Reasons Why It’s OK To Take Time To Yourself As A Mum

I hear “MUMMMMMYY” echoing through the house just as I sit down to spend a quiet few minutes checking the backlog of messages from my friends back home (my lifeline to my old life in the UK). I do the best I can to plaster on my mum smile, leave what I was doing and push my “me time” to the back burner yet again. Turns out Emmy needed me to put a sticker on her foot. I can see how that was a life or death situation. Fast forward to nap time. No one is more full of false hope than a parent who wants to achieve something during nap time. For me, I just want five minutes to drink a hot (or even lukewarm) cup of tea and watch something that doesn’t have an animated pig in it. I think Emmy is in her room taking and nap and I just get Aria down to sleep (which is no easy task, the girl is the energizer bunny) and I feel like super mum. I can practically taste the indulgence of hot caffeine running down my throat. My heart is pounding at the thought of watching some grown up TV. It’s finally happening, my five minutes is coming. I turn to leave the room and I spy Emmy standing in the doorway with her extremely loud roaring dinosaur toy, her little finger poised on the button that will emit a noise level comparable only to the launch of a space rocket into the room. I look at her pleadingly but this is where I make my first mistake. Toddlers can sense when you don’t want them to do something like a shark sensing blood and something in their DNA prompts them to do exactly what it is that you don’t want them to. As the deafening noise fills the room waking my little sleeping grenade I think to myself “I just want five minutes”. Then I feel guilty. All those Mom blogs tell us to cherish each and every moment with our littles. “Hold them as long as you can”, “you’re a mom now”, “they grow up so fast” they preach. It is true, my children are growing at an alarming rate and I want to soak up every sticky, paint covered messy moment with them. However, these blogs designed to show us we’re not alone in parenting sometimes do more to perpetuate the cycle of Mom guilt than they do good. As much as my cold heart is melted by poems about “letting them be little” and “holding them longer” I can’t help but feel like they make those of us who need to put a sleeping child down to do menial things like pee or shower feel like they’re committing some heinous mum crime. It’s not fair and just because you want five minutes alone does not make you a bad mum and does not mean that you’ll miss out on the important moments. It means you’re a human, you’re exhausted and you are an entity apart from your children. That’s OK.

Guilt is a terrible thing and it is something that we all battle with on an almost daily basis. As an expat, I feel crippling guilt pretty much all the time. I know that sounds dramatic and maybe I do have a penchant for hyperbole but I really do struggle with guilt. When I moved here I felt guilty that I missed out on birthdays and Christmases and other things that were important to the ones I loved. When I got married I felt guilty that most of my husband’s friends and family couldn’t make it to Wales to celebrate with us. When I’m in the throws of homesickness I feel guilty that I’m short with my husband and resentful that I live here.  But nothing compares to mom guilt. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so guilty about so much until I had children.

