by Phindile Ndlovu
Last week, I attended the Facebook and Lionesses of Africa International Women’s Day event in Johannesburg on 8 March. I started having small conversations with the ladies attending and quickly realized that around five of the ladies I spoke with had new born babies, just like me. We ended up exchanging nanny tips, we talked abut our hectic schedules, and shared how these days we hardly get time to put on lipstick.
I am 23 years old, mom to a 7-month-old sweet boy, and I have another sweeter baby who happens to be my husband. I also own a chemicals company, run a Foundation and have a day which requires me to be at the office by 09:00. I miss the days when I used to rest when I sleep - nowadays I sleep with my mind continually strategizing and planning. Where are the mompreneurs that can relate to this situation?
At the event, the ladies I met with have similar frustrations. We encouraged each other and made organic connections. Just as I thought we were the only ones in the tired mommies club, I went over to chat to Gail Mabalane, the well known South African actress and businesswoman, to compliment how graceful she looked at balancing her life, and she shared how it is difficult for her too sometimes.
The question you might ask is why did we become mommies and wives if our careers mean so much to us? Perhaps you could ask why are we not stay at home wives and moms?
While we agreed that being a mompreneur was difficult, we all felt that being a mom and wife were the most important roles to us. However, being in business was just as important too and none of us felt we had to choose - we felt we could and should do it all.
I was struck by the fireside chat in the event programme by Facebook Africa’s Nunu Ntshingila and Carolyn Everson, Facebook's VP of Global Marketing Solutions. Carolyn mentioned how she makes it work. She said she never finds the balance, it is about making time eventually. This answered my question about managing such a busy schedule as a female entrepreneur.
I am often so exhausted, passing out while watching my favourite tv show at 20:30 and waking up in the middle of the night to work on my deliverables. I recently have my husband washing dishes at night while I sneak in a nap. I have dedicated 20 minutes for gym and yet I am still inconsistent. On some days, I just get home and sleep and wake up feeling guilty because I should have been working on a proposal. Sometimes I am at the office busy with deadlines never getting time to update my chemical company’s social media pages. There is just no balance. Something always suffers and I end up feeling guilty or frustrated for not being able to do it all and being a super woman.
Which leads to me to a question, why do I try to be a super woman? I mean, my husband when he is at work- is at work - he is not texting me and checking what we are going to have for dinner. When he is playing with our son, he does not stop to ask if I had a good day or not. He is present, fully immersed on the task set before him. He is not balanced - he does what he needs and wants to do, one thing at a time.
We need to stop, as women, putting pressure on ourselves to multitask. We need to be okay with focusing on our business while our husbands take care of the children or preparing dinner. We need to be okay with switching of our phones, dressing up and going on dates with our husbands. We can delay the family by 30 minutes while we update our social media pages. We need to be okay with missing gym for 2 days in a row. We need to start soaking in a bubble bath a night, read a book and not think about the targets, goals and bills. We must be present in our lives at that moment.
Balance does not exist, we just need to make time eventually. It is about getting to thiings when you can. Balance is not about procrastination but prioritising. Balance is about juggling, and juggling is knowing which ball to catch and throw next.
For the busy, exhausted moms out there, I am in the trenches with you. Keep pushing and remember to be fully present. Take a break if you must, have a snack or a glass of wine. Switch off your phone, refuel but get back to business. Do it one task at a time. Do not try to balance, just juggle.
Phindile Ndlovu is passionate about Community Development pertaining skills development and education for the youth. She is experienced in driving life changing community development campaigns. Passionate about self-development and leadership, she works and speaks with young people across the Gauteng Province in South Africa, motivating and coordinating her vision and goal setting workshops through her organization, Bhekizenzo Foundation. Her skillset is based on project design, brand awareness and organizational surveys, amongst many others. Phindile has strong, professional media and communications expertise, particularly with event coordination and campaign strategy planning. She has obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies and Sociology at the University of Witswatersand Johannesburg. Learn more.
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