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Working mothers can make it work

It has been said that giving birth is the easy part of motherhood. As we mark Mother's Day this Sunday, these high-flying mums tell us their highs and lows, and why motherhood is irreplaceable.

Dorcas Odumbe and her two sons.

DORCAS ODUMBE

Deputy Managing Editor at Standard Media Group

Mother of two: both sons

When a woman enters motherhood, they will never be the same again. Motherhood, to me, began the moment I discovered a new life was growing in my womb. From the first kicks to beautiful tiny toes at birth. Motherhood has brought me joy more than anything I have ever known. But there's pain too because when any of my sons hurt, I hurt far worse. When they are happy, I cry with joy. As a widow, my work has always been incomplete until my sons are fed, loved, comfortable, educated and safe as is humanly possible. Since we lost their father, there are issues boys need a father figure to discuss with but it was not forthcoming. Now that they are men, I feel protected more than ever before. Indeed God is the father to orphans and husband to widows. Someone once asked me: "You have a good job and a good education; what investments do you have?" My answer was, 'the awesome young men in my life.'

SUZIE WOKABI

CEO at Suzie Beauty

Mother of two: both sons

My children come first before everything: in my crazy life as an entrepreneur, I have made everyone understands that. I watch my boys and as difficult as they (and motherhood) can be sometimes, I am their mother. I give kisses and hugs that they can't get from anywhere else. I organize their meals, lives and days. But above all, it's the motherly love that is somewhat undefinable. They are my daily inspiration so they only make everything better. I just manage life around them. Once you give birth you may never sleep again. I live that today; my mother lives that today for me and my 3 siblings. You will constantly worry and care more than you thought possible. There is absolutely nothing I could trade my motherhood for. My children are everything to me.

YVONE WAMALWA

Former Ambassador

Mother of one: a girl

Being a mother is having another human around with your heart in theirs. Emotionally, it is a very expensive venture. There's no school that women attend to learn motherhood. But busy life notwithstanding, as mother, you have to love and guide. There are outside influences: money worries, jealousy, and envy from outside and within. These test our love and resolve. But as a mother you forgive and take in everything for your children. My daughter needs positive mentoring and positive role models. This keeps me on toes because I am her role model. Motherhood comes with responsibilities. If you do it well, the rewards are out of this world; if you fail, the results are heartbreaking. I cherish my journey as a wife, career woman, sister, friend and everything else. But my greatest achievement will always remain to be motherhood.

SALLY MAHIHU

Advocate of High Court

Mother of two: both sons

The epitome of motherhood is the closeness and unconditional love; when my children know that there is absolutely nothing they could do that would take away my love for them. I defend my children against the world and declare only the best and positive about them. My children were closely spaced, and at times it was overwhelming mentally and emotionally. I found out that it is impossible being a "super perfect mother". But I have given them an identity; confidence in who they are. I have taught them to know that they are God's opinion and not the opinion of others. Motherhood has never held me back from achieving anything. I always believed in balancing my time so that even while I was pursuing my career, I still had quality time for my children and family. As a child myself I may have been ignorant on my mother's sacrifices but now that I am one, I can say "mother knows best!"

JOANNE MWANGI

CEO at Professional Marketing Services (PMS)

Mother of three: Two sons and a daughter

My children have given me strength; motherhood is joy. I have three amazing children, a daughter, Valerie, and two sons, Andrew and Eric. The thought of them lacking anything was my driving force to work hard, make sacrifices, push myself hard and make things work out. They are the reason that I have become a successful entrepreneur. I am not only their mother but their friend too. Communication is the neck that holds us together. They can come to me anytime with anything; idea or issue, and we would sit down reason out and come out with answers of how to move forward. The notion that motherhood robs women of their freedoms and successes is totally not true. I would never trade the cap of being a mother for anything in this world. Cliché as it may sound; I would do anything and everything for my children.

CHRISTINE KHASINAH-ODERO

Founder and Director of marketing at Supamamas

Mother of one: a son

As a mother what I have offered my son Miles is total belief in him, his abilities and letting him discover himself. I have never felt that motherhood has held me back from succeeding in my career. In fact becoming a mother was the inspiration behind my business. What I really appreciate about motherhood today, especially for those who have more than one child, is their ability to nurture all these children. My mother had 6 children and she made it look really easy. I am a mother of one. It has made me look back and appreciate everything she did for us especially making time for me and my siblings. There is nothing on this earth that would be worth giving up motherhood for.

DR KIHARA ANNE-BEATRICE

Chairperson of Kenya Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (KOGS)

Mother of one: a daughter

Mother's Day is a time to celebrate all those who have contributed an indelible mark in the society; by bringing forth children. As a gynaecologist, I go to great lengths; constantly praying for my clients to be able to cradle a child of their own in their arms. I tell new mothers that giving birth is a process. The greatest challenge is nurturing of the child. Motherhood is a privilege. The task of nurturing has its lessons and challenges. It begins from childhood, to teenage (and young adulthood years) when all hell breaks loose and suddenly motherhood necessitates a thicker skin. If time was to set back to my pre-motherhood days, I would still want to go through the experience. As a mother I too reminiscence: did I give the best to my own child? Would I have added or changed some of the values or molded them differently? Did she want more from me and understand that some of my shortcomings may not have been intended?

Children are our greatest gift, pride and joy and well worth all our toils. To all mothers I certainly salute you!

JARDINE MWANGEKA

CEO at Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya

Mother of five: Four boys and a girl

Motherhood is a full time job with no prior training. A mother is one person the family looks up to and everyone has their own expectations. For me, I have to balance the attention for our children and my husband as well. My motherhood was delayed for over a decade: I could not give birth. And even when God answered my prayers and filled my womb, Harrison, our first-born son, was injured at birth and acquired Cerebral palsy. Celebrations turned into a 'nightmare'. God blessed me with four more children. There were times it was overwhelming. But thank God for an inborn motherly instinct. Once a child is born the first person they come into contact with is their mother. That in itself is unique – a mother has no substitute no matter what happens. Motherhood is God given and children are a gift from God.

ESTHER PASSARIS

CEO at Adopt-a-Light

Mother of two: a son and a daughter

Motherhood is pure unconditional and sacrificial love. Giving birth is the easy part. What makes my children happy makes me happy. What makes them sad makes a mother sad. It saddens me that I have not been able to explain (and compensate) the pains of polygamy to my children. It is a tough situation. My pain and sacrifices as a mother are also the pain and sacrifices of my children. My celebration as a mother will come when I find a solution to parallel or hidden families. In today's world, motherhood will never really yield rewards commensurate to the sacrifices made. I believe every mother has that moment of feeling unappreciated and exhausted from trying – especially when you in a relationship that's dysfunctional. Motherhood is unconditional. I only ask for love and happiness for my children. They will be part of my life till I take my last breath. I pray like every mother, that I won't have to crack my head with "where did I go wrong?"

VICTORIA RUBADIRI

News Anchor at NTV

Mother of one: a daughter

Being a parent has not been easy. There was a lot of trial and error. I continue to learn so much. When I first held her, I remember thinking, 'this is the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen.' I couldn't believe she was mine. Then the uncertainty of 'what next' set in and trying to figure out how I will bring up this little human being. I have absolutely no regrets. Everything that has happened so far, was meant to. It was necessary to make me the individual I am today. For me, motherhood comes first; career second. I will not be able to get back the years I lost with my daughter, but I can always catch up with my career. My daughter's faith in me gives me a boost of confidence unlike anything else. When my daughter utters a random 'thank you.' It is then I feel really appreciated. I know my hard work is not in vain. There is a fulfilment you get from motherhood that is inexplicable.

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