Global Mamas: Turkey

Monday, April 9, 2012

We’re profiling one mother from every country on the planet. (Current tally: 13 down, 179 countries to go!)


Meet Güneş Güner IŞIK. She’s a 36-year-old fashion director for GQ Turkey. Now, instead of me telling your more about her, it’s way better to have her do it:

“I have eight years as mother; eight years as a wife, and 16 years as a creative. My funky son, Dara, is in the second grade. He’s one of these new weird kids who knows a bit too much. And he’s very creative.”

See what I mean? Fabulous.

Here’s her story …

Photo by Güneş Güner IŞIK

Life before baby …
It was a selfish life. I tried to keep the whole world revolving around me. I was always hectic and working, and if I was lucky enough to find some time for myself, I would spoil myself rotten! I would travel, get beauty treats, go partying.

I never thought about having a family of my own. I didn’t even dream about getting married.  I was just so into my professional life, none of that other stuff really ever entered my thoughts.

And my relationship to kids? They were almost like aliens to me. These little beings who cry on planes.

My ideas about motherhood …
I simply never pictured myself as a mother. But somehow — out of no where  — when I was 28, I started to crave a baby. A little boy with black olive eyes. I was dreaming about this little boy, dreaming of being a mother to this son. It’s so strange because I was single. I had recently broken up with my boyfriend.

Then I found out that my ex-boyfriends lost his mother. I tried to be there for him. We ended up taking a trip to the U.S., to New York and Las Vegas. We had lots of fun. Then I went back to my regular life, back to working as a creative director for an international brand, back to working seven days a week and traveling twice a week.  All of a sudden I was a out of energy. I went to the hospital. They kept me there to run tests, but couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with me. Turns out, I was three months pregnant!

Even though I wasn’t married, I didn’t have any negative feelings about being pregnant. I just felt very ready to be a mother, and I looked forward to it. And when I found out I was having a boy, it made me even happier.

Then came baby …
I honestly did not have that incredible feeling the first moment I held my son. Maybe it was narcosis. But I started changing day by day.

At the beginning, my baby was too precious. I did not want anyone to even touch him. He was a difficult baby as well: did not sleep more than an hour until he was 2 years old. On top of everything, when I look back, the only feeling I remember  is joy and the biggest satisfaction of my life. It was such a unique feeling, a unique gift. I still call him “my  heaven.” He really is my heaven on earth.

The most challenging part of motherhood …
Being and learning to be a mother and a wife at the same time. Being patient with both my son and my husband is and was quite challenging. On top of a hectic day, coming back home needs even more energy. I feel like I need to be positive 24 hours a day, which is not easy.

Patience and empathy are still the most challenging things for me. I am stıll trying to find my boundaries on how to give, how much to give. My son is extremely curious, but conscious as well. And I’m trying to learn more and more everyday so I’m able to answer all his questions.

On balancing work and life …
I took a one-year break to be able to take good care of my son. After that, I started working as a creative director for a major company, carrying three different brands. I work fulltime, and I work hard. People are usually shocked to learn that I’m a mother!

I used to travel a lot and often worked overtime. When he was 3, 4 and 5 years old, my son adapted to my life. He was with my parents when I was traveling. I am so lucky to have my parents near to help. They even moved to a house closer to us to keep things easier for him and me. We also have a great nanny who welcomes our son home  from school. I usually get home around 8 p.m. My weekends are mostly dedicated to him, if I am not working. So I gave up on my social life instead of giving up my job.

Every year I promise him — and myself — to work less, but unfortunately the opposite happens. So honestly, there is no balance. :)

The best part about raising a child in Turkey …
Having my parents around us. Also, being in a city (Istanbul) that is modern, but traditional at the same time. It’s full of contrasts: east and west cultures, different cuisine, music, and literature.

The parts I wish were different …
I do still plan to take my son somewhere else because Turkey is still a developing country. The desire of consumption is too driven. It is not the right country to raise a more productive boy. Most of the students are raised to be too competitive. And art and sports — and joy, basically — are secondary subjects.

If we could jump into the DeLorean and race back in time …
I would tell myself: “Cuddle as much as you can!”


We’ve got over 170 countries to go (yeah, whoa.). So if you would like to nominate a mother who is living and raising a family abroad to be featured on MMM’s Global Mamas series, do let us know! Drop a line to: get[dot]msmack[at]gmail[dot]com.

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1 Comment
  • 1
    Joy says:

    I really enjoyed this interview. Of course, I was in tears at the last line. Thanks, Nicole. Good job!