It’s Saturday morning, and while some are dreaming away, I find myself up at 6:00a. It’s the best time to have personal quiet time. A moment in my Christian devotional, Colombian coffee in my mug, and lost in my thoughts while everyone sleeps. I’m Nigerian-American, 37 years old, married almost a decade and counting, and have three children ages 7, 5, and 3. I’m a college professor who happens to be in the final stages of a doctoral program. To say I’m tired is an understatement. During my early Saturday mornings, I reflect on everything my Naija parents did for me and my two brothers.
Post devotional, I load a basket of laundry (which never ends, by the way) and walk to my computer to work on my proposal defense presentation. I trip over a stuffed animal. *sigh* I prefer a minimalist lifestyle in my living space, but this is difficult once you become a parent. The apocalyptic-like reign of toys is everywhere. I’m slightly OCD when it comes to a place cluttered with stuff. Sometimes, I just throw up the proverbial white flag and do the best I can.
In a society that glorifies independence, and that a woman can have it all, I digress. We need to teach our children the culture of interdependence. Never feel bad about asking for help while you ambition chase and express gratitude at any extension of help given to you. Gratitude is an endearing virtue.
I believe working mothers can be too ambitious. The moment you start to become exclusively self-serving, ungrateful, and hurt and neglect the people who know and love you most, then your ambition is worthless. Make no mistake, I brought the desire for a doctorate education on myself. I’m a glutton for academic punishment, I guess, but I always make sure at various junctures to check myself.
The greatest education I’ve encountered is parenting. Parenting challenges every emotion in you, and helps you grow elasticity in your heart you never knew you had. I love my kids, but in the same vein, they drive me crazy. I relish moments when I can go to the bathroom by myself without little ones following. There are times I wish I was single again without the responsibility of kids. I can safely say that most mothers have felt this way every now and then. I want you to know that you are not alone! You are not abnormal for thinking or feeling this way. While I’m exhausted more oft than not, there are many pockets of happy thoughts that accompany my familiar fatigue. I stare at my children in awe, and continue to pinch myself. These three grew inside of me for nine months, they are healthy, and they are mine! Ahhh!!! *slaps hands to cheeks like Macaulay Culkin did from the cult movie Christmas classic, Home Alone*
My two daughters and son look to me and my husband for love, acceptance, guidance, and how to communicate with others. This is an incredibly weighty responsibility I do not take lightly. Between karate and swimming practices, PTA meetings, and the everyday challenges that parenting brings, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As coined by my mother, children are joyful troubles. Today’s article is Part 1 of many parts to specific subject to come on my experience as a Nigerian-American mom, trying to understand this parenting thing. Stay tuned! Hopefully, what I’ve experienced can be of help to new or expectant contemporary African mothers. Best word of advice? Buckle up baby, parenting is one heck of a ride!