WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

2021 BLOG SERIES- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

Have you ever met someone and instantly felt more joyful? As if an indescribable aura has wrapped you up in peace. With this in mind, I introduce you to Adenike (pronounced Add-A-Nikki) Makinde. This month’s The Mom Huddle spotlight in WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

We met a few months ago through a Linking Indy Women networking event. Even in a virtual format, Adenike’s presence gave off the feeling of joy and inclusion. Although in the virtual world we find ourselves in, our group of five was able to dive in deep and swiftly. Sharing thoughts and feelings creating an immediate connection and wonderful conversation.

Upon my second meeting with Adenike, I have now put my finger on why. It’s her warmth and approach to life. In fact, she draws you in. Furthermore, living up to her company’s appropriate name, Joyfully: Career Strategy & Confidence Coaching.

As I thought about who to interview for February, the idea surfaced for a minority business owner who is also a mother. I remembered the LIW encounter with Adenike and without a doubt, knew this was my February person. Not only did she NOT disappoint, but I was additionally awestruck by her approach to life, motherhood, business ownership, and more.

APPROACH- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

First off, I go into each of these interviews with no agenda and very few prepared questions. While this may seem like an odd approach, I truly enjoy the process and just seeing where the conversation takes us. Furthermore, it keeps me from focusing too much on a particular outcome for the article. Instead, it ends up being just the message I didn’t know I needed to hear.

I say this because what Adenike said almost immediately struck deep.

We were discussing how to instill in our kids a sense of direction and purpose. Not forcing them down our pre-conceived notion of success, but rather how to make them mindful in decision making. This is when Adenike dropped the knowledge on me.

“We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just always rejected the idea.”

To paraphrase… we create our reality through what we expect.

For instance, parents go into the teenage years expecting rebellion and trouble. And just like a self-fulfilling prophecy, those same parents find themselves with teenagers in rebellion and trouble. “We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.”

Lightbulb.

If you take nothing else from reading this article, think about that statement. Although made in relation to raising her children, it quickly became apparent this is a foundational belief for Adenike.

Before you think this was a very rose-colored glasses approach to raising teenagers, Adenike was quick to point out, yes, there were times of rebellion and trouble. On the contrary, that did not make up their entire teenage years. The label created for the time period with her kids was multi-faceted. Not summed up by a couple of negative adjectives.

I pressed on with this discussion intrigued by the approach of rejecting the idea.

FOUNDATION- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

Adenike has two children. Admittedly, not so much children as now young adults. Caleb, a 19-year-old college student with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Mikayla, a 17-year-old high school senior destined for leadership.

Adenike (Woman Mother Joyful Entrepreneur) and her two kids taking a selfie

Adenike, Mikayla, and Caleb strike a pose. Joyful motherhood moment!


Foundation is key. For Adenike and her family, their foundation is God and a loving spirit.

“I have never felt as though I had to figure it out on my own. God is always there and if I lean on my faith and love, everything eventually works out.”

Watching the pride with which she spoke of her children and their very real and deep conversations, I found myself wanting to immediately implement her suggestions for getting to this point with her kids.

First, keep God in your heart.

Second, come from a place of love with your energy.

And finally, invest in your kids.

For their family, this investment consists of regular Saturday morning conversations to check in. Creating the space to talk about life and share on a deep level.

Whereas, there is a time for discipline. On the other hand, there is also a time for allowing your children the space to learn and grow. She was able to strike this balance with regular “adult” conversation. Above all, learning who they are as people by listening and caring. Subsequently, showing interest in what they had to say as they processed their own thoughts and feelings.

She reminds her kids all the time, “this is the job God gave me to do. I know my job as a parent.” Even though Caleb and Mikayla may not always agree with her, they respect the logic behind this.

MARTYRDOM

We next shifted our discussion to the notion of martyrdom in motherhood.

Whether through their own upbringing or being too tied to social norms, along the way a lot of mothers have created a story. This story includes the mother being a martyr figure in the family. We tend to think this is what we should do.

Be everything for everyone. Put even some of our most basic needs to the side under the ruse of being what the family needs.

