Each time I get asked this interview question, “what motivates you?” My response is always my mum. Oh this mother of mine! She is a true example of strength and determination. She was way ahead of her time in terms of mindset. Culturally there is so much expectation from the female child in terms of domestic work when compared with her male counterparts. This didn’t apply in my house. She made sure that things were done equally. She trained ALL her kids to do things for themselves. She is hardworking, strong and focused.
Herself and my dad used to work in educational sector together. I remember how we went through a very rough time when I was young because the government was owing workers over a year of wages. During this time, my mum did everything she could do. She made ice cream to sell, she made chin chin and scotch eggs. She taught in after school classes. She even sold water in packs just so we could eat and our school fees were paid. She decided to go back to school so we could have a better life. She was in school during the week and came home at the weekend. Weekends she sold what she had to sell and at night we heard her typing – work that people brought home for her to do. This decision got her a role in the local government and our lives became a little bit better.
Few years later, one evening, she told my dad how she a male colleague said something about how far she could get to in that office in a way to mock her. So she wanted to go back to school so she could be promoted. She went back to school again. She wore school uniform and sat for GCSE the same year with me because she needed a credit in a particular subject. She had a goal and she went for it. She gave birth to my last 2 siblings during her school years. We had no nanny to help. She juggled everything herself. She put her baby on her back and went to school.
Despite we didn’t have, she was always looking out for the orphans and widows in our church and community. Today I give, not because I have but because I know what it feels like not to have.
Within 15 years, she rose from a typist (clerical staff) in a secondary school to the first female HOD of information and communication department in her local council. Talk about goals!!!
5 years ago, my mum had a stroke that almost took her life. No one ever believed that she was going to survive till today. But God helped her push through it. The stroke affected her speech, memory and the way she walks but it couldn’t affect her desire and passion to succeed. The last time she came to visit me, she made me give her home work before I left for work. She was determined to learn and write again.
I remember getting a phone call from my dad saying mum wants to go back to work. As at this time, she was still learning how to write A-Z and 1-10. But she didn’t let this hold her back. She learned her signature again and went back to work. She said “I will get someone to read words I can’t read, explain it to me and then I can sign”. Months later, the doctor confirmed that that decision made her brain start working faster than it would have done if she sat at home. Today she is doing a lot better. She is a wife, a mum and a boss! She gave me big shoes to fill and I pray I make her proud! I always hear her voice in my head as she says “Efua reach for your goals. Don’t allow your dreams to die just because you are a mum”. Contrary to the stereotype given to career women, my siblings and I are doing well for ourselves. We don’t and have never felt neglected in anyway. Rather we learnt what a structured and goal oriented home is and that is what and how we want our homes to be like.
So with this, I say happy international women’s day to my mama and to every woman out there pulling their weight to make an impact.
Never allow anyone tell you you are less than because of you are a woman. Don’t allow your gender deprive you from aiming high. Reach for your goals. Get up from your butt! Set example for your female daughters! People like my mum did it for me. I will do for myself and for my daughters because I don’t want to let them down🙏🏾❤️