A career-focused mum, Ronke Onadeko has shared quite some personal truths about her life and journey to motherhood. Ms. Onadeko is the Principal Consultant of DRNL Consult Limited, UK, and Manager of Delt-R Company Limited.
The former Commissioner for Agriculture in Ogun State tells Alexander Okeke of PUNCH newspapers about her childhood, business career, and very unusual journey to motherhood.
She identifies herself as a woman who started out being career-centric and therefore not considering marriage early enough. When she did get married, it did not go as well but she really wanted kids. Years later and after turning 50, despite her career successes, Onadeko says having her three kids at over 50 is her greatest achievement.
Read excerpts below:
In 2015, you spoke about having your first child at 50. What were the trials you had to face and overcome from family and friends?
I was very career-focused, so I guess I didn’t get married early. My first marriage didn’t work. But I knew I really wanted children; I love kids.
But in-between all of these, I was very busy with work. I had tried so many things from food science to oil and gas, manufacturing and went back into oil and gas consulting.
So, time went by quickly. Everybody knew I wanted children and I was open to medical intervention.
The only thing I was not keen on was adoption because it didn’t appeal to me naturally.
I knew I was going to have children but I just didn’t know when.
Were you criticised for placing your career or business above family life when you didn’t have a child?
I’m a very tough person. So, I’m sure people didn’t want to (criticise me) because they didn’t want my trouble.
People were talking about it. I remember an event about ‘waiting on the Lord for the fruit of the womb’ that I attended.
Someone told me outright that I couldn’t want children because I wasn’t married.
In my mind, I said it is God that gives children and if God chooses to bless me with children, nobody can stop it.
How many kids do you have now?
To God be the glory, I had my first child at 50 and I had a set of twins (both girls) last year.
So, in two years, I had three children.
Why didn’t your previous marriage work?
I don’t know. Some things work and some things don’t work probably due to personality clashes on both sides.
Sometimes, it might just be the timing of the circumstances. Everybody wants to be in a marriage that works.
So when people’s marriages don’t work, it’s not good to start pointing a finger at who did what.
Both parties would have wanted the marriage to work but just didn’t have the ability to keep it together.
How did you meet your husband with whom you have your children?
We are not married and were in a partnership. There was a traditional family ceremony to formalised the relationship. He is the father of all the three children and supports his children.
But how did you meet him?
I think somebody had mentioned me to him in passing and he did some homework,See Also
and somehow, we got introduced by another person. That was how our relationship started.
What are you grateful for about him?
He is a vehicle through which God blessed me with the three miraculous children. I know it was not by accident that God chose him to be the father of my children.
I make sure our children are well cared for and he is especially happy about this. These children are our legacy.
I am dedicated to making sure our children are wholesome and God-fearing. He attests to the fact that a lasting legacy through our children makes him happy.
It’s not something I wish to put in the public space.
As a busy person, what do you do when you are not working?
I do a lot of things. I am a very avid gardener. I am a very good cook when I choose to cook. I used to cycle long distances, but because of the kids, I can’t do that.
But I run an average of five to 10 kilometres daily. I also mentor a lot of young adults. I find time for a lot of things.
I am very involved in a lot of women organisations and empowerment. I love reading. But officially, I am taking the year off because I want to be with my kids.
At 53 and with three kids, do you still get advances from men?
I meet more people in the course of my professional life. I’m not very outgoing in the social scene. My family is very engaged, so most of my activities are family-based.
I meet a few people now and again. But right now, I don’t want anything to distract me from my children.
I even work from home. I avoid things that will take me outside my home. Having three kids in two years after turning 50 is my greatest achievement.