Tag Archives: life lessons

Values I admire in my Parents

old couple walking while holding hands

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Today, I want to focus on my parents and the values they have imparted in me that I admire and hope to replicate with my children.

  1. Their work ethic. My parents inspired my sisters and I to work hard, to be our best and not to be limited by gender, our circumstances or other life setbacks. They themselves came from such humble beginnings and accomplished so much that by their actions and choices, you were inspired to try your best.
  2. Their relationship with money. As far as I know, my parents never bought anything on credit. If they couldn’t save and get it, they did not get it. Also, to save all your money, save even if you have no immediate plans, just save.
  3. Family first. My sisters and I always knew (know) that we were important and that we mattered to them, that they gave us their best and withheld nothing from us. They loved and even, liked us, and we never doubted this. We are our parents best investment and choice and there is something comforting in that.
  4. I love that their parenting style did not require them to compare any of us. To them, we are unique, we are individuals and each success was celebrated on its own and each failure dealt with separately. As a result, all five of us are friends and continue to do the same thing with each other to date.
  5. Faith and the role of God. He is over and above all things, always has and always has been.
  6. Choice. Marry when you want, there is no pressure to marry or in fact conform because we are women. Study what you want at school – whether Physics or Home science. Learn how to slaughter a chicken or change a tyre, just because you are only girls, you still need to know.
  7. A love for books. Yes!!!

 

 

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Values I admire in my Partner

In this case, my partner. What do I love most about him? There are so many things, but I had to list the top three:

  • His devotion to family. I don’t think we would work so well if we did not have this in common or if we were not assured of the others commitment to their family and therefore each other.
  • His ambition and work ethic. Outside of myself and my female friends, he is easily the most driven and hard working person that I know. I suspect that he even works harder than me, always gives 150% of himself, always, every day.
  • His ability to chill. He is the perfect epitome of work hard and play hard. And to be honest, I need that because even when we go on holiday, I usually have 10,000 things planned and he is OK to do only one thing a day.
  • Lastly, I know said three, but this must be said, his relationship with money. His aversion for credit, his desire to save, his eye on the long-term. All of this and more.

What do you love most about your significant other?

 

What Matters Most To Me

I recently went through an exercise to define my top values in life and it made me very reflective because values are something you never think of until someone crosses it then you realise, woah! something is off here.

  1. My faith in God is something that I feel very strongly about and hope that people realise when they meet me. It guides my decisions, my reactions and my feelings through life. I believe in One God, the Father the Almighty, One God in Three Persons, He died and rose again and will return. That God, even when things in life go against this thinking, my prayer is I stand in my belief in God.
  2. Family is very important to me. Loyalty to family, love for family. Enjoying your family. My sisters are truly God’s best gift to me and if we weren’t related, I would still want to know. My folks are the bomb.com. I always say that I would pay good money to live with them for a month some where. With the Mr, the idea is to make our home a home so we both have this enabling and loving environment where we both return to and just want to dwell in and enjoy each other. As you get older and refine your circle of friends, you ostensibly end up with friends that are like family and it is important to cherish those as well and invest in them. Friendship is important.
  3. Serving God and fellow man is another thing of importance to me. If I do not give back to those that are less fortunate, if I am not moved by the plight of those less fortunate than me, then what I have is not worth it. Serving in Church is an expression of my faith and that must be done but I also still delight in that.
  4. Working hard and being my best given my constraints is important. I love to set goals and work towards them and that feeling of meeting them and sometimes even exceeding expectations is so refreshing. I am not so concerned about being the first or the best, but being my best is good enough.
  5. How I work hard is by being resilient. I take stock of the failure or the setbacks and then moving forward. I care about meeting my goals and not giving up when things are tough or not going as well as I expected.
  6. Stability and Freedom that often comes from being educated or being financially stable. Also, from having family or friends do what they say they will, when they will do it. It helps clarify life and make things much simpler for you to really perform at that optimum level. As a worker, I also find that I like the autonomy to make my own decisions and work at my own pace as opposed to being micro-managed.
  7. Fun and Play because you need to refresh, slow down and enjoy the successes otherwise they are useful and you do not perform at your optimum. For me this looks like reading books, listening to music, hanging with friends and family, journaling, watching telly or traveling.

