Kandi Burruss and Yandy Smith know all about balancing motherhood and a demanding career. The duo shared their experiences as working moms at the Money & Power Expo at the ESSENCE Festival. “I want my kids to know that Mommy is getting up and going to work. I want them to know that it’s so important that they prioritize and keep a schedule,” Yandy began.
“I tell my son, ‘I go to work and get money so your job is to go to school then you can get money or toys but school is your priority,’” she continued. “So I make sure he‘s on time and makes good grades. Even right now when I’m travelling, he wants to come with me but school is a priority. If I’m gone for a day, I feel guilty.”
This is the struggle for most working moms, finding the balance between work and family. Kandi shared that her best advice for alleviating some of working mom guilt is being as open and honest as possible about the reason Mommy has to leave and go to work. “It’s important to get your kids to understand money and business, early if you can,” she said. “My daughter will ask for new shoes or a new video game and I’ll say, ‘Well, you know. Mommy’s gotta go to work in order to get this...’”
“So that way she knows things don’t just fall out the sky...,” Kandi added. “I have to actually work hard for this. Sometimes, Riley will be like, ‘’Okay Mommy, you need to go to work because I need this new cell phone or whatever,” she said, chuckling.
Kandi encourages mothers to teach their children about business, credit and finance from a young age.
“I told my daughter about stuff like that in grade school,” she explained. “Not on an extensive level but just the basics that she could understand.”
Beyond dollars and cents, both women agree that it’s extremely crucial to have a solid team in place when you’re a mom that works as often as they do. “My support system is so key,” Yandy shared. “I don’t know where I would be without being able to call my mom, who lives in a condo a couple floors above me... I call my mom like, ‘Ma, can you please come down? I need you.’”
“When I had my first daughter, I was a single mother, my mom still wanted to hang out,” Burruss recalled. “She wasn’t always trying to come and babysit.” Kandi recalled how she would split parenting responsibilities with one of her girlfriends from time to time. "I always tell people that if you have a friend that has a child around the same age then sometimes you have to co-parent for each other.” Some days, she would keep both girls, other days her girlfriend would watch them both.
Kandi added that she now has the luxury to take 7-month-old son Ace with her to work. “My Kandi Koated clique help a lot,” she said. “I may have to take a call and Don Juan will take Ace... They all just watch him.”
“My friends know that: Listen, you’re my friend but you’re also my support system,” Yandy added. “In order to be an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, you’ve got to be around a team of people who love you and are also willing to be on your team. I can’t be Yandy the reality star or the mogul without having that team to support me and push me.”