As mothers, we are often caught between focusing on our careers and focusing on our families. And we feel disappointed when we choose one over the other. But maybe it's time to change our perspective.
Life Parenting

Why Taking a Sabbatical Year Was the Best Decision for Me

As mothers, we are often caught between focusing on our careers and focusing on our families. And we feel disappointed when we choose one over the other. But maybe it's time to change our perspective.

By Ghada Karam of Confidential Mommy Talks 

A decade ago when I graduated from college, I went through some of the interview questions that employers might ask me, and one of them caught my attention: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

My first thought was, What kind of question is that?

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to be five years later (and I was absolutely fine with it!).

Truth is, today I am in my 30’s and have lived in 7 different countries, none of which was planned in advance. My last move to Bangkok was decided over a casual discussion with my husband, and there we are, less than two months later, living in a new city that we never expected to be in.

One of the beauties of life lies in the mystery it hides. I wanted that, and planning my life five years ahead was just too… unthinkable to me.

It doesn’t mean that I had no clue what I was doing; I just didn’t find it important to plan 5 years ahead.

Nine years after my graduation, my career was stable. At that point in my life, I was married and enjoying a great luxury that today I no longer possess: the time to do what I want (and if you’re nodding, you’re DEFINITELY a parent!). Seeing that I enjoyed working in marketing, I made up my mind to push my knowledge further and enroll in a Masters program (yeah, I’m the kind of person who likes education and stuff like that).

But here is the thing. Life is more ironic than that: It waits for you to give it a sign that you’re ready for something new, and then it just pours its best treats.

Translation: When I was submitting the finals of my second module (just 4 months down the road), I found out I was pregnant.

I had been married for four years. Baby could have come sooner. But that would have been way too easy. Right? So I had to make a choice: keep studying or let it go.

But then I figured that, if I did let go, I’d always wonder if this was the best decision. This question would have stayed in my mind forever.

So I decided to dive in and get into it. The challenge was ON!

That was at the end of 2012, and for the next three years I had to juggle between a full-time job, my studies and a baby.

Naturally, a challenge of this size comes with compromises. I had very little time to do anything else. I turned into an anti-social person with limited “accessibility.” Truth is, studying is equal to having a part time job, and I needed to spend every spare minute that I had with my baby to compensate for being away for so long.

So, now that we’ve moved to Bangkok, I decided to take advantage of this change and enjoy some time with my family.

But here is the problem: Protect your career, and you’ll spend your days regretting the time away from your kids. Protect your time with the kids, and you’ll spend your days regretting what could have happened to your career.

So the way I see it, we live in a self-inflicted vicious cycle where we go from unhappy to miserable. I wondered, Is this what motherhood is all about — regretting what we don’t have?

We live in a world of rapid change. We change countries, jobs, partners, and even gender faster than the speed of light. So why do we still need to feel miserable when we welcome the most precious change in our lives – our kids?

Someone’s definition of regret is in direct relation to how they themselves are prone to disappointment. And disappointment is defined by judgment. One doesn’t exist without the other.

So instead of feeling like we’re never achieving enough, shouldn’t we instead be satisfied with what we’re actually accomplishing and ignore the rest?

It doesn’t matter if you’re working or not. What matters is your perspective. Change your perspective, and you’ll be less judgmental and less prone to disappointment.

And you’ll get to enjoy what you have. In. The. Best. Way. Possible.

The end.

This post was originally published on Confidential Mommy Talks.


About Ghada Karam

Ghada Karam is a first-time mom who lives in Bangkok with her husband and her two-year old daughter. She enjoys gossiping about being a mom and about her daughter’s tantrums. She thinks tantrums are great. They spice-up her day. You can follow her latest news on Confidential Mommy Talks, or socialize with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.