It’s time for another thrilling story from the stables of Parenting. And this time, it’s about a situation we all pray we never get into – picking between our job and our child.
Let’s dive into Momma’s Tales Episode 2.
Meet Demilade. She’s a working mother whose job is on the line. This isn’t because she’s bad at her job or anything, but one too many times she’s had to pick between being a “devoted mother” and a dedicated employee. Demilade’s managed to scale by so far, but today, the stakes have become dangerously high.
I hear the shrill buzz of my alarm as it went off. It sounded like it was coming from a distance. Grumbling, I pulled the covers over my head, hoping the hands of time would go back just 45 minutes so I could get some more sleep. My baby had woken up at least 4 times in the course of the night to feed.
Not too long after, I jumped out of bed, remembering the team strategy meeting scheduled for 9.30 this morning. Hubbie was still snoring away; he turned over and continued sleeping as I dashed into the bathroom at the same time calling out for my nanny. “Sikira, is Toye’s bag for the creche packed? Please put four extra diapers. And 2 extra bibs. ‘Ejooo’, don’t forget his grape & apple purees…..“. “Ma, Toye’s body is hot o!” Sikira’s high-pitched voice broke through my instructions. I scrambled out of the bath tub, grabbed a bathrobe while trying to wipe off the soap suds from my face. “Sikira!! Please bring him.” Toye was scorching hot. As I looked at the thermometer, I blinked hard. 39.4°C. This was borderline convulsion fever! I immediately tepid-sponged him and administered Capol.
As I drove to the Doctor’s, I called the office to say my son was ill. “Demilade, this is one too many. You need to decide if you really want to work.” My GM bellowed. What part of ‘My son isn’t feeling well’ did he not understand? I was angry, hurt, confused and worried. I saw hubbie’s calling beeping and waiting as my GM continued, “You have only two hours to sort yourself out. You should be in this office by 12.30, or the next call you’d be getting will be from HR.” I heard the click from the other end, signifying he had dropped the call but I was still holding the phone to my ear. Hot terms streamed down my cheek. I’m not a bad mum so why do I suddenly feel overwhelmed by guilt?
Toye’s cries from his car seat at the back startled and jolted me back to reality. “Sikira, please give him his bottle.” Toye screamed louder as he fussed some more. “Ma, he does not want o.” The traffic lights changed to green. The clinic was just 5 minutes away now. “Demilade, how far?” I heard Oyin’s panicky voice as I picked my ringing phone. “Where did you save your presentation? Let me help you edit your slides before the meeting. How is Toye now?” “Thank you, Oyin. I should be in the office in a couple of hours. I’ll drop him off at the creche after seeing the Doctor. I feel more comfortable with that arrangement than leaving him home alone with Sikira. The creche has a nurse and they’d be more competent to manage him better.” “Ha!!!” Came Oyin’s response, like I just said something sacrilegious. “Demilaaade! How can you still take him to the crèche ‘like this’?” “What do you suggest I do, Oyin? What are my options?” I responded quietly, totally knackered. Oyin was quiet. She didn’t say anything. Of course she had no ‘real’ solutions to proffer. My family was far away. I needed my job. I loved my son and wanted the best for him. Was that too much to ask?
What do you think Demilade should do?
Written by Itoro Ugorji
Itoro runs a top-notch creche in Lagos and has the passion and experience to walk us through Momma Tales. She will be filtering the noise to share tested tips, based on live examples, even as she brings us the voices of other women along the way. Fasten your seatbelts for the rollercoaster ride that is Parenting, with the funny yet deep relatable accounts of the life of today’s working mother.
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Itoro Ugorji is a passionate child services practitioner and a member of both the U.S. National Association for Educating the Young Child (N.A.E.Y.C) and the World Forum Foundation. An alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, she has been featured in a number of notable publications and platforms including This Day, Vanguard, Business Day, Guardian Life, Ebony Life Tv, TVC and Arise TV.