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Balancing between family, career, a woman’s right stuff

A man walked into a coffee shop in Jamaica and ordered himself a cup of coffee, and once the waiter served him, he asked for sugar only to be told that “stir what you got” meaning that deal with what life gives you.

This scenario also applies to womenfolk, who must deal with their problems, balancing booming career and caring for their families, especially those with babies.

One should not be scared or become hesitant to dice with death just to find means to survive. One must find ways to stir her way to make sure that her coffee cup becomes tasteful.

Women need to look at life positively and whatever card life gives them,and they have to look from within on how to step up, and create solutions through what they have as resources to address challenge and obstacles, which arise in their careers, families and life in general.

While celebrating the Mother’s Day, recently NMB bank dedicated the forum naming it further to run with a theme‘Glass Ceiling and Motherhood’, where a panel of threewomen and some female staff at the bank shared their experiences on how one should builda career and as well as beable to care for one’s family to create a stable and harmonious environment at home.

The aim was to create an inspiration to the other staff members as well as women across the country, adding that one (be it that she is single or married), one can establish her career and care for her family without being stuck in life.

A day in the life of a working mother

Working moms balance everything from their kids’ schedules to their families’ expenditures (bank accounts).

Being able to juggle work, family and life while trying to keep stable, what can we say, ladies? You’re pretty amazing!Commented, a mother of three, and NMB Manager Recovery, Special Asset Management, MS Pauline Mohele!.

“What has worked for me and what I believe that as crucial for any career mother is to create a to do list for work and home, that prioritizes the most to the least important task to accomplish within a day and at the end of the month, year, before the years lead you to the desired future,” she said.

Although, at times it gets confusing andhuddles arise (some foreseen and some sudden), but ‘a to’ do list gives direction and points out what is important.

When you love what you do, as a mother it gives you something of your own, apart from the family. It gives something to separate a woman from being someone’s mother and wife. “Not that I'm not proud of those things, but I also need to be like Pauline, too.”

There are millions of working moms out there who make this hustle and this grind work every single day. And women should know that they are not the only one missing one or two school events of their children.

“We're all doing the best we can for our kids and what's most important is that they know we love them more than anything else in this world.”

Balancing motherhood and a bright career

Navigating the maze between motherhood and a rising career without going insane is achievable says the Head, Customer Experience MsAbellaTarimo a mother of two.

“I think anything in life is achievable. What makes it achievable is having a clear picture of what success is to you, and do not be scared of challenges along the way as they are parts of making you to excel towards where you are heading,” she said.

Stressing that it is easy for a working mother to plan her future once she has clarity of what she wants to achieve, and can even foresee some of the obstacles before even reaching there.

Sharing her experience she said, “I had to make a choice on the career I want to pursue and I came out with what helped me to achieve it. I was lucky that I got a mentor early in my career, who challenged me to have an exact answer of where I see myself in ten years from then.”

It is a common question, but it defines a person’s life and shows how they envision their future, and if answered sincerely it helps a person to categorize and plan how to achieve one’s goals from ten years to months, weeks, down to a day, all focusing on achieving the perceived future, she explained.

She mentioned the second important thing to have in achieving the balance between motherhood and career as having a support system.

She explained that the support system at home can be members of the family, husband, maids; and at work it can be a Secretary, a Collogue just to mention a few.

People, who will be a helping hand for a mother or any person who has focused in achieving a targeted goal. “A mother just needs to realize the type of support system she needs.”

“The truth is, most women reach a point, where they think it is impossible and unbearable, but children take five years requiring close care and attention. What is five years of this investment compared to the remaining years in creating a stable future for them and leaving an impact as a mother?” she posed.

Clarifying what you are doing in life and bearing in mind that caring for the family especially nurturing and being a model for the child, is what brings the balance in a woman’s life, without necessarily losing sight of priorities.

Referring to her maid as a younger sister, she points out that she is the main support system, who knows what she does, how things are supposed to be done, and how she likes thinks to be done, including when and where.

“She is basically my right hand when it comes to chaos at home. I have made her part of my family;she is truly my support system. And yes, my husband is my main supporter system,” she adds.

However, she further advices single mothers to hold their heads high by having clear goals and create support systems, and as well try to establish careers, without neglecting their family desires.

Glass ceiling in motherhood at workplace, real or hypothetical?

Narrating a little part of her personal experience,the Senior Relationship Manager; Business Liability, Business Banking Ms Beatrice Mwambije, who is a mother of three, says that she was faced by many huddle when she had an opportunity to attend a workshop that she really needed, but she had a six month old baby to attend.

“The people who selected me for the program did it with good intension, as they knew I wanted the course. My colleague and I were going with a male staff, who was not facing the challenges I had,” she recalled.

