‘It takes a village’ – Journalist balances motherhood, career & academic pursuits
By Vishani Ragobeer
Many believe the saying: It takes a village to raise a child.
Tamica Garnett- a journalist, student and mother- is one who is convinced of this, as it is what helps her balance motherhood with a demanding journalism career and her academic pursuits.
“I have always felt that it takes a village to raise a child, even before I was a mother.
“And that is something I wanted to be part of raising my children when I became a mother,” the 31-year-old woman told the News Room in a candid interview ahead of Mother’s Day.
Garnett explained that she grew up with a “big family.”
That family encompassed actual relatives but also neighbours and friends who were like family, and who never failed to offer their advice or scolding- whichever was needed.
And four years ago, when she became a mother to her son Kyle, she knew she wanted the same for him. This big family-or the village- she believes, would help to nurture young Kyle into a model citizen who is never short of affection or a community to turn to.
It is also about helping her find that much-needed balance among the full-time job of motherhood, working long hours as a journalist and more recently, undergraduate studies.
That balance, she says, is something she is still striving to perfect.
“It’s still a work in progress but I always have to give great gratitude to my support system- not just family but coworkers and everyone,” the young mother declared.
She added, “Some days, it’s hard but I’m working through it.”
Because, as she contends, journalism and motherhood are both full time careers, it is quite fortunate that her son has taken a liking to her workplace- the Guyana Chronicle, and Garnett’s co-workers. And, perhaps, he has even become an honorary member of staff.
“My son, I call him a Chronicle baby,” Garnett happily said.
She added, “He’s been a part of the Guyana Chronicle family, he took some of his first steps there… and he always wants to go on the keyboard and type.”
She even joked that sometimes, young Kyle prefers to spend time with her co-workers when he visits the office ever so often. That can be a welcomed relief, she admits, especially if there is an article she needs to complete at soonest.
It is not always that rosy, however. In fact, the young woman recounted instances where demands of her career forces her to prioritise and really tap into her village of support.
Sometimes, it is tending to a sick Kyle and getting the much-needed workplace support to work from home; sometimes, it is about unavoidable work responsibilities and getting support from Kyle’s father or another relative or friend.
“The first thing I would say to any mother… is that it’s not easy.
“Embrace support… Do not feel that you need to take it all on your own and then when you become overwhelmed, it affects your mental health and breaks you down,” Garnett emphasised.
Of course, she says this is a reminder for herself as she watches her energetic, witty four-year-old son grow up right in front of her eyes.