Guest Post – Emmah Kithinji

Dear Kenyan Working Mother,

Emmah Kithinji 1

I believe in my heart that God gave you these children for a reason. You were meant to be their Mama and you are doing good job

I laugh when friends ask us how we ‘do it all’ … surely, they’re kidding. Most days we feel like we are juggling about a dozen balls in the air, which could be fun, except that we do not know how to juggle. We can barely throw a single ball in the air and catch it with any level of intended accuracy

I want you to know that I know how it feels. I know how it feels to feel guilty as you entertain your baby with ‘’baby shark doo doo doo’’ baby watching you from his or her cot as you try squeeze in that work skirt.

I know the sting that pierces your heart when you hand your precious little one to the Nanny and you catch excitement in their eyes. That irrational fear that your baby will think someone else is their mama. Or that this person is doing a better job than you.

Or God forbid your nanny decides to bail on you and you need to go to work. Your partner as well. Those phone calls of looking for one and the silent prayer ‘’God, let this be the right one’

Or—maybe the most painful thought for me personally—that they know your baby better than you do. I know the fatigue that sets in when all you feel is guilty: Guilty when you miss a milestone or guilty when you have to stay late to catch up on work. Guilty that it’s been three months back at work and shouldn’t this feel normal by now?

I know that sometimes you go to the bathroom and cry because of the overwhelming feeling – I do it all the time. I know the loneliness that settles into your heart as you learn how to juggle the new routine. I know you question if you are good enough—good enough at work, good enough as a mom, good enough as a spouse, because I’ve thought and felt and carried all of these emotions too.

Hear me, friend—we may not know each other but I do know this: You were chosen to be your baby’s mama.

All of who you are—your passions, your fears, your job, your living situation, your marital status, your heart, your soul—is being used to create something so, so precious: a childhood.

You are not a bad mama for working. You are not a bad employee because you are a mom.

If you are working a job you hate but you do it because bills don’t pay themselves, you are providing the means to create a childhood with a safe place to sleep and good things to eat.

And I pray that one day, you’ll get to do the job you love the most—be it a different workplace or staying at home.

If you are working a job you love and you do it because you are passionate for your cause, you are providing the means to create a childhood where little girls grow up to achieve their dreams and little boys see their moms and sisters and aunts and future daughters as equals.

And either way, you are working because you are a great mother.

You are not alone in navigating this path, even though it can feel so very lonely sometimes. When the days blur together and the routine becomes mind-numbing, I pray that you will choose to see those days and moments as small pieces of a beautiful picture: the childhood you’ve been entrusted to create.

Kenyan Moms are gangster. We have somehow been able to go around it and raise our children even when working.

Yours Emmah

Emmah Kithinji 2

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