How a change of location and temporary situation, made me change my perspective,
about who strong women are.
When we hear or read about or of strong women, it´s mostly the talk of women; who are successful in business, those who are getting the career and family effortlessly under one roof, whether with or without the right partner.
Without a doubt – until last summer I was one of them. 35h-job, being active in staff committee – especially my disabled colleagues in, mother of a daughter, parents council member at the daycare, household, husband, friends, family – everything was there – no complaints. Of course I sometimes felt exhausted, the job was not always fun, but I was happy! I didn´t know otherwise, any other life model than working while having a child – me – never! Me, just housewife and mother, what a grotesque idea. Never has it come to my mind, to discredit these women, but for me – no way!
For sure, here and there thoughts like – what if I would only work 20h/week – came into my mind. I would have time to write, do handicrafts and making money with it. Would have just more time for me, my child and my husband. We started talking about, that it could be a great idea that both of us work less to have more time to travel…
But I digress.
All this was before December 2014. My husband – a call – a spontaneous „yes, we do, we will make it“ and my actual life model began to falter. What was it all about? : Honey, could you imagine going to Montreal for 3 months? – When? – February / March 2015 to May? – Sure! Said and done! Making applications, exemption applied (for my work), arrange the house “care taking”, informing family and friends and then it was almost time to leave. My husband on February 14th, me and Josefine on March 3rd. There we were – in Montreal – and me suddenly housewife and mother. I was completely overstrained. Me and the princess 24/7, in a francophone neighborhood – with no knowledge of French [a subject in itself] and in the depth of the winter at -15 to -20 degrees. Welcome into my new world. It took me some efforts to accept my new role. Mother, household and being a wife – no more! Due to Josefine and a part-time daycare place, we got in contact with others quite quick, but therewith also these questions and pitiable or condescending glances: And what about you? I am a housewife and mother, but only temporarily, this addition was very important for my self-esteem. I started to feel strange, got self doubts – again and again, just saying – I am the wife of … – I consoled myself, it’s only for 3 months. The more time passed, the more I got to know how much strength a woman must have to bear this glances and „mumbled“ comments. To keep the head up and to smile. Proud to say, yes, I am a housewife and mother [with university degree], my husband earns the money, so what?!
It took me almost the whole three months to be able to say this with my head held high. I am a strong woman. I still manage everything equally and hold the reins in my hands, only with much more time, peace and serenity. I am proud to have a man who allows me to do what I wanted for so long – writing, and one day I will probably earn my money with it. Those who think that during these three months boredom would come up is wrong. The time flew by, fear of boredom I haven´t had – it was just a quarter of a year. Two half days Josefine was at daycare. 2 times per week I took a French course, not only because of the language, but rather to get to know people and to use my brain [especially since French is the official language]. Despite the winter, it was the longest and coldest for over 100 years, Josefine and I did day trips, did some sightseeing and got to know and like the city. People here are more polite, courteous and helpful when you are traveling with children – contrary to what I knew from Germany. The weekends belonged to family activities, we drove out of town, or indulged our thoughts towards what would be if we would come back, with all the trimmings, just for a few years – as we always wanted to – live and work abroad. The timing would be perfect. Josefine is old enough to understand it, and young enough to be sent to school in Germany when we are back. And me? Once I started to accept my new situation, I actually started to like my new role. In the morning there was less stress because I did not have to leave the house before my husband and child. Food was usually prepared fresh – made by myself – in that dimension something completely new. The apartment – was mostly cleaned up, we were all less stressed, there was more harmony.
Finally I began to deal with what I want, where the journey should go, when we come back … Something was figured out quickly, my old job I’m doing only until I have something else. Thinking about really going back to Canada, there was only anticipation to have time for my ideas, rather than having fear about the movement itself or the shame, again only to say – me, I am a housewife and mother. That I felt that comfortable in my “new role” surprised me a little bit and if anybody would have told me that before, I would have said they were crazy. To be honest, I am much happier than before, which affects us all. With the distance I also recognized what my husband had noticed a long time before, my old job did not suit me and would have made me sick sooner or later. I am grateful for the opened and lived change of perspective. Mental flexibility is important, but it takes courage, strength and power, to change yourself and your situation and you have to let it happen. Thinking positive is the most important help in this process, the key to happiness!With this in mind – strength is not defined by your job, your salary or your tasks, but solely on your person and what you make of it! Be proud of yourself! I am proud of myself, too. Proud of that I finally dared to write about it and to share it with you!
yours Mrs J