Things I feel guilty about as a mum

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  1. The fact that my child has too much screen time. I try to do pinteresty parent things like painting, crafts, playdoh and drawing but when you’re in the depths of a Canadian winter and you’ve exhausted your energy reserves for pretending to be a dinosaur sometimes you need the throw the TV on and watch a movie. Full disclosure, my child is on the Ipad now while she uses the potty and while I take five minutes to write this post.
  2. The fact that I spend too much time on my phone . I am CONSTANTLY worrying about whether I am looking at my phone too much. The truth is, as many of my friends live far away, I message them daily to maintain contact and it’s an important coping mechanism for me. I feel so guilty when I sneak a look at my messages when my daughter is occupied with something else only to be greeted with her eyeballs burning into my hunched back as I look through my messages like an addict.
  3. My daughter’s diet. Emmy LOVES fruit, vegetables and dairy and will pretty much eat anything from those food groups. Sounds like the dream right? Well not quite. She refuses most meats apart from chicken nuggets. Put your pitchfork away Susan, I feed my kid McDonalds from time to time because it is pretty much the only form of meat she’ll eat and at a tiny 31lbs, I worry that she’s too light. She also wont eat most carbs. I feel guilty when I am firm and refuse to give her anything else to eat after throwing another plate of uneaten food away. I also feel guilty when I let her eat crackers for dinner to try and get calories into her.
  4. Second child guilt. Now this one was a doozy.  From the minute my eldest cried that she wanted a baby dinosaur and not a baby sister when we told her our happy news I felt guilty about adding a second child to the mix. We were so happy as a family of three I agonized whether I making the right decision. In those first dark few months when Aria’s colic meant she needed my full attention almost 24 hours a day I felt awful when I saw my first born playing alone or when she would ask me to play and I had to say no as I manically rocked, bounced and shushed her screaming little sister. I would burst into tears about it all the time.
  5. feeling guilty about second child guilt . Now we’re through the colic and we’re rocking our new normal I feel guilty that I ever felt guilty about having a second child. Aria is the sweetest little thing and when I look at her squishy cheeks and gummy smile I feel guilty that I ever for a moment questioned my decision to have another child. This is mum guilt at its finest.
  6. Not being able to breastfeed my second child. Aria would scream bloody murder pretty much all day and was diagnosed as colic. Every time she ate the screaming got worse and her gas and reflux were causing her so much pain. After crying to my doctor and begging for a diagnosis of something to prove I wasn’t crazy he suggested going dairy, wheat, soy free. In my fragile mental state after zero sleep and a lot of screaming I made the decision not to test the waters by eliminating food from my diet and switched to a hypoallergenic formula. I cried for days about not breastfeeding and I convinced myself that I was ruining Aria’s life. I would justify my decision to anyone that would listen. “Oh hi checkout lady, yes I’m buying formula but it is only because my child has colic and I feel like I’m going to pull my hair out by the roots if the screaming goes on much longer. Breast is best!”. This guilt wasn’t made better by nosy dental hygienists that told me I should be breastfeeding. Why does everyone feel like they can comment on your life as a mum?
  7. The fact that my kids don’t see much of my parents  This is more of expat guilt than mum guilt but it keeps me up at night. I feel bad that my children only get half of the grandparent experience. I grew up so close to my maternal grandparents and it was such a wonderful upbringing. My children see my parents a few times a year and it is hard to accept that.
  8. The fact that my fitbit keeps telling me to get off my arse and move. I don’t know why I thought that buying a fitbit was a good idea as it only adds to my guilt. I’m only 5670 steps away from my daily goal? Grand, I’ll just go out for a run with all the extra time I have. Oh great, now I feel guilty that I’ll die young and leave my husband as an attractive widower with two gorgeous children who will struggle at to call the glamorous American “mummy”  at first but soon will forget about me and they’ll have glamorous new years eve parties with their glamorous new friends. Wait, this is the plot of “The Holiday”, I’m clearly spiraling here.

These are just a few things that I feel guilty about and I’m sure if I opened up my anxiety and things that I can’t control but still feel guilty about vault I could come up with more. But you know what? No matter what you do you will still feel guilty because as a mum we are constantly bombarded with images of perfect families and blogs with perfectly put together houses and women who have it all together. I bet these women need five minutes now and then. We all do.

Three reasons why taking time for yourself every day to yourself is important

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  1. Ego depletion is real. What is this fancy science term of which I speak? Well basically, we only have so much willpower and once it runs out we struggle to make good decisions. As a mum, you are constantly at battle with your willpower. It is the thing that stops us screaming “GO THE F&^K TO SLEEP” or “WHAT THE ACTUAL F%$K?” every second of the day. If you have toddlers, you will know that you are constantly shoving these urges down as your little dictators do charming things such as pee on the floor, poke their sleeping sibling, magic marker your quartz counter top, colour on your couch, cry because you did the thing they asked you to do etc. I’m a teacher by day so let me tell you I am fresh out of ego by the end of the day. Taking five minutes to yourself helps you reset and gives you time to not have to make decisions and to just do something you truly want to do. You want to eat that candy bar? Go for it girl! You want to watch Gossip Girl? Get on it! You can read more about ego depletion here.
  2. Dedicating every waking moment to other people is exhausting and will make you feel bitter. Just because you are a mum doesn’t mean you don’t have other interests outside of wiping bums and watching Peppa Pig. If you enjoy reading celebrity gossip the news and have did it every day before you had kids you really should try to carve out five minutes to do it still. If you enjoy long baths and you find them good for your mental health then this is important to your well being. If you are a yogi and get peace from twisting your body into strange shapes then this is part of who you are and you must make space in your life for it. Taking time to yourself helps you reconnect with the person you were before kids (and she’s still in there I promise).
  3. YOU DESERVE IT. I get it, keeping other humans alive is exhausting. You deserve to take time to yourself every day whether it be for 5 minutes to read an article or for an hour to work out.

