Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When Should You Start Sleep Training Your Child? Do You Have The Guts?

Place all 12 hungry, needy pounds of our daughter in her crib at 7 p.m. Close the door and return at 7 a.m. No checking, no consoling and definitely no feeding. She would cry — for hours, possibly — but in about three nights she’d get the picture that nobody was coming to her rescue and would begin to sleep through the night.


I stumbled on this piece that discussed a formula that can help infants sleep through the night. For most new parents, this piece of information I am about to share must feel like discovering gold but like the author asked I wonder if you'd have the guts to stick it through. Most new parents are faced with having to sacrifice their much treasured sleep hours to attend to the new addition(s) to the family.I remember that after having my child, I lost weight visibly and it became worrying for those around me seeing as I wasn't really weighty to start with.My eyes were a deep hollow and if one didn't know better, one would have thought I was suffering a withdrawal. I knew then that all that was wrong was the inability to sleep peacefully for the required hours. I had to get used to giving midnight meals and whatever reason my infant might find to keep me awake. If she whimpered, yawned , stretched, cried, I was there. I was consumed with the desire to be there for her even if that meant looking like a mess.One can't help the anxieties associated with being a new parent but this post I stumbled upon gave new parents the choice to either toughen up or stay exhausted.

It also brings me to my question, When can one start sleep training a child? I am fighting hard to find answers to this question seeing as it is past 10pm and my toddler is fighting to tap some keys on my keyboard as I type.

Find below some excerpts from the piece that was featured in the New York Times and written by Aimee Molloy.

A few months ago, my husband and I took our newborn daughter to her two-month doctor’s appointment at Tribeca Pediatrics, the largest pediatric practice in New York City. We were feeling tired, but happy with our daughter’s progress. She was gaining weight, nursing like a champ, and — best of all — giving us six- to eight-hour stretches of sleep pretty consistently. When we told our pediatrician, she seemed less impressed.
“She could be sleeping 12 hours a night,” she said. “It’s time to think about sleep training.”
Sleep training? An 8-week-old?
Our doctor coached us on the recommended technique. Place all 12 hungry, needy pounds of our daughter in her crib at 7 p.m. Close the door and return at 7 a.m. No checking, no consoling and definitely no feeding. She would cry — for hours, possibly — but in about three nights she’d get the picture that nobody was coming to her rescue and would begin to sleep through the night.
The promise that she (and we) could sleep longer was certainly alluring, and I’m no stranger to the idea of allowing your child to cry-it-out in order to learn to sleep. But I was surprised to hear it suggested at 8 weeks. Was it really O.K. to try cry-it-out on such a tiny, hungry, helpless little creature?
The man behind this idea is Dr. Michel Cohen, who founded Tribeca Pediatrics in 1994. His practice now sees nearly 32,000 patients at offices in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles. “It comes down to this,” Dr. Cohen told me when I called to ask about this approach. “Do you have the guts to do what I’m suggesting? If so, you’ll see it works.” And if not? “Then I expect to see you back at six months, exhausted, asking why your kid is still getting up a few times a night.” 

Please read full article HERE


How Long Should You Date Before You Start Discussing Marriage

The tensed atmosphere that has surrounded this election period makes it really hard to think or focus on something else. Most conversations are centered around who wins or loses. Truth be told I have had my eyes glued on the TV while I have shamelessly stalked every page on the social media that has some sort of political affiliation just to get any form of reliable info. I had to psyche myself to break out of this momentary but very important distraction.It really has been an eventful and emotional weekend for most Nigerians , I hope you all went out to vote? All we can do now is to sit down and wait for the results to be read while praying earnestly for peace.

I stumbled on this question i posed while stalking other pages for election results(the way the internet is set up still amazes me, one minute you are in Nigeria and the next you are in Baghdad)  and I threw it open for my colleagues at work to debate upon. Most of them were of the opinion that one needed to date another person for a period of at least six months before they start discussing marriage. According to them, that period might not be enough to know about every skeleton in the other person’s wardrobe but it is definitely enough for one to make up one’s mind on whether or not there was a future in the relationship.

Relationships experience shift when the talk about marriage comes up. It signals moving forward or just letting go depending on the commitment of the partners involved. Marriage issues in some situations requires walking on egg shells. You don’t want to bring it up too early so as not to be seen as desperate or too late less you miss your chance and be termed as insensitive.

 Discussing marriage doesn’t necessarily have to be after a period of at least six months. Many things come into play here. One considers the age and readiness of the two people involved in the relationship. I figure a woman of a ripe age of 30+ might not have the time and patience a girl in her early twenties might have when it comes to having the marriage talk. There are couples that discuss getting married from after the third date. There was a man that was asking me out way back and he made it clear from the beginning that he wanted something serious that could probably lead to marriage. I didn’t feel the same urgency he felt but I didn’t think it was totally inappropriate for him to mention it seeing as he was way older than I am and he would have been interested in settling down faster.

Bringing it up early however might signal desperation on the part of the person that raises it  thereby scaribg away a 'good' prospect.So much as it might seem like the right thing to discuss after the first two dates, you’ll do better to wait a few more dates to get to know the other person more and also to know if you are on the same page concerning the future. You need to be sure that you share a deep sense of trust and intimacy that convinces you that it’s time for you two to take things to the next level.

