Firstly, I am a MOM. I’m a mom to a 12 year old boy – Kealeboga Oratilwe. My pride and joy, the one who holds the other half of my heart. It hasn’t been easy, but its been worth every tear, joy, pain, laughter and screaming mornings getting ready for school.
When I was a little girl, growing up in the township, we used to play house with my friends and I would always be the mother, the working mother 😊. We would wake up in the morning and go to work with our kids (the dolls), feed them and go back home to make food and have some tea. Little did I know that this was nature preparing you from girl to womanhood.
As a young adult, you dream about how your future will be, a thriving career with lots of money, prince charming by your side, a big family and a big house with a white picket fence like the TV shows you used to watch when you were a little girl. Little do you know that it happens only on TV, in reality, it’s a journey that no one could have ever prepared you for.
I had been working for 8 years when I fell pregnant with my son and gave birth at 28 years old. Unfortunately my mom passed on 5 years before including both grandparents. I had to rely a lot on my “newly found” instincts on handling a new born and raising it together with juggling work. Most times I did not know what I was doing and would always call my aunts or sisters or dad or his pediatrician for advice whenever I was in panic mode. I remember one evening I called the pediatrician for advice as my son had colic. I had done everything that everyone had advised me to do and still he was not better. The pediatrician said to me that I need to trust my instinct. She told me that I carried this child for 9 months and no one know him better than I did. So I needed to trust my instinct and be confident with him and he will trust me. That was the start of a beautiful relationship with my boy!
When I went back to work after being on maternity leave, I had so much anxiety in leaving my baby with the nanny that for the first couple of weeks. I would call home every 30 minutes to check up. The work was overwhelming as we had to build a new Sales & Acquisitions department at a Pay TV station and make it sustainable for the business plus being a single mother to a 3 month old baby at home that needed my undivided attention. As a new working mother, trying to juggle work and baby did not come easy. The late nights and early morning, sometimes weekends when it should be family time. I faced many challenges along this journey – both financial and emotional to a point where I nearly lost everything. My salary was no longer enough to cover my expenses where I had to take a loan against my pension fund to cover my debts.
My family and friends became my support structure in a way that I could never repay them. Growing up as a girl, your mother always taught you to never hang your dirty linen in public, so no matter the adversities, always hold your head up high. As a female entrepreneur and a mother you are challenged daily between taking care of your family and having a career. Raising a son for these past 12 years as a single mother has taught me a lot about myself, patience, resilience, unconditional love, independence and hard work. I still learn as everyday, he teaches me so much more about life. I thank God for him..Kealeboga (which means Thank You)