Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi : A passion for purposeful parenting

Most children are back to school and some parents are heaving a sign of relief, the fact is that whether your children are at home in school your job as a parent is never quite done. Perhaps this is why Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi the CEO of Gleekin school supply store decided to get more parenting skills and become a parenting coach. In this piece Toyin shares some of her tips for  working mothers, please read, share and leave your comments as well. 

My name is Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi, I am a Psychologist and a parenting coach, my mission is to equip parents with the necessary practical and educative tools that will enable them develop effective parenting skills and create a deep bond with their children that will transpire in raising confident and happy children.

Parenting is a privilege we should never take for granted. God has given us these children as a gift and he has given us a mandate to train them in the way they should go and they will not depart from the training when they are older.

The journey to becoming a parent should start before getting married. You are to discuss with your spouse (your fiancé then)your expectations regarding your children ,the parenting style you would like to deploy, your career, your support system amongst many other things.

Most of us became parents without preparing for it, the only information we got from our parents or older ones was how to feed and take care of our children’s physical needs, we were not told or taught about their emotional, psychological and even spiritual needs.Parenting effectively is about being deliberate and intentional. Knowing why you are a parent and knowing how you would go about it.

To a working mother and like all mothers parenting could be tasking, frustrating and guilt ridden however parenting is also fun, entertaining, joyful and unpredictable. Below are some simple tips to making your journey easier and worthwhile without feeling guilty about working.

Start with the end in mind.

The first step is to begin with the end in mind .This means starting with a plan and asking yourself certain questions. Questions such as; what type of parent do you want to be? how many hours will you be away from home? how many children do you want to have? how many children can you cope with? What type of children do you want to raise? (children with a Godly view or a worldly view) where would you be working (government, private sector or for self) where would you live ? which school would your children attend? would you be having a support system (Family members, Housekeeper, nanny etc.). For mothers with older children it is not too late to have a plan, start now.

Work with a schedule

Having a daily schedule is very important, it will make your day simpler and you will be able to do all that is necessary. Your schedule should not be limited to a daily routine but can also be a monthly or weekly routine. Raising children with routine and schedule gives them a sense of security and help them to develop self-discipline.

Have a good support system

It is very important to have a great support system. This system could be your immediate family members or paid employees like a housekeeper, nanny or driver. They are to assist you to make your life easy not to take your role as a parent, you are therefore not to outsource your parenting functions to them. Always let them know their job description so you do not have to stress over them too. For the paid employee always do a background check so you know who you are leaving your children with at home. If you do not want to hire employees but still need a support system, get a good school that has an excellent afterschool services that will be capable to take care of your children till you close or if you have family in close proximity they may be willing to help.

Love, care and trust

You have to show love and care to your children to earn their trust. Children need your presence much more than presents as love has nothing to do with showering them with material possession and presents but everything to do with attention, touch, hugs, talks and being available to them .

Family time is of utmost importance              

Your work should never take over all your time you cannot be too busy for your family especially your children. Create family time and spend time with your children so you can always know what is happening to them. Have a play date with them, time you take them to the park, for swimming or a lunch date.be deliberate about it. For me I have a day that I take my daughter to the spa where we both go for pedicure and later for ice cream. With the boys, we could go to the cinemas or for football. Special times like this are for bonding and will always be in their memories.

Always try your best to be present for school activities.

This is very important, always be available for their school programmes and presentation, these are special opportunities to bond and also to know how they are academically. If you will not be available do tell your children and explain to them why you would not be available and if possible get a family member to stand in. Please do not promise to be there if you know you would not be there , if you do this your integrity will be at stake and they will have a tough time believing anything you tell them.

Utilize every free time to bond with your children.

For my family we use our time in the car to catch up on our daily activities, family bible time and to talk about the country and the world in general. You can also use the dinner time when everyone is at the table to have some conversation. Use your weekend effectively, have wonderful family time.

Make sure you are a good role model

You are the first role model that your children will have. The man or woman you want your children to be is the one he or she sees daily. Our children learn more by observation and modelling so as a parent, the character and moral you want to instil in your children should be exhibited and modelled by you. If you realize you are defaulting in any character, please do not worry just make a conscious and deliberate effort to acquire or develop it . Always remember that you cannot give what you do not have.

Do not neglect to give sex education

This is another area of parenting that is very key, with the rise in cases of children being molested and raped, we need to educate our children about sex. We need to give them a proper orientation and also be there to answer questions related to this, please do not shy away from this as if you don’t teach them the wrong people may teach with erroneous information. When my children were younger sex education was a daily discussion in the bathroom. I always ensure I  lay emphasis on their knowledge of the private and public parts of their body so that they know no one is to touch them. For working mothers this education is very important because you would always have to leave your children in the care of others.

There are many more tips for working mothers however the most important is for them to be purposeful, intentional and deliberate in what they are doing. To love their children and to be physically and emotionally available to them .

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