Your bundle of joy arrives. Tears cannot stop streaming down your cheeks. At that moment, you swear to yourself, your life starts and ends with this angel sent to you from God. And truly, it does. You live and breath your child. Nothing else matters. We have all been here. It is a wonderful place to be, and for the first couple of years, no other place is exciting or can draw your attention.
For those couple of years, it is where you should be! The baby needs you. You are all that child needs. You are food, protector and teacher all wrapped up in one. Time comes however, when we need to losen the reigns a little. As moms, we sometimes do not know what this time is. The reason why we fail to know or even acknowledge that it is time for us to let our children breath, is because we dropped our lives altogether, once our children appeared in the picture.
What is wrong with this, you ask? First of all, we all need to realise that as much as our children are individuals, we too are individuals. We had a life before our children, and it should never be put on hold because we have our babies. Slowing down, sure. Dropping a couple of things, expected! But not ceasing to live. For one thing, the best way that children learn is by observing how we live our lives. How then, can we give them something to observe, if we are not living these lives?
Let’s look at children. Ever heard of children who complain that their parents smother them? There is love, and then there is smothering our children. Too much ‘love’ becomes a stumbling block in future for our children. In the end, the children then end up blaming, or even hating parents, because they were not allowed to experience living. We get carried away in trying to protect our children that we do not let them grow and experience things. You will not let your child in the kitchen because they might burn themselves. You will not let your child learn how to operate the cooker because, well, fire hazard! You will not let them ride a bike because, God forbid, should they fall and scrape their pretty little knees, your life will fall apart.
Question, do you want your children to have these accidents when they are away from home, or under your roof? Think about that the next time you tell your little one that they cannot go camping because it is not safe, or they cannot go visit their friends lest they get stolen.
Remember, we create the world we want. If you live in fear that something bad will happen to your child, then it will. You do not also want to pass on this irrational fear on to your child, no matter how much you want to protect them. One way or another, they will experience life, and it would be helpful if mommy or daddy had guided them on basics of life, rather than shielding them.
Also, get a life! No, seriously! Don’t let the arrival of your child take living out of the equation. It is the only way you will avoid smothering your child. And from this, they will learn to be good parents and you will be a very happy grandparent, knowing that you contributed to how your grandchildren were brought up.
It has been 7 months since we started our forum, The Kenyan Mom. Following our Motto Share, Learn, Inspire and Get Inspired has led us to the most amazing stories. Heart warming, heart wrenching, encouraging and motivating stories have been shared with everyone. We have grown together to a point that we are fully involved in the family as well as our communities, through community projects.
It is for this reason therefore, that I am humbled to announce that we have been nominated for the Kenya Blog Awards 2013 for the Best New Blog category. If it were not for the support from all of you, our readers and contributors, we wouldn’t have come this far.
Let us continue remembering that we alone can make a difference, by the smallest things we do, an encouraging word here and there as well as lending a hand where we can.
You can find the list of all nominations here: http://www.bloggers.or.ke/voting/ This includes the best of the best which is even more humbling for me and The Kenyan Mom community.
Of all the topics that have generated controversy, this ranks among the top 10 I should think. Even in this day and age where roles, other than child bearing are becoming more and more blurred, you will still find heated debates regarding where contraception responsibility lies. Traditionally, it has been the woman’s role to take care of the household. This means making a castle for her man, and yes, believe it or not, determining the size of her family.
Today’s woman is a working woman. Still, that has not negated the role that society has always bestowed on her. Contraception is no exception. While the world today is looking to make both men and women responsible for the size and quality of family and life, why is it then that men have not taken up the very seemingly basic responsibility of size of family? I have talked to a few men, both single and married, and the general consensus is the same. It is a woman’s responsibility! I disagree.
With the changing times and roles being cross-shared, wouldn’t it be better to know that men are taking an active role in contraception? True, sex is meant to be enjoyed, and I am not going to drum up the ‘no sex before marriage’ song. Everyone has a choice, but with choice comes responsibility. The married men will not even consider the condom as a form of contraceptive. Why? ‘She is my woman. I am faithful to her and she to me.’ Or the infamous one; ‘sex is not as enjoyable with a condom as without.’ I have no argument with that. But, if you and your spouse or partner have agreed on the number of children, is it beyond comprehensible to also take on the responsibility of using a contraceptive or even discussing options with your woman?
