How do you balance work and being a mom?
To be honest, I think it is almost impossible to ever achieve a perfect work-life balance. It’s something we all strive for, but the reality is that I am learning to be happy with getting it right 70% of the time! I find that if my work life is going really well, my family life takes a knock; and if my family life is going well, my deadlines suffer as a result. For me, the only thing that really works is being fully present with my family at specific times of the day. When fetching the kids from school, I leave my phone on silent so that the children have my full attention on the drive home (when I often hear all the details of their day). I’m also trying to ignore my phone and email from 5pm in the evenings and prioritise my family in the lead-up to dinner – something that doesn’t always work with homework assignments, tired children and all the other items on my never-ending to do list. I also spend Monday afternoons at a coffee shop with Kayla, getting all her homework done for the week ahead. That way, I can focus 100% on her without distractions, drink cappuccinos on tap and spend time with her. It’s one of the favourite parts of our week, and she loves that one-on-one time – even if it means doing homework!
What are some of the challenges you have faced during motherhood?
Oh my word – so many! The one that sticks out the most was when Kayla was bullied at school. That was an incredibly tough time to navigate – finding the balance between wanting to go in there and fix it all on her behalf, and empowering her to handle the situation. I still find it tough when she’s having a challenging time at school or with her friends; it’s so much easier when they are little and just need a kiss and a hug. The pre-teen years are quite fascinating. I’m not sure how my parents coped with three girls!
Where are your favourite spots to take your children for some fun?
Emmarentia Dam is a great spot to let them blow off some steam, ride their bikes and have a long walk. Acrobranch is always a win, as is BOUNCE. They also love Art Jamming at Melrose Arch and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. The Fourways Farmers Market is another favourite!
Which are your favourite stores to do some shopping for your little ones?
Cotton On Kids is my go-to place for cute outfits for Isabella (4). They often have special offers and I love their mix-and-match outfits that wear incredibly well, wash after wash. For Kayla (11), I tend to try Soda Bloc as our first port of call. They have funky clothing that is perfect for my outdoorsy “tomboy” that is forever up a tree or building a fort!
As a family, what are your favourite things to do over the weekend?
We’re always on the lookout for new markets, music events and other unique happenings in Joburg. That being said, we can usually be found at Thyme on Nicol in Hurlingham enjoying the best-tasting and best-priced sushi in Joburg! They know us by name there, and even know that I like my sriracha salmon medium to well done and that Kayla will always ask for a vegetarian hand roll. The service is always good, the coffee is superb and you can sit outdoors in summer. Did I mention they serve Grapefruit G&Ts?
What are your favourite mommy time-out activities when you need to relax?
Once a year, I try to climb a mountain! So far, I’ve ticked Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu off my list, and am due to walk the Camino trail in Spain in 2018. It’s quite extreme in that I am away from home for 2 weeks at a time, but it’s an amazing reminder of who I am outside of children, my husband and my to do lists! In between those bucket list trips, I have a phenomenal group of girlfriends and try to spend time with them whenever possible. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and these girls make me laugh while also encouraging me (and kicking my butt) to be the best possible version of myself. And then there are my fortnightly nail appointments with Nom at Sorbet Hyde Park, followed by an hour spent browsing at Exclusive Books while sipping on a cup of coffee – I wouldn’t miss those few stolen hours for the world!
Do you have any tips for other working moms?
Cut yourself some slack – you’re doing a better job than you think you are. If I could offer any advice, it would be to PDTP (Put Down The Phone) – preferably in another room – and make eye contact with your children. Half an hour of quality time will fill their emotional tanks more than ten hours of distracted time. Sadly, I learnt this the hard way. Follow The Hands-Free Revolution on Facebook for amazing stories of moms who have done just that!