So mums, what I’m trying to say is just because I feel like you need five minutes away sometimes doesn’t make you a bad mum. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t soaking in every minute and it doesn’t mean that you will magically push the fast forward button on time and miss out on the important stuff. You are important, remember that. Some days all you’ll need is a five minute breather, some days you just need to go to the store alone and other days you need a night away in a luxury hotel. It’s OK to feel that way. It’s normal and it’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Now I’ve got to go because I feel guilty that my laundry has been sat in the dryer for 4 days.

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So you want to be a farmer? Things you really need to know from a farmer’s wife before moving to the country.

The sun rising above a dew covered field, the sound of cows mooing and roosters crowing, your children sitting around a scrubbed pine table. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? This is the image most people have in their mind when they think of the farmer’s life. In reality it isn’t all fresh eggs and tractor rides (well OK, there are a lot of those). Living and working on a farm is tough and time consuming and it really is a way of life. It is like the third person in your marriage, the thing that is constantly in the back of your mind and can be the main strain on your finances.

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In the zeitgeist of “homesteading” moving to a farm is something that many people dream of and more and more often, people are packing up their “corporate” lives to head to the country in the search of a simpler existence. It seems like the perfect investment doesn’t it? With the move towards whole foods you would think that people would be demanding fresh food from their smiling local farmer in a flat cap (what, don’t all farmers wear a flat cap in your mind too?), However, farming is a very cliquey business where you need serious cash flow, connections and grit to make it.

Here are the top things you need to consider before moving to your dream life in the country.

Do you know what you’re doing?

I know this sounds silly but do you honestly, truly know what you’re doing? Have you researched your industry? So many people have the big dream to raise chickens to sell eggs or to buy 100 acres to live off but in reality, that isn’t a big enough operation to support your family. You’ll be able to make lots of omlettes sure but probably wont make enough to quit your day job (maybe unless you run an omlette blog or Instagram and in that case good for you and your weird niche). If you’re thinking of keeping animals do you know welfare laws, how to properly look after them and slaughter laws? There is a lot of red tape when it comes to selling meat in Ontario. Is there truly a demand for your product?

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The isolation

This was the biggest issue for me as a city girl. It is likely that you will have to move very far away from the city (and perhaps your family) in order to afford a plot big enough to carve out some type of living. If only one spouse is farming then the other is left alone for long periods of time and this can put a strain on even the strongest of marriages.  Being a harvest widow is no joke! I genuinely think it would be easier if both partners were to work side by side (which puts another set of strain on a marriage I guess!) building a business together. I have always felt a little removed from the farm and like it is a very separate sphere that belongs to my husband and I sort of slot in alongside it.

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The time 

Following on from the above point, farming takes A LOT OF TIME. You can’t just stroll in with your Starbucks at 9am and clock out at 5pm. Things break, animals die, people need your services around the clock. If you want a set schedule then this lifestyle is not for you. However, there is some degree of flexibility when there is rain or if your operation is big enough to have multiple employees. Moreover, you have to accept that vacationing will be very difficult if you have animals that need tending (unless you have some awesome family that will take on the farm when you’re gone). It is hard to plan your life around the farm and it is definitely something I myself am learning (albeit a little unsuccessfully sometimes) to be gracious about.

The dollar dollar bills

Farming is a money pit. It is estimated that 80% of new farms will fail in the first two years with that number growing into the 90s at the 5 year mark. Add this in with higher lending costs, weaker farm income and land prices cooling and the picture for new farmers isn’t all that rosy. The reality is that big farms are getting bigger and small farms are struggling to get a slice of the pie. You will need a lot of money for your start up and will probably have to look at a dwindling bank account until your farm gets established. This is hard for many people to deal with and is the leading reason why so many throw in the towel after such a short period of time.

The take away

Farming offers many opportunities for a wonderful life. You can be your own boss, work outdoors in the fresh air and see the (literal) fruits of your labour. If you do well then the reward is handsome and some farmers are lucky enough to sell their farms to developers for a significant wad of cash. Your family can be self sufficient and live a wonderful life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. My children love playing at the farm and going for tractor rides, it really is the best place to grow up. But farming is grueling and embeds itself deep in your soul. Those of us who weren’t raised on one baffle at how much heart goes into running a farm. My husband is a third generation farmer and his day to day life on the farm is still full of problems and complications despite being pretty established in our community. I know that market prices of livestock and crops play on his mind a lot. Even if you’re happy to take the monetary risk for your new business (ad)venture, there is the loneliness that farming brings. I moved from the city in Wales to the country in Ontario and for me the biggest adjustment was spending so much time alone on the farm. It got so much for me that we moved into a small rural town so I could at least see another human on a daily basis.

