When Is The Right Time To Leave The Nest And Go Back To Work?

Dakore pic

In my opinion there is no straight answer.

It’s truly up to you to decide when or even if at all.

This post isn’t really about what to do when you decide it’s time.

I can only truly speak for myself because it’s a very personal decision and one that must be done carefully. I wish I had 3 clones of myself that I could send on errands. One to ensure I could fulfill all the expectations I put on myself, another for the ones put on me by others,  for my core responsibilities I would dedicate my real self and use the last clone  do just as I please (my eternal single self)!

Believe me, I’m well aware of how crazy that sounds!

For instance, I got an offer to go to the U.S. to shoot a movie last month that would mean I would have been gone for a whole month, but my kids were still in school!  I have a nanny but I couldn’t leave my babies for that long with a stranger so I had to feign conflicting schedules. But I was sad to pass up the opportunity and I struggled with my decision even though it was for the best.

To put it into context I had been on a break for a little over 5 years because having a family is important to me but I didn’t realize early on that coming back to work from being a full-time caregiver wouldn’t be a walk in the park because as with all things, the industry changed and evolved in the time I had been away. I truly believe a woman can have it all but just not at the same time. There are so many sacrifices we have to make and we should reserve the right to decide what those sacrifices should be.

In the typical Nigerian or African setting, where the woman is automatically not viewed as the breadwinner for the family, she is also the one expected to make the major sacrifices for said family. But I find that even that is changing as women are getting more exposed to even more opportunities to be their own bosses and write their own scripts if you will. These days, the woman’s career is just as important as the man’s career – but sacrifice for family is still skewed disproportionately towards the woman. There were other instances where I had to give up on great work opportunities and at some point it even crossed my mind to enlist my mother to take charge of child care for me during these times. But alas!

I knew after my first child that I had to go back to work so I swiftly put it in motion but felt guilty about it months in advance. Maybe because my mother, whom I adore, was a stay at home mom and she was always there for my siblings and I. However, that was another era and the world has advanced significantly since then  and has become even more competitive. This is especially the case in my field. So I struggled with when I would take that first step back out into the working world.

I took it slowly. I first put my daughter, Zoia, in daycare at 8 months and started working and resting while she was a few blocks away. I started remembering what it felt like to have time to myself again and visualizing where I saw myself and where I wanted to be. Little by little I started feeling better and stronger mentally.

Soon after, I had to take a critical look at myself in the mirror, and I truly didn’t like what I saw. Now, I’ve never really had weight issues thank goodness. At my “heaviest” I was a UK Size 12 but when I got pregnant with Zoia I gained weight as is normal but I didn’t realize that it would be so difficult to lose it. I had to be realistic with myself. If I truly wanted to come back to work I had to lose the weight to enable myself to compete and be in the roles that I saw for myself. So I enrolled in a gym around where I lived in Chicago at that time, started slowly with standing Pilates and walking then as I got stronger I upped the ante with the more intense reformer Pilates, Zumba, and walking. I also enrolled in acting school for 6 months. I was very determined to lose weight and regain my mental and physical strength through exercise. I brushed up on my skills and then the opportunity to work came about with my first film since my return, “Journey to self”, in 2012.

I had to fly back to Nigeria to shoot the movie with my daughter who was a little over a year old at the time and most parents can relate to the nightmare that can be traveling with a teething toddler! Yikes! Needless to say, it was a tough journey but my determination knew no bounds and as I committed the journey into God’s hands I had so many angels that helped me to and fro. Since then there’s been a lot of adjustments, mummy-guilt, encouragement and support that has helped me to continue being an artist as well as a Mom.

It’s not easy trying to balance and wear all these hats but that’s what we’ve been doing since forever as women and with the way the world is now it is a trend that’s here to stay.

I want to encourage the Moms out there who work while raising a family. ‘E no easy’, but I feel there’s nothing more powerful than children watching their mothers go to work. It teaches them the value of hard work, being focused and achieving results. Children learn more by what they see rather than just what you say in my opinion.

