How I Balance Parenting, Profession and Passions

And just like that, the year is coming to an end! Happy First of December! It’s been a roller coaster of a year for me. On a professional level, I’ve had to take on a new area of work that I knew very little about but I’ve enjoyed the learning curve. On the parenting front, having a toddler starting his first year of school has also meant having a constantly sick child, lots of trips to the ER and a lot of medical bills to boot. All the same, I’ve survived the terrible twos. Yesss! In trying to balance my professional and parental demands, I’ve made a deliberate choice to pursue my passions. Generally, its hard for working mums to take on other interests or passions and pursue them fully but I can’t emphasise enough how important this is for one’s soul and sanity (because those 2-year olds will drive you cray cray). 2017 has been quite a bumpy ride but I am quite pleased with the time I created for myself to do the things that were also important to me. In this blog, I share the passions I’ve pursued over the past 11 months. Some have been challenging but all have been truly rewarding and have helped me maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Taking chocolate-making to a new level

My interest in making chocolate started around 2010 when my work colleagues complained bitterly about how terrible Ghanaian chocolate is. It got me wondering why we don’t make good chocolates as a cocoa producing country. So, I put my money where my mouth was and learned to make chocolate.  It’s been a costly hobby – I wont lie. I traveled all the way to Ecuador to learn chocolate making last year. A great part of this year has entailed importing equipment from the US, including cocoa beans from a middle man supplier. I’ve gotten around to making several batches which I’m really proud of. I roast the beans myself, grind them, temper the chocolate, add flavour and mould them. I took my interests to a new level when I set up an instagram page just for my chocolate project (@talkingdrumchocolate). I then took it another level: getting a designer to design my chocolate packaging!  I am excited to give you an exclusive sneak preview of the design. My view is this: If I’m going to do something, I have to do it properly so continue to watch this space. It may just be the start of an empire.

Blogging consistently

I love writing this blog. I started it one month after I gave birth to my son, nearly 3 years ago, because I figured he would be sleeping 20 hours a day and what was i going to do with all my free time? Ha! But, its been a lot of fun and rewarding especially with some of the feedback I get. My followers have been increasing over time. That said, it has also been challenging making sure I produce something interesting on the first of every month even when I’m traveling or super busy or just uninspired. It is not always easy to come up with topics to write about. The other challenge is that I’m seriously introverted so putting myself out there in a blog is not an easy thing for me. But all the same, this is my creative outlet and in some ways, my second child so I commit to it.

Supporting a social cause

I’m proud to be a voting member of Greenpeace Africa. This is something I do voluntarily; it’s not related to my job at all. Sitting on the GP Africa advisory board means that I’m called upon periodically to participate in board meetings, approve financial statement, HR matters etc. I also have the opportunity to be involved in or support Greenpeace campaigns. Earlier this year, I joined a campaign that was close to my heart. It was a fundraising campaign to bring solar lights to an under-privileged community that isn’t too far from where I live. We managed to raise the funds needed through a crowdfunding campaign and brought much needed solar lighting to the community.

Enjoying simple pleasures

I’ve cut back on my social life. I was never really outgoing anyway. But, this year has been less so. Its partly due to limited time and my frugality. I IS BROKE and this is in large part is due to my next point below. Anyway, what this means is that I’ve been able to make the most of the little free time I have watching TV series – my ultimate guilty pleasure. I discovered Game of Thrones recently and boy, I cant tell you what fun its been binge watching 7 series. I am now a huge fan of the show. My other simple pleasure is the early morning walks with my son in the stroller. He is an early riser (sadly). But, it also forces me to get some exercise and enjoy freshness of the early morning breeze.

Building my dream house in the mountains

This has been a huge undertaking. I bought an acre of land in Ghana around 2008. It’s located in the beautiful mountainous region in the eastern part of Ghana – just an hour from the capital. Aburi town is home to Ghana’s botanical gardens and the residence of Rita Marley! It is also Ghana’s upcoming ecotourism destination, with hiking and mountain biking activities taking root. It was only in 2013 that I started building my house. Its been a long and stressful journey and one that has given me a lot of gray hairs this year. But this year has also been the fun part – picking out tiles, taps, sinks, door handles, etc. It’s consumed a lot of my time and energy but I am also thankful to have my parents in Ghana helping me with the project. I look forward to completing it soon and eventually creating wonderful memories there.

So, these are the passions I’ve pursued in 2017. As I said, it hasn’t been easy especially with a demanding toddler and a job that periodically requires travel. But, having side interests provides me with a balance – as crazy as that sounds. I’ve dabbled in photography and documentary film-making in the past and at some point was working on writing children’s books (I haven’t fully abandoned the idea). Anyway, thanks for allowing me to share bits of my life with you. This is my last blog for 2017. Have a wonderful festive season. Enjoy life! You only live once. YOLO. Carpe Diem. Looking forward to connecting again in 2018.

Peace and Love