Staying 'forever' before discussing it might also mean unseriousness or that one is scared of commitment which either ways doesnt reflect well on the relationship. After the early period of getting used to each other, there is the need to look on to the next and if this period of transition never comes, it might have dire consequences.

The answer to the question posed would be not too early and not too late. Long as you take into consideration all the other factors such as age, readiness , attraction and how well you know the other person.

However, If you are in a relationship for many years and either of you has never talked about/thought about settling down with each other, you might need to reevaluate that relationship.

Stay Blessed

  



Monday, March 30, 2015

The Importance of the Attraction Factor

I had a completely different topic in mind for today, but after an interesting discussion I had yesterday, I just had to write about this. So what's the big deal with attraction huh? Why do people spend time titivating themselves before they step out of their homes? Why do people try to put on their best behaviour when they meet a member of the opposite sex for the first time? Why do we work hard to get people we admire to feel some form of attraction towards us? Because attraction is key in any relationship or friendship. the only people you don't have to be attracted to are your family members, because you can't choose them, you just have to love them. 

 

I have stepped on a number of toes recently, I am beginning to wonder if I've been in a foul mood for the past couple of months. This is because so many 'good guys' have approached me and for lack of attraction, I've simply put them in the friend box and moved on. Of course, they get upset, throw tantrums or end conversations with one word responses. Being the happy-go-lucky girl I am, I don't feel bad for telling a person I am not interested because I am not attracted. 

Many of us need to understand this: attraction is the first connection that a couple must establish before they can venture into dating or courtship (whatever it is that you may wish to call it). Without attraction, chances are one partner will still have a wandering eye, while the other is trying way too hard to make things work. People say you should work hard to establish an attraction; I beg to differ. Attraction is the one connection you do not have to work hard to achieve. It should not be coerced or cajoled, it should come naturally. 

'Good guys and ladies' (I put that in quote because you can never know until you actually date them) tend to get upset when they are attracted to a person who does not share the same feeling. "But I'm a good person", they say. Attraction is not about how clean your past is, or how big your plans are. Those factors only come to play later. The first connection that should be established is attraction; and true, attraction might grow on you but you shouldn't have to put in any effort to feel it. You need to see your potential spouse and smile, not 'work up' a smile. You should feel excitement at spending time together, not roll  your eyes and dread the feeling of endurance you have to initiate. 

You should feel an attraction to your partner before you venture into a relationship. People say attraction will come with time, but the truth is that it may not, and you may find yourself walking down the aisle with someone who does not excite you or ignite any emotions within you. Don't date a person simply because other people claim he or she might be good for you, or because you feel you are running out of time or options. People who do this, often regret their decisions, cheat or simply break ties after too much has been sacrificed. Attraction is the first connection, and it makes it easier to move forward in the relationship. XOXO

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tips To Having A Successful Wedding

I love grand weddings. Those weddings one attends and one is left wondering about the thoughts, money and effort expended on every detail. There is a little difference between carnivals and weddings these days. Everyone wants to outdo everyone. It is no longer about being able to cater for the long list of guests that would grace the event, which is a no brainer. The real hustle has to be working towards being featured on one of the popular wedding blogs. So, extra attention is paid to the venue which has to be decorated exquisitely, the MC, the live band, DJ and all the other little things that form the big weddings most people try to achieve.
 
God knows I love me a good time out at a great well planned wedding (who doesn’t?) but I wonder atimes if some of the things done are necessary. I remember when I was planning my wedding, an aunt of mine suggested I got my reception dress from a particular store that sells such dresses for close to a hundred thousand naira. I almost felt pressured to buy it because I bought her story on making a bold statement but on second thoughts, I could see it was an unnecessary purchase. There were stores that were selling equally decent dresses for way lesser and the dresses were equally good.

My point is as young people who have a whole life ahead , it makes no sense spending moneys that could have been invested or kept for other purposes on irrelevant things in preparation for a wedding that is just a day or two.

There are a few things I wish I knew earlier but the good news is even if I missed out on those tips, you need not ,as I would be sharing them with you now.

Pray: I pray about things some people might even consider minute but trust me it works.It's your big day and no matter how prepared you are , there are still a million and one things that could go wrong. Commit it all in God's hands and relax.

Get a planner/Plan adequately: If you can afford one get a good wedding planner. It saves you lots of stress and the experience of the planner is always useful. If not, make a list and work towards ticking off your list. Making plans also make unnecessary purchases avoidable seeing as all things needed are already listed.

Be real to yourselves: You are going to be one anyway and are about to be stuck together for a life time so why lie? I know it could be embarrassing for a man when he feels he can’t meet all his woman’s need but that need not be a reason to lie. If you can’t afford an A list compere then say it. So that it won’t become an issue when the C lister you could afford arrives the venue.

Avoid making unnecessary purchases: I mentioned earlier how I settled for a less expensive gown because I found the expensive one absolutely unnecessary. You might do well here to sit with your planner or if you don’t have a planner, to write down a list of important things that needed to be gotten before the d day. That way you are able to avoid buying things that you don’t need.

