Our LagosMums Mum of the month this October has definitely been through a lot and still came out strong. Feyi Mbanugo has a wealth of experience having been an event planner, interior decorator, media personality, an amazing chef, a lovely wife and a mum. She recounts passionately her experience from meeting her husband to marriage, pregnancy and parenthood in this very interesting and emotional interview. She shows us that life does not always give you what you expect, but in all you can rise above.
Please tell us your name?
My full name is Obafeyikemi Mbanugo
How long have you been married? How did you meet your husband?
I’ve been married for nine years this November. My story is rather bittersweet, my husband and I were introduced by a friend of ours called Itse Ikomi. We had both approached him separately about introducing us to someone because we had both just left relationships. We met and hit it off, just at the time we decided to get married Itse unfortunately passed away so wasn’t there to witness what he had brought together.
What are the different hats that you wear?
Right now my full job title is MAMA – this was a hard one for me as I have always done different things. I’ve been in events, decorating, media and now I just finished culinary school. I was about to go into cooking when I had to turn my chef coat in and reply to a higher calling of looking after my children. So for now my full time job title is Mum which is a pretty big job title lol as I’m CEO, CFO and CBN all rolled in one….hahaha.
What are your children’s names?
Hmm names now that’s a heavy one ok so my first son is called KOBICHUKWU (Kaobichikwura) – how big is the heart of God! Our princess is called Onyekamarachukwu – who knows more than God! Then our mighty little man is Kaitochukwu – let us praise God!
Why did you give them these names?
Funny enough I found all these names on the internet believe it or not. I had decided when I got pregnant that I would give my children Igbo names as for me it was a whole new world of names. I was excited about looking for them and finding the meanings. It was a very interesting journey and we came about so many names but when I saw the name KOBICHUKWU I just fell in love and I showed my husband and he liked it to and that was that. From there is got stuck on K names lol and the trend followed with my other two. They all have Yoruba names and Hebrew names too.
Tell us about your motherhood journey?
Motherhood wasn’t easy for me, as a young girl you have all these dreams about getting married and getting pregnant and it will all be a walk in the park but that wasn’t the reality of it for us. We got married and not long after I got pregnant and we were so excited as we found out it was twins. I was so shocked as I hadn’t taken any supplements or had any help but lo and behold twins. I don’t think you could have found more excited parents. Immediately I started a baby book and wrote my thoughts and feelings and all ate and spoke to them every day. During that pregnancy I was quite ill and one day I started feeling pains, before I knew it I was in the hospital and that was my first miscarriage at 10 weeks.
From there it was downhill, I would get pregnant again and the excitement would creep in and before I knew GBAM another miscarriage. It was very heart breaking the second time. For the first time you think maybe this is just a one off but the second time you are like whoa hold on. The third time I took a little longer getting pregnant but then boom pregnant again and another set of twins. Hmm now we carried these twins a little longer and I think I told my cousin Aderike Shonekan that these ones we would hold and she would be God mum, again the excitement and again nothing.
By this time the tests had started and the agonising pain in my heart, my husband’s anxiousness, pain of seeing other people carrying their children. It was hard but somehow I still kept my faith as I knew in my heart I would be a mum. We got pregnant three more times and lost them all at this time hubby was like no more he can’t do it! That we will go and adopt that there are so many children that need homes.
So we started on that route and started visiting Living Fountain Orphanage, what a wonderful time, we bonded with the owner and loved the kids and visited everyday. It really filled the hole in my heart but God knew more… lol… we found a little boy that we fell in love with and wanted to start the process of adoption but again that road was closed to us as someone else had put a request for the baby first and it felt like another loss but God knew more than we did as I mourned again.
I started feeling ill and down, not knowing that I was already almost three months pregnant with our first miracle KOBICHUKWU and that’s why his name is so important because really who knows more than God!! NOBODY
Are there any challenges as a Mum you can share with us?
I tell people being a mum is the hardest job in the world and you don’t get paid for it. It’s long hours and many sleepless nights. For me my challenge is trying to organise everyone and make sure they are well behaved and well rounded. I have very active children and sometimes they make me want to tear my hair out..lol… so my challenge is trying to channel that energy in a positive way.
