We spoke to a dynamic business woman and dotting mom, Mariska Burger, about her work, her family and asked for a few pro tips on coping with a busy toddler while working full time.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a marketing engineer, passionate about people, technology and Africa, and where these three intersect I’m at my happiest. Recently I’ve been doing some cool work in the ECD and youth space, working mostly on building mobile solutions for people who need it most. I’m very fortunate to have worked with amazing organisations in South Africa such as Praekelt.org, The Reach Trust, and the EverAfrica Group. When I’m not working I love spending time with my 14-month-old gorgeous daughter, and her Dad.
Tell us about your blog?
Here the phrase, “The Cobbler’s children have no shoes” unfortunately rings true. I’m so busy helping clients with their digital presence that I have very little time to maintain my own personal blog. But I am inspired by all the wonderful South African Mommy blogs, and started reading them all while I was pregnant.
How do you feel about using technology as part of learning?
In the 21st century, technology has become such an integral part of our lives – even in the majority world, that it should be used as much as possible. With wonderful initiatives such as the Free Wifi projects, Facebook’s Free Basics, and more and more entrepreneurs building clever tech for educational purposes, there is no way that we can ignore the power of technology and the impact it’s going to have on the education ecosystem in years to come.
What are your kids favourite apps?
Cara is still too small to use apps herself (she’s only 14 months old), but I used a myriad of pregnancy apps while I was expecting her. Baby Centre is probably my favourite – I still consult it regularly to make sure I’m doing the right things for her. I love that the information is also available to Moms on feature phones through Praekelt.org’s MomConnect platform.
What do you love about South Africa and raising your children here?
My favourite thing is the diversity and our people’s sense of humour and compassion for one another. I also love the innovation that comes out of such a diverse country, and I hope that our child(ren) will one day embrace and celebrate this.
Suppertime tips for parents with young children?
Use colourful (BPA free) plastic bowls and utensils. I find having a few frozen “back-up” meals super helpful – sometimes you run late preparing supper, or the baby is not in the mood for what you prepared for the rest of the family.
TV “Yes” or “No”?
Yes, in moderation.
What is in the lunchbox?
Healthy finger foods, and a banana – Cara’s favourite thing in the world at the moment.
How do you balance it all – in one sentence?
I don’t. Being a Mom is probably the toughest (and most rewarding) job in the world, and without the grace of God, I don’t know how people manage.
Do you children do chores at home, if so what and how do you manage it?
Cara is still too small to be tasked with doing chores, but when she’s big enough I hope I can encourage her by making it look like fun.
What is your favourite holiday plans/ activities with kids?
Cara is in the beautiful discovery phase where everything is new and entertaining. No matter where we go, she seems to love it, and her happiness is contagious. We love spending time with (both sets of) her grandparents – always a win when Mommy and Daddy can have a break, and she spends quality time with Oupa and Ouma.