Stay within budget: Remember there is life after the wedding. You don’t want to spend all your savings on just one day and be left with nothing when it is absolutely important. Draw a budget and try your best to stay within the confines of the budget. If you can’t afford caterers, get your aunties, sisters or cousins to come help. Guests will come and go but whatever trouble you bring upon yourself will be there after the wedding. This is because finances are big part of marriages and you need to lay the foundation for a healthy marriage by being wise financially.

Have Fun:Now that the day is here, remember it is your day. It is more about your happiness than anybody’s . Dance and lose yourself in the celebration of your love. Don’t let the stress get to you. Everybody will be fine so you need not bother your head about who ate or who didn’t, they’ll be taken care off. That’s why you have caterers, close friends and families, they understand how important your guests are to you.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

How To Deal With Rejection

Have you ever mustered up the courage to finally ask that girl you have watched from afar out and she declined? Or were you that girl that did everything to get noticed by that guy you fancied so much but had to deal with the news that he was in a serious relationship? Can I have a show of hands if you were ever told you were not good enough for a job so you got turned down at the interview?

Did you play cool or you were really sad? Did you withdraw into yourself or you kept trying? How do you deal with getting rejected?

No matter how positive minded one is, rejection can be very devastating. How then should it be handled? Should you get mad at the other person for not recognizing you were the best choice they could have made? Should you severe all contacts with that girl because she didn’t say yes? Or should you understand that other people have a right to exercise their rights to choose and you probably don’t fit into what they desired?

By now we all agree not everyone we desire will find us equally desirable. Okay, that statement is overreaching, we all don’t agree that is why some of us find it so hard to deal with rejection. NO doesn’t have to be such a damning word, we should be civil enough to understand that other people have opinions too.

Good news is there are lessons to be learnt should from getting rejected. First thing you have to know is it is nothing personal. There are so many people that get rejected on a daily basis and the problem is not necessarily you. Everyone has different things they consider and different reasons for taking particular decisions which might not be about how you look, what you said or what you did. So, do away with whatever form of insecurity you might feel as a result of getting rejected. It is alright to feel bad but don’t dwell on it too much.

Don’t get bitter. You make choices every day so respect other people’s choices too. Other people’s choices might include turning you down which you probably also do too. So, don’t be bitter. Be civil about it. Nothing is worth staying mad at. Things might not play out as you wanted but with the right attitude you could gain a life long friendship in the one that turned you relationship request down.

Don’t be shamed into never trying new things again. The fact that Tola turned you down doesn’t mean ChiChi would do the same. Imagine if we all gave up after the first job interview. You need to keep trying. Rejection is not supposed to be a deadly blow, it is an opportunity to try other avenues.

Focus on the positive things. In a weird coincidence, I flipped through my Instagram in the course of writing this post and I saw a post of a young actress that was expressing her thoughts on getting rejected and how she deals with it. She said she stays close to those that bring her value. There so many other people that know what we are worth. Embrace their love and support.

We all get rejected, it is alright to be disappointed but don’t make your life miserable because of some other person’s opinion.
Stay amazing.




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Can One Have Sex In Front Of A Baby?

Having kids is not peculiar to those that are newly married. However old or young one is, trust me when I say nobody prepares you for the anxieties you’d have as a new parent. I remember being scared I was going to choke my baby because I found it hard to keep my eyes open when feeding her sometimes. The elderly ones don’t seem to help one’s nerves, they even escalate the situation with their long list of contradictory don’ts. One thing I have learnt while on this parenting ‘job’ is that things are not always so complicated and it is okay to rely on one’s instincts sometimes.

I came across a question on one of the popular blogs and the author wanted to know if it was alright to have sex in the presence of a seven month old child. I know she voiced the thoughts of many new parents and I laughed when I saw it because I could totally relate.

There are always ideal ways to do things like allowing the baby sleep in the bassinet or cot but really who am I kidding? that almost never happens because of many reasons; breastfeeding, general nurturing and plenty other reasons I can’t remember at this time. So, one is faced with the desire to be with one’s spouse and to not also be the one that would leave one’s child traumatized. Hmm, classic case of being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea right? How does one handle such sensitive matters? Well, it is really not that serious. Psychologists have said most infants can’t remember things so if your seven month old child is a spectator while you are going at it, he really can’t make sense of what you are doing.

Not to make light of it, it is understandable for one to be uncomfortable when one has an audience irrespective of if the child understands or not so instead of using the room where the child is sleeping, you could use the other room in the house or the bathroom where you are more likely to be out of earshot.

You babies are definitely going to grow up so the good news is the frustration you feel has a timeline. However getting intimate with each other is also important so you need to get creative at it.

While you might get away with having sex in front of a child less than a year, you are going to be less lucky if you had one that is already curious about his environment and is at that mimicking state. To avoid any form of drama, it is advisable not to.

Stay Blessed





Do You Match Up to Your Expectations in a Partner?

I have made an interesting discovery recently: many of us have very high expectations in terms of the people we would like to date, court and eventually marry. We often have a list in our heads of what stage of life our prospective partners ought to be when we meet them, and we are hardly ever lenient with our expectations. There are superficial features we often look out for such as beauty or height, or even body structure, but those are not the qualities I am focusing on in this post. 

