Friday, 28 March 2008

What do you do all day?

You have no idea how many times I’ve had that question… and mostly with a very astonished look and raised eyebrows to go with – or, if it’s over the phone, in a querying, often negative tone.

I don’t understand why it is so difficult for to see past the fact that I’m currently not holding a ”real” job down here. Is that really all there is to a person, what you do for profession?! I guess it is to some.
I also don’t understand, why it is so difficult for some, to imagine what they would do, if they didn’t have to work. Because, let’s face it, most people DO work because they have to, not because they want to. Yes, yes, they might have a job they like, sure, and good for them. But they still work essentially because they have to – to make ends meet.
Now I can hear you say ”I like my job, it makes me feel fulfilled, gives my life a meaning. I’m a better mother when I work. I need to use my brain. Yadi ya ya”… Yes. I do believe that. I do believe you. Why is it so hard then to believe ME when I say that I have other things (than a job), and enough of them, in my life to make ME feel fulfilled?!?

I feel that I am privileged. I do have a choice: I could work if I want to, but out of wish – not out of need. Or we can live on one salary here. It’s really a privilege.

So, what do I do all day?? ☺

Well, firstly, let me tell you that when I came down here I had one personal aim – to find ”myself” again. I feel like Nathan and I are just coming out on the other side, after quite a few years now in the baby/toddler-swamp… I have been nothing but ”mummy” and have had time for not much else, than my children. Also, we never really had a trusty babysitter in the UK, other than when our parents came for visit, or sometimes when we asked our friends, but that wasn’t often.
Now, as the kids are growing up and becoming more and more independent, I can get time to myself, to find out what I want to do again. That was what I was planning to do when I came here, find myself and do all the things, I have been wanting to do for a long time, but never had time for.
So that’s what I do!

I exercise regularly, as you know, every day actually! I have taken up swimming training and tennis lessons; I do the hash, other jungle runs and go to the gym – all these things are new to me, I've never been a sporty person. I find that I'm challenging myself in a big way here, something I haven't done in that way in a long time. (Yes, being a mother certainly is a challenge too, but you know what I mean!)
I study at the University, over the internet, a course about photography (my big interest) and photo editing. I get to learn lots of things, which is something I haven't really had time to do either for a while.
I have been taking up my nr 1 hobby, scrapbooking again finally, and that might lead to something more too (more about that later).
Not to forget, I have been socializing and networking – all which comes with moving to a new place! That really takes time!
I feel that I am very busy here, sometimes there is not enough hours in the day!
I take Linnea to playgroups and on play dates. We take the kids swimming and meet up with their little friends. Soon too, we hope to get our boat in the water, and I hope to learn more about boating, maybe even try some wakeboarding.
Of course it’s the normal everyday things here too, like anywhere – taking kids to school and back. Going to the supermarket. Having evenings on the sofa watching TV, and so on. And I drive a lot – Brunei is a country where you have to drive to get to everything. So I drive a lot.

Above all, we have loads of time as a family, both quality AND quantity time. Nathan doesn’t work anywhere near as much as he did back in the UK, and Lucas finishes school at 12.30 every day. So we have the whole afternoon together, every day, to swim or play or play sports. (And no, we don't have to do any housework, since we have the amah.) Who wouldn’t want that?!

We are very happy here, and this move has done our family so much good. I’m sure (most of?) you are happy with your lives back home as well, and I’m happy for you.
I’m not saying this lifestyle would suit everybody anyway – but at least, stop questioning this choice I've made - just be happy for me too!


Cissi said...

Jag förstår vad du menar och jag har ofta hört att kvinnor som valt att inte jobba får höra samma sak. Jag är en av de som "måste" jobba för att få ihop det. Som tur är behöver jag inte jobba mycket utan bara 20 timmar i veckan (och det kommer att bli mindre). Jag valde att ta ett "lättare" jobb för att ha mer energi och tid med mina barn. Jag önskar mina dagar såg ut som dina. Tänk att det ska vara så svårt för folk att inse att vi alla har olika värderingar och önskningar. Fast sen tror jag att många som frågar faktiskt är avundsjuka. Bara mina tankar....

swedish chekchouka said...

ok Boel, that is NOT the answer one would like to hear asking a question like that. You're supposed to be bored, cleaning the house the whole day dressed up in a shabby joggingsuit feeling reduced to a poor housewife with no sexappeal.
I never understood what is fulfilling or sexy with comming home at eight in the evening, taking care of tired kids after a long day at work but I actually never said that to people who has chosen that lifestyle.
Big Hug

Dogeared said...

If you're happy and the lifestyle works for you and your family, then pfft to everyone else. Staying at home with 2 kids is NOT easy. I'm not a mother, but even I know that!


Scrapper-holic said...

I for one am insanely jealous of what you get to do all day!! I'm one of those ppl who work because we need the double income and I keep wishing for the day that we'll be able to live on a single income.

Hee you're also looking at a person who thinks blogging itself is a full time job. :-)

Keep up the exercise!! I love reading bout it cos its so inspiring!!

Mia said...

It is tough to live your dream. I think you have set up your life amazingly well and I really admire your energy to turn it around to work for both you and your family.

Strength like that isn't necessarily met with appreciation and it's hard not to feel hurt by it all and think. "Why can't you just be happy for me?" Well, people don't...

Hold your head up and try not to care. You are great!

JaCal said...

Well, I'm happy for YOU! Isn't this what everyone really wish for - to be able to choose and have time for themselves and family and their interests. Why do people play the lottery??

Finding balance in life and love and taking care of oneself - is there anything more important!

I'm glad you've found the flow!

En häxa på vift said...

Well, I'm happy for you too!
I've gotten the same questions, but only from the people in Sweden strangely enough.
I think I'm fortunate now when I do have the possibility to choose what I wanna do. I can work if I want to, but I don't have to.
So I understand and I am happy for you since you're happy with what you do. And taking care of children and a household is a fulltime-job too which a lot of people seems to forget.
/Nettan aka Paxelle

cecilia said...

"I'm busy spending my husbands money" I say when I get the question these days. Am so bored with explaining myself - I agree with you - why do we feel we have to justify ourselves??

Another thing that annoys me over here is that once people has established that I am, in fact, a stay-at-home-mum, noone wants to talk to me - or at least, they don't talk to me about anything but kids!!! As if I wasn't a person in my own right, with opinions, ideas, and stories.