I used to cover conflicts, insurrections, and intifadas. I met Afghans as they tasted their first days of freedom after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. (Yes, I’m aware that they’re back, stronger than ever, almost a decade later). I observed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I have spent many years in Jerusalem, perched in a place that perpetually looks to be on the brink of war.
I’ve also covered a famine in Sudan, and visited regions of Somalia shattered by civil war. I’ve written about women fighting for their rights in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait and Yemen. I covered ethnic cleansing in Indonesia, corruption in the Philippines, oppression in Vietnam…and more bombings than I care to count.
But I had not yet learned to be someone’s mother. I am slowly getting the hang of it. Motherhood, I mused with colleagues when I left a decade-plus of employment as a foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, is truly the ultimate front-line assignment.
The jobs bear some similarities. Unusual hours. Late nights. Being fast on your feet. Flexible and able to improvise. Not always having time for a proper meal. A whole-body experience. Your time is not exactly your own.
Today, it’s not just about the story. As of September 2010, when I gave birth, the world began to look different – all the more so when I had a second baby in February 2012. No news story could compete with the love I have for my son and daughter. And I’m blessed to have wound up with a husband who believes in the importance of my career as well as his own – and who wanted to be a dad as much as I wanted to be a mom. (Hardly anyone, incidentally, took note of him becoming a first-time father at 41.)
To be honest, this is the kind of premise for a blog which, had it existed 15 years ago – when blogs had not yet been invented – I would have found annoying. At 25, I was extremely career-driven. I was hard-working and ambitious, and I wanted to cover the world’s most pressing issues. Had I read then about a successful woman reporter – or any power-woman, really – who suddenly claimed to be more fulfilled by having become a mother, I would have made a gag-me face and have turned the page. (That is, when we turned pages…)
I hope that through this blog, I’ll find community with other women who are trying to make sense of the move from a high-stakes career to meaningful motherhood, and perhaps trying to strike a balance between the two. I want to take note of what makes us more “mature” mothers different. I’m determined to capture the trials and tribulations of a different kind of struggle.
After all, I got this far by taking copious notes: why stop now?