Archive | The Parenting Juggle

the multi-tasking mother

Tanya Kovarsky is a freelance writer, editor and blogger (Rattle and Mum and Dear Max) based in Joburg. Coming from a background of magazines, Tanya began freelancing about two years ago in order to be able to spend more time with her four and a half year old son, Max. She likes pink stuff, gadgets, lipstick, sneakers, tech and running long distances (like Comrades!)

tanya

Describe a typical working day for you?
No day is ever the same, especially since I have joint custody with Max’s dad, who I’m still very close to. However, an average day starts with me waking up at around 5.05am, 5.10am, 5.15am and 5.20am to four alarms, before finally getting up to go and run 10km. I’ll come home, dress Max if he’s not already dressed, shower, get dressed and prepare us both breakfast. I then take him to school, which takes around 20 to 25 minutes. After that, I’ll either go home to work, to one of my favourite ‘coffices’ to work, or to an event. I fetch Max around 12.30 or 1, depending on his extra murals. I’ll then take him home or to a friend for a playdate. After that, I’ll work at home or attend an event. Many nights my work will continue.

What does your job entail?
It’s difficult to define as what I do is quite broad, but my job involves blogging for my site Rattle and Mum, managing social media for some clients, and doing freelance writing and editing, which differs from month to month. I also do digital and writing training. Although it’s not entirely ‘work’, I often attend launches and functions for my blog.

Who looks after Max?
Max is at nursery school half day, and we have a helper who watches him in the afternoons. If I can’t fetch him owing to work commitments, he’ll either stay in aftercare until I can fetch him, or go to a friend for a playdate.

Who does the cooking and the cleaning?
I’m very lucky to have a full-time domestic worker.

What do you like the most about your current set-up?
I’d say the flexibility, but it can often be a burden as well – sometimes routine and consistency are wonderful too.

What do you find the most difficult about your current set-up?
The difficulty of getting work done at home when my son is around (through no fault of his), and the high expectations I set myself as a flexible working mom trying to fit in work to support us, as well as be a daily present and active mom since I work flexibly. I remember being in the 9 to 5 role, which was more difficult in many ways, but easier in some – I had a fixed salary, didn’t have to chase work, and my work for the day ended when I left the office.

When do you spend the most time with Max?
Weekends.

Do you have any family rituals?
Max and I have a strong bedtime ritual – we read a book that he’s chosen, and afterwards I sing a bedtime song that I learnt at summer camps, and which I’ve been singing to him since he was born. It’s the only time I ever sing – I have a terrible singing voice. Fortunately my son is forgiving!

Do you find any time for yourself?
All the time! I guess it’s facilitated by Max’s dad looking after him too, but even when we were together, I realised that to be a decent and functional mom I needed some me-time – whether it was an undisturbed bath, or running races or getting my hair done.

Do you look at other working parents and wonder how they do it?
I try not to do this – I never know other people’s setups entirely, and comparing and trying to emulate others makes things even harder for me. This is not to say I don’t get inspiration from other moms who balance well; rather I will try and do my best for our setup, knowing that everyone’s situation is different.

What advice do you have for other moms on how to juggle all these important roles?
I think the ‘juggle’ is easier when we define how long we need each ball in each hand. I think that guilt, as inevitable as it is, throws juggling off centre, along with comparison to others, and all the ‘I should’ statements we tell ourselves. Don’t get weighted down by the balls, and be kind enough to yourself to let go once in a while and drop them for a bit to pat yourself on the back, and exhale.

Thanks Tanya!

— Liza

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the artisan cafe owner

Sonja Edridge is first and foremost mom to Florence, 8, and Sebastian, 5. Her husband, Will, is a commercials producer and the best dad on the planet. When Sonja’s not busy being mom, she runs the very successful Larder artisan cafe at the Block & Chisel in Diep River. She’s also a food stylist with a rather impressive portfolio – during her travels in Australia she fell in love with all things food. While au pairing for a British chef, Victoria, who grew all her own veg in her garden, Sonja was inspired to learn as much as she could before heading to London to Leith’s School of Food & Wine to hone her skills and make things official. After graduating she cooked in a castle in Tuscany, did food styling for TV, helped launch Delia Smith’s website and then moved into magazines as a food editor for Waitrose, M&S mag and Sainsbury’s before freelancing as a food stylist and writer on cookbooks, ads and pack shots. Some career highlights include working alongside amazing photographers like Jonathan Lovekin (Nigel Slater’s partner in crime) and David Loftus (Jamie Oliver’s no 1) as well as private cheffing for none other than Johnny Depp.

On a family holiday to Cape Town one year, Block & Chisel approached Sonja about taking over their cafe in their Diep River store. So over a glass of wine, she took the crazy plunge and their family moved back to South Africa to open The Larder in October 2011. It’s one of our favourite hangouts and is a melting pot with a small menu that focuses on seasonal ingredients that are local, free range and fresh. Sonja only sources from producers who are passionate about their products and prides herself on real, honest food made from scratch.

sonja and fam

Describe a typical working day for you.
The alarm whistles at 6am. Will spoils me rotten with coffee in bed (and a cuddle from the kids) before the madness begins. I take a while to wake up while the monkeys are in fifth gear, talking nine to the dozen, so mornings are a bit of a blur. Remembering what food needs to get to the cafe, what orders need collecting – it’s a mad house! My second cup of coffee, which I cherish at the cafe, tends to kick me into gear. I try to get home by five, earlier when I can, so I can cook for the family and spend a little precious time with the kids before bath and bedtime.

What does your job entail?  
One day is never the same as the last. I try to cook, I chat to customers, I source ingredients, do paperwork and before I know, it’s time to race home. Running one’s own business and food business seems to generate a scary amount of paperwork which can be paralysing. But this dull stuff is a must and when it’s done, I can do the fun stuff, like change the menu or help my chef cook.

Who looks after your children?
Will or I drop the kids at school on our lift week. This year meant two kids in the same school – a massive holiday for us! The drop is the same time but fetching is a juggle. Extra murals are different each day, we need an excel spreadsheet to manage it. It’s hectic! We juggle the lifting between Will and myself, in between work commitments, and we also have two great girls who alternate lifting and homework when we can’t.

Who does the cooking and the cleaning?
We have a miracle worker twice a week and the rest we try to cope on our own but needless to say there are plenty of days that the house is a tip.

What do you like the most about your current set-up?
Not sure as that would mean stopping and thinking too much 🙂

What do you find the most difficult about your current set-up? 
Dividing my time – trying not to feel guilty about working and getting enough quality time with the kids without feeling too exhausted. There are too many days when my sense of humour has gone on strike.

When do you spend the most time with your children?
On the weekends, for sure.

Do you have any family rituals?
Sunday mornings are precious. NO work. So it’s tea and biscuits in bed with the monkeys (it’s always coffee but we call it tea).

How do you and your partner make time for each other?
Under construction – I need to divorce from work a little.

Do you find any time for yourself? 
Will recently signed us up for the gym and I am going to return to Pilates this year – I did it for 12 years religiously and now nothing, so I have to get back into it.

Do you look at other working parents and wonder how they do it?  
Constantly.

What advice do you have for other moms on how to juggle all these important roles?
Ooooh, I doubt I have anything important to add here, Im still trying to figure it out, but if they have any for me – I’d love to hear it!

— Liza

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the mama of twinlets

Bailey Bezuidenhout moved from New York back to SA about four and a half years ago, to marry her husband Jan-Jan. She was working as a brand strategist and then management consultant, until she fell pregnant with her twin girls. Now she is a full-time mama to 8-month-old Anna Clementine and Florence Willow. Jan-Jan is a private equity investment professional and together they’re raising these beautiful (and exceptionally stylish) baby girls in the city of Jozi. When Bailey isn’t juggling feeding, nap time, play time, she runs a blog with her sister Cheska called Kimmy & Bear – an inspirational site for stylish mamas and babes. Bailey is a creative spirit at heart, she writes, takes photos and dreams up a million things she’s going to do. Cities excite her, as do adventures to new places. But for now she’s thriving on family love and simplicity.

bailey family

Describe a typical day for you?  
My day starts around 6am when my babes join us in bed for their morning feed. And it is pretty much non-stop from there. I get up, wash my face, drink a smoothie, get dressed, while simultaneously changing two nappies (there are often four before 8am), make breakfast (we are onto solids), feed the babes breakfast, put one babe to sleep, put the next babe to sleep, I eat breakfast, one babe wakes up, I wake the other babe, I dress the babes (matching outfits of course), play time / outing / walk / chores and then the whole cycle starts again. In the evenings, once the babes are asleep, I have some time to blog and work on new projects.

What does your current job entail? 
My main job entails bringing up two babies to be well-rounded, happy little beings that have kind hearts and curious minds. I am also working on Kimmy & Bear with my sister Cheska. It entails a variety of aspects from planning and writing content, to brand development, to sourcing products.

Who looks after your children?
I resigned from my job a month before my twins were born. Being at home with them has always been a priority for me. My mom is supergran and arrives at my house every morning at 8am to help me (and let me have a break if I need it!).

Who does the cooking and the cleaning?
I have a full-time domestic worker who looks after the apartment and me! She makes me lunch, and dinner too sometimes, but my husband is the cook in the house.

What do you like the most about your current set-up?
From the perspective of being a stay-at-home mom, time has just flown since my twins were born. In a blink they are no longer newborns but big babies halfway to one years old. This baby time is so fleeting and I like that I don’t have to miss out on a second of it. From the perspective of my job as a stay-at-home mom, things are in a good rhythm at the moment. I like the predictability of it and the calmness it creates in our home.

