How to be productive working from home

Hello, I hope you are doing well. How was the weekend? Was it restful? Was it busy?

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I know people are different and react to things differently and also cope in various ways. Working from home has been in existence before Covid but used to be seen as convenient jobs and doesn’t pay as much as work in the office. With Covid came hard lockdown situations in which every company that could function from home had their staff start working remotely. It was an unplanned situation in which people had to device ways to cope with working from home.

For me, when I started my current job in 2018, I started working from home but had to go out about two to three times a week to attend events such as career fairs, meetings with high school counselors, face to face consultations with parents and students and mini fairs I organized for university representatives who visited from time to time. As the agency I work for has partnership with over 250 universities, I had to attend to so many of them on a monthly basis. I sometimes had to host about three universities and take them on high school tours so students could meet with them and ask all the questions they had. All these events, combined, meant that my work from home was not 100% work from home however, I did my follow ups, university applications and everything else from home.

With Covid though, things changed. All prior scheduled physical events were cancelled and I had to work from home 100% which meant back to back meetings. All those meetings I had to go for at different schools still went on- on my laptop. University representatives who couldn’t fly down, organized several zoom sessions. At some point, it felt like my work had tripled and even though I was no longer going out, I had so much work to do that just wouldn’t end. I was constantly tired, out of breath from non stop meetings and phone conversations. I think students and their parents also felt like I was home and should be able to pick my call and answer their questions 24/7. I was also struggling to keep my home together, couldn’t keep up with meal times, couldn’t clean as frequently as I used to and knew that I had to do something. I had to take some urgent steps to put myself in a better place. Below are the steps I took.

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  1. To-Do List: I realized that I had to focus on my to do list and put only things that were really important and couldn’t be moved to the following day. It simplified my life a lot. It is easy for us to think we can do this and that but are they really important or urgent?
  2. Dedicate a work space: having a section of your home aa your office space can make such a huge difference. It did for me. I won’t lie, I used to carry my laptop with me every where and worked everywhere~ on the dining, on the couch, on my kitchen table and even on the bed. I thought that was easier and thought I was enjoying working from home by being able to work anywhere around the house. I found out that actually worsened things for me. What I did then was to bring out my study table I used during my Honors and Masters programs about 6 years ago, dust it off and polished it nicely and put it in a corner in my bedroom. Yes, bedroom as that was the most quiet place in the house- it’s a really small apartment so I don’t have a study or a spare room to use. Also, it is a room where JBoy knows that he has to knock before entering and when he opens the door, he peeks and asks if I’m in a meeting or if he can ask me something quickly. That worked for me like magic and made my life easier. When I got to that table, I knew it was work time.
  3. Pace yourself: Another thing I had to do was to pace myself. I no longer RSVP’D yes to all video meetings and conferences. Rather, I asked if they could be rescheduled or if the session would run again on another date. When I did this, I realized that those on the other side of the screen are humans like me and simply set a date that worked for us both. My calendar events became reduced and clearer. I was able to select meetings that needed me to RSVP yes to such as fixed meetings and the likes.
  4. Strictly 9-5: I kept my work hours strictly 9-5. I no longer worked outside of those hours except in some very rare occasions that I just had to assist a student after hours. I always made sure to let them know that I had closed for work but willing to assist. What I found was that if I said to a student that I had closed for the day but would assist you, they end up saying that they would contact me in the morning. So I made it a habit and believe when I say this, most have really reduced reaching out to me after 5 and when they do they start with “hi ma’am, I know you have closed for today but…..” or “sorry to bother you after work….” It worked like magic. My work is mostly done through emails and phone/whatsapp so it’s hard to ignore some messages and I prefer to send a quick reply to messages like “why don’t we talk about this at 9am tomorrow ” and they get the message. This step really helped.
  5. Break time: I no longer took my break at some point because everything got muddled up and some calls ran into another meeting and would feel lucky to get a sandwich in or some juice. I stayed being intentional about my break time and made sure to take 30-45 minutes at least on break doing something totally unrelated to work. Maybe just read a novel or drink rooibos tea or play games on my phone.
  6. To-do list again: just before 5 and before closing my laptop, I did a to-do list to help me remember the emails I wanted to start with or students that I wanted to submit their applications the following day. I made sure I was clear on what needed to be done the following day and also gave allowances for any urgent situation that may pop up.

