Behind the scenes: How work-from-home mothers are acing it

Monday, May 10th, 2021 00:00 |
Molly Atsabina, a sales and distribution manager, Jambojet. Photo/PD/NOEL WANDERA

Career mums working from home have been facing dual challenges of delivering what is expected of them at work and managing their families. Two mothers share how they have been coping 

It is said that women are better at multi-tasking than men. That they are good at switching between tasks and juggling multiple tasks at the same time.

This has been, especially put to test during this Covid-19 pandemic when work-from-home was encouraged to stop the spread of the virus.

Career mothers working from home have had to juggle between children, (who have been home for long holidays) house chores, and deliver their office work in time.

Not to forget that some had to relieve their domestic managers off their duties due to financial strains. 

But while working at home is a dream come true for mums who long to both be home with their children and earn an income, it isn’t easy.

Winfred Mule, Upfield regional quality manager for Africa, Middle East and Turkey (AMET), knows this too well. 

“I usually make a plan for each day by noting my to-do list in order of priority as well as check on any planned virtual meetings.

That way, I know what things need to be done without being sidetracked,” says the mother of three children aged eight, five and three.

She wakes up early just as she did when she used to work from office, have her breakfast and then settle for work.

She takes a break every two hours to check on her children. That way they don’t storm into her working space to distract and disturb her. She winds up between 5 and 5.30 pm. 

“It’s clear in my mind that I only changed my office space. I, therefore, have to be disciplined and not let work interfere with my home routines and vice versa,” adds Mule.

It is not any different for Molly Atsabina, a sales and distribution Manager with Kenya Airways low-cost airline, Jambojet.

Like Mule, she reckons working from home is great, but can be a bit distracting. “My nanny and I agree on specific tasks that I would handle.

This helps me concentrate on the work to be done both at home and at work,” says Molly.

A mother of a two-year-old toddler who loves attention, Molly has made a conscious decision to spend time with him, but also set aside time to work.

“I have an extra room in the house that I use as my work station, away from the distractions,” she says, adding: “I have also had to adjust from the traditional 8am to 5pm work hours, to my own schedule,” she explains.

She dedicates specific uninterrupted hours to work, which sometimes begins before the family wakes up and sometimes continues into the night when the family retires to bed. 

“With this structure, I am able to deliver my work and family responsibilities,” says Molly.

Asked if juggling home and office chores is a challenge for them, Mule and Molly say they have taken the challenge in stride, despite the fact that they have to deal with overlapping working hours, and resting hours, usually with temptations to do an extra thing because they are home.

“I am usually tempted to take my breaks in-between my work-hours, as everything is a room away.

However, I have an accountability partner, who checks with me every two hours if I have taken a five-minutes break,” Moly quips.

She says she has also developed a habit of shutting down her laptop at the end of the day, removing it from her working table and keeping it in a bag. That way, she manages the temptation of going back to finish a task.

“I don’t feel guilty when I am unable to complete the tasks that I had planned for the day.

There’s always another day to get the job done,” she says. Though it’s not a walk in the park Mule says mothers have immense power within themselves to get tasks done, and should never underestimate their potential.

Self-doubt, she says, is a derailer, adding that mums just need to trust in themselves then go out and get the job done.

“Cut yourself some slack, it’s ok when some tasks slip. You’re doing the best that you can,” Mule says.

Away from the hustles and bustles of their work, both are proud to be mothers and celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday as they have always done in the past.

“I consider myself a powerhouse, and I have got to celebrate myself, while thanking God for his grace thus far.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed, but I look at the silver lining and gather new energy to keep going,” Mule says.

Molly, who is expecting a second child later this year, says Mother’s Day means appreciating the strength and sacrifices made by women who juggle between the many responsibilities, and do not allow themselves to give up.

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