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Lately I have been looking at farms in Wales and trying to feel out whether my husband would be game to try. His answer as a fairly successful farmer, “you must be nuts. There’s no way we can start out again and be successful”.  Now if someone who has done well and has the expertise necessary thinks this way then maybe starting a farm is not a decision that should be taken lightly. However, if you think you’ve got what is takes go forth and farm my friend! I hope to see you at the farmers market in your flat cap in the summer!

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Top 5 things that only a British Expat misses at Christmas

Does the sound of Noddy Holder yelling “It’s CHRRRIIIISTMAAASSSS” ring in your ears every time you think of the festive season? Do coloured Christmas lights and tinsel (the proper kind, not that lamenta shite. If you know what lamenta is extra points) adorn your tree? Are your cupboards stocked with minced pies? Is Christmas Eve best spent in the pub with your mates resulting in the cruel and unusual punishment of having a hangover with young children on Christmas morning? Do you like sprouts? Does your mother shout “not a sausage pricked, not a pot washed?” If you answered yes to many or all of these, you are indeed British. If you spend a lot of your Christmas explaining these things to others, you are probably a British expat.

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Top 5 things a British Expat misses at Christmas

  1. Truly British Christmas songs.
    Cliff, Slade, Wizard, The Darkness to name a few. I just don’t hear these festive classics in Canada and they are one of my favourite things about going home for the holidays. Turning BBC radio 2 on in the car and belting these bad boys out. British festive culture 101.
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  2. The food.
    Good minced pies are hard to come by in Canada and I wont even try to make them after the penis  unicorn cake debacle at my daughter’s second birthday (that’s another blog post).
    Pickled onions. They cost an arm and a bloody leg here ($8.99 for a jar of sweet skins? Pisstake) and they’re quite hard to find.
    Selection boxes don’t exist and that my friends is a SHAME. Remember the joy of a selection box for breakfast followed by lamenting the cost of a freddo?
    Brandy cream is something I’ve never seen here. I’m beginning to think Canadian’s don’t douse everything in booze the same way we do.
    Cadbury’s minature heros. Enough said on that matter.
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  3. The pub on Christmas Eve. Now maybe this is just a Swansea thing but we go to the pub every Christmas Eve, drink too much and then go home for my parents’ annual Christmas gathering. I know at least several other people who silent sob into their stockings and knock back the buckfizz hair of the dog on a Christmas morning while putting on a brave face as their kids push screaming toys into their faces.
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  4. The anticipation of a white Christmas. If you’re from most of the UK, Wales in particular, the papers go into a frenzy leading up to Christmas about “Snowmaggedon” and the chances of a “white Christmas”. It never happens but we don’t give up hope each year. That my friends is the British optimism that I love so much.
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  5. British Christmas TV specials.
    -The Vicar of Dibley when she eats all those dinners. Still laugh every time.
    – The Royle Family – Classic.
    – Nigella. She’s just so saucy in her black nightie scoffing food from her fridge with her plummy accent.
    – Bo’selecta. Now I might be dating myself here but who remembers that show. HILARITY!
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I go back home soon and I am SOOOOO excited for a British Christmas.

So fellow Brits, what am I missing? What do you yearn for the most at Christmas? Other expats join in, what do you miss?

Love,

Jo xxx

P.s I’m holding out for a white Christmas in Wales this year!

Giving up everything for love. The truth about becoming an expat wife and mother.

She’s crying in the British food aisle again

A few days ago I found myself staring wistfully at a jar of pickled onions on the shelf at my local supermarket grocery store. I had an ache inside me that I hadn’t really felt for a long time. It was back again, homesickness. It all sounds a bit crazy doesn’t it, to be tearing up over a British delicacy? However, when I’m in the trenches of homesickness anything can set me off. I moved to Canada almost a decade ago after meeting my husband on a trip in Australia. My husband tried unsuccessfully to move to Wales shortly after we met but the recession and lack of agricultural opportunities meant that he quickly ran out of money and patience from sitting in our flat all day with no car and no where to go. So I stepped up and offered to move to Canada to allow him to return to his dream job farming as I was a bright eyed 23 year old who was eager for adventure and a way out of the omnipresent rain that plagued Wales. So I booked my ticket, got my working holiday visa and after a tearful farewell at Heathrow to my mum I boarded my flight to Canada, not really believing that I would truly become an expat.

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I’m going on an adventure!

