Our LagosMums mum of the month is Layo Demuren. She is a single mum of two beautiful children. She is the co-founder of an up and coming Premium Image Consultancy brand known as ‘Let’s Dress You Up’, a writer, and an advocate against domestic violence. We really enjoyed talking to her. Read more about this amazing mum as she shares her passions and her motherhood experience so far.
Please tell us about yourself.
I would describe myself as a lover of God, self and family; a mother to 2 gifted children, a daughter, sister, and friend to many. In my professional life, I work as a Transformation change professional, helping organisations make the right investment decisions and prioritize their Investment Portfolio. I am also co-founder of an up and coming Premium Image Consultancy brand known as ‘Let’s Dress You Up’ which I run with my identical twin sister.
Can you share all the hats/roles that you wear?
When I take off my career hat, I spend a lot of time pursuing my first love- writing. I write under the alias “The Unapologetic Singlewoman”. I also spend time advocating against Domestic violence and mentoring young women in abusive relationships.
Share one unexpected thing about you
I can read and write in Yoruba language, I was always fascinated by how my maternal grandmother would read her Yoruba bible, and so took a keen interest in the subject at school. I got an A when I sat my GCE exams and was so thrilled, ever since then my love for the language has continued to flourish.
A huge surprise for a young lady who spent her early years in Wales and really didn’t start learning the language until much later in life.
Tell us about your family, how many children do you have?
I have been blessed with 2 amazing children. My son is a teenager now and I have a 10-year-old daughter who is often described as my “Handbag”. I love our family because there is never a dull moment in our household. We are 3 different characters, my son is very cerebral, whilst my daughter & I are creatives. However, we are different in expressing our creativity and this makes our home an interesting place. A typical day includes lots of laughter, noise, treats, kisses and hugs. It is a home filled with love where everyone feels they belong and brings something to the table.
Why did you start @unapologetic_singlewoman? How have you been able to help other women?
I started writing as the Unapologetic_singlemum in January 2018, to vocalize and capture my journey as a single mum openly. Also, I am a firm believer that the journey is as important as the destination, and so wanted to capture the journey to inspire other mothers and women who may feel there is a stigma or shame associated with being a single mum. My writing has been a tool to healing myself and others I believe. Eventually, It naturally morphed from Single mum into Singlewoman, as I entered my 40’s more purposefully determined to break every box society tried to place me in.
Can you share your journey from wife to a single mum and tell us a bit about your experiences with domestic violence?
Like every young woman, I had dreams to grow up, get married and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, this didn’t materialise, but I count it all joy; life is full of lessons and so we must be prepared to ‘live & learn’. Marriage for me was not happy or fulfilling and my experience with domestic abuse has helped me to become a stronger person.
I met a young man I felt I could do ‘life’ with at the age of 25, about 15 months later we were married. In between getting married and divorced 5.5 years later, there was verbal and physical violence and a brief period of separation after about 2 years of marriage.
I left the marriage 9.5 years ago, at the time my youngest child wasn’t even a year old; today she is 10 years old all glory of God. I am now a proud single mum to 2 wonderful children, I can categorically say it is the best decision I made for my future.
With respect to the abusive relationship did you see any signs?
Retrospectively, I recognize now that there were red flags, such as his short temper, use of abusive language on others, and the combative way in which he interacted with other people whether family or friends. At the time, I was naïve and did not see these as traits of a potentially abusive partner.
Can you please tell us why you stayed in the relationship? What helped you make up your mind about leaving the relationship?
I honestly feel like, it took me quite a while to realise I was in a domestically abusive relationship. The nature of the abuse was sporadic and escalated over the years. Verbal exchanges soon escalated into physical violence against me. After a period of separation as mentioned above; there was intervention by the local church family and so, I decided to give the marriage another go. I eventually left after a violent physical attack in February of 2011.
You are such a light! What has helped you stay positive?
