CANDID TALK

what we don't say out loud.

August 29, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
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Is Capping Interest Rate a Zero-some Effect?

Submitted by Kevin Gikonyo,

Former Banker,financial market consultant and a contributor to Nairobi business Monthly.

interest-rate

Harry Markowitz a renowned scholar corralled a theory in 1952, otherwise known as the Management Portfolio Theory (MPT). His empirical literature emphasized on diversification of risk and has been used in many settings, albeit most doers of MTP have never read it, simply because it was anchored on sheer logic. An example, if you happen to be an Olympian in a javelin contest, chances of making to the medal bracket are more when you make many attempts, of course “un-Yego-nically” stating.

Many businesses that have become industrial giants have made a mark and survived from periodic income shocks due to the fact that they diversified their income streams. The likes of Samsung, LG, and Apple to mention a few embraced this concept to the core and it has given them colossal returns. Locally, a classic reference resonates well, when we analyse Safaricom’s market dominance as a mobile service company, in the early year 2000 where Kencell, now Airtel, opted to concentrate on the high-end market thereby limiting its income stream to a chosen few. Safaricom chose to diversify and tap as many customers as possible through agents, per second billing and the now M-PESA money minting “technobank” mobile service and the rest is history.

The Kenyan Banking industry is no exception to these pace setting concept of diversification. The more customers, the more returns to shareholders. Equity Bank the 2nd largest bank in Africa after CBA Kenya, by customer base of close to 9million, used the same theory to dominate more than a decade ago and has recently posted a 10.1 Billion KES half year net profit ending July 2016, representing an 18% increase in profit compared to a similar period last year. Equity bank commonly referred to as a “Poor man’s” bank pitted KCB by March 2016 as the most profitable bank in the region. KCB held the mantle for several years as the most profitable, largest customer based bank and has slowly over the years been overtaken by Equity bank and now only retains as the biggest bank by asses base in the region. The latter will certainly be reversed soon to Equity’s bank favour, owing to the newest acquisition in DRCongo of ProCredit bank’s 79% share in September last year and propagation of Equitel mobile service.

While the concept has been used almost to a “near-perfect” by Equity bank, there is one bumpy aspect that seems to elude most players in the industry and has been subject to heated debates around interest on loans. This debate has been going on for years and has only maintained undertones and periodically resurfaced at eminence of economic contractions over the years. This year has been one of the toughest for businesses and for the first time in Equity bank’s history their loan portfolio shrunk by 6 Billion KES to 269 Billion, while that of KCB almost flattened to 347.3 Billion since December last year at 345.9 Billion.

Ms Waitherero of Standard Investment Bank (SIB) was quoted saying the shrink could be attributed to bank’s increase in choosing the quality of loans by lending to only those with good credit ratings. A keen look into the interest rates around the world, Kenya’s average of 18.3% at the moment ranks as one of the highest and the relation is somehow inversely related to developmental status of a country. With the most developed nations like USA, Switzerland, UK and Japan having the least interest rates on loans of nearly 2% p.a on average.

An unforgettable look into the past in 1993 commercial banks in Kenya chocked its customers with high interest rates that skyrocketed to 35% bringing most businesses to their knees. Auctioneers became a busy lot at the time and made a kill out of the misery of poor Kenyans who defaulted on loans. They defiled years of hard sweat for family business empires and companies without regard and the major exodus to SACCOs happened during this period. Some of the affected persons have never looked back ever since, from their once lenders and now “nemesis”. SACCO’s in Kenya have for the longest time charged 1% interest on loan per month and have enjoyed a growing lending book with limited records to show exact figures due to the closed membership status that does not mandate them to make public their balance sheet results. Their Non-Performing-Loans (NPLs) are always low, since most members access loans against their deposits or group guarantors as collateral.

Equity bank redefined the loan space by commercial banks nearly a decade later by offering loans for as low as 13% p.a giving to almost anyone who opened an account without the much stringent collateral requirements. As long as one could prove their capital venture is able to guarantee a steady income, they were eligible for a loan. However, that is slowly changing and in quiet quarters the initial loyal members of the once vibrant Equity Building Society (EBS) are feeling the bank is slowly taking shape of the other “Richman’s” banks.

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The journey to clamor for reduced interest rates on loan by Kenyans has always faded disgracefully and blame for the status quo was placed on the movers and shakers of the economy that often had patrons in political circles or those in power were owners or big shareholders of the same institutions thus creating a conflict of interest. A case in history is the famous “Donde Bill” (Named after Hon Joe Donde, 1997 elected Gem constituency MP).In September 2000; he published a bill that sought to cap interest rates on loans and was unanimously passed by parliament and later on vetoed by President Daniel Arap Moi on grounds that it subverted the ideology of liberalisation. President Moi then had interest with Trans National Bank creating a same script different cast 16years on. A second attempt was tried in 2015 August by another Gem MP, Hon Jakoyo Midiwo and that of Sirisia MP Hon John Waluke.The former’s proposal was declined on technical grounds that any amendment to a finance bill must have been debated by stakeholders before approval by the budget committee and subsequent tabling to parliament, under rule 114 of the finance bill.Hon Mutava Musyimi’s led budget  committee deliberated on Waluke’s proposal and was later on urged to withdraw the proposal under grounds that Bank’s would regulate themselves amid a raft of measures to ensure they keep the interest rates to their bare minimum. That was short lived when at the end of last year commercial banks threw the economy into an interest spin again of close to 30%p.a on personal loans. Hon Midiwo had sought to cap interest rates at 3% above the CBR while that of Hon Waluke sought to cap it at 5% above CBR.

July 27th 2016 Kiambu town MP Hon Jude Njomo proposed a bill to cap interest rate yet again at 400 basis points above CBR (Central Bank Rate) currently at 10.5%.In addition, the bill proposed that banks give an interest on deposit of not less than 70% of the CBR, meaning banks will be forced to operate on a certain bracket margin based on CBR. The bill was unanimously passed on 28th July in a bid to reintroduce capping of interest rates on loans. CBR is usually determined periodically by a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) within the central bank, chaired by the central bank governor. MPC usually factors the country’s inflation, major currencies foreign exchange position, monetary and fiscal analysis and global economic effects on Kenya in order to establish the value of CBR.

