How do you remember the early 2000s? There was a lot of optimism back then and a real hope that we could accomplish big things, collectively. Most of the dreams we had never came to pass. Oh, well.
One of the things that evoke nostalgia, for me, about then is Simu ya Jamii. Briefly lived but memorable. Safaricom was just beginning to win the telecoms war in Kenya. If you remember the ads from those years you’ll agree it was quite some war. Safaricom successfully used the wireless phone kiosks to transition us to owning mobile phones. This reminded me of some special people who transition everyday! No, not to owning mobile phones.
I’m talking about mompreneurs. They really deserve a shout-out this Mother’s Day. If you’re one, hats off, you’re among the hardest working people in the country. We don’t want to ignore the burden of working for money, attending to domestic duties and the needs of your child. Women in Kenya work close to 13 hours everyday on average, this is 5 hours more than men.
For mompreneurs, this doesn’t just mean exhaustion. It also means facing greater complexity on a daily basis. You know how trippy running a business can get. On top of this, consider accounting for a child who will not be independent of you for at least a decade. You know what’s even harder? Starting a new business and also becoming a new mom. That’s why we urge you take plenty of control over your life.
There are many things to envy about you moms wearing the entrepreneur hat. You get to enjoy a sense of wonder that is lost to most of us. How? You get to unravel the world again from a child’s perspective. This helps a lot in managing a business. Mompreneurs get to learn how to manage expectations, how to communicate and how to lead in entirely different ways. You know what? You should start mentoring all of us on a holistic approach to life. We admire your unwavering attempt to solve the work-mom balance.
You’re still human. We understand that things can seem out of control to you. We know you can feel alone, especially if you’re a single mompreneur, since very few around you really relate to your daily fight. The considerations you have to make every time you’re faced with a business decision is a big deal. Your child has to come first, every time.
Women in Kenya running small businesses don’t really have paid leave. They don’t always have the choice to work from home so as to give time for their children. Neither can they easily afford child care arrangements alongside working capital requirements of business. These are some reasons why it is argued that it is work that needs to change not mothers. So, how can work change for entrepreneurs?
We appreciate that it leads to high stress. But you shouldn’t let the frustrations that come from these kinds of challenges influence your relationship with your child and others close to you. Don’t fall for quiting on your work either. And be wary of negativity forcing you to choose between your personal ambitions and your child. Only the stock market is zero sum. You can actually achieve success on both fronts.
The easiest way for you, mompreneur, to pull this off is ask for help – from your partner, your friends, your support group. One feeling the pinch in your shoe, Hope Mwanake, says “Life is all about working with people and giving them a chance to show you that they can step up to the occasion once called upon.”
You should also always try to be in a cycle of positive energy. You don’t want your decision-making to take a hit because of poor attitude. Neither do you want to develop avoidable health problems because you have succumbed to depression trying to impress people you shouldn’t give too much weight to (okay, give them. Let them be fat haha). Block negative people as far as WhatsApp if you have to. We won’t judge, we’ll only cheer you on. Finding others who relate to you is an even better tool for positivity. They will always teach you a new trick.
About scheduling your life? You’re the boss of that. Only you can tell how much you want to get done on a daily basis. Do you really want to us to tell you self-aggrandizing stuff like “everyone has 24 hours in a day?” Who even measures personal productivity by time alone? As long as you work towards starting your day well and avoiding long hours of work you’ll succeed as a mompreneur.
Happy Mother’s Day1