A crash course on life: lesson 2 -7

So I was going to do a week by week update, however, I find that some of these lessons rolled along into other weeks. Hence, I will give a summary of all the lessons learned from week 2 – 7,

a. Your principles can be an affront to many: there is a saying back home in Nigeria, “You’re not jollof rice, so stop trying to please everyone“, Jolof rice is a tasty rice meal that serves as a staple meal for all occasions. Adults and children alike love jollof rice, people have been known to take bowls to parties just to steal large servings of the meal away. However as pleasant as the meal is there are still people who do not like it or there are times when it doesn’t appeal to our taste buds. In like manner, we must accept that our lifestyle choices will always confront or challenge others, sometimes without us saying a word.

b. Do not give people the weapon they need to harm you: I often talk to myself when I am stressed or trying to think things through. Somewhere within this seven-week period, I think my mumbling offended an ‘unintended’ eavesdropper. Rather than talk to me about it, the Chinese whispers chain was set up and a wall was laid. Seeing as people pleasing isn’t a skill I aspire to, (I believe it only equips bullies and manipulators with the license to rob you blind) I found myself in the difficult position of trying my best, but still being ridiculed in a very unkind manner. Thus, note to self always ensure you are alone when consulting with yourself.

c. Avoid the need to tell tales: this ranges from sharing your problems with people to divulging seemingly irrelevant details of another person’s life to a third party. They say a problem shared is a problem half solved; I say a problem shared with the wrong person is a problem at the very least half-doubled. For example, I said to someone that I still breastfed my eight-month-old and the advise given was to stop breastfeeding as it might stress my work life.

On the surface, this is a fair and seemingly honest/harmless comment, however, legally I am entitled to certain rights in the workplace as a breastfeeding mother and no provision was made for this. I do not hold this against anyone as I never asked for those changes to be made. And I did not do so as I assumed that a.) I would be able to express enough and the baby would be fine. b.) that seven weeks would fly by quickly. Taking that advice would have meant my lactose intolerant baby would not only be deprived of his mum but would have to go through the stress of adapting to meals and changes before he was ready to.

People will advise you from their own experience. Their fears, triumphs, and disappointment. Be careful not to rewrite your story based on their manuscript, sift the principle and move on.

d.) If you don’t drop the crumbs the birds won’t come: leading on from point C if you don’t divulge anything over time people will get bored and move on with their own lives. If you don’t want their input simply don’t tell them stuff. I find it interesting when people ask for an opinion and then get angry at what’s offered. However, to the individual being asked, try to give advice based on principles not based on what you would do or how you would like it. It might be a lonely and somewhat hectic place to be, but at least you can control what circles your life moves in and the words you speak.

e.) Finally, keep your eyes on the prize at all times: do your best to eliminate every distraction, chose your battles wisely, chose your weapons even more carefully. Above everything else identify your weaknesses and try to get over them. Deal with your personal bias as it helps you forgive others their own.

A crash course in 7 weeks; lesson 1

“Start as you mean to go on.”

Or “Start with the end in sight.”

My little man turned seven months in June, four days before my return to school day. I had hoped to wean him unto solid meals by this time. I wasn’t expecting him to be able to eat three whole meals, but I had hoped for some sort of day time meal routine at the very least. I had high expectations of my breastmilk expression skills reality, however begged to differ. This leads me to my lessons from week one:

Go into every endeavour with positive energy. Contrary to my usual disposition when faced with a new challenge (which is often apprehension masked in negativity), I returned to school  filled with positive energy. I presume this positivity was a result of my past accomplishments in school prior to going on maternity leave. 

Be positive but have a contingency plan. Being able to get back into study as planned increased myself confidence. It felt like I had a firmer grip on my life and the plans ahead. However, I had no contingency plan with respect to how baby would be fed if the milk I expressed wasn’t enough. At first I had a milk stash in the freezer but it was  quickly depleted by the end of week one. Though baby was having pureed fruit, as well, I was still worried. 