”Interest rates in Kenya are weird and an outright daylight thuggery by banks and capping should have been done 60years ago. We are trying to regulate interest rates, to the interest of our own people who have been exploited for long. If the president does not sign the bill into law we will take him to court. He should choose whether to safeguard the interest of Kenyans or that of a business man” said Awendo MP, Hon Jared Opiyo with obvious inference to President Kenyatta’s family and close allies the Ndegwa family who have interest in CBA and NIC bank respectively. Amid immense public and political pressure against that of his personal interest and those of the commercial banks, President Uhuru assented to the bill on 24th of August 2016 to the relief of most Kenyans who frenzied on social media upon assenting of the bill. “This is the third time that the National assembly is attempting to reduce interest rates to affordable levels. In the previous instances, dialogue and promises of change prevailed and banks avoided the introduction of these caps. In those instances banks failed to live up to their promise and interest rates have continued to increase along with spreads between deposits and lending rates” said President Uhuru in a well-crafted public statement that also sought to give the downside of capping interest but assured that his administration will closely monitor the volatility of the monetary effects of the law .Hon Rotich the Treasury CS had dashed Kenyan’s hopes where he had earlier in the week given a public statement saying ”It is time for banks to start making a decent income from lowering interest rates, although capping rates is the second best solution. Kenyans should be a little patient to allow government tackle the external factors that make the rates become high”. He promised in a public address to introduce a financial services authority bill that will ensure consumers are not exploited by financial service institutions.

The financial service in Kenya is second to none in Africa, according to Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion report that evaluates access to and use of affordable financial services. Brookings institution, a U.S based non-profit making organisation in Washington DC does global research on economic, education and governance in domestic and foreign policy development. Most Kenyans feel the banks are making super profits and their only rush is to grow super profits to compete amongst themselves. A snippet data for last year shows a combined pre-tax profits for banks at a staggering 134 Billion KES in the 12 months through December and if this year half results are anything to go by, these figures could be in excess of 160Billion by end of the year. At the height of all these accolades Kenyans still believe that commercial banks are a preserve of the working, middle and top income earners in the country. They rarely support start-ups and kill the dreams of many young Kenyans even before they leave their beds of innovation and entrepreneurship. Most banks before you access any loan you have to provide 6months statement, valuable collateral or show proof of a steady employment income. The bigger share of the mass is left to the whims of government fronted corrupt loans schemes like Uwezo fund or SACCOs and “shylocks” where the later usually charges very high interest rates of up to 100% p.a or 10% per month.

I strongly believe the current debate is an advertent cry of accessibility to loans and not of high interest rates. The credit access bar has gone to another level with growing information sharing by the credit reference bureaus whose ones adverse listing leads to an outright lockout from mainstream lenders into the dungeons of hungry waiting “shylocks”. The argument to reduce interest rates is as divergent as the proponent’s and opponent’s personal attributes, more like the chicken and the egg analogy wanting to ascertain which one came first.

Commercial Bank of Africa the largest bank in Africa by customer base has a unique partnership with Safaricom’s  M-shwari platform. It registered the greatest jump in its loan book by close to 305% from 7Billion to 23Billion over the same

period last year. Accessibility of these loans over the mobile phone is amazingly fast at 7.5% p.m. Yes you might have missed it! Mathematically it translates to a 90% interest rate per year. Surprisingly this is indifferent to customer’s decisions and they would rather rush to get these loans from the comfort of their homes and less stringent requirements. This would essentially mean loans offered by CBA through M-shwari platform are the most expensive formalised loans in the industry at 90%p.a. and are not encompassed in the new law which only targets mainstream banking.

It is also true that interest rates are inversely related to a lender’s income, proportionate to the quality of loans and a function to accessibility of loans. A recent example of Family bank’s Six months results to June 30th 2016.The lender whose interest was the lowest at 14.8%-Source Central Bank Interest Rate Report grew its interest income by 34% to 6Billion,but declined its profits by 40% to 711.5 million compared to a similar period last year. These profit margins were eaten away by increased Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) that grew eightfold to make the provision for bad debts hit 299.3million thereby increasing its operating expenses by 30% to 3.8Billion.Hence the less your interest rate the more interest income and in order to sustain the proportional benefits then banks need to innovate and develop policies that will increase the quality of loans.

With 43 Banks ,12 Deposit taking Micro-finance,30 Credit only Micro-finance,199 SACCOs,5 Mobile money operators and 3 Credit reference agencies, Kenya is well placed to enhance a more robust financial inclusion above the current 75% one of the highest ratings in the world and the 1st in Africa. To the contrary there has been too much inefficiency, too much money idling in capital, that it created a” Devil’s” workshop in finding ways to use it including insider lending. These have since seized with the new “sheriff” in town CBK Governor Njoroge who is operating in full swing sending bank executives into panic mode in order to meet the previously ignored regulatory requirements. Some allege Mr Njoroge has gone-slow on his aggression because the expose on Bank’s anomalies were enormous and periodic surveillance was a compromise away from the public glare to avoid capital flight. Insider lending in family owned banks, unnecessary system upgrades and unregulated provisions for bad debt were used to hide the true position of most banks. Most shocking was the use of parallel systems in NBK that led to massive siphoning of funds even by junior staff according to Wanjiru who feared use of her names for fear of victimisation. She was among the staff who noticed the anomaly way before the interdiction of its executives. This practise made the unaccounted for insider lending at Imperial and Chase bank look like Child’s play and of course the government will always come to its rescue at the expense of taxpayer’s money.

Bank’s shareholder and owners have often placed high targets to the executives to increase profits by as much as 20% every year placing a huge burden to increase billions and sometimes without ethos. One of the tier one Bank’s CEO was tasked to increase profit volumes by more than 25% a year albeit that it was still making super billion profits .The low hanging fruit was to drastically increase ledger fees by more than 200% while issuing a short notice to customers who had no option but to swallow the bitter pill. These figures would amount to millions of dollars a year and a part-in-the back end of year bonuses would allow these executives to lavishly buy beach houses along the Mombasa coast on cash transactions basis at the expense of customers and overly strained junior employees. Most junior employees work more than 10hours a day to the ignorance of unions and banks association that play to the pipers tune. This pressure is so real that it has degenerated to drastic measure to reduce wage cost in order to increase profits by giving early retirements to youthful staff even those under 35 years of age rightly earning huge salaries under undue coercion.