[Tweet “being a mum is the hardest job in the world and you don’t get paid for it”]
What biggest lessons have you learnt from motherhood?
I have learnt that you can’t always expect perfection. There are some days when you just have to let the house get messy. Let them be children and be who God wants them to be. Also I have learnt that life throws you curveballs, things you never ever dream of or expect can be thrown your way.
How do you encourage your children?
Hmm at the moment my eldest Kobi is my biggest concern. He is a very sensitive child and very emotional like me. I always want to make sure he is ok and I tell him he can do anything he puts his mind to. He gets scared easily so we battle with that a lot. I am constantly having to tell him I love him and that he’s wonderful and fantastic.
What support system do you have in place?
We have just moved to the UK and this is a whole new life. At the moment it’s just me and hubby but we hoping to get a helping hand. In Lagos we were very fortunate to have two nannies and that was a life saver.
How important is a support system to a mum today?
In the world we live in today it’s very important to have a support system be it family or employed help. We are more work motivated as people today and the old roles and rules our parents had don’t necessarily apply today.
How do you balance working and family?
I’m lucky to be able to not have to make that decision right now again but when I worked it was really difficult. I worked late hours so I was out just as kids got ready for school in the morning and I wasn’t back till after they had gone to bed. It was horrible as it created a gap between my baby and I and now he’s become a daddy’s boy because dad was there and I wasn’t. That still breaks my heart a little bit.
Does the word “balance” really exist?
I think it’s hard to balance, the word does exist and some people do manage it but it takes a lot of sacrifice.
What is the difference between the way you were brought up and the way you are raising your children now?
Hmm we lived in a more free world growing up, not so closeted and we were freer in those days. We spent a lot of time outside and walking to friends’ house, visiting and it was just easier days. These days we have a lot of fears and worries, people are more guarded. It’s very different and kids are not as outdoorsy as we were. I’m a little lucky as my kids are more outdoor type children.
What is the funniest thing you’ve heard your children say?
In fact if I start I won’t stop, my oldest Kobi is a real clown and very sponge-like so you always know who he has been around. Lol he came home from summer camp one day and said mum I’m not about this life mum I’m about the Bugatti life ( my jaw falls to the ground) I’m like excuse you, he’s like yea mummy we need to be about the Bugatti life opari..lol
What one thing do you think should never be missing from every home?
It’s two things LOVE and HUGs. Love is so important for kids, it gives them confidence and self-esteem to know they are loved and valued. I say hugs because I’m not very touchy feely. It is so important kids need to get hugs and kisses from their parents; so they won’t look for the wrong love outside. We have to show our kids love not just say it.
How do you relax?
Eating, cooking and hanging with friends and family. Ooh and watching tv! That’s what relaxes me.
What’s your philosophy of life? What keeps you doing?
My philosophy of life hmm I think it’s to be you booboo!! Be real and live an authentic life. So many people are not being true to themselves and living a script sort of. Living what they think others will approve of. I’m very ad hoc and go with the flow kind of person. Lol I go with my heart and how God moves me. God and loving him keeps me going. It sounds cliché but seriously that’s it. He has brought me through so much and I think I have a real relationship with him. Lol like father and daughter.
What is your philosophy on parenting?
I don’t think I really have one. I take every day as it comes as no day is the same; and I have to adapt with each situation. My life has to flow as I’ve been given a particular set of children. They just have to be looked at on a day to day basis and we go from there. What works for another may not work for us. So we just have to do what works for The Mbanugos.
A Mum’s Mission
Feyi took a very bold step and shared the story of her daughter, Kamara. The family has decided to relocate to the UK. This would enable Kamara to get the medical attention she needs to thrive and be all that she is called to be. Please read the full post here on GoFundMe and do support beautiful Kamara’s journey. It has been amazing to read about her improvement and her strides already. Thank you for everyone who has supported already.
Read more LagosMums Mum of the Month features here