I also want to encourage the stay-at-home Moms because that is no easy feat either. As a first born and a product of one I can relate. The most important thing to being able to achieve your full potential as a Mother is your self-determination and support system. With these things in place we can run our homes and at the same time run the world. So help us God.


Dilemmas With Choosing The Right Daycare

Dakore2                                                                                                                                          On today’s post I want to share some of the challenges I experienced while looking for a good educational Daycare centre for my babies.
I’m a big believer in early education for children, as my first born, Ayomide started going to daycare as early as 8months! I know some of you might think it was too early but it was deliberate on my part after a lot of research.

I first noticed she had a tendency to be shy around her fellow toddlers yet she was totally at ease with adults probably because she didn’t have any consistent interaction with them. In hindsight it shows that she had become comfortable only in adult company which is not bad, but since it is her peers she will eventually have to interact with we decided day care that it was the best thing to do for her. And guess what? It totally transformed her and now she’s the first one to say hello. She is not that shy awkward kid anymore and it’s been amazing to watch.

In order to back up my long narrative, studies have shown that the period from newborn to 5 years is a critical time in a child’s ultimate development into adulthood. They are akin to sponges soaking up everything they are exposed to and it is truly up to us Mums and Dads alike to give them proper exposure to well supervised, highly skilled and learned play. This can be done at daycare or playgroups.

This is in addition to a good home environment where the mother and father play an active role in their child’s development.

Armed with this new knowledge and experience, yet another added task in the joys and challenges of motherhood, is finding the right daycare facility or playgroup or crèche or a hybrid of all for your precious little ones. Believe me it has nothing to do with being abroad or here in Nigeria. The real issue is which one out of so many? In recent times in Nigeria especially, there’s a daycare on almost every street corner – due to increased demand borne out of both parents working away from the household. Typical concerns are: Do they have the perfect balance of reasonable cost, love and care, educational value, hygiene and cleanliness, ratio of children to adults, location, proximity for easy pickup, etc?

With Dasola, our younger daughter, things were not so easy the second time around in this regard. Generally I trust my gut instincts about things and most times I’m spot on. But I found that with regards to choosing schools, it made my task of finding the right one harder, not only because of the aforementioned criteria but it just had to feel right in my spirit as well.

I looked at 8 different schools before I settled on where she goes now. Phew! In addition I had to do this starting from when she was 6 months old so I would go and check out each one in between filming takes and breaks, which are fewer and further between these days. This put me under a lot of strain and stress because this is my precious little cargo we’re talking about and it’s not easy to find people or institutions that share that same vision.

There were two schools I went to and they were really nice and new, but in the first one, there were too few students in class, the second one I really liked but there were too many kids crammed into a small space which made me uncomfortable, especially when you think of the fact that we’re now in an era of easily spread diseases, germs and the like.

Another school I really liked, was very nice, but would have been a logistical nightmare because it was too far away. I believe you get the picture now.

Now coming to the end of my long story, when I walked into Dasola’s current playgroup it just felt right. It was the best balance of all my criteria and it felt like a family and not just another potential pay-check for them. The proprietor is really warm, lives on the premises, and wasn’t ridiculously expensive. I’ve seen a lot of growth in my daughter and she loves it there, thank God! Or could it be that I was just fed up at this point? I’d like to believe the former rather than the latter!

So please share your own thoughts, experiences and challenges in the comment section, let me know if there are any topics you would want to see shared on this blog. And for more information on pregnancy, baby and toddler visit http://www.mumsworldafrica.com




Benefits of early child development


Digital media, my babies and I

On with baby mumsworldtoday’s post I want to share the challenge I face as a parent on a daily basis as it concerns digital media/new technology/television.

Growing up we didn’t all have access to it or only had ‘restricted’ access. In my case when school started we weren’t allowed to watch TV so we could concentrate. Yeah, my folks were hard-core like that. We didn’t have much choice in terms of what to watch, it was either “Voltron”, “Sesame Street” or “She-Ra” on television or music videos on Betamax or VHS cassette. Wow, my age don dey show o!

