The Washington Post did a wonderful webdoc about women and their relationship with their mother. The journal asked them what is different in their life from their mother’s.
Mother’s day is over now, but I still wonder what is different in my life from my mother’s.
I’m 36, and at that age, my mom had already two daughters, my sister and I. I’m not married, and I don’t have any kid. I don’t think I ever will. I live alone. I have a lover. We keep our relationship secret.
My mother left her country at 22 to start a new life in my country, where she met my father two years later, and got married one year after. She got pregnant at 26 for the first time. Both of my parents were working, and my mom didn’t have her family around her to help her. As a nurse, she had a difficult life, sometimes working even the weekends. I never heard her complaining.
I’m not a migrant like my mom. I don’t come from a poor country. I just left my town to live in my city, close to my job. I also have a difficult job, where I don’t really count my hours. I’m proud when I know I helped people with my work, even if it is all about helping people avoiding to lose money in bad investments. It’s not really the same as helping people feeling better, like my mom did.
I’m a writer, and a bookworm. No one else is like me in my family.
My mother had a hard time at the beginning accepting my job. She was afraid it was not sustainable. She may be right: journalism isn’t safe. In my country, but everywhere else, newsrooms are losing more and more of their workforce as the competition gets more and more fierce.
When I started as a journalist ten years ago, my mom frequently told me to pass the examinations to enter the public sector, because she thought it was easier, well paid. She didn’t understand my job. And to be fair, I complained a lot about my job at the beginning, because let’s face it, newsrooms are not exactly welcoming to new journalists. I also entered a world very misogynist, where I was often the only woman. There were very few women when I started in my newsroom. It has changed a bit, but men are still a majority. And as a financial journalist, it’s even worse when you go out to search for your stories. I don’t count the many times where I was the only woman in the room, around men who looked at me really angry or amused. But I gained allies too.
Ten years have passed and I’m still there. I’ve lost many of my coworkers, tired about finance, tired about the long hours at work, tired about the low salary compared to what the private sector could offer, tired about the petty fights with our chief editors or with coworkers. Some have left journalism to become entrepreneurs, PR, politicians, fund managers. But we remain close to each other.
My mom doesn’t tell me anymore to leave journalism now. Probably because she’s proud of me.