Work-Life Balance Success With Zodwa
Shownotes: Today we have Zodwa as a guest speaker. She is a Mother first and a Midwife second. Zodwa is a practising Christian who believes that is it through God’s mercy that she has made it so far despite her trials.
Find out about her struggles being a Mother of 4 children, working fulltime and how she almost didn’t complete her Master’s degree. She will leave you with practical ways on how you to can overcome life struggles.
Alvern: So hello ladies, Alvern here. Today we have a guest speaker with us, and she’s one of my friends. Her name is Zodwa, and I’m first of all gonna get Zodwa to introduce herself. Over to you Zodwa.
Zodwa: Hi ladies. My name is Zodwa Lennihan. I am a mom of four beautiful kids, and I’m also a midwife.
Alvern: Brilliant, thank you Zodwa. So ladies, as you know, I always try to find interesting ways to reach out to you, to help you in your everyday life. I’m just going to go through a few questions with Zodwa, just so she can share, obviously she’s experiencing some work-life balance success. So she’s gonna just share a few quick tips. I’m going to go through a few questions with her, about seven questions, and she is going to inspire us, as to what we can do, with regards to success in our lives. So the first question for you Zodwa is, why do you do what you do?
Zodwa: Well Alvern, I am a mom first, and then a midwife. I love my job, and being a midwife means being mostly woman. Midwifery is embodied in the experience of being a woman. Giving birth is a unique female reality. In our shared experience as women, giving birth is the most natural thing that happens to us. For me, attending to women during this most natural, life-changing experience has a familiarity that I understand the enormous physical and emotional experience of pregnancy, labour, and birth. Is something that comes naturally for me as a mom, so the trust and care for this precious work that I do, which is a calling, it’s an absolute privilege that I experience it, and that I’m part of it, and that I’m paid to do it.
Alvern: Brilliant, thanks so much for that. So I guess for the people who are listening, the ladies who are listening, why do you enjoy … What do you enjoy most actually about what you do?
Zodwa: Well, in my consciousness, as a midwife and a mother, I know that pregnancy and childbirth are wholesome, healthy process of a woman’s entire being. So being there, or should I say, being part of one of the most life-changing experiences in a woman’s life, being able to support, and encourage, and empower women to believe in the strength that their bodies have to deliver their babies, and to watch them hold that new life in their arms, with a massive smile, filled with pride, each a different experience, each a different story to tell, is what I enjoy about my job.
Alvern: Awesome, thanks so much for that. It just reminds me, of obviously me being a mom as well, or when I had my first child. I actually had a home birth for my first child. I didn’t actually have it in a hospital. So the midwife came home, and it was a, I guess a very surreal experience when you have your firstborn child, natural, but like you said, that feeling that you get when you overcome and you’re now a mom, and you have to look after this child. It’s really, really interesting-
Zodwa: It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful, and that’s the best part of my job Alvern.
Alvern: That’s brilliant. So when you are growing up, obviously every one of us when we were growing up, we always know what we want to do, or we think we know what we’d like to do. For one, I wanted to be a doctor, and I’m not a doctor, just in case anybody is wondering. But keep telling me that I can still pursue that dream and well, we’ll see how that goes.
Zodwa: It’s never too late.
Alvern: It’s never too late. Did you always want to be a midwife?
Zodwa: I always had a caring personality. When I finished secondary school, I wasn’t sure which way I was going to go. But growing up, I’ve always wanted to look after people. So when the opportunity arose for me to travel, and go to the UK to study, I prayed about it. I’m the kind of person that prays for everything that I do. When this opportunity arose, God made it possible for me to pursue that career path. For me, it was an answer from God, and he had made the way. That’s my belief.
Alvern: Okay, that’s very good, very inspirational. For you then, when you were growing up as a child, who was your role model and why?
Zodwa: My mom Alvern. My mom has always been, and always will be my role model. Her strength, her resilience. It has had a great, great influence on my attitude and outlook in life. The way she brought me and my siblings up, has helped shape the character and personality that I possess. My mom has always been an industrious person. She’s very good with her hands, so she has always taught us to work hard and everything that we do. We’re not all gifted the same, but her ambition and her hard work have kind of transferred to me as well. I find that even with my kids, I’ve always encouraged them to do the best they can with whatever gifts they have, that God has given them. I can think of an example actually. When I was pregnant with my second child, I decided to take on a master’s programme-
Alvern: Oh wow-
Zodwa: Which everyone would do.
