For millennia, men have dominated the limelight for their contributions of hunting, working, and, in both cases, bringing home the bacon. Women’s contributions of caring for the home, raising children, and doing their bit to gather food or, in today’s age, prepare it, have tragically been overlooked and even discredited. It’s only in recent decades that women have stepped out of the looming shadows of the male ego and pursued a career, oftentimes raising a family at the same time.
In honour of Mother’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to the modern supershero: the working mother who refuses to side line her ambitions for the sake of being a homemaker. We spoke to five business women/moms whose ideas, intelligence, and creative decision-making skills have landed them at the top of their game! First of all, let’s address the ugliness that persists in the way much of society regards the working mom…
Frustrating misconceptions about working moms
We asked the ladies about the worst misconceptions they have encountered or perhaps been on the bullying end of regarding women with children who also wish to pursue a career.
“The working mom has no time for her children, she doesn’t care, and is just busy, busy all the time,” says successful entrepreneur Kate Shepherd, the brains and heart behind Something Different, an event décor and design business, and sister company Something Desired, an online custom design crafts and bespoke décor shop. “The accusation that working moms are selfish – that they wouldn’t sacrifice for their kids – hurts the most, because we work for our kids, so they can have more and be more.”
Here’s another: “Once a woman becomes a mother, she won’t give 100% at work,” says Leigh Meraki, co-owner of Meraki Aesthetics Cape Town, an upmarket beauty parlour/urban escape near the V&A Waterfront. “If anything, I’ve seen working moms become more productive and efficient during their working hours because they know that deadlines still need to be met and they won’t have the time after hours to work towards those deadlines.”
What about moms that work from home?
“‘It’s easy to work from home and look after your baby.’ Yeah, sure. ‘He will just sleep while you work.’ Ha! That’s funny, tell another joke!” quips Jana Leonard, the director of Jack and Jill Communications, a boutique public relations agency within the consumer lifestyle market. “I’ve found it to be impossible; our bub doesn’t like to nap for more than 20 to 40 minutes at a time.”
A little advice for career ladies with a bun in the oven
“Set attainable daily goals that are realistic enough to be achieved,” says Madeleine Hugo, head honcho at The Cotton Company, a lifestyle brand that peddles 100% cotton, traditional artisan Turkish towels and luxurious throws. “Surround yourself with supportive friends and fellow entrepreneurs; they’ll inspire you. And have fun along the way – celebrate the small things!”
“Let go of whatever idea you have of perfection,” says Jenna McArthur, the creator of, and talent behind her gorgeous, eponymous blog, in which she collaborates with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands and shares her journey with other women. “You are the perfect mother for your baby; you are enough. When you work, focus on work and when you are at home, be present for your child.”
Jana: “When you go back to work, get help in whatever reliable form it may come: a nanny, a school, or a family member. Also, stay updated: check those emails and stay in touch with your clients during your maternity leave period. I had a freelancer assist me and it enabled me to keep tabs but still spend 90% of my time with the newest addition to our family.”
Leigh: “Enjoy your maternity leave and time with your newborn! It is such a fleeting time in life, even though it sometimes feels like a rerun of Groundhog Day.”
Partners, listen up!
We asked the ladies how partners of working moms could realistically get involved to make family life happier and more harmonious:
Jenna: “Do one consistent thing every day that gives mother a little breathing room – a little ‘me’ time. It may be taking baby for a 20-minute walk after work or reading a story before bedtime. Those 20 minutes are exactly what a working mum needs.”
Kate has more stern advice for partners: “No matter what you think you are contributing, do more, even if it is just saying ‘thank you’ more often. Being a working mom is tough and a partner who supports, encourages, and shows gratitude for all that you do is so valuable.”
A supershero’s favourite kid-friendly place to be wined and dined
With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to know our supersheroes go-to places for a little food and wine spoilage.
“I used to work in the wine industry so I appreciate a good glass of wine,” says Madeleine. “I would say my favourite kid-friendly places where mama can also get spoiled include Leopards Leap, Warwick Wine Estate, Boschendal, and Vergelegen.”
Jenna: “We love Constantia Uitsig’s new Heritage Market, the Oranjezicht City Market on a Sunday, and Babylonstoren Wine Estate – it’s where we got married so it will always have a special space in my heart but it’s also great for kids. They have beautiful gardens and the conservatory does a wonderful lunch!”
Kate: “We are big fans of Diemersdal, Nitida Tables, Bon Amis (Bloemendal Wine Estate), and Groot Constantia, but also places by the sea, such as Ons Huisie and Die Damhuis in Melkbos, and the Grand Café, Granger Bay.”
Leigh: “Deer Park Café in Vredehoek is an easy win as it has a play park right off the terrace and, of course, they serve wine. The picnic area at Warwick Wine Estate with its picnic baskets and excellent wines is a great option for the summer months. Vredenheim Wine Estate has an animal farm, which is entertaining for kids.”
Finally, what the ladies would love for Mother’s Day – and some ideas for you, too!
Madeleine: “A cup of coffee in bed – I wouldn’t complain if it were a hotel bed. And a lovely lunch with my husband and daughter in front of a fireplace with a glass of bubbly!”
Kate: “Moms seldom have a lot of time for themselves so I’d love some spoil time: a massage, a facial, oh, and champagne…always champagne.”
Jana: “A morning out, brunch, and (if my husband is reading this) a rose gold pendant with my son’s name, Axel, engraved on the one side. I also wouldn’t say ‘no’ if there were a diamond in there, either. Haha!”
Jenna: “A bottle of Gypsy Water perfume by Byredo…I hope my husband is paying attention.”
Leigh: “I would just like to send a shout out to ALL those special people out there who tirelessly take on the role of mom, whether it be for your own kids or for someone else’s. We appreciate everything you do and have immense amounts of respect for you.”
A happy Mother’s Day from Southern Vines
Wherever you work, in the office or at home, being a mom and a career woman is a ninja skill-level exercise in juggling that, if anything, requires more devotion, love, and passion for both career and children. And so, from the team at Southern Vines, we’d like to wish all of our sisters doing it for themselves and their families a very happy and blessed Mother’s Day!