In this chapter of Raw Motherhood I speak to Uju who is a local entrepreneur and author. It was such a pleasure to hear about her views on motherhood and it really opened my eyes about things that I need to work on for my own motherhood journey.
You can find out more about her shoe company here
Tell me about yourself
Nigerian by birth and the 4th child out of 7 siblings. I moved to Oregon at the young age of 23. Worked with Oregon Department of Human services for about 5 years before starting my shoe line- Ozznek Shoes.
The concept of the shoes came to me in a dream. Went to bed and woke up after this dream and couldn’t forget about it. Years passed and the idea persisted. At some point it started feeling like a calling and I started taking actions to make it come true. The company is run entirely by me, everything from sales to marketing.
I published in 2018 a book that also came to me in a dream and I wrote the whole book about that (Tabut).
My heart is really tied to service. My life has taken me so far and I want to continue to be of service. 10% of my profits go to sponsor an orphanage in Nigeria. The goal is for me to be a sole sponsor for an orphanage in Africa. I am very driven to help women and children. I am also a mother of 2 young kids.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
Volunteering with Domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters. When time permits, I enjoy traveling and to stay fit, I enjoy going for a run.
How do you feel motherhood has changed you and the way people see you?
Motherhood has expanded my heart and filled me with love. With each child that’s born, my heart expanded and made room for me to love each of my kids with every fiber of my being.
Like any other mom, we have children and we hide behind motherhood. Almost as if we are mothers first, but really are individuals first. Sometimes we get lost in motherhood. Recently in the past few years I started practicing separating myself from motherhood. These are the things that I like. For example running and doing hot yoga just for myself. I used to take my kids to the beach for them to have fun but then I realized that I also enjoy being at the beach.
Using my children as a way to evolve. Maybe they do something that makes me impatient. I try to think “Why does this trigger me”. Using these experiences to heal from some of my traumas. Motherhood has been a blessing and a teaching opportunity for me.
Do you feel supported as a working mother? What would make things more manageable?
Absolutely! My family has been my biggest support in my journey of motherhood.
I strongly believe that women are the ones who can bring change to society. We are able to connect to achieve. For women to be able to do all the things that they are capable of doing, women need to come together and support each other. Often we see each other as competition. We all have the same struggles as each other as women and mothers. So far I have received overwhelming support from women in my company.
Do you have a any parenting hacks or advice to share with other working parents?
Parenting and working can be challenging and really tough. So if you must work, make sure you put that energy in a work that serves a purpose or fulfills a need.
What would you like your children to know about your motherhood journey?
Motherhood isn’t always rosy and easy. It’s one of the most stressful yet rewarding experience. It is a life long commitment.