To Bosses with Hearts For Working Moms

This world does have some good people, probably equally as many as the bad, I wouldn’t quite know. This post wants nothing to do with the bad though. I am here to acclaim those bosses and employers who understand women. Who said being a working mother, and a wife was easy? But heck lets break some glasses in cheer to those who don’t tear their hair away over us women!

I started working when I was 19 and in the nine years I have been in employment I have constantly seen bosses treat juniors, women especially, with a lot of petulance. A few others who can tolerate us make it up by trying to push us to get sexual with them. I have resigned from two jobs in my past because I could not take my boss breaking those invisible respect lines. I have feared working as a mom, feared losing my job and feared not being that somebody in the society… for the very reason that makes me a woman. I am not sure if it is how we react to situations or how we learn to prioritize our families above all else? I have no idea. What I know is my heart feels warm and happy that I have the most understanding boss as my employer and since I can’t send this article to him (Breaking those invisible lines) I would rather dedicate this piece to all great bosses and employers out there.

Tight schedules

Some of us are wired to rush home every evening after work. For fear of being caught in traffic, we sometimes steal the last five minutes to rush and powder our noses then have the clock tick to time with one foot already out the door. I know of a woman who shifts her working hours so she reports in and leaves early. There are bolder mothers who take classes after work. Bravo to you for I cannot bear not to see my children before they sleep.

My 24 hour Job
My 24 hour Job

Office Parties we hardly attend

That and missing trips away from home are just a few of the kind of things that I imagine must annoy you to hell and back. It’s obviously very possible with older children and understanding husbands. I type this with one hand as the other wipes off a nagging tear for a trip to the coast that I have to miss. I instead chose cuddles and nyonyo in the middle of the night.

Pregnancies and their planet

You must really hate us when we suddenly announce that we are expecting a child. In your mind you probably calculate the extra expenditure on our medical covers and the hiring of someone to take our places while on leave. Worry not, to make me sleep well at night I repeat to myself how you must be proud that working for you helps me grow and live and be what I want to be. I even picture you patting yourself on your back proud that through you our family survives… and I repeat it over and over like a mantra.

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Our raging hormones while pregnant are something else. We forget what we were typing for you right in the middle of the work, we forget dates, we text you by mistake, we look for a napping spot to sneak in over lunch hour, we walk around with bare feet, put them up when they swell and keep rushing out of meetings to satisfy our churning bellies, we snack all the time… Christ, what is it that we don’t do? Yet you stand us and even trust us with projects. God bless you!

Babies and work

When the babies come we make you pay us three months while we heal and bond with our babies at home. I know I was guilty enough and carried my work home. I hope my boss appreciated this. A belated cheque would do, thank you very much. We stay home and come back looking like strangers wearing masks with our faces…then work a few hours and fly back home. Having added well over ten kilos these bosses must think twice before wanting us to represent their organizations anywhere!

Nannies and No nannies

That call that “The nanny is gone and I am looking for a new one”  or “My child hasd an accident and I must run” must be one you dread most. Thank you for not showing it. You take it in and even offer advice where necessary. If only to offer you some peace, know that we follow in your footsteps to be virtuous bosses to our house managers. Between you and us, even though we trust them our most precious little ones we live on the edge hoping all goes well every time we go to work. Our success also comes from the comfort of knowing all is well back home.

thank you Thank you for letting us run home when there is an emergency with our babies…I mean you could ask us to send their fathers home anyway, but you don’t. Thank you for supporting us through our challenges. Your kind words do reassure too. Thank you for helping us acquire stability in our lives, and to my boss, thank you for being that number one mentor in my life. I always want to excel and some day make someone’s life worth its while too. So to you all wholesome bosses out there, salut!

