It is with great pleasure that we introduce to you, Musa Kalenga– our honorary first Guest in TRPS Q&A feature.
Our aim is to encourage our guests to inform and share their experiences through a series of questions tailored to them, but more importantly, questions that are relevant to the everyday parent- in this case, “The Everyday Dad”. Over and above his great achievements as husband, father and overall family guy, Musa is also Facebook’s Client Value Partner. We caught with him amidst his busy schedule and threw a few questions at him. Enjoy!
Congratulations on the second child that you are expecting. Do you feel the same way you did the first time around?
No – I feel different for a number of reasons. One, this is a girl – my baby girl, my first was a boy. I am really looking forward to experiencing the difference in having a girl as opposed to a boy. Secondly, this child seems to have very different patterns to the first one. My wife has had a very different pregnancy this time around, but we remain hopeful that all is ok.
We have to ask the question that everyone asks; how has becoming a father changed you as an individual?
I think it has sharpened my focus as a man. I have always been a hard worker, but I now do it selflessly and tirelessly towards the safety, comfort and preserve of my family. I think I have become more aware of myself – the example that I am setting and the things that I am doing to influence the little lives I have brought into the world. I have also become very concerned with building relationships and bonds with family. Of late, I have become observant and reflective around how we were raised – some of the things our parents did well, some that weren’t done as well. My mind has been preoccupied with legacy – what I will leave behind. Not only from a material perspective, but what views, rituals, stories and experiences will I leave behind.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge of becoming a parent? And how have you dealt with it?
The challenge of creating time for everything. Including time for yourself. As expected, children are demanding and need care and consistent nurture. This takes up loads of energy and is a concerted struggle every day to create the time that will make them whole humans. Secondly, you have to make time for your partner.
“As a married couple, finding time for each and being disciplined enough to maintain a regular commitment to one another is important.”
And last but not least, one needs to find time for themselves. Every now and then, the time to collect yourself and do what makes you happy is important. I have started investing in waking up very early every day to make time for myself and to free myself up when I get home to be a father and a husband.
I know that you are an advocate for time management and parents readjusting schedules in order to find time for themselves. How easy is it to wake up in the wee hours of the morning in order to enjoy some “you-time”?
LOL.. it’s a mission initially. It sounds simple and even obvious, but it is such a mission. It feels so counter-intuitive in the beginning because you feel like you deserve to get as much rest as possible. All new parents will understand and the reality is that this is true. It is also true that you need to be your whole self to continue adding value at home or at work. Once you have been through the 21-day pain of waking up between 4 am & 5 am, it becomes a habit that is steeped with reward and satisfaction. Not only do you get an extra 2 – 4 hours in your day to do with whatever you want, you also get a 2-4 hour head start on the world. It feels great to be steps ahead of everyone at work when you’ve been up early. You also get to invest time in the projects that you just don’t get around to. I believe in prayer, so this time can be for meditation, prayer or reading. It’s really an investment in yourself. It is not easy initially, but it does get better.
What is your take on balancing the roles of both a parent and that of a career orientated individual? Is there a marriage of these two?
I think it was Oprah who said “It is possible to have it all. It is just not possible to have it all at once”. I tend to agree with this because in life we have limited capacity and the reality is that the various aspects of your life are like dials on a DJ sound desk. You dial up certain buttons at different points to achieve a specific sound. You then dial them down and re-configure them at a different stage to achieve a different sound. This is where I believe the power of partnership in a marriage or relationship can be leveraged in a powerful way to the benefit of both individuals. Together, dialing up and down various aspects of your lives, you achieve amazing music to the soundtrack of life. Lame I know, but it sounds good 😉
Speaking of marriage, what impact has having a child and another on the way, had on your relationship, and how do you manage that?
The net outcome is that it has strengthened our marriage. There are fewer binding forces quite like the forces that you experience when you co-creating a life with someone that you love. There are obvious loads of changes, continual confusion, anxiety and even fear, but the overall experience has been amazing for us. We both wanted children so it has been amazing to work towards starting a family and achieve it.
Your career demands that you travel often. How do you stay in tune with your child while away?
Simple – I try my best to SKYPE, FaceTime and WhatsApp every day that I am away. Sometimes it’s not always possible, due to time zones or just life logistics, but I make every effort to check in with them both before they sleep. My son is so moody when it comes to telephonic communication, so sometimes he just won’t feel like talking & that’s ok. As long as he knows that I am trying to talk to him. I ask him about his day and what he learned, I am also challenging myself to share something about my day with him when I do speak to him.
We would like to thank Musa for his time and especially the knowledge that he has imparted on us. Look out for our next Q&A feature. If you have any comments please do share with us below.