People are often confused by why there are so many “Mother’s Days”! Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent (15th of March this year) while Mother’s Day in the USA, Canada falls on the second Sunday in May and the list goes on. In our books, there can never be enough “Mother’s Day”, great mothers deserve to be honoured each day.
Frances Asemota has three children – all under the age of 7! Mothers of children that age know that they’re usually mobile balls of energy. Frances’ home was also the default drop off point for the children of her family and friends. She was a natural when it came to providing solace for children, and with that personal insight, The Mustard Seed was born. Frances has since gone on to expand the frontiers of her business venture to include hair care for children with natural hair and a networking event for other working mothers.
Graduating from Coventry University with a degree in Business Information Technology, Frances moved back to Nigeria in 2006 and then ran her parents business for two years. She then moved on to work as an interior decorator before she started working with children in 2014.
Frances is filling a need for Lagos mothers and BellaNaija is pleased to chat with her as part of our Amazing Moms series.
We found her story interesting and hope you enjoy reading it too.
Tell us about the transitioning from Interior Designing to running a business working with children
I wouldn’t call it a transition per se; purely because interior decorating is still a big part of what I do. I have enjoyed the process of designing the Mustard Seed space myself. I have recently remodelled my office and also the new TMS luxe store which sells a host of items which are great as gifts but also includes decorating items. We also stock some unique pieces of furniture. Working with children is and always has been a passion of mine; it was just finding the right way to do it. It is rather hectic, but thankfully I have a God that orders my steps and here we are today. As the passage goes: with faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you will say to that mountain, move – and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matt 17:20)
How would you describe your relationship with children?
My relationship with children is great. There’s a great amount of trust that comes with working with children, and I have worked hard to build that relationship.
What’s the average demographic of children at The Mustard Seed?
I find that the average age demographic is between 3 and 8 because this is the age group my kids fit into. So most mums with kids that age trust that I know what I’m doing.
In a world filled with bad people, do you have measures in place to ensure that children under the watch of The Mustard Seed are protected from child abuse?
Yes, I do. The vetting and hiring process is the beginning of filtering out those with bad intentions. I also have a good security system in place. I am always here. In the event that I have to out of office, I have someone trusted I leave in charge. I do not allow kids to wander off with anyone. I do not allow male members of staff to spend any amount of time in the building or with a child. I have CCTV in place to track the movements in and around the building.
What would you say is the most challenging part of running an activity centre?
Staffing issues are the most prevalent in this country. Everyone wants to be their own boss and no one is dedicated to their craft anymore – like ships passing in the night. They come and collect a cheque and they are off.
Please share an experience that made you feel efforts made towards The Mustard Seed is totally worth it
Every time I go out and I see my little Mustard Seedlings, I get the warmest hugs or the sweetest stories from them or their parents. I know I’m doing something right.
Do you, at any time, feel that running a business that involves interaction with children has an impact on your relationship with your own children?
Yes I do feel like it has had an impact on my relationship with my children, because my children are a reflection of me. I am very cautious of what they do and how they behave. As far as they’re concerned, it’s their home and I’m their mum, so they don’t care to behave or listen. Like mummy, you’re a softie. Why are you acting hard? So I’m extra hard on my kids when we are there. When we get home, I’m back to being the cuddle giving, giver of life that they all know.
How do you balance the home-work dynamics?
It’s easy. As with all things, there are challenges. But only minor ones. I just get on with things. Women are built from strong stuff. I have a good, strong team behind me. Everything runs like clockwork at home. Everything works smoothly, and I am grateful for that.
What would you say is the most influential thing in your life as an enterpreneur mom?
I don’t know if this answers your question, My faith. When I think I’m tired or I’m downtrodden, my Faith keeps me going. Also, the respect and admiration I get from my husband who comes home and still sees me moving even after a full day of working with a bunch of adrenaline filled children is not bad either. Plus my kids think I am the coolest thing ever.
As a mom of twins, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve heard them say?
My twins are a 6 year old male and female. They are at that stage where they don’t get on. So my daughter goes for sleepovers in her cousin’s house. When she’s gone, her brother is always sad and when you ask him, he says he doesn’t know why I send her away. He loves her so much. It’s as if something is missing from him. He’s all over her when she returns. Then it’s back to fighting.
What’s your mantra as a Mom?
“There’s no right way or wrong way. Just do it your way.
Are you a jeans or dress kinda girl?
Jeans all day. I would wear jeans to any occasion if I could. I also have a bad habit of over buying one style if it fits. So it looks like I only have a few pairs.
Which Nigerian celebrity would you like to raid her wardrobe?
Nigerian fashion is amazing right now. So I’m more into the designs than the wearer. So I’d just say no one, but I love Nigerian fabrics, colours and styles.
3 things you absolutely can’t leave home without?
My phones. Wifi and a prayer.
The Mustard Seed officially re-launches today in Lekki, Lagos! Click to see details in our BN Events This Weekend Post