Our Lagosmums mum of the month is Kunbi Osinoiki. She is a mum to three amazing children and an amazing wife to her husband. She is a music educator, co-founder of Kunbi’s Music Company, with so many other hats. Read more about this amazing mum as she shares her passions and her motherhood experience so far.
Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Kunbi Osinoiki. I am married to Sola Osinoiki and we have two teen daughters, a son and a daughter in love. I am primarily a music educator, co-founder, and managing partner of Kunbi’s Music Company; but I have run different businesses over the years ranging from IT Consultancy and Training in the UK to establishing and running a family recreation centre in Lagos.
Share one unexpected thing about you?
I reside in three countries and have run my business virtually for years even before COVID happened.
Can you share all the hats/roles that you wear?
I am lucky to be a wife, mother, daughter, aunt, sister, educator, recreational pianist, and singer, entrepreneur, and technology enthusiast. My family means the world to me and I try to put them first and foremost in my priorities, and fit everything else around their needs. It has not been easy and there have been years especially when I was first starting my business when it’s been impossible but it’s an aspiration I always have.
Tell us about your beautiful family.
Our eldest son, Olumide, runs Olumedia, a photography firm in the UK. He is also a singer-songwriter under the label Selah the Son and he is my pride and joy. I call him my “favourite son”, which I can get away with because he is my only son! He is married to mini-me, our dearest Funsho, who, like me studied Economics as her first degree and is now working as a Maths teacher in the UK. She is also a social media influencer through her channel, www.instagram.com/girl.otw and I am incredibly proud of what she stands for. She has the most infectious smile, the biggest, warmest heart, and a brilliant mind. Olu struck gold with her and they are simply fabulous together.
My eldest daughter, Olamide is my ray of sunshine. She was born at a particularly difficult time in our marriage – we had lost a son two years before she was born and we didn’t think we would have any more children – but then she came and she brought light into our lives. She is vivacious, outgoing, and fun-loving and she is a loyal friend. Ola is in her final year of college and will be heading off to University soon.
While our first two children were surprises in their own way, our baby daughter, Oyinlola was our biggest surprise. Having had a boy and eventually a girl, we were content and grateful to God and had no intention of having any more children but Lola had other plans! She burst into our lives on my sister’s birthday and to this day it’s uncanny how incredibly similar they are! They not only have the same build, but they also have the same talents as they both are incredibly gifted artists. We are so glad God chose to give us Lola as the icing on our family cake!
2020 has been a year of ups and downs; what did learn through the course of the year?
I learnt the importance of investing in your soul and well-being in the good years; so that when the lean years come and the pressures mount, you have enough reserves to sustain yourself. I learn that strong bonds of love and friendship cannot be broken even when physical connections are not possible. I learnt that when all is said and done, the most important investment one can make is in their loved ones.
What are your goals for 2021?
To thrive as a wife and mother. To see my husband and children fulfil their dreams; in ways that they never thought they could. To touch more families with the transformative power of music education. To journey with my team to places that we had only dreamed of in terms of personal and commercial successes.
Why did you start @kunbismusiccompany? How have you been able to teach music?
I started @kunbismusiccompany because for ten years, I ran an early years music education franchise in the UK and I witnessed firsthand how music immersion programmes from childhood made such a difference to the children who attended music classes.
Time and time again, the testimonies from parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, teachers were of how these children experienced an acceleration in the development of their speech and language once they started coming regularly to music class. They talked about how the children developed foundational musical skills such as pitch matching, keeping the beat, moving rhythmically to music. I saw firsthand how initially rowdy and boisterous children over time, developed social skills and self-regulation due to the structure and routine that our classes provided.
At the time, these sorts of activities were virtually non-existent in Nigeria, and I was desperate to change this as I felt that our children deserved the same opportunities. We have been able to continue teaching right through the pandemic through the use of technology and digital resources which has helped to make our teaching robust and comprehensive and accessible to our learners. Technology is enabling us to reach learners all over the world at a time that the world is shutting down.
The whole experience has been transformational. We are still learning and refining but so far, those parents who have come along on the journey with us have been very pleased and continue to be. But we are not complacent and we continue to innovate and refine our offering to ensure that we are giving our best always to the precious lives that we are privileged to influence today.
What has motherhood taught you about yourself?
That true love is unconditional and that while I am a strict disciplinarian when all the chips are down, I can choose mercy over judgement.
What’s one thing you think your parents got absolutely right raising you that you would like to pass on as you bring up your child?
My father was the late Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, who was one of the founders of the Musical Society of Nigeria, MUSON, and served as their Chairman for several years. He insisted that I took piano lessons from age 5; because he said as a woman, I needed a basket of skills to be able to build a flexible career. He said a time would come when I may choose to do something else other than being in the corporate world and he wanted to ensure that should that time come, I would have the skills to do so.
He went on to educate me to a Master’s degree level, and I graduated with an MBA from the University of Liverpool, after which I was retained by the University to be part of their first Business Consultancy unit.
As he predicted, five years into my corporate career, I chose to pivot away from IT Consulting into Music Education because of the flexibility it afforded me as a young mother who wanted to be able to spend time with her son.
My father ensured we explored our non-academic side; and among my siblings, we have poets, writers, recreational musicians, artists, and filmmakers. My husband and I have tried to emulate his example and it is lovely to see them now as young adults, creatively expressing themselves in the arts whether it’s through music, painting, drawing, or photography.