These steps have helped me a great deal and I believe they might work for someone else too. It has made me more productive at my job and I feel less stressed than I was before. I get jobs done more efficiently and my students and parents love me for my job or more like love the work that I do for them ☺

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What has worked for you since you started working fully from home? Are there any steps you took that made you more productive or merely just simplified your work life? Please leave a comment so we can learn more from you.

Thank you for stopping by. Keep well, stay safe. Be kind. Laugh often. Until next time, bye for now 👋

Happy Sunday- Weekend Vibes

Good morning! I hope you and well. How has the weekend been? Today is Sunday and where I come from/grew up, we greet one another “happy Sunday”. Up until now, I can’t say that I know why but what I do know is the fact that we have a greeting for almost every day and every occasion. Actually, everything you do. If you say to someone that you just want to stay home to rest, especially on Sunday, the greeting would be “e ku isinmi” which means happy resting or good resting : ) which can be simply be explained as rest well. Another greeting is “e ku ise”– good work, great job. This greeting is made when some did a great job or is doing a great job. It can also be translated as well done for work in progress. For example, if a handyman comes to find some things in the house, eku ise is a greeting that can be used whilst he/she is still working and you just feel like commending the work done so far, even though it’s still in progress.

For me, Sunday is a day of reflection and gratitude. Also a day of worship for me. BC (before covid), we would actually be in church right now however most services are now virtual so I have completed service this morning and thought to do some writing for some clients (side job). Though not yet due but the earlier the better. I plan to spend the next two hours doing that then just lounge and do nothing for about one hour. It’s not possible to do nothing but I mean do anything without having to do it, if that makes sense. I also work out my weekly to-do list on Sundays. I call friends and family on Sundays. I believe it is really important to keep in touch. Life has gotten so busy these days and some might genuinely plan to call and just didn’t get round to doing so. I’ll also do lil’ miss J’s hair, if she allows me. Just something simple. She usually doesn’t allow me do much so I leave her most times. Not like we have an occasion to attend, so why force her.

As for my son, he is usually very excited for Sundays for a strange reason. Sunday is noodles day. Yes, he has noodles on a Sunday as a routine. I had to implement the rule because it got to a point where he only wanted to eat noodles and nothing else. I gradually reduced the frequency with which he had noodles until it because a Sunday special. Now he has a major reason to look forward to Sundays for! He is quite a picky eater but keeps improving daily which is encouraging. I read, when he was a toddler and really picky, that a child would not starve himself and would always accept enough to sustain him. Now as a nearly 6 years old, he asks for food when he is hungry. He comes out from him play area and asks “mommy, what time is it now? Lunch time?” I find that allowing him take the lead for meal times. We all have dinner together but breakfast and lunch ad snacks in between is all on him and he has been doing pretty well, even gaining weight steadily. He has proven that he is now a big boy indeed!

I really have to stop here for now but will be back with my stories, my reflections, my experiences from the past that have kept me going. Kept me strong. Kept me grateful. And keeps pushing me forward. Thank you for stopping by. How are you spending your Sunday? It’s 11:00 am where I am, so still have some hours left in the Sunday. Here is wishing you a restful Sunday, e ku isinmi. Have a fantastic new week.

Study Abroad- New Visa Alert

Hello, how are you doing? The week went by pretty fast. I am so excited that today is Friday! End of work week. But is that really the cause for my excitement? Partly. The main reason I am so excited is due to the fact that one of my students got his study visa last Wednesday!! No, it’s not my first visa, I have actually done quite a few few, however, it is my very first family visa. The student, in his mid forties, is going for a Master’s program with his wife and three children. We put in the application on the 7th of December 2020 and received the outcome on 6th of January.

Brief history, the student had applied on his own to a different country and had received visa refusal twice, and that alone was a cause for a little panic, because most of these embassies work together, however, I am a visa queen and mostly only receive visa and not rejection or a refusal. He said to me that probably study abroad was not for him and I said to him him, this time, it is for you. He also has a close knit family and didn’t want to leave them behind as it was a two years Masters program. We started the process. We searched for courses that he had experience in but that would also allow him learn something new. We found it and we applied, he received a conditional offer within the week and we submitted the documents that were requested. He then received the unconditional offer and he made payments. For some reason, it took a while, almost 10 days because before the university received his payment of about 75% of the tuition fee. He had the money that is why he paid that much. Some pay 100% of the tuition as well. What is required is a small fraction of the tuition, usually about 25-35%, to show commitment to the university.

