We are delighted to have the beautiful Orode Uduaghan grace our February cover as FABMUM of the month. Blessed with an amazing sense of humour, this yummy-mummy-of-two is an interviewers delight any day and anytime. It was indeed a no-holds-barred chat, as Orode dished on motherhood, running a business and striking a work-life-balance. Do read on and be inspired.
Motherhood isn’t a very easy period for first-time mums. Was yours any different?
When I had my first child, I was very excited; I was twenty-two going on twenty-three at the time. It was exciting and the pregnancy was great. My mum and her friends came around to help me out when I had my baby. It all seemed pretty easy until my mum packed her bags and said, “You know what? I have a husband (laughs).” And then it was just my daughter and I. I was a bit skeptical about nannies because of my experience while growing up with my parents. I think that once you have a child, nature just automatically puts you in that position where you just know how to care for the child. I literally snapped into the motherhood zone.
It was a very huge switch for me but thankfully every now and then my mum would pop by to check on us. After four months, I hired an experienced nanny. When I had my son, I was a bit worried about how to raise him. I recall crying when he was being circumcised. I could literarily feel his pain. Like I said earlier, you just ease into motherhood as nobody teaches you. God naturally gives mums the knowledge and wisdom to raise their children. You never really prepare for motherhood.
What are some of the lessons motherhood has taught you?
Motherhood has taught me a lot of patience. I am raising my children with the mentality that they are individuals. At the same time, I try to create that balance of being patient and understanding their individualities. I also try not to be too forceful by putting my own ideals on them. Motherhood has taught me a lot of tolerance especially with my son- he has just become a totally different person. He used to be this quiet baby when he was younger but right now, he acts like, “I am the man of the house.”
Motherhood has also taught me a different kind of love; it is just amazing to know that regardless of what my children do, I am still going to love them. It gives me the understanding that God loves us no matter what we do. Motherhood also taught me how to be selfless in a different kind of way as I am constantly thinking about my kids. Before I buy anything for myself, I think of my kids first. It has also taught me to extend that arm of selflessness and love to other people.
I am very strict and that is why some times when I do something, am like, “I can’t believe this, I am becoming my mother.” But I am very strict yet liberal. I want my children to be themselves.
What support system do you have?
I have two nannies; I have naturally been blessed with good nannies. My mum is without a doubt my greatest support system.
Who has had the greatest influence on your role as a mother and why?
My mum has had the greatest influence in my life as mum. My mum was very strict with my siblings and I. But, I will love to be a bit liberal with my children. My mum raised us with an iron hand and in hindsight; I think it’s so scary. I do understand why she was stern- she wanted the best for us. So, I am combining her training with my knowledge and my experience to raise my children right. My mum is the only mother figure I have in my life.
How do you describe your parenting style?
I am very strict and that is why some times when I do somethings, I say to myself, “I can’t believe this, I am becoming my mother.” But I am very strict yet liberal. I want my children to be themselves. I don’t want to impose myself on my kids, so I balance it out. And also having the Holy Spirit knowledge has helped me a great deal. I have ridiculous rules in my home. My son is three and I have taught him how to take his plates to sink after eating, how to undress and keep his clothes in the laundry basket. I don’t over pamper my kids-I don’t know if I even pamper at all. I think everybody thinks I am a witch in my house (laughs). At the same time, I communicate with my kids. My daughter tells me everything and anything. And when I need to they get smacked. I am not trying to raise prisoners, I am not trying to raise robots, but at the same time, there has to be certain rules and disciplinary actions that will put them in shape through this early stage.
I am not trying to raise prisoners, I am not trying to raise robots, but at the same time, there has to be certain rules and disciplinary actions that will put them in shape through this early stage.
So what are your tops tips for achieving work-life balance?
Last year, I did not really have a work life balance because I did a lot of work. But this year, I made a deliberate decision to care for myself. At certain times, I get home; I switch off my phone, because I have deliberately created a me-time for myself. I used to feel bad about wanting to create time for me, but as an individual I do have a life. What do I mean? These kids are going to grow up and leave the house one day, and you look back and say, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t do anything for myself it will feel like wasted years” I have come to an understanding that, I have to be okay to be able to give anything to my children. So I am very deliberate about my life and wellbeing as well. I am taking care of myself, doing my own thing, am in school studying for an MBA, which I pushed this long because I felt guilty to leave my children. .