Before you shoot me, I am not saying that it’s about time you went in for your vasectomy after child number 3. I’m just saying, research is underway and there are injections and patches that will soon be readily available in the market. You wouldn’t consider that? Right, before you pelt me with stones, there are other contraception methods that are not as dramatic as vasectomy or, God have mercy, the injection. Withdrawal method. You can handle that, no?
So far, we have discussed 3 contraception methods that are available for men.
3. Injections/Patch/Implants (soon to be available in markets)
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Of the women I have spoken to, 90% of them do not discuss the kind of contraception they are on with their men. I understand the single women not doing so, though, I believe a woman has a right to demand that her sexual partner slip on a condom. For obvious and less obvious reasons. But even the married woman is not discussing contraception with her husband! Why? Some say that they have attempted to and it turned awkward. Others say the husband could be less bothered. And from the man’s perspective, the ‘it is not manly’ card flies. But dear men, if you took time to discuss the family, including contraception with your women, then the burden becomes lighter. You would get to know what your woman goes through, in terms of hormonal imbalance or discomforts caused by different kinds of contraceptives. Then she would feel like you are with her on this, through the ecstasy of orgasm as well as the discomfort she has to go through to make the joy of sex with you stress free. After all, the joy of a relationship is sharing, the good and the bad, isn’t it?
Being a mom is hard work. Literally! Picture the cleaning, the cooking and running after children to make sure their noses are clean! This hard work can leave even the most organised, composed mom drained and worse for wear. Your skin can get all kinds of tattered and the state of your hands…? I will not go there. We mamas try. Really, we do. We want to look our best at the end of it all, hopefully look like we did all this without breaking a sweat, or a nail. This means using the best, most affordable skin care products.
Normally, you would need to hop from one beauty shop to another looking for said products and this time does not include your grocery shopping! Enter Nakumatt and Revlon…
Thanks to a Franchise deal, Nakumatt Holdings will now act as Revlon’s local authorised stockists! This means that whatever new products Revlon unveils, Nakumatt unveils as well! Yes ladies, we shall be able to look like Halle Berry (at least as best as we can) thanks to this deal. You are wondering why I’m all open mouthed and happy about it? Well! Picture your usual shopping trip.
It is never easy, yes? Now imagine, you do not have to leave the store in order to get your favorite lip gloss, hand lotion, nail enamel or even foundation! Shop till you are nearly dropping and just before you hit the counter, go pick your skin care product of choice! Clearly, Nakumatt will soon be a fully fledged departmental store.
They have already opened a cosmetic division in Westgate, and next week they will be opening one at their Junction outlet and more to come. We mamas need all possible breaks we can get and having to get our skin care products in the same store where we get our groceries? Bonus! Well in Nakumatt!
Registered in October 2011, the Foundation’s vision is to use strategic means to empower women by providing a forum where Chase Group employees, clients and other stakeholders can play a part in improving the lives of the community at large.
Chase Group Foundation has been involved in amazing projects including Donating to various Children’s Homes in Nairobi and other Branch areas as well as rehabilitation of the Kikuyu Hospital Maternity Ward. Amazing, right? So, back to the current campaign.
We at Kenyan Mom have always believed that safe motherhood not only positively impacts the community but also plays a part in encouraging mothers-to-be and providing assistance and advice where necessary. That is why this campaign touches us very deeply. The Stand Up for African Mothers campaign in partnership with AMREF aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015 with an aim to contribute towards reduction of maternal deaths by 25%.
Statistically 200,000 mothers die every year due to a lack of simple medical care. 1.5 million African children are left motherless each year and 40% of African women do not receive prenatal care. That plus more than half of all deliveries take place at home without medical assistance! This is unacceptable! Not when most of these lives can be changed, through simple acts like proper pre-natal and post-natal care! And that is why The Kenyan Mom and all our friends are going to support this cause because it touches us deeply.
On 9th of February 2013, the Foundation will host a fundraising walk and fun day at the Ngong Road Forest. This will be a family event allowing for all that participate in the walk to enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful Ngong Forest. Entertainment and children’s games will be on site throughout the day. Food and soft drinks will be available at a small fee. See! This cannot even be called exercise! It’s more of fun for a really awesome cause my friends.