The next part was to make sure that his financials were in order because he had to show funds to prove that he had enough to cover and cater for his wife and children so we calculated the amount and then left the account to “mature” for the stipulated number of days. During the wait, they did the health check required and we worked at getting other documents in place. Long story short, we put in their application on the 1st and 2nd of December and they did their Biometrics on the 7th of December, and the second waiting period started. The wife, a friend of mine, just wanted to start packing, which would be a lot of packing as they had young children so would need to do almost all the pacing. And for me, despite the fact that I was sure I dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s, I would prefer they received the outcome first before doing that to avoid a “just in case it doesn’t work out” situation. She trusted me. On the day we calculated and thought that they would receive the outcome, the main applicant was emailed and asked to bring in documents for their second child and that the ones they had were not clear.

That was where my doubts started creeping in. We looked through all the documents a thousand times, there were no unclear documents, why would they say the second child’s documents were not clear? Is this a sign of another rejection? Also, some other students who applied after them had received theirs so what could be wrong? He called me a lot to ask, as if I was the visa officer at the embassy : ) but never did I allow my doubts show in our conversations. I allayed his fears and let him know that they would receive it.

First thing on Wednesday morning, he sent me a screenshot of the email he received asking him to come receive the outcome and was setting out. Almost two hours after he sent a message that got me screaming for joy with singing and dancing ( that is how I rejoice). As my husband heard my joyful noise, he knew the visas had come through! It was worth the wait!

Another visa success, this time a family visa and guess what, they are recommending me to everyone they know! Yet again, I have proved to be a visa queen. Sometimes getting visas are tough on the side but I believe that if one is meticulous, which I know I am, especially with work, then visa outcomes would be positive. My colleagues are also excited when I shared the news because we were in it together, they kept saying “Seun, you’ve got this/ you are good at this/ trust yourself more!

Yes, I need to trust myself more. I need to know that I am good at what I do, I need to tell myself to show more confidence in myself. I type this because I know that I need to praise and trust myself more and give myself more credit for what I do. Women (and men), wear many hats and need to function properly- at work work I am an International Student Advisor who deals with about 10-20 students/leads per day through emails, whatsapp and phone calls and even though not all of them convert however, I need to be nice and professional at all times. My job is interesting, used to be more interesting BC (before Covid), or maybe same.

Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to like, if you liked it, or like just to support me while I keep at this. Leave a comment, f you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer or research it for you. I enjoy research so why not. Bye for now, keep well, keep safe. Until next time.

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Work from Home Video Meetings

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are doing well and keeping safe. With the rate at which this new variant is spreading, it might be best to really be safe until all calms down. The numbers keep increasing and more and more people that we know are getting infected on a daily basis.

Yesterday, the 7th of January, I got dressed and my children thought I was going out. I said that I wasn’t and only got dressed up for work. Truth is, I spoke with myself that there would be no more office shirt and pyjamas bottom anymore this year. If covid caused work from home would be longer than usual then we better find ways to work around it and try to be more organised. My actual job is where I am most organised. Anyways, here I was, working, feeling all dressed up and pretty, working at my desk and then a call came through at 1:05pm. It was from a mom, asking to be let in to our scheduled meeting! I said “okay, I will let you in just now, sorry about that, day is going by so quickly, I can’t believe it’s 1pm already”.

In my mind though, I was like what meeting? I completely forgot that I had a 1pm Google meeting. Quickly, I opened my calendar tab on the laptop and saw that I set up the meeting myself for Thursday, 1pm. Then I opened my email to scan and have an idea of who I was about to speak to and remind myself about the background. And then I opened my laptop and allowed them into the meeting. It was a mom and her son who would like to study abroad by September. I took them through the process and the meeting went successfully.

Moral of the story, it was good that I started this new year with this resolution of getting properly dressed for work, every day. I was easily able to just join the meeting straight away, without scrambling to look for what to wear, style my hair, put on a bit a make up, it wouldn’t have worked. I would have had to make an excuse or something of that sort. It felt good. This year, I plan to be more organised and so far, it is looking good. Week one, done and dusted!

Thanks for stopping by and do have a lovely weekend. Make the best of it. Do what you love. Take care of yourself. Spend time with friends and family, where possible or call them on video (even with pyjamas, haha). What are you doing differently in 2021? What do you plan to do differently? Feel free to leave a comment below.

