Celebrating Heroshe Parents on Global Day of Parents
The United Nations General Assembly declared June 1, the first-ever Global Day of Parents. The day is dedicated to honoring all parenting units across the world. Here at Heroshe, we understand that while parenting is one of the most universal experiences, it is not a cakewalk. Do we talk about the challenges during pregnancy? The burnt jollof rice (and other weird food) cravings? The inability to sleep in your normal positions? What about the first couple of years after childbirth? The midnight cries and breastfeeding, the tantrums of the terrible twos, the rebellious teenage phase, etc. And the worst part is that, unlike your job, there are no days off.
Combining work and parenting is not for the faint of heart. You are constantly pulled in two directions by your responsibilities at home and work. Keeping your mental health in check becomes a huge problem, some people crumble under the pressure and resign from their jobs. The reality for many parents who continue working is feeling guilty for prioritizing work commitments over seemingly simple tasks like picking up the children from school. Imagine having to cancel attending a career day because an impromptu out-of-town meeting comes up. Or having to make a choice between making an important presentation or having to take your kid to the hospital. This is why it is important to find work-life balance and one of the steps is working for an organization that cares about it. It doesn't necessarily make the task less overwhelming, but you know you have support.
To celebrate working parents and encourage them to pursue their goals, we talked to several Heroshe employees who play both roles. Our respondents are Osinachi Ukomadu (Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer), Joseph Cobhams (Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer) Chinyere Ukomadu (Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer), Felicia Okpala (Operations Manager), and Rebecca Olowojoba (Product Marketing and Communications Officer), and Abdulqahhar Aminujatto (Software Engineer).
What do you enjoy most about being a parent?
When asked about what they enjoyed most about being parents, Heroshe parents enjoyed spending time with their kids. It is truly inspirational to know that the next generation will have excellent values passed on to them by these amazing people.
Osinachi: Passing along my values.
Chinyere: Teaching my kids about life and spending quality time with them.
Cobhams: The best part of being a parent for me is the joy of seeing smiles on my kids’ faces. It makes all the hard work and pain worth it.
Felicia: I enjoy seeing my children spending time with my husband and I as we play and talk about different things together. Watching them display their strengths and weaknesses enables me to know how to help them improve in life.
Rebecca: Being a parent is fulfilling. The joy I get from looking after another life that I carried for nine and a half months is unmatched. Hearing him call me mummy and tell me "I love you so much”. My son says that a lot, and it just makes me want to protect him and his innocence from the craziness of this world. I always pray to God to give me the inner eyes to pay attention and not lose sight of what's important in the lives of my kids, because I need to give them all my undivided attention.
Jatto: Watching my daughter learn new things and grow mentally and physically would be the greatest joy I have derived so far from being her parent. The trust she has in us just because we are her parents is overwhelming. The sound of her laughter and her unbearable cuteness are the most heart-melting acts for us.
How hard is it to combine parenting with your job at Heroshe?
The answers to this question revealed something mentioned earlier: work flexibility makes parenting manageable.
Osinachi: It is definitely hard. Work flexibility makes it manageable.
Chinyere: It was hard when my kids were still little because they were 100% dependent on me for everything. I had to work around their schedule, and it meant working into the night to get caught up on work. But my spouse and I taught them how to do things for themselves, and they’re independent now and much older. Heroshe is a family-friendly company, so it makes it a lot easier to combine parenting and working.
Cobhams: Being a parent that’s present for your kids beyond just financial provisions is like having a full-time job. So combining that with Heroshe is akin to having two jobs. Luckily, Heroshe has a great work-life culture and the awesome people I work with daily makes it even easier. They are kind, compassionate, and understanding.
Felicia: Spending time with our children is what every mother desires, and at Heroshe, that desire is a reality. The flexibility of the job, where one doesn't have to be physically present at the office, has been a blessing to my family. My children and I have a much stronger bond than ever, thanks to Heroshe. The company is outcome-driven, so it's not about how hard you work or how many times you have to be around to do the job. Be smart, take advantage of technology, get the job done and deliver excellent results. With this ideology, I am naturally a performer, so I can have time for family. I also get to close early enough to be home to help with homework and revision. Combining parenting with my job at Heroshe has been amazing.
Rebecca: In my years of working, I have never come across a company or a family like the people here at Heroshe. The company is so accommodating to parents, and that's one of the reasons why I love working here. I work mostly remotely and I am able to take care of my family and work at the same time. My child knows when I am working and gives me some space. If he interrupts during a meeting, I can immediately take care of him and continue working. I can say that parenting while working with Heroshe is one of the best things I have come to appreciate, and it's all thanks to the kind of people here.
