Last Sunday was mother´s day, a perfect opportunity to write this tribute to the women, the moms who inspire me. Among my friends, there are some pretty amazing working moms who fill me with immense admiration and inspiration.
There is the mom who just started a new job, third child not yet 6 months old and pursuing her next career steps. Another mom is working on her full-time career while supporting her husband and beautiful 2 year old daughter. Then there is the amazing lady who has 2 kids under 4 and another one on the way and made an amazing career step whilst pregnant and moving countries. And there is my cosmopolitan friend with 2 young boys who is forever taking on huge renovation and real estate projects and is always scheming for new business ventures. Most of these moms work full-time or more jobs and are continuously balancing work, career, family, husband, kids, and personal goals. Is this a hard balance to achieve? Absolutely. Do they have busy lives? No doubt. Do they have some special motivation or extraordinary drive to keep this up? Are their kids more special, less demanding than others? Most likely not. It´s willpower, along with the drive to succeed and to keep your identity as the person you were before you became a mom. That is what is amazing about these ladies: they are put together, smart and beautiful. They are women, employees, bosses, colleagues, friends and wives as well as being moms. Being a mom is part of their identify rather than their main identifier.
And for these amazing ladies, with the extremely busy lives they lead, it would be so easy to grab high calorie, high sugar snacks to keep their energy levels up and be able to keep going during the day. Sure, they also go through sleepless nights, morning clothing dramas and tearful drop offs at day care. But what is truly inspirational: these beautiful ladies really look after themselves and don´t use their being busy as an excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle. Speaking from experience, food prepping and stocking the fridge with healthy snacks as well as creating time to exercise are not easy feats for a commuting mom with a stressful, responsible job. My inspirational friends though, are healthy and look beautiful because they look after themselves. They make smart choices when snacking and at mealtimes, choose fresh and nutritious foods and drinks, they spend their free Saturday morning with a personal coach or go do sports once the kids are in bed to nourish their bodies and keep in shape. They look after themselves, also when it means a nanny, au pair or babysitter needs to get involved over and above the switched on dad that is also taking his fair share of the childcare. The kids that are being raised by them will in no doubt hugely benefit from seeing happy parents pursuing their own dreams and being a role model in balancing the various important aspects of their lives.
My healthy career minded friends have inspired me to challenge my own status quo and take the plunge out of my own comfort zone, to a place where I can grow and look after my own needs. After being stuck in a less than challenging work environment not only took its toll emotionally but also started to affect my physical health, I worked out through personal coaching that my career is extremely important to me along with keeping my independence, being able to support myself. And not being challenged on the career front was having a strong impact on me. Unfortunately, my living situation means that I am not directly surrounded by many career moms whom I could talk to about this. There a many stay at home moms, or moms that work a few hours around their kids limited daycare hours but not the career oriented types. Being career minded is frowned upon by the conservative society we currently live in too: it is extraordinary how many comments I received when I got back to work full-time when my son was 7 months old (“I was lucky enough to stay home for 1.5 years” said many moms, “why have children if you want to work” said many others, and “you are working FULL-TIME *insert judgemental raised eyebrow*” was a general response). This German society is built on traditional gender based roles, as testified by the lack of childcare options for kids under one year old and the non-existence of available, high level part time jobs. Of course, kudos to the moms who are focusing their days on their kids and take fulfilment solely out of that calling. I salute you for your choice and respect your patience. That´s not for me though, I am a much better mom and wife when I can feel fulfilled in my career too. My amazing working, healthy mom friends supported me in this from near and far and I am extremely grateful for their presence in my life.
Thank you ladies for helping me to move ahead and giving me the courage to take on a new work challenge in a new country. The coming months are surely going to be interesting and challenging. Managing a new job, starting in a new company, commuting between countries and coordinating an international move with two careers and a little 2 year old punk; just thinking about it though already gives me heaps of energy and I cannot wait to continue to share nutritious snacks and meals for healthy, working moms on the move.
Thank you healthy and career minded beauties – you inspire me to be the best I can be in life!