How JGirl was born~ Baby #2

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well, thanks for asking : ) First day back at work wasn’t so bad after all. I spent half of it replying emails that had piled up from students’ enquiries and putting in some applications. Some students also called to inform me that they had received their visas. So I can say my day went well. I’ve had dinner and now about to put lil miss J to bed and it is amazing how much she has grown! My baby will be two years old on the first of February! That is less than a month to go. Time flies indeed. Feels like yesterday when I spent three weeks in hospital to have her! Read below a very summarized version of her delivery.

Just like her brother’s birth, I thought I was going for a gynae visit but ended up having my bundle of joy. If you haven’t read about JBoy’s gynae visit turned into a delivery story, here is the link Gynaecologist visit or delivery? He was born at 33 weeks and is now five years old, turns six on the 28th of February (he already knows what cake he wants, usually knows the character cake he wants like a year or two before, lol). I will write about all his cakes and post the pictures off all the ones I find. Both my babies were born in February, not planned at all. One had an April due date and the other was meant to be born in March but I didn’t have the final say. Back to my story.

This time, I no longer had medical aid and had to register at an Academic hospital as that was what we could afford at the time. My first child was born at a private hospital, all fancy and classy, well, we had to face reality and use what we could afford. Thankfully, I received 100% quality of treatment at both hospitals. On the 21st of January 2019, with pregnancy almost 32 weeks, I went for my gynae visit in Pretoria, about 40 minutes from where we live. I got there and joined the queue. When it was my turn, I did all the tests we were asked to do, which included the urine test. We did all those checks before seeing the doctor, actually, a team of doctors because my case was a special case. Due my existing health condition, both my pregnancies were considered high risk. When it was my turn, I went in, and realized that they were not as chatty as before. I like to talk and make people talk as well, making jokes and all but that day was different. They said to me that they found a high level of protein in my urine and that my blood pressure was quite high. I always had low blood pressure, some times even too low so this was strange. I was told that I had to be admitted immediately. Funny enough, the one things that came to mind was my job- what do I say? I only asked for a day off and I had promised that my pregnancy wouldn’t interfere with my job so how was I going to ask for one more day? The doctor wrote me a sick leave note to solve that. I wasn’t too bothered with my son because he and his father got along very well and I knew they would be able to function without me for a few days. Little did I know that I was going to be there for the next three weeks.

Yes, I was there up until the 5th of February, 2019! I was placed on admission on the 21st of January with the hope that the protein in my urine would be back to normal and that my BP would normalize. Well, neither happened and I had to be there till I reached 34 weeks and baby was brought out. The time there was not easy for me. I try not to be a workaholic but I had to have my laptop brought in so I could do some work. Not too much but enough to clear out urgent matters and to keep me distracted from being in hospital. That gave me some sanity, a little bit, lol. My legs also started swelling up so much like I had never seen them before and I gained a lot of weight! I am very small in stature and had never gone past 59kg (pregnancy weight) so when I weighed 68kgs from a normal weight of 52kgs, I am sure you can imagine how swollen and puffy I looked. It was preeclampsia!! My diet was changed and I got so many treatments, all sorts and when it kept worsening, I was given the 1st of February for emergency C-Section and by 10:36am on the date, lil’ miss J was born and I also requested for BTL and got it done same time. Baby weighed 2.01kg and breathed fine but was placed in NICU for 48 hours to be observed. She was discharged two days later, before me! But of course, she had to stay with me till I was discharged on the 5th of February.

I hadn’t done my shopping! Oh no, not again, the exact same thing happened with JBoy and it happened again. I am usually a last minute shopper, for almost everything. So bad that I still shopped a day before my wedding so, yeah, that is my nature and will make plans to change one day. This time however, my sister that did the shopping the other was not available so my husband and one of his friends at that time did my baby girl’s shopping! Can you imagine that at all? They tried, got the basics and then they bought a blanket that I would never have bought had I done the shopping but I had to suck it up hahaha. We still use that blanket till date and lil’ miss J now knows how to say the word “blanket” when she wants me to put her on my back with it. It is our special blankie.

Same lessons from my previous gynae post, things seems really hard when we are in it and experiencing it but looking back now, there is so much to be thankful for. She was born at 34 weeks but did not need the NICU. If she had, like her brother needed it and had to be there for four weeks, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it financially, driving back and forth, visiting, taking expressed breast milk and we wouldn’t have been able to afford renting a place close by so we were grateful that five days after her birth, we both went home. No one was left behind. So grateful to God for that. Also, my mom arrived two days after and I was so glad that yet again, we decided to apply for her visa earlier than necessary so she flew down as soon as she received her visa, literally a day after! So for things like organising a visa or planning an event and bigger things, I am more organised but baby shopping, not so much. That is why we all have our strengths and weakness right?

