PRIORITIZING SELF-CARE, ESPECIALLY FOR OVERACHIEVING PARENTS

Parenting can become even more overwhelming for those who are germaphobes, perfectionists, or overachievers. The drive to clean incessantly or pursue perfection can be seen as unusual by some, but it’s important to recognize that being a perfectionist or overachiever while parenting is quite common. These qualities are inherent for some and learned for others. However, what truly matters is prioritizing your mental health and well-being.

The next time you have the urge to overexert yourself, take a moment to pause and consider your well-being. Remember that it’s okay to have high standards, but finding a balance between striving for perfection and taking care of your mental health is crucial, especially when parenting. Taking breaks, seeking support, and practicing self-care can help you navigate the challenges more effectively.

Finding  a balance between high standards and self-care is a common challenge for many parents. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Set Realistic Expectations: understand that no one is perfect, and mistakes are a part of parenting. Avoid setting unrealistic standards, which can lead to unnecessary stress.

2. Prioritize Tasks: Identify the most important tasks and focus your perfectionism on those, while allowing flexibility for less critical areas.

3. Delegate and Share Responsibilities: don’t shy way from asking for help from your partner, family, or friends. Sharing responsibilities can ease the burden and allow you to take breaks.

4. Time Management: plan your tasks and allocate specific time slots for both parenting duties and self-care activities.

5. Practice Self-Compassion: treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you’d offer to a friend. Acknowledge that it’s okay not to be perfect all the time.

6. Embrace Imperfection: tell your children that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Lead by example and show that striving for improvement is valuable.

7. Mindfulness and Relaxation: incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to help manage stress and anxiety

8. Scheduled Breaks: set aside regular breaks during the day to recharge. Even short moments of relaxation can make a significant difference.

9. Healthy Boundaries: it is perfectly okay to say ‘no’ when you’re overwhelmed and need time for self-care. Boundaries are key for maintaining balance.

10. Seek Support: join parenting groups, forums, or connect with other parents who might be facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences and advice can be incredibly helpful.

Finding the right balance between striving for excellence and taking care of yourself is an ongoing journey, so be sure to adapt these tips to your unique situation and personality… written by Clara Og, a consultant, coach, sponsor, writer and soon to become author that is passionate about ‘all things’ wholesome food, fashion, and family

A New Nigeria

Yesterday, on May 29, 2023, a new group of political leaders, including candidates from the All Progressives Congress, assumed office in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, both at the federal and state levels. While some individuals celebrated, particularly during the presidential and Lagos state inaugurations, many young people were disheartened due to witnessing elections marred by thuggery, voter marginalization, and the unconstitutional collation of voting results. The opposing political parties, primarily represented by the People’s Democratic Party and Labor Party candidates who enjoyed significant support from the youth, have taken their grievances to court. Nigerian citizens are attentively following the proceedings at the election tribunal and patiently awaiting the outcome.

Rather than delving into the intricate details of the ongoing petitions, it is crucial to highlight the remarkable resilience exhibited by the Nigerian populace. If you have the opportunity to interact with Nigerians, you will witness their unwavering spirit. “Nigerians face challenges from all sides, yet they refuse to be distressed; they encounter perplexity but refuse to succumb to despair; they may be persecuted but are not forsaken; they may be cast down but are never destroyed.”

Regardless of the verdict from the tribunal, I firmly believe that Nigerians will transcend their current sadness and strive for greatness once again. A “New Nigeria” is not only a possibility but a necessity that must come to fruition…. #newnigeria

YES FAITH!!!, BUT ‘FAITH WITHOUT WORKS’ IS COMPLETELY FRUITLESS

25 years ago, I stepped out in faith and honored an invitation from this man (pictured). I was young, naive and had no idea what the future held but had faith- I had prayed specifically for the kind of man I wanted to date and marry and simply trusted God to honor it. I believed that God will bring it to pass. It was our first date and even though I had a great dinner that night at Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Chicago, he had the worst date he could have imagined. He was nervous, had just gotten his drivers license and bumped his car against road curbs not one time but (I kid you not) three times, from my apartment to the restaurant. He apologized every time he did this and couldn’t not eat at the restaurant. According to him, he was enamored and spellbound and ‘food’ was the last thing on his mind… I listened with rapt attention as he told me more about himself and I tried to fill in the gaps from our very 1st conversation eight days earlier. I had checked off the boxes from the list of requirements that I wanted in a man but I still wasn’t sure of a commitment yet to a relationship (i mean, I was a college student and my studies was 1st priority). Even though he was just been his authentic self (thank me later, you’d rather date an authentic person than someone who puts up a fake persona) he thought he had messed up terribly after he dropped me off at home that evening. I reciprocated with a surprise call, hours later, when I called to check on him and he was deeply touched. Yeah, 😝 I was the kind hearted girl, who wanted to make sure he got home safe. The next couple of months were spent with me dilly dallying about whether to accept his request for us to become a couple. For him, he knew that I was the ‘one’ the first day he set his eyes on me. For me, I wanted to be sure (yep, don’t let anyone else confirm for you; trust me, when you know, YOU KNOW). Less than two months from our first date, on May 12, 1998, this man successfully won me over and we became a couple; 3 years 9 months after, we sealed our relationship formally with three 😂 ceremonies and they say the rest is history.

