That is right; rubbish! I thought I could just leave AdriandHer3 and get on with my life now that my youngest one is 5 and the eldest ones are 14 e 17-years-old! Nope! I am still a mom. Their mom. And, not much has changed: it is 5pm , I am rushing about with dinner because no one else is. Do I want to cook for my children? Of course not. I have been doing this for 17 years, for goodness sake. I do not want to cook for anybody, not now. I just have to do it because I am a mom. Wait, a ‘stay-at-home-mom’.
So to all of you moms out there; we are back in business, let’s talk…
Shoot! 5:30pm! The worst time of the day for a mom – dinner time, bath time, brush teeth, bed time story (ha ha ha as if I have managed to stick to this routine every night), clothes for Kindergarten tomorrow, take the ballerina to ballet class at 7:50pm, pick her up at 9:15pm (dad will do that), make sure senior daughter is on track with College applications, laundry still going on, dishwasher too, my women’s group event is this Saturday, so it is the Women’s March in San Jose, check✔
What is left? A very tired 40 something woman, wondering in Silicone Valley, absorbing all the pressure, releasing all the crazy thoughts. Trying to find a way back into her career -perhaps, awakening an old passion – perhaps, and telling a lot of people and the school system to get lost! Because there are a lot of things around here which are just: wrong.
Speaking about schools…this is my 5-year-old homework sheet from Kindergarten. Since he started Kindergarten he has had a lot of frustrations. Nothing seems good enough for his teacher. I have received an email from her saying that he is having a hard time with his homework. I disagree; I think she is having a hard time with his homework.
The teacher wants Mateus to ‘write his opinion on the story’…
He cannot write yet, but his effort was lovely! And he did not want his bunny to be colorful, so what?! If you are sad you are not colorful. Can you say something good about the homework? Look at that bunny: have you seen his long eyelashes!? Uuuu! The patterns on his clothes? So Burberry! Do me a favour.
Should his opinion (a 5 year old) on the Bunny book be something like: ‘Well, considering all sides of the story I’d say the little bunny ran away because his anxiety grew on him, the pressures of the current school system just destroyed his self steem and creativity!’ – seriously?!
What is wrong with Education?
I am back. Thinking. Talking. Taking action. Join me!
As I sit in my living room to write what seems to be AdriandHer3’s last post, right in front of me there is a large screen showing our miscellaneous family pictures.
It is wonderful to watch how my little girls became young women, how my last baby became a big boy. And, it is scary to see how much less hair I have on my head now!
I used to think it was so hard to bring up two little girls and now looking back I can tell you:
‘Nope! It was a breeze! Any parent of a teenager, no matter how good their teens are, will say the same thing: adolescence is an extremely challenging time for parenting. It is a time when you know nothing, they know everything, and they know nothing! The results of that equation are heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.
As a parent, you suffer when your little kid has a fever, a horrible virus or an appendicitis surgery! Well, when parenting a teen, you think basically life must be over when they say they do not have any friends, or did not make it to the team, or worse, are experiencing teen depression or anxiety.
The thing is, when they are babies you experience a closeness to your child that is equal to nothing in this world. A love, a sense of great power exuding from your entire body and heart that will protect them from anything. When they grow up this power is still there, but it does not seem to be quite as effective…simply ‘kissing it better’ won’t do anymore.
Your teens may stumble and fall and all you can do is watch…pray…tear up quietly an dry your tears before they come home. Your unconditional love is there and they seem to reject it, but you know deep down they want to be loved, they need it so badly. So, you remain unchangeable, you… wait. It is all part of their growing up, the forming fabrics of their very own character.
As your teens strive to become young adults and to be as different from you as possible; you will catch glimpses of the great human beings they are becoming. Glimpses among all the chaos!
Just like my girls’s Polly Pockets, Bratz dolls and drawings used to be spread around our living room, today I have thousands of Lego pieces from my 5-year-old boy! I do not care, I do not even make a fuss for my son to pick them all up before going to bed. I just look at them and know…these too, will disappear way too soon…
Adri is saying a heartfelt thank you and good-bye! As my 3 wonderful children grow, I grow too! And without fear of growing old, or obsolete. I’ve experimented all the time throughout motherhood: I made and still make tons of mistakes. I worked full-time, part-time, was a stay-at-home-mom…I loved them and also wanted to kill them at times! (not literally of course!).
