This past weekend while I was trying to put my 19-month-old son to sleep unsuccessfully, I started thinking about how easy it was to get upset and be in a bad mood. I was looking down on him and decided to focus on the good things that were happening in my life. A lot is going on in our lives that can make us feel frustrated if we focus on them. If you feel the weight of life on your shoulders, you are not alone. One thing we can control is our mindset. Sometimes, we need to actively remind ourselves of the good that is happening in our lives.
In this blog post, we will ask ourselves ten questions that will help us adjust our perspective and focus on the positive things in our lives.
#1: What was the last thing that made you smile?
Think back on the happy feelings you feel when someone does something nice for you or has a great experience. As I write this post, I am smiling at the things in my life that have made me happy recently. One realization that I had is that with a child, many cute moments make us smile.
#2: What was a recent compliment someone gave you?
Although I believe that we should not base our happiness on what others say to us, I do value the external perspective that people can give you by recognizing a great thing that you have done.
#3: How have the people in your life contributed positively to you?
The people that we surround ourselves with play a vital role. I feel very blessed to have great people in my life who have added significant value. My family and friends are a crucial part of my journey, and they make me feel supported. The amazing people in my life are a gift in many ways. I am grateful that I have great people who are my life companions.
#4: What was one recent accomplishment at work?
We spend a lot of time working towards our professional goals. It is time to celebrate all we have accomplished at work this year. We often let our professional accomplishments go unnoticed.
#5: What was the latest new memory you created?
We live in a time where we get to capture moments in pictures, videos, or other digital ways. Look back on your recent pictures and re-live the beautiful moments you have had.
#6: What was the last very delicious meal you ate?
Food is one of the highlights of my life. It might just be me, but it makes me happy when I think of good things that I have gotten to eat.
#7: What was the last fun activity that you did?
Doing something you really enjoy is a great way to evoke happy feelings. Think about a great time you had recently.
#8: What new thing have you learned lately?
Growing and learning new skills are necessary to live the amazing lives we desire. I am always excited when I acquire a new skill or a life lesson. Adding knowledge to my toolkit helps me prepare for the future.
#9: What was the last thing you did to celebrate yourself?
It is very easy to remember to celebrate with others and forget about yourself. I have always admired people who made it a point to celebrate all of their milestones. It could be a birthday, promotion, anniversary, or other pivotal moments in your life. Think about how you felt when you celebrated yourself.
#10: When was the last time you were your authentic self?
Being our authentic selves makes us happy and feel fulfilled. Celebrate the moments when you were true to yourself. You are who you were destined to be.
Final Thoughts - MC's Story
Writing this blog post reminded me of the amazing things that have happened in my life this year. I am very grateful for all the "highlights" and great memories. My life is far from perfect. However, it is filled with many happy moments and memories. The next time that I am feeling down. I will come back to this post and ask myself these questions.
Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing mothers and caregivers!!! Being a mother has been one of the journeys in my life that have turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined. Getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term was scary to me initially due to my prior health history. The interesting turns continued with having a baby during a global pandemic. Now I have a toddler who is discovering the world. I am very grateful for all my experiences.
In this blog post, I will share ten questions that I reflect on very often about motherhood. This is only the start of a great learning life-long journey.
How has being a mother changed my identity?
The concept of motherhood is beyond the point when the child joins the family. Over my pregnancy and the 18 months of my son's life, I have reflected on how motherhood has changed who I am. While the code of who I am and my values have not changed, and my perspective has shifted significantly.
What does being a good mother mean?
One thought that keeps me going is that I am the best mother for my son. We both get to define our relationship, learn from each other and grow. The image of a perfect mother does not exist because our journeys are different. I have seen that even my twin sister is s very different mother to her children.
Can I be a good working mother?
As far as I can remember, my mum worked and cared for my sister and me in my childhood. I have been fortunate to see working mothers who have successful careers and are excellent caregivers. This is the path that I have chosen for myself, and I am extremely fulfilled by being able to work on building a successful career and growing my family.
How do I avoid the pressures of motherhood?
For my mental health, I try not to put myself in a place where I feel I have to be like someone else. After I had my son, I stopped reading posts and articles from mothers who portrayed perfection. I struggled with breastfeeding my baby and felt judged by what I was reading. Shutting out those external stressors made my life much better. Everything you read, watch, or listen to is a snapshot of someone's life that they choose to share with you.
