This week is my fifth month in the Netherlands. What an adventure to live the life I’ve always wanted for myself and my family! Besides all the expected challenges of settling into a new home country, the biggest change for me has been becoming a full-time mom.
This was – and still is – huge. I’ve never not worked in my life. I spent the majority of my career working as a journalist in a fast-paced and severe environment filled with impossible deadlines, stress and anxiety. At the end of each day I had very little time or energy for my son. I had zero capacity for enthusiasm. It wasn’t sustainable and I knew it. My depression medication dosage doubled. I had more than one emotional, psychological and physical breakdown.
Suddenly, all that came to a grinding halt. My life took at 360 degree turn.
Instead of flying out the door at 6am in the morning to start work at 7am, I now make school lunches, prepare breakfast and take my son to school. I have time to make friends with other moms. I have coffee with new friends in the mornings. I arrange playdates for my son after school and I can actually be there. I fetch my son from school at 1pm and on our cycle home we talk about everything he did that day. The two of us can do so much together – walks in the forest, running up and down sand dunes, go to the beach, bake cakes, visit museums and go to the movies.
During the past five months I’ve often had a song called Turn! Turn! Turn! on my mind. In 1965 it was a hit single by folk rock group, The Byrds, and was written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s.
There is something quite amazing about huge life changes. You find your direction amid the change and temporary uncertainty. I think being a full-time mom is possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me. This is a busy and demanding job but I love this season of my life.
When I think about how my life has changed, I now know this:
I’m happy. Not in a frivolous way but a deep restfulness.
My priorities and values are in alignment. I have time and energy for my son. I love showing him how wonderful the world is, I love encouraging him to dream, discover and experiment.
I have time to look after myself. This is something I’ve neglected in the past.
I’m brave. I am rebuilding my life the way I want it.
I’m grateful that my husband values my contribution to our family and makes it possible for me to be at home with our son.
If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it. – John Irving.