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Showing posts from October, 2013

Celebrating Thanksgiving as a non-Canadian (American) Family

Thanksgiving is a big holiday both in Canada and USA. Some would say it's the biggest, most widely accepted holiday of the year. Coming from Nigeria however, Thanksgiving has never held a lot of meaning for me. The same cannot be said for my kids. For all intents and purposes, my kids are more Canadian than Nigerian and they are at the age of being conscious of national holidays and wanting to celebrate those holidays at home like typical Canadians.

So the question becomes; how do you celebrate a holiday that is foreign to you? Here are my tips:

Decorate for the holiday. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. A fireplace or dining table is always a good spot for simple seasonal decorations like wreaths, table runners, candles and centerpieces. For this thanksgiving, I had a simple fall-themed runner on the table as well as a pumpkin centerpiece. These two items cost me less than $20 in total but contributed immensely to the celebratory vibe.Celebrate the day and make it speci…

Work-out Your Workplace Style

Day 29 of my series on Work-Life Balance

It would be a travesty for me to get so close to the end of this not-so31-days series without talking about style and fashion in the workplace. A simple google search will show you that this is an evergreen topic of discussion. There are plenty of guides telling women what to wear, what not to wear and most of them always feature women in some form of suit. Doesn't work for me and probably everyone who works in casual or business casual settings.

Not every workplace style guide is applicable to individual situations but there are some general rules for working out your workplace style

Dress for your environment: Believe it or not, I spent the first year of my career as an associate in an accounting firm. Heels and powers suits were the norm. Then I switched to working a field engineering job and lived in the same 3 pairs of jeans for like forever. THEN I moved to an office job and even though I could still wear my jeans, I had to ditched the h…

Put Yourself Together

Day 21 of my series on Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance = Being happy and content at home and at work
  = looking well put together + other things

One of the things I did just before having the twins was go to Macys and buy loungewear - that's a fancy name for pajamas with a zip in front. I had read stories online from other twin moms who confessed to being so tired and stretched thin that they couldn't find time for showers and even meals some days. Since they were speaking from experience, I got ready to walk down the same path.

Cue a few weeks later, the twins were born and I was puttering round the house unshowered, in my "lounge wear" with my hair looking like a hot mess. My sister, who had come to help me with the kids, took one look at me and asked "why are you looking like this?" I explained how tiring it was all supposed to be and putting some of my needs in the back burner blablabla. She fairly kindly assured me that if I tried to get up earlier, t…

Choose your poison, but don't let it kill you

Day 17 of my series on Work-Life Balance

poi·son noun noun: poison; plural noun: poisons a person, idea, action, or situation that is considered to have a destructive or corrupting effect or influence.
So what's the whole idea about poison and the working mom? Life is stressful and everyone needs a break sometimes. Most people find their poison of choice in shopping, gambling, alcohol, drugs, coffee bla bla bla. In the context of this post, your poison is that thing that helps you relax but if uncontrolled can also be destructive.

For me, it's shopping. I love to shop and I shop to relax. I can jump off the couch at 9pm determined to go buy some milk immediately. Can it wait? Probably. It's not really the milk, it's my desire to just unwind/relax/decompress by being in a store. That's not a bad thing. The worst thing you can do to yourself is refuse to find something that helps you relax - one day you're gonna blow and it won't be pretty. 
That's what I tell m…

35 Months Baby!

Interrupting my series on Work-Life Balance to bring you a big announcement. 


You heard right. 30 more days to the big 3. Perhaps I am a tad bit excited about this.

I don't know what we're going to do for their birthday which is on a Saturday yet. Party at home? Party in a play area? Or just a special family only day around time? 

No matter what, I have to tell you that the girls have been giving me glimpses of that the happy 3s and teenage years will be like. Their bonding, laughing, have an incredible sense of humour and have grown taller, bigger and "lippier"

Yeah, dem girls grew some lip this past month or so. With Sugar, when I say or do something she doesn't agree with, she makes a "tcha" sound with her lips. Similar to an adult hissing.
Spice on the other hand now has the habit of saying "what?!!". I don't mean a curious "what's that mom?", I mean an obnoxious "whatchu talkin bout girl?…

6 Team Members Every Mom Needs

Day 14 of my series on Work-Life Balance

There's a group of service providers that every mom needs to have in their contacts. For me as a mother working outside the home, these are the people that make up my team

A contractor you trust to be alone in your home - for renovationsA good handyman who's willing to work weekends (plumbers and electricians are critical)A babysitter who familiar with the kids and willing to work evenings and/or weekends - for the occasional date nights, Christmas parties etc. An auto service that either allows overnight drop-offs or offer a shuttle service - without this, you'll end up spending precious weekend hours waiting for an oil changeA list of grocery stores with shopping cart accommodations for 2 kids OR a grocery delivery serviceDoctors that work weekends or late hours - this is a bonus that's not always possible
I'll be writing about being a working mother throughout October and sharing my personal experiences. Emphasis on personal…

4 for the weekend

Day 12 of my series on Work-Life Balance

Someecards humour I can relate with!

