AT IT WITH:
DOES NOT DEPRIVE ME FROM DOING GOOD”
PHELADI MOLEPO IS A FULL-TIME WORKING MOTHER AND A STUDENT. HER PASSION FOR ADVANCING IN EDUCATION AND MANAGING HER PERSONAL AND WORK LIFE IS ONE OF THE SUPREME THINGS THAT CAUGHT OUR ATTENTION AND WE TALK TO HER ABOUT HOW SHE TACKLES ALL THESE DUTIES AT ONCE.
What do you do basically in the engineering industry?
Engineering is a very broad discipline. To be specific I am in the electrical engineering industry. Again, electrical engineering is broad. Myself I have been exposed to research and development, system development, electrical design and failure investigations.
You are a mother, student and full-time employee, how do you achieve your work life balance?
It is not easy, but discipline is key. I am a much disciplined individual, strict as others would say. I always plan my activities for the week and break them down to daily tasks. At the end of the week I tick off the ones I completed and plan for the incomplete ones.
If you could give your past self, one piece of advice about being a full-time working young mother, and a student what would it be?
It would be “Never ever underestimate your capabilities”. Having been able to complete my Masters studies, while being a full time new mom and employee has shown me that I possess a lot of potential. I have learnt that I should never ever doubt myself.
What is the best piece of time management advice you have been given?
“We all have 24 hours a day and how you use it, solely depends on you” Although sometimes I feel like 24 hours is just not enough.
Have your career goals and aspirations altered since becoming a mother?
Definitely. My daughter has given me more reasons why I should accomplish all my goals. I wake up with purpose every day.
What motivates you to keep studying?
I believe in continuous self-development, I mean no one can ever take away your education and knowledge. So I study to enhance and build on my knowledge.
Does raising your daughter and studying at the same time give you any skills that you can use in the workplace?
Yes. I have learnt to manage my time very well. I am able to divide and organise my tasks accordingly and I have seen an improvement in the work I deliver.
Lots of professional mothers feel guilt when making sacrifices. How do you deal with this guilt?
I always look at the positive side. So I tell myself that every sacrifice I make, I am making it so that my daughter will have a cheerful upbringing. I know she is still young to understand but I tell her more often that she is the reason behind my every sweat. And to make it up, whenever I am free I take her out and get her something nice.
Tell us about the biggest highlights since you became a mother.
Watching her grow every day is in itself the biggest highlight. The first time she sits firmly on herself without support was a wow moment. When her first tooth came out, she never got sick or restless (like many babies would), even though she used to bite me but it was such an amazing phase to experience.
According to you, why is effective time management important?
I believe that the only way to work efficiently and effectively is to manage your time right. With effective time management you will never experience deadline panics and you will deliver high quality work.
Many young mothers feel pressurised due to being unemployed and still having to raise their children, what advice can you give?
Do not be hard on yourself. You do not have to figure everything out. Work with what you have and constantly work on improving your life.