The Foundation also has merchandise on sale, with all the proceeds going to Foundation! Every day, we will highlight various merchandise on Twitter as well as Facebook. The best part about these neatly branded merchandise is you can buy online. Even better, you can pledge as little as Kshs.50, becaused we believe every penny counts! So go on, tell your friends about this wonderful cause and I will see you all on the 9th of February at 8:00am for some fun!
It’s Christmas. It has been since 2nd December 2012. I mean, let’s face it. We love the holidays. So much so that we would not mind having a holiday to celebrate holidays. Come December, therefore, our collective mood sky-rocket. You can feel it in the air. People have a renewed bounce. Faces shine. The sun glares. And if you are not yet there, shop windows are painted appropriately to get you there in a hurry.
You would think with the hoopla about the Mayan Calendar ‘end of the world’ thing the spirits would be toned down some. You would be wrong. If you are like me, and are sometimes freaked out by the slightest hint of the world as we know it coming to an end (no, seriously, I love this world with all it’s ups and downs) you probably went on a reading spree. To know what they were talking about. If you are like me again, you probably got so confused by all the myths, confusion, contradiction and mind boggling information that you slammed your reading device shut and went for a long walk and had a long talk with God, advising him that this would not be an appropriate time to end the world, what with Christmas and New Year holidays coming up.
Either way, I am not going to worry about these Mayan fellows. Last I read, the end of their calendar meant that they were going to collect all the Crystal Skulls together so that all the information of ages that had been stored in said skulls would be brought together and we can then… bla… bla…. bla. Come to think of it, we had the same noise about some guy who had done some math and determined that the world was coming to an end. What is it with these people? Are they that bored with the world? Or perhaps they have some other place to be? If not, I can think of a few ways they can make their lives more exciting. Perhaps join Twitter or Farmville (does that one still exist?).
So here’s the deal. I am not going to put my life on hold waiting for the world to end. I have plans you know…. What plans you ask? On 23rd or thereabouts, Junior and I are going to look for Santa in one of those large malls and I also intend to go swinging on the monkey bars at the said malls. People who send me presents had better continue sending me presents, both for Christmas and New Year’s. Goats and sheep will continue to fall this season and we shall eat, drink and make merry, just like we do every other year. Then come New Year, we are going to look at our budgets, our pockets, sit in a corner and cry over the amount of money we spent during the season and quickly draft our New Year’s resolutions which, with any luck, will last till 8th of January 2013 and then…… Complete the sentence with what you will be doing.
So, Happy Holidays my friends. See you on the other side of the NOT Mayan Calendar. Say… If this calendar is over, what will the Mayans use? But wait, the Mayans no longer exist, so they probably don’t need it anyway, yes?
I am a mother. I know the joys, thrills, triumphs and even the tears of a mother. If you think you have seen it all, talk to a mother. Her journey is never complete, and is never the same for different children. I love spending time interacting with other moms because the stories I get to gather makes me realise that we all seem to take an almost similar journey, variations being near impossible to point out.
A few weeks ago, my journey in search of new stories and experiences led me to Pumwani Maternity Hospital. Circumstances that played out leading me here are quite interesting, but that is a story for another day. I don’t know what I expected, especially considering the tales I had heard from the rumor mills. All I can say is I was pleasantly surprised. Right from the gate, I was greeted by very cheerful guards. I didn’t know where I was going or why I was there. I just knew I was meant to be there at that particular time.
My first stop was at the Assistant Matron’s Office. Very pleasant woman, who took time to talk to me even though I did not have an appointment. I did talk to various other officials, including the Hospital Superintendent’s Assistant and The Hospital Secretary. All of whom were very helpful. The common theme that seemed to keep occurring to me is that moms in this hospital require our help. Most moms coming here are destitute. This means that sometimes they will not be able to pay their bills, and the hospital will have no choice but to waive these costs. Others do not have the necessary items required by new moms and it becomes very difficult for them as they start their journey to motherhood.
You can imagine how heart broken I was by the stories I got to gather. I left the hospital, promising to do something, no matter how small, as an attempt to alleviate the suffering of these moms. I spoke to a few of my mom friends, and they too were touched by the story, and we decided we should pay a visit to these moms, and perhaps bring along some items that they may need, including Pampers, Nappies, Sanitary Towels and Baby Clothes.