What are your top values? What defines you and makes you unique?

Work Advice I Live By

I just read this post and the comment and felt prompted  to respond with some of my own career advice.

woman in red dress using laptop on table

Photo by Ree on Pexels.com

  1. Think of your career as a jungle gym not a ladder and it’s OK to change your mind about your career path, your objective, it’s OK.
  2. Fake it till you make, most of us are.
  3. Find that thing that distinguishes you from everyone else on the team and perfect that.
  4. Show respect to everyone from the most junior to the most senior and do not compromise your personal beliefs for anyone.
  5. Demand respect from all the people you work with and it will follow.
  6. Identify the person at your level that the management loves and replicate what you can of this winning formula. Caution here though, you might not get the same feelings they do but it could help with your overall feedback and perception.
  7. Work is work, give it your best but don’t kill yourself for it. Unless you are self-employed, we are all replaceable.
  8. Listen to feedback and then decide what works best for you and work on improving that.
  9. Trust your instinct when it is time to move on.
  10. Go into each job with a specific goal or lesson that you would like to learn and then compare this with your specific career objectives or goals.
  11. Be the kind of senior that you wish you had at each stage of your career. Ths has meant extra work for me at times but is personally aligned to my core beliefs and so it’s also been a source of great joy.

Whatever you work at, work as unto the glory of God

What professional advice do you live by?

 

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Backburner Friendships

When something is put aside for more important things.

In my twenties and thirties I have learnt that for some of my friends I have made them priorities where I am a back burner friend. The one who gets cancelled on or is on the second group of wedding invites. Equally, I have some back burner friends too 😦

Guest Post: Motherhood: the first 12 months

Show some love today for a regular guest poster here on the blog for Simple Girl blogging over at (Simple Girl Writes) who defines herself as Slightly Neurotic, Cheerful, Blessed, Wants to be a back-up singer in the next lifetime, Sh*t scared of pigeons and chickens, Econometric nerd extraordinaire, Just a simple girl

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Mummy and her Little Madam 🙂

Technically my little one is now just over one year  (13 months to be exact) and I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been a mother for a year. WOW – we made it 🙂  (albeit with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way and don’t forget the many, many tears)!

I’ve never really liked children. I know that may be a shocking way to start this blog post but I always thought that I was a better aunt especially to little ones over the age of three. But babies? Yoh, I was not present for the diaper changing, constant burping, bottle feeds and anything else associated with newborn babies. So when I found out that I was going to be a mother, my biggest worry was whether I would genuinely like my child. Of course I would love my child – that goes without saying but I was honestly worried about how I would cope given that I knew nothing about handling babies and whether I would genuinely like the experience.

I was pronounced a mother on 28 November 2016. When I finally got a chance to look at the little human that I had been baking for nine months, all the fears and trepidation I had did not miraculously disappear (contrary to all the lies you are told at the baby shower) – but rather completely enveloped me.

Yes, I was that woman.

I was scared and completely nervous about being a mum over the first four months. I was completely overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with raising a child. The sleep deprivation and hormones did not help. And let me not start on the struggles faced with breastfeeding. It didn’t help that I also did not receive proper support regarding this and went into it completely blindsided. People take it for granted that every woman will have sufficient (milk )supply and the right technique for baby to latch. Needless to say, I struggled with breastfeeding. We had incorrect latch and minimal supply (a teaspoon worth of milk was produced after pumping for at least an hour). Breastfeeding completely humbled me. I remember hysterically crying after another (well-meaning, I’m sure) relative called to give me a lecture about the benefits of breastfeeding and that regardless of the pain and difficulty I faced that it’s just something I must do if I want to give my child a good first step to a healthy life (yes, those words were actually said). The judgement you face from other women when they hear or see that you aren’t breastfeeding is real 😦 I still haven’t gotten over the guilt over my failure with breastfeeding  – this despite having a happy and healthy little girl. Lol, I actually think I am quite scarred by the experience, especially people’s reaction to my attempts. Baby steps I suppose.

