Day 2

Day 2

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Thank you Lord that you are a sun and shield around our children. Help them to understand and appreciate Your help and sustenance. May they know that in You is refuge and strength. We lift up in prayer those children and their families who may be going through very difficulty and challenging times, would You surround them with Your love and embrace. Make a way for them so that they may enjoy life and be a blessing to their generation. Help them  not to be a thorn in the lives of our children.

Thank for helping the school leaders in taking the issue of bullying in schools seriously. We break every lie of bureaucracy and sweeping things under the carpet at the expense of our children. Raise up warriors within the school environment who are really there for the needs of the children.

Strengthen us as parents to do the RIGHT things always by our children and not the easy way out. Teach us to look to You always in every moment and circumstance of our lives. Allow us by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit to parent as you would want us to: courageously with grace, faith, hope and love. Amen

Back to school Series.

Back to school Series.

What would I tell my younger self?. Not sure because the time and space was very different to what it is now. The landscape has changed drastically.

This  is me at 17yrs of age in high school.

IMG_6923The only challenge I had at that time, was that I madly in love with a boy who has since become the father of my two. Life was beautiful. I am grateful to my parents who sacrificed so much to send me to a good boarding school.  Deeply indebted to my siblings who had to endure months of sadza and kale while my parents recovered financially. I am forever grateful to their sacrifice.

I remember the back to school days. Not so much in primary school years but certainly in secondary and high school. I remember the agony and pain of doing my shopping, packing my bags, stripping my parents of every last penny before I bid farewell. I remember my father’s long heartfull speeches. Yes, I was gone for 3months at a time.

The fours years at the all girls Catholic school were hard. The conditions were even harder. It was in those formative years that my character was built through dedication, hard work and team work. I learnt and grew alot in that place. How I missed home!! I missed my siblings, the comfort and food. In the midst of all that, I knew very well and appreciated what my parents were trying to achieve.

My own teenage experiences in Zimbabwe are a far cry from my teens’ world. Boarding school may sound like abandonment and believe you me, I thought so too and I didn’t mince any words when I penned my thoughts to my  parents. I broke my father’s heart and mama came to visit the very next week.

While an average mom worries and gets excited about her children going back to school, us the #migrantmamas have a whole lot to deal with. To my fellow #diaspora parents like myself who still struggle with school culture, school mums and curriculum, I see and hear you. To those who have been forced/ blackmailed, nagged into overdrafts, by their teens, I feel you. Most of the phenomena that we now encounter is as foreign as quiche 🍘.

Issues around school can be complex. For instance, understanding and appreciating what mental health especially in children looks like is a cobweb. Our communities do not make it any easier as mental health remains a taboo. According to mental health UK, 1 in 10 average adolescent has a mental health condition. As mothers, we strive to be strong african women and expect the same for our children.

As intentional parents, our drive is to be deliberate on things that help and move us forward. One of the main things we strive for is coming together in an atmosphere of learning together and loving each other. Prayer is key to our parenting jounrneg so this September, we are running a 30day back to school prayerthlon: 
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-In supporting the back2school campaign run by antibullying, my advice to the young people is to talk to someone if you are unhappy or someone is not being kind. Does your child have someone they can confide in? Sometimes, children choose not to confide in their parents for a multitude of reasons. Identifying that ‘other’ confidant is good.

-If your child or someone you know is/has experienced bullying, you can talk confidentially to someone from Antibullying.
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.Child-line is good for helping children to make sense of their world too.

– Mama do not suffer in silence. Connect with us via whatsapp, email or on facebook and instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

Thrive

Thrive

 

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Ever felt like not making it and struggling in life? Well, that image above could not be far from how I felt especially in the first five years of motherhood. I just felt that I did not have the neccessary skills and knowledge to blossom in my journey. I remember struggling to get big brother to eat. Oh my days, the boy was such a fussy eater and was as skinny as anything. In those moments, I was a failure and stressed. The health visitor would dimiss my concerns looking at my built and remarking ‘you are not of big built yourself’. True? yes it was, not helpful though. I did all the food diary, monthly weights, multivitamins etc. Sadly I didn’t understand the centile  lines and growth chart. Glad that the teen hormones finally kicked in the boy now eats.

Back in 2015, a friend brought me a very beautiful blooming orchid. I loved it. Prior to that, I had bought one myself from Tesco and sadly didn’t last any long. So it was refreshing to have another variety of this beautiful plant. I watered and placed it on the window sill as suggested on some online forum. Unfortunately, it lasted only a couple months. Distraught and disheartened one of my clients reassured me to keep the stump with the hope that it will bloom again. Blooming again never happened so I threw it away. This was only the first of many other orchid gifts to be given by friends. They never made it. Someone suggested I tried the artificial ones, saw some gorgeous ones in TK Maxx, it’s not the same is it?