Alvern: Oh boy-
Zodwa: I decided I was going to take on a master’s programme. The opportunity arose, I’ll put it that way. I had prayed about this before I got married. I had applied to do my master’s programme, and then some things didn’t work out, so I put it on the shelf. That is my second pregnancy, I got a place, and I got funding to do it. So I did it, I started it. But as we can all appreciate, those who have been pregnant, it is a challenge trying to study, and trying to be a mom. I had a little boy at home. He was two at the time. And also trying to work. So halfway through this, I decided okay, I probably bitten off more than I could chew, and I was going to try and spit it out. I talked to my mom a lot, and I talked to my sisters a lot. We’re very close.
So the conversation was had between me and my mom, and I was telling her that I couldn’t do it anymore, but I should have known that my mom wouldn’t agree with it. My mom has always said, “You need to finish off what you started.”
Alvern: Started, exactly.
Zodwa: Yeah, so she wasn’t very forceful about it. She put things into perspective for me to see that listen, this opportunity has come at this time, and God doesn’t allow opportunities to come for no reason. He will give me the strength to go through it. So I had to rely on God. My daughter was born in the middle of this master’s programme. I completed it. I graduated, and it’s but for my God, and for my mom, I wouldn’t have made it through that programme. So I thank her. She has that drive. She is a well-driven person, and she’s also a woman of faith. I strongly believe that I am the woman, the mother, the way, the daughter, in who I am today, because of her.
Alvern: Well done. Well done, very good. Moms will always be moms.
Alvern: They’re such an inspiration.
Zodwa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alvern: Unfortunately, mine is no longer around. She died about two years ago.
Zodwa: Oh yes, I remember yeah.
Alvern: Yeah, so-
Zodwa: I’m sorry-
Alvern: [crosstalk 00:09:52] moms will always be an inspiration, and I’ll continue to remember her and laugh, because she was hilarious, a hilarious woman.
Zodwa: Yeah, it’s the legacy they leave behind, isn’t it, as well?
Alvern: Exactly. So in terms of then … Obviously, mom has been an inspiration, I don’t know if there’s anybody else who has inspired you, but what’s the best advice you ever received?
Zodwa: My family is very close Alvern. I have three beautiful sisters. My youngest sister is my best friend. So when I was single, I used to be able to manage my time, and have my prayer time, and things like that. But when I became a mom, I got very busy, and it didn’t seem to have that quiet time with God. Fair enough, we have worship time, but I didn’t have that my special time with my God, which we all need as women. So I was talking to my sister, and she suggested setting an alarm for about half an hour before my normal get of time, to have my special time with God. That’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.
When we begin our day in prayer when we began our conversation, the first person you talk to in the morning is your father in heaven, your path throughout the day will be guided, it will be led by him. He’ll give you the knowledge and the wisdom that you need for that day.
Zodwa: And I thank her. I thank her for that advice because it works.
Alvern: Brilliant, awesome. Then in terms of, obviously did your master’s, the first thing you said if you’re a mom first, and then you’re a midwife after, but what is the one thing that impacted your life to date?
Zodwa: Being a mom Alvern. Now I know that not everyone is a mom, or had that opportunity, or would want to be a mom. So I make reference to it because it has had a huge, huge impact in my life. I’ve had normal deliveries, with all of my four children, and no epidurals, which is a choice I’ve made, yes.
Alvern: That is tough.
Zodwa: Yeah, but though each labour without a doubt has been different, it’s just the rush of emotions following each delivery is so undeniable. Just simply holding each one of my babies in my arms for the first time, I just found so breathtaking. The whole world seems to stop, and that new human being in your arms is your main focus. Also, just the feeling of relief that my babies are-
Alvern: [crosstalk 00:13:15]-
Zodwa: Out of me. Yeah-
Alvern: [crosstalk 00:13:16] better-
Zodwa: Yeah, I fought a good fight. The pride, and that you’ve endured such a challenge … But the overwhelming amounts of love, and joy that God has blessed you with this priceless gift. How can that not change you as a human being? For me, that’s what has changed my life a lot. Undeniably, life has become busier.
Zodwa: I’ve never been one to be organised Alvern. I work best under pressure. So my life has had to change a lot. My husband and I have learned to live our life differently from when we were single. If you don’t have children, your time is your time, and you can kind of tip away, and do whatever you’ve planned for the day. But we, my husband and I, have found that having a routine, for example, is something that works for us. Now I know it is a controversial one. Some moms will say, Listen, “routine is good.” And some moms will say, “It’s impossible.” When the baby is born, the baby has an internal clock, and things will somehow fall into place. But I’m a strong believer that having a routine is good, in the sense that it helps you manage your time.
