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Survival Guide for a Working Mom

Mankoana Nhlebela

Life Brings Change

Nothing compares to the priceless moment of holding your baby in your arms for the first time. It is the moment you realize just how precious life is, especially when you’ve had a somewhat challenging pregnancy (I will touch on this on another day). As a working mom, it was also a realization of just how much my life was about to change.

Gone are the days that a woman needed to choose between a career and starting a family. But truth be told, this transformation comes with its fair share of challenges, especially as a working mom.

I was determined to give my baby all of me whilst staying on top of my career. Trying to find the right balance didn’t come as easy as anticipated. Thankfully, I was fortunate to have six months of maternity leave, which truly helped to bond with my baby without the pressure of meeting work deadlines.

Adapting for Survival

Reality hit six months later, still breastfeeding and my little one simply refusing any form of baby Formula. We had already gotten her used to drinking from a bottle, as I would express milk for her whilst away running errands. As if the paranoia of having to leave my baby in a few days wasn’t enough, she suddenly decided that drinking from a bottle was no longer good enough. I bought every type of dummy, but none would do. So, I let it be (for my sanity really), and simply started giving her expressed milk from a cup, thankfully she obliged.

Back to the Grind

I went back to the office, and it was like I never left. The only difference was the engorged breasts and endless calls I made on the first day, to check that she was still breathing. Soon plans were being made for work travel, deadlines and simply getting back into the cycle. As with everything, you eventually adapt. I found simple ways of restoring joy in my job without it compromising the exciting journey of motherhood. Here are some ways that have helped me survive along the way.

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5 Survival Tips

Be Prepared

Pregnancy comes with many surprises, sometimes a sooner than expected arrival. Give yourself sufficient time to hand over your work activities to a colleague. This will give you peace of mind during your maternity leave and will allow you to bond with your little one as you should. If you are not in a position to hand over, suggest a temporary stand-in for the time you are away.

Pump Up

Your milk supply will start to adapt to your new routine. If you still want to continue breastfeeding, then pump to promote your supply. I particularly liked the Medela electric breast pump, available at Clicks or any other leading retail stores. I found the pump gentle but effective. If you are not able to pump during office hours then try to do so just before leaving for work. This could also be a great time to suggest to your employer to consider such facilities.

www.clicks.co.za/medela_electric-breast-pump

Plan Your Travel

My first planned travel seemed impossible since I was still breastfeeding, but I eventually opted to travel with my little one, taking help along, of course. If you can’t travel with them and your baby is slightly older and more aware, then use technology to your benefit and make some time to video-conference. Seeing your face will lighten up their day. Also surround yourself with supportive mothers as it goes a long way. Ask for help, from school pickups to simply letting you know that everything is okay.

Mankoana Nhlebela

Prepare to be Present

Time flies, and soon they are off to crèche and pre-school. Make sure to communicate special occasions at your child’s school that require you to be present to your superiors, on time. I recently attended my daughter’s themed school event in the morning and after it was done changed into my work wear to take care of business. Yes mama, you can do it.

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Stop the Guilt

As working mothers, we can definitely have the best of both worlds. Being a working mom doesn’t mean you love your baby any less, in fact, we labor in love. Be kinder to yourself and don’t pressurize yourself into being the perfect mom.

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Mankoana Nhlebela
Mankoana Nhlebela

Kids Editor

Mankoana Nhlebela is an Entrepreneur, Transformational Speaker and Mentor. With a creative flair, she’s the owner of UKARA, a fashion and lifestyle brand, and Co-Founder of Motherly Love Baby Shower, a non-profit organisation that aims to support underprivileged mothers-to-be. With a span of multiple roles, including a corporate job in Telecommunications, one of her favourites is that of parenting. As a mother of two, and a women empowerment enthusiast, she firmly believes in the power of affirmation and intentional parenting.

6 Comments
  1. Hey Mankwoana.

    I came across your blog this morning and i must say this is great insights for someone who is soon to be a working mom🎉 i am looking forward to reading more exciting tips on how to transit from a working lady to a working mom🌹

    1. Thank you Zondi. It’s really an exciting time so absolutely enjoy both journeys and thank you for reading ♥️♥️♥️

    1. Thanks Adele, it can be a bit stressful but thankfully things are starting to evolve in the right direction to support women ♥️

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