House Keeping Hacks for the Working Parent

Day 8 of my series on Work-Life Balance

One crucial aspect of living a balanced life is eliminating the stressors and in my life, housework is a major stressor. Since I can't eliminate it by hiring someone to do it for me, then I have to make it simple and ensure it takes up less time. Hence the birth of my ever growing list of housework hacks. I must say, this is the post I've looked forward to the most from this series.

General Hacks:
Clean in bites of 10 - 60 minutes depending on your mood and time. I can't devote hours in the weekend to cleaning my home, but I can find time for the tasks that need to be done if I break them into little bites. e.g, I don't have to scrub all the bathrooms in the house. I can do each one separately.Clean as needed, not on a schedule. Ties in to the first point. For instance, last time I washed my bathtub, it was 3AM. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and felt wide-awake, so I washed the tub (took all of 7 minutes) a…

The Famous Dish on Work Life Balance

Day 5 of my series on Work-Life Balance

Asides from the working mothers that surrounded me as I was growing up, 2 of the working mothers that I admire the most are Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. NOT because of their husbands' politics but because I see a bit of my life reflected in theirs. Both had their kids in their early 30s, so did I. Both had jobs outside the home before and after having kids, so do I. Both have worked in male-dominated professional environments and survived; I'm in the same boat and hope to come out strong.

Most importantly, I look at their children and think they are a pride to any parent. Behind every admirable child is a parent that worked their butt off to instill values in that child. That they did so while juggling careers and limelight is admirable. 

Hillary Clinton on tailoring your career to suit your family situation: "I’m not sure that I ever could have or would have run for the Senate, or for president, or had the job I currently have …

Setting boundries for work and home

Day 3 of my series on Work-Life Balance

It took me a while to understand the importance of setting the boundaries for my home life and work life and also deciding where the meeting point will be. I had to go back and review my life priorities before I could set boundaries.

To give you a bit of background, for work I'm physically in the office 8-5 on weekdays. I am however "on call" round the clock including weekends. As a single girl and even when I was married with no kids, I had no problem taking my work everywhere with me. Now that I have kids, work has a box it has to stay in. Conversely, I cannot use motherhood as an excuse for less than professional behavior at work; so I have to set boundaries. Here's an example of what my boundaries look like

Boundaries For Work

No working on weekends except for emergenciesNo working on weekday evenings when the girls are awake. Anything that has to be done happens after their bedtime - and oh, that includes blogging stuff as wel…

Embrace your mommy style

Day 2 of my series on Work-Life Balance

Early last year, I read a book called Motherstyles by Janet Penley and Diane Eble; partly because I love studying human psychology and partly because the book had rave reviews. 

What I didn't know was that until I read the book, I felt uncomfortable with certain aspects of my mothering style. I wondered if the stress of working outside the home was making me a less than perfect mother. If I had to grade myself, I would have been a strong C. (Half empty cup and all)

Reading this book gave me insight into the concept of "mothering style" and the 16 different styles, their strengths as well as challenges
ISTJ mothers are good at raising hard-working, independent kids but struggle with being flexible and perfectionismESTP mothers are the fun, adventurous mothers every kid wants but they are not domestic divasand on and on it went. Every personality had something they excelled in and something they totally sucked at in the mothering arena.


Knowing Your Ws for Work and Life

Day 1 of my series on Work-Life Balance

When I was growing up, I owned a lunch flask that had the 5 Ws on it - who, what, when, where and why. It's fair to say that most of life's pertinent questions can be asked using one of these words. How is this relevant to achieving balance as a working mother you may ask. Because there are a few W questions a working mother needs to answer as a first step towards balance and peace
What am I? What are my priorities in life? Knowing this guides my decision making process in periods of emotional overload where I can't always be logical or coherent.  I'm a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, engineer, friend and part of the community (more or less in that order)When am I ready for a change in my current work-life dynamics? No matter how content I am with my current situation, my work requirements will change as my family situation changes When my oldest kids start kindergarten  I would want to have the work flexibility to pick …