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Interview: Brenda Munro

I have started a series of blogs where I am interviewing Mothers from different walks of lives, sharing how they handle the thrills and spills of motherhood. No woman is one dimensional and just a mother.

I'm continually fascinated by the inspiring women all around me. Slowly I will be introducing you to these Ladies.

Meet Brenda Munro : Lawyer and mom two two busy boys. I wanted to finds out from Brenda , how she finds balance in her life being a working mother.

Brenda is a great example how you as a mother, can not only build a career but excel.

1. What drew you to law and to pursue a career in this field?

I have always loved the concept of Justice and speaking up for others. I loved debating at school. It was a family friend who was a lawyer who said to me as a teenager that he could see me in law which seemed like a good career choice.

2. How has motherhood change your perception of Law?

Law and Motherhood are a volatile combination! I think that being a mom has given me more perspective as a lawyer.

I have a group of which I am part of lawyer moms who are great allies and who share “war stories” and offer emotional support to each other.

3. How do you juggle being a mom and a lawyer?

Hy husband is a very involved co parent and is a rock of support. I have also found that working close to home and school in the last year has made a massive impact on my peace of mind since I know that in an emergency I am nearby to my boys.

4. Practicing Law is a challenging field, have you found Employers open to accommodate working mothers?

Not at all! As an adoptive mother I was even denied Maternity leave my previous boss as the Basic Conditions of employment Act had not been amended yet to include 10 weeks leave for adoptive families.

I am now at a firm which is very supportive of my dual role in life and that has made a big impact on my job satisfaction!

5. What do you love/ dislike about practicing Law?

I love being able to make a real and practical difference in the lives of my clients. I appreciate that when clients come to a lawyer, they really place a huge amount of trust in us.

Lawyer colleagues can often be quite aggressive and hostile which I find toxic.

6. Do you find it hard to leave your work at the office? How do you separate work and family life?

I am strict that from when I fetch my boys from school until they go to bed at around 7.30 we have family time and I don’t take calls or answer emails.

7. If you were the President of South Africa, what Law (Bill) would you Sign into Law.

As an adoptive Mother my view is that we need to look at the Foster care system.

The foster care orders of more than 150,000 children are due to expire at the end of 2019, and a further 97,000 in 2020, which could leave almost two-thirds of the children in the foster care system without a grant. What makes the situation even more shocking is that it comes eight years after a High Court ordered the Department of Social Development (DSD) to develop a comprehensive legal solution and the mechanisms to fix foster care. The department has positioned the Children's Amendment Bill, submitted to Parliament in February, as this solution. But it seems to have been little more than technical compliance with the court order.

8. What social stigma does society need to get over?

Truly we need to erase the stigma that mental illness has! Too many lives are lost to suicide and relationships destroyed by the impact that untreated mental illness has on people.

9. What values would you like to instil in your two boys?

I would like them to be kind and to see the dignity of other people. I emphasise kindness as a value to them and our morning affirmations in the car on the way to school include the statement “Ï am kind” which is a character trait that we want embrace as a family.

10. What is the most important piece of advice you have for mothers who are pursuing a career?

Speak to other working Moms who are willing to share honestly with you the daily struggles and reality of the juggling act. Don’t think that everyone else has it all figured out and don’t be too hard on yourself!

11. Does raising kids teach you any skills that you can use in the workplace?

Hire a working Mom – she has no gaps in her for gossip and she values her time too much to waste it at work. Working moms are efficient time managers .

12. What should professional mothers consider before starting employment at a new company?

Leave policy regarding sick days for your child and annual leave entitlement so you can manage the school holiday timetable. Often holiday care would be necessary as school holidays are longer than the basic 15 days annual leave.

13. You are a wine lover. Do you have a favourite wine or wine farm?

I am a MCC fan - Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose from Haute Cabriere Estate is my favourite.

14. What is the most important piece of parenting advice you have received?

That has to bee to trust yourself. Consider the input and advice from all over that you will inevitably receive but also know that you are the parent and you are the best person to make the best choices for your family and your child.

We would love to hear how other working moms find balance.

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