What do you think about my experience? Being placed on admission at 32 weeks for both pregnancies? Having two preemies? They are now both super healthy and strong. When someone says their water broke, I just smile, I have no idea what that feels like. All in all, I am very grateful and thankful for both of them. So different and yet so alike. Do you know anyone who had a preemie and is worried? Tell them all will be well! I know people’s stories and situations are different but we can draw strength and inspiration and courage from the stories of others! That helped me a lot. I will stop here for now. I know it was such a long read and if you read up to this point, thank you!

Back to Work- 4th of January 2021

Hello, I hope you are doing well and keeping safe. I am well, actually feel better in my body as I have always struggled with one thing or another in my health but really feel as healthy as I can feel this morning. Today is the 4th of January and I am back to work! Yes, wish I had one more week to “not work” and just play with my kids and keep sharing my husband’s latest music as much as I can as we are are our own marketer and promoter for now. However duty calls and with the nature of my job, I can’t really stay away for long.

I work from home as an International Student Advisor, that is my job title. What do I get to do with my title? I pretty much assist students who want to study abroad. How do I help them? I help them by speaking to them about what they would like to study, where they see themselves in the next five years and all that just to get an idea of what they really want to be. I find that some students are very clear on what they want. Some say to me “I would like to study Business Administration in Netherlands this November” and that’s it while some say ” I think I want to study Engineering or Law or maybe even Economics anywhere nice”. With the latter, it is more work in terms of calling such to students to find out what they really want to do or become and sometimes help them find them double majors or combined programs where possible. This brings me to the next stage.

At the next stage, I help them search for universities in the specific countries they indicated. Like I said earlier, some students are straight to the point and want to apply to just one university in one country while some want to apply to a million universities in 100 countries. With those, we cap applications to about five and assure them that they will get in because as an advisor, I make sure that they meet all requirement to make sure they receive an offer. So this stage is university search and application where I help them put in an application on our agent portal. Some can apply on their own but would just need to put in our details as their agent so we can help them follow up to get a quicker turnaround time.

Once they receive their offers and meet all the conditions on their offer letter, they pay their course deposit and then begin we the visa process because the company I work for also assist with that which is really awesome. Different countries have different outcome time so we wait but usually within a week to four weeks, they receive their visas and they go. Sounds easy but it is a lot of paper work from start to finish.

Does the job sound interesting to you? Well it does to me, I love the job so much especially as I get to actually counsel students along the line. The job sounds like just advise, apply to universities and get them their visas and they go. No, not that simple. I have had to speak to a dad on the phone for 58 minutes. A dad who had the funds to send his 18 year old abroad to study but was really anxious, hesitant and had so many conflicting emotions that I had to help resolve. One of the cons of this job is that on whatsapp, students reach out to me at any point in time to ask me a work related question. I receive a message on a Sunday at 10:35am for example, during church service or even a call. I will talk more about other things I do in my job some other time but now really have to go start. I start from 9am and end at 5pm.

My five year old, turning 6 in February is my timekeeper, at 5:00pm, sometimes 5:32pm or 5:48pm (examples) he comes to say to me “mummy, didn’t you say your work ends at 5:00pm, look up at the clock” and of course, I get to close my laptop! I some times sneak back to work because I might need to quickly send an application form to a student at night so they they get it completed and send it back to me by morning or anything that comes up. I have to go. Thank you for stopping by. I will be back and will actually post more this year about my experiences with work, life, parenting, and many more. Stay tuned. Please like, if you like it and follow, if you would like to read more from me. Do have a lovely day and a wonderfully blessed week. Cheers.

Mummy, why are you grumpy today?

Hello, how are you doing? How have things been for you personally, mentally, emotionally and ebey other “ally”? 2020 has really been quite the year and has been full of ups and downs. While some are really struggling financially with job loss or salary cuts, some are making it quite big and are super thankful for how much they have been able to achieve. Before I proceed, let me start by saying thank you for stopping by to read from me. I appreciate it : ) Well, how am I doing? Can I really answer that honestly? I will try.

I will start off by saying I am grumpy, yes, grumpy. However, I didn’t come up with that word, my five year old son did. He was playing a 2048 game I had just taught him, looked up and asked me in a straightforward manner “mummy, why are you so grumpy today”? That for me was a loaded question. For one, it meant that I had been that grumpy for him to have noticed and I had a rethink and realized that I had snapped at him and his sister a few times that day. What I would have lovingly or patiently answered was answered in a different way. He noticed. Besides snapping at him, I just wasn’t my usual cheerful and playful self. Why was that?

