Umi Spotlight: Sharon Osaji

A mum in Lagos

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, Sharon Osaji shares so much of her encounter on this journey of parenting. From her experience with healthcare, to her journey through depression and what God and google did for her (and is still doing for her). You will learn a lot from this chat. Read 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)?
Basically raising them up in the fear of God and with the Bible as a standard. This is something my parents didn’t joke with and thankfully, I can see the fruits in my own life. It’s the most important thing I can pass on to my kids, especially in a time like this.

What about your upbringing would you prefer not to repeat with your own journey as a parent?
From the shoutings, to the beatings and everything in between, we all know how it was growing up those days in an African home. Specifically, what my parents didn’t do that I have taken it upon my self to do in my own home is, communicating with my kids. Not everything is beating and shutting them up, you’ll be surprised how much these kids know and how desperately they need our guidance to help them navigate through life. Secondly, is to consciously identify their strengths and weaknesses, nurture them young and help them become the best versions of themselves while being comfortable and happy with who they are and their uniqueness.

What attributes of yours or that of your husband have you began to see in your kids?
Ah, this one is everything. My son is a complete carbon copy of my husband in character and looks when he was a child, and my daughter is same for me. She even sucks the exact same fingers I used to suck as a child. Her attitude and everything in between is giving younger Sharon. I can’t even get upset when she does some things cause I see myself in her. It’s surreal.

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?
Postpartum was hell for me after my first pregnancy. I hated how I looked, I had added over 30kg, I struggled so much with breastfeeding and a second degree tear, coupled with an episiotomy. I even completely stopped taking pictures because I never liked the result. I was actually slowly sliding into depression and was kinda disconnected from my baby. But in the third week or so after birth, I had an encounter and felt the Holy Spirit reaching out to me in one of my devotions. It felt like he desperately wanted to help me and I took his hand and he pulled me out from that pit. Same day, I felt an overwhelming love for my baby and that was the beginning of a great friendship with my little one. Subsequent pregnancies have been very easy and I slowly learned to love me again, while still working on my body through exercise and eating healthy.

How do you relax? What is self care for you?
Shopping will forever be a detox for me 😄
Going to new places and trying out new food excites me. Spending quality time with my husband and kids; I wouldn’t trade that for anything and of recent, I started going to the gym and I’m loving it. Lastly, spending time in God’s presence has a way of rejuvenating me afresh all the time. That’s basically how I relax.

What do you miss most about your life before kids?
My body! Except that, nothing really.

What was the best advice you got about being a mother to your kids?
I actually learnt on the job after I became a mum. It was me, God and Google on this journey 😅

How would you describe your parenting style?
I don’t think I have a parenting style. There’s no hard and fast type to this parenting thing. Some days it looks like you’re on top of your game, other days it looks like you don’t even know what you’re doing. But with the help of the Holy Spirit I’m just taking it one day at a time and beating myself up too much.

How do you discipline your kids (instead of beating them)?
For discipline, I still spank them but I always let them know what they have done wrong. I always have them apologise to each other when they fight and understand the consequences of their actions. Then most of all I do a lot of talking o, a lot.

What's your happiest childhood memory?
I have so many happy moments from growing up. Whenever the whole family (my dad, mum, my siblings and I) were together, things must always occur, and I’d forever cherish my parents for giving and doing their best to raise my siblings and I.

What would you prefer your children’s memory of their childhood be?
I want my kids to look back many years from now, and deeply cherish my husband and I, and be so proud to call us their parents, knowing that we raised them in the right way. I want them to have many fun times and always have a reason to come back home with a smile on their faces.

Who are you, aside being a mum?
I’m a Christian, a wife,
I’m a journalist, a communications expert, a voice over artist and also a host. I love seeing my works come to life and making impact, especially when I write or when my strategies are implemented and businesses see good results. I’m also an entrepreneur, I co-own a paint manufacturing company and currently working on another business that should launch soon by God’s grace

What was your experience with healthcare when you were pregnant and during the delivery of your kid(s)?
Nigeria has one of the worst healthcare for maternal and childcare. I saw premium shege with my first pregnancy until I was able to find a good hospital that I was comfortable with for the others. For the records, I visited 4 different hospitals for my first baby, in different parts of the state, so I know what I’m talking about when I say many of these hospitals do not know what they are doing and lives are being lost unnecessarily.

What are your thoughts on family planning? Did you plan your kids or did you just go with the flow?
Na Jesus be our family planner 😂
Ok lemme be serious, I’m very scared of using any family planning method as I have seen people with very bad experiences. So, I use the Flo app to track my cycle and know my safe and not so safe periods and that has worked well for me for years now, plus a sprinkle of “the blood of Jesus” here and there. But everyone can do what they’re comfortable with.

If you could do something different about your choice of career and family life, what would it be?
I don’t think I’d change anything, rather I’d start doing business early enough and not allow fear keep me from pursuing my dreams.

What advice(s) do you have for new mums in Africa?
Although times are changing, motherhood will always be a blessing. For the fact that our bodies are capable of birthing a whole human, means that we’re no less than superheroes and we can be anything and achieve anything we set our minds to. With God by our side, we’re unstoppable.

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