Ufedo is a woman with different hats, a recently published children author on Okadabooks, convener of the Kogi Writers Meet, and owner of the Evados Children Center where she aims to ignite the love for reading and world exploration in children. She blogs at www.memoirsofayoungwifeandmother.com about the challenges of being a wife and mother while still trying to remember herself in the equation.
So we decided to follow up with Ufedo, to know more about this lovely woman, and below is the interview.
Pelleura: It nice to have this chat with you.
Ufedo: Its great being here
Pelleura: Please can you share details of your background with us?
Ufedo: My name is Ufedo Love Illah, I am the first of six children, a wife, and mother of three. Career-wise, I had lofty dreams of what I wanted to be and do. During NYSC, I had filled a notebook with an elaborate plan of what I was going to do, how I was going to do it e.t.c. I went the extra length of getting a fellow Corp member who studied Building Technology to draw out the plan for me. Once I had the plan, I was gradually working towards it but along the way, I got married, then babies started coming in. I got occupied with marriage and motherhood and I forgot everything else.
When I was done having my babies, breastfeeding e.t.c. I noticed I was restless and depressed. I didn’t know why that was because I had a job, a great spouse, and wonderful children… what could be the matter? I went praying and reading and researching, it was in the course of that I got the idea for my blog, memoirsofayoungwifeandmother.com
When I got the name initially, I wanted to start it like my personal diary but a friend advised I start posting on Facebook and then Instagram. I started on those social platforms before I got my blog. And while making those posts, I got the idea for my children storybook which was a compilation of stories I told my children.
Taking it a step further, I reached out to women online who were combining purpose or career with family, sent DMs and Emails asking if I could speak with them. Surprisingly, most of them agreed but preferred a face-face meet up. So, I took my leave in January, my husband agreed to watch the children while I traveled to interview them. I was determined to know what I was missing; why I had the sense of dissatisfaction.
As I listened to each of them, it was like a wakeup call. I found who or what I was searching for. That was when it occurred to me that when some of us get married and start having babies, we forget ourselves. Everything becomes about husband and babies, which is good but in the long run, you begin to resent yourself and get impatient with your spouse and children. This can end up defeating the goals you planned to achieve in the first place.
Coming back home was a new me. I got compliments both at home and at work that I looked different. Some friends asked how I am doing it; I realized this was not peculiar to me alone. So my goal became about helping wives see more than their husband and children in remembering themselves. When that happens, there is more peace and growth recorded in marriages and balance in the children’s upbringing.
Pelleura: Wow! This really touched me. So what were your dreams like when you were in school?
Ufedo: I was an outspoken child but while in secondary school I was bullied, which made me lose my self-esteem. I didn’t know how much I was affected by the bully until two years ago when I found myself still dreaming about my bully and being bullied (twelve years after). I had to reach out to her on Facebook and release her, thereby releasing myself.
I hid in books; at least they helped me forget my situation for a while which was a good thing because it helped to activate my imagination and thinking. I dreamt of writing books like that someday, I interviewed myself while imagining I was receiving an award. I dreamt of being a sought-after Writer, whose books made an impact in the world.
Pelleura: Awesome! Are you full time into the writing business? Or do you have a day job or business that you run?
Ufedo: I have a job and businesses that I run. Writing is like full time for me because I get inspiration from everything and every situation.
Pelleura: Please tell us what your writing/business/job is about.
Ufedo: I write children stories that break down the everyday questions and challenges of children, showcases the joys of motherhood, and finding yourself as a wife.
I have a job with the Health Records Officers Registration Board of Nigeria. Also, I have a Children Center I started this year. It includes reading a club, arts and crafts, dance, theater, e.t.c. I just partnered with three people for a children clothing line and accessories for women. My niche is basically wives and children.
Pelleura: Do you think you’d ever take writing as a full-time business?
Ufedo: If by that you mean will I do solely writing and all things writing? Then the answer is no. As much as I love writing, I get inspiration for other things also, which makes me believe writing is part of the package and not the package for me.