With the new law, time is ticking fast and in two weeks after gazetting the new law will take effect. Unfortunately those who had taken loans before the Presidential assent will still pay with previous rates since no law applies retrospectively. Customers can however borrow a fresh loan under the new rates to offset the previous loans .Banks need to adjust into new frontiers of ensuring ultimate efficiency on capital and utmost generation of income. Tier 2 and below have to employ techniques of diversification faster than their tier one counterparts. These forms of diversification could be employed through myriad ways by;

  • Geographical coverage: Where technology can be used to bring a closer access to banks services and use of national agent in order to increase their ease of access to service.
  • Sources of Income: Where banks will need to engage in more few sources of income like banc assurance and investment banking.
  • Product and Services: Where the types of loans will need to be broaden to include intellectual property or innovations funding
  • Economic Sector: Where a move from the conventional industry players will be beneficial and a specialisation on such sectors could lead to loyalty since there will exist an indifferent cost on loans.
  • Sources of Capital: Where use of corporate bonds and other cheap instruments of capital will ensure banks are be able to sustain reduced loan interest margins.

The tier one banks will have an easier ride ahead since they will be able fund other sources of revenue. The smaller banks would result to reduce the risk on loans hence stifle access to loans and engage in more government securities that are other less risky or otherwise adapt a “hustlers” mentality to issue small loans to many Kenyans. Mergers, acquisitions and take-overs may be inevitable to some banks as interbank lending may soon become a high cost to maintain in order to meet their daily liquidity ratios. Kenya is still considered overbanked and bigger economies in Africa like Nigeria have fewer banks supporting their financial system.

The Eureka moment for Kenyan commercial banks lies in making sure loans are accessible as much as possible to as many people as they can following Markowitz theory of diversification. These techniques have so far been perfected by “shylocks” who enjoy massive returns from already locked out non-capitalised populace. Commercial banks need stringent policies to enhance borrower’s accountability, recovery and collection techniques to avoid a growing book of defaulters and allow increased loan assets. It is better to loan 10 people with 100,000 each than one person with 1million in order to reduce the cost of NPLs. It is working with CBA, Equity and KCB banks already. The biggest gain will be the corporates, SMEs and salaried Kenyans who will be able to access loans easily and cheaply as competition amongst banks to offer quality loans takes shape. Those away from these brackets may find it hard to access loans in the interim and an economic ripple effect maybe their mid-term benefit.

 

August 28, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
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Tanzania Oust Kenya in Mega East Africa Projects

By Kevin Gikonyo,

Former Banker,financial market consultant and a contributor to Nairobi business Monthly.

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.huffingtonpost.com

Dr John Pombe Magufuli popularly known as “The Bulldozer” in his country, is living up to his nickname barely a year into his presidency. He was sworn on 5th of November 2015 after a hotly contested election since its independence, 54 years ago, by close to 9 million voters, of its 49.1 million citizens.

The 57 year old, doctorate of chemistry scholar from the University of Dare salaam, was elected on a platform to transform the economy by increasing youth employment, reducing corruption, provision of free secondary and primary education, amongst other CCM(Chama Cha Mapinduzi) country reforms agenda.

Magufuli’s  7th month “leadership chemistry” has managed to lock in major East African projects and unsettled Kenya as the main economic reference, in regards to infrastructural deals. Kenya has held the mantle of being the biggest East African economy since independence, but according to the recent signings and their magnitude, the button is about to shift to Tanzania, if it continuously replicates this growing impetus.

The southern neighbours have often been considered as the “unwilling partners” in the East Africa coalition for the longest time, since the formation of EAC post-independence in 1966. Many recall an emotional parliamentary speech by the former president Mr Jakaya Kikwete, who vehemently denied being uncooperative and rhetorically referred to other member states, as “coalition of the willing”.

There are many instances that asserts these negative noun, due to the red tapes against EAC business owners-primarily Kenya, the ban on Kenyan tour operators free movement to parks, implementation of free movement of goods and services under the EAC agreement, up to the recent pull-out from the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) pact, that sought to benefit EA trade with the EU countries and the list is endless. The later was a 14 year negotiated trade deal, whose disarray will hurt Kenyan exports to EU the most, since it is classified as a middle-income economy. A highly ranked economic stratus country enjoys little tariff concessions, unlike that which is least developed like Tanzania. “We have not pulled out of EPA as a result of Brexit, but for reasons of National interest to protect our nascent industries “said the foreign affairs PS Mr Aziz Mlima.

Historically the EAC cooperation existed before independence of the three nations of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya and was declared untenable shortly after. Tanzania drew the first salvo by recanting the East African common currency among other agreements and fostered its own communistic path. An attempt to re-join the EAC in 1966 was shortly lived when in 1977 the rosy affair came to a dramatic halt, with Tanzania closing its borders with Kenya and ended up confiscating Kenyan owned vehicles, aircrafts and even detained some of its citizens amidst suspicion from Tanzania’s political class. Tanzania’s government controlled media denounced Kenyans as “business big shots “while the Kenyan government radio in turn claimed that Tanzanians “ talk all day and sleep all night expecting to be fed from the sweat of their neighbours”-Source 6th Feb 1977 Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

 

Twenty Four years on, the EAC union was rebirthed in a colourful launch in Arusha, Tanzania and its vice president then; Dr Omar Ali Juma stated that the cooperation should not be allowed to fail again. Tanzania’s recent political leaders have been quoted on paper as being pro-EAC, but they have always elicited pain to past wounds by their actions or inactions that have sought to sabotage the basic cohesion and mere renaissance of the 145.5 million community bloc.

As much as one may be desirous to fault Tanzania, they must be doing some things right for the past 5 years, which Kenya needs to learn. Their high GDP growth rate and ranking among the 6th fastest growing economies of the world are positions that affirm the leadership of the second biggest economy in East Africa.

EAC commands a combined GDP of close to 150billion dollars and has an average per capita income of nearly 850 USD according to EAC facts and figures report -2015.Kenya and Tanzania contribute close to two thirds of the total GDP of East Africa and the five year, 7point plus economic growth on the country once known as Tanganyika, is breeding a shadow contest with Kenya which has registered a dismal 5point growth since 2013.

 

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Tanzania boasts of natural gas off its coast and minerals such as gold, iron, copper, silver, platinum, nickel and tin; gemstones such as diamonds, tanzanite, ruby, garnet, emerald, alexandrite and sapphire among other stone aggregates. Kenya prides in fluorspar, rare earth, gold, gemstones, titanium soda ash and niobium deposits.

