A Balancing Act

Recently. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Naaborle Sackeyfio, Assistant Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University, Oxford. Dr. Sackeyfio talked about the ways she felt connected to other moms (and the things that made her motherhood unique), while also noting how self-compassion helps her with balancing academic life and parenting.

We’ve been chatting about common humanity and how we are all interconnected. What makes you feel a connection to other moms?

I feel connected to an amazing array of moms, in a seemingly never-ending quest to locate a ‘balancing act’, to make the best of time with my daughter, while navigating myriad expectations that are self-generated and simultaneously externally driven.

Like many moms raising a daughter or daughters, I aim to raise one who is strong, independent and self-reliant.

Yet we all have our own unique experiences as parents. What experiences might make you feel unique or different from other parents?

This is a difficult question, but I will say that I only feel set apart in the sense that as someone from a culturally diverse background the experiences I seek for my daughter likely differ from current cultural immersion conventions around diversity. This is because I wish to support her multifaceted and dynamic set of identities that span three continents.  But equally important to me is the manner in which I aim is to raise a fully conscious human being whose traits, gifts or talents are in service foremost to herself, community and others while drawing from traditions and values from multiple cultural vistas.

 

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The importance of self-compassion

What are some examples of times that you need to treat yourself with compassion or take a self-compassion break?

 As my daughter gets older, I am learning to do this more often by acknowledging the mental cues that remind me to be kind and most of all patient with myself. This is especially helpful when I feel short circuited by competing responsibilities amid the daily, weekly or even monthly challenges that push me to redirect my expectations and priorities one at a time.

Extending self-compassion remains a work in progress.

***Dr. Sackeyfio is an academic mama, Zumba teacher and enthusiast whose hobbies include reading, dancing and baking with her 6 year old daughter. You can check out her body of work here, including her book, Energy Politics and Rural Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Ghana. ***

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