By Mayowa Ogundele
We would like to introduce our Mum Of The Month, the founder of Lost In Lagos, a website about everything fun and funky in Lagos. You might presume she is a Lagosian or Nigerian? but no, not really! Let’s just say she is a Lagosian by Choice! Enjoy this exclusive interview with Tannaz Bahnam.
Please introduce yourself?
My name is Tannaz Bahnam and I am the founder of Lostinlagos.com. I’m originally from Iran but grew up in London and the US, but am now a proud Lagosian. I spent three years working for National Georgraphic Magazine, traveling around the world, which is how I ended up in Lagos in 2008. Here I met my soul mate and ended up staying to start a new life as a Lagosian. I have a degree in international Relations and an MA in Diplomatic Studies.
Tell us about your journey from pregnancy to delivery?
Pregnancy was the most amazing and rewarding journey. Luckily I didn’t experience much nausea, so I was able to really enjoy the whole process. I left Lagos when I was 32 weeks to give birth in London, and found that being pregnant in Lagos has a lot of benefits, especially when you are spoilt with additional help. But I also enjoyed walking around London, getting some sort of exercise while pregnant was also really important for me. Bonding with my son while pregnant was also really special, I would read to him every night and play music for him using special natal speakers. But by the ninth month I was suffering! I had a c-section which went smoothly and was painfree.
If you could change one thing about being a mum, what would it be?
I wish I had more time to spend with my son. Trying to balance work and being a mum is challenging but it makes every second with him that much more precious. But the only thing I would really change is the weight gain! lol
What do you love about motherhood?
I love everything, from changing nappies to making him smile, even the torturous sleepless nights are not so bad when he looks up and gives you a smile.
What are the challenges?
The biggest challenge is to balance everything I was doing before while still being there for my son.
One word that describes being a Lagos mum (being a mum in Lagos)?
How do you balance work and family? Does the word “balance” really exist?
At the beginning no, but as he grows older and falls into a routine it makes balancing work and family much easier.
How did you come up with “Lost In Lagos”?
When I first moved to Lagos I found it difficult to find places to go to or places to buy things. Slowly I started discovering that there is a lot of hidden gems and decided to put all my finds into a website, as I found out alsot that many other people weren’t aware of how much you could actually find in Lagos. I also found that the standards of these businesses were not very high and I wanted to create a platform where consumers can review them.
Do you have any other job asides being the founder of LIL?
I also have my own brand of Chai Latte, T-Kup Chai Latte, so I also have to find time to make the chai.
What keeps you going?
For my work is knowing that the site is making life in Lagos more enjoyable for people by providing them with information and helping them discover new places, and for businesses it’s great to know I’m giving them a platform to reach out to people. For my family, just spending time with my husband and little boy gives me strength.
What is your baby’s name? Why did you give him/her the names?
My sons name is Gabriel. We wanted a name that was intercontinental, as my husband is Lebanese. But I love that it also crosses religions, so everyone recognizes that he is a little angel, which he is.
What is the difference between the way you were brought up and the way you will train your child?
I would like to think I will raise my son in the same way I was raised. My mother did an excellent job raising us. But I want to stay open minded and make sure that Gabriel is brought up to respect everyone around him. Morals are very important to me.
What is the weirdest/ funniest thing that has happened to you as a mum?
Although my son is only 4 months old, he has already had a few occasions of exploding out of his diaper and getting it all over me. I guess that is just part of being a mother!
What one thing do you think should never be missing from every home?
I think every home should have a place where the family gets together, whether around the dinning table or coffee table. For us we make sure that every night we eat around the table together.
What educational style works better? Montessori or traditional schooling?
I believe in the traditional way as I’m not very familiar with the Montessori Schooling. I believe in extracurricular activities to keep him active and not sitting in front of the tv.
What would you like your child(ren) to remember about you?
I’d like him to know that I’m hardworking and I don’t like to give-up on anything. I’m very motivated in everything I do, and always try to stay positive.
What scares you most about being a mother?
Everything! As a first time mother, every first is going to be scary and exhilarating at the same time. I always say to myself, that every mother had to go through the trials and tribulations the first time, no mother has experience at being a mother before their first child.
What is one advice you would give to single ladies contemplating marriage?
For me, marriage is the best thing that ever happened to me. I would say that you have to be sure that your partner is the one for you for life.
What lesson has marriage taught you?
The most important lessons are patience and compromise. I used to be very independent, travelled and lived in countries around the world, so being in one place with the same person was new to me, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What do you wish you had known about marriage?
There is nothing I wish I had known, because with every couple their relationship is different and unique, so if someone tells me something about marriage it may not apply to my future. I like having learnt everything about marriage together with my husband.
What is the most important skill that a Lagos mum needs?
I think to be creative is a good skill to have. You have to find ways to keep your family active, but unfortunately there are still few places for children compared to the UK, for example. Socializing with other mums is also a great way to learn more and keep yourself and child busy.
How do you relax as a family? Where is your favourite hangout?
As the founder of Lost in Lagos, relaxing is going out to a café or restaurant for a nice coffee or meal. We love to go for Sunday brunch, and taking my son with us now is part of the experience. We love to go to Bistro 7 for brunch.
What’s your philosophy of life?
My philosophy is to stay positive, everything will come to you if you’re positive and believe in what you’re doing. Patience goes hand in hand with positivity, so if you’re patient, you can stay positive.
Visit Lost In Lagos for a list of places to shop and eat and find events in the city!