My name is Rachael Mpiriirwe. I am married and a mother of twins and because of this, in Uganda I am called “Nalongo” (mother of twins).

A few months ago (at the beginning of the year 2017), I attended a training in leadership which was a big eye-opener for me. From that training, I discovered who my inner self was. During that training, we went through a course on 7 habits of highly effective people and I realized that I had been putting myself last. With the job, wifely duties and children, I always have no time left to myself as I have to make sure everything in the house is in order. This unpaid care work combined with professional work was beginning to eat me up and I had no time left for myself. This was not only affecting me but also the people around me because I was then becoming rude even to my children who are just toddlers. My friends had started excluding me from their circles because I was never there every time they called me for events.

From ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ which were covered during the aforementioned training, I took note of habit 6 which talked about synergizing that is getting time for fun even when working. Additionally, habit 7 emphasizes sharpening the saw which also talked about looking in our mind, body, soul and spirit and be able to satisfy all the above to have a fulfilling life. Because of this, I decided to have time for me with some of the colleagues I met there.

Over the Easter holiday, we decided to take a trip to Zanzibar just with my friends as a way of letting off steam and for me to get back into the social network. This trip actually paid off because I got to associate with other people in the world and see the different ways in which people live. One thing that interested me the most during the trip was how people in Zanzibar were very hospitable – something you do not see in most East African countries – and I got to learn to be humble in every situation.

I have decided to always work for like a period of 4 months and then get an holiday with my family and I advise all working parents to embrace this because it gets them closer to your families and makes you enjoy work.

After this training, I focused to have time for me. I decided to always have time for myself. I have learnt to love myself first because this has also helped to love other people around me too. I have managed to create time for myself as well as my family and now the conditions around me are conducive. I encourage all mothers to always create time for themselves because it is food to the soul.

This inspiring story was shared through a collaboration between Say It Forward and Allied Youth Initiative–Uganda

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Rachael Mpiriirwe