Iquo Ukoh has work-life tips for career mums. Read it here
How do you measure your success as a parent?
By the actions of my kids- what I see them do and what I see them become. And when people meet my children and they come back and tell me, “Wow, whatever you are doing, keep doing it.” And I am thinking, but I am not doing anything… It just the people they are becoming, it’s very important to me. I am very deliberate when it comes to my kids.
Read our interview with Toyin Onigbanjo of August Secrets here
Do you have a routine for your children?
Yes, I do have a routine for my kids. It is very difficult and I am not going to sugarcoat it. But, sometimes, we are not always religious, so help me God. But it is important because it does bring about discipline. I am not trying to raise prisoners, I am not trying to raise robots, but at the same time, there has to be certain rules and disciplinary actions that will put them in shape through this early stage.
Last year, I did not really have a work life balance because I did a lot of work. But this year, I made a deliberate decision to care for myself. At certain times, I get home; I switch off my phone, because I have deliberately created a me-time for myself.
I notice that you are outspoken, about being a single mom…
It’s not easy filling in the gap. I am living my dreams. I am not trying to be an awesome mum for the world to see that all is well and good, no. Sometimes all is not well, sometimes it difficult. I mean, it was hard- it still is hard. It not the funniest thing that I wanted, it was what I had to do and I feel like I had to get to a point where, to be honest, it really all boils down to God. There are still dark days, there are still days where I ask myself some questions, should I have been better, should I have seen signs, what mistake did I made? But the moment when God really stepped into the picture for me was when it became easier. I enjoy marriage. I want to be married. I tell God every day that you are going to bring me a man that I will enjoy marriage with.
How do you fill in the gap?
It’s not easy filling in the gap. I am living my dreams. I am not trying to be an awesome mum for the world to see that all is well and good, no. Sometimes all is not well, sometimes it difficult. I mean, it was hard- it still is hard. It not the funniest thing that I wanted, it was what I had to do to be honest, it really all boils down to God. There are still dark days, there are still days where I ask myself some questions, should I have been better, should I have seen signs, what mistakes did I make? But the moment when God really stepped into the picture for me was when it became easier. I enjoy the gift of marriage, knowing what God intended for marriage and I want to experience it properly some day . I want to be married. I tell God every day that you are going to bring me a man that I will enjoy marriage with.
So if you could advice anyone on a choice of a life partner, what would you say?
No matter what advice I give, at the end of the day, it boils down to the individual’s choice. For me first, in terms of looking for a life partner, I understand that having God in my life is enough and then I understand that I must be whole in God (the notion of two halves become one is totally false. I believe in two wholes become One big whole all in God). I have grown to learn that I must bring a full human being to the table, marriage cant soothe my insecurities, or help my fears because that’s not God’s intention, I have come to learn that marriage is for a purpose and two unstable people can’t achieve that purpose, so in seeking a life partner I seek God first and He’ll add the “HIM” to me.
It says so in bible “seek ye first the kingdom of God and every other thing (husband inclusive) will be added. The process of seeking God’s kingdom builds you up to be whole. I look for His characteristics and they have to be like this Jesus, I’m not saying he must be perfect but I am saying he must be a man of the spirit, whom I can clearly see that God is at work in him, because if am changing myself to become a better person, becoming someone in Christ, the person has to do the same thing for us. I have to see Jesus in that person.
That means you will give marriage a second shot?
By God’s grace, I will of course, it’s a beautiful thing when done right and in God. (laughs).
How do you keep fit?
I used to be a gym freak but not anymore because of Banga and starch. But I am conscious so I don’t really eat unhealthy; I try to stay in line. I love food and I used to go to the gym a lot, but I don’t anymore. I have never been fat except during pregnancy.
What values did your parents instill in you that have shaped you to who you are today?
My parents taught me integrity and the importance of having a good name.
What’s your mantra?
I used to care about what the society wants. What will they say, what will they do and then I realised that I was losing out on me. We cannot fix everything for everybody else. I have come to the understanding that I have to be myself at all times but most importantly I have grown to understand that the what I really should be thinking is how does God see me, does HE look at me and say “well done, good and faithful servant”.
We hope you are inspired by this interview? Do drop a comment below or email us at [email protected]
Photo credits: Orode Uduaghan & Emmanuel Oyeleke Photography.