Touching up the interiors…

I like the progress I have made so far. I love the way the human mind works. It seems whenever you move something from its original spot, you notice the area around it. I gave us a deadline of this year to do most of the furnishings in the house. Actually till the end of October. We have made quite some progress on this and yes, we did it diligently. We were working with our pace and at the same time saving up. There is no such comfort as knowing you have back up somewhere…more like a cushion for you to fall on should an emergency come up.So this is what I have been working on lately.

I gave my bedroom top priority. It looked really bad with marks on an unpainted wall, and barely shelves to use as storage. When you have something so tiny and survive with it, each day you find yourself dreaming of big things. Like the wardrobe I sought in every supermarket for many days. They were all too costly and still looked weak. So I went to my trusted fundi and showed him some photos I got online. We re-created a new model of my wardrobe as big as my dream was. It is a double door- sliding (for the sake of space and all attached to the wall. Its extension is a dressing table that one can only break down to steal:)

Old shelves that did storage
Old shelf that did the storage
That’s the same wardrobe my husband decided would look better in green than blue and sad as I was it actually turned out to be a great colour!
New Wall to wall wardrobe
New Wall to wall wardrobe
As for the ugly marks, I put up small beautiful frames to hide the flaws…
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I went back to our open kitchen and added more storage at the top. I can never have enough storage…not with my mom as my neighbor, no. she calls me to collect kienyeji mbogas and bananas from my mama land. I love my mother; in her eyes, her children never grew up! So we fixed three wooden partitions and yes, I painted it white so it would go well with the other kitchen colours.
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I hated the seat colours I had… they somehow looked too noisy with the many colours we had…pink, orange, golden brown and black… this is what they looked like…

These are about 20 years old by the way.. hehe
These are about 20 years old by the way.. hehe

We opted to shut them up and changed the seat covers to creamy and black. We then matched them with a large black and cream carpet and voila… the room was finally lighting up! DSC02853
We just needed the right drapery and we would be good to go. A friend insisted we keep it white. “Your house looks like a rainbow” she lamented “please don’t paint it any more!” I really hope she was not on the verge of howling… Hehe. I listened and took my rainbow inspiration to its edges, combining the kitchen green with some gold and largely white on the extended decor…DSC02856
kitchen main door curtains I kept the cushion linen orange to match the large orange holding the entertainment unit but this is only to be seen when we are cleaning or changing the covers. unsealed cushions
Those are yet to be completed and yes, it’s a Do-It-Yourself-Task.

Eventually when they are all filled out and stitched to closure they will look somewhat like this…seat with Cushion 1
So far, i stand from far and I like what I see.. its my little haven and done in a span of three years. so proud of myself 😀

Justin wants a male touch to the house…he wants a home theatre and he wants it now…I, on the other hand want a female touch! (One wonders what the heck we have been touching up with!) I need flower pots big enough for a future son to sneak a pee in hehehe! Just kidding, but in the meantime, I am desperately in need of book shelf and study desk ideas… 🙁

Newbie in the Bedroom

Part one of our bedroom is ready; the wardrobe. This is how we did it. We searched online for designs we could borrow. Having used shelves for the last three years, it was time we made a big switch to something different; something…bigger. I wanted a wall to wall cabinet with a little allowance for the dressing table. So we searched everywhere and finally, I got it; a three door cabinet…and a cool calming color to go. Before kick starting this, I visited various supermarkets to see what I could find. It was surprising that not one in town had what i had imagined. However, Naivas near Allsops had a nice three door cabinet with the middle part fitted with cabinets, just as I wanted. I was going for Kshs. 32,000 and the various dressing mirrors that would go well with it ranged beween Kshs. 10,000 to kshs. 15,000. Total avereage cost was about Kshs. 47,000. There was no way my husband would let me buy something worth so much for one place only; I never bothered to ask either. So I printed out my little dream wardrobe and visited Paul, our carpenter. What we had in mind was something like this.
kabati 0001

We made a few changes here and there and Paul set of to start.
he is a genius; in four days, the wardrobe was ready for painting. I wanted a very light shade of blue. I always get to pick my favourite colours and I sent my husband to buy a nice baby blue… I sent him with this lovely image on his phone…
blue cabinet colour 2

As men will always be men, and we women just never learn. He picked out something close to the blue… the exact opposite I mean; it was light green!

