Author: Hemlata Naidoo, Account Director, Carat Media Planning & Strategy
It was really a daunting thought of coming back to the world of media, after spending a year away from the industry upon having my first baby. After all, a year away from media is like dog years, multiplied by 7. So much can change in a relatively short space of time. I gave all of my time and attention to my little one and blocked out, for the most part, social media and any advertising or media related conversation, other than having the radio constantly playing during the day in an effort to not over-stimulate my baby with what was on television. How was I going to assimilate back into the media world again? How was I going to catch up with all the changes? How would I cope with a full work day under a fair amount of sleep deprivation (my boy wasn’t, and still isn’t sleeping through the night)? After spending every single minute of every day with him for the past 365 days, how would this affect me emotionally? Was I going to be bursting into tears at my desk, or in meetings because I miss him so much? These are all very scary thoughts that kept me up at night, for about a month before returning to work.
Thankfully, there are so many of us moms in media, and just working moms in general, that I could speak to and be reassured that, being a working mom really makes you work towards being the most efficient mom/person that you can be – at work, as well as at home. You make the hours and minutes count even more when you are spending time away from your child. You appreciate every moment even more. Being a mom really puts things into perspective and you almost feel better equipped to handle the stresses that media can bring. A study done in 2010 by
Yale University revealed that growth changes do occur in a woman’s brain during the first 2 years of motherhood and that the parts that grow “are responsible for emotion, reasoning and judgement, the senses and reward behaviour,” definitely some of which we could use in our daily media lives. The study also mentioned that the brain is so amazing at storing information, that coming back to media was almost like riding a bicycle again after many years of not.
Of course working for a forward-thinking company that allows you the flexibility to be a mom really helps too! In Cape Town there are many media agencies led by strong woman, who are moms, so it is encouraging and inspiring to be part of this era, as we have that common thread that helps us relate to each other at various levels of seniority. Taking all of this into consideration, it makes you realise that being a mom really is amazing, but being a mom in media is even better, because you really can have it all.