Juggling With Motherhood & Career In A Foreign Country
Motherhood a Beautiful journey -
Motherhood brings highly satisfying emotions, joy and is a fulfilling experience for any woman. The experience is beyond words and can only be felt on becoming a mother. Each day brings a new joy as well as a challenge along with it. My journey was also the same. Being a new mother, I was extremely excited as well as nervous. Like any other parent, I always want to give the best upbringing to my child. I never want to miss a moment with my child. Being a working mother, It is not possible as I have to make a hard choice while leaving my child to go to work. Still, I make it a point that I spent most of my time with her and capture each and every moment which would remain as a cherished memory with me throughout my life. I would like to share a working and immigrant mother’s journey so far with you.
Child’s first! ……mother - child precious memories for life -
I remember when my daughter started mumbling some words, I was filled with joy to hear ‘mama’. I was so thrilled that she had started communicating. Her every small millstone like crawling, walking, and taking those small baby steps are my treasured memories.
One such moment was when my daughter started speaking.
Challenges of an Immigrant mother in a different country -
After marriage I had to move to Denmark. I was an immigrant from India, with no friends or relatives to talk to. It was frustrating and often I used to be sad remembering my country and parents. It was a real challenge for me to learn the Dutch language, as English was not spoken here. I started adapting to the new culture and routine and life became normal though I was missing the real happiness in my life. My daughter’s birth filled the void. She became the reason for my happiness.
Juggling between motherhood in a new country -
As a new mother of course I had no experience in parenting. Plus, the support system in a new country is zero. These are some of the things that worked for me -
Friends are your new support system -
Since I am from India and the concept of support system for childcare is basically your immediate relatives (mostly grandparents) you tend to feel that you are out of options and on your own!
But that is not the case, have a look around you! Especially outside India ( more so in Schengen countries ) your friends are your family. People support each other and extend a helping hand. Start engaging in community services etc where you grow a strong friend circle. There are many communities for Indians where people plan to get togethers and basically mingle as extended family . These are places to make friends as you develop a network of trusted people who you know for long to ask for help any time. It can be a blessing!
Don’t be skeptical about the day care and start searching for one -
I was always skeptical about the idea of putting the baby in a daycare. As I researched and spoke to my friend who also had toddlers and were working. I found out that day care in this part of the world is normal and they are much more evolved and professional in handling babies than what we have back in India. Still, I was not sure as I had never seen in my family any one do it and was not encouraged for. But since me and my hubby were on our own, we had no choice. Reluctantly we approached a day care. Over a period of time my notions started to change. It’s been 3 yrs since my child has been going there and has made wonderful friends. My only advice here is always do some good research before choosing a daycare. Consult friends and go to a place which has been referred to.
Learn the language -
If you are in a country where the local language is a must and English is not spoken, I suggest you should learn the language at the earliest. This will specially help you in childcare. Things become easy to manage. After I knew the language, I was no more dependent on my hubby and was able to handle things, travel independently which became a boon while taking care of the child. Also, since ultimately your child will by default pick the local language it will be very easy for you to manage different languages at a same time and guide the child too 😊
Juggling between work and life as a new mother -
I would shout out loud that it is very important to set boundaries at work. I was blessed that in this part of the world work life balance is encouraged and personal time is respected. But in case that is not what is practiced at your side please be upfront and set boundaries. Trust me it will only help you and your baby.
Keep a checklist of the essential items and the best places to buy the stuff -
You must be thinking that everyone knows it and does it boss! Trust me no one makes a note of it and ends up buying wrong things for the child doing the last-minute purchase. With the internet making things easy for you to sort your shopping. Please make the best use of it. Also read reviews before you buy. Always search youtube or some blogs on the latest childcare accessories and you will be delighted that there are so many wonderful things out there to make life easy. I learnt a lot from how to do…videos and blogs for my child’s daily needs. I literally used to do lot of research on everything 😊
Child’s struggle and challenges when they start growing up -
When my daughter was born, we wanted her to know Hindi, Gujarati and English. Hindi and Gujrati being our mother tongue, and also living in Denmark, Danish was to be learned by default. So, my daughter was now juggling with 4 languages at a time which became very stressful for the child. She couldn’t complete a sentence in one language and used to jumble up words. Eventually she started getting frustrated.
What did we do to overcome the challenge?
We had to find a way for her to make the learning smooth. We decided to speak one language at a time for one day. And referring to my point to learn the local language - it makes more sense here to understand how it actually helps your child. This way she could separate the words and was able to speak one language fluently. We patiently practiced this for one year. Now my daughter can speak and understand all the languages and can communicate very well. We are now happy that she can make friends and communicate here and also will be able to communicate with her grandparents and can talk with them as they don’t know English or Danish language.
My journey as a working mother -
Talking about a working mother’s life, constant travel is a part of my job, and this makes it very difficult to stay away from my child for so long. Nonetheless, I use technology to the fullest to shorten the distance virtually and am always connected with her. Though I feel the guilt and the hard choices I have to make while I leave her and go to work, the hope to give my daughter the best of the best opportunities and a good life keeps me motivated.
I always want my child to be given all the freedom to choose her path and pursue her dreams. At the same time, she should be a fiercely independent and confident woman. She should be able to face the world with confidence. Having said that, I would like to share that each child has a special quality and each one of them has talent. It is very important that you don’t pressurize them or underestimate them. Just identify their interest areas and help them grow. As a young parent, I am exploring my child’s world and understanding her preferences every day!
I will talk more about it on how to observe a child and understand their preferences and interests in my next blog.
Hope my journey so far will help you as well. Stay tuned for more such moments which I will keep on sharing with you. Bye.
The author is a content writer and digital marketing professional. She is the founder of Skillvita which is a soft skill and digital marketing agency. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store