Remaining relevant to my kids as a busy mum
Every parent desires to mould their children into well-mannered, responsible and dependable individuals. But they rarely have time for that. CAROLINE NEKESA, a mother of three shares her secret
Nurturing and bringing up children in this era of massive globalisation and technological expansion, when many parents have jobs and busy schedules can be quite challenging.
In such a scenario, it is possible for children to feel excluded and out of place. Many spend their time glued on screens.
Also, there are unnecessary distractions everywhere and they can be easily preoccupied with activities and interests that are not healthy for them.
That is why finding a balance between career and family has been a key thing for Caroline Nekesa, a mother of three.
Nekesa, who is in her early 30s has a full-time job that revolves around marketing and customer experience.
But juggling between family and her demanding career has not been easy as sometimes she is forced to work until late hours and leaves home early in the morning.
“This means that sometimes I do not catch up on their day’s activities or know what they have gone through during the day. Raising a child is crazy.
You sometimes have no idea what kind of content they have access to while you are away at work, especially in this era of digital TV or when they are playing at their friend’s house.
I monitor what they watch while I’m around and have not allowed them access to phones yet. But the Internet era is crazy and information is available all over. I pray a lot and discuss issues candidly with them to ensure I am their source of information,” she explains.
She says: “I would not say there can be a balance, but I try my best to have time for my children after work and develop activities that would tie me to these routines, such as having dinner every night and tucking them to bed. Weekends, especially Sundays are 100 per cent dedicated to them,” she adds.
Seeing your children grow into different personalities is also a challenge. You expect you will mould them into this picture you have created in your mind, but they may end up being something else.
“In this case, you have to accept and integrate values in that personality. All these experiences have made me stronger and enabled me to anticipate their needs and handle them appropriately,” she says.
Though she had different experiences during all her pregnancies, she recalls one intriguing event that took place when she was expectant with her second born child.
“I was close to my daughter, who is my eldest child, throughout the pregnancy and kept on reminding her that she would have a sibling.
She seemed to understand but was not so sure of what was going on until I brought baby home and hell broke loose. She didn’t like the baby at all,” explains Nekesa.
She was so confused and preferred her father’s company as she felt her mother loved the baby more. She stopped the goodnight kisses and even when I tried, she would repel and ask for her dad.
But with time, she came to love the newborn and today adores her brother a lot,” she says.
The greatest lesson motherhood has taught Nekesa is patience and tolerance.
“You cannot be a mother when you do not have patience. The children will drive you up the wall some days, but you need the patience to handle them.
You will expect them to eat their dinner in a maximum of 30 minutes and they will take two hours.
They will lie to you. They will break your most expensive items and spoil your most prized possessions,” she says.
“It has also taught me what true love is. I never loved so deeply until I had my children and got to understand what unconditional love is. It has also taught me I can never be perfect as a mother, but I am all my child needs.”
As a mother, she has employed several parenting tips that guide her through the journey: Trust your instinct as a mother, it can never be wrong. Be firm, but not harsh.
Your ‘no’ should be a firm ‘no’ and in this era of informed children, it needs to come with a logical explanation as to why.
Learn to trust your children and they will trust you with their secrets. Don’t always brush off what they tell you no matter how stupid it sounds.
Identify their personality and build values in those personalities, do not try to change them to your picture-perfect, they are individuals in their own right.
“Know your children’s friends and their parents as they have a big influence on the character of your child.
Praise them in public always, it builds their confidence and speaks well of your children to everyone. The amount of danger your children are exposed to every day may be more than you can prevent.
Prayers will cover up for that and above all, teach them about God and faith and let them grow to believe in God.
For Nekesa, her greatest fear as a mother is if her children trace their failure to her. “That would be heartbreaking. I hope I give them everything they need to be successful in their own right,” she says.