When I got to Canada it was the blazing heat of summer and I had a wonderful century farm house to decorate as I pleased. My husband got me a puggle puppy we named Darwin (after where we met) and I quickly got a job at a local gym where I met a few friends to keep me occupied. We got engaged a few months later and married less than a year after that. After returning from honeymoon I eagerly applied for my permanent residency and was excited at the life that lay ahead in Canada. I got my PR (permanent resident) status fairly quickly and decided it was time to set down some roots and a career. I wanted to be a lawyer in Wales but it became apparent that wouldn’t fit with the amount of travel I would need to do and getting into law school here is about as easy as getting a toddler to eat anything that you provide them with for dinner. I decided to head to teachers college and after a few years I got a permanent contract. Sounds like everything went perfectly for me doesn’t it? Honestly, on paper everything is perfect. I have a wonderful job, a beautiful family, a husband who I apparently love so much I’ll move across the world for and a gorgeous home that I could only dream about in the UK. However, I would be lying if I said that late at night when my husband in harvesting late, when I’m shoveling a foot of snow off my car, when I yearn to meet my mum for a coffee and a chat, when I see my friends going out back home that I don’t feel the sledgehammer blow of homesickness. It has been a decade and it is still as strong as when I first came here at times and it takes me by surprise.

 

The harsh reality of being the “trailing spouse” 

Life is hard as the “trailing spouse” (a kind of brutal term for the person in the relationship that moves for love). I miss home a lot, I have found it hard to make meaningful friendships with people that I have things in common with, my British humor is quite often lost on people and I have to repeat myself several times at the drive thru at Tims when people don’t understand my accent (“can I have a croissant please?” “a what sorry m’am, do you mean a chocolate donut?” repeat ad nauseam). Another thing I have struggled with intermittently is finding purpose in my new life. Having children gave me purpose as a mum but I don’t find myself completely comfortable in my new life in Canada all the time. Sometimes there is a feeling of being shoved into someone else’s life and you just have to carve out a little space for yourself.

Here are a few things that I wish I knew before I moved here:

  1. The honeymoon period will end at some point and no matter how grim life was, you will miss some aspect of it at some point.
  2. You will miss your family more than you can put into words and no amount of Facetime will make up for it.
  3. If you have children, you will have to deal with the guilt of them missing out on grandparent time.
  4. Homesickness will strike you hard at random moments. Teary at the pickled onions? Weeping at the sound of a British accent on a commercial? Sobbing over a pound you found in your wallet? Standing out in the rain because it feels like Wales? Watching any old shite that was made in Britain? YUP, you’re homesick.
  5. Snow for almost half the year SUCKS. Invest in a good jacket, boots and a shovel (OK so I don’t shovel too much snow so maybe work on being REALLY busy whenever your spouse walks out of the door to clear the driveway. Kind of like he does when you pick up the hoover or talk about going shopping).But there are positives..
  1. Your children will be international travelers before they are one. What a rich life they will lead.
  2. You get more than one passport which makes you look interesting and important at the airport.
    You will meet awesome people who you would never have crossed lives with otherwise.
  3. You get to enrich yourself and grow as a person by immersing yourself in another culture. I really think meeting people from different parts of the world and living amongst people different to me (you’d be surprised how many cultural differences I encounter) has helped me grow as a person.
  4. Your relationship with your spouse is stronger than most as you rely on each other so much.
  5. You realize how much you truly love your family and make every second count when you’re with them (WOW that sounded like a Disney movie).

So hang in there expat wives, mums and dads. It is a hard journey and maybe not the life you always wanted in some respects but you can do it. Try to remember why you moved to your current country and at the same time honour and celebrate your roots. You beautiful, multicultural global unicorn you.

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P.s in case you have never had the pleasure of a pickled onion I’ll show you what I’m banging on about. Brits, you’re welcome for the food porn.

 

 

Surviving as a harvest widow. How to deal with life when you’re a farm wife.

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Now before I start this post let me say that I know that I signed up for this lifestyle and everything it entailed. Yet, that does not make it easier when the long days of harvest set in during the early autumn and I slowly, but surely, lose my marbles only to regain them again around Christmas time. In many respects, being married to a farmer is excellent. We have flexibility (most of the time) when he needs time off, we live a fairly comfortable life, our children get to grow up playing in endless fields and they definitely will learn the value of hard work. However, being a farm wife can often be overwhelming and lonely, especially when you’re a very long way from home. I used to think that the homesickness and farm wife lifestyle were two separate issues, but now when I look back at times that I’ve yearned for my home most, it generally coincides with harvest or planting.

