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‘There is a never a dull moment with my sons’

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

‘There is a never a dull moment with my sons’

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DUANA PETERSON KNOWS how exhausting raising two boys are, especially two with boundless energy – Xavier, ten and Christian, eight.

The attorney is also a part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill.

“Being a working mother is very challenging at times but also very rewarding.  You sometimes feel pulled in two directions, especially if you are career driven but also family-oriented. I try to balance the various activities like school, lessons, sports and housework with my work commitments. It can be exhausting at times, but always rewarding,” said the 37-year-old.

While Duana tries to find time for herself, she often can be seen at the public library every two weeks.

“My mother did that with me when I was a child and I wanted them to enjoy that experience as I did. We also watch their favourite TV shows and have movie nights at home. They are active boys. They like the beach, road tennis, swimming and squash. I like to see them in their element at their different activities.”

Their daily routine is “organised chaos”.

During school time it is up by 5:30 a.m. with breakfast by 6:15 a.m. and out the door by 6:45 a.m. Dad is the designated school run.

“My work day is very hectic, sometimes I go from court straight to class. I try to leave work early to take them to swimming when I don’t have class. Their dad collects them from school and takes them to lessons or home when I am at class. They do their homework, have dinner and are in bed by 7:30 p.m. After they go to bed, I usually do cleaning, prep meals for the next day and sometimes a bit of work.”

Duana recounts a harrowing episode when Christian was born.

“He was sick as a newborn and had to be in the neonatal intensive care unit at the QEH. But he made a full recovery and has always been a fighter and very loving, intelligent and sensitive. Xavier means ‘bright’ and his name was chosen by my husband and true to form he is articulate, intelligent and witty but most importantly kind. He was born after 19 hours of labour followed by an emergency C-section.”

Duana said that as a mother she became more patient and flexible.

“There is never a dull moment with my sons and a good sense of humour is essential. I am trying to raise children that are capable, independent and well-rounded and kind, and who will not easily be led astray and who will always remember to listen to their own inner voice. I am looking forward to when they graduate from university and embark on their chosen careers. I also would love to see them get married and become parents.”

Duana says she gets help from family as sometimes she is overwhelmed.

“I realised that presence is better than perfection. Also understanding that my boys are very, very different in terms of their personalities, the parenting strategies which work for one child may not be effective with the other.

“I am grateful for the assistance of my mother Joyce Wiltshire who is retired and my father-in-law Trevor Peterson. Sometimes it’s those simple things which make a big difference.”

Duana stated that being a parent “is the hardest but greatest thing that has ever happened to me”.

“I came from a humble background and my mum always stressed the value of hard work and a good education. She always told me to remain humble and grounded no matter where life takes you. I stand by those words in my profession. Also, to never forget where you came from and always do your best. I hope that my sons will also remember this in life, whatever they decide to do.” (NS)