Our #MamaCrush today is Lovely Maryanne Celestino. She lives in Jo'burg with her husband and Cute baby Sophia aged 8 months. She is a working mom, a Project manager. I met Maryanne in Jo'burg as a colleague. I got to know her and her passions when we were both pregnant at the same time in the office, soon we were sharing Gaviscon Syrup for our unbearable heartburn amongst other things motherhood and I got to know better an amazing Mama who is compassionate and passionate about her family and work.
Tell us about your pregnancy - How would you describe the experience?
Surprisingly easy. I got off light compared to some other moms… minimal morning sickness, carried very small, and was still working 10 hours days up until I went on leave.
How did you feel when you first found out you were pregnant?
Ecstatic! We had been trying, and when I found out I was pregnant I couldn’t help but cry happy tears.
Did you have a birth plan?
Mainly just “go with the flow”. My main aims were natural birth if I could, and last as long as I could before getting an epidural… which went out the window of course! I ended up with a 5 hour active labour, and natural birth with no epidural. It all happened so fast there was no time for anything.
How long was your maternity leave?
How did you feel going back to work?
Complicated… excited because I love my job, but also the guilt of not being with my child, and missing her during the day.
How does your family and support structure look?
My husband is incredible. That has to be the first thing said. He does just as much for our baby as what I do, sometimes even more. We are a partnership, and nothing is ever “Mommy’s job”… except sometimes the very bad nappies! But my mom and dad live here in Jo'burg as well, and we have lots of friends and family around. Whatsapp is a lifesaver, because between all my mommy friends, we’re permanently talking to each other.
What’s been the biggest surprise about motherhood and being a working mom?
The “Mom-Guilt”. Holy wow, it’s so much more hectic than what you realise.
Are you working for money, or for satisfaction? Both?
Both. I love being a mom, but I think I’d go mad at home every day. Stay-at-home parents are their own kind of super heroes.
Have you missed a moment in your child's life that you regret?
Thankfully nothing yet, that I know of… I was home when baby started crawling, I found her first tooth, and captured her first time clapping on video.
How do you deal with the working mom guilt?
It’s hard. You’re used to giving 120% at work, but now you can’t anymore. You can only give your 100% because you need to give 100% to your family as well. You’re tired, you’re emotional, and you feel guilty because you want to be able to give more, be there more, do more for your family. An then at the same time, you don’t really feel like you can vent or complain, because it’s a gift to be able to have this beautiful family. All I can say is, thank God for my husband, my mom, and my best friends. Without them, this road would’ve been a lot tougher.
How do you balance your career, being a wife and motherhood?
Do I? I try to… Most days I leave before baby has even had her breakfast, get to work, rush around full steam ahead, then rush home to spend some time with her. Then dinner and bath time, some nights little quality time with my husband, and then open up my laptop and work a bit more. Weekends are spent as a family, and every Sunday morning we go for Wimpy breakfast. It’s our little family tradition.
Is there anything you feel is slipping through the cracks?
A lot. You tend to feel like there’s always something that’s being missed or dropped. Some nights it’s sandwiches for dinner, some nights it’s skipping the work I still have to do and passing out on the couch before 9pm.
How has motherhood changed you?
Well I don’t shop for myself anymore. But it’s also given me the ability to stand up and say “no” when people ask more from you, because you’ve got more than just you to think of.
What’s the hardest part about being a mom?
Trying to keep everyone happy, but still setting boundaries. Having to be selfish with your time and attention, because family comes first.
What’s the best part?
The overwhelming love for my family. The realisation that this little human is yours, and that this little family unit is yours.
What does the ideal future for your child look?
Happiness. I want her to know that she is loved, supported and has the freedom to become whatever she wants to be. That one day there is no glass ceiling. That gender equality is the norm, that sexual assault is not existent, and global terrorism is just something in a history book. That she gets the best education she can, and use the knowledge she has to change the world for the good. To think for herself, and to know and fight for what is right. I want her to be strong. I want her to change the world.
What has been your most special motherhood moment thus far?
There’ve been so many. Finding out I was pregnant. Finding out we were having a girl. That first moment that I held my baby in my hands. Breastfeeding her and having her sleep in my arms, or look at me and giggle. Every single day with my daughter is .. there aren’t words… love. Just love.
Any advice for future moms?
Trust your gut. Have a few select people that you can go to for advice, but learnt to trust your own instincts and ignore other’s opinions. Also learn when to give your opinion to other moms, and when to just keep it to yourself. Parenthood is hard for all of us, we all just need to know we are not alone, and support one another.
And online shop where you can.