What do you find the most difficult about your current set-up?
Twins don’t allow much room for spontaneity. It is also difficult doing things on my own with two babes. I have a great big double pram but in general I need another set of hands.

When do you spend the most time with your children?
I am with them all day but it’s those intimate moments I appreciate the most. The soft warm weight of a baby against me as we snuggle in the morning, feeling a padded palm knead against my breast as I feed, watching my girls talk to each other in a way that only twins can, hearing a belly laugh in reaction to my crazy dancing.

Do you have any family rituals?
Out for coffee on Saturday mornings. Sunday lunches at my parents’ house with the whole family. Morning snuggles with the twins in our bed. I think our rituals will develop more as our little family grows up together and shared experiences are repeated.

How do you and your husband make time for each other?
We are not very good at this right now. We spend our evenings together but often I am catching up on emails or blog posts or work for Kimmy & Bear or showering while my husband cooks dinner. We are guilty of getting into a TV series and most often revert to this as our way of unwinding.

Do you find any time for yourself?
I manage to find the time if I need it – I have a nap while my mom looks after the babes, I take a long hot shower once they’re asleep in the evening, or I pop out to get a pedicure now and then. But in general I am with my babies most of the time.

Do you look at other working parents and wonder how they do it?
Definitely! The work/parenting juggle is something I gave a lot of thought to when I was pregnant and had to decide which path to follow so I do admire women who manage to have a career while having babes and small children. My friends with babies are in all different situations in terms of their work/parenting setup but I think you have to work out what suits you. Ultimately I would like to get Kimmy & Bear to a point where it functions as a small business, but one which I can run from home in my own time.

What advice do you have for other moms on how to juggle all these important roles?
What helps me get anything done is framing tasks in manageable sizes, that I can feasibly tackle given my time constraints. I won’t attempt to tidy the house, but will rather aim to sort out a drawer (literally and figuratively speaking!)

Thank you for the sneak peek into your busy life Bailey!

Follow Bailey on Instagram @buryanddiscover, and the twins @whatthetwinswore

— Liza

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the mammoth multitasker

Nadine Bowley is an art and drama teacher at Amanzimtoti Primary School, she’s been married to her high-school sweetheart, Gareth, for 18 years now. Gareth leads Oasis Church and together they have four of the most gorgeous, delightful children you’ve ever met. And I am allowed to say that because Nadine is my sister and these four children are my nieces and nephews. I became an aunty for the first time when Hope was born. She’s now 14 (!), then there’s Samuel (12), Luke (10) and Alexandra (7). Nadine always wanted four children and loves being a mom. She also loves creativity and art and has too many hobbies but not enough time. Being a neat freak, an art teacher and the mother of four has its moments. Read on to see how she manages her daily juggle… 

best of beauty

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— Liza

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the beauty ed

So our next mama in our Parenting Juggle has actually met Oprah. She’s that cool. She does work at O Magazine, but meeting Oprah is still pretty impressive. She also has a long list of other impressive achievements to her name. Like being a working mama, a wife and always looking fabulous. Chereen Strydom is the Beauty Editor at O, The Oprah Magazine as well as a part-time life and style blogger at For the Beauty of It. Chereen is married to Sean who is an illustrator, artist and musician and they have a very cute little 8-month-old bubs called Noah. Here, Chereen allows us a little insight into her crazy days and how she manages to juggle her many roles with such panache!

chereen_parentingjuggle

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— Emily

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one of the boys

We’re very excited to have our first Jozi mom up on The Parenting Juggle today. Nicki Dadic is a freelance social media content and community manager, a tattooed mom to two adorable boys – Luca Jack (4) and Mika Alex (almost 2) – and David Dadic’s other half. Nicki is a lover, not a fighter; she hates confrontation and is a yes-woman, sometimes to her own detriment. She loves her three boys fiercely but secretly wants to have a little girl so that she’s not so outnumbered. She also blogs when she finds the time.

bailey

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— Liza

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the jack-of-all-trades

Our next Parenting Juggle guest holds a special place in my heart. You see, when I was still very young and naive and dying to work in magazines, Justine Stafford must’ve seen the burning desire in my eyes and gave me the chance that I needed. So my career in magazines started out with me as the receptionist at seventeen magazine when Justine was editor. About a year later I managed to land the sub-editor position when the current sub left to pursue work in London (thanks Ingrid ;-), I’ve never looked back!). Having Justine as a mentor was at times very tough but mostly very rewarding. She taught me too much to go into detail here. Now, after 10 years and some different jobs for both of us along the way, we are back working on projects together at John Brown Media. Justine is the Content Director for Fashion Retail at John Brown. Her husband, Paul, is the National Sales Manager at Mimecast SA, and together they have two super cute daughters, Erin, 5, and Isla, 2. Here, Justine shares her daily juggle…

staffords

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— Liza

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