What is one thing that keeps me going?
My son is one of my biggest motivators. I want to give him all he needs to live a happy, kind, and fulfilled life. I have always been self-motivated and driven to do my best. However, now more than ever, I know why I am working hard at accomplishing my goals.
What is my favorite part of being a mum?
When I feel like the world stops and everything is perfect, my son smiles at me. In those moments, I am reminded that our son lives a great life and is happy. What more can I want beyond knowing that he is being who he was destined to be.
Who are my "tribe" on this motherhood journey?
Having a baby during a pandemic made our circle very small. We spent the first year of our son's life mostly indoors. My husband has been a strong partner on this parenthood journey. We both jumped right into caring for our family to the best of our abilities. I have learned a lot from my mum, sister, aunties, friends, and the great women in my life.
What am I currently learning?
I am learning to accept that my situation is unique and have given myself the grace to be flexible. I have to do some things in this phase of my life as a mother and career. Instead of seeking balance, I am accepting that some things might need to be prioritized higher than others at certain times.
What do I need to unlearn?
Many mothers will tell you about the guilt that plagues them because they think they are falling short of the standard of a good mother. I wonder who set the expectations of what motherhood should be like. There are a lot of variables that make all of our experiences different. Getting rid of the guilt is the only way for us to find happiness and be content.
What do I want to do more of?
The last 18 months have been an awesome journey, and I am excited about the future. I want to build many more happy memories with my family. Having fun is not something that comes easy to me, and I know that I need to be very intentional about enjoying life. I am committed to savoring every moment we spend together as a family.
I feel very fortunate to have a little human who I get to watch grow. Every day of motherhood is a gift. Some days are challenging, and we need to make difficult decisions. However, there is a lot of joy on this journey to becoming the mother I am meant to be.
Over my lifetime, I have had the privilege of living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US. Twenty-one years ago, when I moved to Germany and started my experience as an immigrant, I had no idea where I would be. My journey has had many highs and lows. I know for certain that this is the life I was meant to be living and would not change it for anything.
In this blog post, I will share five ways being an immigrant impacted my life. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
Allowed me to see more of the world
Since I left Nigeria in 2001, I have been fortunate to visit ten countries on four continents. Growing up in Kaduna, a city in northern Nigeria, everything that I knew about the world was what I saw on TV. Seeing the world's beauty, learning about new cultures, and eating good food has made my journey amazing. I am looking forward to other countries that I will get to see over the next years.
Made me independent and taught me to work for what I want
Leaving home at the age of 15, I had to grow up very quickly and make decisions independently. I learned a lot by being brave and learning from my mistakes. My upbringing prepared me a little for the challenges I faced. When I hear people talk about things they inherited or have gotten without working for, I wonder what it feels like. Over the years, I have had to work very hard to get financial stability, achieve professional success, and live my life. I now know that if I want something, I can work towards it, and I do not need to wait for someone to make it possible for me.
Helped me own my identity
My cultural identity was something I was unsure of growing up in Nigeria. I was born in Germany to a Nigerian single mother, spent my childhood in Nigeria, and moved to Germany when I was 15. Not knowing my German roots always raised questions in my childhood. When I moved to Germany, I embraced my Nigerian identity, especially the food. Years later, when I moved to the US, I celebrated my German culture. I can now confidently say that I am German-Nigerian.
Taught me how to adapt to change
When I was younger, my response to the question about what one of my weaknesses was to say that I was scared of change. After 21 years of constant change, I now know that I am very resilient and adapt very well to new situations. I have lost count of the number of times that things changed in my life. I have experienced multiple transitions from moving to new homes, changing jobs, meeting new people, and settling into new countries. I have become very used to change and no longer fear the impact of life changes.
Changed the trajectory of my life
Looking back on my childhood and humble beginnings, life was very different from how things are now. Being an immigrant has given me the greatest life that I could never have imagined I would have. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I did not leave Nigeria to start a new life in Germany and then also when I moved to the US years later. The last 21 years have made me my best self.
There are many aspects of my journey that I have taken for granted. Reflecting on the ways my life has changed reminded me of how strong all my experiences have made me.