Many of us desire success, and that is not a bad thing in any way. What I have a problem with is that we desire success in our prospective partners, but are not willing, or should I rather say too lazy to take a step in the direction of our own personal success. This is very common amongst young ladies today, and surprisingly some young men. I often see ladies writing status updates like 'God bless my future husband so I can wear the fragrance of his success'. The fragrance of his success? Why aren't you praying for your own success too? why are we content to sit around and wait for a successful person to come and sweep us off our feet? Why are we so complacent about our lives, we do not realize that we do not match up to what we expect in others?

I have come to the realization that it rarely happens that a successful, well-learned, secure and mature man would want to be with a woman who has not done anything to improve herself in any way. Same goes for a well-learned, strong and intelligent woman. It may be adorable to your friends if you are childish and loud, with no drive for success, but it will not take you far. Many women meet 'prince charming' once in a blue moon, and are immediately swept off their feet because he ticks all their boxes, but they forget to ask if they tick any of his boxes. 
 


If you have certain expectations in your prospective partner, then you need to make yourself into a person that person would be interested in, get it? You can't sit around, drifting in and out of university on the same degree for eight years, and expect a CEO to take you seriously (not that having a CEO as a partner should be an expectation, but you know, let's use that title for description sake). These days, no one wants a woman they have to carry and push simply because she lacks personal motivation. The same way no sane woman wants a man who just lazes around and waits on her to bring home the bacon. 

If you really want a certain kind of partner, then prepare yourself emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, and in every other way you can think of! Stop sitting around hoping to be loved 'just the way you are'. The way you are does not match up to their own expectations, so they will keep disappearing on you. If you want a high achiever, have some achievements strapped to your belt too! Have some dreams and visions stamped on your forehead (not literally), own your desire for success, improve your intellectual capabilities, and soon you will see that you will not only attract the partner you desire, but you'll be able to keep him/her too. XOXO

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Maintaining Your Individuality In A Relationship

I can’t put my hands on it
But I can feel something is wrong
Like a bad breathe, I can’t seem to shake it off
I am not about to ask for space like the lovers in the books do
I just think I have been so vested in Us that I miss Me.



How many times have you tried to imagine how your life used to be before your marriage. I hear many wives complain about not knowing how to have fun anymore .One is tempted to ask what efforts they have made towards having fun. If you take a poll, you'd find most of us are guilty of waiting on our spouse to make things happen like we never had interesting lives before they getting married. I find it quite amusing and interesting when I see couples that breathe down each other’s necks. The ones that depict the tale of the snail and its shell and have successfully webbed their existence around themselves. While this might seem enviable, it is not usually the case. Finding that significant other is absolutely amazing but equally important is being able to keep one’s personal identity.
 I know many people have conversations in their heads that starts with ‘Hello, I used to have a life before I met you’. We have the misconception that when we are in love, we always have to be in the company of the other person and are compelled to do things together but being in love doesn't automatically make us think alike. Loving another doesn't mean you have to stop being yourself. Much as we might not agree, the truth remains that some of the issues that stem up in relationships might be due to the dissatisfaction that arises from losing this individual identity.

We all have our individualities, qualities that define us from the other man. Things we love to do which our partners might not necessarily be interested in.things that generally defined us.This unique qualities that we possessed might be the reasons for our relationships coming into being. We had our circle of friends before we met that significant other and it will be a disservice to self to lose that identity because of the union.

In order to keep this individuality and stay happy at your relationship, keep in mind the following things.

·         Make time for yourself within the relationship. Honey, there is nothing wrong with having some ‘me’ time. I love some time to myself everyday when I can reflect on things and remind myself what and what is not important. I get this just before my husband gets in from work.I sometimes go out for pedicure just to refresh. When was the last time you took that drive with your favourite playlist on?We all have our different ways and things we enjoy doing. Try and find yours. You find yourself more refreshed and open minded about your relationship.

·         Talk about it. Couples make a lot of compromise and adjustment to be able to build their relationship and family together. Talk about the reasons why some things are important to you and make your partner see the sense in it. You both can be in love without necessarily being in the same space all the time.

·         Remember you had friends and families before you got involved with your partner. Make time for them and laugh about that old joke only you and your friends understand. The bond you share with these people might be totally different but it is equally important for your mental stability. It is not very healthy to be totally dependent on just your partner. Finding a balance is also absolutely necessary.

Many of us are guilty of having fabled expectations from relationships. Our lives don't need to follow a set way.  Bear in mind that it is also very important to spend time together. So no matter what you do, there should be that meeting point for both of you. Being happy together grows from being happy individually. Work towards finding that balance and staying happy.

Photo Credit: catherine-morris.com

Monday, March 23, 2015

You are just TOO MUCH!

It is amazing how the words 'too much' can have both positive and negative impacts on how we see ourselves.Very often, these days, I have noticed that people have started to turn positive qualities into negative perceptions by simply adding the words 'too much' to their descriptions. People seem to pay a lot of 'inverted' compliments these days. "Your personality is too strong", "You are too smart for your own good", "you are too fashionable", "you are too stylish".... the list goes on, and before you know it, you being to doubt if being any of these things is a good thing. Some people even go as far as saying things like "the problem is you are too successful". Oh? I didn't realize that success could be a bad thing.

