I used to be someone with ‘proper responsibilities’.
You know, working full time as an Office Manager meant I got to dress up every day. It meant I had emails to answer. Staff to manage. Problems to troubleshoot. Minutes to complete. Purchases to approve. People to meet. Contracts to draft.
Coming over to Australia meant I had to give up my job, and I found myself suddenly … Not important. Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids but if I was honest, it was a struggle, especially in the first few months. I had to find my footing, and more importantly, my sense of worth. As a person. After more than a decade in the workforce, suddenly “just” being a Stay at Home Mum sure needs some getting used to.
Suddenly my mobile phone could be left unattended for long stretches at a time.
Suddenly the term “deadline” seems… distant and remote.
And suddenly I felt a little like a fish out of water.
Not all changes are bad, of course. And in the last year, I get to a lot of time with my kids, whom I adore to bits.
I get to be there to snuggle beside them, shower them with kisses, watch them grow – and just in the last year alone, I look back at their photos and am shocked by how fast they’ve grown.
But it sure doesn’t change the fact that I feel a lot less useful. And probably this is the struggle other women are familiar with – the change of pace once you trade in that work dress for a shabbier albeit more comfortable pair of pedal pushers.
This post probably sounds a lot more morose than I mean it to be. I am in no way complaining about not having to work my butt off, or that I get to eat brunch at cool cafes, or that we get to go long road trips every so often. These are definitely the highlights of life in Sydney, and one that we are happy to live to the fullest, while God has placed us here. And I know full well that when we return to Singapore, we will be plunged right back into the full steam of things, and we would both probably miss life over here badly.
It took me a while to get into a stage of acceptance.
To feel comfortable in my own skin, and to be happy. Right here, right now. So many of my friends would tell me they envied my lifestyle – but honestly, when I am doing my third laundry cycle for the day (and I do the laundry almost every day), and when I see the stack of unironed clothes just humming my name, or the mountain of dirty dishes twiddling their thumbs, and when it takes unbearably long for the boys to fall asleep (when I can sleep at the drop of a hat), when the baby girl gets all clingy and needy and hungry (and my boobs are threatening a boycott)… I must say it ain’t as glamorous or as “tai-tai” (Singaporean English meaning a lifestyle of a wealthy, laidback and carefree lady) a life.
But one thing that helped me get a move on – was the revelation that we all have different seasons in our lives, and we all go through changes, in one way or another. The worst thing you can do is to get “stuck” – in the old, in the past “regime” or the way it “used” to be – and if you get stuck in the past, well, you see life in the now through those tinted glasses, and you won’t get very far in the now.
When I was working full-time, my supervisors had a few changes through the years. And each has his or her own style. I found myself having to “adapt” to each because simply giving the reason that this was the way certain things were done “all along” just wouldn’t cut it! Now, I answer to four “bosses” in the home, especially when it comes to dinner-time, and it is a whole different barrel of fish having four different appetites and preferences! Looking back – I think my bosses at work were MUCH easier to please! Haha!
Being a SAHM sure has its challenges, but I *think* I am getting the hang of things… somewhat. Haha!