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How Real Career Moms Cope With It All
Moms are the busiest humans we know. Always in a rush and doing a million things a day, but they never seem to complain (well at least most of the time). Being a new mom myself I must admit, that I didn't realise how mental life would actually get. But it slowly gets better as the kid grows and of course somedays they behave like angels and somedays you wonder whether you did indeed give birth to a demon?
Career moms on the hand have even more going on. Not only do they have to worry about the raising a somewhat well-balanced kid, being a role model, being a wife, running the house and being on track with their career path as this too is an important part of their lives. Sometimes there's also studying in the mix and through you have to look presentable enough to be taken seriously in society.
How Do Working Moms Manage All The Chaos?
This is a question I ask myself every day. And I then realised all first-time moms feel the same way! I have been working since the little miss was just over 2 months old. And I barely got anything done. Almost 5 months into it I'm back in action for a good part of the day, but I could not do it without help.
As any modern day human, you turn to Google in the hope of finding some miracle formula to help you get back some sort of order to your life. All the mom blogs I've read thus far drive home 3 main things!
- Take a break
- Make time for yourself
- Don't be afraid to ask for help
- Be Patient
- It gets better
- Enjoy it, it's over before you know it.
While these tips seem logical they are not always practical. When you on the cusp of losing your mind you not always able to just take a break. Babies and little kids are basically needy little shadows that depend on you to survive. So I did what any semi-sane person would do. I chatted to other moms. Moms from different backgrounds, ethnicities and experience levels in search of some sort of formula to get through it all.
With wide eyes I hung on their every word, hoping they would tell me it all gets better. Here's what they had to say.
Real Moms Tell It Like It Is
Being the avid researcher that I am, I took to all platforms and searched high and low for as many willing moms as I could find. And these awesome supermoms offered to share some wisdom with us! I found a lovely mix of new and experienced moms in the hope that an evident pattern of progress is shown.
I have so much respect for mothers whether married or single. Today, every night when my back, feet are throbbing I have to find the heart to realize and appreciate myself. How I find a way to juggle responding to urgent customers requests, fulfilling orders and packaging them for delivery while holding Asher. Then having to dart downstairs to make his milk because lord knows should he not get his milk on time he’ll let the whole neighborhood know how hungry he is. Then have to put him down for his nap, 30 min if I’m lucky an hour nap. somehow I find the strength to get up and cook for both my husband and I. ‘Can you not get help’- I’d say to my friends with kids and now it’s me, my turn! I have to step up, endure and get it done because there’s no one else. I’ve learned that I’m a mother now I have to do what I have to do no point in crying and moaning about it. There’s no one else. All I can say God is my strength and of course Asher’s little quirky smile and our ‘conversations’ we have.
~ Angy Webster, Founding Member of online bookstore: All African Books
New Mom of 1 - Experience Level: Just over 4 months
The best advice I got was to have a routine. From 4 months old I did everything at the same time and now everything is like clockwork
~ Ameerah Regal, HR Administrator @ Travelstart
Mom of 1 - Experience Level: 8 months
I love being a mother and a family woman – it is the core of my DNA. As a young African girl, my grandmother and mother were my greatest role models. Nothing pleases me more than seeing the smile on my eight-month old’s face each time I walk into the room. I am filled with feminine pride each time my husband clears his plate of food due to my “brilliant” culinary skills (what my man says is gospel).
However, I also love the media industry! I thoroughly enjoy the ever-evolving environment, chasing timelines/targets, the buzz of the events, my clients keeping me on my toes to stay innovative and ahead of the curve.
Even though both come with long days and late nights, feeling like I could do with an extra six hours to my day – there is nothing more fulfilling than strategising impactful marketing solutions by day and nurturing my family by night/weekends. It’s undeniably challenging and only a superwoman can do this!
~ Chipo Aisha Mujuru, Digital Strategist @ The MediaShop
Mom of 1 - Experience Level: Almost a Year
So, being a mom, a wife, having a career, maintaining the bonds of family and friends and just simply being a woman, how do you do it all? Honestly, I’m really not sure, .… you just do, in some form or the other, you move on from one day to the next and it gets easier….. You adapt and become accustomed to that little person and they become accustomed to you and your bond just grows exponentially…………And perhaps that’s the driving force behind the adjustment, the bond of between mother and child that goes to infinity and beyond!