We live in a world filled with insecure people. It does not help in any way that insecurity is now viewed as 'normal'. People feel disturbed when they meet strong individuals who do not need to be verified by society before they feel secure in themselves, therefore they attempt to make them feel bad for being awesome. Sadly, many of us fall prey to this tactic, and begin to apologize for being the amazing individuals God made us out to be. We suppress our strengths to keep people happy, we live in less than satisfactory conditions because we don't want to be seen as 'too flashy' or 'too successful'. In other words, we become prisoners of others' desires because we just don't want to be seen as 'too much of anything'. 

I lived that way for a long time; I stopped talking, which was difficult because I like talking, and yes, I have heard many times that I talk 'too much' because I am considerably well-read on a lot of topics, and often have something to contribute. I've also been told I'm too sparkly, too bubbly...generally too happy, and so I thought I should tone it down. Well, guess what? I ended up being miserable, and it certainly did not take long before I told myself it was time to stop suppressing the good things myself! (yes, talking is a good thing; people who talk a lot don't have wrinkles).

Stop 'toning things down' just so people can be happy at your expense. You need to own who you are, and accept who you are too. Yes, there might be some negative traits you need to work on and cut out of your life, but let the positive traits about you shine through shamelessly! Do you have a strong personality? Hone it and own it! Are you successful? enjoy it, and let other people benefit from it! Whatever qualities you have, whatever strengths you possess, do not hide them simply because insecure people think you are just too much! XOXO

Friday, March 20, 2015

Things I Learnt From Being A New Parent

I was overwhelmed with mixed feelings just before I had my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited about wanting to meet the little miss that had my insides all messed up , but I was also forced to confront the fact that my life was officially about to change. I have heard stories of how sleep becomes a major luxury and how my time was going to stop being mine.
Thing is the responsibilities are more overwhelming than I thought and I am not even exaggerating. You’d be surprised how much strain it can put on your romantic relationship with your spouse if you are not mindful and prepared.it is absolutely exciting to have a new member in the family but no matter how prepared you are, you’d discover there are a number of things you’d learn on the job.
Since I am such a nice lady, I am going to share with you some tips I have learnt first-hand.

Get some help if you can. It is not really easy settling back to work and handling all the house chores while taking care of a new child(ren). So, it is advisable to get some form of help, it could be relatives, friends or paid help. The strength in your arms can be saved for other things if you can easily access help from other people.

You should plan your sleep pattern around your child's. This is especially for new mums. I remember I was always in a constant state of fatigue after I had my child because she was always awake at really odd hours. I found a way around it by forcing myself to sleep whenever my daughter slept.

Don’t give medication just because you presumed what could be wrong. Run the necessary tests so as not to complicate issues. My daughter had a high fever recently and the elderly people around me told me it was because she was teething. It was after the results of her tests came out that it was discovered she had malaria. Imagine if I gave her drugs just to relieve the teething pains, the malaria could have gotten worse.

Don’t panic over everything and anything. I am guilty of this. The first three months had me checking for the colour of her poo, the movement of her neck, her response to her surroundings and whatever else you can think of. Most times, the things we worry about are always unfounded. Ione is sensitive because one is new at parenting. I have learnt that a child might just be crying because she just wants your attention. It is not always something serious.
                                                                                                                                                 
There is really no manual for the perfect way to take perfect care of your child so you should just go with your instincts. Also bear in mind that you can never do enough for your child. You’d discover that it is 10% work and 90% grace. This brings me to my most important tip.

Never cease to commit your child(ren) into God’s hands. Noone can watch over them like He will.

Truth be told, it is inexpiable the joy one feels giving one's best to one's child. I have just one now, I am looking forward to having more. I am told there are more lessons to be learnt on patience when I have more children. For now, these tips I shared are my chief tips. I’d love to read from you. What have you learnt from parenting? How do you cope?




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Financial Tips: How to Make Your Salary Last Longer

Oh...salaries and the way they grow wings, wave goodbye and vanish into thin air. If only there was a way to just make them stay! I have had the financial blues where it seemed that there was more than enough month at the end of my money, and people often wondered what I did with all my money. The funny part of course was the fact that I could never really point out what I'd done with my money. It seemed I spent it on silly things that I couldn't even see physically. I decided after having to ask for mummy and daddy's support for the umpteenth time that I had to get my act together and start being responsible financially. So, if you are in the same shoes I was in, here are  a few tips:

Take stock: as pay day approaches, take stock of your groceries and toiletries to check what you already have, and what you need to fill up on. This eliminates spontaneous and uncontrolled spending. I literally go to my kitchen with a writing pad and a pen, and I write down the things I do not have after having checked carefully. Many times we buy things and do not use them for months till they expire. Yet we keep buying more. Why not just take stock?

Write a list: You will spend less at the grocery store if you have a pre-determined list with you based on your stock take. Always have a list. This way, you'll simply go for the things you truly need, rather than the things that catch your fancy... like an unnecessary pizza or tramezinnis... yeah, one time I bought rump sosaties and stared at them in the refrigerator for weeks because I just didn't feel like eating beef. 

