The Truth About Parenting In Paradise

Mexico, Day 39.

The heart softens.

 

 

The mind opens.

The soul thrives.

Our kids still drive us bonkers.

Hello friends. It’s been a while.

The past two weeks have been fraught with internal expectations to be “productive”, while also longing to be in the moment and enjoy our surroundings.

Oh, and also parenting. That part has been consuming and exhausting.

Does anyone else feel utterly devastated at their children’s entitled attitude?

Our intention behind this trip, was to be removed from our privileged life, and to live with more gratefulness and simplicity.

Too bad our kids didn’t get the memo.

At the end of the day, there are complaints about anything and everything. And so much whining. Oh, the whining. Possibly the worst sound I have ever heard.

“All we did was go to the pool today. That’s boring.”

Seriously…?!

“I wanted to go to sunset. Whyyyyyy didn’t we go to sunset?”

The one day that week that we missed it.

“But they get to eat at a restaurant...why don’t WE ever get to eat at a restaurant?”

We ate out for lunch.

How are our children so entitled and unaware of how good they have it?

We are literally living in paradise.

The answer is simple: They are kids. They are honest and unfiltered.

Most importantly, they are human. And humans have a natural tendency to compare their lives to others. Think about how you feel when you scroll through your Instagram feed...the grass is always greener and other people’s lives seem more appealing than our own.

Kids do that too.

How do we teach our children (and ourselves) that we have enough?

Arjan and I are modelling gratefulness and intention in our day to day lives; in how we treat each other, how we treat the people in our lives, and how we spend our time and money here in Mexico. Heck - the whole fact that we are in Mexico is a gratefulness practice in itself!

Yet the learning process for children is slow and steady.

Thirty-nine days in Mexico is not enough for them to really get it.

It will take years for them to truly understand their privilege and to not take it for granted.

(I guess that means we will have to come back here again!)

The unfortunate truth is that, at the moment, our children often feel that we are thwarting their happiness by saying “no”, and that we are the killers of all joy. Our life and our choices are somehow not ENOUGH.

I will speak to my own experience here and admit that this is highly triggering for me. It makes me feel like I am not ‘good enough’ as a parent. The recovering perfectionist in me is failing.

I know. As I write this, it seems silly and small. But those are my feelings.

They are kids and it will take them time to understand their privilege and to practice wholehearted gratefulness. But I want them to GET IT NOW!!! Ugh.

Deep breath. Trust that they will get it, in time.

As of late, these triggers have resulted in frustration and a lack of patience in our household.

Welcome to parenting in paradise: same stuff, different locale!

Yes, it’s amazing to be living in this climate and I am hugely grateful to not have the added stress of winter during this full-time parenting experience.

However, to not have a break from each other is INTENSE.

The kids need space from us, just as much as we need space from them. Even an hour or two apart, would ease the tension.

Adding to the challenge is the heat - a factor that I hadn’t considered prior to our arrival to the country. At the height of the day, between 12pm and 3pm, the heat stops you in your tracks. A wave of sleepiness overcomes you, as your body uses all of its energy to stay cool. Now I understand why siestas are synonymous with Mexico!

Go slow. Take time. Be still.

Again, our kids didn’t get the memo.

So, during siesta hours when we all need to rest, they have endless energy, preventing Arjan and I from restoring and listening to our own bodies’ needs.

I thought that pushing our own needs aside ended after the baby years?! WTF?!

Just as we reached our mental and emotional max, the universe gracefully handed us a gift.

A friend introduced us to a lovely 15-year-old local girl. Her family lives half of the year in the United States, and the other half of the year here in La Punta. Her mother is American and her father, Mexican. She and her brother are homeschooled and are fully-bilingual.

It is refreshing to meet a family who is living life in a way that works for them; Totally inspirational, and naturally has me concocting ideas for our own family (don’t worry, Dad - nothing too crazy!).

You guessed it! We hired her as our babysitter. Game changer!

Arjan and I have committed to one date per week to start. Yippee!

And the girls LOVE her. 

As you may know, we are huge fans of day dates. We have more energy and tend to feel more engaged during daylight hours.

Our weekly dates (so far we have had two!) begin with a private Spanish lesson, set in paradise. The view overlooks Zicatela beach and is shaded by stunning greenery.

Not gonna lie...it’s pretty magical. The setting alone is breathtaking, but having uninterrupted time to learn something new together, is priceless.

Learning Spanish is like working a muscle that hasn’t been used in years.  My brain literally hurts afterwards, but doing it together adds a certain element of playfulness. I can’t remember the last time I used that word to describe our relationship - what a delight to find playfulness again!

After the intense mental focus of our Spanish class, we need to unwind and relax.

We end up grabbing a bite to eat or walking along the beach.

It is sunny every day. Perfection.

As usual, our couple time flies by, and never feels long enough. That longing quickly passes because it is replaced with the excitement of reuniting with the girls. We miss them after four hours!

It’s amazing how the heart can be pulled in so many directions. Such is the life of a parent.

Sharing our Spanish education and practicing with the girls is an added bonus - they get super into it! There are flashcards all over our apartment and we are getting familiar with more words every day.

Our grammar and pronunciation is brutal, but that is part of the messy journey, that is LIFE.

"Take THAT!" I say, to my inner perfectionist.

Here’s to the consistent practice of gratefulness, being patient with the process, and to more quality time with my love.

Big Love From Mexico,

Allison xo