KENYA: Passing on valuable parenting knowledge

KENYA: Passing on valuable parenting knowledge

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Over a sumptuous dinner with my girlfriends last weekend, we naturally got talking about our children. One of us had just enrolled for an eight-week programme specifically for ‘Mothers with Sons’.

For a cost of about $150 USD, with learning taking place once a week (Saturdays) for two hours, the course teaches how to raise our sons into fine young gentlemen. This is a good idea, if you ask me, because there is something about the crop of young men that we are increasingly seeing in Kenyan society today –men who are not as ambitious or focused as their fathers were, and men who would rather take the back seat as women take up the role of being the heads of the home.

In Africa, and I believe the much of the rest of the world, it is traditionally men who take up the leadership of the home. However, we are nowadays seeing more and more female-headed households.

This is due to a myriad of reasons, one of them being the fact that some men are just not willing to take up that kind of responsibility. This leads to the question: how were these men raised as boys? Weren’t our core values of hard work, discipline, consistency and responsibility instilled in them by their parents? This, I suppose, forms the rationale of such a programme that my friends and I were discussing last weekend.

The majority of moms who attend the programme are urban moms – career women who have enviable corporate or NGO jobs or run their own businesses. They are in their thirties to mid-forties, with their children mostly below the age of 12 years. These are women who receive updates from Baby Center and other informative parenting sites on how best to raise children. They attend First Aid courses and other related programmes about parenting. Some of these programmes are church-based, while others are sponsored by brands that seek out these types of moms and their children. Keen on learning different things about raising their children, you’ll find many urban moms today engrossed in courses and informative material about how to best raise their children.

But as my friends and I asked ourselves over dinner – do we pass on all we learn to the people who are helping us raise our children, specifically our housekeepers and nannies? In Kenya, most middle and upper-income families employ housekeepers and nannies to help with the domestic chores and take care of the children. They are the ones who actually spend a significant amount of time with the children during the day.

With all the demands of today’s modern woman – challenging jobs that require them to leave their homes at the crack of dawn and return at about 9pm – after spending hours in the traffic jam, or checking on their small business after work, or attending their Masters’ degree programme in the evening, attending a business meeting, or even having cocktails with the girls. By the time these modern women get home, the children are already asleep. On Saturdays, these women are busy running errands or attending weddings or baby showers/bridal showers, parenting classes and other such engagements and once again, return home late in the evening. Sunday is the only day where they get to spend time with their children.

So six days per week, it is essentially the nannies who are ‘raising’ their children. Nannies actually spend more time with their children than the moms do. So my girlfriends and I wondered, do these moms then pass on the information that they learn in their expensive courses, parenting newsletters and websites to the nannies? If the nannies are the ones spending the most time with the children, should we not focus on giving them the wealth of information we seek out about raising children? We didn’t get an answer, but I hope we will sometime.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama of Kenya of Mummy Tales

Photo courtesy of Michal Huniewicz / Flickr.

Maryanne Waweru Wanyama

Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a mother of two boys, writes for a living. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya with her family. Maryanne, a Christian who is passionate about telling stories, hopes blogging will be a good way for her to engage in her foremost passion as she spreads the message of hope and faith through her own experiences and those of other women, children, mums and dads. She can be found at Mummy Tales.

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CANADA: Childcare Troubles

IMG_1574Childcare.  No word conjures such stress and anxiety in the mind of a working mom as “childcare.”  There are countless little things that can cause enormous problems.  Your child is too sick to attend.  Your child care provider is too sick to care for your child.  Your child care provider is late.  You are running late to pick up your child.  Never mind possible personality or caregiving style conflicts.

Stress.  Anxiety.  Too many problems to solve while juggling too many plates.  Eventually one of those plates will drop, and who picks up the pieces?

For me, just the experience of searching for a childcare provider for my oldest child was the single most stressful experience of my life.  I spent hours on the phone, calling centres, trying to be put onto their waitlists in hopes of getting a childcare spot.  I visited centres and caregivers, asking about programs, schedules, and meals.  It was harder to plan than my wedding, and as it turned out, more expensive.

In the Greater Toronto Area parents who hope to have licensed childcare for their child are told to put their child on waitlists – when they are about 3 months PREGNANT with that child.  You might have a chance at a spot by the time your twelve month maternity leave is over – that means your wait is at least 18 months. (more…)

specialneedmom2

Angela is a Special Education teacher who blogs about her super-powered special needs family. She has a 3 year old with Prader-Willi Syndrome and a 5 year old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Processing Disorder. The odds of these random genetic events occurring at the same time are astronomical. "When you add our typically developing one year old baby boy to the mix, you have a very busy household!", she explains. Angela admits to having too many appointments, too many school problems, and being generally too busy as she tries to live life to the fullest. Please visit her family at Half Past Normal for more of their adventures! If you want to connect to chat, you can find her on Twitter @specialneedmom2 If you are interested in Special Education policies and procedures in Ontario – or just some excellent strategies and accommodations – please check out Angela's other site at Special Ed on the Bell Curve.

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Friday Question: What recent journey have you helped your child(ren) take?

This week’s Friday Question comes from World Moms Blog writer, The Alchemist.  She asked our writers,

“What recent journey have you helped your child(ren) take?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Maggie Ellison of South Carolina, USA writes:
“I taught my son to read before he went into kindergarten because he wanted to know how to do it.  I just followed his lead and guided him to the next level.  When he started kindergarten last year, he was on a 1st grade and 3 month level.  They had a 100 book challenge at school, so every school night we read at least 2 books.  By the end of the year, he wanted to reach his goal of 300 books.  He read over the 300 mark and was so proud of himself.  We celebrated with him!! What a huge accomplishment!!” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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INDIA: My Decision: SAHM vs. Working-Mom

Where I live in India, you hear a lot of criticism or praise about whether you are a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) or a working-mom (WM) or even if you convert from one to the other.

It has been almost ten months since I became a SAHM, but I still receive judgments about my decision. Just check out these conversations…

Conversation # 1

Me: Wait a minute, why should you say sorry because I left my job? I am actually enjoying it…

Person X: No, No, I am still sorry that it had to happen this way…

Me: What? You insist that I should receive your apologies? Fine. Thank you. Oh well, it’s not like anyone died or anything.

Conversation # 2

Person Y: You lost it? I know, hard times… Economic recession, right?!

Me: I DID NOT LOSE my job. I just quit because that’s what I wanted and that’s what I chose to do. (more…)

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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