Allow for 'other' expenses: Yes, you may have food at home, and everything else you need, but be honest with yourself. There are times when cravings come knocking and it's either you kill the craving or it kills you. In addition, hanging out with friends, suddenly realizing you are out of something you need urgently etc. should all be catered for. Allow for such expenses when you write your budget for the month. Allocate a fixed amount for the month, and strive as much as possible to stick below that.

Take lunch to work: This is the easiest way to avoid spending your money on nothing in particular. Always take a bottle of water, a fruit and a sandwich or something light yet filling from your home stock. It does not make sense to have food at home and still have to buy at work everyday.

Prioritize: There are certain things you need because they are essential, and there are things you want because they will make you feel good, Your needs should be first on your budget list e.g. rent, electricity, heating, water bills, groceries, toiletries and transportation. Your wants come next and not all of them have to be fulfilled in one go. Makeup, perfume, the latest Xperia, the new Samsung UHD TV (which I want so badly by the way, in case a good Samaritan is reading this) etc. are things that will still be available for months and even years to come. You should learn to budget which wants you can afford in a particular month without compromising your savings.

Regarding your savings, strive to save no less than 10% of your earnings each month, and don't forget to pay your tithes! God bless your finances! XOXO

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How To Maintain A Long Distance Relationship

Someone close to me mentioned she was planning to relocate to another city to seek a better life. Moving is absolutely right for her career advancement but the clog in the wheel seems to be what will become of her relationship. Should she give up on what she shares with her boyfriend because she was moving out of the country? Or should she stay in the relationship and not mind the distance and all the challenges it could bring?

Having that conversation with her made me acknowledge the obvious. There are more people in long distance relationships than we know.  Most people don’t set out to be in long distance relationships but life happens and some decisions have to be taken.Keeping a relationship is generally tricky and most people will agree with me it takes a lot of work and dedication on both sides. How then do people who love across cities and oceans keep the flames burning?
 
How does one resolve disputes? How do people in such relationships stay faithful?  I am sure many people know the story of a friend or cousin that got shocked into reality after holding on to a supposed relationship with someone faraway only to realize it was a huge mistake.
No matter the ills, people keep this kind of relationships and it thrives.

From personal experience and reading several journals, the points below would be helpful if you are in such relationship or about to embark on one.

You need to communicate very often. You are not allowed to be too busy not to at least send one or two messages or make a call through an entire day. Well, only reason might be you are at a war front and couldn’t get network connection. Asides from extreme situations such as that, communication is key because that is the only way you can express your feelings and make up for the physical absence. Technology has made this so much more achievable through all kinds of apps and interface. Constant communication strengthens the bond and makes it easier to deal with the absence.
You should be mindful of grudges in this kind of relationship because the lack of physical presence can escalate an issue that could have been easily resolved. Understand your partner and don’t be too quick to judge their situations. Be in control of your temper and be ready to bury your ego in resolving issues.

You need to be open. This kind of relationships thrive on trust and good understanding. Both of which are earned over time. Some issues can be avoided if your partner is aware of the reasons why particular things took place. It doesn't matter that you are not in the same place, if you are going to be staying out late, let the other person know. Carry each other along on the happenings in each other's life just to avoid drama.

You need to have plans and expectations.  You should know where the relationship is leading to. It makes no sense to be in a relationship you are unsure about while shunning other prospects. If you are both serious about it and want to make it work, then you should make plans. My husband and I stayed in different cities before we got married but we agreed at some point after my law school, I was going to move to the city where he was for my youth service to make things a lot smoother. Having common goals and expectations such as marriage plans makes the commitment easier. That way, you’d know there is a time frame for the separation and you will both work bearing in mind that once the time frame elapses, you will be back together.


You need to visit each other often. Come on, how can you be in a relationship with someone that stays four hours away and you haven’t seen yourselves in years? That doesn’t look like a relationship that is being taken seriously on both ends. Much as communication helps, seeing each other at intervals is also very healthy for the relationship to bloom. You need to be familiar with your partner’s environment. Like understand what his/her day is like. You are likely going to feel less awkward around eachother if the visits are done regularly.
I understand this could be hard sometimes especially the logistics involved if the other person is out of the country but effort still has to be made towards visiting. To weather this storm, you can make permanent plans and take major decisions such as relocating.



Whatever relationship you are into, it takes hard work, disipline and dedication for it to thrive. If you both love yourselves, then you should be dedicated to the growth of what you share. Stay positive and let it flow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Can A Marriage Survive Infidelity?

Infidelity has to be one of the most common betrayals between and among  couples. The emotional struggle and the heartbreak that comes with it has been defined by some people as one of the most painful experiences ever. No one goes to bed expecting his wife or her husband would be so carried away as to desire another over him or her. Much as no one plans for it to happen, it is undeniable that it does happen and one becomes left with the question ‘what next from here?’
Is it possible that one rises above such situation and love one’s spouse again?