In 2013 Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda had agreed to link up their boarders with a modern Standard Gauge Railway line commonly referred to as SGR. The mega project was estimated to cost 13Billion dollars. Uganda first signed an MOU with Kenya in 2009 and later became a tripartite agreement that saw Rwanda sign In August 2013, committing to conduct a common joint study in order to realise this common goal. Kenya was to become the oceanic link to these landlocked countries that sought to shorten the movement of goods and people. This was never to be, at least for the part of Rwanda that has recently declared through its minister for finance and economic planning, Hon Claver Gatete that its SGR project will run through Tanzania.

Rwanda’s research showed that through the port of Tanga, the SGR would be much cheaper by USD 200Million compared to the Mombasa route that would cost USD 1Billion thus sighting this as the major reason to derailed talks with Kenya. Consequently, this meant that Burundi will be looped into the newly agreed Dare salaam-Isaka-Kigali/Keza-Musongati (DIKKM) route expected to be completed in March 2018.Mombasa to Kigali was expected to be complete by 2018, meaning Rwandese and Burundians would have had to wait longer to enjoy the benefits of SGR.

Another huge deal that slipped from Kenya’s hands is the pipeline project from Lamu to Kampala and consequently Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo. In one blow Uganda bungled out and shattered Kenya’s dreams of becoming a key connection to this multi-billion dollar business. Uganda sighted the project would be close to 4Billion cheaper and faster through Tanga port that is already operational unlike Lamu port that is deemed to be completed in 2021,if they are lucky to get any infrastructural funding. Uganda’s production meant to start in 2018 ,has already secured French’s Total Company funding for its Tanga route with deposits valued at over 1 billion barrels of “black gold”, the biggest find in the region and equally huge gas reserves.

This new connection would be completed in 2020 from Kabale, Hoima to Tanga which is 1,400 km apart and the plateau much clearer than the ragged terrain in Kenya. Tanzania’s government owns these vast lands, unlike Kenya that has to deal with protracted land compensation battles and otherwise inflated land valuation claims that often benefit the Land registry and ministry officials. The security of the pipeline was also a main decider to dropping the Lamu-northern Kenya route, where there is almost no infrastructure and a lot of tension among communities in sharing existing resources and the pipeline revenues would only seek to complicate matters further. Kenya proposed to charge a pipeline fee of USD17 per barrel compared to Tanzania’s quote of USD12 per barrel, which also offered other incentives like waiving land fees, transit charges and taxes associated with pipeline transmission, a move that caught Kenyan’s project managers flat footed.

In the red is also the LAPSET (Lamu Port, South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport) project, where Ethiopia is in a “near shift” even after their PM’s visit to Kenya. Its minister of mines and petroleum Hon Tolossa issued a statement from Addis Ababa, negating Kenya’s position that they ever inked to a formal agreement and that it was only an MOU to guide a joint feasibility study on the viability of the project. Ethiopia is currently in advanced talks to use Djibouti as its main port and the two countries have just overseen the laying of the last part of the 752km electric SGR to connect the 2nd largest populous and land-locked country in Africa. Djibouti aims to earnestly get the SGR to South Sudan, Central Africa Republic, and Cameroon to connect from the Red sea to the Atlantic.

Kenya has boasted and rightly so, to be the biggest economy in Sub Saharan Africa north of Limpopo, although the torch may soon fade. The ground is shifting faster than Kenyans imagine and the much talked off pillar projects in successive regimes will soon be silhouettes in chronicles of history. Smaller countries like Djibouti seem to be in a race for time and focused to meet their MDGs sooner than later. Tanzania’s sharpened negotiating and deal making skills are just an indication that we need to relook into how we approach our cross boarder and internal projects of national importance. Abortion of the “Green field” airport expansion project is one of the misguided decisions that had poised Kenya to become the next “Dubai airport of Africa”. Dubai’s decision to expand the now 6th largest airport in the world 33years ago, is now finally paying off with their aviation industry contributing to 37.5% (26.7 Billion dollars) of their 2015 GDP through its famous duty free project.

Most of the projects have stalled, abandoned, taken more time due to corruption or degenerated into “talk big-less action” political tools. Questions on these mega projects abound like an abyss on; Why two Chinese state-owned enterprises; Third Railway and Design Institute (TSDI) and China’s Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) were nominated to supervise and build respectively, the 324Billion Mombasa-Nairobi SGR project against a court of appeal order (Case No; Nai 282 of 2014(UR 210 of 2014)? Why have LAPSET investors developed cold feet and fees of USD 20million to Japan Port Consultants (JPC) recording as the highest feasibility fee in Kenya’s history? Why was the Parliamentary Investment Committee (PIC) report on SGR ignored? Why has Kenya abandoned the “Greenfield” project just three years after commissioning?

“The biggest threat to national security is corruption” are the very words of President Kenyatta. Our answers to losing out on mega deals may never be addressed. What is confirming to be true each passing day is that our Kenyan vision 2030 will just qualify to be a well written vision in theory while other regional countries patriotically lift themselves from bonds of poverty.

August 4, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
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Marriage 101

Year two of marriage and here I am on the verge of literally giving up and letting go. Who said marriage was going to be easy?  Every time i am on Facebook more of my friends are getting married and joining this bandwagon, others are taking up the 7 days love your partner challenge and splashing the whole Facebook with airbrushed photos of lovely couples smiling .It leaves me thinking if my marriage is the only one that is almost ever on a rough patch.  Truly my partner and I have taken embarrassing pictures like when I posted  little bubba with her clothes not fitting her since she has outgrown them and everyone is liking them and posting diplomatic messages(Parenting challenges memes) .Others of when he is so drunk and half way asleep in the driveway and am trying to pull him out of the car into the house or worse when we have had those heated arguments that leaves us sleeping angry at each other, does anyone feel me ?Could we just be real for a moment please!

What’s the hardest challenge in your marriage?

Think about that question for a minute. Your answer says a lot about the current state of your relationship. For my partner and ithe answer to that question has changed through the different seasons of our marriage. At one point it is financial stress. At another point, it is managing complex family dynamics. At different points in marriage, we’ve wrestled with inter -country moves, depression, debt, parenting stress, work stress, health issues and many other challenges along the way.

I’ve  realize that struggles are always a part of marriage, because struggles are always a part of life, but how you choose to face those struggles will have a tremendous impact on the health of your marriage. I had a conversation with a close friend with whose words profoundly helped my perspective on struggles in marriage.

He and his wife have walked through many struggles and many seasons of life in their half-century together. Their current struggles include a move from their hometown to be closer to family and a diagnosis of a long term infection on his wife. Watching her battle the infection and lose her memories has clearly been one of the greatest struggles in their marriage, but apparently, not his “biggest struggle.”

