Sunday 1st August, 2004

 

Challenges of a single, career mother

 
 
 
 
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Nataki kerr-Browne and her son Nkosi. Photo Noel Saldenha

By Debra Wanser

Nataki Kerr-Browne, 29, never planned on being a single mother. But when her once blissful marriage came to and end less than a year ago, she knew she had to pick up the pieces and find strength to nurture her now five-year-old son Nkosi.

For the divisional manager of Marketing and Communications at Eastern Credit Union, La Joya, St Joseph, who worked extremely long hours, it first seemed like “mission impossible.”

Kerr-Browne said, “You see, I didn’t start off as a single mother. I was married and never anticipated this would have happened.”

For Kerr-Browne there were definitely some serious adjustments to make because there was a little one depending on her. Nkosi was only four when she separated from his father.

The tremendous task of marketing and public relations for the credit union’s six branches fell on Kerr-Browne’s shoulders, and she was also pursuing a Masters in Business Administration at the time of the divorce.

The challenge, she said, was to find a way to let everything gel and come together. “Because, really, you never plan for these things to happen.”

Evidently moving on with her life, Kerr-Browne smiles and says, “When things like these happen you have to take it one day at a time.” She said while the adult might be hurting over the break up and is overwhelmed with other responsibilities, as a parent they must remember it is about making the child comfortable.

One thing that has helped Kerr-Browne deal so effectively with single parenthood as a busy career woman is that she has an excellent support system.

“My father, my rock, and Nkosi’s paternal grandparents they are always there. That makes it easier for me. If I have to study he goes to someone’s home—daddy’s home, granny’s home.

“There is also my sister. He stays with her sometimes and sometimes I carry him with me to work when there is no one to leave him with.”

Kerr-Browne said it’s extremely important to also have a strong network on the job.

“When I’m tied up long hours in board meetings and Nkosi comes to work with me, someone on the staff would feed him, others throw an eye out for him to make sure he is safe and comfortable.”

She recalled having to pull two chairs together on occasions in her office at nights for Nkosi to sleep while she finished her reports.

One other thing that has made it easier for Kerr-Browne is that her daily activities are in close proximity to each other.

Nkosi’s school St Xavier’s Private is a stone’s throw away from her work, she studies at Tunapuna and lives at Trincity. “This helps a lot with my time management,” she said.

Kerr-Browne, recalling when she had to tell her young son about the divorce, said there is really no easy way to do it. One thing in her favour was that Nkosi had grown accustomed to being away from his father for weeks on end.

His father, Kerr-Browne said, worked abroad. “So this made it easier for him to adjust when we divorced.” But she still had to spend time breaking things down and explaining to Nkosi what divorce meant, and trying to make sure he knew how much she and his father loved him although they did not live together anymore.

“His grandparents are always there to reinforce it too,” she added.

Kerr-Browne believes you should not let children suffer because you and your husband cannot get along.

“Regardless of how sour the relationship is between the both of you don’t let the children pay for it.”

Although the separation can seem insurmountable in the beginning, in the end once you have become adjusted “it becomes so easy, like routine,” said the former San Juan Government Secondary student who graduated with a first class honours degree in English and history from UWI.

Kerr-Browne completed four years with the credit union in June and is proud to be the youngest manager in the credit union’s history.

Her desire is to have another child, maybe two.

“But I’m not seeing it right now. If it’s God’s will and the right guy comes along, maybe. It will take a lot though.”

©2003-2004 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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