It’s been over a year since I’ve written a blog post and to say I’ve been busy is an understatement. Since then, I’ve become a mother to a beautiful baby girl who will be three months on Friday 26th May, I’ve moved to another home and I’ve been lecturing in a Masters programme at the University while keeping my full time job.
My daughter was born on Sunday 26th February 2017 and it was an experience like no other. No description anyone can give can truly express what carrying a child for 9 months and giving birth feels like and how it changes you. Your spouse can try to understand what you’re going through and how you’re feeling but there is honestly no description that can make him fully grasp the essence of carrying life and birthing life. I constantly felt as if my body was not my own but I was still responsible for taking such great care of it and prioritizing its needs. My pregnancy had its ups and downs but for the most part it was great. Of course I gained weight, more weight than I ever expected but right now I’m about 5 to 10 pounds shy of my pre-pregnancy weight.
I will always remember the first glance at my daughter and my first thought towards her…”Wow I have a daughter and she has my nose”. My daughter was past her due date and was taken away from me as soon as she was born due to medical complications. About 5 hours later I held her for the first time. I wish I could say it was what I expected but at that moment I simply felt hugely responsible yet blessed. I felt that it’s no longer about me and that I was responsible for providing for and taking care of another human being for as long as she couldn’t provide for and take care of herself. I also felt extremely blessed that God would entrust one of his children to my care and raising her in his ways was of most importance. I constantly remind myself that I’m taking care of one of God’s children.
The Cosmic has aligned things in such a way that my contract for my full time job ends tomorrow and I am only lecturing part time. This would allow me to spend more time with my baby girl. I do miss the work hustle a bit but “Baby is Boss”. Being home with her has allowed me to give her a night time routine that ensures she is in bed by 8PM and this works for everyone in the household, especially her. Her evening routine usually starts with a walk around 5PM, either by me, her dad, or both of us. We get in around 6:30PM and she relaxes for at least 15 minutes. She is given a bath between 6:45PM and 7:15PM, then a feeding in her room with dimmed lights, which lasts as long as she would like it to. Then it’s off to bed…on her own. I learned quite a lot from my grandmother about taking care of babies, so I knew early on that rocking and singing would not be part of her bed time routine. It’s important to let babies figure out how to fall asleep on their own. Once singing and rocking are associated with sleep, it’s hard to break that habit. I also learned that a night time routine will help to provide cues for her that are associated with sleep. Babies thrive on routine because it helps to avoid chaos and it insulates the baby from huge, unexpected changes. “They’re a necessary part of socialization,” says Larry Shapiro, PhD, author of The Secret Language of Children: How to Understand What Your Kids Are Really Saying (Sourcebooks, 2003). “When a child learns that it’s time to go to bed, not play, she’s beginning to understand that she has to follow rules.”
Her morning routine is also coming in quite nicely. She usually gets up between 6AM and 7AM, gets a bath about an hour to an hour and a half later, gets her feed in a dimly lit room and she is off to bed for at least 3 wonderful hours. This is the time I try to make the most of. I’ll get work done, chores done and anything that requires my complete focus and attention. Her day time routine from 11AM to 5PM is still a work in progress but I’m observing her to figure out what works best for her. I have always been an advocate of keeping a daily routine as an adult so it’s wonderful to pass that on to my daughter. While my daily routine in the past would have been mainly focused on my goals, I now prioritize my daughter and structure my daily routine around her.
My both grandmothers always said that God is a jealous God. I didn’t quite understand what they meant growing up but as I experience more of life, that statement means more to me. It’s tempting to put so many things before God, like our jobs, our possessions, our relationships, our spouses, our friends, our children even our debt. Once we begin to do that we can eventually find problems in those areas of our lives. Set your mind, your heart and your everything on God and all else will fall into place. If there is a problem, focus on God and the solution will come, focusing on the problem does nothing to alleviate it. I’ve been reminded of this lesson so many times in life and for some strange and yet stupid reason I am yet to understand, I keep making the same mistake over and over by focusing on the problem.
