Umi Spotlight: Mercy Ohiona Rotimi

A mum in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

With Umi Spotlight, we are sharing the best of what other mothers have figured out both in their motherhood journey and in life.

On this edition, we are let into Mercy Rotimi’s world of parenting; her proudest moment including how herself and her husband are making the long distance marriage and parenting work, among other things. Find out more about her here

Going back to the way you were raised, are there any styles of parenting or traditions your parents raised you with that you now also do with your kid(s)?
Growing up, my parents gave their instructions, enforced their rules but took our feelings into consideration. They weren't authoritarians but authoritative which ought to be so as to create an atmosphere of reverence between parents and children despite being considerate.
Being a mother now, I try to give my rules "don't do this or that", "drop it", "you can't have that now but this". Knowing my toddler needs something to munch at the moment but requesting for something unhealthy, I won't just shun him. I rather provide a better option for him. In scenarios where he's doing something harmful, I scold appropriately because I can't leave him to harm himself while assuming he's just a toddler, he'll get hurt. I believe parenting is just about punctual appropriateness.

What about your upbringing would you prefer not to repeat with your own journey as a parent?
I loved how I was raised, it instilled contentment, proactiveness and resilience in me and I'll like to raise my kids too in such manner and do it in a better and advanced way.

What attributes of yours or that of your husband have you began to see in your kids?
My husband is a very calm being. I see the same wave of calmness in our son. And I most times, observe when I get to a new environment before engaging. I see my toddler do just that too because he's most times active at home with us(his parents) but so so reserved out there.

What was postpartum like for you? Did you have help? Were there any complications with your mental and physical health? And if there was, how did you deal with it?
I had my husband, mum and brother around though they all returned to their base one after the other and I was left with my baby. During postpartum, I always wanted a perfect environment, I complained at every slight observation and I always wanted meals prepared by me. All these were draining but that was what I wanted (lol). Looking back, I thank God all these are my family members and they curbed my excesses so well.

How do you relax? What is self care for you?
I surf the Internet, watch entertaining and enlightening reels, munch on tasty snacks, get some nap and feel so good.

What do you miss most about your life before kids?
I miss being flexible such that I could go for meetings, outings, events, programs without him being clingy. Most times when I go for events, even church services, I spend time giving him attention. He wants this, he's not comfortable with that, he needs a change of diaper and so on.

What was the best advice you got about being a mother to your kids?
"Be your kids' best friend". I'm putting in great effort into it already. With God's help, I'll definitely achieve it.

How would you describe your parenting style?
I'm an authoritative parent. Don't get me wrong, I am not authoritarian. I set clear rules and expectation. I solve problems and I create room for communication not neglecting to state natural consequences of actions.

What about motherhood and parenting do you still struggle with?
As the day goes by, I get better. The notable struggle is about my toddler eating all homemade meals. He eats some and rejects some. We hope to scale through this soon.

How do you discipline your kids (instead of beating them)?
I deny him access to what he loves(not food maybe play gadget) at that moment.

What's your happiest childhood memory?
Hanging out with other children in the family.

What would you prefer your children’s memory of their childhood be?
Having this togetherness as a family, doing things together as siblings, playing games together, creating things together, supporting and assisting each other all the time. Just togetherness.

What is your proudest moment so far as a mum?
My baby of 17 months slept without diapers. He woke up and started making some sounds of discomfort. I thought he wanted food so I was offering him one but he was still uncomfortable. Now pointing to the toilet, he came down from the bed and immediately messed up himself. This made me emotional; he didn't want to mess up the bed so he was pointing to the toilet so that I could help him there but I didn't decode in time. I was super proud of him.

Who are you, aside being a mum?
I'm an Accountant, Business person and an Entrepreneur. I'm lovable, so kind and caring but I don't like being taken for granted.

What was your experience with healthcare when you were pregnant and during the delivery of your kid(s)?
I registered for my antenatal first in a private hospital(which I stopped using at a point and they didn't deem it fit to check on me even after payment), then a government teaching hospital. I enjoyed the classes because they were expository. We had so much teachings, lectures as well as practicals like exercises and check up. I later proceeded to register in another private hospital which was what I really wanted. I loved the atmosphere, the environment and the ooze of positivity I got . I started attending antenatal where they prepared us emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It all ended in praise.

How are you making long distance marriage work for you? The romance, parenting and the companionship; how are you guys making it work?
Communication is a tool that is so so powerful. I and my husband communicate a lot and any one who has come in close contact with us know that so well. We use WhatsApp calls most times which is more cost efficient on the Smile network. We put our phones on active calls, sometimes forget we are on call, get busy with other activities and we'll come back to see the call is still reading. That's how it is, I'm not exaggerating. To communicate effectively, some small but useful gadgets are important such as power bank and ear pods. You might not want to connect your phone to direct light while on call or holding the phone might be stressful and you might not want to put your call on speaker too. Hence these tools are necessary. You might ask, what do are we talking about all the time? (lol). We've made ourselves besties so we share ideas, constructive views, discuss, argue, make points clear, run our business, share our schedules for the day and follow up on each others schedule. If he sends me his work schedule for the week, I know when he's at work so I know we'll go incommunicado then but at break, we talk again. He knows my free time too so he doesn't call until then. Communication keeps the relationship going so so sweet.

What are your thoughts on family planning? Did you plan your kids or did you just go with the flow?
Nah nah nah, we aren't just going with the flow o. We carefully calculate and plan wisely. Every child deserves a beautiful life.

If you could do something different about your choice of career and family life, what would it be?
I wish that I had done everything that I am doing earlier than now.

What advice(s) do you have for new mums in Africa?
My advice to new mums is to "just be you." Don't get pressurized by the society or by material things for kids. Just make sure your kids looks good. You don't have to break your bank accounts or go borrowing or buy on credit to make your kids look good. Work with your budget. Children are naturally beautiful. Just keep them neat. Don't be pressurized by the development of your child; sitting, crawling, standing, walking, babbling, talking e.t.c; they will get there. Stop the comparison, but be vigilant. If the child has passed a particular age and has not achieved the milestone for that age as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there might be an underlying illness. Else, don't be perturbed; everything beautiful comes at its best time.

 
 
 



 
 

 

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