Working girl

So, we got hitched. It was exactly how Tim wanted it to be, which is exactly how I wanted it to be. I don’t feel any different at all, but I didn’t expect to. The thing I’m liking most of all, oddly, is him wearing a ring. I’m not sure what to make of that.

I do feel that I can move on to the next stage – preparation for the move overseas. I’ve mentally categorised everything in the house so I’m not too worried (possibly naively) about the packing. I’m not looking forward to the flight, but as an experienced internationally travelling mum told me, it’ll end. It might be hell for 24 hours, but it will end. I am particularly not looking forward to the resettling we’ll have to do with our already unsettled bub, but if she’s already unsettled I guess, logically, how much worse could it be?

The pickle that has been playing on my mind most is work. Gainful employment. Bringin’ home some (as opposed to the) bacon. I wouldn’t describe myself as a career driven person, yet for the last eight or so years I suppose I have been, almost by default. I like being interested in things, and I like doing whatever it is I do well. As such, I had done quite well in my career (in that I definitely had one and talked about it as such). However, about six weeks after I had the baby I took a voluntary redundancy.

It was an extremely difficult decision to make at the time. Not for Hotel, who was probably going to forge my signature on the paperwork if I didn’t make up my mind in the positive. For him it was a no brainer, but for me…I dunno. Part of it was the weird uncertain headspace I was in shortly after she was born; but there was also a sense of giving away part of my identity, something I had worked on for years. Half of me really wanted to keep that but the other half strongly felt having my identity so tied up in work was also kinda lame. Mostly, I felt so disjointed from everything that work was the only part of the old me left – and although it would have been completely different too, I guess I was hanging onto a hope that if I still had my job I’d still feel like me, somehow.

However, after innumerable discussions, spreadsheets and vinos, I signed the papers and let the NSW public sector. It has now been nearly eight months since I worked and although I readily admit that being home with her is not always awesome, I’m not missing my old day job at all. Which brings me to Switzerland. Because Tim is considerate and awesome (there wouldn’t be a ring on it otherwise), he negotiated work visa support for me as part of the relocation package. I’ve had to send over my CV and had a teleconference with the agency, during which we discussed various work options. The upshot is I’ll focus on settling in with the lass first, and then in January start scoping options.

And yet, for the first time that I can recall, I’m not sure I want to work. I don’t mean from a ‘stay at home and live a luxurious life perspective’ (because if it were feasible, I’d have no qualms about that whatsoever), but from a ‘don’t quite know what to do with myself’ perspective. Partly it’s because I haven’t mastered life with a baby enough to be bored yet, but also because I feel a little like I’m in a vacuum. I’d intended to return to study after taking the VR; not really logistically viable in Switzerland. Although to be honest, even if we weren’t going, I’d be in no rush to go back to study either. For the first time I feel…inertia.

Perhaps it’s because so much has been going on, or perhaps because I find motherhood challenging. But whatever the reason, I don’t have a drive or ambition for work that I have had in the past. Apart from not knowing what to do with myself, I just don’t feel ready. Which, like everything else to do with becoming a parent, is the exact opposite of how I assumed I’d feel.

The only reason this is a problem (for want of a better word) is that I don’t want to deskill myself, to feel I’ve wasted time, to lose any independence I might have in the future. I don’t want to regret making this move, or blame it for any outcomes that may be different to those I’d hoped for earlier in my life. I’ve also heard it can be challenging to find work there, particularly part time work, and there is a cultural expectation that women support the family rather than work. I’m unsure how true this is, but it adds another layer of consternation. I also have zero competency with the language – I can’t even order wine or swear yet – which obviously will make it even trickier.

There’s no answer to this yet. I think I need to wait, to pack our little family up and to move over there. To support my husband in his new role and to keep our little girl safe and secure throughout the change. But in the back of my mind I need to work on what the next step will be for me, because these last eight months have gone past in the blink of an eye and before I know it the girl will be 18 and I will have spent the better part of my life sitting around eating raclette. (Although, when I write it, that doesn’t sound too bad at all.)

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