Not to worry though, it came out nicely though the challenge now is matching out this colour to the wall, bedding and drapery coming soon. Here take a look and let me know what you think…Oh and advise us what color to use for the rest of the house…we are honestly stuck! 🙁
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Thanks to the small Nairobi houses, opening these doors meant eating up a lot of space. As usual our flexible Paul was so kind as to accept the changes we had in mind. We put in sliding doors and yes, I played with them till they moved smoothly. This piece of beauty saved us an amazing Kshs. 10,000 from the full price we would have spent in the supermarket!

And come to think of it, its the color of our intended cabinet lol!. And one more thing. I did the painting myself yet again!

I love my cabinet! I love my cabinet! *dancing around*

Yes!! I think I did it!

Have you ever felt like such a great achiever? Well I do already! Now listen, hubby and I were looking to expand our space to make our once one-bedroom house accommodate an extra bedroom. Why we thought it would work? Easy! We had a large living room that at some point became hard to even arrange. We didn’t want a table centralising our space either. It would look like my mom’s house, and my auntie’s house, and the neighbours….you know what I mean.

We wanted a diverse look, away from what we grew up in. for our children to have a different setting from what we had. Not that it was bad, just like chalk and cheese. I say this for those friends who like the centralised coffee tables that have them seats encircle them. Please note that they are still an in-thing and that this is just my view; my thoughts; my ideas; my blo….*tongue in cheek* Back to the area under discussion.

So we started by shopping for sinks and granito tiles. Kijabe Street was the place to go. Like I mentioned on this post, they have a lot of vast things at very even-handed costs.

We fixed them then got the cupboards fixed too. Later we had to paint and for wood, the paint had to be oil based. I don’t want to believe that the whole court knew akina Pesh were painting…but that is what everyone said. The smell, despite mixing with turpentine instead of paraffin, was intolerable. On day two, I sent Pesh and the housie to grandma’s. We left all ventilation outlets bare and took off, then later came home to an almost iced house. Anyway, the paint stench was gone and we had moved a stride.

The problem with renovating slowly is the fact that just when you complete something, another suddenly gets noticed. It always looks irksomely ugly and you just have to work on it.

We tiled the new kitchen and the new bedroom and finally painted. So now the only room that looks like it belongs to someone else is our bedroom. The floor is the same old cold cement, the ceiling boards are sagging-tired and the walls look like they have been crying, what with the rains and lots of humidity? The only thing that looks gawkily out of place is the bed.

sneak peak 2

I promised you a sneak peak if it turned out well, right? Well it was better than I imagined! The lime-green brightens the house by cutting off the stream of tango shades. The black granito tiles break the white monotony of the cupboard and the white tiles and the house looks neatly organised. For a small house in the Kenyan economy, I think its fab! *sticking my tongue out* Now I think I can comfortably host my guests….note, not live-in guests… 🙂

sneak peak 1

Some friends say I’m in the wrong profession. I’m not. If you meet someone who loves art, trust me, chances are that he is a poet, an artist, a writer, a musician, an interior designer or all! Enough said. Give me your views on this one. If you hate it, don’t rip my heart out. Tip me off to go undercover instead! 😉

My big news draws near…oh wait. You thought this was the big news? No. we are simply doing all these as fast as we prepare to prepare for the big thing…and I did not repeat a word back there. Soon I will be calling my close friends. I will lose some friends and probably gain new ones. I will find out who my true friends are and will be shocked by the unexpected care of those who never bothered. I will lose all the weight I have struggled to gain, courtesy of stress.  I will use a lot of airtime and fuel and I will have numerous headaches, probably even migraines. Finally….Bam! And in one day, our lives will take an altered turn.

