To be a working mom in Africa or elsewhere in the less developed parts of the world can be an exciting experience.
But that being said, African working moms are also known to struggle to climb the career ladder.
The proverbial glass ceiling found at many workplaces has placed an upper limit on how far many mothers in developing countries who have to juggle between the business of work and domestic chores can go.
Despite the fact that the path that many working moms in Africa have to tread is fraught with many challenges, there is still hope for the future.
Are you a working mom living somewhere in Africa?
It doesn’t matter, really, if you are in another part of the less developed world.
My guess is that you are one of those ambitious women like me.
We want to conquer despite the difficulties we face, don’t we?
Allow me to tell you some good news.
There are many things you can do to advance your career as a working mom.
But at the same time, it is important that you avoid certain actions or attitudes that may not be in your interest.
I have assembled these key don’ts to help any African career woman to overcome the challenges she may be facing right now.
1. Don’t allow traditional attitudes to dampen your spirit
Male chauvinism is a big culprit here.
Never let the disparaging remarks coming from your male counterparts make you lose steam or focus. Instead turn the negativity into a positive energy booster.
Let the backbiting and other efforts to derail your ambition rather spur you on. Because when everybody realizes that they are not going to succeed in their effort to undermine you, many will make a u-turn to support you.
2. Don’t compromise on your core values
It is a well-known fact that women workers go through varying forms of harassment at the workplace. Sexual harassment is rife.
Sadly, in Africa, as compared to the developed world, many of such cases go unreported. The reasons for this are clear – limited job opportunities, ineffectual legal systems, lack of social support, and retrogressive traditional attitudes.
But does that mean you should allow yourself to be violated? No.
You have to resist and fight any attempt meant to strip you of your dignity and self-confidence.
Because without these, you cannot go far.
3. Don’t make excuses.
As a working mom, it is true that you will be burdened with too many activities.
You cannot refuse to wear at least two hats at the same time. You are a full-time home manager and at the same time a worker.
That clearly places you at a disadvantage with your male colleagues.
It is therefore easy to use your realities in this matter as an excuse for mediocrity, lateness or absenteeism. But you and I know that you can find ways to do better than give excuses.
You cannot make meaningful progress in your career if you keep giving excuses for what is nothing other than your lack of self-discipline.
4. Don’t give your child(ren) too many liberties.
Overly busy working moms who allow or turn a blind eye to the undisciplined behaviour of their children always have a very high price to pay sooner than later.
Your unruly children could land themselves in situations you were never expecting. Higher medical or utility bills, extra repair and maintenance charges, needless legal fees etc are just a few of the costs you must eventually bear for raising children who cannot discipline themselves.
5. Don’t allow your children access to your working space
Are you a career woman who works mostly from home?This one is extremely important if you use technology and electricity.
Besides the possibility of the children damaging expensive equipment, you cannot also entirely rule out the danger of fatal accidents.
6. Do not fear to take advantage of technology.
Technology can be a good servant after all.
Remember technology has become an integral part of today’s work culture.
Let me just draw your attention to a couple of the advantages of information and communication technology, for example.
- Your ability to use a personal computer or any other computing device will increase your productivity.
- You will be able to automate a good number of your daily activities, communicate faster and more effectively.
As you can see, it is better to make technology your friend rather than something you dread with your whole being.
As a working mom, you have become used to loads of tips about what you need to do in order to become a successful working mom. Well, that’s good enough. But you must know the don’ts as well. I trust that the ones I’ve given here will guide you as you keep working harder to achieve your career goals.
Have you of late been making any mistakes as a working mom in Africa or elsewhere? Share your story with me in the comment section before you leave.