This stress of obligation, however, has had an opposite effect.

“Our kids do what we model. Model what you want your kids to look like.”

Instead of coming from a place of, “I can’t do ___ (fill in the blank) because of my kids,” she suggests flipping the script. “I need to do this because of my kids.” Invest in yourself.

Stress in motherhood is not an obligation. Analyze it. Figure out what the stressor is and address it. There is no room for martyrdom once you actually address what is going on.

Again, go back to her first point, “We bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.”

JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR- 2020

What Adenike gained from 2020 was the perspective of her business shift. Joyfully went from being her business to now being a platform.

“It’s not just business. I have the freedom to be myself. I know I can utilize the business as a platform to fulfill my calling. My first calling was to be a parent. My second calling is helping people.”

She works with her clients to shift from sick and tired to peace and purpose. Creating a sustainable and feasible plan with personal values at the core. It should come as no surprise mindset shifting is a key element to her coaching style.

Starting her own business was key because she wanted to be able to help people the way she had it in her own heart, not through a pre-created program through an institution. This drive took her from a corporate career three and a half years ago into business for herself.

She described the moment she went from burnt out and unmotivated in her job to engaged and excited about her work. It came down to the epiphany of knowing she wanted her own business. Excitement and momentum to a future she hadn’t been able to put her finger on until she invested in herself with coaching, praying, and journaling.

MOTHER- 2020

Adenike is a woman of color. There is so much going on in the world in addition to the pandemic having an understandable and emotional toll for this demographic. I was astonished by her mindset and approach once again to all of the perceived hate going on in the world.

“I told my kids; you can’t control another person. Be aware of what is happening around you, but you can only take on so much. Guard your heart. And if you are out there talking in the world (social media), you better be prepared to take action, not just be noise.”

Additionally, her messaging to her kids throughout this political and racial turmoil had two key elements. First, keep God in your heart. Second, bring your energy from a place of love.

She even went back to her original foundation belief of, “we bring stuff into our lives because it’s what we expect. I just rejected the idea.” Ensuring she and her family remained above the hate. In fact, expecting people to be kind and come from a place of love. Not pulled into the energy zapping of it all because it’s what was expected.

SUMMARY- WOMAN, MOTHER, JOYFUL ENTREPRENEUR

Adenike’s ideal client is a woman who has had enough life and work experience to know themselves. As a consequence, they have hit the point in their journey where they question if they have completed their purpose on Earth or if there is more to their story.

It’s where she found herself a few years ago. Instead of choosing to be a martyr and continuing down a path not entirely fulfilling to her, she chose joy. Seeking out mentors. Reading. Praying. Giving herself space and time to recognize the shift in her purpose. Then, pursuing her dream.

Her amazing approach to life not only rubs off on her clients but also is visible in her children through their actions. Recently, her son told her during a Saturday morning conversation while home from college, “I’m so glad you raised me how you did. There are some crazy people out there.”

I then asked if her son could be a mentor to my own sons. (I mean, seriously, why not right?!)

Find your joy. Focus on your joy. And resist the urge to bring negativity, hurt, and hate (stuff) into your life because it’s what you expect. Reject the idea.  

Thank you Adenike for being an aura of light in the world even when it can feel very dark. Your love and grace are contagious.

 

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

– Maya Angelou

 

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WOMAN MOTHER TEACHER

WOMAN MOTHER TEACHER

2021 BLOG SERIES- WOMAN, MOTHER, ???

First and foremost, I’m excited about this 2021 blog series! The Mom Huddle was created to share our collective journeys. With this in mind, this month we’ll highlight a WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER.

Not only is The Mom Huddle a platform for stories, but also serves as a way to create understanding. A sisterhood. On one hand, we won’t always agree. On the other, I believe this is where understanding and growth happens.

When we hear someone’s story and find pieces of ourselves in it, we also find appreciation. Furthermore, we learn and grow.

Enter in Mrs. Jacqueline Miller, our January spotlight. Woman like us. Mother like us. A teacher like only some of us. (To be clear, not me… can you say E-Learning failure?!?)

