Tao’s taking baby steps
Tao Howard needs at least six more hands to accomplish her daily tasks, get her paying job finished and tackle three kids.
“I juggle work and the kids with a song, a prayer, a sense of humour . . . and a small army”, she said. “Everyday I ask the Lord to help me strike the right balance for my day, keep my priorities in order and help me accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
“Thankfully, God has blessed me with a hero of a husband, an extended family of relatives and friends who exceed the call of duty, and a job that provides a very supportive environment for people with young families.”
The 30-year-old graphic designer who also does interior designing, event planning and hair and beauty, is the mother to three boys – twins Seraph and Isaiah, aged four and a half and Jayden, a year.
At the photo shoot the children enjoyed themselves – running around and climbing over mummy, laughing and giggling (daddy Dwayne was home enjoying his off day) and Tao said that they are normally like that.
“Funny with my boys is a daily occurrence. The things they do and especially say. Jayden has a habit of carrying on long cell phone conversations with no one in particular. One time the younger of the twin was complaining loudly with tears about the other and I told him to stop stressing me out so early in the morning. The older chimes in ‘and me too’. I found it funny,” she said, laughing at the situation.
Tao had a dream when she was pregnant that she “interpreted to mean I would have twins but it was still a weak in the knees moment when the ultrasound confirmed it. Dwayne’s family has twins and I may have a distant one in there.
“I really enjoyed both pregnancies, and I laugh now at the deliveries. I was only on bed rest once with the twins and that was because I ate too many burgers on vacation. I knew the sex of the babies as there was no way I would be having twins and wondering what is to come. I like to be prepared. And with Jayden, I was convinced he was a girl, so I went to get it confirmed,” she said, looking at Jayden playing with his brothers. “Oh well, so much for that,” she said laughing.
With three young children, life can be challenging and Tao related that she had yet to master “when they all want my full attention often all at the same time”.
“Homework with the twins is a good example – it’s not the work itself but managing two personalities, two temperaments, two sets of interests and needs and attention spans . . . while at times balancing a baby on one hip that just wants mummy . . . ”.
Tao and her husband are devout Christians and are bringing up their children in their faith.
“Things can get sticky sometimes, if you know what I mean. But it’s also incredibly rewarding to see anything you’ve intentionally sown into them, show up in them – as a parent you invest lots of time (and talk) into raising them right – so to see them make proper choices on their own, and reproduce what good you’ve taught them, even at a young age, really makes the effort worth it.
“You can’t protect them from everything in a potentially harmful and influential world. But how else will they develop character and learn to apply what you’ve taught?”
Tao said her parents instilled in her love for God and love for their fellow man, preferring others above themselves, respect for authority, honesty, selflessness, industry and perseverance – all which she wants to pass on to her kids.
Since having kids, Tao said she had become a more selfless person.
“I am learning to love in new ways. I think I am a bit more compassionate too and I really appreciate the little things. I’m also a much better multi-tasker,” she stated with a smirk.
Being parents also means being partners and daddy Dwayne is a big help. She stated that since having children her relationship with her husband had grown stronger.
“There is something unique and very special about having a child with the love of your life but if you don’t pay attention those little rug rats can steal the show. So I think Dwayne and I are more intentional about quality time now that it’s harder to get and we’re better guards of our relationship. It has brought Dwayne and I closer and strengthened our communication.”
The family that plays together stays together the saying goes, and the Howards like to play. They enjoy getting on the road for mundane drives which include lot of singing in the family car, or going to the beach, or a park. They love football, cricket, racing, and impromptu water wars.
Tao has praises for the older boys who help to entertain their younger sibling, calling them “wonderful big brothers”.
“My biggest fear is not being able to protect my kids. I have to give that over to Jesus daily. He’s a much better body guard than me, I’ll admit, and I trust His love and plans for them.”
At the end of the interview I asked about what special moment she looking forward to in their lives.
Tao said with a mischievous grin: “When they move out (laughing here) and of course when they visit (laughing again). Along with all the other great stuff that comes before of course. I’m not completely heartless (more laughter here).”
That said, off she went with the boys in tow, headed home to see what daddy had for dinner.