My mother, Chief Mrs. Tinuade Gbadamosi is a retired principal and teacher, who had an exemplary career in education. She was a gentle disciplinarian and she ensured we had structure and routine around our studies. She would relieve us of all household tasks whenever we were coming up to exam season; so that nothing got in the way of our revision. She taught me study skills and revision strategies which I passed on to my children. I try to emulate her example by providing the same level of support to my children at critical moments in their education.
How do you balance work and parenting?
With great difficulty. I chose this career because I wanted to be able to pick up my then three-year-old son from school and be the one to look after him. In the early days of establishing my business in the UK, I found that while I was able to arrange my teaching appointments around his school pickups, the work that I had to do to keep the business going especially in the early days meant I was not able to spend any meaningful time with him.
Over the last 20 years of being self employed, I have always struggled to find the balance and I used to joke that one day I would write a book called “The Art of Distracted Parenting”. It’s especially difficult because I love my work so much that I get immersed in it sometimes to the detriment of my nearest and dearest.
However, the good thing about being self-employed is that when the pendulum swings too far in the wrong direction, with proper structures in place, one can redress the balance. I have had periods in my career where I have been able to take a sabbatical from work so I can create space for my family. For example, when I had my daughters, I was able to take time off teaching for at least six months and when I did return to teaching, I was only doing so part-time.
I have just started another teaching sabbatical to be able to support my daughter through her final year exams. Studying and taking major exams is difficult enough under normal circumstances, never mind when there is a pandemic raging at the same time and I have to be a present mummy at this crucial time of her life.
Mind you, I have never been able to take a complete sabbatical. My business is like my fourth child, so while I am able to delegate my teaching responsibilities to trusted hands, I retain oversight for the business itself and I keep checking in to ensure that everything and everyone is doing ok – both with regards to clients and also my staff.
Read Also [9 Nigerian Mums Who Inspire]
How important is a support system for a mum? Who is in your Tribe? What kind of support do you have now?
A support system is incredibly important for a mum – at any stage in life. My children were born when we lived in the UK; I was lucky to have both my mother and mother-in-law visit and stay with me whenever I put them to bed. This was invaluable as I adjusted to motherhood each time. My mother especially was and continues to be an absolute treasure; cooking the most delicious meals for the family whenever she came to stay; even voluntarily getting up in the night to feed the babies so Sola and I could resume work the next day fresh and well-rested.
When the grandmas returned to Nigeria, my husband and I had to face the music alone. The prohibitive cost of employing help was a factor in my decision to go into self-employment. Even though I had a well-paying job and a promising career in consultancy, the cost of childcare was such that I would effectively be handing over my wages to someone else to look after my young son; and I couldn’t see how that made financial sense.
Also, I had a huge amount of mummy guilt by the time Olu was three years old; as I spent so little time with him due to work. So I decided I would be his primary carer while working self-employed “part-time” (little did I know at the time that I was about to get a whole lot busier!).
With no family nearby, I have relied heavily on my Boo of 25 years for support. When the girls were at primary school, we were fortunate to have enjoyed the support of our Pastor’s wife, Julia Food, who would take the girls to school in the mornings and look after them after school for a few hours so I could work.
Other friends and members of our Church community would also help when they could, but my most constant source of help was Sola. He has been my rock throughout the various phases of my chequered career. He would often do those household chores that I was always going to “do in a minute”, without making a fuss. I owe everything I have built today to his longsuffering and loving support.
Use one word to describe one thing that should not be missing from every home?
Share one self-care tip. How do you relax and spend time on yourself?
Run the bath with lots of bubbles, turn on the candles, put on some relaxing music; and have a soak for at least half an hour.
Can you tell us how you stay stylish and your beauty routine?
I feel most stylish and comfortable in my Nigerian outfits. They are comfortable and they flatter my curves. I gave up on elaborate beauty routines many years ago, preferring to go without make-up most days. I wash and moisturise daily; and that’s it! I am lucky to have been born with what my friends call “baby skin”; which is smooth and rarely has spots; so I haven’t had to worry much in that regard. I can’t take any credit for my facial skin. I am just grateful that it’s one less thing for me to worry about! Even though I rarely use makeup, I love buying nail polish and lipstick. One day, in exasperation, my eldest daughter threw out my collection of nail polish as they had all gone dry; and I must say I haven’t missed them!
What do you love about LagosMums?
I first heard about LagosMums in a chance meeting with Yetty in Nigeria many years ago; when she was just setting it up. I cannot remember the occasion, but I remember being impressed by her vision. In the UK, there were lots of online mum support groups so I was familiar with the concept; and pleased that someone was willing to introduce it to Nigeria. She was pioneering something new, the same as I was; and I felt an affinity to her vision and her person. We lost touch over the years but I am a silent follower of the platform; also love how it’s a go-to resource for mums in Nigeria on all sorts of topics. I am really proud of Yetty’s tenacity in pursuing her dreams to build the platform. I wish LagosMums many many years of continued success.
N1million or more sleep?
Sleep. Anytime. If I can get a good night’s sleep, I can generate multiples of N1m by God’s grace.
Go on a shopping spree or an all-expenses-paid trip to your top destination?
All expenses trip. I value experiences more than possessions. Anytime.
Home-schooling or traditional school?
Both. Education is too important to be left to Educators; and Homeschooling has its limitations in terms of access to resources especially in Nigeria; although I am sure that will change in time.
The families that I know who have successfully home-schooled abroad did so as part of a wider homeschooling community; and as a group, they were able to negotiate access to schools to use science laboratories and sporting facilities, etc.
A spa day or Eat out?
Spa day. You can make the experience last all day!
Read Also [ LagosMums previous Mum of the Month- Tracy Nnanwubar ]