But the past year hasn’t been all gloom and doom. The first time she smiled at me, first time I saw her sitting up on her own, the first time I came home from work and received a massive toothless smile and of course the first time I got a wobbly hug after someone took her first steps were literally the best moments I’ve had in a while. Those were the days I honestly felt like a mother and realised that this little person knows that too.

What I have learnt over the past year is that it’s ok to not be in control of everything and to ask for (and accept) help. Once I learnt to let a few things go, motherhood was not as scary anymore and I was able to enjoy being a mother. I luckily went through this emotional roller coaster with probably the most understanding partner I could ever have asked for. This coupled with the support from the grannies and aunties also helped (especially when all the nanny drama started – that’s a story for another day).

But honestly, I think motherhood (especially with your first child) is made to appear all shiny and sparkly and perfect (like floating in a field full of candyfloss perfect). And in my experience, I was rather running through a field of thorn trees 😦 Yes – It does get easier and becomes quite enjoyable but it’s not always easy to start off with. I just wish someone had told me that so that maybe I could have prepared myself a little bit more for it.

When I think of motherhood now, I’ve learnt to be kind and patient (nothing like a few weeks with minimal sleep to test your patience). That Googling if the colour of baby poo is normal at odd hours of the morning is ok. I also know that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. Importantly, I’ve learnt to humble myself and to be willing to do just about anything  (including crawl on the floor if I have to)  to get that amazing laugh (now with eight whole teeth!) from the little madam.

I’m constantly amazed by my child at her sheer resilience to reach all of her developmental milestones (regardless of the many bumps, tears and falls on the way). I’ve also fallen completely in love with my husband again and again while watching him interact with his child – their bond is love in its purest form, it is beautiful to watch. So here’s to the first year of being a mother – it hasn’t been rosy and perfect but hey, aren’t those imperfections what makes for an interesting ride?

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The Little Madam Herself …

Thanks Mama, please check out her past posts here and here.

Thanks so much for this post, I already shared with you how much it means to me that I can guilt/bully/ ask this of you and know that I can depend on you to be honest and vulnerable with me. It is much appreciated. As someone that has witnessed you come into your own as a mother and wife, I am so delighted to witness this growth and wish you and your family many more joyful and blessed days ahead.

Ambition Over Time

Over the past couple of weeks, I have spoken to close female friends about the nature of ambition in women. In this time as well I have looked back at journals I wrote when I was in my late teens and possibly into my early twenties and that young voice was so clear about all the things that I had to achieve by a given age. It’s amazing that I did not envision life happening and how determined I was that my goals would happen when and as I planned. Years later, I somehow feel like I ticked off some of these things and yet so many others I did not. Does this mean I have sold myself out? Am I less ambitious now? What’s happening to me?

What do I know for a fact? I am still driven. I still love to excel and push myself. I enjoy making plans and looking to improve and exceed my own expectations.

  • The most significant difference as I have gotten older is that I am now more pragmatic and better able to understand that life is what happens between the achievement targets.
  • That comparison is the thief of joy and anytime I look at others’ accomplishments, I come off looking worse and feeling horrid about myself.
  • That dreams and targets can change as I also grow and experience life. And that’s OK too.

I Knew I was Married When …

  1. We unpacked our wedding gifts and as we reminisced about the little parts of the wedding.
  2. I went back to living with my sister and nephew and something was missing and I knew it was the Mr.
  3. My family would ask whether I had checked with the Mr before doing …
  4. His aunts would thank me for all sorts of things.
  5. His family would ask after me when he went for family stuff solo.
  6. It just made sense to clarify our plans before committing us socially.
  7. We hosted our first set of people at our first place.

Some days are better than others but most times I do feel married and I can’t even say what it is that makes it more than just when we were dating.

 

Dear Future Daughter

I generally hate letters written to future whatevers but today being Women’s Day in South Africa and because I just watched an advert of ladies giving advice to a younger self, I thought I would give it a try.

