Spouses of journalists have been urged to understand the nature of the job of the gentlemen of the press and cover up for them at the home fronts when necessary.
Health reporter at the British Broadcasting Service (BBC), West Africa, Mrs. Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha gave the advice at the May fellowship of Journalists For Christ (JFC) in Lagos over the weekend.
At the event themed: Achieving family life and work balance, President of JFC, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin welcoming participants said, journalists must work hard to strive for balance between family and work.
Gbenga-Mustapha, erstwhile Health Correspondent at the Nation newspaper who was a guest panelist at the fellowship took her time to explain how she combined her role as a journalist with that of a wife, mother and a pastor’s wife which she was able to match successfully.
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 if 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,” she said, urging professionals to be open to their spouses at all time and make them understand the work dynamics.
Now a reporter with the BBC in Lagos, 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,” she said.
Another panelist at the event and Chief Responsibility Officer of a Christian entertainment channel, Exclusive To Divinity (X2D), Mr. Deji Irawo relayed his journey into broadcasting and how he was able to strike a balance between family and work.
“I returned to Lagos from the north after my youth service and somehow, I got into broadcasting,” he said.
Irawo, son of the popular Fatai Irawo, told participants his involvement in the formation of Dove Media, a channel funded by the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Unlike Gbenga-Mustapha, Irawo did not immediately maintain balance between his career and his family life.
“When I got married during the early years of my career, I didn’t balance my work and profession. Everybody loves 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 by 1st June, 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 starting. 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 journalism, 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 realized money is not the source of my joy, God is. 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.
Participants took time to interact with the panelists and raised relevant issues around the theme of the fellowship.
Since 1998, JFC has remained is the association for Christian journalists and allied professionals with members in media houses and faith based NGOs.