I was at a baby shower somewhere in December and I said a couple of nice things to the expectant mom and boom, the orchid came out again. You can imagine the agony I felt. Driving home, I looked at it and gave thanks. I thanked the giver for their heart and consideration, I just wished they knew my bad luck with this type of plant. I went home and just continued to do what I had done with the other plants. Deep down, there was a desire to see it continue to flower and bloom. I wanted it to live. I wanted to break the curse of death on my hands. O how I wanted to succeed and not continue to feel the stench of failure.

I would speak to the plant in the morning before leaving for work, admire it when I am at the sink and do a silent prayer that it makes this time. I would move it from the sunny window sill to the shade of the downstairs lavatory. I was determined and keen. I needed this. Flowering it did but not like the other orchids I saw from friends window sills.

 One day, a dear friend who was visiting asked what plant food I was using for my orchid.  Plant food? The plant had not come with any food in the pouch. Flowers always do, don’t they? I was beyond horrified as I didn’t think I needed to give plant food. Gwen* advised where and what type of plant food I could buy from the shops. I did that and followed the instructions on the packet on how to feed and care for my plant.

The last eighteen years, have shown me that thriving in motherhood takes determination, vulnerability, a community and a whole load of learning. No-matter how many books I read, qualifications I attained, nothing seemed to equip me enough to get the job done  with little stress. Whilst I may have struggled with all this, I believe sometimes all we need to hear is that we are doing a great job. A little reassurance. I thrive in those environments because that’s my kind of learning style. Feedback is key. I have learnt to be deliberate in finding that community and that feedback. Now with two teens in tow, I am forever nagging and asking women who have gone before me to hold my hand.

I don’t know what it feels or looks like to have a son in Uni. Next year will be a first and yes, I have my anxieties. Will he survive is a big one at the moment. Survive on his own cooking, getting up in time for lectures without mom alarm clock?. Will he remember to breathe without me reminding him? Those are the conversations in my head at the moment and I have begun to speak to other mamas about it. I have been fortunate to find those soul sisters.

Here it is, my orchid, eight months down the line, blooming and my heart singing.

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What would it take for your journey to be in full bloom and your heart skipping in excitement?  We are a community of mothers, learning, sharing and empowering one another on this journey. If you would like to be part of that community, connect with us via email, instagram or facebook.

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”. Eleanor Roosevelt

Bloom mama, lets bloom 🌸🌺🌼

 

For those wanting their orchid to thrive, I am using the Miracle grow ‘pour and feed’ plant food from B&M stores  xxx

 

Identity and intergration

Identity and intergration

Migrant women in the U.K.

A story of resilience, rebuilding life in a foreign country and the sacrifice women make. The act of forsaking the familiar for the unknown unites us as people of all age group, colour, creed or nationality. This was the Global Woman Club meeting headed by Mirela Sula.

The energy and camaderie as we entered the room was electrifying. Mirela was prompt to share her STORY and the inspiration behind the Global woman empire. A humble mom of Albanian heritage, who dared the seas for the lights and academia of London. Mirela told how she came with her teenage son to pursue her doctorate and a new life with little on her.

Her journey inspired me as a #migrantmama as she shared about being authentic and determined in the face of challenges and obstacles. What Mirela has managed to achieve is being available, available totally to her followers and those who attend her events. That’s what she portrayed to me as I attended this event. She was happy to engage in one to one conversations, mingle, socialise, obliging take selfies with almost everyone. Within a short space of time, Global Woman Club is being launched in different countries every month.

The anxiety of raising our children in an unknown and unfamiliar culture was the thread of most conversations I had with these amazing mothers. How do you embrace and blend the two cultures? As mothers we agreed that, there are sacrifices to be made, being hopeful and trusting our instinct remains key.

What Mirela Sula and her team have done is provide a platform where women can have a collective voice. A voice, of hope, unity, love and togetherness. I met inspiring women at the Global women event in London. From impleccable clothing designers ;Kotywear, mothers, social media managers, entrepreneurs such as Veronica to empire builders.

If you want to hear or learn more about this amazing movement of migrant women, check out global woman on links below:

.https://instagram.com/p/BmLv2cilTek/

https://globalwomanclub.com/our-story/

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Identity

Identity

This was the topic for our webinar this evening. How important is it for our children to speak the native language, cook native food etc?

It became imperative during the session that before we unpick our children’s identity, how do we as mother identify ourselves??. Examples were given of being a wife, mother, daughter, minister of the Gospel etc. How do we live out all these ‘titles’, does it matter what comes first? all these were questions we pondered.

With our children we agreed that nativism enriches their lives. It’s their heritage. We concluded that as far as identity is concerned it is more than food, drink, colour of your skin or even place of birth.

We acknowledged that our children are global citizens such that being a native of a particular nation would limit their experiences and world.