The Kenyan Mom and friends will therefore be officially visiting moms at Pumwani Maternity Hospital on 12th December 2012 from 10:00am. We will take a few items to them and also see if we can get friends to help us clear hospital bills, for destitute moms.
I am still looking for company, together with donations where possible. I would love to hear from you. If you would like to contribute in any way or be part of the visiting group, please let me know on the comments section or at email@example.com or donate through the MPesa Buy Goods Menu, Till Number 89846
What would the world be if we do not take time to help one another?
I love to cook. Seriously! I do! I even have a schedule of what to cook when. Which is no shocker because my life is governed by schedules. Without them, everything runs amock. Cooking has a grounding, calming effect, and it is one of those artistic activities where you get to eat the art at the end. Besides, my household loves to eat. A lot. But, like everyone else I know, I also love eating out. Sometimes I just want to sit and have this scrumptious meal, that I did not prepare, served to me. Sitting back and enjoying. We however know the pitfalls of eating out. Sometimes the budget does not allow or we end up overdoing it, especially if you are like me who has more than one person to think about when it comes to eating out.
After a few experiments of my own, these are the general rules I go by. Because, it would be nice to eat out for one but who wants to eat out and then get back home and cook?
Eating Out Out
Eating Out Out
Going out is one of those family activities that everyone in my household cherishes. Getting out of routine, playing, eating and generally lazing about. The best way to approach this is to have a couple of malls handy, that you determine as your going out, eating out spots. There is a boy called Junior, who will require full on entertainment and hand-picking malls well in advance enables me know which ones will keep him well occupied with kiddie related activities. Malls are also good because they sell the ‘sin’ foods at reasonable prices. I allow these. You know, the greasy, pizza, fries, burgers and sodas that you know you are not supposed to eat but you just can’t help yourself! We all deserve such treats and my household is not any different.
Eating Out In
Eating Out In
Spoiling myself. And my household. With the nice, rich properly prepared meals. Like Chinese or Thai or Ethiopian Cuisines. These meals do not come cheap. But here is a secret. The best way to have these is by ordering in. That is what I am calling Eating Out In. When you are served one helping of this meal in the particular restaurant, you are bound to clean out your plate. But did you know that sometimes the individual portions are quite large and can actually be eaten by two people? I thought it was a coincidence at first. But over and over again, I have noticed that these meals, once ordered in end up serving as left overs for another day. You eat exotic, do not spend too much money and in the comfort of your own home.
It takes time to come up with rules that work well with you and your family. So long as you are looking to improve the quality of your household, these do come with time. Which other rules work best for you, whether in a family setting or as an individual?
And Why We Need To Celebrate The Heroes of Motherhood and Maternal Healthcare.
If there is one thing I intend to leave behind as a legacy, it is my support for anyone or any organisation that supports mother and child or creates awareness or even is out to protect mother and child. And how could I not? I have spent a good number of my adult years seeking ways to create awareness and bringing moms together to discuss issues that plague them from social, economic and health related.
I suppose that is why Karma brought CARMMA my way. See why that heading is the way it is? I believe in Karma, both good and bad. And whatever you give out, it comes back to you. So you are wondering who CARMMA are? CARMMA (Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa) is an organisation that is looking to expand the availability and use of universally accessible quality health services, including those related to sexual and reproductive health that are critical for the reduction of maternal mortality. This campaign was launched in May 2009. Why their strategy is so exciting is that they are not looking to develop new strategies and plans. Rather, they recognise that strategies are already in place so their main aim is to ensure coordination and effective implementation of the existing ones.
CARMMA is today launching their spanking new and very informative website http://www.carmma.org/ and you really should look at it. 2 hours down the line and I am not even half done going through the information. And the beauty about this site? They are collecting live success stories that aim to bring together in one place evidence and information on maternal, newborn and child survival across the continent. Stories from your local midwife, doctor, a mom in the village… name it! If it is a story that is going to strengthen this campaign, it gets published in the site. Is this awesome or what?! You want to meet the champions that are working to give African mothers and their babies a future? Then go to http://www.carmma.org/ and keep going there. Because stories will keep adding and the more we read about these stories, the more encouraged we feel which means the more we get to do something. The effect of Karma, no?