  1. Stand tall and work on fostering positive self (body) image. There is so much advise to women today about how they ought to look/ weigh/ what they need to do and this piles on the pressure. Filter out all of these and work with your body type, your likes and bring out the best in yourself.
  2. Work hard at school. Push yourself  extremely hard and do not dim your light so any guy around you can feel better about himself. Keep learning and challenging yourself to greater and better heights.
  3. Surround yourself with female friends that push you to your best and that you can do life with. Female  friends rock! FACT. We are not all in competition with each other (female) and do not all like to gossip and bring down a fellow sister. Work on being a good  friend.
  4. What makes you tick and brings out your inner feminine self? Don’t worry it varies from one lady to the next, find what works for you and foster that. If you wanna be like mummy, I love to read and to get my hair done.
  5. Work on your relationship with God. That’s the most important  and constant relationship you will ever have.

Overall, be confident. There is nothing as attractive as a woman who is confident in her skin and who draws out the best in the different people she encounters in her day to day life.

All the best!!

Failed relationships bring us such great music

Sunday Reads

 Recipes:

Sunday Reads

  1. Interesting take on development in Africa through the tale of the seed industry in Uganda.
  2. Even I got punished for speaking an African language at school.
  3. More women than men in Lesotho are in school.
  4. Technology is definitely making life easier for refugees.
  5. This seems like a simple DIY even I could do.
  6. As Christians we do not look to our circumstances but the hope of Christ and His promises!
  7. A mistake is just a moment in time.”
  8. Be ambitious for life and not just work. Yes!
  9. Ten places to visit in Nairobi.
  10. Six hot podcasts on and by Africans to listen to.
  11. Yummy lemon cake.
  12. What is a PhD?
  13. Awwwww at this cute child‘s response to her mom. Oh dear for this old man.
  14. Lime zest and cardamon mandazi.
  15. Some really inspirational girls!

Sunday Reads

  1. This article on that tragic election.
  2. This lady trying to make sense of that election (1,000 comments but good).
  3. An education on the for-profit education sector in Kenya and Uganda.
  4. Extra-judicial killings in Kenya. HEARTBREAK!!
  5. Undertaking a life audit/ preparing for your 2017 New Years’ Resolutions.
  6. Why it is important for adults to give back in their community.
  7. I am definitely a sampler. I used to be a compartmentalizer before I got married and had to force diverse groups of friends to meet 😦
  8. Simple items that you can turn into a gift by framing them.
  9. Yummy vegetarian meals.
  10. Debunking the myth of a biological clock.
  11. Who are the middle class in Nigeria? PS: This is not a direct economic answer.
 

Where did July go?

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Cooking Sukuma Wiki (Kales) for the first time at 31.5 years old

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Sunset over Stellenbosch

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Dinner at Asara Boutique Hotel, Stellenbosch

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Trying to finish gloves before the worst of Winter is behind us.

Also read this book, didn’t really like it … 😦

LOVED THIS BOOK!

Finishing this up now too …

More great Seth Godin

The Saying/Doing Gap

At first, it seems as though the things you declare, espouse and promise matter a lot. And they do. For a while.

But in the end, we will judge you on what you do. When the gap between what you say and what you do gets big enough, people stop listening.

The compromises we make, the clients we take on, the things we do when we think no one is watching… this is how people measure us.

It seems as though the amount of time it takes for the gap to catch up with marketers/leaders/humans is getting shorter and shorter.

Source

 

Did my parents know the answers to all of life’s lessons at my age?

Adulting never gets any easier the longer you keep at it. I recently got thinking on three things in my life where I certainly needed my parents to come through and tell me what to do or how to do it.

  1. Finishing high school and having to decide what career I wanted to pursue thereafter. Then having to visit the different Universities and make my application and everything else. Coming on the back of completing high school and being told everything I needed to do, this freedom was quite sudden and frankly overwhelming. However, I oddly always knew what I wanted to do and so all I had to work on was finding a school to study Economics.
  2. Dealing with my first job. So many different things. One,  I put in an application for a Work permit and this took over seven months to finalise and eventually I had to decide whether to stop working while I await my permit or go back home and either look for a job or start the application all over again to come back and coninue with my old job. Two, dealing with a difficult boss and having to decipher honest feedback against being bullied. The hardest lesson ever that I had to go through. Three, deciding to quit and wishing I could ask my folks to take care of me again.
  3. Moving house across cities. Urgggh!! I thought of my mom for months in the build up to it and for weeks after and secretly begged that she would offer to come help me.