I focus on God, I pray, I fast, I meditate, I give of myself to others, I drown myself in the Lord and when I’m blessed with that thing I so desire, I focus so much on it and it becomes so important to me that I lose focus on the God who blessed me with it. Over the past year a lot has changed in my life. Unfortunately, so has the time I would spend praying, fasting, meditating and devoting to God. I’m more concerned with my relationships and work that God’s importance in my life has dwindled. It’s quite evident with the challenges I’m currently facing that my priorities are not in order. I’m not proud of this and I’ve been making changes towards correcting it. I hope the measures I’ve decided to take will help me get back on track and keep progressing in the direction where I’m putting GOD FIRST in my life. Where attention goes, energy flows and things grow.
This post is in total contrast to what I’ve written in the past. It’s not planned and I honestly can’t say when my next blog post will be. The past couple of months have not gone according to plan and have been filled with quite a number of life lessons. I wish I could say that I know exactly where I’m going from here but honestly I have no major goals in sight, which is a bit weird for me to acknowledge. It’s just one day at a time for me right now with plans that extend to maybe the next week or so. I’ve never really lived life quite this way but it’s the best thing for me to do at the moment. I’ve always been raised to believe that if I fail to plan, plan to fail but what if my plans that were so well planned out, still fail. Is this actually worse than not planning and just letting things happen? I’m not as sure about life as I once was and approaching 32 feeling this way is a bit scary. I’m a huge fan of The Minimalists and three of their articles entitled Accomplishments Without Goals, Moving Beyond Goals and Living Without Goals help ease my mind and reassure me that I’m not a total failure for having no major goals right now in my life. I think most of us would like to have a huge impact on this world we live in and be rewarded for it in a spectacular financial way, thus allowing us to continue to impact the world. Most of us would love to do great things and be recognized for our hard work and dedication. It may sound weak of me to say I’ve given up on some of my goals and to say that, really cannot fairly describe how I feel but I do think for the most part, I was not living in the now and it started to wreak havoc in so many areas of my life. Planning can do that to you. It can force you to lose sight of what is happening in the now because you are consumed with creating for the future. So many events and situations have brought me back to writing a blog post this morning and as I mentioned before, I honestly don’t know when next I’ll be writing another post. For now, I intend to complete the work I have set out for today and pray that I wake to see another day.
Yesterday I read an article by Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group entitled “There’s Enough Time in Your Life for Everything Important”. A quote from the article which I absolutely love is by Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Yes our culture is obsessed with time. I planned every minute of every day to try to get the most out of my day. In my mind and I’m sure in the minds of others, being productive was most important. Always designate time towards tasks that support long term goals so that you’re always prepared for that big break. I attended to my schedule weekly, constantly making adjustments to scrape off minutes wherever I could. I constantly craved more hours in the day and sacrificed personal relationships for the sake of getting more done. A lot has changed this year though…thankfully in part to Martin. If I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it now, I’m loving my life even more right now. Work has been given less time in my day and family, love and rest have been given greater priority and I couldn’t be happier. I am thinking alot clearer now and placing less pressure on myself to get things done as if I’ll be scolded for it. I have one deadline for Monday with the University for the submission of grades. After Monday, I’ll be at such a slow pace I hope I don’t feel lost…lol. Arianna said her mother was a towering example of the joys of slowing down. She believed that rushing through life was a sure way to miss the gifts that come only when you give 100 percent of yourself to a task, a conversation, a dinner, a relationship, a moment. I can honestly say that one’s definition of success will determine their attitude towards time and how they prioritize things in their life. As long as success is defined by who works the longest hours, who goes the longest without a vacation, who sleeps the least, who responds to an email at midnight or five in the morning we’re never going to be able to enjoy the benefits of time affluence.