If I took a roll call of how many married people said they would divorce their partners should there be any case of infidelity in their marriages, I would probably have a massive show of hands. I am one of those that would have had my two hands up championing the cause for zero tolerance on infidelity but time and people have taught me differently.

Much as it is a major setback in most relationships, it need not be the end, matter of fact it could be a new beginning. We are not created to be naturally tolerant of irresponsible behavior but time has shown we all are not perfect and what really matters is for the couples involved to agree to work through the situation. The ability to move past infidelity is largely dependent on the erring spouse and the readiness to make the right amends on both sides.  

I spoke to an aunt of mine who went through this kind of situation some time in her marriage and she shared with me what they did to get through those dark times. By now, you should know the answer to the question the topic posed is a big YES.
When we are hurt,  we feel better when whoever caused the hurt acknowledges his/her wrong and is deeply remorseful. This makes it easier to forgive.

That said,in taking the steps to work through it, you need not be in denial as to what happened. You need to confront the situation and you both need to say how you both feel. More than anything else, the question the hurt spouse wants answers to is ‘why?’ Infidelity cannot be justified in any way but lovers need to get to the crux of it in order to make the right amends. If it is a matter of discontentment in the area of emotions or sexual needs, all the cards need to be placed on the table. This is not to apportion blames, it is just to recognize the root of the problem. Generally though, a cheating spouse doesn’t necessarily have to be a dissatisfied lover.

(Not taking into consideration a partner that might have a problem of cheating serially)It is very important that the erring partner is remorseful and shows the readiness to change. The affair has to be brought to an end and all hands need to be on deck to rebuild the dented trust. Acknowledging one’s wrong is a compulsory step towards recovering and getting forgiveness.

The hurt partner needs to be ready to forgive. Now, this is easier said than done. My aunty told me it took her a while to finally get over the hurt but she was finally able to get there. Note that you are not being told to forget all together, bear in mind that you need to take the baby steps from forgiving to being able to get to that place of forgetting and total forgiveness. If you keep the hurt in your mind for too long, it would probably ruin the entire relationship and frustrate the effort of trying to rebuild what was broken.

The good thing is the openness that comes with situations such as this help couples in understanding the importance of what they share. This could help reignite lost sparks.

Bear in mind that God frowns at divorce, so also does he frown at adultery. For goodness’ sake, they both should be avoided.  Divorce comes with so much complications. There are kids, career, properties and many other things to think about. As deep as infidelity is, I truthfully think it needs not be the end of a marriage long as the erring partner ends the affair, apologizes and shows the readiness to change.

May God grant us all wisdom to manage our homes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tips To Living A Happier And Fuller Life

I was on a flight recently when the plane plunged downwards all of a sudden probably due to a change in altitude but the pilot didn’t have the decency to inform us, so some people assumed we might crash. Much as I kept my cool, I found the sounds of their alarmed prayers and screams disturbing and I must confess my faith did shake. I found myself making notes in my head of what I have made of my life and thinking  if I had lived a life I would be proud of were that the end of me. Surprisingly, my answer came in the negative. I found myself guilty of overthinking things and I recall how much I fight sleep because there are so many things that need to get done. Every dawn has me thinking a million and one things need my attention and I am surprised how I am not even the POTUS.lol.
Image result for happy lifeWell, the plane stabilized and we had a drama free flight home but that incident was like a wakeup call. I wrote a note to myself to keep things in the right perspective. You see, we forget just how short life is thinking we have all the time in the world to get to things we really should be doing right now.

If that incident was the end of me, I would have been deeply dissatisfied but thank God for tons of chances, I am here now and I am sharing with you some of my life tips.

I have decided to be less apologetic. People have always had differing opinions on how other people should live their lives. You will discover how unsatisfying your life would be when you take every decision considering what someone else has to say about it.  Do things because it makes you happy. Happiness should be given so much more priority than it is being given because life is really too short. You need to live that life and live it filtering out every negative comments.

There is no better time to do that amazing thing on your mind than right now. Don’t get me wrong, you are not going to die young or any of that but the earlier you do that thing that has been ion your mind, the better. Age shouldn’t hold you back on the things you can achieve in your life. I find the story of the 83 year old first grader deeply inspiring. I have heard people say I would have loved to be this or that but age isn’t on my side. That is a lie we tell ourselves. Get off your seat and go on that journey that makes your life so much more amazing than it is right now.

Mistakes are only human, Failures are not the end. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes. They only help us in building wealthier experiences. There is so much life to see that it is absolutely a disservice to oneself not to move on after a failure. Learn from your mistakes, understand it is just a bend and not the end. I remember Having an F in a course in the University, I was so scared of taking the exams again because I became really unsure of myself, I am glad of how far I have come since then.

Have fun. How do you relax? by partying or going on picnics with friends? attending cookouts . Just do something fun and adventurous.  Stop making excuses on why you can’t possibly have a little play time. Life is not that serious. Taking a day out or even a vacation for a week or two wouldn’t ruin your life. 

You need to create time for the people that matter in your life too. You don’t want to realize when it is too late that it was going to cost nothing extra to be at that family dinner. 


Eat Healthy: You owe your body that much. Food helps build our immune systems and even helps our mental health among many other things. We need to be conscious of what goes into our mouth. Why take ill when it can be avoided. Some of us take more care of our cars than we do our bodies. Eating right might really be the key to living longer.

