Good debts, Bad debts

I have longed to talk about money. I don’t always give myself the credit that I am due in that respect.

I am good with money and even better with things pertaining to debt. Let me explain why I know so much about debt. I worked with people who had multiple debts and I currently work in the financial sector. So I understand the challenge which comes in managing debts effectively

The title of this blog post suggest that not all debts are bad and indeed this is a true fact. However, There are a lot of misconceptions that if you have debts you must be struggling financially.

Well that is not always the case. Debts can be good for us. As long as you know what you are doing with it. This is the reason I am doing a series which will depict this topic in greater details.

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Broken Glass Ceiling

I never thought I would say this but I think I perceive what was the glass ceiling in my career. I have finally arrived at the point where I need to move to the next stage in my career but it is getting a little bit hard. Could it be because of the glass ceiling? Which often depicted as an obstruction to mainly women and people of ethnic minority.

It’s funny how I feel like the bigger opportunities are being shielded away. It looks like only a certain kind of people are given the opportunities, I feel like ‘the Elite’ of society have stolen the show and all that I am left with is the minuscule crumbs which hardly leave any taste in my mouth.

I have officially resigned in my mind. I have made up my mind that I no longer want to work to enrich a few people at the top. I am tired of being told that the world is my oyster. The everyday man is trapped in a similar story. We get a pay check for our efforts but the pay check quickly evades. I pay the bills, the essentials, the creditors and I am left with a surplus which I can hardly invest with or truly profit in because it soon gets consumed in the unending unexpected expenses of my life, Wow what a mouth full.

I am done with working hard and not getting promoted, I refuse to work hard with not prospect in sight. I will no longer work too hard without securing a better future for my children.

I broke through the glass ceiling years ago. The day I decided to create ‘’. I am disappointed that I didn’t truly believe in this vision. But I have no regrets because lessons have been learnt.

To every boy and every girl,

Don’t compromise your beliefs, your faith, your morals for a place at the big table. Instead uphold your convictions and make room for other at your table. Only compromise if it is for the greater good. Don’t allow anyone to mold you into something which goes against your character.

Today is the day when I remembered how I broke the glass ceiling, by running my own race.

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Regaining Sanity

I was facing a near breakdown after the birth of my second child. I could not cope with the lack of sleep, the painful feeds and the very hectic routine.

I barely had time for myself. I was beyond tired, I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I lacked a sense of purpose even though all my time was devoted to ensure the well-being of a new born baby.

I was extremely envious of those who didn’t have responsibility. I dreamt of escaping to a a lonely island where I could sleep in peace and without a cry and endless screams.

What do you do when your minds seemed full of anxiety? Get rid of all expectations. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure. We want to be able to seen as a super heroes and the role can not be occupied by us all the time. We must recognize when it is time to ask for help. It is okay not to assume all responsibility when you have just given birth.

Is your stress to heavy to bear? Give it over. Don’t carry more than you can handle. Become resilient but also recognize your vulnerability sometimes. Begin to regain sanity. Don’t worry about the things which will not cause negative impact. Cleaning dishes and laundry should be the last thing on your mind when your world has been shaken a little hard.

Big changes are hard to manage and digest. And that’s why it is important to take baby steps. Don’t try to immediately adjust into a life you have never lived. It is okay to slow down and give time to understand the new terrain. In hindsight I truly wished I had just allowed myself to heal and just relax a little when I just gave birth.

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Why the rush…

Why the rush…

I am in my mid 20’s. Okayyy, what I really mean to say is that I am approaching the big THREE ZERO (30). And because I am almost 30, there comes an added pressure to have achieved a certain level of success.

It’s hard enough to accept the fact that I will never be 20 again, but now there is this whole new thing where young people like me think, that if they have not got a successful career/business/descent hustle going on, then they have failed in some way.

But why? Why do millennial have this misconceived mindset? Why do we owe ourselves so much?

I have spent the last few weeks pondering and thinking about this issue. And honestly, I could not really answer this questions with one definite answer.

I guess there are a whole lot of factors affecting our way of thinking. Our upbringing is one of them, at least for me it is.

There was always a pressure to be well educated in my family. I can not say I was the academic type. But I managed to do an okay job, and I finished with BA in Hotel Management.