His wife was on a weekend trip with their daughter spending some “girl time” together. I asked him how he’s been doing, and he said, “Honestly, I’m not doing so well.”

I didn’t say it out loud, but I thought to myself, “Of course you’re not! You are in a new town trying to learn a new routine and you are having to watch your wife slowly lose her memories and her personality through the cruel infection. Nobody in your shoes would be doing well.”

What he said next left me speechless. When he was talking about why he was having such a hard time, his struggles had nothing to do with the factors I thought he meant.

He said, “I’m having such a hard time, because I’ve never been apart from her this long before. I’ve never gone two days in a row without seeing her. I can’t wait until she gets home tomorrow!”

Over 20 years together, and they’d never been apart for a 48-hour period. While so many couples seem to try and invent ways to escape from each other (story of my life), this man and his wife and created a relationship that neither partner ever wanted to “escape.” In fact, even the thought of being apart left him feeling sick.

This temporary distance, was his current greatest struggle in marriage. His perspective was an inspiring reminder to me that a marriage isn’t defined by the size of your struggles, but by the size of your commitment to overcome those struggles together.

 

June 29, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
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A famous saying goes thus: “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go further, go with others.” Another one says that, “He who travels alone goes fast, but he who travels with others goes further.” I would like to remind you again that if you really want to go beyond the limits in your life, you only need three things: people, people and more people.

The struggle between the book smarts and the street smart

The struggle between the book smarts and the street smart

In my past experience as a credit officer I had many chances of interacting with all sorts of business persons and I can tell you for free that most successful and influential business persons are not book smart but street smart. The stories of success are most humbling yet they upheld a vision and sought the opportunities in smart way. In a book written by Robert Kiyosaki titled, Why A Students Work for C Students and B Students Work for the Government.  Simply explains that because C students are known to be street smart and charming. They are very good with people and very good with numbers. They can easily influence and are convincing because they have what I call ‘likability.’ They are likable and like people too; they know how to treat people, respect them and make them feel valued. They are less egocentric and more people empowering. They understand the universal truth that the greatest desire of every human being is to feel important, and whenever they interact with others, they apply this law. They make others feel superior to them and in the process, find their way around them, cross all barriers, go beyond limits and reach the summit of their potential.

Examples the late, great Steve Jobs dropped out of school before graduating. Thomas Jefferson dropped out after only a few months of formal education. John D. Rockefeller dropped out of high school two months before his graduation and decided to go off and start a little company called Standard Oil. Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Elton John, James Cameron, Frank Lloyd Wright all dropped out of school to pursue their passions. These are just a few names on a very long list of brilliant or ambitious individuals who gave lackluster performances in the classroom but crushed it in real life!

We know now that there are many different types of intelligence and grades only measure a select few, and poorly at that. A GPA does not measure a person’s emotional intelligence, it does not measure their leadership ability, it does not necessarily measure their ability to think outside of the box and solve problems. It does nothing to evaluate a person’s ability to predict the needs of society or consumers. It does nothing to illuminate the ability of an individual to work with others and find middle ground in standoffs or conflicts. All of these things are vitally important to an individual’s success in life and almost none of them are measured by grades. Grades, GPAs and standardized test scores largely measure one’s ability to answer questions and regurgitate information and not much else.

Think about this. Throughout history, legendary leaders have had great people skills. Your people skills will take you to places where your brain and papers cannot. A book  by Robert Shemin titled, How Come that Idiot’s Rich and I’m Not? Well  most ‘idiots’ outsmart most educated fellows for the simple reason that for their advancement, the ‘idiots’ solely rely on their gut and power of leverage. What is leverage? It is simply using other people’s goodwill, other people’s intelligence, other people’s resources, other people’s influence, other people’s ideas and other people’s contacts

 

June 18, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
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How to mind your own business at a work place

office-gossipESTABLISH YOUR BOUNDARIES

“Train your colleagues to know that you won’t engage in drama,” Walk away from gossipy or negative conversations. Ask for facts and ignore rumors. Some people thrive on drama—it fills a need for attention or for feeling good about themselves at another’s expense. If you deprive them of that, they’ll stop looking to you to fill that need.

LIMIT THE TIME YOU SPEND WITH GOSSIPY COLLEAGUES

If one co-worker in particular consistently stirs up negativity or gossip, make a point of keeping your interactions to a minimum. “Don’t respond to emails that may be fraught with innuendo,”  “Keep your conversations short and work-focused.”

GENTLY CALL OUT NEGATIVITY

“If someone’s being super-negative and it’s getting you and others down, give them gentle feedback,” like “Hey, I’ve noticed when we chat, our conversation is so focused on the negative. I don’t know about you, but I could use some positivity. What’s going well for you?” It suggests that you’re in this together, reminding your co-worker how important optimism is without actually placing blame on him or her.

MAKE IT ABOUT YOU

Rather than go on the offensive, tell your colleagues that you have a personal policy not to get mixed up in drama. A suggestion like, “I don’t really like to talk about stuff like that,” or “It’s none of my business.” Then, change the subject.

ASK FOR THE FACTS

When gossip comes up, put it in its place. Say, “Oh, wow, that doesn’t sound right. Is that a fact or did you just hear that from someone?” You’ll probably be the last person they want to share rumors with in the future. “It may not change their behavior,” I say, “but it will take all the fun out of sharing gossip with you.”

 

June 18, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
1 Comment

TITTLE TATTLE TALK..

This is a re post but oh well…A gossiper [talebearer, slander] goes around telling secrets; so avoid anyone who talks too much. We are what comes out of our mouths.For those who know me well then you know I love inner peace and I avoid stressful people or stressful situations at whatever cost .I take pride in myself in the achievements I have made so far in life because it has been a journey to get here and while am here I will not apologize to anyone for how I or my family lives and why I regard myself highly, if God does not judge me otherwise then any other person’s thoughts and sentiments are irrelevant. If you make decision to stop and throw stones at every dog that barks then you will never reach your destination.

Gossip is that “secret” that people try to conceal with superficial concern and erroneous motives but really it does nothing but stir up conflict because it comes from an impure place. 

Gossiping has two sides to it; first gossiping is when you say something that is true but with the wrong motives causing them to look bad to others. Secondly, gossiping is sharing information with others who were not meant to know such personal details even if without evil intent.