As you browse online content, you’ll find countless articles and info-graphics on activities and habits of successful people. They usually tend to be early risers, exceptionally well organised, keep journals and to-do lists, exude joy, express gratitude, continuously learn, make time for family and friends and so on. While it’s easy to see some of these traits in people we most often view as successful, I often wonder how they were when starting out, when things were tough, finances were low and their goals seemed out of their grasp. While I do have a few of these traits naturally there are some that I try to instill as part of my character. Unfortunately, I sometimes become consumed with adopting these traits that I lose sight of my goals. While it’s great to know all the traits of successful people, I love listening to their stories when they were struggling as I’m better able to relate to that. On that journey to accomplishing our heart’s greatest desires, it’s important that we allow the struggles and disappointments to help us grow. Success is more of a journey rather than accomplishing a fixed set of goals and while I understand the theoretical aspect of this, my life experiences are weaving this understanding into my every being so that I’m constantly reminded of it. People who are now considered successful have gone through their tough times and are where they are now because of many different character traits. Figure out what works for you and what makes you happy and remember to be kind to yourself while pursuing your goals and the Universe will act likewise in return.
This week did not go according to plan. My cousin became ill and was admitted to the hospital and I decided to be of assistance and look after her 2 year old daughter, Faith. Her other two children stayed with their dad and grandmom. Unfortunately Faith is yet to master the art of sleeping straight through the night. I took her on Tuesday night as her mom was admitted to the hospital that day. She was off to bed around 10PM on Tuesday night and around 1:30AM on Wednesday morning, she woke up, ready to play, watch television, eat popcorn and go swimming…yes swimming. She stayed up until 4AM and was back up at 5:30AM. I’m not sure how most mothers do it but I do give them praise for it. I dropped her off to daycare that morning and drove straight back home…I was a wreck. My plan to make it to work before 12PM proved to be futile and I spent the entire day at home. I usually take Faith for the day to give her mom some time to run errands and do chores, or just give her time for herself but since she turned one, she hasn’t really spent the night with me. Sadly on Wednesday, I wrote no blog posts. I woke up after my morning rest, got some chores done, ran some errands, visited her mom in the hospital then I picked her up by 6PM. Having her with me makes me feel somewhat like a mom. I’m actually happy driving home from work in traffic to pick her up and I usually prefer to stay in office late to avoid the traffic. Yesterday afternoon was really great. I picked her up, took her to the supermarket to get some essentials, visited the pharmacy for her children’s toothpaste, then we were home. How mother’s manage all of their work and home responsibilities is beyond me but they’re definitely superheros in my eyes. One day I will embark on the journey and be blessed by the God of my Heart to bring life into this world but until that day comes, I will have all the practice I need being an Aunt.
I don’t follow reality television but it’s hard to not be aware of who the Kardashians are. Last Friday, one member of the show, Bruce Jenner, sat down with Diane Sawyer for an interview to discuss his transition from a man to a woman. Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender issues are always starting points for conflict but that’s not the angle I’m coming from. Speaking to Diane Sawyer, Bruce Jenner said he always believed he was born with ‘the soul of a woman’, and this is the last time he would appear as ‘Bruce’ before becoming ‘her’. Now whether this is right or wrong is none of my concern but one thing I do understand from all of this, is that it can drain your spirit if you can’t be yourself. So many times we pretend to be someone else for so many reasons. Either because we believe it’s the societal norm, to make or parents and family happy, to be accepted by those around us or to make relationships work. Bruce Jenner has been living a life where he could not be his true self for the past 65 years and I can only imagine how crippling that can be. I know personally what it’s like to be be living a life to make someone else happy and forgetting who you truly want to be. I have found great joy in getting back to my true self and regaining sight of the things I want to accomplish in life, instead of living by someone else’s standards and ideals. One of the most beautiful things about life is that we each have our own and we can live it how ever we see fit. While something may have worked for someone else, it’s not guaranteed to work for you. There is not blueprint for life, for relationships, for parenting. Referring to Pythagoras’ quote ” Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God”. Instead of trying to be who society or some else tells you to be, figure out who you truly are and everything will fall into place.