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Mother's instincts shows the way

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Wangari Omondi | October 11th 2015

NAIROBI: Today’s mother juggles various activities and has many responsibilities. At the beginning of my journey, I recall wondering if a woman could truly do it all successfully, and whether there was a woman who had mastered the balancing act.

I posed this question to a father I was interviewing for a feature story and his answer intrigued me. He said there was no such a thing as “balance” when it comes to family.

He preferred to call it “harmony,” which he defined as giving his very best in what was important and leaving out what was not a priority.

He added that on some days he succeeded in achieving harmony while on other days, it just did not happen. But ultimately it was about accepting limitations while giving it your best shot.

I have seen many examples of busy women and mothers. Or a woman married to a renowned politician or businessman, has two children and is on top of the corporate ladder.

It could be a stay-at-home mum with twins, or one with a small business and a husband who is always on the road. Or a single mother of three teenagers, spends countless hours on her feet as a bank cashier as she tries to keep up with the mortgage.

Whichever way you look at it, it is almost impossible to find a mother who is not busy. Does it always have to be this way?

These scenarios reminded me of how I have dealt with some of these seasons in my journey. From the onset, I had to ask myself what I valued most and prioritised. 

I did not want to keep up with the Onyangos, so to speak; I wanted to live a meaningful life and not just go through the motions. I recall a time I was juggling a full time job, studies, marriage and two small children.

I had so much to do, and was enormous pressure with very little time in my hands. I did not like the direction my life was taking and felt I needed to make changes. I needed to bring back controls.

One night, I came home only to find my children sleeping on the sofa waiting for me. They woke up and began to recount their day’s adventures . . . they also wanted to play. But I was too exhausted and did not have anything left to give to them.

This saddened me, I felt they deserved more than leftovers. I was depleted and had become cranky and was missing out on their milestones.

I knew that I was losing valuable time . . . time I would never recover.

Though it was not an easy decision to make, I resigned and decided to attend school full time. This way, I would have time for my studies which would give me future opportunities to build my career.

Some of questioned me about by decision. But I replied that I had learned to live by my convictions and not what others think.

Today I am glad I made that decision because it gave me an opportunity to build a strong bond with my children and succeed in my studies.

I have always known that everyone has his/ her own path to walk, purpose to fulfil and own timelines. My life clock is not the same as someone else’s so I live my life at my pace. Today, as I watch my children grow, I am glad I was there for them. We got to bond, play, study and discover life together.

They have since watched me realise my career goals and achieve my dreams. They now know that they too can follow and achieve their dreams at any time. I live my life with the end in mind. To be remembered for something far more important than a career or wealth.

I want to be remembered for the legacy I leave behind, one of the greatest investment I ever made— family.

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