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Can Working Moms Really Have it All? I Don’t Think So…

Problem solving

So, today’s working mom have it all? A thriving career, kids and a happy home, or does she have to pick one or two over the other? That work-life-parenting balance, with competing demands for time, energy and even money? At Mummy Tales I welcome thoughts on different perspectives about life, motherhood and the experiences that we go through as we raise our families.

Today, we hear again from Yunita who had an interesting thought experience when she traveled abroad recently. Read her thoughts in this article that she wrote and wanted to share with us. Also feel free to share your comments on the same issue.

“Indira Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO, wife and mother of two famously said that working wives and mothers “could never have it all”. And I agree. Her thesis was that there was no way she could have been the wife, mother and CEO she wanted to be –all at the same time. Many times, she had to choose, she said. Often, she had to be the CEO who had to be away from her beloved family for long stretches of time. Couldn’t have it all.

My context is thankfully much easier than hers and my outlook might point elsewhere, but the common denominator is: You just can’t have it all!

I was recently attending a work-related seminar abroad and I was the only woman, wife and mother in attendance. Many times the trainer would say “Boys, you’ve got to get this done! 😮 “

One day at breakfast, we were talking about a popular film – Game of Thrones – which of course is (or was) big globally and it turns out, I hadn’t watched. All the boys had and were surprised to hear that there was someone in this world hadn’t watched it.

A young woman in the office takes notes at her desk.

This had never bothered me before – I’m generally not a film or TV person as I prefer reading or writing. Sometimes, when I actually want to watch a movie, I may not have the time or energy to do so. Additionally, even when I indeed get to watch, I’m very choosy as to what goes through my eyes be it for faith reasons or because of my taste.

Back to the seminar. It didn’t help matters that I was also the only participant from sub-Sahara Africa. I sensed that my not having watched the film might be misunderstood as the common stereotype of the “uninformed African”, not up to date with what’s happening in the world so defense mode kicked in me. I needed to protect the image of my continent.

So I raised my arms in surrender and said ” Fine, fine boys, I’m going to watch the film. I’ll look for it and watch it.” And in typical guy fashion, they moved on to another topic as I was left mulling over the discussion we’d just had.

Then it immediately hit me: These are young single men, of course they have time to watch all the series and movies they want! Probably after work or on weekends. How about me?

After an 8-hour work day, I arrive home at around 7:30pm, just in time to hang out with my daughter if I’m lucky. Then it’s her time to go to bed (8 or 8:30pm). Soon after, hubby comes home 🙂 and before I know it, it’s 11pm. By this time the only thing I can do is sleep so that I’m able to wake up early the next day for work.

What of weekends, you ask? Well, Saturday being the only day I can spend with my daughter, I can’t rob it from her by entertaining myself. Sunday’s church day, then family time.

So when, I pray tell, do you expect me to do movies or any other activity in the kind of context that I’m talking about (doesn’t necessarily have to be a movie). Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that I, personally can’t have it all. And most gladly so. But I hope that my family will be part of the “all” that I’ll always have. Because to me, that’s all that matters.

So, sorry boys, I change my mind. I ain’t gonna watch no film!!”

And that’s Yunita’s experience. Do you think working moms can have it all, or do you think they have to choose one over the other? 

You may also like to read:

Every Woman Must Take a Break from Work -Lilian Maingi-Barasa

Lilian Maingi-Barasa

Mummy Tales is an organization dedicated to empowering its readers on different aspects of womanhood and motherhood. Mummy Tales is the top Women & Girl Empowerment blog in Kenya (BAKE 2017 awards) and 2016 top Women & Girl Empowerment blog (African Blogger Awards). Read more motherhood experiences of Kenyan moms here.




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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. Its amazing how much being a working mother can be taxing for most of us. We literally have no time for ourselves and when you do, you are too tired a little nap becames your preferred choice.That not withstanding, most of us cannot trade it for anything.


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