Our LagosMums of the Month series explores frank questions with LagosMums on motherhood, their philosophies on life among other things. We always learn when we read someone else’s story and they share their experiences with us. Meet Sola Oguche-Agudah, mum of two; a boy and a girl. She tells us about her life as a mum so far, how she considers her role as a Wife and mother as the most important for her. Read more from this awesome mum.
Please tell us your name?
How long have you been married? How did you meet your husband?
I’ve been married for nine and a half years. I met my husband in my house. My cousin was his stock broker and he came to drop off some documents for her. It was early in the morning and we spent quite a while talking. He came back two more times that day and the rest they say is history.
What are the different hats that you wear?
I’m a wife and mother; roles I consider my most important in life. I am the Co-Fouder and CEO of PineTree Organizers; a professional organising company that organises work spaces, living spaces and lifestyles. I’m also the Founder of ‘Make Your Life Count (MYLC)’ an initiative whose mission is to inspire, equip and empower individuals to live a life of purpose and impact, build wholesome marriages and groom children to make meaningful influence in the world by providing tools and resources through training programs, books, documentaries and movies. Finally, I am an author with a published book titled ‘ Zara’.
What are your children’s names?
I have two children. The first child is a boy whose names are Ojonemi, Jayden, Mofetoluwa Agudah.
Ojonemi: Means ‘God owns me’ in Igala. (The meaning resonated with my husband and I. We wanted our son totally sold out to God and there was no better way to capture it. Even though it was considered a female name, we decided that it would work just fine and it has. We call him Nemi and he has a keen understanding of spiritual things.)
Jayden: This is Hebrew and it means: ‘Jehovah has heard me’. He was an answer to prayer for a child.
Mofetoluwa: This means ‘I want what God wants’ in Yoruba. All I can say that God gave me this name when I was a young adult. It just settled in my mind and even when I tried to change it, it stuck. This son of mine would be totally in tune with God.
My daughter’s names are Ufedojo, Jada, Morewa Agudah
Ufedojo: This means: ‘The beloved of God or ‘Favoured by God’ in Igala. We wanted a name that portrayed that would always let her know that she was the apple of God’s eye, she was special and greatly loved by Him. Believe me, she attracts favour and so much love everywhere she goes. We calls her Fedo.
Jada. This is in Hebrew. It means, wise or knowing. In the western world, it is also a green precious stone. This name resonated with my husband and I. Our daughter would not only be precious, but she would be wise. Her life is the very testament of that.
Oluwamorewa: This is in Yoruba and it means God had brought me a gift. We weren’t expecting her. I got pregnant when Nemi, my son was four months old. It was really unexpected but we concluded that she was God’s gift to us and she has been just that.
Tell us about your journey as a mum?
When I was about 20, I decided to join the kids department in church because I wanted to know how to take care of my kids when they came. I have always felt very deeply that being a mother was an awesome responsibility that was not to be taken lightly. But even that did not prepare me adequately for motherhood. I’d always thought that it was all about cute children, walks in the park and loving moments. But my wakeup call came when my son was placed in my hands and I realised that I had my work cut out for me.
I have come a long way from then. When I was pregnant, I prayed for my children, every aspect of their lives emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, health…… and I have been privileged to see the answers to those prayers. The greatest discovery I have is that my children are my responsibility and the background I create for them would determine to a very large extent what kind of people they would be and what contribution they would make to the world.
I have gone from not knowing what to do with a little baby to being an involved mum determined to raise children who will make God proud and make an impact in the world at large. In the last seven years, I have learnt to roll my sleeves and get into the business of being a mummy, to be alert, to pick up signals that could have gone unnoticed, to really get to know my children and steer them in their areas of strength, to instil godly values and to love unconditionally.
My story will be incomplete if I do not add that my husband, Oguche, makes being a mother a lot easier. I am the disciplinarian, the one that ensures that there’s order and structure and that no one drops the ball. I call him the philosopher; the one that wants to know the whys, will engage in conversation and allows me off days and take a break. He being in my life has made me the mother that I am today.
Are there any challenges as a Mum you can share with us?
One of my greatest challenges was; why did I have to keep on repeating an instruction? A typical example; they are expected to greet adults when they see them. But I found out that I had to keep on repeating that instruction. There was a time I got so frustrated, I seized their games and they could only get it back if they greeted without me reminding them. It worked for a while and then they started forgetting again. I don’t know where I finally got this light bulb moment that children were meant to be trained. Training required continuous reinforcement and it also meant that as a mother, you never got tired of insisting on doing the right thing. I kept at it and today the reminders are a lot less than they used to be. Infact, when they sense a reminder coming, the greeting spills out of their mouths.
What biggest lessons have you learnt from motherhood?
My biggest lesson is that to raise an excellent child, you have to be an excellent person. You cannot give what you do not have. Children do what you do and not what you say. I am constantly being corrected: ‘Mummy, you are not allowed to say that?’ ‘Why were you angry with Mr So, so so?’ Therefore, I have had no choice to ensure that my actions match up with my words and that I must be ready to be all that I want them to be.
How do you encourage your children?
My children’s love languages are quite similar. They both like gifts and words of affirmation. My son walked up to me one day and told me that his name was ‘Nemi the Great’ and I actually found that quite bold and daring so I told him that great was exactly who he was. My daughter also wanted her own name, so my husband named her ‘Fedo the wonder’ and that has also stuck. So, we constantly remind them of their strengths, the things they do well and how special God has created them. We also have a reward chart and you’re sure to get a gift if you’ve done well.
What support system do you have in place? How important is a support system to a mum today?