Nowadays my daughters are spoilt for choice as to what to watch on TV with so many different cartoon channels and YouTube on my phone or iPad. I have nothing against mankind’s advancement in technology considering it has made life a lot easier in many ways and saved lives especially in medicine, etc., but as a new parent it’s something we all need to be mindful of.

My 1st born is already a whiz on my phone and IPad and I usually let her watch her favourite shows like “Sofia the 1st”, “Frozen”, “Peppa-Pig”, etc and I did not worry about it too much because most times I have to help her type what she wants to watch so that way I can monitor what she’s doing. Right? Well, sort of. It turns out that there are so many suggestions that pop up based on previous history that can lure kids to get into some adult stuff with parodies of these shows such as “Barbie life in the Dream House”- let me just say it was borderline porn! I was shocked but of course I had to play it cool and just changed it to something more wholesome! Phew!

From then on I always ensure to extra double check what she’s up to. It is not as if she’s deliberately searching for naughty stuff because she’s only 3 years old, but if it’s dangled in front of her like a lollipop, then I can’t blame her for her curiosity but it will not be curiosity killing my little kitty if I can help it! That was my first shocker so I brought my husband’s attention together we became more vigilant.

Another issue is with music videos and shows. As we all know, we live in a highly sexualized world where sex sells just about everything and I find myself worrying about the impact that has on the children we are raising today. In my household we are huge lovers of music of all genres, be it our very own Naija pop, hip-hop, or R&B. And one of my favourite things to do is to dance with my daughters. In the past, I would leave the TV on and watch TraceTV or SoundCity and let it keep showing, now I have to be extra vigilant with all the nudity and shaking of bum-bums. This is coupled with the fact that I have two baby girls and I can’t particularly say I’m happy with the way certain women allow themselves to be portrayed. However that is an entirely different topic for another day.

But back to the matter at hand, I find I have to reduce watching those shows or leave it to when they’re asleep or play the audio version only, or just switch to another channel entirely. When the video that comes up is too risqué and that always causes troubles with my feisty 3 year old.

We really have to contend with a lot these days and I want to encourage us as Mums to be more vigilant with our kids so they don’t grow up too fast and start dealing with things they don’t understand.
Till next time.



A day in the life of a Mom in Lagos



My day was crazy the other day.  Murphy’s law was in full effect. It was Dasola’s 1st day at day care, I had to get my eldest, Yomski, ready for school. Our driver of 2 years left suddenly so I had to do the school run in addition to getting my day started with an early meeting at 11am.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is my mantra at times like this, so with a prayer in my heart we were on our way.

I dropped Yoms off, then took Dasi to day care which was a bit difficult for both of us (being her first time). While she was happily preoccupied with something the administrator was showing her I took the cue to tip-toe out the crying started. Starting day care is an important transition for babies. I am watching to see how Dasi…

