I’m one of those women who has followed her husband to Switzerland and left a well-known life behind for the sake of keeping the family together. That happened 8 years ago. As many of you probably, I also had my ups and downs here over the last few years. I think it is extremely difficult to leave the family and friends, work, culture, and your language behind to build up a new life. It can be difficult enough to do that by yourself but having the responsibility towards your kids and husband on the top of that, well…that makes it even harder. At least that how I felt at the time when we made the decision to live someplace else.
After our move, I was really excited to discover Switzerland, get to know people as everything was fresh and new. I was truly amazed by this multicultural environment. I’m coming from Hungary, from a far more closed culture. I even accepted the fact that I was going to stay at home for a while. After “settling down” one question came back to me constantly: “Ok, now what?” I felt my hands were tied with the childcare options. I really want to be fair here. I feel truly blessed to have a beautiful family, 3 cool kids and wonderful friends. I live in a fantastic neighborhood, surrounded by a supportive community. Still, I was angry with my husband, myself and generally the world for quite some time. When people asked the question: “What do you do?”, I always started explaining that “I do this and that and I also stay at home with my kids”. It was awful. I was not myself.
Then I had my first panic attack. I got scared and I visited my doctor. He asked me a very simple question: “Do you have “me” time? “Oops” I could have had that but I needed to prove to the World so desperately that I’m worthwhile. I kept myself so freaking busy that I completely forget about myself. Then he asked me “What do you want to do?” That was my wake up call. But I couldn’t really do anything about my situation. My body decided not to corporate with me anymore. I had muscle pain for more than a year. I was so much out of balance. It felt like shit. Before this, I always had strong body awareness because of dancing and sport. I really wanted to get out of it so -naturally -I rushed into things. It was kind of like: ”F**k it. Here I come.” I started studying way too many things and at the same time, I created so many ideas that filled out a whole notebook. I also started applying for jobs. Needless to say, the situation didn’t get a lot better. But I wanted to get out of it. I also understood that despite all the support from my family and friends, I’m the only one who can save myself. I slowly started saying NO to things. In the beginning, it felt weird but then I learned that it is OK and it gives me more time for things that are important in my life. I started walking, running and dancing again. This time I took it a lot slower. And it got better. I also cared a lot less worrying about what other people think.
I stopped being angry and I started prioritizing. I gave myself more credit. I started pushing myself step by step out of my comfort zone and I started volunteering at a place where it felt like my kind of thing. There, I learned a lot, expanded my network and get back a lot of self-esteem.
Over these years living in Switzerland, I met a lot of Swiss and non-Swiss mothers. We all had stories, good and bad ones. But when we talked about our work situation, most of the time there were complaints. “I can’t work because I need to stay at home with my kids”. I can’t find a job because I have many years of gap in my CV.” I have no time because I have to do almost everything at home” “My husband works a lot”. I have no clue how to do this.” I want to do something but…” The list is very long. It makes me really angry to see a lot of mothers dropping out of professional life. It’s like taking care of our children would be a punishment. Not fair, a lot needs to be changed. I gave a lot of thoughts to this and finally, I found my mission 2 years ago. My brain still never stops and I’m still doing too much but I’m kind of relaxed. And that’s really good.
I think no matter who are we, which country we are coming from, we should be entitled to strike a balance between our professional and family life. Even in such a wealthy country like Switzerland. We should be able to decide – whenever it is possible- if we want to stay at home with our children full time or we want to also pursue our career at some point. Changing things always take a long time. This is a very complex problem. Some can’t be changed only in decades but I truly believe that is always some solution. But a common need requires common actions.
We are not the same. We have different lives, different background but I find it fascinating to see how we support each other on so many levels.
That was the starting point for me building up the MAMAGORA platform with 3 wonderful women and my husband. It was born after a year of hard work, using previous skills and developing countless new ones. It has been made with the belief that with the common effort we can all contribute in something based on our talent, skills and time capacity and we can better how we balance our work – and family life.
MAMAGORA was launched in September and I’m very excited to see that is slowly growing. I hope we can take this journey together, find our questions and answers, make each other feel that we are not alone with our struggles, connect and support each other and build up MAMAGORA together the way it fits us the most.
I’m very excited about getting to know you all and looking forward to hearing your story.
Co-Founder of MAMAGORA and mother of 3