Loving people for who they are, caring for people is something very strong in me. So now, I exit AdriandHer3! in order to look after my 4th baby: Cafe com Abraco: a very dear expat women’s empowering and inspiring group, which holds monthly events in the Bay Area. Cafe has been described in many beautiful ways, but Luciana Peixoto’s definition was quite on point:
‘…Cafe com Abraco is like a temple – as in a place where you search for spiritual peace – and in this place people/women are welcome and invited to share their interests as well as all aspects of their lives, without much fiction, imaginary characters or judgement…This is an innovation in the field of spirituality and human growth. This initiative is contagious and people participate without having to follow any specific philosophy. It is revolutionary!’
I have to thank Lu Peixoto once more for her kind words. I admire all women who truly empower one another. The ones who understand the meaning of ‘sisterhood’ and are ready and willing to help each other, without worrying about ‘who gets there first’. Lu Peixoto is one of them.Thank you for supporting us all!
Being a mom is being controversial, a liar and fake!
I love my kids… mainly when they are asleep! The silence, the peace around the house! Then, I finally have some well deserved time for myself: I go on Facebook and post cute photos of my kids, or videos of my toddler playing, or I just go on looking at my children’s pictures, old ones, preferably. Can’t get away from them!
When they are having tantrums I want them to grow up! Grow please grow, I cannot take this anymore! Then, when they grow up and are kindergartners…oh, that last Summer is a mix of feelings!’ Yay! Extra cash! No more paying for day care or preschool! Yay! Time for myself! Real school time, homework, big kid, I won’t be wiping anyone’s butt anymore!’
If you have a 5-year-old and you live in the Valley, you are about to embark in the world of School! If you have a Senior…you are entering the world of ‘College’…in any case it is the time of separation. The so longed ‘time for yourself’! It’s here, it’s arrived! And you are ready, right?! Besides, you were going mad bringing up these kids- toddlers on your neck, teens on your nerves! It is your time now!
Many of us find ourselves in a limbo…I did it all and it is time to go back to work (yikes!) or, I have being a working mom and now I have no more babies (what?!), my baby is all grown up! (what?!)
In my case, I am going to have a bit of both…this is my ‘baby boy’s’ last Summer and next I’ll have a daughter leaving to College. I have waited so much for these moments, and I’m not embarrassed to say I do have a couple of feelings I am currently faking!
Fake feeling # 1: I’ve been pretending it is just awful that here where I live, in Los Gatos, California, my 5-year-old-son will join Kindergarten for only 2h30′ per day! It is close to obscene that all I will have time for is to take him to school, come back home, clear the breakfast table, check social media (ha ha) and go back to pick him up! Outrageous Educational system! How can a mother work!?
Reality: Thank God! That means I get to stay with him one more year!! One more year, hugging, kissing, telling him 24/7 how much I love him, being in the pool during Summer, pumpkin farms in Fall, Christmas lights in Winter!! We are good! shhhh!
Fake feeling #2: Next Summer, there will be one free bedroom at home! Finally an office! I hope my daughter will get into an English College because she is British, she wants to go back home and she will be so happy in London – I want her to be happy!
Reality: Please God, it will be so nice if she gets into a UC!! She can drive home at the weekends or at least for every holiday! Thanksgiving with the whole family!
We moms are like that; we go crazy, we complain, we demand our down time, we need to be left alone until we are really left alone!
We know we bring up our kids to the world, and we try to make a good job out of it. But…just between us: it is the hardest part of our lovely job as moms: to let them go!
Enjoy your madness!
While it lasts! 😉
Much love, energy and strength to you all moms, everywhere! As for me…I carry on complaining a little and enjoying tons and tons of this exhilarating thing: Motherhood!
I imagined this Mother’s Day completely different…
Wednesday, 5/4/16: My little boy has a small tummy ache and I give him a prebiotic supplement; things are fine.
Thursday, 5/5/16, pm: He has a tummy upset all night long, sleeps on and off, no tears. Around 2 am he throws up, then again…I am more than worried, but thinking it could be a rota virus, perhaps?