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In today’s post I’d like to share my experiences as a new mum concerning exclusive breastfeeding vs mixed feeding. Whatever reason the mother deems fit for her and her baby (without society having a say as to whether one is right or wrong) Let’s just say I had a “challenge” with breastfeeding and I had to formula feed within the 1st 3 months which was really hard for me psychologically because I’d  had this image of being  earth-mother goddess. I’d had a great pregnancy and natural birth with some minor complications so being confronted by  these challenges was a real shock to my system…by the way this was with my 1st baby. As I was coming to terms with that I also had to contend with society’s expectations about  my skills as a Mom and all of a sudden everyone had an opinion! No one except my Mom really understood what I was going through. “You must breastfeed till the child is a year-old”, “It is the tradition of our mothers” …and yet so many women have undocumented challenges with breastfeeding in Nigeria. According to certain statistics only 13.1% of mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months! Some mothers have health issues that make it unsafe to breastfeed, while some just don’t have the social support. In some cases, mothers do not understand the value of breast milk. Some mothers may be embarrassed to breastfeed, while others give up if they are not successful because, for e.g. the bay does not latch on properly. In some of these instances counselling and training can overcome the problem, but in some cases it cannot. Back to the matter, I had to figure out which formula to choose in order to get the maximum benefit to my baby because it was truly the least I could do. Then I realized there was a whole new world to discover.  I had to understand about staging – which formula for which age. I also found out that formula is actually modified cow’s milk, with manufacturers removing excess protein, for example,  and adding some missing key nutrients like iron. I learnt that there is non-milk based formula,  for those with cow’s milk allergy. And there is a special formula for premature babies, who need to gain weight fast. Some formulas are pre-digested to make it easier for baby to absorb them, and some are thickened with starch to help baby keep it down. So much to learn!…yet no one really talks about it because they assume you will breastfeed successfully. I am in no way against breastfeeding nor am I saying thumbs up to formula.  As a Mom and a parent what it boils down to is making sure my baby is well nourished, well-loved and well-protected. The biggest, strongest and most important argument for breastfeeding is simply that it is the best.  Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life improves the growth, health and survival status of a new-born, and is one of the most natural and best forms of preventive medicine. EBF plays a pivotal role in determining the optimal health and development of infants, and is associated with a decreased risk for many early life diseases and conditions, including otitis media, respiratory tract infection, diarrhoea and early childhood obesity. It is how nature intended that we feed our babies. And I do not doubt that. I am all for it, as long as you can. But what happens if you cannot? According to those against formula, it seems to be because in developing countries there are issues with access to clean water and  literacy levels of the Mother (can she follow exact measurements and directions for preparing it?) These are valid concerns but what about the fact that a more cosmopolitan Africa has emerged where in the urban cities those issues are greatly reduced? Shouldn’t mothers take advantage of the options that are available to them if they have challenges or should they suffer and smile and squeeze water out of a stone (pun intended) and potentially harm their babies? In many places maternity leave is shockingly short, and often unpaid, despite the fact that women make up almost half of the labour force. How many women have to choose between staying home to breastfeed and earning a salary? In addition, the workplace is not conducive for working moms to tend to their kids. Some moms pump and store for Dad or Grandma or nanny to give to the baby, and that’s already one part removed from the real bonding process. Some moms just can’t produce enough milk and submit to postpartum depression because they can’t cope with the guilt and shame of ‘letting their baby down’, by resorting to use formula,  as if it’s such a terrible thing. At this juncture I would say that the well-being of the baby should be paramount. And there should be more focus on educating mums to understand why they should choose their babies nutrition wisely. Being a good mom is a lot of hard work from the start , and mums  need support when they cannot breastfeed, not condemnation.   What’s your story? Let us know by commenting below, or join the conversation on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moms-World-Nigeria/754150684609591 Visit http://www.mumsworldafrica.com for information and advice on pregnancy, new-born and toddler.

Earth Mother Goddess? It didn’t happen that way


A day in the life of a Mom in Lagos


My day was crazy the other day.  Murphy’s law was in full effect. It was Dasola’s 1st day at day care, I had to get my eldest, Yomski, ready for school. Our driver of 2 years left suddenly so I had to do the school run in addition to getting my day started with an early meeting at 11am.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is my mantra at times like this, so with a prayer in my heart we were on our way.

I dropped Yoms off, then took Dasi to day care which was a bit difficult for both of us (being her first time). While she was happily preoccupied with something the administrator was showing her I took the cue to tip-toe out the crying started. Starting day care is an important transition for babies. I am watching to see how Dasi settles in, but I know there may be some changes in her behaviour  as she gets used to her new routine.

With that done I made my way back home to shower quickly and dash off for a meeting I was running late for then the unexpected happened. My car just ground to a halt halfway there!

Thankfully my husband was on his way to his own meeting so he was able to rescue me, but, since I was driving myself, I had to figure out what to do because I couldn’t possibly leave my car there, Naija la wa!

Just before I  left the house, my cook says the dreaded words, “Madam gas don finish” so I gave him some money to get more,  but that plan had to quickly take a back seat because I now needed him to come to meet us so he could wait with the car until the mechanic got there.

With that my husband had to reschedule his meeting so he could drop me off at mine and so that was it, everything back to normal somewhat right? Wrong!

