When you hear the phrase “Women supporting Women”, it sounds like a normal cliche that people use in hashtags to increase the likes and engagement on their social media posts. But in real life, very few women live up to that phrase. Mofolusade is one of those women in the “few” category.
How else do you describe someone who created a networking, support and capacity building platform called Mumpreneur.ng solely for women who are joggling motherhood and business? (You can view her full bio at the end of the chat.) She has a vision to raise more African women who run successful businesses without sacrificing family. Isn’t this what a whole lot of us are after? I just knew I had to pick her mind for this segment. So I decided to give it a shot and I was super excited she agreed to do this. You will see that as always, she went all out with her answers.
See our conversation below…
1.What is your view about the housekeeping system in Nigeria?
It has evolved a lot over the years, in our parents’ day, we had housekeepers and nannies that used to live and work with families for years. Our parents also had family members that were always around to support. So it was a whole team that
managed the affairs of the home. Nowadays however, hiring housekeepers has become a bit more difficult because
of the risks involved, especially because parents have less time and having live in family members is no longer as common as it used to be. So parents are more dependent on housekeepers and as such need to be thorough in their selection process. Parents were restricted to independent agents for a long time, but in recent times we have more professional bodies that have structured processes.
2. Have you at any point had a bad maid experience? If yes, how did you handle it?
Yes I have had bad experiences. I am usually very open and trusting with people; this one time, I had a maid that stole a lot of money from my purse. I confronted her and asked calmly if she saw it and she denied with such confidence that I believed her. We searched the whole house and she joined us in the search. I was so shocked when we found out she hid the money in her underwear. I let her go immediately. The level of deceit was too much for me to deal. I didn’t let the bad experience affect the way I treated subsequent maids however. My approach is hire and fire fast till you get the right one that aligns with your values and can do the work.
3. At what point in your journey did you realize that getting help had become necessary?
It became really tough managing all the housework and running my business when I got pregnant for my second son. I got so overwhelmed and had to start looking for a nanny to assist. I even lost money in the process, trying to get a nanny from Ghana through an agent because I had this friend who had a super efficient Ghanaian nanny, Lol! I got duped.
4. What is your view on mums saying they will never hire a maid/nanny? Do you think combining career and raising a family without help can be done?
Yes it can. There is no one size fits all. Some people are extremely terrified of having “strangers” in their space. I am naturally very accommodating because that was how I was raised. I have a few friends who run their homes effectively without nannies and what I noticed about them is that they are routine people; they know how to stick to time tables and get their children into the same habit. I wish I could, but heck, we are all different. Lol. In all honesty though, the ones I know who get away with no maid or nanny are usually business owners who can control their time. From my experience with working a 9-5, I doubt it is possible to be effective without some sort of help. If not a maid or a nanny, maybe a family member who is available and can live in.
5. From your interaction with mums, what is their biggest maid concern?
The first concern is the fear of feeling like someone is encroaching on your personal space. They see the nanny or maid as an intruder. Another concern is how to manage them; some say having a younger maid would be like having another child while having an older nanny would be like having an elderly person on your case, poke nosing in your affairs. Of course, in recent times, there is now reason for the fear of kidnapping, abuse and all sorts of atrocities that we hear about.
6. Can you share any extra caution you take while hiring that you think will be helpful to other mums?
I must say I have been blessed with the nanny I currently have. She has been with me 6 years now. I think what has worked for me like I said earlier is hiring and firing fast till you get the right one. I ditched the independent agents after a while and hired based on direct referrals. My aunt referred her to me; she knows her family and her home. Also, I treated the hiring process like a business transaction. So my advice;
1. Set sentiments aside
2. Treat the relationship as a contract
3. Be upfront about your expectations and listen to theirs too
4. Make sure you do a background check – Last employer, Church members etc.
7. How do you ensure your maid’s/nanny’s efficiency?
I really can’t take credit for this completely. By nature, my current nanny is a routine person, once I show her what I want and how I want things done, she sticks to it like a robot. Lol! I honestly don’t know how she does it. Aside from this though, with other maids and nannies that have worked with me; I show rather than tell. From the beginning, they know that Madam is not expecting anything of them that she can’t do herself. This puts them in check. They don’t feel like you are at their mercy and they try to measure up.
8. Who do you think responsibilities lie with more in stopping bad maid experiences; The maid agency/agent or home owners who hire the maids?
Now this is a tricky one. I think it lies more with the home owners once they have hired the maids and signed a contract. Maids are human beings too, if you treat them like human beings and stick to what was in the agreement, they too should do their part. Don’t make assumptions, be clear on what you want upfront. In a case where they don’t, please fire fast! Especially for busy mothers, there’s no time be babysitting anybody.
9. I hear that people are scared of hiring graduates as maids or nannies. Will you be comfortable hiring a graduate as a maid/nanny?
Why not? We need to get to a point where this is treated as a professional job; something honorable, not something that is looked down at as meant for helpless people who have no choice. We are talking about child minding here and running a home. It’s a big deal. If there was a professional body that certifies housekeeper or nannies, it would go a long way in changing the perception and disposition towards that sector.
10. What is one character trait you will never make a compromise on when hiring a maid/nanny?
Hmmm, now that’s a tough one, but top three on the list
1. I wouldn’t tolerate maid/nanny who is fundamentally dirty
2. I wouldn’t tolerate maid/nanny who steals
3. I wouldn’t tolerate a maid/nanny who has a wicked heart ( I know this is a bit broad, but when if she’s going to be relating with my children, she better be nice but firm).
That brings us to the end of our conversation. I really wish I could pick her brain more. Someday I certainly will. I learnt a lot and I hope you did too. Sometimes, we just need to listen to other women’s journeys to encourage ourselves. I will continue to bring more women on maid talk who can inspire us with their stories.
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Mofolusade Sonaike popularly referred to, as the Mumpreneur is an entrepreneurship advocate, coach and trainer. She is currently the CEO of branded.ng and Creative Director of Mumpreneur.ng, a networking, support and capacity building platform for women joggling motherhood and business. She recently used this platform to empower an Ogiri seller whose video went viral for her unique marketing style in June 2017.
She has a background in chemical engineering from the university of Lagos with work experience spanning 4years in the IT, Banking and Manufacturing sectors. She exited the corporate world in 2010 mainly because she wanted more time with her family but also because she wanted to pursue her personal dreams. She launched a gift consulting business online known as Trezorlandia Limited and this was just the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey.
Her experiences with this transition have led her to become a strong voice for entrepreneurs in Nigeria, particularly mothers. She has a vision to raise more African women who run successful businesses without sacrificing family. She actively writes about this on all her platforms and publishes articles to help women succeed in business.
She is an associate member of the institute of entrepreneurs, Nigeria as well as the national association of small and medium scale enterprises. She is passionate about learning and is an alumnus of the Lagos business school and a techno entrepreneur alumnus of the federal institute of industrial research, Techno-Entrepreneurship Program.
She is a 2016 recipient of the “Xceptional Women’s Role Model Awards” by Abiola Champ for her contribution to enterprise in Nigeria. She is also a 2016 recipient of the O.Y.A awards for enterprise support.
Mofolusade has been married for over 10 years and is blessed with two sons.