It was because I let my financial struggles affect my mood so badly that it was so glaring so much so that a child noticed it. I just got to a point where I had enough of constantly only paying bills and my income did not meet up. I started a business in February 2020 with high hopes, however Covid found a way to delay its progress and since it was already established to a certain level, I had to keep digging into my already not enough income to sustain the business and I’m still digging deep. I know that I will still make profit but just wish that I had enough and don’t need to struggle with finances. I wish there was a way to get funding to support but not even sure where to begin with that process.

Secondly, why are you so grumpy today meant that on most days, I wasn’t grumpy lol. The word “today” in the sentence sounded positive to me in the sense that my boy knew that mummy is usually not grumpy or that mummy is mostly in a carefree, grateful mood, almost all the time. We play a lot, we joke so much for ~ he has such a great sense of humor and his sister is quickly picking up tips from him. They make me laugh a lot and make me very grateful to have them in my life. I don’t take that for granted at all. I only some times secretly pray that they wouldn’t experience lack, which I did whilst growing up. I am working hard to prevent that but also trust God to prosper us enough that we wouldn’t experience lack but rather have so much abundance that we can even be a source of blessing to others.

Another thing I can pick out of the grumpy statement is that my son is very observant and caring. He easily notices how I feel and has words for them. If he wants to play catch for example, he would ask me “mummy, what is your energy level? Is it high, low or medium”? If I said low, he would then say “okay, mommy, I wanted to play catch but we can play a board game”. He works with my mood/energy level and always made sure he left me better, happier and even gets me to laugh and become more energetic! He does the same for food. Knows when to ask for a sandwich and when to ask for grilled chicken and chips! He knows when to play with his active 21 month old sister so I can get some rest or get some work done. Also, I work from home and he is my timekeeper “mummy, it is 5pm, you can close your laptop now” and several other instances. He is such a blessing to me.

Finally, I would say that being grumpy doesn’t really change anything positively. I was grumpy but it didn’t mean that the financial situation improved or anything like that, so why worry? I know, it’s easier said than done, especially for me, at this stage of my life where I have so many plans and great ideas that can impact but not stable enough to execute them so I get that feeling of being wasteful with my gifts and ideas or the feeling of hoarding them and not sharing my experiences that could be a blessing or lesson for others, which is not the case.

Moving forward, I will keep being my cheerful self and try as much as possible not to be grumpy anymore. I will find time to write more amidst my 9-5, business, wifely duties, parenting, daughtering, writing a book and so many other functions that I have to “function” in properly. Writing makes me feel better, takes a huge weight off my chest, gives me an avenue to think aloud and generally take me out of my grumpy mood.

So, how are you doing? Feeling grumpy? Why? Try not to be grumpy, not worth it! Thank you once again for stopping by to read this. Feel free to leave a comment and I hope you will stop by next time. Keep well, stay safe and be the best version of yourself!

My First Birthing Experience ~ JBoy

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am keeping safe : ) It is a weekend and I absolutely love the weekends because I get to spend quality time with my children and do other stuff I don’t get the chance to do during work week. I also get to reflect and think about all the things I’ve been through, how I survived and where I am now.

One of the experiences I am currently reflecting on was when at 33 weeks, I went for a gynae visit on a Thursday and had the baby 2 days after 😲😲 yes, that’s right and that is what I am sharing in this post. It was not a funny or easy experience and looking back now, I can only be grateful for strength from above because I wouldn’t have pulled through without it. It is a story about how a gynaecologist visit turned out to be an emergency delivery.

When I was 32 weeks pregnant, I fell down the stairs but I guarded my belly so I thought that since I did and I felt okay, all was well. A few days after, I noticed that my boy was no longer kicking as usual. There was a particular song that I always sang for him which got him kicking every time but it did not work this time. My husband, who plays the saxophone, also had a particular song he played for him and when he did, there was just a tiny little kick like to say, I’m still here. I knew he was still there but wasn’t really himself so I called the gynae to move my weekly visit from Friday to Wednesday and his PA told me he was out of the country. I said to her that I was going to find another gynae to check us asap however the earliest appointment I got was for Thursday at noon. First thing on Thursday morning, we went to pick my mom who had just arrived from a 6 hour trip. The plan was for her to come a little earlier so we could do the baby shopping together. I hadn’t bought anything. Nothing at all! About 8am, I received a call to inform me that my gynae had landed and he could see us at 10am. I was really glad because I was used to him, would have been awkward seeing someone different and narrating the whole pregnancy journey in one visit. Hubby and I got there right on time and when it was our turn, we went in and chatted a bit. He asked some questions during the consultation and said it was time for the scan.

