Helen (45 years old) sacrificed her career for the sake of motherhood: “What mothers are asked of these days is ridiculous” | contradictory

contradictoryGet a diploma, study, get a job, save, buy a house, settle down. Then retire as soon as possible. This may be the way it should be, but it could also be different. In this series of people who fill their financial lives less predictably. This time Helen Othoven-Hobbstein (50 years old) sacrificed her career to enjoy raising her daughter.

Were you always the opposite?
I did as expected until I was 39: study, get a good job: I was a consultant at a recruitment and selection agency, got married and had a baby. But with the arrival of our daughter I thought: How is everyone doing this? Your life will be different but you have to keep going. Then I could not and did not want to. So I stopped working to become a full-time mother.”

What was the moment when you thought: This wouldn’t work?
“After maternity leave, I went back to work and took my baby to daycare. It wasn’t right at all. I was pumping in there at work. I noticed my mind wasn’t busy with work and my body was in the aftermath of childbirth. While my classmates around me were working hard, I thought: what I’m doing here? I want to be somewhere else and then work like crazy and race to daycare to pick up my baby on time. This pressure, nonsense. I asked if I could work less, but it just couldn’t. So I stopped.”

You become financially dependent on your husband.
“It is said that as a woman you should be financially independent. I think that is really nonsense. There is also such a thing as a child who deserves the attention of his parents. The comfort and care that a young child needs takes time. I think it is nonsense for a woman to push herself into a great cleavage to keep all The balls are upright. What mothers are being asked these days is ridiculous. And then people are surprised that they get fatigued in groups. We have to stop driving ourselves crazy.”

What does your husband think of your choice?
,, That was positive. His career is important to him. He didn’t make a fuss about sharing his salary. But it can affect your relationship. I understand that there are people who struggle when one pays everything and the other pays nothing. Within your relationship, the value of the time you spend with family must be recognized. But if you support each other’s choices, that’s fine.”

There were moments when I thought: Well, you have your career and I’m sitting here at home. But then I wasn’t comfortable with my skin. Maternity is nothing but permanent leave. It’s a full-time job that goes seven days a week, day and night, even when you’re sick. But personal interest in raising children, guiding them so that they later become responsible and independent people, is important to me, and I was willing to make sacrifices for this. Their value cannot be expressed in money.”

But not every mother can do what she does: not every family can generate a single salary.
,,This is correct. This is difficult. Maybe not everyone can do it this way, but I believe in creating possibilities, seeing opportunities, and taking responsibility. I also see a lot of people who could do different work but continue the same way because that is known and they feel safe. Who would not dare to take the step of giving up a fat job and a good salary for it.”


I only earn €10.35 an hour, but when I go home by bike through the meadows, I feel rich.”

Helen Othoven Houbstein

You are now working again: as a salesperson in an outdoor sports store. While studying Politics and Governance in International Organizations at the University of Groningen. Why?!
“Because I really like it. Did you have to go to college for that?” my dad asked when I got this job. He’s really one of those people who still works at 87. I’m different. I knew he was going to act that way, eventually. I don’t care. Secretly I think people who have thoughts about this are jealous because I do what I want.”

And your daughter?
She is now 11, so she needs less care. This is also not a complicated administrative position, after a day’s work I am tired of standing still, but I am satisfied and do not take any pressure with me at home. I have great colleagues and love to help clients. It’s not the career move you’d expect from someone with my background, I only earn €10.35 an hour, but when I come home through the lawns, I feel rich.”

How do you feel about the choices you make?
“I don’t care too much about others. In the end, I’m not here to live someone else’s life, but my own.”

If you live on one or two paychecks, it always pays to have money left over. Read here at Independer how you can cut back on your fixed costs.

“It’s so wonderful, mother,” last Mother’s Day Kis Verhoeven of Brabant wrote a poem in honor of all mothers.

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