Now let us look at God’s perspective on this gossiping. Proverbs 26:20 tells us, “Without wood fire goes out; without a gossip a conflict dies down.” When you choose to not listen to gossip or to not spread it you help quench the problem. But when we listen to or partake in gossiping our words do nothing but add fuel to an already burning fire.

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so(James 3:8-10)

Next, Proverbs 20:19 clearly warn us that, “When someone tells you something in confidence do not share it with anyone else. If they want others to know their business let them be the ones to share it. Your job is to listen, support and pray for them. Compromising that trust and spreading gossip to others that are not involved create a bigger problem and that is something God hates. God wants to use a mouth that is not suited for the gutter, but suited for grace

 Being overweight or underweight

Enough with this “I just don’t have time to work out; I have this or that  problem; I just got back from vacation” It doesn’t matter that you don’t replicate the painfully impossible standard of beauty that ruthlessly invades our sore eyes from the altar of billboards and magazines, so STOP justifying it. Own your size — for there is nothing sexier on the planet than being comfortable in your skin. Remember this: Beauty is health. Healthy comes in a plethora of sizes, so as long as you’re treating your body like the sacred temple it is, you’re beautiful.

Children or no children

Let’s get real: We don’t all want the same things out of this precious life, and that’s OK. It’s actually kind of great, for it gives the otherwise dull planet the sparkle of diversity. Whether you bear ten children or none in marriage, the society will talk, whether you bear children of the same sex or unable to bear more children, society will still have something to say. When will society mind its own womb?

Read an interesting article on the same https://nadirahangail.com/2016/05/25/mind-your-own-womb

I understand society has made all of us feel as if we’re missing an essential chip for not wanting children immediately, If you don’t want children, simply don’t have them. You’re still a warm, loving, wonderful, and fabulous and person. You don’t need to sprinkle sugar on the truth by earnestly claiming you have a family history of mental health problems, or your spouse is not in proper order for motherhood, or you will think about it when once in a stable relationship bottom line is just be happy with the path that you choose, the choice is entirely upon you.

Wanting or not to be a career woman

You can still be a liberated, forward-thinking woman while choosing to stay at home with your children. Feminism is doing whatever the hell you want, unabashedly living a life packed with personal happiness and wonderful fulfillment. 

“Reckless spending heaps of our own money”.

Why do you need to justify spending your own hard-earned money on cars, house, steaks, salacious trips, and rounds of top-shelf beer and whatever else it is you feel like to indulge in?. Society will talk whether you choose to constantly justify your spending on the hard earned cash on things that bring you pressure or whether you give away all your cash to charity .In my opinion I say YOLO (you only live once).

Jesus told His followers, “Whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luke 12:3). As Believers we must recognize the power that is in the tongue. They have the power to tear others down and even grieve the Holy Spirit. But when our tongues line up with what God proclaims in His Word, we are on the right path.

I sincerely hope I spoke to someone!

 

June 9, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
2 Comments

Your personal budget simplified

money flow chart

The flow chart above depicts the flow of money.

Part of the reason we accumulate debt is that there are so many distractions in our lives – things we want to buy but don’t need.

But we also ring up debt because we simply don’t understand the flow of our income and expenses, so we can’t accurately estimate how much money we have available to spend.

Last year, I put in place a “Money Flow” system to help my family track our spending.Asimple way to plan your personal finances as below;

Set Super Strong, Meaningful Goals

What’s the point of even having a financial plan if you don’t have any goals? There isn’t one.

If you want to make headway financially you need goals that are strong enough to inspire you to action. Goals are what allow you to practice delayed gratification. For instance, if you have a goal of paying off $3,000 worth of credit card debt in six months, you know that if you spend $30 on a new dress that you don’t really need, you’re robbing yourself of debt freedom.(guilty*)

Prepare a Budget

Next comes either the fun, or horrid part, depending on your personality. I’ll go ahead and be the first to admit: I don’t like strict budgeting. However, I am very aware of what I spend my money on. There’s no right or wrong way to budget. You need to find what works the best for you.

 An Emergency Fund

You need a decent emergency fund before starting on other goals like accelerating your debt payoff, saving for a house, or saving for retirement. Emergency funds come in handy and will prevent you from paycheck to paycheck living.Most financial experts recommend that you have at least 3-6 months’ worth of cash set aside for emergencies. I agree, but ultimately, your emergency fund needs to be whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Debt Payoff Plan

I hate debts but we all must live with them somehow, after you’ve reached your desired emergency fund amount it’s time to really accelerate your financial goals. If you have high interest debt, like credit card debt, paying that off should be your main focus. Once that’s done you can choose to pay off lower interest rate debt or move onto saving and investing.one thing you need to be aware of, is retirement savings. You should have a retirement savings plan as one of your goals.

You can take all that cash you’ve been funneling toward your emergency fund and spread it between your financial goals.

 The Right Kinds of Insurance – You will Wish You Had it when You Need It

Insurance is often overlooked in a strong financial plan. The truth is, without the right type of insurance all of your hard work could go down the drain with one accident example the Auto Insurance, Homeowner’s Insurance, Health, Life Insurance.

 A strategy for increasing your income. We all know working hard only pays bill but does not get you the dream goals done, while working smart in the other hand would. For a lot of people, expenses aren’t the problem – its income. If you’re making $20,000 per year you’re never going to get ahead. You need to get creative and actively look to increase your income. It takes hard work and hustle but anyone can do it. You just have to have the right attitude.

Here are 50+ side hustles to get you thinking.

Review Your Financial Plan Often

As time goes by your financial goals and insurance needs will change. Review your financial plan often and readjust whenever necessary to see if it works.

 

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June 6, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
2 Comments

Ditch these bad, time-killing habits

TIME IS MONEYThe clock strikes 3:00 PM. Suddenly, you realize you’re not nearly as far down on your to-do list as you planned to be. You think: Ugh, who’s stealing all my time? But let’s get real: No matter how busy you are, the only person sapping your productivity is you.

The truth is, it’s easy to get into routines where you mindlessly waste the precious minutes of your day. These unconscious habits might seem harmless—or even, ironically, like they’re actually boosting your productivity—but ultimately, they slow you down, distract you from doing your work, and leave you scrambling to catch up by the end of the day.

Fortunately, there’s a way to overcome every bad habit. So if you’re serious about upping your productivity game, it’s time to ditch these three patterns and replace them with ones that work (pun intended).