Having said that, as mothers of faith, our identity and that of our children is found in God. We are first and foremost children of God. He created us and knew us of before the foundation of the world. That is who we are.

Living out our faith and identity day to day, helps to define who we are in the eyes of our children. We are reminded that to as many as recieved Him, He has given them the right to become children of God.

Suggestions were made of reminding our children of their identity in God. Saying words such as ‘you are a mighty man of valour, a women of faith, a man of prayer, a princess etc’ helps to define them. As mothers of faith, we are prophets so we speak the promises of God concerning them.

References were drawn from the previous post on Black Panther and importance of speaking into the lives of our children.

As a mom, how do you identify yourself?

Milestones

Milestones

What is this about?

The parenting webinar is a community initiative to build each other’s capacity and empower one another on the parenting journey.

This was birthed from the understanding that it takes a village to raise a child. This is a concept that I am very familiar with having been brought up in Zimbabwe. Growing up, I was raised by the community. Fast forward to my own parenting journey, the circumstances have changed. In a bid to find that community, a virtual one was created in February 2017.

I remember as a health visitor deliberating and talking about this with colleagues; the social isolation, the statistics on youth crime, gangs and changing face of society. What also struck me was how ethnic minority families were not accessing children centres for support. On a personal level, as a mom of teens, the need for support and encouragement became compelling.

The more I talked about it to family and friends, the more I realised the need. Ideas started flowing, fear also crept in as well. Fear of the unknown, being judged etc. With encouragement prayer and support from a lot of people here we are today.

As we celebrate this milestone we have covered 30 sessions out of the 52weeks as we initially ran the webinars forty nightly and then took breaks when needed e.g World cup semi- finals. Topics discussed ranged from boundary setting, managing inter-parental conflicts, understanding children’s love language, sleepovers, parenting and social care as well as the role of fathers to name a few. I have also covered some face to face sessions. I believe I have grown tremendously in understanding of self and the world around me. I thought I would share a few things with you.

Lessons learnt :

1️⃣- Start- Just do it! Do it afraid if you have to. Technical hitches do happen, prepare as much as you can and if it happens, do not lose face.

2️⃣- Enjoy- Some days it will be such great fun. Most days it will be hard from finding motivation, people to empower and simply being busy with life. Find joy anyway. Time flies when having fun. Having your vision scribbled somewhere, on a placard, note book or framed helps. It keeps you aligned and focused.

3️⃣- Engage your audience. Depending on the topic, allow people to share, suggest, ask questions. Be open minded about audience and potential client group.

4️⃣-Be on time. Being punctual is critical. Not only does it show that you are professional and serious, it demonstrates respect. Respect for your audience, their time and dedication.

5️⃣- Find people who can critically appraise what you are doing. Having feedback is key on moving forward. Encouragers are great, a critical friend is key and a keeper. Acknowledge them. Appreciate them.

6️⃣- Value- valuing yourself, your effort is also important. Don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise.

7️⃣Back up- Yes, save, save your work, drafts and save again, especially in blogging and content preparation for the webinars. I can’t recall the number of times, my content just disappeared. That can make or break you. I learnt to get up and write again.

8️⃣Prayer- Remains the foundation and cornerstone in your building. Communicating about your vision, committing yourself and audience to God offers a place of clarity and understanding.

9️⃣Ask- ask for help and offer help when others need it. Having a support network makes all the difference. We receive what we give. By being present and available to others, it offers opportunity for reciprocity.

🔟 Losses and gains. Many people especially immediate family and friends will not get your vision. After all it’s yours. Don’t be discouraged. Familiarity does that and we are all guilty of that. You will lose familiar faces and gain more new ones. Embrace both.

1️⃣1️⃣ Conviction – Stand for what you believe and express yourself. In this journey, I am learning to speak my mind and mean what I say. I term that growth.

1️⃣2️⃣ Celebrate- celebrate both the big and small achievements. It is said ‘ do not despite the days of small beginnings’ and remember Rome was not built in a day.

Here is to the future. For what it will be, we entrust in Him. What we know is that there is grace and hope.

If you are interested in joining our growing community, you are most welcome. Our Zoom webinars are weekly on a Friday at 8pm UK time. Do get in touch ( whatsapp, messenger, facebook, instagram).

Hopeful ❤

Summer

Summer

What story do you want to write this summer. Is it one of having such great laugh and wonderful memories. The social media is already filled with summer dread. While it is ok to have a ‘dig’ at this, we also can choose to have a great summer.

“Whilst our challenges as a diaspora community may be greater than many other mommas, we can do something about it”.

The discussion on the parenting webinar this evening was about being solution focussed. As mothers, we acknowledged that lack of extended family support, cost of living, work commitment, residence status and lack of planning can cause a lot of stress during the 6 weeks summer break.

