“To err is to be a parent” or some other clever bollocks. I don’t know. I’m tired. Bye.

Do hubby and I argue? Abso-fucking-lutely. Do we argue in front of the kids? We have done. Am I proud of it? Nope, but it has happened on rare occasions and anyone that tells you they don’t, or would never, is full of shit.

From the second you’ve pee’d on a stick, the world and its mother are gonna want to share their pearls of child raising wisdom with you. Your face smiles politely but internally you’re giving them the rods because as well meaning as they may be, their opinions mean f**k all – they’re not raising your kids.  But what happens when you disagree with the other person that is….?  Answers on a postcard!

Hubs and I are from totally different backgrounds. We’re first world and third world. We were raised over 7000 miles apart on different continents, in different cultures and were exposed to different experiences, good and bad, growing up that have made us the people and parents we are today. And occasionally this difference in mentality can result in conflict.  We try to honour the first rule of parenting – present a united front – but occasionally our little co-creations have the two of us facing off on the front lines before retreating, troops divided.

The official lockdown party line is ‘we’re loving all the family time‘. And while that in itself is true, I’d be lying if I said there’s been no trouble in paradise. I doubt there’s a family in lockdown anywhere in this world right now that hasn’t been partaking in a little more sparring than usual. The hubby and I have been together for 15 years and married for nearly 6. In our life before kids, we lived for years in each others pockets, travelling the world, and spending intensive time together living in small flats, caravans and even a year in a camper van in New Zealand. And we were good at it. But four years ago a side-step in his career meant he’d be working away a lot more and travelling so we fell into a new, much more spacious, normal where I’m a stay at home mum and he works away in the week to carve out our crust. And we’re good at that too. But lockdown has thrown us back into each others pockets and chucked in a toddler terrorist and insomniac baby just for kicks and shit.

Before we moved to Bali, I saw an expat vlog that described moving to another country perfectly. This is relevant, I swear, so just indulge me for a minute. I’m gonna try to recall it now but I’m not very good at explaining shit (or remembering shit) so bare with me. Try to think of moving to a new country as being like a woodsman entering the woods, the woods being the country and you being the woodsman, obviously. And the woods are filled with bears – these would be the citizens (locals) of the country you’re moving to. If you get into a sticky situation with a bear, for example a confrontation, your natural instinct would be to turn the fuck around and get out of dodge A-SAP. But that will just anger the bear further because it grew up in the woods and it doesn’t think like you. So to survive, you need to think like the bear….I think this involves something to do with the foetal position but I could be confusing my documentaries here so don’t take my word for it. Anyhoo, thinking like the bear doesn’t come naturally to you because you’re a woodsman and despite your best efforts, you’re just pissing each other off more because the bear doesn’t understand you and you don’t understand the bear. Are you still with me? My point is that setting aside the fact that this is actually an extremely accurate analogy for an expat, it also pretty accurately describes being in a mixed culture marriage. There are times when neither one of us, despite however much we want to avoid conflict, can get on the same page as the other because our mentality surrounding certain issues is just totally alien to the other. After 15 years, often times we can agree to disagree and other times it gets messy. Keeps it interesting!

98% of the time I’m pretty fond of him though, handsome chops

I read somewhere apparently that divorce rates are higher after having children. If I’m honest, that doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me, somedays, is that its not f**king murder rates. Hubby is safe from both of those (for now, although he came dangerously close to the latter last week) but marriage with kids is hard. And I’m well aware that I’m no cakewalk either. Especially under lockdown. We’re both stubborn, strong willed and passionate people so, yeh, sometimes we disagree and occasionally it just so happens that its at the breakfast table while Arlo watches us over his fruit loops. We might get loud but we don’t get mean. I’m sure there are countless child psychologists that would line up to explain to me six ways from Sunday how this could fuck up kids but – and we both adore our children so I hope we’re not wrong – I don’t fully agree. Firstly, they’re not being raised in a shouty, angry house. The majority of the time they see mummy and daddy talking with and acting with respect to each other with just the right amount of cheeky PDA’s around the house thrown in to embarrass them as they get older. Secondly, we don’t shout over them every time we have a disagreement. They go to bed at 7pm, we have plenty of adult only all out war without an audience, but on the rare occasion the kids get a front row seat to an argument its because neither one of us wants to back down. We are only human and sometimes we just can’t help ourselves, we fuck up, no matter how much we meant it when we promised we’d never argue in front of the kids. How does it go “to err is human, but to forgive divine”. Well we’ve got that shit down! A little conflict is a normal part of marriage and I want my kids to be aware of that. To know that relationships should be a safe space for you to express your feelings and to learn that in all of lifes interactions – whether with a partner, friend or stranger – its good to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. But when they see us argue, they also see us make up as we try to show that side of it too. Or the PG bit at least *wink wink*. I hope that in those moments they see empathy and understanding and come to learn that a healthy relationship isn’t always free from conflict and that in some cases shying away from it can create new problems. Because I want to teach them that while compromise is necessary sometimes, you shouldn’t compromise your voice before its heard. But all that said, if their daddy doesn’t start putting the fucking washing away once in a blue moon, I’m gonna need to find a substitute teacher!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: