Our Lagosmums mum of the month is Natasha Mahtani. Mum of one, Relationship and Divorce Coach.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m Natasha, I was born in Liberia, to Indian parents with a British passport so I have always felt like a global citizen, an amalgamation of cultures. I grew up in Lagos and recently returned to living here with my 10-year-old son, having been away for 15 years.
Can you share more on all the hats you wear?
As a single parent, I sometimes feel like I’m wearing twice as many hats as anyone else. I’m a mother, daughter, sister, and gratefully, still a granddaughter. I am a Relationship & Divorce coach, passionate about supporting women of colour to cut through their cultural conditioning and thrive in their relationships. I’m also an accountant, a cook, a mediator, a child psychologist, a driver, a doctor, and a teacher.????????
Share one unexpected thing about you.
I can sing the Irish national anthem, in Irish, having gone to boarding school in Dublin. I also know the Indian, Nigerian, British and American anthems.
What are the similarities or differences between your culture and living in Nigeria?
There’s a real cross-over between our two cultures, especially when it comes to dance, music, and family values. Both the Indian and Nigerian communities have a real focus on family and respect for elders. Many of the expectations, especially of women, are similar as well. The biggest difference to me is the type of food we eat, although food plays a large role in both communities!! It brings us all together.
Can you tell us one of the funniest things your child has done?
Recently, I was telling my son off about something and he turned around and said ‘I’m a mirror!” I think he was trying to be funny and say “Right back atcha” but it stopped me in my tracks because it was so profound. Often, what we notice in another that frustrates us, is an unhealed part of ourselves and his comment really hit me deep.
What are some ways children & parenting are different from when you were growing up?
I allow my child a lot more freedom and choice than I was given. Time will tell whether this is a good thing or not but in many ways I think I’m preparing him for the real world where he’ll hopefully be confident and decisive in his choice-making.
The biggest difference between growing up in the 90s and now is the access to information. I remember being fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle as a child and I would trawl through every encyclopaedia I could find to read more about it. Children today can access information at the touch of a button. This is a double-edged sword though because whilst it is fantastic that they can look up whatever they want, it also means you have to be a lot more diligent around their internet usage.
How are you raising your child to be ready for an ever-changing world?
I encourage him to question every thing, even if it is coming from a “reputable source”. I hope his enquiring mind challenges the status quo and allows him to forge his own path, with his own beliefs.
Also, I speak very openly about the limitations of the educational system and ensure that he’s learning money matters – investing, crypto, inflation, interest rates, money mindset, etc. – things they don’t teach in school.
What are some of the challenges and joys of being a single parent?
With every joy, a duality of challenge exists. It’s a joy to make sole decisions for him and not worry about asking for someone else’ opinion. On the flip side, this can be exhausting, not having another parent to bounce ideas off. It’s a joy to watch him grow in to a smart and funny young boy, it would be wonderful to experience this with somebody else. I think the greatest challenge is the financial responsibility of raising a child alone.
What do you love the most about all the many expressions of your purpose/passion?
I absolutely love when I see a woman have that moment of clarity. When she realises her power and the importance of taking it back, puts compassionate boundaries in place, starts to put herself first and step out of her comfort zone. It is what keeps me doing what I love; watching women thrive.
What inspired you to venture into Coaching?
Ever since I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was change the world by making a positive impact. I knew at the age of 17 I wanted to be a coach but I wasn’t emotionally resilient or strong enough for it. It took me 15 years to get to the point where I felt ready to do it and I haven’t looked back since. A big part of that came from my own experience of Divorce. It’s only when I went through the emotions myself that I began to realise how culturally conditioned we are as women, especially women of colour. The more I peeled back those layers, the brighter my life became.
Share what you love most about your work as a Relationship and Divorce Coach?
We all share similar doubts and fears when it comes to our relationships – whether you’re someone who is a European Head of communications at a Hotel group or a stay at home mum. I love watching women step in to their power, realising how amazing they truly are when they put down everyone else’s expectations of them.
How important is a support system for a mum? Who is in your tribe and what kind of your support do you have?