Being relaxed and having breakfast helps with milk production. I have not made the previous statement based on any scientific authority. However, drawing from my personal experience, I found having a good breakfast anytime before 11am not only helped increase my milk production but also the thickness of the expressed milk. I also found having a nap or just some rest or warm bath helped increase milk production. 

Be positive, but be observant; watch your words. It often very tempting to ‘over share’ or to stretch ourselves beyond limit, or to overtly identify with everyone when we come into a new environment. While in certain cases nothing negative comes of this experience, under different circumstances an unhealthy working trend might be established. Often times it comes back to bite us in the butt. Be on your best behaviour, but ensure to be you. (will throw more light on this in week four)

From 10-20minutes of pumping on a good day for us.

Job prospects.

Lying in the field Egbert, Humphrey and Onslowe basked in the rare sunny smiles of an autumn afternoon.

“That scarecrow reminds me of someone, only I can’t remember who?” said Egbert.

“Whoever it is, they need a face lift.” Onslowe scoffed.

Humphrey chuckled, while doing his best to rid his nails of dirt.

“Am very serious, I can see him but in my eyes, someone very familiar.”

“You sure it’s not Mr Eamon you’re remembering?” 

Satisfied with his cleaning, Humphrey set about trimming his nail with his teeth, “Who’s Mr Eamon?

“The old fella that lives on the next farm, thin as a rail, when he laughs you can’t tell if his choking or having a heart attack.” 

“I remember now, it’s the salesman from last week, I ran into him at the pub, says he’s going to make a fortune selling sunscreen.”

“Sunscreen! around these parts, the scarecrows got better job prospects than he does. He’ll make a fortune alright, a fortune of holey shoes.” Onslowe barked.

Their bellies rumbled with laughter as it started raining.

Copyright The storyteller’s abode

In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from Louise at the storyteller’s abode (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories.




Monday’s back

Monday never sneaks up on us, it walks in bold and beautiful like the boss we all dread, but can’t help respect.

Definitely not like Tuesday, the human resource manager of the week who tries to calm you down, letting you know Monday doesn’t have the right to walk all over you.

Sadly, Wednesday swiftly comes in ruffling our feathers again; the bosses PA spying on you, keeping you focused on the task at hand.

And just before we lose our heads Thursday sneaks in, teasing and tickling our haunched shoulders into a smile.

Fast and furious like a passing tornado, Friday storms into the scene taking over from Thursday; emptying our pockets and sweeping us off our feet into ecstasy.

Crazy Saturday … need I say more, the boss is well and truly forgotten.

Then reality comes knocking it’s confused Sundays: you don’t want to let Saturday go, but you know Monday won’t stand for any silliness if you want your wallet full for cheerful Friday.

Just let it go … brace up to Monday, Friday will be back in your arms as fast and as furious as ever.Memories

Dodgy precedents.

When I first read this article on Marissa Mayer (click on the link to read the article) my first thoughts were her life her choice, but then I read the quotes below and had a rethink.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Søren Kierkegaard

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” Robert Kennedy

It is indeed her life, but in the bigger scheme of things it can be so much more. She had the opportunity to make a difference, to challenge existing precedents to create a better future if she wanted to. Her decision to take only fourteen days off work post-delivery is her personal choice rightfully and people might argue it has no effect on anything but we forget that when precedents concerning work and family balance for women are made such actions have a way of coming to mind.

Let’s not forget the present fashion craze that exists in our world today, with almost every woman (including a naturally voluptuous woman) living in the hope of being a skinny model rather than a healthy woman. Bet the women in the past never thought looking skinny would become the fad or that anorexia, bulimia and the likes would become health challenges in today’s society. If care isn’t taken we will have women drafting business letters whilst in labour and scheduling appointments on the phone whilst undergoing a C -section. We must set precedents that every mother with or without external support can subscribe to with feeling like her life and family are hanging by a thread.