1. The most painful one regards my nocturnal habits: Don't sleep at 3am, no matter how tempting the movie, or Science Direct article, or floor mopping. You are no longer 22. That sleep debt cannot be repaid in a day and for three days sleep will hang over your head like a wet blanket. It is like a hangover that coffee can't quite cure. 2. 2019 begun with me nannyless, then I had such a high nanny turnover I stopped trying to replace them. Lesson learned? Don't despise housework ati it's beneath you or 'utachapa' (well, your nails will). All work, even house work, can be done as unto God. First, it's your house, they are your kids, he's your husband. So mop that floor like you are serving yourself and cook those chapos like its the most important job on earth. Housework is like a gym if you are willing to get down and dirty. Every brush stroke is moving lazy muscles. And kneading Unga has got to give you biceps. Go to the market and haul paper bags of carrots, cabbages and potatoes with purpose. First there's the walking around. Then there's the walking around carrying half of the market's produce. Sema workout. 3. On that note, don't let the watchie carry your bags for you. It's not his job and why go lift weights at the gym when you can carry up four flights of stairs, 10 litres of milk, 5kg of rice, a cabbage and a baby. Then you have to carry the trash out. 4. Your bedroom and bathroom are a haven. Siblings quibbling? Hide in the toilet with your phone and a hood Wi-Fi connection. Move the router if you have to. Moody nanny. Retreat to the bedroom with a book. Too many houseguests? The bedroom, with headphones. 5. You gotta be the boss lady. Know your house, know what you want, express that clearly to your househelp and kids. Don't live like a prisoner in your own home, unhappy about the way things are running and not doing anything about it. Kids can play you like a guitar. Let them know who is in charge. Kidogo you think they are grownups and can handle choices then they do something so stupid you remember they are kids. It's mama's and papa's law ntil you are old enough to survive on the consequences of their choices. 6. Let your house serve you. There are lots of things we do because it's culture, or appropriate or cos we are all ocdr. But I decided I shall not be a slave to things in my house. I decide what works for me that day, that season. So we don't sweat crumbs on the floor or seats too much. Tis the season. If I don't have the mental sobriety or physical energy to do breakfast dishes immediately after breakfast that's fine too. I will wash them when I wash them. We have a toy box and baby wipes box always within reach and it makes our home un-organized but its serving me and the kids. Things will change when they have to change. 7. Domestic help is underrated. And overrated. Ever tried planning a trip to the shop to buy essentials like milk and tissue paper and it feels like planning a group vacation cos you gotta factor in three kids and no nanny? That's the day you appreciate your lazy nanny. At least you can still get out of the house. Then, you do one day bila nanny, then two, then a week and your back is killing you, and you haven't had a shower longer than two minutes in forever and you are snapping at everyone - especially your spouse for coming home late or not helping enough or appreciating what a number his minions have played on you all day long. But then it becomes a month, may be two, and your house is developed it's own rhythm and though you still get cross at people who throws pillows on the floor and spill food ll over the carpet, it is no longer a life and death matter and you realise you are a freaking super woman. You can let it go. You pray for physical and emotional strength and learn that God's grace is enough. Not only are you physically more resilient , your have matured, and you have taught your kids to sweep the floor and arrange the sitting room. You learn that you can do anything you set your mind to do. And you learn to respect househelps and housework. 8. My last nanny left on the day schools closed. Then came a 67-day school holiday and you have to share your breathing space 24/7 with kids who are glued to the house. Why do kids nowadays hate playing outside? My friend asked me how I handle parenting as an introvert. It's God's grace, I was telling Mr, because I have never felt I needed space from him or our kids. While other people crowd my space, I have found the grace to accommodate my family not matter how much they pester me. May be I will learn to extend the same grace to other people in my house so having a live-in nanny doesnt feel so stiffling. Definitely a work in progress. 9. People are busy with their lives and their own troubles. Even best friends may not always be alert for your trouble signals. If you are really pressed, pick up the phone and talk it out with someone. Text. Better still show up at their door and let your heart out. But don't 'catch' because you are in trouble or troubled and no one has called to check up on you, not even your mother. It sucks but what to do? Even your own mother has enough drama in her life without trying to catch up with yours. The last time I 'catched' because someone didn't return my call and she was grappling with a possible cancer diagnosis. I have never felt so selfish. If you need someone, pick up the phone and ask for their help or time or words of encouragement. Send prayers requests. Be vulnerable. Drop the pride. Allow others to bless you. 10. I rediscovered choir music and I guess I have been overdoing SDA choirs a wee bit, but girl, these guys can sing. And their songs have content unlike people whose names I won't mention. Why do I seem to all of a sudden like SDA Choirs? I listened to a lot of their music in my younger days. How you spent your childhood matters. Alot. Many of us are still healing or broken from wounds caused in childhood and these have affected who we are, how we relate, how we parent. Protect your children. Build for them wonderful warm memories. Answer their gazillion questions. Spend lots of time with them. They will want to spend time with you when they are old and don't have to. 11. Be faithful with the mundane if that is where God has placed you even if it involves grazing sheep and fighting bears yet you know you have been ordained for the palace. Promotion does not come from the west or east but from God. He's got all the pieces and while all I see is dirty floors, low paying gigs and floundering business, him he's still building a kingdom. He is fitting all the pieces together, beautifully. With this should come contentment and lots of faith and Thanksgiving. Because I can tell you the grass is growing on my neighbours lawn and I haven't even planted mine. I don't even have the lawn space. My friend's lane is accelerating at breakneck speed and I'm feeling stuck. But then I trust God. And I know this confidence will be rewarded. May 2020 bring forth the buds of what has been taking root in 2019.