Friday 8am: as soon as the doctor’s open I am there. My little boy cannot put his right foot down, now the pain is clearly on his right side, appendicitis is on our minds. His pediatrician examines him, and although she is kind of ruling appendicitis off she says; “But go across the road to the hospital and do an ultrasound, just in case.” My husband then, decides:
‘Okay, I will go back to work, and you guys call me if anything’. (off he goes!)
In my mind and heart, I am like: ‘What?! No, really? I am going to the hospital by myself and will have to wait for the results by myself and they will be positive, you know?’
I toughen up and go, by myself. I carry my son (he is 21kg!) to the hospital entrance and ask for a wheel chair.
After the ultrasound they tell us to remain at the waiting room…
‘Shall I perhaps, call my husband?!’
‘Yes honey, why not? That wouldn’t harm’ – a nurse, looking at me with a pitiful smile…
‘Hi, Come to the hospital! The result will be positive, come right now, please!’ (Me on the phone, with my husband).
I cannot tell yet what was the worst part of this story…but seeing your child in a hospital bed being taken away from you, through the big surgery theater doors…is just a very daunting experience. I kissed Mateus on his forehead and asked him to be brave. I assured him that everything would be alright, mommy and daddy would be right there when he woke up and his tummy pains would go away.
His bright blue eyes were full of tears which he would not allow to run down his rosy cheeks; he was trying to be brave. And that broke my heart into pieces. Still, as his mommy I felt confident that he would be okay… As my husband and I turned our backs and walked towards the waiting room, I had a flashback of all the wonderful memories made with my son. I was fully with him, I loved him, cared for him and gave my all to him during these amazing 5 years.
I felt like crying uncontrollably, I felt like rebelling against whatever, or maybe falling in my husband’s arms…but all of a sudden in the middle of chaos, came peace. Both my husband and I knew we could not face each other…no eye contact – just keep going, keep strong and let’s see our little boy soon.
Every parent who has a child going through some sort of surgery and general anesthesia, no matter how big or small the surgery is, wonders: what if… As for me, my sense of peace comes from prayer, from believing in an almighty God. He was merciful enough to warn us in time, for this surgery.
After one hour, the surgeon comes to meet with us and says everything went very well. We caught the appendicitis at the very beginning and it had not burst. He also mentions what a brave boy Mateus was, and that he was trully impressed.
Next: the anesthesiologist…well, he had some news to us…when he gave our son a muscle relaxer injection, Mateus had a reaction to it; his facial muscles went all stiff. This could be a sign of a bad reaction to the anesthesia and therefore, I should watch out for ‘sudden fever or blood in his urine’. Malignant hyperthermia could be on the horizon, in this case we were to call the doctor on his cell immediately, because hewasworried. I felt like throwing up, fainting, crying. I did none of those. I just sat there frozen and afraid of seeing my son – I needed to have a happy, in control face to present to him when he woke up.
When we got into the post-surgery-room to meet Mateus, he was still asleep. I took one look at him and started shaking like crazy, could not control myself. It took some time for him to come round and that felt like an eternity.
Well, did I have a good night in hospital? I did not sleep at all, checking his fever and jumping off my chair every time the heart monitor beeped..Praise goes to all nurses from Good Samaritan Hospital, who cared for my son in such a loving way, who put my infinite worries to rest.
Thanks be to God and all my friends in prayer and good thoughts. All went well, no fever, a wonderful recovery, and we were back home for Mother’s Day!
There were many Mothers’ Days when I wished to be on a deserted island! Today, my wish is to be glued to my son, who is right by my side watching a movie and relaxing 🙂
This is the most perfect Mother’s Day it can be!!! I got beautiful hand-made cards from all my 3 children, special breakfast with crepes and flowers, my elder daughter woke up at 6am to bake me a surprise heart shaped cake! (teens do not wake up before 12pm on a Sunday!).
To all moms caring for their sick children, at home or in a hospital bed…God bless you all and may He bring peace to your hearts, strengthen your souls and carry you in His arms when you feel you can no longer stand.
‘Girly’ is no longer part of our daughter’s vocabulary. ‘This does not exist mom!’ – it is what my 13-year-old-daughter told me when I said: ‘That’s really girly!’.