Hmm, as soon as he did the scan, his face changed. The look on his face scared me. He said to us and I quote “we have to get your baby out this weekend”. I said to him, no please, I will rest more, eat better and every other thing I could think of because I suffered anemia throughout the pregnancy so I thought I only needed to take care of myself a little more. However he said to me that the only way my baby could survive was if he was taken out by the weekend and so, without much choice, I got admitted and got the first steriod shot almost immediately, for the lungs to develop.

Long story short, on Saturday, two days after the gynae visit, at 10:18am, my son was delivered and he weighed 1.6kg. He had to be taken out asap due to what was explained to me as “placenta insufficiency”. He was no longer receiving enough blood and oxygen from me which explained why he didn’t have enough strength to kick when we sang/played his favorite songs. Fast forward to date, he is now 5 years old and is very healthy and very intelligent. He makes me super proud and is such a sweet little boy! That is my miracle boy with his little sister in the picture : )

Did I cry during that experience? Of course, several times! The worst part for me was when I was discharged five days after delivery and had to go home without my baby boy. That surely wasn’t the plan, no, not at all. But guess what? I survived it! How? It felt like I wouldn’t be able get through the situation. To be honest, not quite sure but I went to NICU almost every day and took him expressed milk, did the kangaroo anytime the nursing sisters allowed me to and most importantly, I kept praying. It took him a while before he gained 2kg, the special expected weight gain for preemies. He eventually got to 2kg and he could have his first bath!! Exactly four weeks after, we could take him home! Oh the joy and excitement!!

Looking back now, I realize that there are lessons to pick from the experience. Number one, no matter how difficult a situation looks, it will always get better with time and if you believe. I prayed so hard and hoped that we wouldn’t spend more than a week but in the fullness of time (4 weeks) he was discharged. Yes, not as quickly as I wanted but he was discharged and has been with us since then. I am super grateful for how healthy he has been since then. Lesson two, please pay attention to your body and your baby whilst pregnant. Keep a record of kicks and compare. If not sure, see a gynae. I would have seen someone else, just to be sure. The third lesson is that pregnant women should not leave their shopping till the last minute! No, don’t do that!! Start buying things in bits and pieces. My sister had to go and do all my baby shopping in one day and in a rush. She was shopping whilst I was in the theater. I don’t think that would have been a good experience for her and for me as I didn’t get to choose what I really wanted but to be honest, I loved all that she bought. I am sure there are many more lessons from this experience but I will stop here. Please feel free to leave more lessons in the comment section so mothers-to-be can learn from them.

Thank you so much for reading, I am glad you stopped by. What do you think of this experience? The birth of my second child is another lengthy story, for another post🙂 Have you had any experiences that you look back and are not quite sure how you survived it? Let’s read it, it might encourage someone out there! I hope mine has encouraged someone out there and let them know that they will pull through and all will be well😇 please like and share till someone who needs to read this, gets to read it. And kindly subscribe for more life experiences in short blogs (I hope this qualifies as short).

Keep well, stay safe. Bye for now.

Heart in my mouth!!

Hi, thank you for stopping by. How are you doing? How have you been? How is work? How is your business doing? It has been a while and all sorts have happened to me but here I am, live and direct!

Today, I am going to write about the event that occurred around this really cute picture that got my heart right in my mouth, yes in my mouth! It was in December, a few years ago when my son was about three years old. He had a playdate with a friend’s child and we had decided to go to a family restaurant called Papachinos because it had a play area and we thought the children could play there and have a nice time there. The particular restaurant actually had two play areas, one inside where one had to pay to get on some rides and another one outside with swings and slides and others they could access for free while we ate.