Jatto: Parenting is a taxing job, but one that must be done with other jobs to help provide the necessities for that parenting role. It is quite challenging combining parenting with my job, but with the help of my daughter’s mother and putting adequate strategies to help minimize the stress and ensure that my kid and job demands are well taken care of, I have been able to balance those two aspects of my life and I would say it is well under control, at least for now.
What is the weirdest question your child has asked you?
We can all agree that kids ask the darndest questions! "Why Mommy?" is a personal favorite of mine. I am sure many other people who grew up with strict parents can agree.
Osinachi: How much money do you make?
Chinyere: “Why Mommy?”. For someone raised by strict Nigerian parents, that’s weird. My kids ask “why” for everything. My kids question everything because they want to get a deeper understanding of why they should or shouldn’t do something. Their questions keep me on my toes.
Cobhams: My kids are still below the age of making full sentences. I’m enjoying that now, while it lasts. 😊
Felicia: Hahahaha! The weirdest question my daughter has asked me was: "Mummy, you got pregnant and gave birth to my brother and me after you got married to Daddy, right? Why can't both of you get married again so you can give birth to another baby?” This question made me laugh out so loud.
Rebecca: "Mummy why do you always look at your laptop?" He can't understand why he sees people talking to me on screen every now and then, but I am able to help him understand how we work. It's important to always answer their questions even if it doesn't make sense, I try to make sense of it and give him an explanation he can understand.
Jatto: My daughter is still quite young and hasn’t really started speaking clearly, most of her communications right now is through sign language.
What is your best childhood memory?
Osinachi: Traveling to the village for Christmas.
Chinyere: My 10th birthday. My mom took me shopping to buy a special dress for my birthday. That was the only party I ever had as a kid. I got to invite my friends, my mom cooked, and I had so much fun.
Cobhams: Hmmmmm… I have a few but one of the best is going to a restaurant with my mum one time, and I joked that I wanted a full chicken to myself. She bought it and my face lit up like a Christmas tree.
Felicia: As a child, I had too many issues going on in the family that I couldn't understand, so I took comfort in friends and in ensuring their safety. So I recall being the defender of people, fighting everyone that attempted to cause harm to anybody around me. I had a nickname based on that. Thank God I am more of a peacemaker today than a defender. Lol.
Rebecca: I can't remember any particular one, but I always loved Sundays, because the chicken was always bigger. 😂🤣
Jatto: My best childhood memory would be my holidays at my grandmother’s while she was alive. May her soul rest in peace.
What advice do you have for high-achieving working parents desperately seeking balance?
Osinachi: Look for an employer who aligns with your values.
Chinyere: My advice would be:
- Start by defining what balance means to you.
- Then prioritize the things that bring you balance.
- Train your kids to be independent so you can free up some time.
- Create simple systems that help you automate grocery shopping, laundry, home organization, finances, and family schedules.
- Communicate work expectations to your family so they’re aware of your work obligations and they support you.
- Say no to anything that comes between your definition of balance.
Cobhams: Do your best each day! As trite as that may sound, that’s one of my guiding principles. At the end of the day, I carry out an honest evaluation. Some of the questions I ask myself include: Did I do my best today? Is there more I could have “possibly” done? Did I do my best for my family? For my team? For the company? If my honest answer is Yes, then that’s all that matters. I go again the next day. This is a personal strategy and may not apply to everyone and mileage may vary.
Felicia: My advice for working-class parents seeking balance would be:
- Work in an environment that encourages work-life balance and if you own it, promote the culture in your organization. Happy people go above and beyond to deliver results.
- If you find yourself in a different work environment, do not negotiate your family time for money. Family first. Keep your work in the office and be home when you are home.
- To be a successful career parent, outsource some house chores that are not totally dependent on you. Get a house assistant so you can preserve your energy and spend some time with family and also focus on delivering a great experience at work and home.
Rebecca: My advice to them would be:
- Work for a company that allows flexibility.
- Get a maid or family member to help with chores to reduce your workload at home.
Jatto: My advice would be:
- Plan, prioritize, and delegate.
- Find ways to reduce stress levels. One way to achieve this would be to discuss and negotiate workplace flexibility with your employer.
- Seek out support, most commonly from family members or other family friends. Try some family-friendly workouts or other things to keep the connection between you and your family even while doing activities outside of work.
- Finally, the key to a healthy family is building rituals around one's core beliefs in your home.
As we grow, new people and individuals join Heroshe from their different backgrounds, stories, and journeys. We are always working to create an ecosystem that supports people from all walks of life. We appreciate and recognize our people as they work to advance our cause regardless of the team (engineering, design, operations, product marketing, or customer delight). Our outcome-driven working system has allowed our team to be productive at work, take care of their family, and do other things they love outside of work.
On behalf of Heroshe, we would like to wish you a wonderful Global Day of Parents!