Bad Habit #1: Slow-Motion Mornings

When you arrive at work first thing in the morning, head straight for the snack pantry, stop by your friend’s desk to discuss the latest episode of whatever you just watched, and then plop down in your chair to sort through your inbox, you might think that you’re just easing your way into the work day. But with that routine, you might not find your flow until an hour in or longer—and that’s not a productive way to get your day going.

The Fix: Go Straight to Your Desk, Do Not Pass Go

So, when you first step through the door, don’t get too comfortable—get working. And yes, that means delaying your morning coffee chat. If you don’t have time to make a cup before you head to the office, try picking one up before you get to the office so that you can head straight to your desk and knock out a few quick tasks, allowing you to set the stage for success. If you really want to maximize your efficiency, jot down your morning to-dos before you even get into the office. Even taking 10 minutes at the end of the day—or, if you take public transit, during your morning commute—can help you dive into productivity mode right off the bat.

If you struggle to get down to business right away, you may want to try standing up at your desk instead of sitting. It doesn’t take a specially outfitted desk—you just need to find an elevated surface to place your computer on. Many people find that it naturally launches them into action—you feel focused, energized, ready to conquer your to-do list. If standing’s not your thing, try putting your phone out of reach, or changing up your to-do list strategy, or seeing if listening to ambient noise helps you.

Once you make some headway and reach a good stopping point, reward yourself with a mental break and grab that second cup of coffee. If you bump into a colleague who wants to dish about the podcast you both listen to, go for it: You’ve earned it.

Bad Habit #2: Sitting Through Too Many Meetings—Literally

Few things are more frustrating than having a day so filled with meetings that you don’t have time to get anything done. But here’s the secret: You probably don’t have to be in all of them. And if by some chance you do, well, then, you need to make them a lot more effective.

The Fix: Stop Following the Meeting Herd—Lead the Efficient Pack

In an effort to clear their inboxes, plenty of people blindly accept invitations without thinking about whether or not they actually need to go, but prioritizing your precious time is key to productivity. If a seemingly non-essential invite comes through, there’s nothing wrong with politely asking the organizer if you need to be there or letting her know that you need to tackle some other urgent items instead. You’d be surprised at how accommodating people are when you directly communicate your position. No one wants a disengaged multi-tasker clacking away at her keyboard in protest instead of paying attention to the meeting’s leader.

But sometimes, due to pressing deadlines or simply office politics, there’ll be meetings you can’t get out of. In those situations, if you’re able to, get out of the conference room and organize a walking meeting. This is especially effective for recurring check-ins or one-on-ones, less so for large gatherings, but if everyone is game, it can work for four or five people as well. Making meetings mobile keeps the energy levels high and the ideas flowing, while giving all participants involved a much-needed break from laptops and phones.

Bad Habit #3: Hiding Behind Your Keyboard

There’s something about using a computer as an intermediary that makes a lot of people feel more comfortable weighing in on sensitive issues or sharing honest opinions. And often, communicating through an online chat system or email just seems like the quickest way to get things done.

The Fix: Get in Front of Your Team

The keyword here, though, is seems. Sure, typing out a quick question and clicking send may be a couple of seconds faster than walking over to your teammate’s desk, but think of all the confusion that can result from only communicating through writing. (Anyone who’s ever felt momentary panic after receiving a text that says nothing but “OK,” knows exactly what I mean). If you’re trying to problem-solve or have a deep, multi-faceted conversation through email or chat, you risk getting pulled into a thread of back-and-forth misunderstandings.

Kill the never-ending email chains once and for all by resolving to sort things out in person whenever possible. It might feel a little intimidating at first, but nine times out of 10, talking things through face-to-face will be quicker and less painful. And the good news is, the more you do it, the easier it’ll be.

Whether you find yourself constantly running out of time—or you just want to step up your ability to get things done—it’s worth keeping those little time-sucking habits in check when you can. If you want to win the productivity game, you need to make the most out of every moment you have.

Who knows? If you use these small changes as a launching pad, you might even become the office bad ass who gets a ton of work done, plays a role in major accomplishments, and still has time for the after-work happy hour.

June 6, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
2 Comments

Some humor in marriage…

marriage humorI raise my hand super high that my marriage is NOT perfect. And, in case you haven’t heard this, let me be first to tell you, NO ONES is. It is so easy to browse Instagram or Facebook and see the “good”. You see the smiles, you see the happy family pictures, you see the good. People rarely post their fights, their struggles, or their bad days. So, while reading this, know that you are not alone. My prayer is that you would actively fight for your marriage and pray continually for one another.

Writers often get inspiration from the briefest moments in life. Something seen while driving, a headline on a favorite magazine, or something someone says that makes you laugh, instantly gets your brain thinking “How do I write about this?” This was one of those moments. Hold on there! Let me think like a married man..haha..i hope I pull this one off;

Wife says: “That guy over there is coming on to me.”

Husband translates: “You need to get up and go tell him to back off. Yes, I can see that he’s 6’2″ and outweighs you by 50 pounds, but grow a pair and go defend my honor.”

Wife says: “Are you gaining a little weight?”
Husband translates: “You’re fat, and from now on, all sexual activity will be conducted in the dark”haha

Wife says: “Can we talk?”
Huband translates: “You’re one response away from being a dead man because, make no mistake, I’m not happy and it’s your fault. So listen and think very carefully before you say another word.”

Wife says: “Do you think she’s pretty?”
Husband translates: “Alert. Alert. She’s absolutely stunning, but if you say that, I’m going to be forced to go all freaky ninja on your ass, so just look confused and say ‘Who?’”

Wife says: “Do you know what today is?”
Husband translates: “I celebrate all of our special moments. First date,  first kiss, first dance. Because this relationship is important to me. Isn’t it important to you?? Walk through that minefield, Big Guy.”

Wife says: “I’ve been thinking.”
Husband translates: “Grab a beer and a comfy chair, because this is going to take a while.  Forget the beer. You’re going to need Scotch.”

Wife says: “Notice anything new, dear?”
Husband translates: “You’ve got about 15 seconds to figure out what’s different about me (Did I cut my hair, lose weight) before I tell all my girlfriends that you’re a total douche who doesn’t pay attention to his wife.”

Wife says: “No, there’s nothing wrong.”
Husband translates: “You stepped in it, big time. But you’re going to have to figure it out because I’m too pissed to tell you exactly what you did.”

