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Opinions of Thursday, 27 August 2020

Columnist: Afua Gyane

It lies within me

The writer, Afua Gyane is a business consultant and a youth motivator The writer, Afua Gyane is a business consultant and a youth motivator

I call it the "seasons". It shows up just as expected or sometimes without a call. I recall a phase of my life I refer to as the "budding season". It was filled with so much love, sunshine and radiance. Like a flower knowing spring is coming soon, I waited in expectancy.

Imagine you planted a seed, kept it perfectly watered and gave it all the nurturing it needed to grow. That is exactly where I was. My joy knew no bounds. I couldn't wait to sprout. Every day after that, I opened up just a teeny weeny bit to peep at the world outside of me. How was it going to be like out there? Will the world take me in, love and protect me as though I was still budded, or will I have to face it all alone; the good, the bad and the ugly?

Now, it was time to sprout. It was my turn to show my hidden self to the world. The beauty I held within was as radiant as the sun. It felt as though I was a pot of gold waiting to be found.

I carried the world on my shoulders, ready to race with it. Suddenly, I was caught in the chaotic world of the corporate woman; from early morning rising to attending high profile meetings, meeting deadlines and all the package that came with it. I was the shining star of my time.

I began to dream of the next season of my life. I yearned for it. This surely must be my crown of glory, I told myself. Day and night, I prayed and hoped. Alas! From my lips to God's ear, I am a mother. This journey is what I expected and even more. The joy of seeing my little ones grow— the tiny cuddles, the never ending mess created. I didn't want to miss a thing. I had become so attached to my new phase. No one could do it better than I, I said to myself.

Going back to my former self has suddenly become difficult. I am stuck in a place I never really planned to be. Each moment that passes holds me bound to my new reality; MOTHERHOOD, the stay-at-home kind.

The mental load of motherhood has become so real coupled with my desire to do something for myself. I have been caught in a world where no one really cares how many A's I made while in school, how many degrees I have to my name or the few times I excelled in my career. After all, there is nothing to show for it. All I am good for is attending to dirty dishes, managing the home and being available to my kids 24/7.

This exciting yet difficult phase complicates my effort to hold onto the dream I once had. I am still holding onto it. I refuse to surrender it.

My constant desire to keep in touch with my dream propels me to make planned visits into my memory. It is interesting how my ego still pushes me to mention my degree and previous work history when I am asked whether I still work or I am “just at home with the kids". Often, it sounds a bit awkward trying to explain why I have taken some time off work because often I get judged though I still find a few who perfectly understand my journey. Do not get me wrong. I love this phase but I tend to ask myself, “Have I wasted my degree? If I have, does it really matter?"

It seems my friends who may have once been in the formal workforce but are now stay-at-home moms may be struggling too. We desire to hold onto our former selves, occasionally engaging in intellectually-stimulating activities whenever we can.

Again, I love my kids and I cherish each moment when I am with them. Right now, I have found myself here. I am swimming in an ocean of confusion, torn between what is expected of me and what I expect for myself.

Eventually, I will have to figure it out for myself and my kids. Until then, I strongly believe that it still lies within me.