I rushed into the meeting apologizing profusely because I had everyone waiting for me, including an 80 year-old lady so I had to seriously kun le and explain my ordeal. Thankfully everyone was gracious and so we carried on and had a great meeting.

I had my brother Timini come to meet me so I could go to pick up Dasi and I was running late  because her pick up is 2 o’clock and it was 2.15 already!

Another mad dash, picked her up, then picked Yoms and got home. Phew!

I then proceeded to inquire on the status of my up till then trusty jeep and I was certain it was something that could be fixed relatively quickly but shock and horror! the mechanic came back with more bad news….apparently my engine had knocked so I would need to buy a new “tokunbo” engine. The price? 350-400 thousand Naira!

I know what you might be thinking, it’s not a problem because I’m a famous celebrity right? And I totally understand that.

Five years ago, before the babies yes, no problem but now, with so many responsibilities a lot of deliberation has to occur before money is just doled out so hopefully you can understand that.

On top of dealing with all this, I still had to take care of the kids and start preparing their nutritious meals for the next day, chasing my toddler to do her homework when all she really wants to do is play, deal with deadlines for my blog post, reading scripts and tending to my extended family issues.

There’s a lot more that happened but I will spare you all, I’m sure you get the picture by now. Being a working mom and wife is not easy at all even with help and I shudder to imagine how much more difficult it is without any help at all.

Even being a housewife is not easy, I was an inadvertent one for a while especially after my 1st born but I quickly realized it wasn’t for me, I need an outlet for my creative energy to be truly balanced.

I hope I’m not scaring any of my readers that are mothers-to-be but I hope you can appreciate the fact that it’s no walk in the park. It’s a joyful, special and fulfilling thing as well and I am truly grateful to the Almighty for my life because it’s what I always wanted.

It makes me truly appreciate the sacrifices my Mom made to mould me into the woman I am today as well as my four younger.

Do you have a ‘crazy day’ story to share? Comment below or on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moms-World-Nigeria/754150684609591.

For more support on pregnancy, new-born and toddler visit www.musmworldafrica.com  today


Tastes, Texture and Teeth!


My 2nd little angel Dasola is a year old and she is absolutely relishing new tastes and textures in food.

When I started weaning her, at 6 months, I began with rice cereal mixed with formula (which she still loves), and then introduced soft foods like oats, mashed potatoes(sweet or Irish) and soft rice/spaghetti. Now she tastes everything  what we all eat:  little strips of beef, ewedu, stew and semo are favourites, and she loves her milk – still an important source of nutrients for her. She calls food “ma-mam” which sounds like mama so I love the fact that she equates food to sustenance.

I’m really glad she’s a good eater, so thank goodness for small mercies. My first born, was like that too, I never really had to force her to eat although like all human beings we have times where we just don’t feel hungry and times where we want to just stuff down everything in sight so I really lucked out there, fingers crossed.

The only time I was concerned about Dasi’s feeding habits was when we just introduced formula and apparently the brand she was taking made her very gassy and colicky, but when   I switched brands I found one that worked, and which she absolutely loved, thank goodness!

Now she is so adventurous with food and always wants to taste what everyone and anyone is eating which is such a joy to behold.

It’s really challenging regarding nutrition for our kids, making sure they’re getting nutritious food at meal times while reducing salt or sweet treats. In this microwave age it is no small feat but it’s a task that must be done. As parents we know we shouldn’t trade proper food for treats – later  you could be explaining yourself in a court of law! Really, it’s criminal not to feed children properly if you have the means.

I’m a believer that the way the parents, especially the mother, treats food is generally the way the household will go. At least it’s true in my household because I try as much as I can to eat healthily so it reflects on my husband and kids although we do have days where we just veg out and enjoy food.

Dasi is walking on her own which is lovely, and to see her determination to catch up to her big sis! She also loves to take the lead while holding my hand to show off her skills.

She has 3 and a half teeth and it’s a gorgeous sight to behold, yes I’m shamelessly in love!

Want to share your ‘baby love story?’ Please comment below.

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And for more information on pregnancy, new born and toddler visit www.musmworldafrica.com