Our Lagosmums Mum of the Month for November is Ijeoma Thomas-Odia, a Journalist, PR/Media consultant, gender advocate and parenting enthusiast. A Wife and the mother of 2 beautiful children.
Please tell us about yourself. Can you share more about all the hats you wear?
My name is Ijeoma Thomas-Odia. As a journalist, PR/Media consultant, gender advocate and parenting enthusiast, among other things, my background includes a degree in Mass Communication from Imo State University. In addition to working with The Guardian Newspapers where my core interests lie in women, children and social issues, as an Associate Member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), my work takes me outside Nigeria for various projects.
Share one unexpected thing about you.
I love to stay indoors, all by myself.
Tell us about your beautiful family.
I am married to Thomas Odia, an incredible dad and husband who is a filmmaker. I have a six-year-old daughter, Isabella and a four-year-old son, David. They bring me so much joy.
How did you meet your husband and how long have you been married?
I met my husband on Facebook, we weren’t even friends on Facebook, but I had always stumbled on his poems which were shared by mutual friends. We went into our DM’s one day and almost two years after, we got married.
Do you and your spouse have the same parenting style?
To an extent. We both believe in disciplining right. Let them know what they have done wrong. We also praise too, when need be, but I love to spoil them too and I do that more. My spouse thinks it’s not too good.
Can you tell us one of the funniest things your child(ren) has done?
Wearing mummy’s make-up…
What do you love the most about your work and all the many expressions of your purpose and passion?
When I give people value and make a difference in their lives. One time a woman told me how a story about her helped with getting a Visa. The interviewer googled her and the interview I had with her popped up which gave more clarity. For me, seeing the impact I can generate gives me purpose
What have you learned about women and parenting as a Journalist?
I have learnt that it takes dedication, commitment and zeal to thrive as a mother in journalism. The profession is demanding which is evident when we are all referred to as ‘Gentlemen of the Press’. So, as a woman who is also a parent, you must be committed to working twice as hard to prove your place in the newsroom.
How important is a support system for a mum? Who is in your tribe and what kind of support do you have?
It is absolutely very important. How else can a female parent practising journalism survive? Thankfully, I have my mum around me and so she helps with the kids especially when I am away. My husband is also handy and takes parenting quite seriously.
What are some ways that children and parenting are different from when you were growing up and now?
These Gen A’s are super smart with the questions they are ready to embarrass you with. Hence, it requires you to be smarter to douse their curiosities. Parenting is also quite different from my time, where I was told, ‘Now that your menses are here, you have to avoid boys, don’t let them touch you’. Today, from two-year-old, my daughter knows her Vagina and is not being told merely in private parts like we were told.
How are you raising your child(ren) to be ready for an ever-changing world?
I think I am following their lead… I am a millennial, and so while AI teaches me what it means to be a Gen A, I am guiding them through.
How do you balance work and parenting? Is it possible to achieve this?
There is no way to balance effectively but with conscious effort. It’s a work in progress. Know what works for you, prioritize and delegate where necessary. As a working mom, it’s hard to always make it to all of the work events. However, that doesn’t mean that my children don’t matter to me–even when other important things are happening in my life.
What inspired you to venture into being a Journalist?
The fact that I enjoyed writing
What would you advise someone just starting out
Be passionate about journalism, that’s the only thing that will sustain you.
What has motherhood taught you about yourself?
Motherhood has taught me that I can coordinate more things than I thought. I can think for my little humans and love them equally, and unconditionally
Use one word to describe one thing that should not be missing from every home.
Share with us your Journalist journey and how you get inspiration(what inspires you?)
I would say I stumbled into journalism, even though I wanted to be a lawyer. But the accolades I got as an intern many years ago spurred me to take on journalism. I have so far never regretted being here. Right now, it feels like what I have been created for. Hence, I am continually inspired by the many ‘kudos’ I get in the line of my work.
How has journalism changed in the digital age?
Journalism has evolved to become a profession where with a smartphone anyone can be one. However, the expertise you bring in tells the difference. Hence, it behoves you to stay on to date with trends and apps that help you work in real-time and deliver.
Share one self-care tip. How do you relax and spend time with yourself?
I love to visit the spa. It helps me rejuvenate.
Can you tell us how you stay stylish and your beauty routine?
I love to wear Ankara, which could be made in the form of blazers, corporate outfits or kimonos. My beauty routine: I ensure to wash my face religiously – face wash, serum, face cream and most importantly sunscreen. I don’t like to wear makeup always so this helps me feel more confident.
What advice would you give to other mums?
Be financially independent. Live purposefully and ensure you are adding value to yourself and your children. Learn a skill, and let your child see through you how to be a better human. We need to raise healthy little humans who will change our world, and that change starts with us – mums.
What do you love about LagosMums?
I love the community of Mums this platform is helping to find parenting seamless.
○ N1 Million or more sleep?
○ Would you prefer to go on a shopping spree or an all-expense-paid trip to your dream destination?
○ Homeschooling or traditional school
○ A spa day or Eat out?
A spa date