The Royal Mother Makes it Work
Ellen Street, Manchester:
Imagine a day filled with paperwork and hundreds of teenagers with varying personalities, and then imagine going home to two children who require even more attention. Could you do this every day? Or would the tasks see you packing?
Thirty-six year-old Venessa Royal, a guidance counsellor, teacher and mother of two children, ages 14 (girl) and nine (boy), has been playing the role of super Mom for years. She has now mastered the art to the point where she can add poultry farmer and entrepreneur to her list of titles.
But was it always easy? It was most certainly not.
"I got pregnant with my daughter at the age of 21. At the time, I was a part-time employee as a secretary on the National Youth Service programme, getting only a stipend along with the experience. I applied for teachers' college when my daughter was only seven months. I knew it would be challenging, but I stuck to it. Growing up poor, I knew in order to reap success and have a good life for my daughter, I had to finish school and find a job. I never left God out of the picture and things just worked themselves out."
As the years progressed, Royal wed and introduced another young Royal to the home. This, of course, meant the responsibilities would now be tripled.
"Work and family, wow! It can be overwhelming at times. It's a daily routine. To maintain my sanity, I try to avoid taking home schoolwork. What I've realised over the years is that taking home work is a waste of time because I never get the time to do it. My nine-year-old is a talker and he loves attention, so most of my time is spent helping him with assignment or projects. Also, my 14-year-old takes up a great amount of my time, so I have to be helping with primary and high school assignments, but family time is a must; and this is where everyone gets a chance to say what's on their minds."
Flexibility is important
She added, "You have to learn to be flexible. I find that when I'm washing, cooking or ironing, I can still accommodate my son with timetable recitals, and other times - I do girl talk with my daughter."
Her day begins at 5:30.
"Every morning, I prepare breakfast and see to it the kids have everything on their plates. Some mornings, it takes a little more time, but after giving them the lecture of how much I lacked when I was their age, they comply. Family worship is must for us and then, of course, I begin my rounds like a broken record: 'Did you remember to wash your face, brush your teeth, and brush your hair? Remember the deodorant and please take up the lunch money'. You would think after doing something every morning, it would find a permanent place in memory, but you would be surprised," expressed Royal.
"In the evenings, Daddy takes care of dinner, and I'm glad for that, but best believe Mommy will be needed for something; whether it's my daughter who has a plight to air about a friend, teacher or subject, or my son who wants to miss bedtime watching the weather (don't ask me why, think it's because he wants it to rain so he doesn't have to go to school), but I have to accommodate it all."
Injecting a little 'me time' into the mix of things, Royal's trips to her sisters, lone vacations and good movies are some of the ways she
reenergises. She maintains that she wouldn't change a thing.
"As hectic as my life is, I wouldn't trade it for anything else. My children are the reason I work so hard because they make me proud. My job allows me to help so many students, who by the way, are my children as well. We women have been given a gift of inner strength and I'm embracing it. To all the working moms, continue doing the great job you're doing. Try not to have too many excuses as they do not solve problems. Embrace life amidst all its challenges, and always keep a smile in your heart even when you are crying. Use every experience for a positive outcome."