Time to choose. For my kids
MONDAY, September 20 – This morning it became clear to me. At exactly 8:45 am, on the tortuous road between Amsterdam and Hilversum where I’d shed so many tears and where I now whoosh along with a song in my heart. Overdiek, it’s time you stopped kidding yourself. Put your own happiness first, and allow yourself the time and space you need. Take care of yourself. Only then can you be there for the boys.
In other words, I intend to resign as deputy editor-in-chief of NOS News. My fruitless attempts to do this work at my full capacity have foundered in the realization that this is no ordinary job. In the situation in which we find ourselves, I cannot afford to invest my energy in a profession that necessarily interferes with my personal life. At least not at the present and not for the coming two years, or so.
I want to be able to go to Eamonn’s karate lessons. I want to have a leisurely breakfast with Sander. I want to sit down with them when they do their homework. I want to show up at school when they’re not expecting me. I want to know who their friends are. I want us to fix a meal together. I want to argue with my adolescent son. I want to do the things with them that their mother used to do.
I want to be there for them.
If I want to do all this, and I do, then I cannot function adequately as deputy editor-in-chief in Hilversum. There’s so much more to the job than working hard during normal office hours. It doesn’t end there. It’s not that I can’t handle it. I can. I know how to make this organization even better. I know how to inspire people. I know my strong points. I know how to lead, but at this moment other things are more important: I’m more important and what I need is to be able to be there for my two boys.
I’ll find something else within the NOS. I have enough skills, I’m motivated and ambitious. In a professional sense, I know I can play a leading role and there’s bound to be a job I can tackle within the framework I have sketched. I want to go on working for this fantastic organization that is made up of people who stand by each other when the going gets tough.
My first priority, however, is that I want to be a father. That is, a caregiver who also works, who’s there for the children, as well as for himself. Someone who keeps the family together. That’s what I promised Jennifer on her deathbed, when I held her hand, kissed her, and whispered that we would carry on. Her way, our way, my way. That moment is now.
12.30 – I talked to my colleagues within the executive management team. Understanding. Strength. Hugs. We agree to sleep on it: tomorrow the die will or will not be cast.
23:00 – I’m perfectly calm. I helped Sander with his homework and complimented Eamonn as he enjoyed eating something new.