I plan to open a new page to share my journey’s experience all through… Not to worry though I will capture as much as I can on camera and try even more not to bore you to death. Meantime, grab your jackets and get ready for a glacial journey through the cold season. Later pals.

Working with the men…

I have been dealing with almost all sorts of fundis these past few weeks.  I had no choice, what with all the renovation going on at my house. Did I tell you I’m preparing for the grand exit of Pesh from our bedroom? Oh no? Sorry. Well I am. And this not the big news yet! And I’m not pregnant…though it’s not a bad idea too.

At the beginning of this month I carried a stash of cash and headed to the carpenter’s. The pain to withdrawing so much money at once shattered me. I couldn’t believe I was giving out such an amount of money to one human being. I handed the money over to the jolly-looking carpenter to proceeded to recount the thousands…I painfully watched, in silent. One, two, three….seven….twelve…twenty…I died.

The following week after healing from the wounds of giving away so much money at once, I did a lot of Google and asking around. By the way, is it just me or does Google search translate to another weird named site…search.babylon or something of the sort. I’m still trying to figure out how the hell they battled down my poor Google search?? *sob* or were they bought off…I’ll find out.

I tracked down Kijabe Street. The street with all things ceramic, kitchenware, toilet bowls, faucets, mirrors and all. With my addiction to interior design…the thought of setting camp to  gaze and marvel border tiles, stainless steel faucets and table tops seemed like a brilliant idea…such beauty….Ok. I’m not that addicted. I bought a new sink, granito tiles, some adhesive, and immediately went back home.

I did it alone.

Damn, don’t I enjoy it! There’s no feeling more satiable than saving cash after a good bargain. Trust me, I bargain for best prices for just about anything! I even try my luck in supermarkets and at the guy who sells roasted maize at the estate, even when I know they will always say no… 🙂 So we agreed between my husband and me that I be the CEO of that department as long as he never catches me carrying anything heavy. Agreed.

I called the tile guy and the plumber to meet me at home. The plumber is a tall, purple guy with a disturbingly reputable look…yes, purple. His skin was literary shining all over! The tile guy was petite looking and Pesh kept poking and playing with him since he looked like a small boy. He had some white hair though. They were all on time and the negotiations were heated as expected. We finally agreed and work began. They say I’m tough, I say I’m reasonable. I get involved in everything, making me know exactly how much effort they put in. If I can easily make out how the job has been done, then that’s trouble for them. Mean huh?

At the hardware, I had carried my list of required items as listed by the plumber and I bargained for every word I could read. It worked! I saved about seven hundred shillings, went home with a patch of cement on my back and bottom and gained a lot of hatred from the purple man. He gave me the obvious, ‘Damn you miser,’ look that I am already used to. I know how they make extra cash. They agree with the hardware sales men to adjust the receipts to suit them. That is the cash I’m always chasing!

We burrowed through cement searching for the new drainage and fixed the black granito tiles on one cup board. I thought they looked great even without the paint. All we have left is now fixing the new faucets and wrapping of the other cabinets. The previous kitchen that I’m now turning into a bedroom looks horrid, with holes here and there and gaps from whence the old sink was yanked out of. The tiles are chipped and the wall is terrible. Oh, please don’t tell me I’m speaking jargon. Ok, for those I completely lost in this piece, here’s the thing. I have a one bed room house, with a long rectangular-shaped living room. We decided to put an American style, open kitchen in the living room and turn the old kitchen into another bedroom. If it turns out nicely I will share some sneak peaks and you are welcome to steal ideas if you share my passion. If it flops, you will not hear a word about it.

something very close to this...

We are rushing to clear this up. Bigger things await …enter my secret big news…C’mon, will you stop guessing already? Ok, I promise to give you a clue next time. Don’t I love keeping you in suspense? Have a good one and keep warm!