Achieving family life and work balance for media professionals requires the understanding of the nature of their jobs by their spouses.
Mrs. Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha, Health Reporter with the BBC (Africa) gave the advice at the May fellowship of Journalists For Christ (JFC) in Lagos on May 25.
She was the co-speaker with the Chief Responsibility Officer of a Christian entertainment channel, Exclusive To Divinity (X2D), Mr. Deji Irawo on the need for successful career and family life.
Gbenga-Mustapha, erstwhile Health Correspondent of The Nation Newspaper explained how she combined her role as a journalist with that of a wife, mother and a pastor’s wife.
According to her, she made up her mind to get married to someone with a flexible time schedule.
“While I was waiting to get married, I made up my mind to marry someone who has flexible time. I got suitors who were engineer, lawyer, petroleum engineer,” she said, confirming that she knew she couldn’t cope with any of them.
“But God gave me someone who had his own business, who is also a pastor,” she said.
“With the help of God and my husband, I was able to strive towards a balance between family and work. My husband understands the dynamics of my job as a journalist.
“Men could be jealous, especially when their wives work where she meets all kinds of people but we were transparent to each other. He was able to put off people who wanted to interfere in our marriage due to the nature of my job,” Gbenga-Mustapha said, urging professionals to be open to their spouses at all times and make them understand the nature of the work.
With her new job, Gbenga-Mustapha said she now has more time for her family. “All along, my husband makes sure I am so comfortable. I see myself now having more time for my spiritual life. I now attend Bible studies, now having more time for loved ones, I thank God.”
Irawo also relayed his journey into broadcasting and how he was able to strike a balance between the family and work despite various challenges.
The son of the popular Fatai Irawo, told participants of his involvement in the setting up of Dove Media, a channel funded by the Redeemed Christian Church of God which took a major toll on his marriage.
“When I got married during the early years of my career, I didn’t balance my work and profession. Everybody loved the channel then at Dove Media but didn’t know what it was costing me,” he said.
Irawo, whose X2D is commencing broadcasting on Star Times on June 1, added that, “God was faithful. He saved my marriage. I had been working and taking care of my wife and children but was not emotionally available.”
“I had three projects on my hand that were startups. I had Dove Media, Hi TV and X2D. The saving grace was my openness to my wife, it worked for me.
“It is a bit tough when you work for other people. I must confess the media doesn’t sleep, it doesn’t stop. Therefore, if you work for yourself, take advantage of it. Transfer knowledge, don’t be afraid of other people, create time for holidays with your family, create time for your children and wife,” he advised.
“People were hailing Deji Irawo, I didn’t know I was losing on fellowship with God. When we begin to fill our relationship with God with work, problem would start. You must know you are nothing without God,” he said.
According to him, starting X2D was a tough time for his family. “ Now I understand that the business has to take what it needs and the family must take what it needs as well without one killing the other.”
On how he traced his way back to fellowshipping with God, Irawo said, “ I had to bring worship close to myself. I had to audit my friends. I refused to have an image.
“I got a male Personal Assistant and I refused to expose myself and claim being a celebrity. I didn’t try to be a super star, only God is superstar. I don’t get on red carpet to draw attention to myself. I was able to maintain sanity,” he explained.
President of JFC, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin while welcoming participants said journalists must work hard to strive for balance between family and work.
“ Work is important, but our family is much more important,” he said.