The real reason I wanted to share this story is to emphasize that faith without works is fruitless. Besides our faith in God, his continuous mercy, favor and grace, which have continually sustained and brought us to where we are today- and being so blessed with a man that I prayed for and more than I bargained… a special gift from God- kind hearted, loving, responsible, humble, godly, and the adjectives go on…, and I would rather not toot my own horn, I will say that our ‘works-‘ our commitment, perseverance, persistence, resolve to work at our relationship and keep it going, also has had a role in bringing us to where we are today, despite the ‘ups’ and ‘downs,’ and triumphs and challenges that we have experienced and are prevalent in every relationship.

Faith is great but your ‘works’ is also key. Truly, to whom much is given, much is expected. ‘Works’ must always accompany ‘Faith,’ in the long run. Shout out to everyone out there doing the ‘works’ to keep their relationship going. It is not easy but the Lord will continually be our help. Happy 25th years of dating you AOGJO. Thanks for loving me and pouring so much of yourself to our relationship. I love you so much and cheers to many more celebrations 🙏🏿 🎉🎈🍾 ❤️

‘THANK YOU’ SHOULD NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE

You know many of us were raised to be courteous i.e. use magic words like ‘please,’ ‘sorry,’ ‘thank you,’ but I have observed that as children eventually become adults, these words appear to loose meaning or become inconsequential to these same individuals. Why does saying ‘thank you’ to someone that does something minor, like opening the door for you or major, like one going out of his/her way to do something that he/she didn’t necessarily have to do in the first place become difficult or almost impossible for many more adults? I am not sure but our busy world today disenables us sometimes from focusing on the little things that matter.

‘When someone hears you say ‘thank you,’ it tells a lot about who you are. It shows that person that you are humble, grateful, appreciative, and deserve to be shown kindness again. ‘Thank you’ is powerful!!! It is just two words but these two say a lot.

‘Thank you’ encapsulates what you can’t fully convey in words. It comes from deep within and expresses how you feel inwardly. It is a heartfelt expression that can open many doors. It shows humility, and what humanity should look like.

‘Thank you’ is not always a response to a good act towards you. It is also said as an affirmation or after an introspection of your life journey- when you feel an appreciation of the growth that you have made and the thought of the wonderful people that God has placed in your path to make your journey easier

‘Thank you’ should never go out of style. Please remind the person next to you to say ‘thank you’ when someone does something big or small for them.

Thank you for reading…

Till i write again,

Clara

A GUIDE TO DATING

Dating (committed relationship), especially if it is your first time, might be a bit scary or daunting. However, it is an important stage in any relationship that might to lead to marriage. Well, If you think it is early to start dating, it is not late to start praying about the ideal type of relationship you desire in the not too far future. I started praying for the ideal man I wanted to marry at age 12. The important thing to note here is that praying about anything you want in life is not a bad idea. More so, relationships can either make or break you.

Before you get into a ‘dating’ relationship , make sure you have prayerfully considered your decision because dating the wrong person can be emotionally damaging not only to you but to the other person. Ensure that there are valuable qualities that you have seen in the other person and want to explore further, before you proceed to date that person.

Consent in any relationship, especially
while dating, is very crucial. It shows respect for your partner and sets the tone of the relationship early on. A man that intends to date a woman or vice versa should seek permission first and respect the decision of the other person. Once your request to date a person is accepted by your partner, then you have officially become a ‘couple.’
Dating should be consensual (which means both parties in the relationship should agree to do this). Boundaries of friendships should never be crossed or assumed without a mutual understanding by both parties. A decision not to continue with the dating relationship by one of the partners, even after it has started, must be respected by the other party.

Several relationships start up as friendships; you become friends first then if all things go well, you can take the relationship forward by dating, and then even a step forward, getting engaged (where a man formally ‘proposes’ or requests the woman to become his future wife by kneeling down on one knee and presenting a ring). Engagement is also known as the
traditional’ marriage ceremony in some parts of the world like West Africa, where the nuclear and extended families of the couple celebrate the union of the couple formally. This ceremony normally preceeds the white wedding/religious ceremony.

Many people like to learn more about the person they want to consider for a committed relationship by taking them out on dates first. We learn a lot about people when we engage with them casually or catch them unawares, however, don’t go on dates aimlessly. Have a timeline and a list of qualities (most likely written down) in mind to guide your decision to make the relationship ‘official.’ Take your time but don’t take too long. It is true that you never know someone in one sitting, thus give the other person the benefit of doubt and spend time praying to God to help you make the right decision.

HOW LONG DO YOU DATE FOR AND WHAT DO YOU DO WHILE YOU DATE?

I dated my very first boyfriend at age 19 (my current husband) for 3 years and he proposed right after on bended knees and a ring. We got married 10 months after. So the dating period to marriage lasted almost 4 years. I will say that there isn’t a set period of time to date before one party formally signifies his/her interest in marriage, however, I will say get to know your partner well enough to know when the next stage in the relationship is ripe. I will recommend that you date someone in close proximity to you i.e. same city or neighborhood to observe some important or personality traits of your partner closely and resolve conflicts that may arise easily.

During the dating period, get to know your partner closely. Find out how he/she reacts in various scenarios i.e. when alone with you and friends or with family, when he/she is happy or upset; observe how he/she treats you in comparison to how he/she treats his/her family members. and in comparison to how he/she treats strangers- there should be consistency or a pattern that gives you an insight into the kind of partner he/she is likely to turn out to be. Pay attention to cues- people hardly change who they are.

Go out, dine together at restaurants or local eateries, watch movies or go to the cinema , volunteer at a local charity together. Set goals for your relationship and timelines and talk about them so that there is an mutual understanding of each party’s expectations from the relationship. Spend quality time as a couple but with boundaries in place to protect you if you decide to call it quits. I would not suggest that the female gets pregnant or have ‘children before marriage,’ even though it is becoming a growing trend; don’t get me wrong, children are a blessing but interrupting a dating relationship with the arrival of a baby just makes the relationship complicated. It also makes it more painful when the relationship doesn’t end up in marriage. If possible, a couple should wait to have children
until both parties have agreed to become a legal couple.

Get to know each other’s families. This means spending time at each other’s families’ residences. A few months to a year or more will help you determine if you can cope with your partner’s family. If the family is situated outside of your vicinity, encourage your partner to invite them over to your city so that you get to meet them or perhaps go visit them occasionally. This gives you an insight into who your potential In-laws are and what to expect from them. Family members will be quite instrumental to fall back on when you relationship eventually progresses to marriage, so make sure you get along with each others’ relatives and they are supportive of your relationship. If they are not during the dating period and you feel that you and your partner are a right fit, try your best to win them over. It is a lot easier if your families, especially the nuclear families, approve of your relationship. I mean they won’t marry or live with your partner but they may be able to point out some important issues to consider in your decision to progress the relationship.

Emotions run deep during the dating period and it is important to protect your mental health if you feel the need to personally or feel the relationship is taking a toll on your health. You should ensure a healthy balance between your ‘other’ personal (i.e family, leisure, etc ), social and work life and your dating life. Please don’t waste the time of your partner if you loose interest in the relationship. Politely request to end the relationship or ask for some time off if necessary. I took a few weeks off from my dating relationship at some point. We came back together and the relationship was better than it was before the break. What helped my first date (my husband) and I to balance other aspects of our lives with our dating life was spending a lot of quality time together and doing activities that we enjoyed with friends. For example, we had double dates with other couples that were in the same boat with us. Our relationship was also easier to manage because we had similar interests and lived in the same city and were both committed to making the relationship work.

Dating has the potentiality to result in marriage so it is better to pay attention to red flags and respond to them once you see them. Don’t take this period lightly. If you do it right, It might very well lead to a happy marriage that is meaningful and long lasting. Go out and date, start early if you can but pray about this important step while taking steps to ensure you set personal goals that are achievable. All the best!!!

TRISTAN THOMPSON & GOD’S GRACE

Happy New Year to you and how is your year going so far? Well I have been under the weather a bit this week but I am recovering, thankfully. I have also been drawing in on God’s grace daily because I think i will be needing to do a lot of this in 2022. But wait don’t we all need God’s grace for every aspect or area of our lives, be it school, work, family, or relationships, etc? God’s grace comes from the Greek word, “Charis,” which means God’s unmerited favor and undeserved kindness, which he has given to us freely.

Tristan Thompson hit so many headlines lately. Earlier this week, he came out publicly on social media to acknowledge a paternity test that confirmed that he is the father to a new born, who was conceived with his personal trainer while he was in a relationship with his girlfriend. Even though, this confirmation by Tristan was not a complete shock, he was met by trolls and negative name calling by men and women around the world. Tristan Thompson is like you and me because “we all are like sheep that have gone astray, each of us turning to our own way….(Isaiah 53:6). Sadly, a lot of men, and women, are guilty of infidelity but haven’t been caught or made a public show or spectacle. Tristan happens to be the subject of scrutiny this time because of his celebrity status. The next time you catch yourself trying to judge Tristan harshly, don’t forget that you are not perfect either. All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23)

I am reminded of God’s grace that has always been available, and continues to be, even when I have been, and I am still, undeserving of it. This past week, three members of my immediate family tested positive for COVID-19 despite following precautionary measures and being double vaccinated but thank God we didn’t face hospitalization and are recovering well. God’s grace is available to Tristan, even today, in his broken state. He only needs to embrace it and it will surely work in his favor. Sometimes, people need to face public humiliation to fully come to comprehend God’s amazing grace and embrace it.

