South Africa: Working mama

South Africa: Working mama

Date: March 12, 2019
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By Shaudzirai Mudekunye

I was inspired this weekend by a Netflix show, Workin’ Mama’s, that at first I didn’t think I would like, and then, well, the whole season later, I decided it was not a total waste of my time. What drew me to this show- really? To be honest, it was the title first, because this is something I have wanted to talk about for a while. Secondly- it came up on my feed and Netflix’ algorithm is clearly for me- it has been instrumental in getting me the type of content I like… AAAAAAAAND now, here we are.

Dear Mambo,

I am a working mom.

I hope that by the time you read this you will understand that working is something I have had to do not only for you, but for myself. The time came, and facing all the horrors of what could go wrong when you are not with your child, I still braved the unknown frontier and waddled my baby- fat behind back into the office when you were four months old. I did it. I did not cry. I called two or three times that day and then just like that, day one was done.

I count myself lucky for working in the type of environment that allowed for me to pump at my desk, I do not know how well you will know Lurdes, Nazeema and Helga when you read this, but they were cool with it and just let me pump. I remember very clearly Japhta walking into the office while I was pumping, and walking straight out when he realized what was going on. I was even moved to a separate office at some point- which did wonders for my pumping schedule- but all these are stories for another day. Just know that I did not forget my duties when I went back to work- I am still your mom first!

Going back to work was not the easiest decision I have ever made, but faced with the reality of not having a dual- income household and the knowledge that I want to be able to do things for myself, I made that tough decision anyway. Lord knows I was wishing I had access to a trust fund, that I had access to random money that I could just invest and watch grow and live off, but alas, I am not that 1 percent of the world- as you well know, and I could not do it. I just could not. Someone had to pay for my car, and even though your dad would afford to take care of both of us, it would mean some sacrifices. That is just the material side.

As you will know by now when you experience your grandmother (Nanny) and I together, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and this is another reason I think I went back to work. I do not know if I thought it natural to NOT work. Even when Nanny is not required to work, she is always working. I vowed to not be that person in life, but also, I am her daughter and a lot of me is my own mother- it’s true. And even while on maternity leave I took up some work to ease pressure on her, and we did it together, as we always have. I suppose I just never had the example of a stay at home mom that I could follow, as long as I have known my mom, she has been working and your uncle and I have experienced so much of the world through both of our parents working. I guess that’s just what I know.

The other reason I continue to work is that I am unable to not work. I know. That’s a little crazy right? I have been accused of being a workaholic by many- a- person, who doesn’t know me, because those who do know me will know that I just get so passionate and want to see things happen, that I tend to get lost in continuously working or learning because my mind is wired that way. I have pulled my fair share of all nighters in my life, and the only thing that has changed now, is that I do those at home, with you. As I write this I have promised my boss that I will not stay too late, and the clock is fast approaching 7pm, but this blog post was the slight break that I needed from continuously trying to be perfect and working myself into a panic wondering what will happen when I am not perfect… See why I needed the break? There might be a longer piece in there about what happens when I feel imperfect… Who knows? But I have been writing for 5 minutes already and I feel like I can get back to work now!

Basically Mambo D, here is my long and short, I love to work on things I am passionate about, I want to be with you every minute of everyday, but I also want to fill my own cup. I want to know that I did my best for you and for me. I want to know that I started the projects that I needed to start, failed at what I was meant to fail at, succeeded at what was mine, and got all the t-shirts, so I can share it all with you. For sure, I could have done with a month or two more of being home with you, but it makes it all the sweeter coming home from long days at work to you waddle running over to me for hugs and kisses! … Or more realistically, your milk, I know- it’s the milk right? Whichever.

I love you,


This blog is written by Shaudzirai Mudekunye. Read more from her blog Mommy and Mambo

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