Being a working mother has never been an easy task. Four of our exceptional Sonae Arauco Moms sat down for a friendly conversation and discussed what it means to be a working mom… This is what they had to say.
Sheilah Maile (SM) – Raw Materials Controller
Happy Ngwenya (HN) – Weighbridge Operator
Ashleen Donnelly (AD) – Administration
Hendrina Wilken (HW) – Key Accounts Manager
1. Being a mother, how has it transformed your life?
(SM) It is difficult because I am a single mother. My son, Tshepang, is 21 years old and he is already an adult and disciplining him is sometimes a challenge. But I am very proud of him and would never change a day, he is my pride and joy!
(HN) It changed my life because I was no longer thinking about myself only, but their needs are my first priority. Before I make any decisions, I first think about how it will impact my children.
(AD) By learning to always trust my gut, if something doesn‘t feel right, don‘t ignore the feeling, if something needs to be said, say it. If there is a point of concern, follow through with it. Your intuition is one of the greatest superpowers of Motherhood.
(HW) It has changed my whole outlook in life. You learn what is really important. The value of life and the meaning of the word love. After a long day, the only thing that will always brighten up your day is your child‘s arms around your neck. I also have greater respect and understanding for my parents. It has taught me to have more patience, realize that you are never alone, to never wear white clothing, to ask when I need help and to know that you cannot control everything in life.
2. What is the hardest part of balancing being a mom and working?
(SM) I am very proud of working at Sonae Arauco. I was the first black woman to be employed at Sonae. Sometimes it can be difficult to run a household, look after my son and be the sole breadwinner. I am proud that I made it. I worked, raised my son & managed to survive, that is what is important.
(HN) When one of my kids is not feeling well and I have to go to work, it kills me because I want to know how he or she is feeling and I want to check up on them. Also, the sleepless nights that go with that, constantly checking up to see if they are OK.
(AD) Between work, home and homework… even the baking… I’m the first person in the home to wake up and the last to go to bed. It gets difficult to balance out everything yet somehow it all falls into place. Most days, to be honest, I wing it. Hahaha but I thank God for strength really to be able to manage all areas of being a Working Mother.
(HW) Not to take your work home and mastering the skill of multitasking!
An important factor is to let your children know that you will always be there for them, no matter what. Being a mom is a full-time job – there is no holiday or sick leave, no time off. Working full time sees that you miss out on a lot of developments, sports events, and helping with homework.
3. Is it important for children to see Mom working? Why?
(SM) Yes, it is also an example for my son showing how things should be. Being able to work and provide for a family is a basic function that both a father or mother should fulfil. If my son needs anything, I am able to provide it for him.
(HN) Yes. In this way, they will know how hard I am working to provide for them, and they will understand why I say I am tired.
(AD) Yes, it is, I think it makes children know that nothing in the world will come easy, hard work is key to a successful future and no-one will give you handouts in life. You have to put in work to get the best results…
(HW) Yes, I personally feel that it is. We aren‘t called wonder women for nothing! To show them the importance of a healthy balance, to be a role model, to make them proud. I always say that every choice I make is for the benefit of my family. I also want my child to know that it is important to prioritize, be independent and work hard in life to achieve goals.
4. How would you like to be spoilt this Mother‘s Day?
(SM) I would like to go to a hotel and sleep over for the night. Be spoilt with a spa treatment & have dinner somewhere fancy so that I don‘t have to cook.
(HN) I would like a full body massage and a nice meal, as I‘m working hard at work and at home 🙂
(AD) An hour-long full Body Massage… 🙂
(HW) A month vacation in Italy, a Mustang and a full night‘s sleep. No only joking.
Truly I think the words I love you mom, thank you and you are a good mother is the only words any mom wants to hear. I can‘t wait for my stolen rose out of the neighbour‘s garden, my undercooked breakfast and homemade card! Same thing every year but I love it!