It was agreed that summer holiday is about resting and enjoying the children. The enjoying bit can be tricky when we are stepping on each other’s toes. Careful planning becomes the bedrock to our intentional loving, graceful-packed and impactful summer break. Keeping things in perspective is also key. Waking up and reminding ourselves and each other of what we are trying to achieve is important.

“Summer 2018 is going to be an awesome !!!”

Does that sounds like an epic goal? Why don’t you go ahead and have something like this, something that reflects your family unit, values and beliefs. You can get the children to be involved and breakdown the goals into daily, weekly activities of keeping EPICSOME. Hang your goals somewhere where you all can see and remind each other.

Here is a skeletal draft that I have just done to give you some ideas on how you can structure your week plans:

For me and the teens, being considerate of each other is key.  This translate to being mindful of what we are doing as a family and if someone needs/ wants to be somewhere or doing something different, to communicate effectively and timely.

When I complete my summer schedule, chore allocation is a priority so we know who is cooking the much needed lunch dinner, loading the washing machine etc. We have to remain functional without too much nagging. I function better with some structure and it helps me with accountability as well.

Summer holidays are about recharging, renewal and resting. Depending on the age groups of your children, again being deliberate about networking and meeting other moms is good as well. Well planned play dates, can easily give you a well-earned break, time to yourself.

Being on a budget is fundamental. Workout, have an idea of how much you are spending during this long school break. Involving the children in this financial planning can help to ease expectations as they know how much is in the holiday pot. Picnics are easy, affordable yet to memorable. Again depending on the age groups, picnic can be in the garden, at a National Trust https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ home is even greater. The manor houses and immaculate gardens add that awesome feel of summer.

On a large-scale we talked about organisations, communities, charity organisations that are already doing a lot of work with the youth and young people. Organisations such as Africa Youth Arise, http://africanyoutharise.org/ they do a lot of amazing workshops and retreats for 11-25yr olds. The lighthouse summer daily camp is very popular and for mothers of faith, it is a great resource to have hand.

How about asking our local churches to plan activities for the children during the summer break. Yes it does require lots of planning, DBS etc but how much are our children worth? We agreed that we need to invest in our children’s lives.

We hope you have a great summer. We hope you realise that you have in you the power, ability and resources to make it great, however you chose it.

Would love to hear your summer story planning. Thanks for stopping by x

Mama

Mama

Day 10

“You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable”. Khalil Gibran

What a privilege to be called mom. My transitioning into motherhood was fraught with fear, uncertainty, depression and ignorance. I struggled with attachment and then got separated from my son at 11months whilst I came to UK. It was by choice, by the way. Was I thinking straight? I am not sure. Anyway, that a story on its own for another day.

There is a grace to make it even if you started badly. That grace is available today for you. Reach out to Him to help you. Motherhood challenging as it is, can be fulfilling. I ask the father of all flesh to bless you with His love, grace and favor today as you look to Him for guidance. May He show you His tender mercies and the beauty of His strong everlasting arms. Feel His warm embrace and the lifting of burdens.

Lord we thank you and honour you today and always. ♥️🙏🏽

Growth

Growth

Day 9

I wouldn’t call myself shy but they are certain things that used to confine me. Things such as people’s opinions, it mattered because I wanted to be accepted and fit in. Well, I am learning to let go of all that so that I can be everything I was created to be.

Today I choose growth. Growth is uncomfortable and scary in places but I am choosing it. I pray that you and I will be open to learning and growth. I pray that our eyes and ears will be attentive to things around us. I pray that we will be willing and obedient to His purpose so that we can enjoy the goodness of the land.

I ask for continued grace, patient, courage and commitment to motherhood. I pray for my teachers; friends, family and women in different social media platforms who are running their lanes with such determination, focus and clarity. I also pray for those who are watching and learning from me, may they find encouragement, purpose and fulfilment.

Growing in grace and hope ❤🙏🏽

Fear

Fear

Day 8

This week a lot of planning will take place in preparation for our parenting webinar first anniversary celebration end of this month. It’s such an exciting and beautiful milestone. There is an element of being fearful and worried as it’s our first.

Today I pray that you may found joy in what you do, be it at home or outside. I pray that you may find fulfilment and a sense of purpose.

For those in the work environment outside of home we can take inspiration from Daniel. Him and his friends were diligent and they excelled beyond their peers.

We declare that we are builders in His kingdom. Builders of families, communities and nations.

We are putting our hands to the plough this morning going forward and declare that we are effective. We take inspiration from Nehemiah. His assignment in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was huge and daunting. Nehemiah sought the help and counsel of His God. He prayed and asked for help. Nehemiah also looked for skilled, diligent and committed helpers. I pray that you will find helpers in fulfilling the task ahead.

May the week be great. ♥️🙏🏽