And this is only up until now. I cannot imagine having a first baby, bringing up kids, losing loved ones, sickness, marriage stuff. Oh dear me, please can I just go back to being twelve!

22. On relationships, what I know to date

“I met John in India while studying in a Hindi language program. He did all sorts of exciting things. He was from San Francisco and worked for all these super lefty politicians. In his twenties, he pretended to be a teenager so he could go back to high school and write an article about it. He did philanthropic work in African rain forests. Life with him was like a long vacation. Every day was an adventure. He’d literally wake up every morning and say: ‘Today’s an adventure.’ We dated for nine years. But he didn’t want to get married. He didn’t want to have kids. And even though he wanted to save humanity on a macro scale, he just wasn’t that warm. I never felt like I could come home in a way. So eventually I ended it. I met my current husband online. He was ‘all in’ from the very beginning. He doesn’t live in a rainforest, but he feels like home. If my sister sends me a picture of my niece wearing huge sunglasses, he doesn’t roll his eyes. He laughs even harder than I do.” Source

Last evening I was speaking to my high school pals and we got talking relationships. In particular, one of the ladies was talking about a friend at University that dated this guy for three/four years and then then she called things off because he just wasn’t ambitious enough for her liking. Fast forward to three years later and his bit jobs have gotten him loads of recognition and he is now doing that much better than when they were together.

What I know?

  1. Sometimes you can be with a great guy, but he is not good for you but could definitely be great for someone else. And that’s OK. The guy in the HONY story sounded great, but he was not good for her and she has much better now.

  2. Also, someone can be great for you but the timing is off and you break up only to pick up the pieces years later and get on and your relationship advances.

  3. You can always see if your partner has potential – I believe that certain traits that are indicators of success or stability (emotional and mental, included) can be determined in the course of dating.

  4. In a bad situation, no external person can tell us what to do. We may get advice but at the end, the decision to stay or not must come from the individual.

  5. Slight contradiction to four above, I still tell people if something is off. My personal motto is better a broken engagement than a broken marriage. So I ask and I prod and heartily welcome it from my friends.

What I know for a fact is that relationships are not linear and they do not develop in this way at all.

They take time.

They are nuanced.

They vary from pair to pair and time to time.

And that is even in a committed relationship, people change as do the couple’s needs and it is important to be frank about these and keep re-committing or choosing to stay put.

20. And now for an announcement

Seems like October is the month when I announce or detail changes in my personal life and this year is no different!

The Mr and I are headed to Cape Town and while a part of me feels meh! about it, I am also looking forward to it because I feel it will be a lovely time for us in this phase of our life. So packing, moving and getting used to a new city!!

15. Some fashion advice I live by ..

That I have gotten mainly from my dad and my stylish first born sister. Also, stuff that I have picked up over time.

  1. Always be comfortable in whatever you wear. Otherwise you get awkward and it shows.
  2. Dress appropriately for whatever the function / occasion.
  3. Fit, fit, fit …. pick the right size of clothes. Always.
  4. My sister always says wear a belt with any pair of trousers/skirt that has belt hoops.
  5. Carry a handbag (When I was nine, ten, eleven, she would already try and impress this on me and I would look at her like huh? and now look at me!)
  6. From my dad, don’t mix black and brown. I NEVER DO!
  7. If you wear something chunky at the top, balance it out with something fitting on the bottom.
  8. I NEVER wear skirts with shoes that show my toes. Just eeks me out!
  9. I prefer round toe heels because  feel like they are kinder on my toes.
  10. In general I am a very conservative dresser – not too loud prints, very dark tones, sensible and comfortable shoes.

Any fashion rules you live by?