Thursday, July 14, 2011

Independence is Killing Me

I am so frustrated this morning I could just bite someone, and not in the sexy way. It's day 4 of my kids' winter vacation and I am wishing I were more Brazilian.

A Brazilian Mother who just returned after 20 yrs in Canada made a comment to me last week that it's impossible to be independent in Rio de Janeiro when you have children. That has been the biggest adaptation issue for them.

You know what, she is right. You end up suffering because of your independence and, at the same time, can't totally depend on someone unless you are paying them (even then it can be a bit questionable).

So school is out for a full 3 weeks, my only source of childcare, and while this is not that big of a deal the tasks are piling up. Between caring for 2 highly active boys, I have to hand hang laundry and make full meals. Come on, I can't get away with snacks and crap for 3 weeks straight! I also have the grocery store and other errands, all to do with two kids.

I know it shouldn't be that much of a bitch, but it is. The stores alone are a pain to get through with a stroller or two kids walking. Heaven forbid someone with a wheelchair down here doesn't have a maid to do the shopping at the neighborhood store!

It's just exhausting. I am having full days with no, and by no I mean zero, down time. Add to it that my darling Mr. Rant has decided to go back to physical therapy for his calf and scheduled his appointments at 8am. That means he is taking the car and disappearing at 745 and only returning at 8 at night. Party foul!

Oh well, my maid comes today! I am thanking all that is holy for that one! It means no basic clean up and no home cooking for me! Now I just need to collect 3 stool samples from the little one, convince the big one that a seriously bad stubbed toe does not mean he can not go out to play, and manage to get a glass of water somewhere in the middle.

At the very least, I am having some serious bonding time with the kiddos and my stomach has never looked flatter! Sitting down is totally overrated!


  1. I hear you Rachel. Loud and clear. I only have one little one, and I can't get a single thing done whenever she's not in school (also my only source of childcare). My little girl was home sick from school yesterday, and I didn't get a damn thing done. Nada. I didn't even try, because I know it's impossible anyway (especially when she's sick and clingy).

    It's different here, I know what you mean. And it's impossible to explain to others (for example our mommy friends in the USA) unless they've tried to survive in Rio with kids and without help. It's just something that needs to be lived to realize how hard it is!

    Since we don't have a single relative within 5,000 miles of Rio, if I ever need help (and hubby is not around, which is often), I must pay for it. Even for a quick 30 minute errand. I'm always whining to my hubby that "I always feel stuck." And when little one is attached to me (not in school), well, I don't even try anymore.

    Just like the picture you chose for your post, our feet (and hands) are tied. Life is harder here. Less convenient. Far less efficient. Harder to get around quickly and safely (especially with kids). And everything takes forever and often is not done right the first time. It simply has to be lived to be understood.


  2. Rachel,
    If you would like to buy me a plane ticket, feed me and give me a bed to sleep in, I will be MORE than glad to come down there and stay for a few weeks and be your live in nanny for FREE! LOL

    My two are out for 3 MONTHS and even at 10 and 12 they still drive me crazy with "I'm bored, I'm bored" They have a point, after you have done all THREE activities there are to do in this god forsaken town, hell...I'm bored too!

    Just having spent the time I did in Rio, I can totally empathize with you and trying to get things done with two little ones in that town. I can only imagine.

    I will say that I have been extremely lucky that I have been able to call on my mother in law in dire times of need. My own mother, no way...but my soon to be ex-mother in law has always been there for me. Of course she doesn't work and my two are her only two grandkids and so they are her life!

    It's funny that you about this because I was having a conversation with Leon last night and he said a few things that his mother has always done and I laughed my head off and thought to myself that for Brazilian mothers....their kids REALLY are always their babies. While us American mothers say it...we more or less mean it in a nostalgic way and if you ever need me I'll be there way. But if you see an American mother doing certain things for her grown son, you more or less look at her with the view of "What is wrong with you? Do you not see how you are treating him like a baby?" LOL

    The differences amaze me because at 10 and 12 my children can cook their own meals if need be although of course my son is much more "mommy dependent" than my's a nature thing. Boys and girls are truly night and day difference.

  3. I hear you! Mine's last day was Monday and I still had to finishing grading 30 plus papers and prep for fieldwork by today! Luckily, mine is easily entertained by TV and the computer. Even so, when mine is out of school I try to do one thing outside of the house each day to keep my sanity. Another trick - new toys or DVD's - Lojas Americanas is having a sale on kid's DVDs - Dora, Backyardagins and such for R$12.99. And the website delivers :)

  4. Mine starts winter break next week - 15 days of it - and it's the same thing. To make matters worse, my father-in-law is out of the hospital and living with us now. He doesn't need round the clock care, but he's not steady enough on his feet to be left alone, either. The hubs leaves at 7am-ish to go drive a taxi - and I'm here, trying to work, keep Abuelo fed and clean, keep the kid happy, help with homework.. oh, and run an online business.

    Thank the gods for cable, playstation and a 3-day a week maid.

  5. I so just made my first Lojas Americanas visit for a mini toy purchase. Momma needs a break! lol

    Shay, if I could afford to bring you here, I'd choose to go there first! :D