Why should I continue to read/learn about parenting?

Africans are the strongest and toughest people I know. And I may be biased because I am African, but I revere the strength and the tenacity of Africans. African mums are even more exceptional. And it doesn’t help that we are known as “strong black women,” which means we are able to withstand anything. A lot of time we intentionally want to live to the expectation. Our instinct is superb and our strength is palpable. So, why subject ourselves to all these training, reading and resources for parenting?

No two children are the same. The experience of mums in the West is oftentimes a mile apart from the experience of African mums, so reading North-America-centric research may not provide comprehensive insight commensurate with our experiences. And then there are all these communities for parents, where people just complain, whine, brag and tell selfish stories about themselves and their children. Who does that help?

Well…

Parenting is a complex job. Motherhood is a universe of so many parallels. No two days are the same. And even though you might have helped raise cousins, siblings, nieces and nephews, raising your own kid(s) is a totally different ball game. Yet, it is a life that one is never truly prepared for. You do not exactly become a mother the minute you have a baby. Motherhood is conferred on you when you continually seek out ways to take good care of your kids, yourself and your family. Motherhood does not come to you only because of your instinct. As a matter of fact, your instinct for motherhood can be trusted based on knowledge, experiences and good counsel.

This is where all the resources, research, mentorship and community comes in.

Resources (like this one) are meant to give you weekly, or daily tips on what to do better. And to validate all your efforts to be the best mum to your adorable one(s). They may not look like a lot, some of it may not resonate with you. But you will find one, on a day when you least expect it, that hits you in all the right places and helps you to carry on and feel absolutely right about yourself and your journey. That is the reason I keep writing (even on days when I feel fatigued).

Existing research (some of those links I refer to) are to give you a broader perspective on so many areas of parenting, motherhood, and family life. It helps to know that although certain details might be different in our experiences as mothers, our overall experiences, questions and concerns are somewhat similar. Research also predicts what might happen in the future, which I think is something worth paying attention to if we want to do a good job of preparing our kids for the future.

Mentorship is my favourite one. Yes, no two mothers’ experiences are the same. However, there are mothers who have walked the same path, made some mistakes, learnt some lessons, discovered so many things and have become better at it. And I strongly believe that “experience is the best teacher.” But they don’t have to be your personal experience. You can learn from what mothers of older kids have figured out and become the best version of yourself. This is applicable to all areas of life. Even though you know your kid(s) better, you will learn a great deal from having a mentor. This is the basis for the Umi Mentorship Program.

Community is for daily support and more intimate interactions. If you use it well, a community of people on the same journey as yours is supposed to get you clarity on your journey, find people whose values align with yours and who can have the depth of conversation that is the right amount for you. A community is meant to charge you up, motivate you and make you better. And then there is the sense of belonging, knowing that you are not alone. It’s wonderful really. This is why we have Umi Circle, an intimate private community for mums. For more details about it and how you can join, send me an email.

For every job you would ever take, you would have some form of training, either formal or informal. You might have to go to school or take some courses. However, marriage and parenting are not like that. And yet, they are more important than any job you would ever take. This is the reason you need as many meaningful resources, research, mentorship and community as you can get. If you are trying to rewrite history, trying to do parenting better than it was done for you or you just want kids who are wholesome in every way, you would take advantage of this means. They are not a waste.

And they can never be too much. And at the end of the day, it is going to be worth it. I promise you.

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