Woman Mother Teacher- Mrs. Miller shown with arms full of bags walking into school

Who can relate to this look? Carrying ALL THE THINGS! Mrs. Miller headed into school for the day.


As I contemplated who made sense for the very first blog in this series, relevance was key. TEACHER continued to float to the top of this list. Mrs. Miller then quickly came to mind. Not only as a teacher AND a mother, but also as one of my boys’ favorite teachers from elementary.

In short, meet Jacqueline Miller.

WOMAN – MOTHER – TEACHER

Jacqueline and her husband, Brett, have two sons, Hudson (5.5 years old) and Camden (almost 3). She also currently teaches second grade.

Here is what Jacqueline had to say about being a woman, mother, teacher, wife, daughter, ALL THE THINGS… oh, and let’s throw in a pandemic.

What has this last year been like for you?

Interesting… (said with chuckles, laced with some exasperation!)

Less than a week after Camden’s second birthday party, the world shut down. It was shocking obviously! Without a doubt, the first week was ROUGH.

Anyone else relate?!?

We found ourselves completely out of routine. Uncertainty. Absolutely running the gamete of emotions in a very short amount of time.

Then came the routine. “We walked the dog DAILY without fail.”

As she shared their rain, shine, snow mentality of sticking to their daily walk, I immediately pictured the postal service motto! “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”  

Then I noticed a pointed shift in how Mrs. Miller described life in the early days of the pandemic:

“We focused on enjoying the little moments.”

The bus lot near their home became an exciting walk-to destination for the kids to see all of the buses.

This made me laugh. I remembered back to when preschooler Jake (now almost 12) LOVED buses. The sight of a bus elicited squeals of joy from the backseat. So much so, in the car despite being BY MYSELF, I pointed out a bus. “Oh look! A bus!!” Yep, the little moments stick with you.

The firehouse also became a Miller adventure destination. Including a guessing game of how many fire truck doors would be open.

In general, slowing down life and NOTICING. Recognizing a beautiful sunrise and discussing all of the colors with Camden.

Not something we typically make time for in a morning of running from point A to B to C in the rat race, is it?

How did the boys do with the uncertainty and routine disruption?

Hudson called COVID “the germs.” They are both really good about wearing masks and understand it’s done to keep others safe. Their grandparents especially.

As an educator, I knew the importance of routine for the boys. Days starting with screen time ended in DISASTER. Applying the slow start method in the morning at home worked just as well as it does in school.

For those like me, not in the know… slow start focuses on games, puzzles, blocks, and interactive play without the use of technology. In the school setting, it’s utilized to teach children to interact and learn to play together. Additionally, giving students a chance to ready themselves for the school day.

I’m guessing this may be a giant ah-ha moment! It was a great take-away for me as well.

TEACHER – MRS. MILLER

As we switched gears from family to career, my admiration grew more than I thought possible. Like a lot of you, I hear the amazing work teachers do day in and day out. Conversely, I admit, I don’t give it enough attention.

In the humblest way, Mrs. Miller shared not just about teaching. In fact, our conversation was very little about the teaching itself, but rather more about the other hats worn. I will tell you; it elicited a lot of conflicting emotions from me.

“Teaching has become so much more than just teaching.”

In general, teaching is now about developing the whole child, not just the educational piece.

First, have they been fed? They cannot learn if not. Additionally, she shared stories of saving unopened food waste from lunches and sending home with kids who do not have enough. Bringing in extra snacks and ensuring a supply of food for kids once they leave school. Even delivering lunches during the pandemic to those in need.

Second, where is their mental health? Observing without bias and ensuring she is not overstepping while simultaneously supporting.

Third, do they have appropriate clothing? She now has a stash of clothes for not only homeless children but also for any child showing up with shoes too small or ill equipped for cold weather.

Did you notice we haven’t even gotten to math, reading, or science yet?

Hence my mixed emotions of admiration, sadness, and even some outrage over the necessity of this.

PANDEMIC TEACHER

What is the biggest difference in teaching during the pandemic?