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The term “harvest widow” is kind of morbid but it actually refers to those crazy times in the farming calendar that fall in July and then again in September – late November when as a farmer’s wife you rarely see your husband. Most mornings he is up before me and the kids and most evenings he doesn’t return until long after I get to bed. Pros of this – I get to watch Gossip Girl unashamedly all evening while quaffing wine in my thermal PJs. Cons – I have to juggle the two kids and the craziness of dinner and bedtime (usually after a very long day of work at school for me!). It’s insane, it’s intense but it’s our life. Over the past decade I’ve come up with some coping mechanisms, that I’ve had to really hone since having two kids (single mums, I have MAD RESPECT for you! It is not an easy gig being alone!). Now I must admit that this year has been especially hard with the addition of our second daughter and I have felt tiredness like you wouldn’t believe. But here we are at the end of November with the final stretch of harvest before us and I can happily say I made it. Perhaps a little softer from comfort eating, teeth a little more stained from red wine and hair more than a little crazy from 4 month roots but I made it.  So I thought I’d share some coping tips with you all. Even if you’re not a farm wife, I’m sure many of us have husbands who are away a lot and like to feel like we’re not the only ones going through this.

Some tips from the international farm wife

  1. Focus on the fact that this too shall pass. I cannot reiterate the importance of those 4 little words. It will not be like this forever, the crop will come off the field and life will return to normal.
  2. Think about all the benefits. You get so much quality time with the kids, all the cuddles, all the kisses (OK, all the stress too but this is about being positive!). You can watch all the crappy TV you want without your other half moaning. You can paint your nails and wear your face mask in blissful solitude. Want a long bath, take it and your husband wont be disturbing you asking where easily located items are.
  3. Say YES to help. It is tricky in our situation as my family live across the Atlantic but I have had to become a lot more comfortable accepting help from my in laws and most importantly asking my mother in law for help when I need it.
  4. Get people to come to you. My dear friends are always happy to pop around with a coffee or tea (or wine, it is always 5 o’clock somewhere) for a chat. It isn’t the most exciting but after talking about potty, poop, dinosaurs and why the dinner you served is not poison all day, adult company is not just appreciated it is NECESSARY.
  5. Plan something that is just for you. Now this is tricky as harvest usually takes away the other main caregiver but if it rains and he can be home then go out and get your nails done. Enlist grandparents or a babysitter to watch the kids and go on a night out. You cannot become a hermit for 3 months. It will wear you down trust me. Hell, I just like going to Walmart alone for an hour. It is BLISS I TELL YOU!!!
  6. Try to get out to the field for a visit. I usually pack the kids up and stop for a coffee or take out and take my husband lunch or dinner. I really treasure those 15 minutes he stops in the car to eat with us and I know he does too.
  7. Send pictures of the kids to him so he doesn’t feel like he’s always missing out.
  8. Make the most of rainy days and Sundays. I know it seems crazy to say but rain days are your best friend as your husband will usually be home at a sociable hour. It truly is learning to dance in the rain.
  9. Have a well stocked wine fridge. You are deep in those parent trenches girl, take a load off sometimes!

Do you have a husband that works away from home a lot? How do you cope?

Jo xxx39310816_279434165994563_8158740834922004480_n(1)

The accidental farm wife

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“Don’t end up falling in love with an Australian and moving across the world!” These were my Mother’s pearls of wisdom before I set out on my three month adventure to Australia and New Zealand in 2008. Well, I took her advice…kinda.

Ten years ago after failing to secure a place on a graduate placement I decided to travel to Australia and New Zealand to clear my head. I booked the whole thing on a whim during my lunch break. It was crazy but maybe someone, somewhere in the cosmos lined up the whole thing because it was on that trip that I met my husband, a pig and cash crop farmer from Ontario. I remember laughing when my husband first told me what he did for a living as in Wales there aren’t a lot of eligible young farmers around. I pictured him with a small farm spending most of his days pottering around on a tractor. This wasn’t exactly the case and after trying to make it in Wales together, the reality that he couldn’t just up and leave his family farm set in so we packed up and moved to Canada.

Flash forward ten years and I live in a small town in Ontario, thousands of miles away from my home town of Wales with my husband and two daughters. I’m a primary school teacher and I absolutely love my day job. I have another job too, being a farm wife is no easy task. Add to that being an ex-pat and it can sometimes seem like the perfect storm. Here on this blog I hope to share my adventures on the farm, in the classroom and my every day life and create a space to give advice to others in my position (come on, surely more than one of us has met a dreamy farmer and uprooted their life!) Come join me for the ride!

Jo