God’s grace is not given to you or me because of our good works. It is available to all but we need to know how to access it. You only need to ask God for it and he says we can access it by faith. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no man can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

In our broken state, we can see ourselves in Tristan but we don’t have to stay there forever. We should not only come to repentance and humility anytime we fall short but always remember that God’s grace is sufficient for us and his power is made greater in weakness.

Have an amazing and grace filled 2022

Clara

IS MARRIAGE REALLY A CONTRACT? READ AS I SHARE SOME TIPS

Customarily, marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman and usually marked by a ceremony that pronounces the couple husband and wife in the presence of their families and friends. What makes it a contract, in my opinion, is the legal binding nature of the union. Typically, a court or legal authority in a state issues a marriage license to a couple that intends to get married upon their application to do so, and the couple thereafter receives their marriage certificate after fulfilling the requirements as set forth by the authority.

Marriage is a contract between two persons to stay committed to each other in good times and bad times. It is a serious commitment and sadly can be cancelled by a divorce when one party doesn’t, or perhaps both parties don’t, fulfill its side of the obligation. It is a contract that should be respected not only because
It could last a lifetime but because it affects the physical, psychological, and emotional health of the parties involved. It starts with two parties, under normal circumstances, and will include more parties, once the couple intends to have children. As one who has had an active marriage contract for almost two decades, I offers suggestions of how to preserve your marriage contract for as long as possible.

  1. Don’t take your partner for granted: the two parties in a marriage and their opinions/contributions are equally valid and matter. If you are in a marriage, where you don’t consult your partner on issues that affect your home/family, this is a red flag. Each party should be expressive and can talk about or over anything. My mantra is ‘no holds barred;’ talk freely. For religious folks, who read the holy book out of context, “The husband is the head of the wife,’ but this doesn’t invalidate the wife. The wife is equally important and not inferior. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. If you love someone, you don’t look down at them, intimidate or relegate them.
  2. Show interest in learning what is going on in each other’s lives. Your interests may not be similar but give your support when and where necessary, and sometimes when it is least expected. For example, show up at his polo games or accompany her on her shopping trips.
  3. Communicate: this is major!! If you have issues with a contract, do you say something or nothing? Something, right? Consistent communication is vital for the successful execution of a contract. If you don’t give feedback to the other party or get any feedback, why should you expect positive changes or how do you want to them to make amends. In fact, consistent and effective communication with the other party (your spouse) should be done during courtship or the dating period , prior to your marriage. My mantra is ‘talk about everything.’ Communication doesn’t always have to be about ‘constructive feedback.’ It can also be ‘positive reinforcement’ to let the other party know what he/she is doing well while rewarding them with gifts or favors.
  4. Focus on how to get better: don’t spend the bulk of your marriage/contract focusing on what the other party is not doing well; rather work on how you can be better. Ask yourself- how can I be a better spouse, what are some innovative things that I can do to make my marriage (contract) worthwhile. What are some things that I need to stop doing and some things I need to start doing and communicate these to your spouse so that you are accountable to him/her.
  5. Plan: Several contracts fail due to lack of proper planning. As cliche or mundane the word ‘plan’ sounds, planning in a marriage is vital. Plan, regroup, plan, regroup, and plan again. You never go wrong planning. Planning is usually task specific and extends beyond communicating. It is akin to coming up with a strategy or roadmap i.e. how you will tackle an area of your marriage? What are the steps you will take in solving a challenge? What are some resources that will be needed? Actualizing or carrying out the plan is another important part of planning and involves dividing up the tasks- who will do what or who will oversee the implementation of the plan?Planning shouldn’t be rigid or taken too seriously. After all, the marriage contract involves a couple in love and that should not be hard on each other. If you can’t fulfill your part of the contract for a good reason, talk it over with the other party (your spouse). Planning can cover any tasks/topic such as how many children you want to have, where you will live, etc. Whatever works for the parties (you and your spouse) is great. However, plan in a constructive manner and make sure you and your spouse (both parties) are in agreement and in consistent communication

I will state here that there are legitimate reasons why some marriage contracts are annulled but if you are in a marriage contract where both parties(you and your spouse) are genuine and willing to preserve or rejuvenate your contract, remember the importance of not taking each other for granted, communicating effectively and consistently, personal improvement and proper planning. I wish you the best!!!