Pelleura: When did you first notice you love to write?
Ufedo: Secondary School… I loved to talk but when there was no outlet for that, I resorted to pouring out my thoughts in my diary and I discovered I loved that as well.
Pelleura: Have you written any book? If yes, what are the titles?
Ufedo: Yes. I wrote a children storybook, ME AND MY SOUND MIND. volume 1. It is available both in hard and soft copy format. But volume two is only an eBook for now on OkadaBooks and will be on Amazon by
I am also working on a poetry collection, Memoirs in Poetry, which will be out in October. And then I
am compiling the interviews I did with the women into a book which is also coming out this year.
Pelleura: What are the obstacles you’ve faced as a writer and how were you able to overcome them?
Ufedo: Well, I was a newbie with lots and lots of information to devour. Rather than help, they confused me and made me more anxious. Being a reserved person, I had to struggle with putting myself out there, approaching people to talk about my book and so on. But I am growing past all that gradually.
Pelleura: In a country like ours, do you think the government has put in place structures that helps small business/ full-time writers survive?
Ufedo: Well, not really… but I think we have lived long enough to know that while it is good to hope for better policies and structures, we owe it to ourselves and generation to come to start putting down the little structures we can build in our immediate environment, so that when the suppose government structures come in, they can meet us halfway.
Pelleura: So what do you think can be done to further help small businesses owners and full-time writers?
Ufedo: The world has become a global village, you can offer your services to someone in Uzbekistan with a click of a mouse, and there are grants and writing opportunities available for writers and businesses alike. Technology has gradually taken over most things; no one really has an excuse for remaining behind anymore. Groups and personalities are already coming up with free and paid seminars to help people.
So it’s just for Writers and businesses to look for these opportunities and make good use of them… could it be better? Of course, but we have to start from somewhere. Will it take time? Yes, it will. But we can never know how long if we don’t start now, will we?
Pelleura: Presently, what are those achievements you’ve made and what future goals are you aiming for?
Ufedo: I just released my children storybook volume 1 and 2 this year, the memoirs in poetry and stories of women/wives in business will also be out by October. I organized a seminar for writers in Kogi state to encourage young and aspiring Writers. Like I said earlier, I am aiming to help wives see more than their husbands and children, and to remember themselves, through my seminars and my write-ups.
Through my Children Center, I aim to help children see their “why” and “how.” When children are able to answer their why early enough it will curb a lot of excesses, reduce instances of peer pressure and activate their imaginations and thinking process. I am aiming to have my Children clothing line and accessories line for ladies out soon.
Pelleura: Awesome! How have you used social media to your advantage?
Ufedo: I started my posts on Facebook and Instagram before my blog came up. I am trying to find my way around twitter. These are the three social media platforms I am using to promote my works for now.
Pelleura: What’s the most important social media activity you engage in daily, to grow your reader base?
Ufedo: I try to post as much as I can and comment on posts and blogs but I don’t do it as much as I should for now. I tried YouTube videos but it was a lot to handle, so I had to leave that on the back burner for now. With a lot of things vying for attention, I can only do so much, though I am moving forward gradually. Social Media has helped a lot in raising awareness.
Pelleura: If you were to do it all over again, what genre would you prefer to write?
Ufedo: Hmmm… I don’t think I will change anything, I will still do everything exactly the way I am doing it now.
Pelleura: What advice do you have for other writers running a small business/ job?
Ufedo: I will say use your clients and customers as your muse. If you start seeing going to work or your business as going to get ideas for your write-ups, it will increase your excitement and help your outlook.
Things may not fall into place as fast as you wished but fall into place there will if you keep at it and show up. Be prepared at all times because you cannot tell when you will be called to the stage.
Pelleura: Thanks so, so much for your time, Ufedo Love. It was really nice having this chat with you.
Ufedo: Thanks for having me.
You can connect with Ufedo Love on the various social media handles below: