very popular American televangelist, John Hagee and his message was directed to today’s parents, particularly those of us who choose to spare the rod and spoil the child. He said the beautiful bundles of joy in our loving arms, could turn out to become monsters if we fail in our roles to train them in the way of the Lord. It sounds rather unpleasant, but it is the truth.

We have a God-given responsibility to bring forth children into this world, to nurture them and instill the right values into them so they can grow to become responsible citizens and contribute positively to the society, anything short of this, we would have failed and should be ‘arrested by the police!’

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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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