When we got there, my precious JBoy was really excited because I had taken him there a few times and he loved the place. He started jumping and was pointing to the indoor play area but I said to him, baby, we are playing in the outdoor area today. He was a little upset but got over it quickly. We were seated and placed our various orders, ate and the children kept playing in the outdoor area and were obviously enjoying themselves. Between my friend and I, we took turns looking after our children whilst they played and had a fun date. Then it happened, I suddenly could not find my son. I looked everywhere, no sign of him, I asked his friend where he was, she didn’t know. We asked the waiters, everyone joined us in the search. My friend started to panic but I was calm. Calm because I know the restaurant well and was sure that they wouldn’t have let a little boy leave by himself so I knew he was still inside the restaurant with us. I checked the bathroom, asked a gentleman to help look in the men bathroom. Finally, I went back to the indoor play area to check again, there he was on the horse with this look on his face. Till date, I still have no exact words to express what emotion/s I felt when I found him- relief, joy, anger, understanding, all sorts. Understanding, because I remembered that he initially wanted to play there and I had said no so he had to find a way to get there. Where he was when I first checked and didn’t find him, I guess I will never know but I felt super grateful that we found him. My heart started moving slowly back into its right position.

He had never done anything like that before, ever, which means that he really wanted to play in that indoor area. My thinking was, why pay when there are so many free rides, and I’m guessing his thinking was, why can’t I get on this horse ride, just once and see how it feels : ) He caused me panic but I learned a lot from that experience. The major thing I learned was that I should say yes sometimes, if I can put it that way. Children honestly just want to experience a particular thing and not just “waste” money as we are quick to think.

I must praise myself though! I’ve always been known to be calm and peaceful even in crazy situations but in this experience, I actually outdid myself. I just knew he was going to be found right there and within the restaurant. I also knew that panicking wouldn’t have made much difference during the search. Looking back now, I have surely been more watchful over him and he has also grown to a level where he can effectively communicate and be clear with his requests and making sure I understand why he is making such a request 😇

Yes, that was my heart in my mouth experience. Have you experienced any? At work, family event, vacation? Feel free to share in the comment section😄🤭 please like, share and subscribe to encourage me. Thank you for reading this. I hope you stop by next time.

Keep well, stay positive, all will be well, if you believe. Bye for now!!

Does Kindness Really Come Back?

dayne-topkin-u4bZQUeo2Q8-unsplashHi guys, thanks for stopping by to read this. I will make it a quick one : )

Does kindness really come back to you? Does kindness get repaid? Does something happen to you and you are able to link it with something you did for someone else? Do you ever feel like your acts of kindness never gets “rewarded”? 

Well for me, there is no straight answer to these questions because for many years, I’ve felt unrewarded for some things I did for people. Not that I expected a reward from the people I was being kind to or helpful towards but I expected that when it is my turn in the future, I would also get help. For example, I’ve always always loved children and helped as many people as I could with their children for as long as I can remember. I babysat children for fre so their parents could go out or go write exams or attend job interviews or simply just rest. At some point back then if a school bus drove past on my street and I was outside, one could hear children calling out my name : ) Those children really enjoyed being with me. Fast forward to now, I thought that I would enjoy the same but no, nothing of that sort. It is either I cancel that event I had planned or hubby stays with the children,  almost every time!! That being said, I am glad I helped out those parents years ago, at least now I know how much it meant to them because at that time, it meant nothing to me, I simply enjoyed taking care of children.

However, there is one act of kindness that I did and got rewarded for even though I had no clue that I would. Hubby and I live in a really small 2 bed apartment and because of how things are financially, we let the room out from time to time for Aibnb. One day, we got a request from a friend of a friend asking us to please host their cousin for a week, for free. There was no connection, a friend of a friend’s cousin? Anyway, we accepted to help and guess what? The lady we agreed to help called me, mid way during their journey at a stop over to say that she was coming with her cousin. Hmm, I felt it was too late to complain and hosted them. The lady slept in the guest room and the cousin slept on the couch. We cooked for them throughout their stay and made them feel comfortable. We took them on a mini tour of the city and they generally had a nice time.

A few weeks later, the cousin’s cousin called to ask if I was still job hunting as I had been desperately searching for a job to support my family and so I said yes. Long story short, he helped out, advised and recommended me for a job. I did three interviews and I got the job! Was my act of kindness in hosting a stranger rewarded? Yes. Did I expect it? No, not in the least bit.

Moral of my story, do what you can, help where you can, be kind when you can, reach out, smile to someone. Acts of kindness are usually rewarded but mostly in ways we do not expect. When something good happens to you, it actually might be as a result of something unrelated that you did for someone else, ages ago or weeks ago, depends on how quickly it happens. That is how I choose to see it. 

What do you think? Does kindness really come back to you? I would like to read from you and possibly learn a thing or two. Thank you for reading, see you next. 

Keep well and stay safe!