If given more time to decide what I wanted to do and if there wasn’t so much rush to figure my whole life out, I reckon I would have studied a completely different subject. Actually, I am absolutely sure of it. If like me you are in your twenties and feel a bit lost you might like to read an anecdote of the lessons I learnt in my 20’s.

And no, I am not blaming anyone, and I am so grateful for how far I’ve come. But at the same time, I like to learn a few lessons from the past, in hope to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

Another factor which might be causing the rush in our generation is the media. Everything says you should be like this, you need to have this, you have to have that. No wonder we are a ‘want it all’ generation. We are never satisfied with our income and our jobs. We are endlessly chasing stuff, status, recognition and success.

One man’s treasure, does not have to be yours, but we don’t always understand the notion and here we are displeased with our lives because we are desiring someone else’s life. And I am pretty much over this whole thing.

I guess from the age of 22, I decisively ripped out the chapter of my life that said that my life has got to be like Mr so and so. This is one of the most freeing decisions I made. I gave myself permission to be me again.

I quickly got tired of rushing through life, like something is about to run out (something has to give). I am tired of blogging about what is popular or on the scene. I am done with feeling like I can only write about something when it’s in demand. Who makes all these rules?

I just want to live life to the best of my ability. I don’t aspire to impress or to oppress. Don’t get me wrong because I don’t want to sound condescending, but I just figured out that competing against the algorithms of life is an endless, exhausting and enormous battle I probably cannot win.

However, what I can do, is to be who I am. What I can do, is to do what I can. What I hope for is to give of what I have and not hoping and dreaming that one day I finally will have enough to give. Let’s start where we are and build on what we have.

To anyone who feels like they are not good enough yet, to make a change in the world – think again! You are good enough today, you don’t necessarily need to rush every aspect of life. Some things happen progressively over a period of time.

Growth is not a miracle and it’s not an overnight process. Instead of seeking shortcuts, take time and identify the right way to go about things. Growing organically is always better than to grow with fertilizers. Of course, there are things you can do to organically accelerate your growth but it should not be at the detriment of your peace, your joy and most importantly not at the detriment of your vision.

It’s like when you keep fast-forwarding a clip, you tend to miss the good bits, you miss the core, you miss the goodies. Drop down the remote and enjoy the course of things.

I always say this to myself: – I will enjoy the journey of life and run my race diligently.

Also, consider the following excerpt from the book of Ecclesiastes:

“I saw something else under the sun. The race isn’t [won] by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don’t necessarily have food. Intelligent people don’t necessarily have riches, and skilled people don’t necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

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Returning to work after maternity leave – 7 top tips

I’ve been on a maternity break twice now. So I can say I have experienced the ups and the downs which comes with returning to work.

For me leaving my babies is still a daunting thought. But as a mom and a professional, I have to do what I have to do.

People choose to return to work for different reasons and no matter what, no one should feel guilt in doing what is right by your child(ren).

Returning to work can be hard, especially if like me, you took a long maternity break. You will definitely have adopted a new routine and although kids routine can change, nevertheless, you must be used to always be with your child, you would have built a strong bond and letting that go can be a dramatic and drastic change.

For me, the thought of someone else, sort of taking my place and doing my motherly duties doesn’t always sit well with me. But the benefits children can gain in having another carer is tremendous. They learn so much, they have the opportunity to develop more social skills, to make friends and to basically grow up.

Obviously, I came across a few challenges when I returned from work after having my first child. It’s hard because no one can really prepare you for this stage because unless someone highlights it to you, you really don’t know what’s coming and the obstacles you may be faced with.

I was really encouraged to share 7 main ways to prepare for this new stage. I’ve had my second child and I really look forward to returning to work. Preparation is key! So without further ado, here are 7 ways to easily transition from Maternity break to work mode.

1. Set a date

Know when you want to return to work. Notice I said ‘want’, and this is key. You must be ready and willing to return to work. There is nothing worse than not being ready and then having to regret returning to work.

I know this can be tricky because Life is not always straightforward. Some women returning after their work maternity leave period is over, some choose to go back before. No matter how you work it out, make sure you are mental, physically, emotionally, psychologically and even spiritually ready to return to work.

Setting a date helps to visualize your journey and to plan accordingly. It gives you the opportunity to plan non-work related activities before it’s too late.

2. Consider good Childcare

The word alone can make a lot of us parents cringe but planning childcare provision will take a lot of the stress out of returning to work.

