Opinionista Refiloe Nt'Sekhe 26 June 2017

It takes a village to raise a child, especially for single mom with a demanding job

I raise three boys as a mother with a very demanding job or career and I believe the same is true of any single parent – whether it be mothers or fathers. So if you come to my house and find my housekeeper sleeping – please understand that looking after 3 boys is not a small job. She needs this rest.

I owe my career to the unsung hero in my life: my housekeeper – Mathabo who has been with me since 2010.

She starts her day at 04:30 taking her bath – then wakes up my eldest son at 5am to bath. While he is bathing, she prepares lunch boxes.  My middle son is woken up for his bath so that both are having breakfast by 6am. As they leave the house at 6.30am, she wakes up the youngest boy who she gets prepared so that he is ready to go to crèche by 7.30am.

As soon as we have left the house, she cleans the house and does laundry. Somewhere during the morning, she has breakfast. Around 1pm she has lunch. After lunch, she takes a nap. Around 3pm she starts to prepare supper.

By 4pm, the evening rush starts. The boys get home, have a snack, bath and then do homework. Around 6pm, they have supper and are in bed by 7pm.

If you come to my house and find my housekeeper sleeping – please understand that looking after 3 boys is not a small job. She needs this rest.

Outside of Mathabo: I am supported by two transport companies – one that takes the two big boys to and from primary school and one that takes my last born to and from crèche.

Having all these support systems allows me to do my job. Mathabo has an old standard two and is unable to assist the boys with their homework. It therefore makes it crucial for me to try and be home in the afternoon to help with homework. After homework, I leave home to continue with my work.

In the morning, I get up and help prepare the children for school. When I’m not traveling, I take my young son to crèche. Lately this has become a challenge with my son occasionally causing us to leave thirty minutes later than normally because he chooses to play hide and seek when we are due to leave. This is usually fun for him but not quite as fun for me especially when I am trying to get to meetings on time or get him to crèche before 8am.

With my work, I generally get to bed around midnight and start the day around five in the morning.

On Sunday when I’m not working, Mathabo has the day off. Church is where I reconnect myself spiritually. I take the boys to church and Sunday is a family day. The afternoon is spent with me bonding with the boys – really being a mother.

Many people ask me if I get financial or maintenance support for my children – I do not. I believe that a father knows that he has children out there. I’m lucky that I am blessed to have a job and can provide for my children.

I would like to salute every other mother is who working hard providing for their children alone. Raising children is serious commitment business. I would like to salute the “other Mathabo’s” who take care of our families – including children – which enables us to go out and do our jobs.

It is very important that we treat our housekeepers well: remunerate them fairly and give them time to rest, remembering that they look after our most valuable possessions: our children and our homes. DM

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