But then, after thinking hard enough she had to make a choice if she wanted to be a victim out of the situation, she explained.

 “I made a tough decision that I could make at the time under the circumstance and used the opportunity. I took my mother and my baby to the workshop and attended it.

“I think the glass ceiling is there, but whether we are victims or not, it all depends on the choices we make,” she remarked.

Mothers creating their own obstacles

Some mothers are misusing this position of being a mother by evading what they are supposed to do at work and by giving lame and false excuses like their children are sick, commented MsMohele.

“Personally I would speak of fear as being my main obstacle, especially the fear for change. I have always had fear of change, whenever I am told that I have to embark onto something knew, I get scared and tend to hesitate,” she said.

Although, slowly through the years she has learnt to take change as a challenge, she declared. “I thank God that today I am among the people who appreciate change any where I come across it, be it at work place, home or within the society.”

Acquiring skills and knowledge for a working mother is important in whatever field you work in, as it will be the ladder to your success, she stressed.

“I remember being promised a position that I did not get because I lacked the required level of education. Being a mother and all, I decided to attend short courses that qualified me for the position and after a while I managed to land into this managerial position.”

Any individual may sometimes create their own obstacles commented MsTarimo.Adding that, fear is the biggest challenge here and if a mother does not have clear goals, and well planned strategies of achieving them, it will be easy for mothers to create their own obstacles.

She emphasized that having the clarity of the goal makes it easier to navigate and run smoothly in balancing work and home.

As well as accepting where you are at and evaluating where you are today and where you want to be, is important in stepping and overcoming obstacles.

How fathers fit in the equation

I believe that God has blessed everywoman with a lot of resources to overcome whatever obstacle facing them, “Motherhood is one of those experiences that I would wish for any woman who desires it.

But then, no person is an Island as the saying goes, every person needs a support system. “Fathers should also envision what they want for their children, be it in character, education, achievements, this includes the type of a parent, you want your child to be since the time they are babies to when they are independent adults.”

“Hence, the type of investments put in as a father to enable them to get there matters a lot. No one becomes anything without someone investing in them,” she pointed out.

Insisting that once you have the support of your partner then the type of conversations you conduct may create a balance in developing both careers and care for the children smoothly in achieving ,what you have envisioned for the children and the future.

Is quitting an option

"Should I quit or scale down my job?" is a question many mothers find themselves debating when they are blessed with that second child or are overwhelmed with maintaining the balance between work and home-life.

Working mothers who are overwhelmed and think of quitting their career to take care of their children need to evaluate the situation first before doing so, advised MsMwambije

The helplessness of a new born may tempts some mothers to stay at home and care for their children, but then what will happen when they are old enough to leave and establish their own families;she posed the question as she advised mothers to do a self-evaluation before making such a decision.

Quitting your job can't be an impulsive decision because it affects your family's security as well as your future career prospects.

Questions like Am I quitting because of a work related challenge?Can I afford to quite?How easy will it be to re-enter the workforce?Will quitting hurt my family’s security?should be thoroughly discussed between the parents before making such decisions.

“It depends on what principles you believe in, however, if you are a career person it may be hard to leave a child at home and going to work, but there are ways you can strike a balance and achieve both successfully.

Establish plans on how you can manage and balance a career and family, it will be challenging but it is manageable,” she affirmed.

Adding that, “Mothers should think of the future in terms of financial security and their relevance as human beings after the children are grown.

Plan the future while putting all into consideration like sudden death or illness of a partner before deciding that quitting your job is the best option.”

In the end, being a hands-on mom is a short-term job. Your baby will head off to elementary school in five years.

Then in another 13 years, they graduate high school. (If all goes well!) Don't make a decision that will have long-term implications by only considering your present situation.

Extra

When we talk about a mother, it is everything to do with nature and nurturing. But, this is not an excuse for fathers to escape their responsibilities or for mothers to exclude fathers from parenthood, commented the Senior Manager special projects, MsLilianMwinula.

More importantly children need the stable parenting of both parents. Careers should not be the course of us creating selfish kids, she stated.

“We should not carry tension from work places to our homes; we should talk to our kids calmly no matter what went through in the offices. When we pass our problems and stress to our kids it results in raising selfish children who are also engrossed with anger, frustrations, hatred, you name it,” she pointed out.

For those ladies who desire having children and they are of age should go for it, as having children is bliss of its own kind.

Being called a mother brings its own satisfaction; she gleefully concluded being a mother of five children and five grandchildren herself while managing a career.

“Yes, mothers are resourceful, but we cannot do it alone. For all the single mothers you cannot care for a child alone.

If the biological father does not want to be accountable, then get yourself a responsible man who is ready to be called a father and be your main support system,” she cheerily advised.

 

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Author: MARY RAMADHANI

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