Slaw! Hello! It has been a while since my last blog post, my online absence is a reflection on how much life has changed and become busier for me this year. This blog will highlight my most current journey of settling my youngest child, Astera, in with a childminder and working more on my career. It’s been an interesting journey, as I had promised myself to be there physically until all my children reached nursery age, and as Astera is not even two years old yet, it’s been emotional letting go, however, it’s been much easier for me than I initially thought it would be.
I have always wanted to be the primary carer for my three little children, especially during the first few years of their lives. It has been the most rewarding and satisfying role I have had in my life, but it’s also been challenging, as I also love to maintain my career which I love. So far, I have managed to balance it all, I have been lucky enough to play a part in community projects and several other roles which have enabled me to give back to the community.
I have recently started a very flexible role which allows me to work around the hours in which my children are in nursery and school. But I like a bit of structure too, so as emotionally challenging as it was, I decided to use a childminder for my youngest little Astera, so I can have a good few days of working in the office. I’m lucky enough to use my friend who is a trusted and loving childminder, I trust her to love, nourish and take good care of Astera whilst I work. I leave half my heart with her when I leave for work. But I also know I need to work for my sanity and to have some time for myself, focusing on what I love. I have come to the conclusion that my little one will also benefit from it, as they say absence makes the heart grow fonder!
As I set off for work, I often wonder how the case of childminding is in Kurdistan. Are they registered? Do they carry out ongoing training to keep up to date with children’s developments and learning? Are they on an online system which the government are aware of and keep a record of? Do they have first aid training and relevant certification? Do they communicate well with parents via email, learning book, phone and an online website outlining their child’s development? After all, we all need to trust the person who will look after a part of our soul whilst we work. I fear this is a troubling task for Kurdish mothers (and fathers), to find a childminder/nursery who will meet you and your child’s needs for them to have a wholesome development, and one that will not cost an arm and a leg! Until you are satisfied and comfortable to leave your little ones in such a setting, how are you able to further your own career or follow your aspirations?
I have always had a great attachment to my children, maybe because I was influenced greatly by my mother who was always there in person for me as I grew up, she was at every assembly, at every show I took part in, at every parents evening and every memorable moment include my mother’s face, presence and love. She would drop and pick me up from school, she would make lunch for me with love and tell me to make sure to finish it at school, if I was unwell she was the first one there to pick me up, she took me to clubs and outings with my friends. She became a great example for me as a mother who was present, in mind, soul and body. Yet, she developed and progressed her career, and continued to show me what a multi tasking mother truly is. Now that I am a mother myself, I often wonder how did daya make it all look so easy? I never heard her complain or say she is tired, but I am sure she was worn out. As they say, when you grow up, you appreciate your parents and their efforts more than ever before.
I have learnt through her and through my own experiences as a mother, how important it is to be there for your children. So in the mornings I am there to enjoy breakfast with them all, I can kiss them off to school and hold their hand all the way to nursery, I have been able to enjoy play groups and music groups with them all, I turn up at assemblies, meetings, performances and take them to clubs. We participate in things outside of school such as community events, my children help me to organise Newroz parties and we plan friendship festivals too! After all, we are all part of a big family; our community.
My youngest little star, Astera, is almost two years old, she is the fun and laughter of our family, she’s the cheekiest of all. She is my last child and I want to hold on forever, but I know the time has come for me to further my career. As heartbreaking as it is to leave her in the mornings, I have no worries about our childminder, it is the thought of her techniques and her loving nature that puts me at ease as I walk to work.
When the day is over, and we’ve said good night, I love you and ‘your all the best things in the world, and don’t forget that’ a million times, I kiss them and tuck them in, I walk away and I feel tired, my feet ache and there’s lunch boxes to make for the next day, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment, because sometimes even I don’t know how I do it all.
I manage to be there for my children, I manage to support my community actively, I manage to have a career and also squeeze in some ‘me’ time. Sometimes we want to do more and to be there more, but as the children get older I have realised it’s so important to have a balance in all you do in life.
I have no regrets in being a stay at home mum for a while, I loved every moment. I did it through staying active in the community, and being useful in that aspect, I have made wonderful connections and friends in my community and they have become like a big family to me. My father always praises me, and tells me, “Don’t forget, you are doing the most important job in the world, raising your little ones and being around for them”. I will never forget his words, as a man of much wisdom, who has a wealth of knowledge, I can only cherish and respect these words.
As Kurdish mothers, we look at our own mothers and want to be just like them; we go home and the most delicious meals can be smelt from before we even get through the door, their encouragement to push us to better ourselves in life and their persistence will always be an example for us to emulate. But in general, I think we need more active Kurdish mothers in the community, living in diaspora, I would love to see Kurdish mothers setting up play groups, or even contributing to local events. We also need Kurdish mothers to take more care of their well being, I often hear my Kurdish friends say ‘I don’t need a break, I will do everything for my child even if I’m not happy or resting’. This is something which I always challenge and discourage, because after all, when we are rested and relaxed, our children will get a better version of us, and they will also pick up on our mood and any tension we carry around with us.
As the children grow, their needs grow with them and this in turn can become more challenging and tiring for us. So it will be a great support if we can all encourage one or two other mums to go for a coffee, for a chit chat, to attend a group, a course, a massage session or even a night out.
What do you do to balance your work life against your family life? What support system do you have in place to help you achieve your goals?