Exercise more often: Do I even need to say this? A healthy person is a happy person. Asides from keeping one in shape, exercises are great for health generally; Heartbeat rate, cholesterol level, muscles and whatever thing you can think of. Create time for it.

Stop Complicating things for yourself: Keep it as simple as it can be. Life already has its own complexities. Don't take on more than you can handle. Live life at a pace you can keep up with. There is no use comparing your life with every Tola, Chudi or Adamu.


Don’t compromise on your time with God: Life without God feels like walking in a complex maze with blindfolds, achieving anything is going to be by a tiny stroke of chance. Why would you want to live life based on chances when you can have someone hold you by the hand and guide you? I have discovered life becomes easier to live when one understands purpose and there is no greater way to understand that than by being close to God. 

All in all,You owe yourself your happiness. Seek it and live it. I am on the path of living my life that way, so help me God.

Have a great week y'all.

Seven Character Traits of a Bad Boss

A bad boss is all you need to feel emotions you never thought could run through your blood veins. A bad boss can make you feel tired the moment you wake up in the morning. A bad boss can give you sleepless nights even though you don't sleep at the office, and a bad boss can certainly make you see how bleak life can be, and make you consider being unemployed, never mind the bills you have to pay. 

 

I've had my fair share of horrible bosses- some of them I simply stooped to conquer, some I dealt the same cards they dealt me, and some I just ignored completely for the preservation of my sanity. One boss however had me bursting at my seams in frustration after just one month of working with her. Now, if you know me, you will attest to my calmness and alarmingly slow pace to anger....but one boss made me experience such strong emotions, that I found myself considering taking a wooden spoon to work and beating the living daylights out of her. Relax, I didn't but the problem is I considered it very strongly and I was shocked at myself! I started to put together character traits that I noticed in my string of bad bosses and decided to share them. If you find out you are a bad boss in the making, don't stress, as long as you're not there yet, there's hope.

You are passive-aggressive: I think some bosses mistake this trait for diplomacy. The problem with being a passive-aggressive boss is that your employees don't know how you truly feel about an issue. I'm not saying bosses need to do a dramatic display in order to express their feelings, but mixing smiles and stern words together confuses normal people who work for you. Don't say "Next time you forget to clock in, you'll get a final warning" and then smile.... There's nothing pleasant about a final warning.

You are a bully: This is the boss everyone gets so terrified of, being summoned into his office can activate tear ducts and whimpering shoulders. I once had a boss who enjoyed bullying his subordinates. He enjoyed it so much, he often visited his victim after an encounter to check if they succumbed to tears. I never cried even when he went on to explain how I lack visualization, and can't use my brain, so he labelled me as 'too strong'. Oh well...

 You enjoy seeing your employees work harder than necessary: This is a popular misconduct in most workplaces. many bosses seem to think the harder their employees work, the more productive their team is. Perhaps... but there is no point in your employees working unnecessarily hard. For example, making your team stay behind after hours to work on something that could very well be done the following morning is an unnecessary imposition. Creating dramatic exaggerations of the work to be done is also unnecessary. I once worked at a lab where the manager made five of us wait for 45 minutes after closing hours to test one sample...Yeah just one,and all five of us waited because she wanted to impress this new client. Not that the results would have been any later if we had done the sample the next morning, but she derived joy in our frustration. No prizes for guessing how burned out and demotivated we all were.
Let your employees enjoy the days when there isn't much to do so they can put in all  their effort when the workload comes in. Burning them out every single day will not make them better employees. It will only make them intensify their hunts for better jobs.


You don't communicate: I don't think there is anything I detest more than a boss who sits on instructions until you ask....for the umpteenth time. Sadly, many bosses only feel they are filling their shoes when they have you knocking at their door every five seconds, just so you seem stupid and they appear to be putting out fires. And oh...wait your poor employees get punished for your lack of communication...by you. Wow...

You don't listen: the best people who can give advice on how a team should be run are the team members themselves. As a boss, they are the key people to listen to because not only will they devise better ways to get the work done, they will come up with ways to get the work done and be happy doing it. Believe me, you do not want grumpy employees going through the motions in an environment they can't stand. You want employees who want to be at work, who will miss work when they are ill, and the only way to do that is to listen to their grievances and implement their reasonable suggestions. It will make your work and their work easier.

You don't show appreciation: Yes, they work for you, they get paid for the job, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't acknowledge their hard work. People tend to work harder when they know their work will be acknowledged in some way...even if that way is a little piece of chocolate or a team lunch. Some bosses unfortunately only know how to dish out criticism and complaints. It's only a matter of time before your employees start to jump ship!

You create division: Any boss that encourages gossip, or asks one employee to spy on the other is creating the most toxic environment ever! If you like gossip, call your friends from school and talk about who got fat or divorced. Don't create division by making some employees your source of gossip while others are made to walk on eggshells around the work place. Settle all disputes openly instead of taking sides and harboring grudges against your employees. It is immature and very frustrating.

As a boss, it is a bad sign if people are constantly leaving your team to join another team within the company or leaving the company altogether.

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