And so for all your lamenting over the years, guys, about how mysterious and confusing women can be, it would appear that you know us better than you thought. But all in all in my journey in quest to get near God this year I have learnt to seek the bible for most answers in attempts to become a better wife and mother. I have found that in everything;

Have Patience. Patience can be a hard thing. You sit in traffic, you wait in lines, you wait on the phone…. its takes patience. Your spouse leaves the dishes in the sink, you leave toothpaste on the mirror… its takes patience. Always practice and pray for patience with each other.

Love is patient.. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Be kind. I know that this might sound basic, but it’s so basic that we can forget to be intentionally kind. By this I mean, have your spouse’s meal ready for them, make the bed, pick up their favorite snacks or surprise gift on the way home, do initially kind things for them throughout the day. Also, seek to be kind with your words. Having a patient and kind attitude can do so much throughout your day. Choose kindness.

Love is kind.. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Do not compare.I slightly mentioned above that comparison is a huge struggle today that I feel social media makes even easier. When comparison sneaks into a marriage, it can be very hard to see any good. Be mindful of this and put things in place to combat comparison.

Love does not envy… – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Keep ego/pride away. Pride can be harsh. Pride can be ugly. Pride can be hard. Pride can make reconciliation hard or nearly impossible. Pride gets in the way. Leave no room for pride in your marriage. Instead, clothe your marriage in GRACE and humility. You are on the same team. Be quick to listen and apologize if necessary.

Love does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Serve one another. I cannot stress this enough. Pay attention to your spouse and their needs. If they have had a long day, ensure dinner is ready and the house is peaceful when they get home. You could even offer a back massage or a fun movie. Serving one another is one of the best things you could do for your marriage because you put your partner first. Value them above yourself. Try no matter how tired both of you are from work or other chores.

Love is not self-seeking – 1 Corinthians 13:5

Keep a soft heart. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) When people ask me for marriage advice, the two biggest things I say are prayer and keeping a soft heart. I think it can be very easy to become hardened, so I always pray for a soft heart. We know that through our relationship with Christ, we are already forgiven.

Love is not easily angered – 1 Corinthians 13:5

Keep no record of wrongs. Many experts agree that a way to keep a healthy and strong relationship is to avoid phrases like “you always..”, “you never…”, or “I can’t believe you did this again..” Love releases past mistakes and genuinely forgives. This gives you so much freedom in your relationship. Don’t keep track of your spouse’s offences or label them for their mistakes. God loves you and keeps no record of your confessed wrongs. it’s hard but do able.

Love keeps no record of wrongs – 1 Corinthians 13:5

Above all, PRAY. Pray daily for your marriage. Pray for all of these things for your marriage (kindness, patience, soft heart). Never stop praying. Life can be hard, marriage can be hard, but with God, you can prosper. God is bigger than your struggles. He already has you and your marriage in the palm of His hand. Rely on Him.

 

 

 

March 22, 2016
by Kate Mwamba
0 comments

No one told me…

stretch mark

Now that am out of the bush, hiding face while laughing, into the clearing i would like share a few things that no one bothers to mention during the pregnancy journey to the time Baby is born. As much as that smile on the photo shoot looks very easy and all calm ,it is actually not the actual matter on the ground. I have been there twice now rest the aching womb syndrome comes calling again…

From decorating to your work to-do list, getting stuff done is your new specialty. You suddenly feel like a super woman, the energy surge is unbelievably high. You are here there everywhere handling everything!

You will become a bump-protecting ninja. HIY-YAAA commuter elbow! KAPOW!

Under wired bras are the enemy. Yes Mastitis is real! Keep off those beautiful push-ups and raced bras as much inviting as they look.

Everyone will comment on the size of your bump and nothing they say will be right. ‘Wow! It’s very neat!’ = ‘It’s unfeasible small, there must be something wrong.’ ”Wow, that’s a healthy bump!’ = ‘You got fat.’ I forgive my sister Shyro Njoroge  for utterly calling my bump fat and lazy,karma is catching up with you soon sister!haha..

You will burp, hiccup and have regular heart burn…unfortunately you will have to weather the storm since self-medication is a no go zone.

…but your hair will be real nice,full and shiny!. Everyone has an opinion on whether you should find out the sex of your unborn child. (Start practicing your nodding-along faces now.)

You will start to measure time in weeks and days. Downloading pregnancy apps while goggling anything and everything that you my strangely experience as the body adjusts to the new occupant.

Whatever their size, your breasts are about to get their moment in the spotlight. But fame and glory come at a price: Soreness and the sudden change of bra cups to a couple of sizes up!

Out of the blue, you will suddenly realize that there are two of you in the car / on the sofa / in the bath. Ha! you are a small giant

Your body stretches even in places you had no idea could stretch so as a natural order stretch marks become a familiar thing. Yes it at that point you get advises from everyone on all the remedies you can do to prevent this. Well, applying all the body lotions and natural oils in the world does not work. Accept and move on please!

You will be told – often – that you’re ‘glowing’. Sweating and panting like a pig in a sausage shop might be your way of putting it.

Pillows, pillows everywhere. Wedged in curves, stuffed in gaps, plugged between knees. Now let’s get some shut eye…and nothing! Sleep becomes a thing of the past.

Body aches and strain will be a familiar friend. Try stretching in the morning, muscle pulls occurs and other body pains that cannot be explained .The body feels like some hand me down piece of thing!.

The passage of time will slow to an almost imperceptible drip. Who knew nine months could take so freaking long? Especially third trimester…whooo!

Comfy pants are officially in. Good bye fashion sense.

You will be amazed at how many hours there are in the weekend when you don’t spend half of them hungovered. For those who enjoy a few glasses of wine, guilty…

You will worry about your unborn child not being cute. Then feel guilty you ever had that thought.(Hide face)

Even repeat episodes of “La gata” will have you sobbing like no-one’s ever sobbed before. It’s just all so amazing and terrifying at the same time. My husband doesn’t get it…duh!

Pelvic floor exercises will go from being something you vaguely read about in a magazine to what you do at the bus stop. When it’s time to go, its indeed time, waiting or postponing is no longer a luxury

Dead-eyed parents will eye your bump and say, ‘Just pray you get a sleeper.’ (This will make you anxious.).A crying baby will make you go utterly insane especially for first time mums. Whisper and talk to Baby to behave once they are out to the world.

Nobody can agree on anything (epidurals, soft cheese, formula, medicine balls, water births, riding a bike, wine, routines, co-sleeping, bouncy chairs, sleep nannies) except that having a baby is definitely and without doubt going to be the most awesome thing that’s ever happened to  any woman.

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