As promised, I am back in the swing of things and very timely for the May update – big pat on the back to me ! Now for the past month highlights…
Foreign trips galore : May has been a very busy month travel wise. I went to Madrid for a girls’ week end, to Paris for a family visit, to London for a conference and finally to Washington for a proper work trip. I have enjoyed every single one of them immensely ! I did not travel a lot as a child and I always had hunger for it. This partly explains why I have lived in 4 countries (and 3 continents) since I became an adult. I have been feeling somewhat restricted in this area of my life since I had children. The adventurous side of me has been put on hold, both for practical and emotional reasons. The guilt of leaving my children and the fear of missing them too much has prevented me from engaging in my passion for discovery. It is something I always hoped to pass on, the curiosity for the world, the openness for different cultures and the flexibility of mind. So I put m guilt aside and decided to be coherent and demonstrate it by planning those short trips. I feel very happy that I kinda got this part of me back.
Do it all again : Lion and I have been seriously considering the idea of having a 3rd child. Peanut is going to be 2 in November so it seems sensible to open the topic now, as we would not want too big an age gap. I always felt that being a family of 5 would be ideal for us, and it feels very much incomplete for now. Having said that, I am absolutely dreading going through the whole maternity leave thing again. I have been blessed by 2 relatively easy pregnancies and births, but returning to work after maternity leave almost crushed me, especially the second time where I receive no support and ended up pretty much booted out of my team 3 months after returning. I feel I am in a stronger position now, but the past is haunting me nonetheless and I fear reliving the same thing. Returning to work is so bloody hard, and in the grand scheme of things, so little is done to help mothers adapt, regain their confidence, share their vulnerability. When I see mothers returning, I pray that they are getting genuine support, empathetic support, that lasts for months instead of merely days and where the main answer is not “go part-time”. By and large, companies don’t invest in this because it does not affect the people in power, i.e. the men. As much as I don’t believe that men in corporations are sexist pigs, I also don’t think they comprehend the magnitude of the upheaval that a return to work after mat leave entails.
A few environmental good actions : I have been trying to reduce my carbon footprint for a few years now and it has proven very difficult. Given all the travelling I did in May, I am definitely guilty of a lot of emissions, and I am deeply conflicted about this, given my love for travel (not to mention the fact that my job sometimes demand it). But I did change a few things in May that I thought were worth mentioning : I bought bamboo toothbrushes for Lion and I, I bought a reusable cup for my morning latte, I have taken public transport rather than taxis wherever possible during my various trips, I have cancelled my subscription to a personal shopper service that used to send me new clothes on a bi-monthly basis and I haven’t ordered on Amazon for 3 months ! Small things, and absolutely not a compensation for the plane trips, but habits that I think I can sustain for a long time.
From marketing to strategy : For the past year, since my transition to a new role, I have been working in our Strategy department. Taking that job was the result of coincidence (there was a job available here and I had to get out of my previous job) but I think I might have discovered a professional future that could suit me. First of all, I have really enjoyed it, possibly even loved it at times. Second of all, whilst I am deeply untrained, I seem to have a natural potential in that area that I need to develop further. Again, goes to show that there is always a silver lining : one year ago, I was on the verge of depression in a job and team that did not suit me, and now, I feel a whole door has opened. My plan from now on is to both ask to continue on strategy project and also to self-train by reading books, articles and doing cases. Strategy also supposes a good understanding of the world, so I will continue daily reading of the FT.
June is well underway and will include a week of holidays for us 4 ! Can’t wait for it. Happy June everyone !