I credit my success and positivity for life to my faith in God, a strong family support network and a zest for life. I believe I got my ‘happily ever after’, but in an unconventional way. Mostly, I feel blessed to have children who are healthy and thriving despite the odds. I have learnt life doesn’t have to perfect, just real.
Thus, I count my blessings whenever I am having a hard day and it keeps me thankful and positive. In the end, I don’t blame myself for anything, if you continue to blame, you stay in the pain. My favourite hashtag is #thankgodwedontlooklikewhatwehavebeenthrough
What signs should single people look out for when they are dating?
I would say pick someone with the same value system as you, observe their conflict resolution skills. Pay attention to how they settle disagreements, do they accept wrongdoings, are they accountable to others and are they argumentative? In addition, do they try to isolate you from family & friends, or display overly possessive behaviour, often misunderstood as ‘love’ by youngsters?
How can we raise children who will be different? Who will not abuse others and who will not tolerate being abused?
We do this by firstly, by striving to be the perfect example to our children and the next generation i.e. leading by example. Our children are watching and clocking our interactions with the wider world and people.
Secondly, equipping and coaching them with conflict resolution tools is also helpful. I am a big advocate for open living and by this, when I mess up, I put my hands up and apologise.
Love is also important, saturate and fill your children with love, as people can’t give what they don’t have, helping them deal with unresolved hurt will also be helpful. Above all, raising them with the fear of God, will be crucial and lifting them up in the place of prayer.
What has surprised you the most about motherhood/What has motherhood taught you about yourself?
Motherhood has taught me that everything I need for ‘life’ has already been placed inside of me, I just need to identify, develop and grow it. In one word, Motherhood taught me about strength!
Can you tell us some of the funniest things your children have done or said?
My twin sister and I are always debating about one thing or the other, so one day my daughter said; “Mum if I held out a stick, you would argue it is a twig and Aunty Lola would argue it is a branch”. It was so spot on and made me giggle a lot.
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 own children?
The value of hard work and diligence, that it always pays off in the end. They taught me that if I put my mind to anything and work hard at achieving it, I can do it. My parents taught me to never give up and keep believing in myself. I would hope to pass this unto my children, the message that they are ENOUGH.
How important is a support system for a mum? Who is in your Tribe?
No cliché, it takes a village to raise a child. A support system is crucial, if you are privileged enough to have family & friends who will help you and cheer you on, it would be wise to use them. My tribe consists of my parents, siblings, besties, and a handful of girlfriends (ISL Babes, Reading Mums, Vegas Angels)
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?
Mentally, I practice self-care by avoiding toxic relationships and self-comparison, both will steal your joy fast. Self-affirmation is also at top of my to-do list, and I am all about pampering myself and self-love. On a practical level, I take annual solo vacations; regularly take long weekend breaks to recharge and I have a penchant for spas. Eating healthy and staying fit is also on my list of self-care tips.
Can you tell us how you stay stylish and your beauty routine?
Fashion is truly what you make it, I stay stylish by wearing what I feel looks great on me & evokes the right emotions in me. As co-founder of ‘Let’s Dress You up’, I believe every woman should put her best foot forward; through the way she presents herself to the world.
My beauty regime includes eating right, drinking lots of fluids and as part of my beauty regime; I cleanse, tone and moisturise daily. Investing in quality beauty products and the best food produce is non-negotiable.
What do you love about LagosMums?
I love that there is a virtual community of women who can love on each other and share their journey. It acts as a she-village for those who may not be blessed enough to have a tribe. The practical tips, knowledge sharing, and the non-judgement zone is refreshing.
N1million or more sleep?
- More sleep.
Go on a shopping spree or all expenses trip to your top destination?
- Trip please.
Homeschooling or traditional school?
- Traditional school please.
A spa day or Eat out?
- Spa day all day, every day.
You can watch our Instagram Live with Layo ‘Tai’ Demeren here! Where we talked about overcoming difficulty and blossoming.
Read Motherhood experiences and journeys of other mums in the Mum of The Month Category
SEE ALSO: 8 Money Tips for Single Parents