A support system is extremely important. I often tell mothers that no one gets a reward for raising a child all by herself, but you get a reward of raising a well-rounded child. I think there are different stages in the life cycle of children and motherhood. When you have babies and toddlers, you need all the help you can get, you simply cannot change diapers, feed the baby, cook, clean the house, be a wife and go to work at the same time without falling apart r burning out. So by all means, a support system is important. As they grow older and become more independent, your needs change and what you require changes, once again you need a support system that fits that new season.
I was privileged to have two lovely ladies who were my children’s nannies growing up. My parents and in-laws were always ready to lend a helping hand. Infact they would insist that the kids spent at least a week with them during the holidays. I’ve been blessed with cousins who were available to help out during the Christmas holidays when domestic staff had to go home to be with their families.
But now, with my children growing up, they don’t have a nanny anymore. I have staff that help out with the laundry, cooking and cleaning but I am making a deliberate effort to instil the art of responsibility in my children and also to spend more time with them. Believe me, it’s tough! They have learnt to pick up after themselves, do chores around the house and we are bonding more. However, the times, I can’t be home, one of those lovely ladies, who was their nanny when they were younger is more than happy to babysit.
No woman was meant to carry this burden alone. It takes a village to raise child. We just need God guiding us to the right people so that we can always be sure they are safe. I always tell people; don’t forget the grandparents. Give them an opportunity to be part of your support system and you will be amazed at what difference it makes.
How do you balance working and family? Does the word “balance” really exist?
Hmmmm! Balance! Balance exists and it can be achieved but it comes at a cost. Balance can never be achieved though if you do not know who you are what you are on earth for. I usually say that as an individual, you have many parts and wear many caps, but it is important to decide early what is important to you and take out what is unimportant. Therefore, I try not to engage in meaningless activities that do not add value to my life in any way.
For me, my order of priorities are God, Family (Husband and children), Relationships and Work. I make my decisions and plan my life in that order. I don’t always succeed but it is a goal I constantly work towards.
This will mean cutting out unnecessary activities to concentrate on what matters to you. For me, it may mean rescheduling a meeting so that I can be at my children’s school. It may mean not attending an event, to get some much needed rest so that I can be re-energised to face the world. I have learnt to hang out with friends and just let my hair down. Believe me! That one can be tough.
For me, I find out that my weekends could be crazier than my weekdays so I take Mondays off (one of the perks of working for yourself). I put my phone on silent till about noon. I catch up on lost sleep, spend more time with God and use the rest of the day to just be still or just do something I enjoy. I have learnt to take mini retreats when I can, get away with my husband for the weekend and just enjoy each other’s company. Date nights also help. I have learnt to shut things out to spend time with the kids and enjoy their company.
Balance can be achieved when you define what your life is about, what is important to you and determine to live and enjoy life. That is extremely important, life is meant to be enjoyed and lived to the full. Don’t miss out on the fun part of life.
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What is the difference between the way you were brought up and the way you are raising your children now?
I guess one glaring difference is the freedom of speech. My children say whatever is on their mind and you can imagine the kind of things you would hear. When I was younger, you could not dare say those things. We are in the stage where we are trying to let them know that it’s okay to say what is on your mind, but there are ways to talk to an adult and ways to talk to another child. It is important though that they have that freedom of speech. It is necessary to build confidence.
What is the funniest thing you’ve heard your children say?
What I can remember right away was when my daughter was trying to get her dad to understand something she was saying. I think he had given so many wrong answers that she was tired of explaining. She looked at me as if expecting some empathy, put her hand on her head and told me in frustration: ‘He just doesn’t get it.’ Her expression, the way she sounded and the ways she looked, made me burst out in laughter. This coming from a six year old. What did she know?
What one thing do you think should never be missing from every home?
Unconditional love. A home should be a place where you know that you are always welcome and that you are not loved because of what you do, or what you have achieved, or what you can bring to the table, you are loved just because you are you and that it’s okay to be yourself. This feeling of unconditional love and acceptance goes a long way in building a child’s self-esteem. They never need to try to be someone else. They are special just the way they are.
How do you relax?
I love to read Christian fiction books especially romance. I could hang out with my husband or friends. Sometimes, I don’t mind a good movie. I like trying out new restaurants. I also like to get away with my husband to a resort or hotel outside my usual environment and pretend that I’m not in the real world. If I’ve had a crazy day and none of the above is available or don’t feel up to it, a drive with my husband in the evening on no traffic days will just be fine.
What’s your philosophy of life? What keeps you doing?
I believe that I’m deeply loved by the creator of the heavens and the earth and He created me for a purpose. My motto is to make my life count here on earth and in heaven by fulfilling that purpose for my life. I am determined that every area of my life must please this Great God that loves me just the way I am. When this world is over and all is said and done, when I stand before my maker, my prayer is that He will say: ‘Well done.’’ That is what keeps me going. That is my driving force and that is what I live for.
What is your philosophy on parenting?
For me parenting is my passion. My eyes fill with tears anytime it dawns on me that God has called me to partner with Him to shape the lives of these children and then release them to the world to influence it for good. My children will actually contribute to how the world turns out. ‘Train up a child in the way he should go and He will not depart from it when he grows up.’
Therefore “I am deliberate and intentional about training my children in every area of life to be the best that God created them to be.” Great individuals do not happen by accident, they were prepared for greatness.
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What is unique about LagosMums?
Lagos mums provides a resource base to equip every woman with tools to do a great job of raising children in this busy and chaotic world. This is done in a fun and simplistic way, yet there is always something new to learn. Well done Lagos Mums. [Read: Other Mums of the Month]
I hope you enjoyed reading that, as much as we also enjoyed reading it. Phew! Wonder mum she is. Thank you for sharing with LagosMums.