Dear parent

Saw this on facebook and had to share. While it’s advise to people with young children, it’s a reminder to us all of how quick time flies and that one day our little babies too will be all grown up.

When you first have children they talk about the challenges of parenting….the struggles of a baby waking in the night,
the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, injuries from sports…

Having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a messy house, the never ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches….

You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning….and try to soak in the magic of those moments.

You coach them in sports, rushing to practices and ballgames…and tote them all over the country to let them play the game they love…no matter how exhausting or expensive it becomes.

Life is just so busy that you rarely even stop to think what the end of those days look like.

In fact, it’s not really even something you can wrap your mind around.

You go into it thinking that 18-20 years sounds like a long time….

Then suddenly hours turn into days…days into months…and months into years.

That little person that used to crawl up next to you in bed and cuddle up to watch cartoons…suddenly becomes this young adult who hugs you in the hallway as they come and go.

And the chaos and laughter that used to echo throughout your home….gets filled with silence and solitude.

You’ve learned how to parent a child who needs you to care for and protect them….but have no clue how the whole “letting go” thing is supposed to work.

So you hold on as tight as you can…wondering how time passed so quickly…feeling guilty that you missed something….

Because even though you had 20 years…..it just somehow doesn’t seem like it was enough.

You ask yourself so many questions…

Did you teach them the right lessons?
Did you read them enough books as a child?
Spend enough time playing with them?
How many school parties did you have to miss?
Do they really know how much you love them?
What could I have done better as a parent?

…..When it’s time for them to go, it all hits you like a ton of bricks.

And all you can do is pray….hope….and trust that God will protect them as they start to make their way into the world alone.

Parenting is by far the most amazing experience of your life….that at times leaves you exhilarated….while others leave you heartbroken.

But one thing is certain…..it’s never enough time…💕

So for all the parents with young children…whose days are spent trying to figure out how to make it through the madness…
Exhausted day in and day out…

Soak. It. All. In.

Because one day….all those crazy days full of cartoons, snuggles, sleep overs, Christmas morning magic, ballgames, practices and late night dinners…

All come to an end.

And you’re left hoping that you did enough right, so that when they spread their wings….

They’ll fly…💕💕

Momleader

Message to my webinar attendees 24.4.2020

Hope this finds you well. This morning we prayed that God will help us to strengthen the family altar. I truly believe God has called us into a powerful season as mothers in Zion.In this season, God desires for family foundations to be strengthened better than ever. Connecting with our children and partners like never before. That vision will require an unwavering commitment and understanding that with God’s help we can do all things. I pray that you find time to truly connect/ know and understand your child/ren. To be committed to praying and speaking Gods promises concerning them.

In the mad rush of previous life, we were robbed of those opportunities. May God help us all. Simple things such as eating together at the dinner table with no phones, are powerful. Be committed to conversations at the dinner table. Start with simple questions such as ‘how has been your day? what did you like and what didn’t you like. Share what you personally enjoyed during the day, what were your struggles and how are you are finding solutions to those challenges.

Whilst it’s tempting to let the children do their own things especially if they are older or even adults, this is a perfect opportunity to effect their lives. Reach out in love. It may be uncomfortable at the start if you are not used to this, believe me, it’s worth the try and sticking it out.

This is also a great time to uproot those teachings in our schools and society. For months some of us were worried about the primary school curriculum. Here we are and it’s our opportunity to plant the truth into the hearts and minds of our children. Remember no topic is out of bounds. Talk about friendships, relationships, sex, faith etc. Our children desire to hear our honest opinions on these matters because we are their parents and they look up to us. Yes, I know sometimes it may look as if they don’t, listen, they do.

How about looking back to the family photos albums that have been piling up for years? It’s also a great opportunity to connect. If there are baby photos, share your pregnant journey. If possible, try not to focus on the glossy bits only, share the struggle and upheavals because life is like that.

