by Phindile Tapula, founder & director of Bhekizenzo Foundation
Working mommies, how do we celebrate Mother’s Day? Do we spend time with our families and just do what we do every day – be mothers by cleaning after everyone and making sure everyone is eating healthy food? Do we appreciate a night out and a candle lit dinner with our partners? Do we stay in our bubble of being a mother or do we reach out to other mothers and celebrate the day together? I propose this day can be used to chat to other working mothers, advising each other on our businesses and sharing stories.
Let’s face it, we all love talking about our children. Motherhood is magical but it can be stressful. We need each other, we need a mom who will share our venture on social media, or the one who will forward the number of an au pair agency that has worked well for her. We need this kind of support as working moms.
In modern, busy Johannesburg, mothers are becoming younger and have less support as their mothers are back at home in other provinces. We face so many challenges, like nanny drama, a sick baby, and the teething season. There is just so much to be anxious about as a young mom. It is so crucial to have a network of like-minded mothers who have been through it all and are willing to share what they did, whilst at the same time allowing you to find your own methods of raising your precious one. As mothers, we need to build a network that understands the numerous roles we have taken on, and a network that will work together to bend stereotypes, who will work together to challenge men to be part and present in parenthood. Entrepreneurship is the centre for such a network, every mother wants to be able to make more money, have more independence and most importantly not be stuck in an office but have additional time at home with the children. Mothers want to own their lives, give their families the type of lifestyle they deserve. Some mothers are the breadwinners, entrepreneurship is at the heart of financial independence. This platform should embrace this and allow mothers to collaborate and expand their businesses.
Being a working mom has changed my life. I now realise the importance of time. I went back to work after one month while breastfeeding. I was told to eat a lot of porridge to make more milk. As a result, I started gaining weight that I was told it would disappear and I should not stress. After 9 months, I have realised my confidence has taken a knock, I am always tired from overworking myself and being a present mom. Being a young mom has so many pressures. I am expected to continue “slaying” when I have cereal and fruit purees stains on my shirts. Taking ownership and confronting my post-partum body is important to me and we need to talk about these issues. This is just one of the many issues I have had to deal with. I have a lot of issues I want to chat about with other mothers. I have questions like how they coped with the guilt of going back to work and leaving their precious bundles of joy back at home. That is why on Mother’s Day we are meeting to network and chat about more of these issues.
This Mother’s Day, I want to open that platform and create a network of working mothers. I want mothers to come and share how they handle being a busy mom who is building an empire. What tips can they give and what can they learn from other moms? I want working moms to know reach out to one another, network and collaborate. No mother should feel guilty for working for her future - in fact, mothers can come together and assist each other in growing their businesses. I want mothers leaving with answers to their questions, feeling like they are part of a community and most importantly knowing who can help them grow their business either through sales or even better through collaboration.
I cannot wait to meet all the moms on Mother’s Day!