A support system is everything! When I went through my divorce, of course, I had my family who supported me but it was my girlfriends who held me up for those first couple of years. I’ve been blessed with some beautiful female friendships; friends I can call on when I need to chat, cry or vent! When I lived in London, my best friend would come over and hang out with my son or take him to dinner so I could go on a date! A few years ago, we had some deaths in the family and for a whole week, while I was distracted, I had friends picking my son up from school, having him over for playdates and dropping food off. It takes a village to raise a child, and more especially, as a single parent.It takes a village to raise a child, and more especially, as a single parent. Click To Tweet
How do you balance work and parenting? Is it possible to achieve this?
It’s a work in progress. I don’t think it’s a constant balance but it all evens out in the end. There will be some nights I’ll be working late (I have clients on every continent so time differences can be brutal) and can’t give my son the attention he needs but other times I’ll take the whole day off and volunteer at school, spend time with him and be there for every sports day.
What has motherhood taught you about yourself?
It revealed two traits I dislike about myself which I knew I had but weren’t really as prevalent until my son turned 5. Perfectionism and Control. They simply cannot exist while parenting and letting them go, which wasn’t easy, has been the best thing I could have done for my relationship with my son. Motherhood also showed me just how tough I am and single motherhood demonstrated to me just how resilient women are and if used appropriately, that can be our superpower. So it’s not to say that you accept the unacceptable, all in the name of resilience, but instead hold a deep knowing that whatever comes your way, with the right support, you can handle it.Perfectionism and Control. They simply cannot exist while parenting and letting them go, which wasn't easy, has been the best thing I could have done for my relationship with my son. Click To Tweet
What is one motherhood myth, you would like to burst?
Myth: What you see on Instagram is a reflection of parenting. NO, IT’S NOT! When I was an award winning blogger, about 8 years ago, I’d be at events and see other bloggers cajoling children to smile for a picture or look like they’re having fun. Sometimes the child would start crying or throw an understandable tantrum but that’s not what you saw on Instagram. Instagram is a curated moment in time and not something that should ever be compared to your real life. The same goes for relationships! In the past I’ve had to ask a client to stop posting because her Instagram and real life were so far apart and that misalignment was causing her a lot of anxiety.
What is one myth on single parenthood that you would like to burst?
Myth: It’ll mess up your children. Again, this is untrue. What will mess up children is seeing an unhappy relationship modelled to them. So many people ‘stay together for their children’ but in my research I’ve found that if you ask the large majority of adults whose parents did that, they’d say “I wish they got divorced when I was younger”. Children pick up on energy, on what they feel, not simply what they see. That’s not to say divorce is the answer. But doing the work on your relationship will certainly help.
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?
Truth be told, I’m not great at relaxing. I struggle with the idea of doing ‘nothing’. Two ways I practice self care – going on a long walk while listening to my favourite podcast and a deep and meaningful conversation with a friend really gives me life!
Can you tell us how you stay stylish and your beauty routine?
I’m not a trend follower, I choose clothes that make me feel good. My beauty routine has changed a lot recently, especially since I moved back to Lagos. I have regular facials, I use a daily Hyaluronic facial mist, I try and drink a lot of water AND I always double cleanse every night!
What do you love about LagosMums?
Parenting is a tough gig! I love that LagosMums offers a place that mums (or dads for that matter) can go to for advice and just to know they’re not alone. It takes a village and Yetty has created a pretty awesome online one!Parenting is a tough gig! I love that LagosMums offers a place that mums (or dads for that matter) can go to for advice and just to know they're not alone. It takes a village and Yetty has created a pretty awesome online one! Click To Tweet
○ N1 Million or more sleep?
I now have a 10 year old who wants the latest gadgets every few months so N1 million please! haha
○ Would you prefer to go on a shopping spree or an all-expense-paid trip to your dream destination?
Always the holiday!
○ Homeschooling or traditional school.
I couldn’t homeschool (and I say that as an ex-teacher!) Traditional school with some extras thrown in.
○ A spa day or Eat out?
Depends who I’m going with but I think food wins!
It was lovely learning more from our mum of the month, Natasha Mahtani. Thank you for sharing with us. You can connect with Natasha Mahtani here.
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