Life of a young woman leader juggling mothering two lovely toddlers

By Angèle Kolouchè BIAO Epse AKOKPONHOUE, YWCA of Benin

Gone are the days I could wake up by myself after a good sleep or when I could sleep as long as I wished, when I feel like and how often I wanted.

Every morning, I am pushed out of bed by either the cry of Faith, my nineteen-month-old daughter who stills demands and needs attention from me or that of my three-months-old son Maxwell. This is to either prepare a milk beverage for the first or breastfeed the latter.

Otherwise, my day starts then like that and I need to get organised, manage and watch time like someone awaiting his death sentence.

I start by taking my bath first otherwise I get stuck by house chores and delay my bath, and then I heat water to bathe Maxwell and Faith. I simultaneously prepare breakfast for the family.

Managing time when I have to go somewhere early in the morning becomes difficult and really exhausting. I make sure I do the laundry before leaving the house because I often can’t predict the time I will come back home. Usually I struggle with time to the extent of forgetting to have breakfast. When leaving the house, I put the little one on my back and fasten him safely enough, sit on my motorbike and put Faith in front of me, wear my helmet and I am gone ridding. I either leave them with my mother or when it is necessary to go with them I have to keep Faith awake by singing with her during the trip. Sometimes it works, sometimes I just have to manage her on the motorbike so she does not fall or knock her against the board of the motorcycle.

When I don’t go anywhere, I hardly have time to take even a little rest. I have to put up with my daughter’s needs, with her breaking things and turning down the bedroom. I always have to keep an eye on her because she attempts dangerous things like plugging a wire, play with the light switch repeatedly, opening the tap and leaving it, opening any bottle whether drugs, oil, soap, alcoholic drinks etc.

After doing all this, at the end of the day I get so tired that all I need is to go to bed when they allow me to of course. Often I am only able to do certain things when they are both asleep otherwise I will have to be interrupted several times. That is why I can really rest at normal hours.

This life of mine is not easy at present but I console myself with the joy they give me and I am aware there is a time for everything.

One other thing too is that, it would have been definitely better if I had planned childbirth better. I was worried by the rumors of my elders and predecessors in motherhood on family planning, that before I realised I had two babies within less than two years. That is why I adopted a family planning method right on the delivery bed. I did not inform my husband before taking this decision and was worried about that in the beginning, but I realised it was my life and I have a career to pursue and couldn’t allow myself to fall in another trap again.  After all, he took the news positively, it was for the better of our sexual life, even though he would have wished to be informed and persuaded first. Anyway I have no regrets.

So far, so good.

Qui ne risque rien, n’a rien.