As the sun goes down on Saturday, tomorrow marks exactly one week since we got here. Ericeira, Portugal. Our home away from home–and we’re loving it more and more as the time goes by. Continue reading “Our Home Away from Home in Ericeira Portugal”
I surfed today for the first time in four years. I can’t decide which part of that statement carries more weight for me. The fact that I bit the bullet, canceled a couple of meetings, and just f**king did it; or the thinly veiled sadness I feel at the fact that I’ve made my needs invisible for so long.
My arms ache and my body feels bruised and tired. I have half of the Atlantic ocean in my left ear and my hearing is somewhat diminished. But it was worth it. Every salty cold, glorious minute of it.
I was panicking inside about not remembering how to jump on the board or paddle for a wave. Like the first time you get in a car after not driving for a while and you overthink where your feet go and how to change gears.
Very soon though I was catching lefts and rights and riding the wave almost to its end. That natural high that only comes for me when I’m alone with my board and the ocean had me grinning from ear to ear.
There’s more–a whole lot more–to life than working and earning money. I’ve been trapped in the wrong mindset for too long.
I used to know how to live and those memories are slowly coming back to me. The crisis of Monday with the WTF am I doing? moments and mom guilt about leaving my kids in an unknown place in Portugal are slowly dissipating. I’m feeling something strangely close to happy… for the first time in a long time.
And the kids are as well. The daycare center is everything I dreamed it to be. There are children from all over the world speaking Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian, Danish… holding hands, exploring and playing; being kids and being free.
Also, the sun finally came out unhampered by clouds and this place is decidedly cheerful in the full light.
To be clear though, there is no perfect. Cataleya’s still crying in her sleep, waking in the night, and causing me to worry. Valentino poured coffee all over my brand new laptop and now all the keys are sticky. I won’t even get started on work.
But… we’re getting through it. This home away from home is starting to feel exactly that and, I dare to say, we’re even enjoying it.
At some point, there has to be some kind of dawn of realization and self-reckoning. Life is hard, without doubt. It’s an indisputable reality that things are more complicated with kids, work, ageing parents, or whatever your burden happens to be. But you also have to stop and realize when you’re hiding behind that burden. Continue reading “Knowing When to Draw the Line”
I learned a lot over the last few days, which already seem like an eternity to me. Just like when I was a youth and the road was all-consuming. 24 hours could involve searching for anacondas, getting detained by Mexican police, or sleeping under the stars by a rapid river. Continue reading “Spain to Portugal – Balancing Kids with Travel and Work”
I write for my career. I’m a journalist, marketer, SEO, PR, analyst, advisor, counselor, salesperson, admin… I wear a lot of hats. I bang out in the ballpark of 10 thousand words a day. I could have written a book by now. A thousand books in fact, except that something gets in my way.
It’s called a personal life and it’s f**king inconvenient if you have one, especially if you work with Americans. Or Bitcoin.
It’s a regular occurrence that I balance my phone between my shoulder and chin while I navigate a meeting with one child on my hip and the other tugging my ankles. Screaming at the top of their voices, naturally.
Some of my days end in tears. I’m a little ashamed to admit that’s the case. Having kids naturally places a ball and chain around your ankles. Having to pay for stickers and footballs, Barbie dolls, lollypops, and a college education only add more chinks to the chain.
When you spent your life traveling and being free as the wind, it can be horribly hard to handle. A few weeks after my daughter was born I felt like my life was over.
When your body is sleep-starved and healing and you don’t recognize the fluids coming out of it, having procession after procession of Cheshire-cat-style grinning people descending upon you is enough to send you seeking refuge in the rabbit hole forever.
It’s easy to be happy when you pay a five-minute visit to a sleeping baby after all. Leave with your congratulations and maybe some tips on what the mother could be doing better and you set off a ticking bomb.
For me, it felt like everything was wrong. From the position of my baby in my arms to the fact that my nipples weren’t the right shape. The company I worked for couldn’t spare me for even two weeks. I was still bleeding and blurry when I had to step back into the role.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
The pressure was coming from all sides. To act like I hadn’t had a baby but to mother like I didn’t have a job. And to provide constant smiles and theatrics for the endless line of intrusive visitors.
One day, it all got too much. I left my daughter with the carer I had at the time and drove my car in front of a wall. I spent a couple of hours bawling, hovering my foot over the pedal, planning in my mind what it would feel like impacting the bricks. How my life would be so much easier when it was over and that this desperate inadequacy would end.
Clearly, I didn’t do it. It’s taken me a while to grow into this role. And I haven’t mastered it yet. My kids still crawl on the table in the restaurant, use pacifiers, ask me why I have to work and can’t play with them instead. And I feel like a failure every single day.
So you know what? Today, I am flipping the finger at everyone who says I can’t.
I refuse to allow my life to be over because I had kids. Or to choose one thing over the other. I resist falling victim to the viper moms who spend their days interchanging WhatsApp messages thinking of new ways to make working moms feel inadequate.
Today, I start a 10-hour drive to Portugal and the start of an unconventional summer with two tiny kids traveling around the world, while I work. It’s going to be hard of course, that’s why I have a corkscrew in the first aid kit.
But you know what? If you listen to the people who say no all the time you will spend your life living in the shadows. At some point, you have to find yourself again… even if you are wearing a few layers more than before.
I’m flipping the finger at everyone who says I cant… And more than that, I’m going to show them exactly how I can.