Talk about your vision of a family. What do you hope to accomplish as a family.? What values are important to you as a family. For example, mine as a mother family, love and service. I am always encouraging and explaining to my two that family life is important and that value is demonstrated through actions. Things such as the regular video calls to my parents, WhatsApp chats with my siblings and phone calls to the sisters in my life. Relationships are important and we invest time and efforts. My children are fortunate to see some of the impact some of you have in my life.

May Gods love surround you always. May His peace reign supreme in your homes.

With love and blessings

Fadzai 🌸

Facebook live

Thank you very much to all those who joined us at 3pm GMT. We were talking the challenges of parenting and Below is a short summary of some of the take-aways from the session.

✨Remember in our parenting journey, connection with our children is key. Be available mentally, emotionally and physically.

✨Prioritise your children. Let your diary and commitments reflect that. Remember with children love is spelt TIME.

✨It’s ok and totally acceptable as an african parent to apologise to your children when you get things wrong.

🌟Faith community leaders, please have a heart for families. Do not hide under political correctness. Remember ‘what would Jesus do?’ and do just that. Consider the single parent homes with the heart of our Lord Jesus.


We explored in depth the issue of supporting single parent homes and providing mentorship for vulnerable young men. There were issues around married men/pastors and leaders being fearful of supporting a single mother. I concluded that if were don’t, someone else will and many a times these are bad guys that we don’t want near our children/ community. If we look at the county lines model; the drug dealer simply befriends and entice our children with gifts and promise of a bright future. We can adopt the same model. If youth pastors/ leaders took the same interest in our children, understand what they like, their fears, vulnerability, I believe we will SOME of them over.

We encouraged faith communities to have properly, well structured programs with safeguarding processes in place to offer mentorship programs.

Jesus was very controversial in most of his relationships, driven by compassion and love for the marginalised as well as vulnerable. Remember the Samaritan woman at well? She had a thing with men yet Jesus risked all that.

For parents struggling with children, please seek help. Don’t stew at home. There is a lot of help available from local authorities to charities such as Migrant Family Support and Father 2 father

For more in-depth conversation, listen to link below:

Remember you are not alone 💕

Motherhood and me: Goal setting

Webinar 12.12.2019

smart goals for mums

On the webinar we started by acknowledging the need to have ambitious goals when it comes to our #parenting role.

Why set a goal?

• Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.

•By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your effort.

•By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in your achievements.

It is important for us as parents to think about ‘what kind of a parent do I want to be?’. The key to answering that question is in visualising what you are trying to achieve. How do I want my role/ position as mother to look like 5, 10, 20 years and beyond?

An example was drawn of having a goal of being a ‘praying mom’, ‘kind mom’, ‘playful mom’. How does one achieve that goal? It became clear that one will need to read books on prayer, praying mothers, prayer for your children etc. One may want to think about other moms who exude those traits. Who do I know personally or virtually as a kind mom, praying mom? etc. What is it about their life that I can learn from and apply now or later in my own parenting journey?

You will also need to make a further investment in an accountability partner/ buddy/ mentor/. This is a person who then hold you accountable to your goals, aspirations and all the things that you are trying to achieve. It is important to find the right person who is able to support you with your goal (s) and the bigger vision of the parent or the mother that you are trying to be. It needs to be someone you can be open and transparent.

While a friend or family member may be the first person who comes to mind, how good are they at holding you accountable? How ready are they to listen and support you with your ambitious goal without feeling a tinge of jealousy or doubts about your capabilities?

Other areas to consider when setting goals are:

•Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve? How is my career going to support my parenting role?

•Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your parenting goals!

•Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve that parenting goal?

Family – How are you going to be a good parent? What things do you need to do in order to achieve those goals?

•Spiritual- What is my spiritual life like and what how can I get it to better?

I emphasised the importance of including our spouses/ partners in this goal setting. Some things may be pertinent to motherhood, overall we hope the goals will encompass the role of fathers.

