Juggling Act: how one mom tries to find the balance between work and motherhood

August 28, 2013

Lesego Matabane & Rori 2

The question of how moms juggle work and parenting is a million-dollar one, and I guess we all have our own answers and solutions for making it work as best as we can.

In this new blog series, Juggling Act, I’ll be asking working moms how they best balance everything. This time, I chatted to Lesego Matabane, the marketing manager of Club Med South Africa, and single mom to five-year-old Rorisang (Rori).

The biggest challenge about being a working mom is…

The greatest challenge as a working mom was knowing that I would not be able to give all my time to my son and that he would be partly raised by his nanny and grandmother.  Of course this wasn’t an issue as I have a wonderful nanny and I trust my mom completely; she did raise me after all and I’d like to think that I turned out alright.

When I was growing up, my mommy was always around so I was able to spend loads of time with her, which was wonderful.  As much as I would love to spend every moment with Rori, I want to give my boy the best I can in terms of what life has to offer. I had an amazing childhood and was fortunate to enjoy several great opportunities however, it is important to me that he has the best education and every opportunity to explore more.

My tips for a reasonable work-parenting-self life balance are…

There is no such thing as a reasonable work-parenting-self life balance.  I do the best I can everyday and tell him how much I love him and how proud I am of him. Kids tend to think that you are their property, especially when they are young, so once Rori is finally asleep, I get some ‘me time’! I actually can’t wait until he thinks that he is too cool to be seen with mommy so I can enjoy more, quality ‘ME time’. YEAH!

The hardest thing about being a working mom is…

One of the most difficult things about being a working mom is having to say to my boy, “Mommy can’t play with you right now baby; mommy has to work”. He loves it when we play together and sometimes it can be very challenging, especially when I am working on a deadline. I do however do my best to catch up on work after he has gone to bed. This ensures I can spend quality time with him and do some of the things he enjoys most like watching cartoons, playing games on the iPad or getting his MacD cheese burger ( just for the toy).

Lesego Matabane & Rori 1

The most rewarding thing about being a working mom is…

The greatest reward is knowing that my son will one day see the benefits and appreciate why mommy had to work. It is a great feeling to be able to financially secure his future, no matter what.

The things/people I depend on most for support and enabling me to parent and work are…

I depend on my child’s nanny, Mankeng, and my mommy the most. Mankeng is an absolute God send and has been with us since my boy was only three months old. She loves my boy like her she would her own child.  My mommy on the other hand is my pillar of strength and if I can only be half the woman she is, I would have achieved great success.

I want to be remembered as a mom who…

..loved her child unconditionally! A mom who tried to give the best to her boy, a mom who taught her boy how to first respect himself but more importantly respect women, ladies, girls, old fashioned values, please and thank you.  A mom who taught her son he needs to always have faith and believe in himself, no matter what.

If I could offer tips or advice for companies to help working moms, it would be to…

Kids will always be their mother’s first priority but it is not to say that our work will suffer. Sometimes we will need to work from home because our child is sick and will need to attend the important occasions in their life, like their soccer games, but the work will still be done.

I would advise companies to be more flexible with moms and have on several occasions made reference to an ex- colleague’s approach. She was a director at the company and would decline any meetings commencing at 7am in the morning. Her boss did not understand her stance on this so she decided to talk to him using an unusual approach. She asked him if he had kids and he answered “yes”.  She then asked who dropped off the kids off at school and he replied his wife.  She then said to him, “Just like your wife, I am that wife and that mother that has to first drop off the kids before coming to work and as such cannot attend meetings at 7am in the morning”.

If I could offer tips or advice to working moms, it would be…

It is important to not be too hard on yourself.  You can’t do everything and be everything to your child.  Just because you missed your son’s first step, does not make you a bad mom; it just makes you human. Ask for help when in need.

This may be controversial for some but just remember that as much as you are a mom, you are an individual first.  When you meet me, I introduce myself as Lesego, who happens to also be Rori’s mommy. Don’t feel bad because you need “ time out” away from your child.

When my son gets upset when I go to work, I… (i.e. what do you tell him, or how do you cope?).

I remind him that grandma and Mankeng are there for him too. He needs to know that there are others who love and care for him; that when I get back, it will be just us and we will watch the Lion King for the umpteenth time. I am constantly telling him I love him and he needs to always remember that.

 

If you’d like to be featured here, please email me. I’d love to hear and share your story.

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