The fleeting gift of childhood is gone in a heartbeat.

It’s hard to believe that this gorgeous photo of my daughter was taken 18 years ago. We were at her baby music class and the professional photographer that was hired for the day perfectly captured the concentration on her face as she listened in rapt attention to instructions for the next activity.

Memories from the years that I took my three children to baby and toddler music classes will be with me forever. Those days are a precious, everlasting gift to me in particular because the children do not remember them as vividly as I do. Nevertheless, they associate their fleeting memories of those sessions with great fondness and happiness. And that matters. A lot.

The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. In a paper published in November 2018, they found that people who have fond memories of childhood, specifically their relationships with their parents, tend to have better health, less depression and fewer chronic illnesses as adults – and that this remained true even for people in middle and older adulthood.

It turns out that being intentional about building loving relationships with your children pays off in the long run, and like all relationships, the more time you spend having quality shared experiences, the stronger the bond. Think of how much time you spent wooing your crush for instance. The same way, your baby or toddler needs your undivided attention on a regular basis. 

When my children were younger, our weekly music playdates gave me both an opportunity and an excuse to bond with each of them in a distraction-free environment.  The classes were away from home so I could not be tempted by never ending chores. I also scheduled them in my diary, so I could legitimately decline meetings or engagements that fell in that time slot.

In those sessions, I caught glimpses into each child’s character in ways that I would have missed at home, as they interacted with other children and adults in the room.  I was able to gently coach them on how to behave in a structured, public environment; to patiently wait their turn to be given the next musical instrument or prop. To learn to respect and follow instructions from another person of authority outside our home. To be proud of themselves when they were able to tap that rhythm or sing that new song (almost) word perfect. To negotiate with a fellow toddler who wanted the same toy without hitting, biting, spitting or crying. All of these dynamics were happening even while we were singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the hundreth time.  It was a chaotic, yet beautiful and magical experience all at once.

In whichever way you choose to bond with your baby, protect it. Ring-fence it. Schedule it to happen as frequently as possible. And when it does, be fully present. Turn off your phone or leave it in another room or in your car. Because before long, you too will be sharing your children’s photo, like the one above, reminiscing about the days gone by, never to return, when they were still small enough to sit in your lap.

Childhood is a gift, not so much to the children, but to the adults in their lives. Cherish it.

Unconditional Love

As a Christian, I am privileged to feel able to approach Almighty God, any time of day and night with a prayer or a thought.

The confidence with which I enter His throne room is unrelated to how “good” I have been in the hours and days beforehand.

I approach Him, knowing I will get a warm reception. Knowing He will be gracious and not meet me with a big stick or a barrage of accusatory words. Knowing that in His presence, I will find the strength to turn my life around and do better.

I am also keenly aware that I do not extend the same generosity of spirit to my nearest and dearest.

My tongue is like a well trained, lethal sniper. Ready to berate and barrage at every turn. I do not hide my disappointment and anger at their misdeeds. I do not fail to let them know just how let down I feel. Worse still, I feel morally justified in doing so.

In Luke 9:54, the disciples considered themselves morally justified in asking Jesus to call down destruction on a Samaritan village for their cold reception of Jesus and His entourage.

Jesus rebuked the disciples, reminding them that His purpose was to save lives, not to destroy them. He said this because he recognised that only an abundance of love is powerful enough to turn the hearts of sinners towards him.

This is not blind, sentimental, mushy love.

This is a very deliberate, powerful, unconditional and generous love that chooses to believe in, and nurture the potential of the individual that lies within their current stinky and undesirable state of being.

It’s believing that better lies within and drawing it out in love.

It’s understanding that the outward change will seek will only become manifest after a million, tiny, indiscernible changes. And that our role is to feed and nurture that deep but slow work with the same unconditional, inexhaustible love that our Heavenly Father showers on us – daily.

It’s remembering that Mercy triumphs over Judgement. Always.

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.

And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
Lu 9:51‭-‬56 NKJV

A tale of two awards

Earlier this year in the month of March, I was presented with the award on the left having completed a year-long entrepreneurship programme for African women.

I was somewhat bemused by the title “Perfect Score”. What does this even mean? I wondered.

Then I reflected on another award I was presented with one Mothering Sunday, also in the March of that year, which is shown on the right, and I was struck by the difference between the two.

My Perfect Score award was for “earning all the available programme points over the course of the 12 month AWEC programme”.

It is indeed possible to earn a “Perfect Score” for an endeavour where the criteria is clearly defined. The process of earning the award is logical and transparent and can easily be verified and justified.

However, it is practically impossible to earn a “perfect score” for being a mum.

For one, who is to say how this is to be measured? How many dirty nappy changes would qualify? How many school plays attended, meals cooked, noses wiped and clothes mended would earn one points?

When the children become teenagers, how many miles of driving from one “very important” social event to the other? How many late nights waiting up for them to come home? How many hours of consoling teenage angst and drying their tears?

On the 12 month course, one would forfeit points for not attending key meetings, and for not submitting assignments by stated deadlines.

As a mother, in contrast, how many points does one lose for failing to protect them from danger? From not serving the most nutritious meals or for bursts of irrational anger?

When it comes to motherhood, perfection is unattainable and must be left at the door as we stumble and fumble our way through the nebulous process of childrearing, gyrating from moments of elation and euphoria to deepest darkest despair and unbearable pain.

Not only is perfection unattainable as a mom, it is also, frankly undesirable.

You see, children are keenly aware of their own imperfections and so allowing them to witness your struggles and triumphs will help them navigate their own challenges from a much more healthier place.

As a mother, I maintain my sanity by embracing my imperfections and striving to do better next time.

I can only pray that God will protect my children from the worst consequences of my many imperfections so they can be beautifully, and confidently imperfect for their own kids.


One of my goals for this month is to refill. And so, when my daughter came in to the piano room to practice, rather than have her practice with her headphones on, I chose to listen. Her is a snippet from her practice. Afterwards I felt refreshed.

I hope you do too.

Magical Musical Moments

Still Making Memories

A couple of days ago, my girls and I had a spontaneous sign-along around the piano. I surreptitiously captured a few seconds on camera so as not to kill the moment.

That moment took me back to our many months of music making when they were babies and toddlers, where they would sit on my lap on the floor, wiggling, clapping and playing percussion instruments in a room full of other, mostly moms, and children of a similar age.

Those sessions were our special “Mummy and Me” times during an otherwise busy and chaotic week, where we bonded over a shared activity.

I love the fact that all these years later, music making continues to be an activity over which we connect.

I love the fact that the piano room is a sanctuary in our home. A place where we go to reflect, relax and relieve tension while tinkling the little white and black keys.

A place where we process, where we cry, where we worship.

Those baby music classes helped to create a culture in our home that makes shared magical moments like this feel totally natural.

I will be sharing my personal and professional experience of how to raise a musical child in a free webinar. Do join me if you can. Sign up for free using the link below. If you make the webinar or you missed it, sign up anyway in order to receive the replay.