I have four kids, and I need to know what time we’re getting up, what activities we’re doing next. It just plans out our day better. We have time for worship. We have set meal times. Bedtime is a huge one. I would definitely recommend that. Having a set bedtime, our bedtime at home is 8 o’clock. So by half seven, we go upstairs and they get ready, and by 8 o’clock, everyone is in bed. That gives myself and my husband to have that bit of quiet time where we can have an adult conversation, and we can connect. I can find out how his day has been like. He can ask about my day, and it’s good. It’s good in the sense that, while at the same time, our children come first, we also have to make time for ourselves as couples, yeah.
Now, notwithstanding the fact that, if you don’t have children, as couples, if you’re a married couple, you also need to have time for yourselves where you can connect. Also, if you’re not married, if you’re a single person, having a routine is good as well, because you can manage your day, and you can plan it. You will know for yourself, okay I have some me time. Or this is time for me to work. Some people carry work home with them, but I would suggest those who can plug out, unplug, do because you also need some time where you can have some me time, have time spent in prayer and meditation. It’s good for the mind.
Alvern: Yep. Yeah, I agree with you. Then in terms of success, if you would sort of tell someone you’re successful, what does success look like for you?
Zodwa: Success for me, is working in line with what God’s plan has for me. As a Christian, I have learned that I go to God with a blank page. I don’t go on my own, hidden agenda. I go in there with a blank page, and I say, “God, you’re the ruler of my life. I went to lead in my life. I leave my life in your hands, and guide me the way you see fit.” Obviously, I do have plans that I have. I bring them to God, and I say, “Your will be done.” Okay. So with all the plans that I had in my life, I’ve asked God’s will to be done. Also, for God to give me the strength to accept his will.
Alvern: Yeah, that’s so true.
Zodwa: It might not necessarily be what I want. There have been times where I have wanted one thing, but God is saying, “No, I know what’s best for you. This is what’s best for you.” I’ve had to learn to accept that, and I’ve had to ask God to help me to learn to accept his will, yeah.
Alvern: Cool, perfect. Then in terms of taking a leap, whatever that leave is, what do you think is the best time to take that leap? Would it be, you mentioned to go to do the master’s, to get married, to have children, what is the best time you think to have that leap, to take that leap as a woman?
Zodwa: It is a very individualised thing. It’s a very personal thing, but what I would say is, listen, you obviously know by now my faith plays a huge role in my life. If you have something in mind, and you’re thinking about something, whether it be starting a new career, whether it be moving, whether it plans for your life, whether it be marriage, starting a family, you have to bring everything before God okay. If you bring everything to God, God will make a way. Somehow things fall into place. I can’t explain it. All I can say is that God always makes a way.
We have to bring our plans before God, and God will guide them in the way he sees fit. So that leap will happen at a time that God sees it fit for you to make that change. At times if we force things to happen, we end up regretting the outcome. Whereas, if we learn to be patient, and trust God, and his understanding, things always work out for the better in the end. We might not understand it at the time, but when we do reflect, we can look back, and we can always say, “Thank you, God.”
Alvern: Yeah, well done. So we’re coming to the very final question. Hopefully the viewers, sorry viewers, listeners, have found whatever your advice is been so far interesting, but what sort of final advice would you like to give the listeners before we finish?
Zodwa: Now as a working mom, God wants us to be parents, or moms I should say, whether we are working or whether we are at home. But sometimes is working moms, we kind of beat ourselves over it, and feel okay I should be at home minding the children. What actually matters, is that we put God first. Okay, if you put God first, it is his will that you should be working, because we can be witnesses of God in our workplace.
Zodwa: God has blessed us with the talent that we have, and he puts us in our workplaces for a reason, so that people can see Christ through us. I have often, and my work experience, I’ve had to pray with some women due to different circumstances, and just to strengthen them. So that is still fine, but the number one person in our lives has to be God. So whether we are working, or whether we are at home, if we put God first, things will always work out. Whether we are single, or whether we are married, with children or without children, whatever the circumstance we’re in, God has to be number one.
Prayer is essential, whether you work outside your home or not. When your kids see you praying, reading the Bible, and seeking God’s guidance for your life, they will take these values for themselves. If you demonstrate your commitment to Christ, your children will learn to live for Jesus too. That’s what really matters when it’s all said and done.
Alvern: Perfect, thank you so much for that advice. Hopefully, it will help somebody who is struggling today, or who has questions, or doubt in their mind, because are all human. We all make mistakes. We all come to crossroads, and we need to make decisions. The reason why we did this today is to inspire women all over the world, so they will know what they need to do when they come to that crossroad when they come to making that decision. Or even if they’re feeling depressed. Or they feel that they’re not good enough. I’m hoping that it will help somebody today, so thanks so much for joining us today.
Zodwa: Thank you for having me Alvern.
Alvern: Ladies, hopefully, this inspires you enough. So join us next time, and enjoy the rest of your day, and enjoy the rest of the week. Thanks so much, bye for now.
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