‘This is for boys’ or ‘ this is for girls’ also does not belong to their repertoire. Our girls understand that stores do not need to be divided into ‘Boys’ / ‘Girls’ sections. If she wants to buy boxers fine, if he wants to buy a skirt, fine. It is just clothing, it does not come with personality or gender built in. Check these out: ‘Boys in Skirt’ click here to see teens in France protesting, or here to see what is going on with ‘Boys wearing skirts’ in Brazil.
Our girls also deal with their sexuality in an experimental way, free from prejudice:
‘-I don’t know if I’ll be like homosexual or heterosexual, but we could also be bisexual, right?’ – this is a conversation between two pre-teens:
Or, two little sisters come to their mom and say:
‘-Mom, we are homosexuals’ 🙂
‘-Oh…wow! Ummm…er…How did you guys get to this? Interesting!’
‘-Mom, com’on we kiss each other, we hug, dont’ we? So!’ 🙂
And we, the mothers, hear them all and think…
‘-Wow! Give me a sec.. breathe in: I am a modern woman…1, I am free from prejudice…2, breathe…breathe…’ 😉
At Cafe Feminista, we also discussed being a woman in the workplace. We heard from a friend who resigned from her job. She got to know that her male co-worker, was earning 100k more than her. He was doing the exact same job, but with a penis, of course!
We tie up our hair, we put on that ugly suit and we let go of the pink lipstick in order to be taken seriously. And even though you are or you behave like a tough cookie, there will be the odd time when you drop a tear:
‘-This role is jut too much for you! Why did you have to put yourself into this? Why did you have to accept this promotion? Looking after a family and undertake a job with so many reponsibilities?! Seriously?!’ – these are the comments you may hear from your mom, your girlfriend, your co-workers!
And take two men talking…
Men meeting men:
‘-Hey dude! Haven’t seen you in a while! What is up with that beer belly man!?’
‘-Whatever man! Where the f…have you been?’
They leave and…
‘-That guy is really cool, he’s a good guy!’
‘-Hi! Wow! Haven’t seen you in a while! You look good! Have you lost weight? Your hair!? Love the colour!’
‘-Thanks! You look well, too!’
As soon as they turn their backs…
‘-What the heck was that? I had no idea she had put on so much weight!’
The lack of respect amongst ourselves, the judgemental comments. Where is the so called ’empowering each other’?
You are a mom and, you decide to go out there and work full-time…
‘-Yes! Welcome back to work! I knew it! I knew you’d go crazy sitting at home! Housework is a nightmare and it takes you nowhere!’ – these are your friends who like yourself; have a full-time-job.
Well, some time goes by and you change your mind; resigning from your job. When you meet with your friends for a brunch – the friends who like yourself, also decided to be stay-at-home-moms…
‘-Yes! You are back! I am so glad you gave up that job! You were like, all over the place! I remember when little Zack got sick and you sent us that message on whatsapp…I felt so sorry for you and for Zack; you had to give him Motrin and just drop him off at pre-school…’
And in your head; how does it feel to be you?
The cruelty we experience since little girls…
‘-What an ugly T-shirt!’ – the mean comments from the mean girls (they can start as early as elementay school or…earlier).
‘-You hair looks gross!’
‘-What are you wearing?’
Did you know there are girls cutting themselves, commiting or trying to commit suicide, getting literally sick, depressed, having social anxiety, panic attacks…all because their environment is becoming a bit too much to cope with? All the bitching and bullying, accompanied from excessive amounts of homework, extra-curricular activities, crazy expectations from parents, schools, society. Absurd levels of competition and the sense of inadequacy are driving our little girls to the edge. All these added on to puberty, is simply way too much of a struggle for one to battle with, alone. I speak of my own environment; the Silicon Valley.
And how about our networks? We, women, together! Together we get there faster! Together!
There are few women who genuinely empower and support their sisters. Our big majority still send us these messages:
‘I am the perfect one and I have the best formula for’:
‘The perfect hair!’
‘The slimmest figure!’
‘The best, most youthful skin!’
‘The best diet!’
‘The most perfect education for my kids!’
‘The most sublime breastfeeding!’
‘The most incredible and ‘problem-free’ kids!’
‘The most intelligent kids!’
‘The best behaved ones!’
‘The most amazing kids at school!’
‘At Community Service!’
‘And they go to the best Summer Camps ever! In fact, they are camp counselors!’
‘They are superb in Arts!’