While I don’t mean to quote Toy story, it’s quite real, the love between mother and child. For some, it happens instantaneously at birth, like in the movies (but of course!) when the exhausted mom looks at her new born with elation and reverence, while for most women, it’s a gradual bond that develops over time, yes TIME….. and that overpowers the sleepless nights, constantly feeling like a feeding machine and convalescence. While it’s definitely not easy, with good days and not so good days, the love and devotion over time is what helps you adjust and become this wonder woman to the outside world (even though you might not feel it - most women don’t, by the way). I for sure, did not feel like wonder woman, I was an emotional mess that thought this was where the buck stops.… That’s it, Im done. But, that’s how I felt then, now, over time…. where I feel more like myself, physically, mentally, emotionally and all that, my perspective has changed. I don’t think I’d want to stop here, I mean why? There’s just so much joy with that little person, they are literally the embodiment of you and your partner with all the good and bad parts and even though it’s so very, very challenging, it’s just so much FUN! Literally, you get to watch them grow and develop with all their own quirks and I have thoroughly enjoyed it and you will get there too.
Thus, my quote, would be the age-old wisdom of give it time,………….. it really does get better
~ Rizqah Kamies, Scientific Researcher @ University of Cape Town
Mother of 1 - Experience Level: 2 years and 8 months
I write this quote as I lay next to my 18month old baby girl. She has the flu and had to be held the entire day. If this was my first child, I'd be exhausted to the core. More than anything I want her to be back to her normal self. With time I've learnt that tomorrow will be easier, it bloody had to be.
Working mom with 2 kids is a juggle. I love being super organised, but realise I'm no longer that person. We get most things right on most days. Our kids are healthy and happy. Learning not to sweat the small stuff was probably the best thing ever.
~ Rafiqa Karbary, Managing Director @ Consumer Insight Agency
Mom of 2 kids - Experience Level: 4+ Years
"Its a girl!". A moment etched in our lives forever. That moment we became parents. A moment so indescribable. No word, no book nor person can truly prepare you for. The journey of parenthood is only truly understood after it's been walked. Through it you learn the true meaning of life & its value. You hold your heart in your hands & watch it beat, then walk, then talk.... Through this journey you will learn to love, to live, to let go and above all to laugh. Knowing you have been chosen, you.... mum!
~ Nuhaah Lorgat, IT Service Manager @ Provincial Government
Mom of 2 - Experience Level: 5+ Years
One day at a time! One step at a time...Don't strive for balance, there is no balance, only choices to make and feel at ease with. Best option I find is to integrate different aspects of your life wherever possible.
~ Tasneem Jappie, Business Solutions Manager @ Coronation Fund Managers
Mom to Mikael (6) and Sara (3) - Experience Level: 6 + years
Look I leave juggling to clowns. I think that’s a fallacy - that we can juggle things and that this somehow ALLEVIATES chaos. What any sense of progress really takes it consistency, commitment, forgiveness, joy. Practically, I prioritise my health so that I can show up for my son and the people I work with. I make sure the first and last hour of every day is spent with him, really listening or having fun or reading together. I plan a lot in advance. It does get easier over time but there’s always going to be a sense of chaos, and in those times it’s just about forgiving yourself, regrouping, reminding yourself what you’re passionate about and carrying on. Oh, and celebrating your wins :) In the beginning, it feels like you'll never get through it - but you do.
~ Kerry Beetge, Digital Marketing Strategist & Tech Journalist Consultant
Mom of 1 kid - Experience Level: 10+ years
- Take those 2 weeks early on and sleep train your baby. I used sleep sense and it changed my life!
- The "terrible twos" is really not the worst stage. Everyone says they outgrow it. What nobody tells you is that the next stage is more challenging than the last. And there's always a next stage!
- Train your little ones to pack away their toys from as early as possible. Nothing is worse than a teenager who behaves like a toddler and still expects their parent to pick up after them
I swear I would have lost my mind if I didn't have the support of hubby dearest. A support system is vital to juggle the naughties, job, family drama, in-laws, and try to maintain scraps of friendships. But it does get easier (to juggle) as the naughties grow older :) And when they reach puberty... hold on for the ride!!!!!!
~ Maistoerah Mohamed, Trainee Accountant @ Deloitte SA
Mother of 2 blobs of raging hormones - Experience Level: Evading insanity for 15 years and a bit
What Did We Learn?
From the above, it is evident that it does indeed get better, but each phase of yours and the kids' life presents new challenges. There is each step you take forward there will definitely be a regression in your progress. For me, the one thing that helped, and is helping is constantly reminding myself to be patient, with my self and the little miss. Let go of the small things, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Life is never going to be the same again, but it does not mean it's over, it's just different.
Ce La Vie
Co-Founder of nichemarket
How Do You Juggle it all?
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