Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week O'Mama's: Michelle

Howdy all, and Happy Mother's Day! I had an excellent morning spent almost entirely in the big old bed. Except when I got up, had a bath and then crawled back under the flannel sheets. Croissants and tea delivered with a Choice report machines! Present to follow. Ooh la la. I really needed some sloth time today, but I'm feeling much recovered from my week of ouchies, and energised for the week ahead.

Two interviews to go - and today: another expat. Michelle, from Canada, married a Polish man and now lives in Warsaw where she writes at warsaw mommy.She describes parenting, business and everyday life in Poland with wit and honesty.

Here's Michelle:

When did you start blogging and what do you use your blog for?

I started just before Christmas, though I did not really get going until about a month later... so let's say I've been doing this since then!

I had been thinking about starting a blog for awhile, but it was my total disenchantment with Facebook that made me decide to finally begin. I had grown to loathe Facebook's games and quizzes and I found it hard to really get a sense what was happening in people's lives - and I only had 21 friends! I quickly discovered that a blog gives me so much more freedom to express myself: mostly due to the space to write, as opposed to just enough space to leave a status update. So, for me, my blog is about showing my life as it actually is - it's a place for friends and family to see my boys, and to catch up with our lives in Poland.

What's it like being an expat Mum in Poland?

- Oh, man! That's a BIG question!

Usually, I explain it like this: you know all those challenges that you face being a Mom? Like, sleepless nights and teething and toilet training and tantrums and financial constraints and craving 'me' time? Well, I have all of that 'normal' stuff... AND constant confusion about language, and dealing with doctors who don't speak English, and societal expectations and norms of women and mothers that don't exist back in Canada, and cultural divisions and traditions. So, I am like any Mom, really - but I am also dealing with stuff that any foreigner living in Poland has to deal with, whether they have kids or not.

So. It's kind of a double-whammy. But it keeps me on my toes!

Has blogging impacted on your parenting?

- Ummmm. Yes, I think it has. I mean, I enjoy reading other blogs, and many of my favourite bloggers are mothers. So I get to see how they raise their kids, and I get some ideas for ways to deal with some things I have going on.

Also, looking at it another way, knowing that I may write about something on my blog makes me more observant than I may have been before. I mean, I have clear lines and 'no go' zones with my boys and there are some things I will just not write about, since I have some boundaries, but if Max or Alex do or say something, I make a note and then write it on my blog. Before, I may have smiled and thought it was cute or funny, and then forgotten. But now my blog is a type of journal: a record of my boys as they grow and change. So I take the time to write things down. I think that in the future, when I go back through my blog archives and re-read what I wrote, I'll be surprised and delighted at what I will have forgotten!

Favourite mum-bloggers?

- Soooooo many. I was a hardcore Dooce fan a few years ago, and she is the person who helped me gain perspective on my postpartum depression... so although I do not like her as much as I used to, I still drop in once a week, and feel loyal towards her. More recently, I have dicovered Brenda at Mummy Time and Veronica at Sleepless Nights. I also like Not Another Mummy Blog, Pampers and Piniot and Bad Mommy Moments.

A tale about your own Mum?

-My Mom left my Dad when I was 19 years old. When I asked her why she had done this, as there were no violent arguments and no signs that anything was wrong, she said: "I will be 45 in six months. I cannot spend one more birthday - not one more - pretending to be someone that I am not. I am not sure that people get smarter as they get older, but they do become more determined to pursue happiness. I also think that we become less able to pretend to be something we are not. The mask wears thinner the older we get - and it's too much effort for me to keep mine on anymore. I want you to know your mother; I want you to see me for the first time in your life. It's scary for me, because you may not like who I really am. But I cannot enter my 45th year on this planet with my children not knowing me... and the only way I can do any of this is without your father. So, that is the first thing for you to know about me - I am not happy married."

I have spent the past 20 years getting to know my mother, and it has been an honour. She is an amazing woman: I am very lucky to have her in my life.


  1. This was a great post!!
    I have learned so much about you!!
    Kudos to your mom for being true to herself!!

  2. Michelle, that was fascinating. What a brave and honest answer for your mother to give about her divorce, and what a precedent to set about being true to yourself!


Thanks for talking to me. I don't got cooties. Oh, except for when I got cooties.