“The MDGs cannot be achieved without a substantial reduction in maternal, infant and child mortality… We need to increase our efforts in order to turn these decisions into action and to make our aspirations become a reality.” – Adv. Bience P. Gawanas, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs (November, 2011)
Even better, why don’t we identify individuals and send in stories, detailing their local, national or continent-wide maternal survival champions. There are many men and women, health workers, officials, community leaders as well as political leaders that are, on a day-to-day basis, working to save the lives of women and children. You know them, don’t you? I know I do. They are your local politician, the nurses, midwives and doctors, that devoted teacher who wakes up at the crack of dawn to do her/his job, the upcountry clinic, that motorcycle man who woke up in the middle of the night to take a woman in labor to hospital… You see how noble this one is?
So how do you get that story out or you would like assistance in compiling the story? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Join this army of champions as we collectively say, Africa Cares: No woman should die while giving life!
Three years running. Pun and all. And if there is one thing I have learn’t from this running exercise, determination is key. That gets you in the right frame of mind for preparation. Because believe it or not, you do need to prepare. Yes, I am talking about the Stanchart Nairobi Marathon. It doesn’t matter if you were born running or you are in the Ninja crew, whether you are doing a short race or the long one, preparation is key! I’ve done 3 years to know that for a fact.
This year, I did manage to shave off 15 minutes from my last year’s running time! It is important to keep such milestones with you. They give you reason to celebrate and a purpose to do it all again the next year. Someone asked me what it takes to tackle the greatest race on earth, and I say to you;
Train and Hydrate
Train and Hydrate
Like I said, it doesn’t matter whether you were born running, if you are going to do a serious run, and I imagine you are, then you do need some sort of training. Even if you are running for fun, you still need it! Start with once a week. Build on that. Give your body time to adjust. Not only will you be training for the race but you will also be working on your overall health. 2 birds with one stone. A month prior to the race, hydrate! I mean take water. Tons of it. Remember that wise counsel that you never heed from nutritionists? The one where you are supposed to drink 8 glasses of water? It’s time to listen and drink. Get a cute water bottle and carry it wherever you go. Your body will thank you on the day. Plus you minimize the stops you need to make at water points. Thus, saving running time and energy.
Gear Up Right
Gear Up Right
I’ll try and keep my cool here as much as I can. For the few years I have been running, I have seen all sorts of running gear pop into my field of view. And I am telling you right now, get the right outfit for running. Seriously, if you don’t know where you can get reasonably priced running gear, talk to me. I’ll hook you up. But please, ditch the jeans! You are not going dancing! Those huge rack sacks? Drop them! You are not going camping for crying out loud. Handbags? Noooo! Heels? Are you kidding me? And ladies, invest in a good sports bra. You will thank me later. And your boobs will thank you as well.
We all know that it is in every human to want to show off, especially when there is a big crowd somewhere. I am however telling you, when you go running, concentrate. This is not the time to show off your posh running style. True, you spent hours doing make up and dousing perfume on your lovely self. Chances are, however that none of that is doing you any good after 30 minutes of running. So just concentrate! If you are like me, you use running as a thinking platform. You know, rebuilding that chicken business that I have been wanting to start, counting eggs and selling chicken meat…. you get my point. This is energy that you are consuming, believe it or not. What helps is having a collection of ‘feel good’ music in my player. If a good audio book is your thing, use that as well. Remember, you need to conserve as much energy as possible. Your muscles need it more on this day.
If you have been running, you have seen these people who, on the fire of the gun, take off like the finish line is moving. It’s all good but what happens is, a few meters down, you pass them and they are nearly passing out. Pace yourself. You do not want to pass out before the race has even begun. Can you imagine? You went for the Marathon and ended up in a first aid post or an ambulance? There goes your bragging rights… You also want to be alive the following day, especially if you have to report to work! Respect your body. Listen to it. If it says slow down, then do it. That is why the first point of Train is important. They you are in total sync with your body. Treat it right and you will never dread another race ever.
Above all, have fun! Celebrate after completion! After all, you just participated in the Greatest Race On Earth!
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Handy Cleaning Tips
Coffee Stains In Mugs
I love my coffee mugs. I like them stain free. To remove that nasty brown ring inside, I use Wet a cloth. Put some baking soda and then rub the insidewith it. If the marks are stubborn, soaking overnight in hot water and baking soda helps.