‘And guess what? My kids are so entrepreneurial, too!’
And these women also hold the incredible art in materializing all of the above plus: they travel a lot, they do something fun every weekend, they go on dates with their husbands, and they have sex like 10 times a week! They show us life in the blue world is sensational!! Thank you Facebook!
You see all these and you do not feel we are together, do you? You feel lonely and inadequate.
But…it is not true! There is not a perfect woman, you are not perfect, I am not perfect and neither are they! We do not need to be perfect. Besides, it is not even good for us! What we need to do, is to say that little word we learned at around the age of 2…the word that showed that we have a self; we have a say: ‘NO!’ No, I am not going to do all of these things! NO! My kids will not be busy 7 days a week. NO! I do not have a plan for this weekend or next one! And yes, I am fine thank you 😉
Feminism, in my humble opinion, is an important movement which defends equality between man and woman. It makes us aware of cruel behaviours and chouvinistic acts that end up killing women either physically or psychologically. The Feminism I support is a humanism.
Equally, I believe ‘bitching’ to be an extremely harmful behaviour to any age group. We women, have to abandon ‘bitching’ entirely, so that our daughters will be truly capable of fighting our Feminist battle, together. Only then, they will be able to empower and above all respect one another, as human beings.
Big thank you to all women present at our Cafe Feminista and looking forward to our Cafe Noir! Our end of the year celebration!! Stay tuned!
And it was in an ordinary car ride conversation, with my 16-year-old, that I heard this:
‘No! Rankings mean nothing mom! I do not want to go to Stanford, it doesn’t have anything to do with me! I wanna go to NYU!’
‘Ok, but all I’m saying is that you should at least apply, try, because it is only 20’ from home! You could still live with us, cut the costs and be with us!’
‘Mom; Stanford is just too close from home! I don’t wanna go to College and live with dad, you, Clara, Mateus! Why would I do that?!?’
Right! Why would she do that? Never mind about the odds of one being accepted into prestigious Stanford, no; she is just thinking: ‘Stanford? Yuk! Too close to my family, no thanks!’. Teenagers.
We moved from NY here, four years ago! Seriously?! I am kidding, I’d love her to go to NYU; it is an awesome College and I’d love to see her happy, that is all. I know we bring up our children to the world and that is a good (painful) thing.
It turns out that after being here for 4 years, if we now decided to go back to NY as a family, we would be quite divided: one teen would be very happy to leave NorCal; the other one… not so much.
Living in the Silicon Valley – in my own experience – is like being in love with the wrong kind of man. First you hate him; he is despicable! Then, you realize under all that hate there is some love…still you fight it! You say he is not your type, that you don’t see why every girl and boy is head over heels with the guy. Well, eventually you surrender. You are in love with the guy and yes, he is a jerk.
That is pretty much what I think is happening with my family. We hated it here then, we don’t like it here now and we are on the verge of saying we cannot see us living anywhere else!
So many opportunities springing out of every corner, here in the Valley. It is a harsh environment but, if you can stomach it, there is a lot to be gained.
As a mom, I do not know how much of it all I want for myself. I am fairly unsure if I can bear one more year here. The thing is, as a mom, it is quite excrutiating pain to see what it takes from your child to grow up in the Valley.
I saw it written on a T-shirt: ‘California: we grew here, you flew here’. My first thought was: I so would rather be the one who just ‘flew here’!
It is mixed feelings for me, as a parent, to live in Silicon Valley. Would I say to a friend who has kids: ‘Sure, by all means, come over! This is a wonderful place to raise a family’? Hell no! (lol) Still, would I have passed this opportunity away? Not really.
If you have just arrived here, or if you are struggling with your kids in the Silicon Valley…Do not let the culture of the place crush your kids.
Most of us parents of Middle and High schoolers, in the Valley, are going through the same ups and downs with our kids. But not every one of us is sharing the pain.
Direto ao assunto: meu marido, ontem, vem me dizer que ele tambem é ‘full-time-parent’ (pai tempo integral!). Nao, perai! Decretou guerra?! Isso e bullying!
