Last night, I had a terrible nightmare, one of those that make you feel so grateful when you finally wake up and realize that your usual surroundings are still there.
The main character was a look-alike of a colleague of mine, a junior lawyer who hated her job and was looking for ways to have a more artistic kind of work. She wasn’t mean, quite the opposite actually. She was making me laugh because she admired my energy at the workplace, compared to hers, having no children to take care of when she was leaving the firm in the evening.
In that nightmare, she embodied the generous person who offered me shelter for four days, with the kids, to help me organize my moving back to France. I was touched by her gesture, and also relieved of course, because this is a logistical nightmare to come back to France after a year lived abroad.
However, after four days, she got angry and requested that I left. She wanted to stab me with a pair of scissors, asking me $800 as compensation. But I don’t have $800! I just filled in my tax form, realizing that last year I earned twenty times less than what was offered to me when I graduated.
Indeed, I am frozen by fear in my nightmare. I am also so worried because I feel the heavy weight of any move with two children. You do not move from one country to another with two children as you do with one. I cannot help them carry four pieces of luggage for instance. I have only two hands, no place to live yet and no car.
When I heard a French speaker (Jacques Salomé) in one of his conferences (in French), foresee that in a few decades, women will not have children anymore because of the sheer self-sacrifice which is required, I am aware that he was not even taking into account single mothers when he said that.
I have had full responsibility of my children for over ten years now. Since the day they were born, I have been the one in charge of making all the decisions. Today my shoulders let me know they feel tired.
Yes I do feel exhausted, even if it is hard for me to express it because I love doing things, am passionate about so many endeavors and I love living life to the fullest. At the same time, I must admit that there is something in me which says that I almost did not live for over ten years.
Nevertheless, I don’t have regrets, really not. The pain of the people in my circle is already impossible to bear, so I could and cannot stand the suffering of my own children for one minute. That is true, yes I gave up my professional career as a business lawyer, despite my academic success and the passion I have for finance. Maybe also despite my passion for other people. What I always loved the most in any job I had was the relationship with my co-workers, the feeling of being part of a team and moving towards a common goal. Also, I always appreciated so much the invisible moments of time, whether it is a discussion around the coffee machine or a short period of time with a colleague when you know he or she will soon go away. Sometimes we can work with someone and get far more than professional satisfaction. It can be an exchange, some kind of growth which takes place by working together on a specific task.
Today I live in Africa and I enjoy the sun, constant and trustworthy. However, I reach the conclusion that this life is not meant for me because I have almost no contact with other adults. I am entirely devoted to my children and taking care of the house. I love this peacefulness but this is too extreme. I need to talk, to exchange ideas and laugh abut adult stuff to feel good.
You may say my friend my sister that I sacrificed myself for my children. On the surface of things, it may be the case. However, on a deeper level, I trust the Universe, God and Life to provide me with some sort of goodness to make up for it. Not as in an award, but as a blessing in disguise, which will reveal itself at the right time, displaying all its opportunities and its intrinsic joy.
I must admit as well that I love working and will continue to do so even if I win the lottery. Working is a passion of mine, I love to teach, to write and to record videos. Moreover, I strongly believe in the concept of personal routine, a daily ritual that we impose on ourselves and allows us to offer the best version of ourselves to others.
My dream today is the picture of a kind person, the opposite of my nightmare. I can see a woman or a man, having a big house and saying to me: “Claire, come and live with me. You work to pay everything you need, except rent. So you can work thanks to the internet with peace of mind while taking care of your two children”.
Today I feel like saying to you my friend my sister that you are not alone to ask yourself so many things about being a woman and a mother, about working like a dog to pay your rent while forgetting to live.