Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's the little things

It's the little things that matter these days.

Not the "where will we be living in 5 years time?" big things.


It's the "I'm enjoying this cup of coffee", or "the kids only fought 4 times today", or "the sun is shining", or "I can read a book for 5 minutes", or "wow, look at these flowers" things.

I've found life hard since coming back from our European "holiday" visiting family. Jet lag, sick kids, new routines, training a new au pair, a very busy husband at work, kids constantly at each other, Mr. 2 waking through the night, manners that seem to have stayed stuck in that last Air New Zealand flight to Wellington. The list goes on and on. The daily grind has been bearing down on me.

Last Saturday, my husband had to work, my au pair was sick, and Mister 2 was a M.O.N.S.T.E.R. He just cried and whined and said no. He wanted to "help" me vacuum (now that I think of it though, why was I even trying to do any housework on such a day??). He provoked his sister incessantly. She, for once, was being quite nice to him. No matter how often I separated him from his sister or redirected his attention, I was unsuccessful.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. Have you been there? Please tell me you have!

In the end, I arm-wrestled screaming and kicking Mr. 2 into his pram, grabbed Miss 5 and her scooter and we all zoomed down to the local beach cafe. Five minutes later, they were both calm and happy with ice creams, while I sipped a life-saving mug of tea (dreaming it was in fact red wine!).

I thought to myself, "I deserve a medal".

Every Mum should have a medal somewhere, that she can whip out and put around her neck for getting through hard moments. I'm actually considering making myself one!

Anyway, to get back to my story, when my husband (finally!) got home, I said to him, "please hug me tight and long". Bless him, he did.

After that day, I thought that from now on, I was going to focus on enjoying the little things in life. The big things will wait for awhile.

So, as I write to you, I'm enjoying an hour of "Mummy time", eating a slice of delish pizza, and drinking a hot cappuccino. And I am so thankful for my dear hubby who got home from work earlier than expected and graciously said, "go".

What is your go-to tactic when parenting becomes too much? Do you hide a medal somewhere that you pull out? How do you get through the daily grind?

I hope this post encouraged you. You are not alone finding your way around motherhood. And some days, even though you may have read heaps of parenting books and articles, you may have seen all these cool kid activities on facebook, you just don't have the energy. And it's okay. You're still going to get to the other side. And when you do, pat yourself on the back and say "well done". You are growing precious children, and if that's not the most important job in the world, I don't know what is.

Kia Kaha! Be Strong!

Sunday, August 17, 2014


When the mind is in one place, the body in another, and the heart is torn between the two.

I have felt my roots tentatively reach out towards the soil where I'm living at the moment, and very cautiously test its feel, its dampness and its adequacy. But the earth beneath my feet is never quite right. Having once been uprooted, I do not know where I really belong, other than with those I love.
Some of them - the wider family - are on one side of the world, the others - my husband and children - are on the other side, my current side.

I consider myself a fundamentally happy and positive person. And yet there is this deep underlying melancholy and dissatisfaction with life. Where I'm living is never quite right. My work is never quite the right one. I'm constantly persuaded that there is better. And yet this "better" is always slightly out of reach.

As I sit here, writing this post in a concert hall, listening to the NZ Trio playing Dvorak's Third Piano Trio, who was deeply influenced by the Bohemian music from his homeland, I can't help but wonder... where IS my homeland?

My heart, body and mind have been forever undecided, and unable to decide. I am coming to the conclusion that this is to be my reality. Yet my heart aches for the unity of all three. I wonder if all Third Culture Kids identify with such a feeling of unending quest for peace of mind, body and heart.

If you're in that place too, I'd love to hear from you. If you've been in that place, but you've found a way to grasp such peace, I'd love to hear from you too.

As the concert drew to an end, it dawned on me that I am raising Third Culture Kids myself. I'm not a missionary or a diplomat, but my husband and I simply live in another country from the one we call home (it is home to my husband, it is a home to me). I must admit that I don't like the idea that my children will battle with the same feelings of inadequacy and lack of belonging, that they will grow up purple (I love this blog post by a Mum of TCKs). It is yet another battle that I want to win, for their sake as much as mine. I don't look forward to tearing my children's tender roots from this soil, and relocating them to the other side of the world. That day will come though, and when it does, I will be there with all the empathy a TCK Mum can have. But I won't have all the answers. And as Pooh Bear says so well:

Kia Kaha! Be strong!