Celebs get real on the challenges of being a working mom

Image: Supplied

Celebrating Mother’s Day is usually a saccharine affair, yet motherhood isn’t all bows and rainbows. While being a mom is amazing, it’s not without its challenges — especially if you’re trying to juggle doing so with having a successful career.

We reached out to three women in the public space who have been quite vocal about the difficulty of balancing their work and family responsibilities. They tell us more about the highs and lows of trying to have it all.

LEBO MASHILE

Activist and writer Lebogang Mashile is a household name. She’s been on our screens as a TV presenter and actress, and on the world’s stages as a performance poet and sought-after speaker. She’s also the mother of two boys.

What do you love about being a mom?

My children give me a renewed sense of faith and hope in what is possible every single day. Their love and optimism is inspiring and infectious. They inject light into my life with their playfulness.

What about your particular profession makes it difficult to be a working mom?

Being an artist often means lots of travel, irregular hours, erratic income, and basically working around the clock juggling multiple skills and projects at any given time. It means having to say “no” to demands on my time at work and at home.

Being a working artist and mother makes me feel like I am stretched very thin a lot of the time, but it has also been one of the best teachers around setting boundaries and keeping focused on my most important priorities.

Name one struggle you wish people understood about being a working mom

Working mothers carry our kids with us when we are at work, and often we carry our work with us when we are with our kids, even when we don’t want to. Being a working mother is always having to see the bigger picture. It is having to put your heart in your back pocket to get on with the business of providing for a family.

What is your one wish for Mother’s Day?

This country calls people “Mama” as a term of respect, but it fundamentally does not respect women. I wish people who like this term of endearment spent less time wanting to look respectful and more time unlearning patriarchy and actually listening to the challenges faced by women and mothers.

JULIA ANASTASOPOULOS AKA SUZELLE AKA TALI BABES

Creative Julia Anastasopoulos is better known as Suzelle, thanks to her hit YouTube series, ‘Suzelle DIY’. She also stars as self-obsessed kugel Tali Shapiro in Showmax’s first original series, ‘Tali’s Wedding Diary’. She had her first child, a daughter, in 2018.

What do you love about being a mom?

So much! But most of all, it’s the incredible love that I feel for this new little being and getting to experience the world again through my daughter’s eyes.

What’s the most challenging thing about being a mom?

The fact that you never really catch a break. From the moment they are born, your life kicks into a whole new gear and it’s a non-stop ride. I feel so exhausted at times, but you just have pick yourself up and keep going.

What about your particular field makes it difficult to be a working mom?

The irregular and intense hours, the travel and having to look my best all the time — it’s impossible!

Name one struggle you wish people understood about being a working mom

That juggling the two is extremely tough. Being a mom requires so much, physically and emotionally, then work pressure on top of that can be really hard. It takes a lot of organisation and a lot of help.

I’m lucky that I can still be flexible with work, but so often I think working moms are not recognised or supported enough. I think we still have a lot of work to do in that department.

PALESA MOKUBUNG

Fashion designer Palesa Mokubung, founder of the label Mantsho, recently made headlines when it was announced that she’d be doing a collaboration with global fashion giant, H&M. She’s currently pregnant with her first child.

What are you most looking forward to the about being a mom?

I’m looking forward to “eating” my child’s little feet, sucking on their toes, sucking on their ears, sucking on their nose, sucking on everything [laughs]. I’m just looking forward to the first cry, you know this is my first baby. And I’m so ready for my heart to just become all mushy.

What about your particular profession will make it difficult to be a working mom?

I don’t think it’s got to do with being a fashion designer in particular. I think it’s got to do with owning your business, being the boss. If something happens while I’m gone [on maternity leave], it’s my fault. I’ll probably only take a week off and then I’m going to have meetings at my house. In my mind that’s how I think it’s going to be.

What worries you about becoming a working mom?  

I’m just worried that I’m going to be on my phone and I won’t have time to just look at my baby. I’m worried that I’m going to be so busy that I don’t have time to look into my baby’s eyes. It’s going to have to be a conscious decision for me to be in the moment. And I just feel so guilty already at the thought of it.

What is your one wish for Mother’s Day?

My wish for this Mother’s Day is not to have back pain [laughs]. My back is so sore. It’s heavy to carry a baby.

X