Honey rs voce algum dia ja passou por isso:
Sentiu o drama?! O bebe acordou e voce chorou de desespero! Meu amigo, quando o bebe dorme, voce sai do quarto como se fosse um agente secreto, passando pelos raios lasers rs! A maior cautela para nao esbarrar em nada! E esquece esse negocio de ver se esta respirando! Passa longe, pois tem bebe que se sente o teu cheirinho…Plim! Abre os olhinhos e la vai voce dar de mamar de novo, ou deitar do lado, ou dar mais mamadeira, ou enfiar uma chupeta, ou tirar seu sutia e por la do lado do rostinho do bebe rs (serio ate isso ja fiz, o desespero e real moçada rs!).
‘O que? Voce é o que? Ta louco?! Ta tirando uma comigo?! ‘Full-time-parent’ sou EU! EU sou mae periodo integral, ponto! – e o cara ainda insistindooo! – Ja fui outras coisas, ja fui mae que trabalha fora e nunca, nunquinha que no meu cartao de visitas dizia: ‘Diretora de Treinamento Cultural e Linguas Estrangeiras/Mae Perido Integral. Naquela epoca, eu tinha uma equipe toda me ajudando a ser mae! Tinha a querida Nanny, tinha faxineira, jardineiro, o YMCA etc! A va?! Vai ver se eu estou na esquina!’
Enfim, ele pediu, nao pediu?! Sermao da montanha nele:
‘-Voce sabe quem toma pilulas de ferro 3 vezes ao dia e quem toma Claritin 5mg, quem toma Claritin 10mg, quem tem que usar Nasonex de manha e a noite e quem esta no Zyrtek??? Hein?! E nao! Voce nao pode telefonar para um amigooo!’
‘-Voce sabe quantos tipos de danca sua filha faz, que dias da semana e que horas voce tem que busca-la?’ – Dica: mais de tres…implica-se em: varias idas e vindas a escola de danca a partir das 15h50! Com um toddler no banco de tras…
‘-Qual foi a ultima (a primeira) vez nesses ultimos 16 anos que voce levou sua filha ao cabeleireiro? Ao check-up anual? Sim, isso existe desde que eles nasceram, mas nao se preocupe ‘I”m on it!’
‘-No cafe da manha voce ja esta pensando o que vai fazer de almoco, no almoco voce esta pensando o que fara na janta e, na janta o que sera para o cafe da manha e tambem nas benditas lancheiras dessas 3 criancas?!?!Hein?! Hein?! Hein?!’
‘-Voce tem uma ‘agenda familiar’ onde constam todos os compromissos de nos 5?! E voce ensina tuas adolescentes a checar essa bendita agenda antes de marcar compromissos nos quais te envolvem como motorista?’ (Nao! Voce so tem o ‘Outlook’ com sua agenda do trabalho!).
‘-Voce esta preocupado em saber se as teens tem amigos e se tem quem sao, e se nao tem, por que nao tem?!’ Nao, nao eh? Sabe por que? Porque EU estou fazendo toda essa parte! Porque VOCE nao e ‘full-time-parent’ voce eh ‘working parent’ casado com uma ‘full-time-parent’. Porque tambem colega, se voce fosse um ‘working parent’ casado com ‘working parent’, ah filho essa sua mamata ia acabar! Cada um no seu quadradooo!
E tem mais!!!!!kkkkkkkkkk muito mais 😉 So que nao vou continuar aqui no blog!
Nao me roube do meu titulo rs! Sim, eu sou ‘stay-at-home-parent‘ e tenho orgulho do trabalho (duro do caramba!) que estou desenvolvendo! Voce e um executivo (e um otimo pai! So nao ‘full-time’ okay?!) excelente, cheio das condecoracoes rs, famoso no seu campo. But guess what darling? So am I 😉 Pergunte a seus filhos!
A vida em familia tem dessas coisas 😉 O importante e manter o amor e o humor!!!
Let’s talk business; business trips, his business trips…
Leaving me behind with two teens, a toddler and still wanting sympathy for a jet lag? You’ve got to be kidding me! 😉
I jump off my bed at 6am, zombi myself towards a kitchen and start preparing 3 lunchboxes, then a decent breakfast, while trying to wake up 2 teen girls.
He wakes up at, let’s say, 7am (maybe later), brushes his teeth, shaves (Lucky!I have a mustache myself by now), changes into clean clothes (Me? Apron over pajamas, real sexy!) and goes to the breakfast room, where a marvelous buffet awaits him and otheradults.