Knowing that your child is being taken care of professionally will put your mind at rest. So do your research when choosing and planning childcare. I made a big mistake of leaving this very last minute. Don’t procrastinate the sooner this is done, the better you will feel.

Choosing a nursery/childminder/nanny takes time and also bare in mind it can cost you money. So planning for childcare you must consider what it might cost. So researching ahead of time will save you from a few headaches.

What I also found when choosing childcare is to not allow your lack of resources to cloud your judgement. Because it may cost a lot doesn’t mean you should resort to poor childcare. There is plenty of help available from government and other parents who may have gone before you.

So when in doubt, it’s always best to seek help. Don’t be ashamed to say you don’t know. My sister-in-law is one of my biggest source of help. She has 3 children of her own, she has gone through the system, so she has plenty of experience which I don’t have. So finding yourself another parent friend will save you from poor judgement.

3. Smooth transition

Being a parent is a full-time job, so returning to work is like working a double shift. Yes, that’s what it is my fellow parents. So my candid advice is to take things easy.

I personally chose to reduce my working hours from 40 hours a week down to 20 hours. I didn’t change the hours because I wanted an easy ride, I initially changed it because I couldn’t stand to be away from my kids for that long. But in hindsight, I was glad I didn’t return to a full-time hour because 20 hours alone was pretty hard.

For those who must go back to a full-time position. I would recommend progressively increasing your working hours so you don’t suffer physically. Employers are more flexible than they have ever been, so kindly and mindfully approach your boss with your requests. And do it early, give them time too, so they can adjust things on their part.

4. Prepare your baby/toddler

Children usually adapt better than we think. But it’s not a bad idea to give your child a taste of what the next few weeks/months may look like. I didn’t prepare my first child as much as I would have liked to, so cherish the time you have with them.

If your baby is used to always see you, only playing with you, only having you feed him/ her, always you doing everything for them then a small change may feel huge to them.

The solution is having more diversity and changing things up a little. Take them to the baby/toddler group more often, take them out to see or even stay with family members for a few hours. Let your child get used to mingling with different people, give them a chance to see new faces. Experiencing new environment will give them that confidence boost. Also, visit nurseries and childminder to see what may be right for them.

5. Keep in touch with colleagues and employer

It is always strange when you leave a place for a long time. It is even stranger returning to a familiar place after a long time.

I found it awkward being the ‘newbie’ all over again. Having to reintroduce yourself to everyone else who may not know you.

It was helpful when I first returned to work to have a taster and a catch up with my manager. She helped me with HR and payroll stuff and also keeping me up to date with what I may have missed. I was able to catch up with a bunch of things and to get me ready to hustle again.

I also decided during my second maternity, to keep in touch with colleagues at work, it’s hard enough feeling lonely with a new baby. So alienating yourself is not always the easy route, it can be overwhelming to stay in touch with everyone when you are busy with your kids, but preserving and keeping good relation going will prove helpful in the long run.

Always keep good contact with your employers, even if you’re not sure you will go back to work, definitely don’t burn any bridges you may need a reference or paperwork from them later on. I personally would email my manager now and again to find out a few information. Always keep it professional of course. This will help to build good relations and to make the transition back to work more easily.

6. Plan ahead

As a first time mum, I was so ignorant of how hard this journey would be. But fast-forward to today, I now know to plan everything in advance. And I mean e-v-e-r-y-thing!

Plan for your meals! There is nothing worse than coming home to an empty fridge and no provision for meals. I never cook anything from scratch, unless its a salad or something really easy to put together. All my meals a prepped and cooked in advance. I cook in huge batch guys, it saves time, money and the hassle of cooking every day.

Plan your outfits, your kid’s outfits, your kid’s bags, your shopping, your outings, your doctor appointments, your beauty treats, your laundry, your travel route, your spending… And so on. I am sure you get the point, never leave anything to the last minute, it will cause unnecessary stress, which is totally not worth it.

Have a strategy, have a tried and tested method of planning. You can use lists, diaries, reminders, fridge notes. Find out what works for you.

7. Take good care of yourself

Your welfare is paramount. If you don’t feel your best you can’t give your best. So always make time to rest, eat well and simply replenish yourself.

Returning to work can be daunting in many ways if you aren’t happy about yourself in any way, it is important you address those issues sooner rather than later. always seek professional help.

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