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Up close and personal

March 31, 2021

Hey, Hallochen, Heyush!

This is the first English post on my blog! It's been a long time in the making, because it took me a while to figure out what I want to say and how I want to say it.

My previous blog post was published more than two years ago on my old blog, which was written only in Hebrew. Before moving to Berlin and becoming a mom (in that order) I used to publish new posts every week or two, in addition to posting on social media and writing content for design magazines and clients in the field.

Pregnancy in Berlin

Not having anything to write about wasn't the reason I stopped writing. I could have written about motherhood, about relocation, about motherhood on relocation, about Berlin, about motherhood in Berlin on a relocation, about design in Berlin... You get my point.

But my head and my heart were somewhere else.

"We'll talk in 2020!"

That was my answer to every question and concern regarding me going back to work. In calculating that statement I took under consideration the following:

1) We relocated while I was over seven months pregnant with our first born son Robin.

2) I quickly discovered that in Germany new parents get a year of Elternzeit (the local and much better term for "maternity leave" which means in English - parental time).

3) Another fact I discovered quite early on, was that finding a place in daycare for a baby in Berlin is a full time job, and not an easy one, which made me realize that maybe he won't start attending exactly when my Elternzeit ended.

Working while the baby sleeps

At the time (summer of 2018), I was half kidding about that 2020 statement. I didn't know how much time off I would need or want. But as it turned out, my calculations were pretty accurate, and that was even before Covid-19 came into our lives and before I found out that I was pregnant again. As it turns out, I wasn’t exaggerating at all, in fact here we are, “talking” in 2021.

In Israel, where we're originally from, the paid maternity leave is only three months. I remember a specific moment when Robin was exactly three months old. I held him in my arms, looked at him and wondered what we would have done if we had stayed in Israel. At that moment I knew that we were exactly where we needed to be at this point in our lives. I was happy and relieved that I didn't need to go back to work and could hold off on all work and career related decisions.

Crawling baby

As time passed and Robin grew up, slowly but surely, but the thoughts regarding 'what’s next' were still pretty vague. Not because I needed to reinvent myself or because I wasn’t content with my career, but because I was completely and entirely focused on him. 24/7 with little to no help, due to living in another continent from our family + an international pandemic, which kept us apart for an entire year (and counting…).

I listened to podcasts about parenting and entrepreneurship, where women were somehow magically doing it all and starting businesses while still on maternity leave. But that wasn’t me. “Motherhood was what drove me” I heard on one Israeli podcast, but my experience couldn’t have been more different. All I wanted was a good night's sleep and a few moments for myself. Nothing more. After several attempts of conducting phone interviews while he was playing beside me or writing while he was sleeping on my lap, I came to the conclusion that this is not how I wanted to spend my Elternzeit.

Maternity leave

I almost gave up on finding him a daycare spot, but when Robin turned one he started attending kindergarten and began the acclimation process, which takes usually between 4-8 weeks in Germany. This gradual process was great for everyone involved, after all I was used to spending every minute of every day with him, just like he was with me. Five minutes alone became ten, an hour became two, and six weeks later I found myself with a little “me time” on my hands.

Then Covid-19 happened and everything changed again.

I am not sure why, but it threw me off even more than the Elternzeit did, and for a moment there I completely lost all connection to the “working, writing, creating and designing me”. I forgot what I liked to do and why, lost track of what I’m good at and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with myself when it was all over. That was sort of a “rock bottom” moment for me, professionally speaking, but somehow, with great help from my husband Rafael, family, colleagues and friends, I found my way back.

Baby wearing

So, what now?

Now, as if this emotional rollercoaster that I (and the entire world) have been on wasn’t enough, I am starting another full year of Elternzeit after giving birth to our sweet baby girl Libby. And of course there are still many concerns regarding the pandemic and no clear end to that in sight. So it seems the skies are not quite clearing up just yet, but I am going to use this blog as a way to see the sun that is still well hidden behind the clouds. After two years of feeling like I am on the outside looking in, I am jumping back in the game. It feels a little strange, like learning a skill all over again, but it’s slowly happening.

Urban Spree Gallery

As I always did, I will continue to observe, write and create. Like I wrote in the text on my about page - design is in the center of everything that I do, it is the language that all of my different projects speak and the focus of every piece of content that I write. Being a designer and a writer allows me to explore the field from different angles, inside and out, and to keep learning and expanding my horizons.

This new and improved blog is a major step for me! I am looking forward to expanding my community and bringing my ideas and creativity to a larger audience. Giving birth again has changed everything for us and I can't even tell you how tomorrow is going to look like. But I invite you all to join me on this ride, share your thoughts and pitch your ideas. Soon I will add a page with the main services that I can provide, in the meantime feel free to contact me for any question or offer.

Best,

Ofri


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