I push my children out of the door, come back inside to pick up something I’d forgotten (do this about dozen times) carry my half asleep 41lbs toddler into my car, buckle him up. My teen, in the car, is giving me a furious look that reads: ‘We are going to be late, it is all your fault, you and your baby son who decides to do a number two at 7:55 AM; I hate you!’
He just takes the lift to the breakfast room then, drives a shiny and clean hired car to a child-free conference center.
Two days a week, I have no children with me from 8:30am to 4pm! The things I do at those ‘free times’ 😉
He has no children 24/7 for 9 days and no kitchen! – Is that even imaginable?!?Sounds like a Walt Disney movie to me; so far from reality!
I plan a menu for 4 people, with 3 healthy meals a day plus lunchboxes, plus afternoon snacks. I endure all sorts of tantrums, I put down fire, I fight viruses and clean vomit off car seat. I pop into Wholefoods on Friday night, and buy soup because I am exhausted -can’t face any more cooking! The day is far from over; I have to pick up one teen from Recital rehearsal, at 8:30pm, and another teen from school theater at 9pm. Of course, these venues are at completely different locations and my toddler is beyond tired. Fun!
He gets to collapse into a pillowtop mattress with freshly laundered sheets every night! At the end of his business trip, he will visit his family. Europe is lovely, so easy and cheaper to travel by! (Mathematically speaking his stop over in Budapest sums up to 3 more days I’ll stay with 3 children, on my own!).
Friday night, 9:30pm. Toddler fell asleep in the car…we get back to the house, teens have dinner and go to TV time, it’s Friday. I cannot even remember if I have had dinner or what the heck has happened in the last 5 hours!
Earlier on, I’d called my husband to see if he’d already arrived at his mom’s. I heard background noises…
‘Is your mom there? Are the neighbours with you guys?’
‘No, my mom is asleep at home, I am at a pub with an old friend from school!’
‘Ow. Okay! Bye!’
How could he not meet his old friend from school, right? Right.
No sympathy! You men or women travelling on business will get no sympathy from me, whatsoever. Never. Ever. Ever. (rs)
Handling one, two or three children by yourself in a country which is not even yours, is ‘challenging’; in business terms. ‘Freaking maddening’ in a mom’s terms! So, for the record; I will consider it an absolute insult, if my husband arrives here ‘tired’.
Suck it up darling! No sympathy for you right now :p Maybe later…;)
What does it take to be married to a man of another culture, to have kids and to live abroad in the 21st century?!? A lot! Really. A lot. Are you up to it?
Take ‘date nights’ for example; do you remember your parents having quality time,date nights, arranging baby-sitters? Well if you are in your 40’s like moi and are from Brazil, your answer is NO.
Do you remember your mom carefully reading labels at the supermarket, checking out for food colouring, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, Trans Fat and all the indecipherable chemical names 50 letters long!? I guess not!
So, when people (including me) say it is important for a married couple to go on dates, they do not think of what it involves, the stress it actually puts on both parts! Oh yes, you read it right: the stress!
There I was, playing with my toddler, in the backyard, at 6pm, in forever sunny California. It was date night; however, I was still on my mommy duty. Then, my husband gets home earlier, for our date. Only God knows what he did in order to beat the traffic from Palo Alto to Los Gatos and be here before 7pm, on a Friday.
The children are eating: pizza, salad, fruit because it is ‘date night’. It is 6:30pm and my husband and I are looking at those pizza slices…we are not supposed to eat at home. He is enjoying a little glass of wine, I am in my rags, elbows on the island watching the kids eat…My husband and I cheat our way into a shared pizza slice…I say:
‘I am not ready yet, I have to change…’
‘I wish they had beds in these places…’
My husband looks at me in the eye and totally gets it ‘there is no sex implied when a couple with kids asks for a bed! They simply want to sleep!’ We break into a laugh, he says:
‘That would be good!’
‘I’m so dead! Wouldn’t it be great if they had lounges with beds at the bars? Like we could lay down and we could talk and eat, laying down…’ – this is me spelling it all out: please save me from this date! I love you.
