All in Motherhood

Mumfessions: On Marrying Young and Raising Five Kids at 28

Ify and I had a few mutual friends online. She had a first class undergraduate law degree and lived in the same town as I did, so when on one of her posts she seemed to be considering legal practice in the UK, I reached out to help. And the rest, as they say, is history. She’s one of the most hands-on people I know. From cooking to baking, sewing to knitting, hair-braiding, and soap-making, Ify seems able to do it all. As long as there are no heights involved—she’s afraid of heights.

At the moment, however, she’s mostly a stay-at-home mom. Ify says, “I do freelance consulting work and oversee certain aspects of the cases handled by my husband’s firm.”

At twenty-eight and after eight years of marriage, she’s had five kids. In this Mumfession feature, she shares her experience as a young mum of five! Ify discusses a lot—from the joys of having a large family, the impact of motherhood on her career and marriage, a terrifying moment as a mother, and of course some helpful advice for other mums!

From Dating to Parenting: How my Love Language Has Changed After 12 Years

My husband and I have now been together going on 12 years—married for almost 5—and have a 16-month-old. In this time, I’ve noticed my love language change.

Knowing your love language and communicating it to your partner is essential in a relationship—otherwise, your partner might be expending so much on gestures that mean nothing to you. In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman claims that of the five, most people will only really have two dominant ones. According to him, the five love languages are:

- Gifts: Gifts and thoughtful gestures are important. Even small gifts go a long way to please such people.

- Quality Time: Focused and uninterrupted one-on-one time time is key. Special moments.

- Words of Affirmation:  They want to hear you affirm your love in spoken words, a note, text, or card.

- Acts of Service: They want you to help and alleviate their workload.

- Physical Touch: Be near, in person; hold hands. They value physical touch and intimacy.

Okay, on to my love language through the seasons!

10 Bookstagram Mums to Follow for Some Serious Inspiration

Are you on #Bookstagram? If you’re unsure what the term means, then you’re probably yet to step into the world of books on Instagram. Bookstagram is Instagram’s book community teeming with #shelfies, #bookaddicts, and fans of #amreading (that is, reading in the AM). Also on Bookstagram, however, are another group of favourites - mums!

In this post, I’m shining a spotlight on some of my favourite mamas on Instagram. These women somehow manage to runs homes, care for their kids, read A LOT, and then do us the favour of sharing their reading lives (and sometimes those of their kids too!).

Here are ten of my favourite Bookstagram mums.

Mumfession: Redundancy, a Masters Degree & a New Baby!

There were a few things I knew I wanted to have settled to a large extent before I had a baby. One was my education - up to masters level. And the other was a relatively decent position in my career. And it seemed like it had gone according to plan. But then, just before my maternity leave was set to commence, I knew I had to resign. Now this was a voluntary decision. But even at that, I felt a lot of uncertainty and nerves.

How much worse would I have felt, if I’d been made redundant and at the same time pregnant? In today’s Mumfession feature, Kemi shares how she navigated through all of that. From being made redundant, unexpected results, giving up a few dreams, leaning on the shoulders of others to the one thing that made it all worth it.

Mumfession: My Life as a Mum with Sickle Cell Disease

I’ve wanted to start this column for the longest time, and I’m so glad we have our first feature. Mumfessions is simply a space for mums to talk about their real life as mums, giving us the unfiltered real truth in a way we may not ordinarily hear about or even think of.

Basically mums + confessions. 

And today, we’re starting off with Elozona, a public health specialist in the UK, wife and mum to two lovely boys who is fascinated with motor bikes and wants to own one! She has Sickle Cell Anaemia (SS) or Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), an inherited blood disease - and shares with us some of her experiences, challenges and advice.

The Return to Work after Maternity Leave: 8 Tips to Make it Easier & Make You Excel

Speaking from personal experience and that of those around me, it’s safe to say that many career-focused or career-inclined women often have a lingering doubt about how having kids would affect their career; and it is not an insensitive concern to be treated lightly. Having children does take a huge toll on you - physically and mentally. Ridiculously enough, many organizations have failed to create an atmosphere where mothers feel like they can thrive.

Women are often seen to be less competent once matters relating to a child come up. As a simple example: if a man requests to work remotely because he is having improvements done in his home, he is not judged in any negative way but if a woman requests to work from home due to a child care emergency, she could be slightly perceived, albeit unconsciously as not being very organized.

There are lots of improvements that organizations have to do to be truly inclusive, and ensure that women and mothers feel more included and valued. But that’s a whole different kettle of fish for another day. Today, let us focus on how best woman can return to work strong after maternity leave.

Post Baby Body? Post Baby Sex? 7 New Mums Share Their True Feelings

Don’t quote me on these percentages, but could we possibly estimate that 8 out of 10 women aren’t huge fans of their post baby body? And although it’s termed “post-baby”, those issues perhaps begin to manifest during pregnancy: weight gain, stretch marks, skin colorations, swellings and so much more. It’s not all gloom though. Some people are excited about the weight, and of course many love the pregnancy glow!

As a first time mum the not-so-pretty aspects and body changes can be a bit upsetting, but many times it’s pushed to back because of the anticipation of the baby! So when the baby arrives and many months later the body hasn’t “snapped back” to its previous form - the emotions begin to come to the fore and a new mum’s perception of her body could possibly affect intimate relationships with her partner.

In this post, seven first time mums share how they felt about their post baby body, how this affected intimacy and their choice of post-baby contraceptives!

Our Baby Weaning Experience and 7 Important Things I Learnt

Oh weaning! [insert very mild barely audible sigh]

Even before I had a baby, I totally looked forward to the weaning and introduction of solids to my kids. I remembered some of the fun things we had done when my little sister started eating solids and how in particular we’d mash up potatoes for her.

With new generation Instagram mums and social media it also seemed uber cool. Lots of ideas, recipes, tools and information surrounding weaning. Cookbooks too - with modified Nigerian recipes (our kids got to love Nigerian food yes!).

So yes, I was determined to be that “extra” and diligent mum who made colourful purees and fed her child nicely in the cutest baby high chair.

8 "Must Have" Baby Products We Didn't Buy or Use Much

In addition to all the many others, one thing new mums or parents hope for is that the baby products they buy absolutely do what it says on the tin! It’s one thing figuring out what exact products to buy out of the myriad, it’s another to see it actually work for your baby and give you peace of mind. Because if it doesn’t that’s just sad: the time wasted, the money down the drain and worst of all – the space it just takes up in your home. I don’t think there are any new parents whose houses remain the same after having a baby - no matter how you try.

I recall once after we had popped into a baby store to pick up some large ticket items – the boot of the car was stuffed, and some products at the back seat slightly obstructed the windshield. It was a good thing the house was just under five minutes because we couldn’t have driven that way for much longer. When we got home, I said to the husband “well I hope this kid really likes these gadgets and takes to them”. His response “Of course he had better, what choice does he have. He should be thankful he got all this. You know how many kids don’t have this choice”?

A Time-Stamped Diary on My Last Day of Maternity Leave

I had such great plans for maternity leave. Although I wasn’t certain how long I wanted to be off for, I had assumed somewhere around the 6-month mark. Actually, to be honest, I had considered going back to work at about 3-4 months post baby. And that’s because the up-to-one year maternity leave that new mothers in the UK are entitled to, seemed a bit strange to me. An entire year at home! 

It was definitely a culture shock because coming from Nigeria most people clearly returned to work within three months. And that was the mindset I had. But hey, things change... So after actually having the baby and knowing that I was in the UK where no one would really frown and at a one-year maternity leave the top of my CV, I decided to be open to it.