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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Parenting around the planet

I was stressing.

This or that hadn't gone as I'd expected, you know how it is. But instead of letting it get to me I decided to stop for a moment. I pictured myself as a pinprick on the planet. Surrounded by thousands of other pinpricks. All parents, doing the best we can with the resources we have. Raising our families in different ways, in different cities, in different countries. All going through the good and the bad and getting on with it. Getting through it. Sharing it.

And at that point I realised that we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that sometimes we forget that there are other perspectives out there. I wanted to hear those perspectives. To read them, learn from them, laugh (and cry) along with them. To celebrate our differences and our similarities. So I'm going to be hosting some occasional guest posts from Mummy and Daddy bloggers who live outside the UK, bringing you their take on parenting in their corner of the world.

Parenting around the planet. It'll be a fun ride so jump on board and strap yourself in. You never know, there might even be biscuits...

This week we're off to South Africa courtesy of the lovely C is for Cape Town. Enjoy.

"I am a 36 yr old WAHM to two girls, 4 and 18 months. I blog, I write, I do bits and bobs of part-time work, all scheduled around spending as much time with my kids as I can. We live in a densely-populated urban area of Cape Town, in a 100+ year old house continually in various stages of renovation.
I didn’t ever really think I’d be a (semi) stay at home Mum, but here I am, and for the most part I love it."


Parenting and Cape Town

My blog is about parenting and Cape Town, not so much parenting IN Cape Town, but parenting AND Cape Town.

Reason being that I kind of feel the same about both: continual dichotomy.

The Beauty.

Looking at my girls, hearing their belly laughs, seeing them interact with each other, with their Dad, their family, feeling their small bodies against mine, smelling their skin.

Staring at our mountain, hearing the hadeda birds, the call to mosque, seeing the colour in our city, feeling the vibe of many cultures, the grass underfoot, smelling the sea, the food, the salty fogs which roll in at dawn.

The Fear.

Of nurturing two lives, forming two personalities, equipping them with all that they’ll need to tackle the complexities of life in this world.

Of living in a volatile society, forming the right opinions and acting on them. The fear of seen and unseen threats, fear for the future.

The Freedom.

Of having so much time with my children. So many unscheduled afternoons, so many moments free to play, to cuddle, to chat.

Of open spaces – beaches, forest, mountain. The proximity to so many beautiful places, so many free and easy cultural experiences.

The Guilt.

Of being distracted when they want me all to themselves. Of burdening them with my frustrations, or the by-products of those frustrations. The guilt of the privilege of having all this time with them, and that not always being enough to make me happy.

Of being privileged. White. Middle-class. Belly full. Supported. The guilt of that not always being enough to make me happy living here.

The Humour.

Of raising two girls who laugh easily. Who don’t take themselves too seriously and teach me not to do the same.

Of a city, a country, which has learned to laugh at itself, at each other. Laugh with a fond recognition of our differences, our challenges.

The Sadness.

Of my girls not having the freedom of movement I had as a child. The naivety I had. That they are, too young I think, exposed to homelessness, poverty, crime, desperation.

That the homeless, the poor, the victims, the desperate live so close to all this beauty, yet feel so little of it in their lives. That there is only so much we can do to help.

Living in Cape Town, a city, exposes me every day to the dichotomies of life, the joys and the heartbreak. One moment I’m buoyed by morning light on the mountain, the good news story in our local paper, the flower-seller singing as he rides his bike down our road. The next I’m broken by the news of an armed-mugging in our neighbourhood, by the small boys asking for bread at the gate, by the next big corruption scandal hitting the headlines.

Parenting, raising children, takes me on the same roller-coaster. One moment my heart is singing watching my eldest ‘read’ a story to her little sister, making a play-dough zoo, dancing in the living room to the Black-Eyed Peas. The next they’re both crying, hanging on to my legs, they won’t eat the supper I’ve raced around to prepare, one’s got a stinky nappy and the other a stinky attitude and I just want to die.

Who knew a happy medium would ever sound so attractive? And, I guess, so boring.

**********

Would you like to write a guest post for Parenting Around The Planet? Drop me a line at bodfortea(at)gmail.com

9 comments:

  1. This is a lovely post.  I've been to places where there are 2 extremes living right next to one another, and I can't imagine bringing kids up there. Not having an example of The Middle Ground handy for the kids to witness.  But...then again...is there much middle ground to parenting?  The highs & lows that swoop back and forth, the tantrums the firsts, they make us dizzy.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective.

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  2. Thank you Kim! Yup, I think a middle ground is an increasingly rare thing - in all aspects of life - and this will probably only become more so. I hope, and like to think, that living in such extremes will prepare our children for whatever life may throw at them. Makes for challenging, but interesting, parenting - but again, isn't parenting always? :)

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  3. Glad you enjoyed reading it Kim :D

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  4. Really interesting post. What a great idea. So interesting to hear how things are different in other countries. 

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  5. By the way - just read -> where it says "feel free to grab my butt-on" - you're a cheeky one - you!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed it! Come back next week for a perspective from Canada :-)

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  7. Steph @MisplacedBrit11 February 2014 21:09

    Totally beautiful <3
    Totally true, and totally challenging

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