Today’s session was an opportunity to start to think about those goals and who is going to support you achieve them. I encourage you to take time, do some soul searching, revisit those little girls aspirations about the kind of mother we wanted to be. Use pen and paper to write those aspirations down. Pray over them. Discuss them with your spouse or partner. Those with able children, you can choose to include and consult them in your goal setting too. You may be surprised on how your children view your mothering style, vision /values.

It is our prayer that you find the time, energy and resources to do this. We hope you will find the exercise useful and worthwhile. When we meet next time in January 2020, we are offering an opportunity to write those goals down clearly and beautifully during our #visionboard workshop. We will be extending an invitation to our Intentional Parenting Members Club where we share our goals/ visions in a safe space and hold one another accountable.

Look out for updates on instagram stories (intentional_parenting) , facebook and whatsapp

I’m on Instagram as intentional_parenting. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=jdbmpt64mjl&utm_content=3bmfqzz

Mums matter

Mums do matter. A cliche’, yes, it may sound just about that, however, this is today’s theme for peri natal mental health awareness week. The week long campaign serves to raise awareness on this not talked about issue of mental health during and after pregnancy.

Mental health in certain communities is difficulty to talk about because of misunderstandings and misconceptions of vulnerabilities in people. How can you be sad/overwhelmed, unhappy or depressed when you are carrying or having Gods blessing? Yes, our children are just that, blessings. Sometimes those blessings come with challenges.

image from @metro

I remember how excited we were on finding out that we were expecting. Unplanned as it was, we were elated. Soon after, the vomitting commenced and it got worse by the day. By the time we got to second trimester, the plastic bag on my daily commute into work had become my friend. I was literally worn out on daily basis, couldn’t stomach much apart from the TM buns, ham and black tea. I looked forward to the weekend lie ins and not getting out of bed at all.

To a certain extend, I was fortunate to be at home in Zimbabwe ‘surrounded’ by family even though they did not know how to help or support me. The challenge with mental health is that even the sufferer does not know when to seek help because most of the time one is able to just smile through it.

So what are some of the symptoms and signs of pre, peri or post natal mental illness? According to charity mind, around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. The charity goes on to highlight that there are a varied reasons as why one may suffer mental illness, mainly

For us we had a few risk factors such as moving house, quick unplanned transitioning into parenthood, employment pressures as well as general ill- preparedness. We didn’t attend any pre-marital counselling or ante natal classes. We pretty much found ourselves reacting to situations and circumstances instead of being proactive.

When I had our second, the stresses were there as we had moved continents and I was adjusting to being a mature nursing student. Once again the Zimbabwe community of student nurses rallied behind me and supported me through another ordeal with severe morning sickness, tiredness, looking after a pre – schooler and unending assignments.

So what helps with maternal mental health?

-Talking to someone about your feelings help. Its important to let someone know how tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, struggling or sad you are feeling.

You don’t need to self diagnose, if your feelings/ emotions tell you something isn’t right, then talk to someone about it.

As mothers it becomes imperative for us to talk about our mental health with our children so they can learn. The report in the news highlight the worrying increase in children’s mental illness and lack of resources to support this demand.

Faith in action Charity is doing some work with faith communities about supporting members of the congregation who may need support.

Prayer, meditation and mindfulness do help as well. Being able to pray with someone can make a huge difference

Mind is also a good charity to reach out to.

GP’s can help with referrals to support services. Talking therapies is a good service where you can self refer into depending where you live.

Other community services such as midwifery, health visiting and home start are also very good.

Don’t suffer in silence

Don’t smile through it. 💕

Links and resources:

1- Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/#.XMdbnjBKjIV

2-Maternal Mental Health Alliance https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/

3- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/child-and-adolescent-mental-health-services-camhs/

Day 2

IMG_6926

 

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

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

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

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

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. ♥️🙏🏽