I make my way into my closet where the horror starts, between myself and I:
‘I should wear this dress…oh no then I have to change my bra…and my underwear lines show through it…’
‘Perhaps this red dress, I haven’t worn it since Christmas…’ I could wear it with these cute high heels! Oh, no…open toes! Look at my toe nails! Maybe, I could paint just the 3 ones that will be showing? No, I don’t have time for this. Next!’
‘What the heck, jeans it will be then!’ Here, this blue jeans, black tank top, need a cool cardigan…where are you?! Aha! Teens closet…Here! This will do!’
Hair and make up time! Hot iron here we come…I’ll just curl my bangs…Make up…just a bit, who wants to remove tons of make up after midnight?!
‘Oh no! What is this?! Mustache!? End of the world…no, wait! He won’t see this!! He needs glasses! And he cannot see from close (just like I can’t either! lol). If I sit next to him at the bar, and keep my face relatively close to his, he won’t see my faint mustache! Yay!
Last look at the mirror: Wow! Don’t I look good in my 40’s! It is actually a really good thing not to do myself up every day! Because when I make an effort I like the results 😉
At the bar we eat, we talk, we take a selfie, I argue with him. I complain about a bunch of things; I condole the Silicon Valley, I move back to NY, I move back to England, I come back to the Valley…He grabs my face with both his hands and gives me a kiss. I blush, the elder couple at the other end of the bar seems to liven up with our scene. I livened up, we all did. We are back to 1995, London, in front of Big Ben…our first date.
We get married, we have kids, we work, we move around the world, we end up sometimes where we do not want to be! We complain, we strive to be our best, we question this culture, his culture, our culture. We are always tired, we have no help, God help us!
Date night. So that we do not run out of love. Whatever it takes.
Monday, March 9th 2015: The week we set our clocks forward, here in Silicon Valley. I knew I was doomed to being late this week. It was also my daughter’s birthday. She was turning 13! But, she’s been a teen for at least two years now…all that happened on Monday, was an official warning: Adriana, you are now officially the mother of two teens. Oh, and don’t forget that toddler! Good luck, dear!
Here in America, as the birthday girl’s parent, you can pop in to the school and deliver some pizzas for the kids, as a birthday treat. If the kid is a kid and not a teen…some parents chose to sit with them as part of the treat! But, God forbid, you do that to a teen! Your mission, as the teen parent is very clear: hand the pizzas to your teen, at the office, with no balloons, absolutely no kisses and please, don’t speak. In and out. Simple.
Could I handle this simple task? Course not! Am I a connected mother with the school? Sure not! I have a toddler! I cannot volunteer as much, I cannot pay attention to details such as: knowing exactly what time my 13-year-old has recess. So, I rely on her to tell me the correct time, right?! Wrong! Never, ever rely on a very artistic and lovely 13-year-old!
According to my darling daughter, her recess finishes at 1:30pm and ‘probably’ starts at 1pm. So, to be on the safe side, I take my toddler to the park in the am and at around 1pm I have the 4 large pizzas in my car boot.
I park at school and think: Kind of quiet for recess…oh, the bell is just about to ring…I am so proud of myself! Not late!! I go in and my guts tell me: you are so not at the right place at the right time! Nooooooooo! She was wrong! Recess WAS at 12:30pm! And there was I, messed up hair, dirty jeans, toddler and 4 pizza boxes in hand!! My first thought was: ‘Can I please, see my daughter so that I can grab her by her arms and shake her a little bit, just a bit, won’t cause brain injury, promisse!’ Arghhhhh!
Well, as a very resourceful mother of 3, I deliver two pizzas to the teachers and staff, who are so happy for my ‘random’ act of kindness 😉 I then, come home with two large pizzas that will be our dinner. No cooking tonight 😉 Done! Tragedy and humiliation transformed! Ta-da!!!
When you have a little toddler and teens, the whole logistics of simple daily life activities are compromised. Your sanity is compromised. And, you are lucky if you are left with any friends, at all! Because, even though you do have a calendar, a schedule which you try to follow and be organized at some level…there is always that teen drama, that toddler tantrum lurking around!
Are you planning on having a family? Please, mind the gap!!!!!!!!
I love my life! 😉 I do I do I do!
Have an awesome weekend!
ps. Monday was her bday, but I could only deliver (try to) the pizzas…today! Logistics of a mother of a toddler and 2 teens! I tell you!