Teachers are really good at multi-tasking. For instance, flipping a child’s book to the correct page while passing by and simultaneously reading to the entire class. Scanning the students as the course work is being delivered and watching for signs of confusion or lack of understanding.

These elements are lost or a lot more difficult to manage when class is on screen.

I attended a Zoom the other day with adults. Some weren’t muted and didn’t realize it. Others were clearly not paying attention and then asking for the messages to be repeated… MULTIPLE times. They were adults. Can you imagine the herding of cats it is having Zoom class in elementary?

Mrs. Miller’s pandemic focus was to work very hard to still giving each child a personal connection. Time on the Zoom for them as well as personal messages on their assignments, for instance. All of this goes above and beyond a typical day when teaching in person.

She mentioned in the beginning of the pandemic assigning more work for the kids. Then realized the sheer volume of trying to give students personal messages on EACH assignment wasn’t sustainable. Adjusting course as needed has been a constant theme for the year.

Another adjustment came in the form of headaches. Staring at a screen all day instead of moving around a classroom was something she didn’t see coming.

Woman Mother Teacher- Mrs. Miller with mask on teaching to students in class

Mrs. Miller is happy to be back in person with the kids. The classroom looks a bit different than a normal year though.

CHALLENGES- WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER

What has been your biggest challenge personally during this time?

Not being able to see family in person despite knowing the reason why. Undoubtedly heart wrenching.

What has been your biggest challenge professionally during this time?

Empathy exhaustion. There are so many things going on in addition to the pandemic.

To name a few, witnessing families struggling because of the work from home and the school from home situation they find their family in. A constant juggle altogether.

Then witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement and wanting to support those emotionally affected.

Next, watching families already struggling financially further complicated by the pandemic.

Subsequently, you want to be everything for everyone. As a result, it becomes overwhelming and exhausting. In addition, I want to be aware of my own implicit bias and be mindful when making decisions.

BALANCE- WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER

We started to talk about balance not only in a normal time, but especially during the pandemic. She was given advice by a mentor that has stuck with her over the years.

You don’t want to save the world and lose your own.

Remembering this message of maintaining a balance of personal life and professional boundaries served her well in the normal as well as the abnormal of late.

She also acknowledged her partnership with her husband, Brett, parenting as a team. Brett is the best cook and does most of the cooking for the family. This allows her playtime with the boys after school instead of jumping straight into household duties.

It’s all about the kids until they go to bed, then we prep for the next day and do some work.

What do you do for self-care?

Hallmark movies! (with a chuckle) With all of the craziness in the world, they are good stories and you know how they will end. It’s low pressure and entertaining.

As the kids get older, she would also like to get back to the gym, but we also laughed about the work-out it is to have little kids. Hudson had 5 THOUSAND steps in two hours running around the house one morning wearing her FitBit.

Pretty sure Jacqueline is getting her steps in just fine chasing them around!

We also agreed the shift in parenting moves from a physical toll to a mental one as the kids age. A weird adjustment for moms when this shift begins! 

SUMMARY- WOMAN, MOTHER, TEACHER

What advice would you give to other parents about this time both as a teacher and a mother?

When we look back, we’ll be so grateful for the extra time spent together. Sometimes we get caught up in ALL of the moments, but a few special activities are what the kids are going to remember. In short, enjoy the little moments.

As Camden says, “look at the pretty sunrise!”

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Mrs. Miller. Getting another perspective on not only what is going on right now in the world for our kids, but also a general snapshot in the life of a teacher. How often do we forget our teachers are often mothers too? They are preparing not only their own children for the world, but ours as well. Clearly in many more ways than just math and reading too.

Thank a teacher. In fact, figure out ways in which you can support them. Mrs. Miller said she LOVES volunteers in the classroom in addition to donation support.

“Someone always needs something.”

We undoubtedly know this as mothers don’t we? Now imagine a classroom full of kids!!!

Thank you to Mrs. Miller and to all of the educators out there. We in The Mom Huddle appreciate YOU!

The duties of a teacher are neither few nor small, but they elevate the mind and give energy to the character. – Dorothea Dix

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