Initially, I felt it was a veiled insult when people asked, “how do you do it?”. For some reason, I just never considered that they were being sincere. later, when anyone would ask such a question I would take it as a joke. It wasn’t until three colleagues asked me the same question (at different times) with one calling me a ‘super woman’ that I finally decided to stop avoiding it and have a sincere talk with myself. Why did I feel weird when people commended me? I had to deal with my ‘impostor syndrome’ (I will talk all about this in another post).
Moving on, do I think i’m ‘super woman’…DEFINITELY NOT. My lazy self finds the idea of that being remotely possible quite laughable. Do I however think it’s worth sharing how I cope daily? well yes, so when next anyone asks this question I can share this post. To give more context for those who do not know me personally, my spouse is currently travelling the world (LOL superbrain don’t kill me) so I am adapting with the kids in a new country. Moving from having full time nanny help at home to none at all in a new country was not as drastic as I thought it would be. I’ll break it down in groups.
I think the children could sense that it was a new beginning or maybe they could just sense my apprehension. My older son developed ‘Diarrhoea’ immediately we boarded the plane in Dubai even before eating anything while my younger son just could not pass stool no matter how hard he tried. It was exhausting as we had some hours stop over in Hong Kong before proceeding to Vancouver. I remember when we were about to board the flight in HK airport and right on the queue my younger son started crying and screaming – “Daddy please I want to poo poo, daddy help me, mummy where are you it’s not coming out”. Now I can reminisce and laugh but it wasn’t funny that day.
What saw me through the journey – God and my husband: realizing that I was not alone and my partner was fully involved in fixing all the issues.
First two weeks
The first two weeks after landing in Canada were unexpected. Both kids and my husband fell seriously ill that we eventually had to go to the hospital. I had to attend to everyone, do all the driving, continue viewing houses for us to rent as we were in a hotel, figure out all we had to register for, keep tabs on everything etc. Looking back this phase was not as frustrating even though it was stressful.
What saw me through – prayers, my family and my soul sisters. We have a family Whatsapp group and they daily encouraged & checked up on me. My soul sisters pushed me on with prayers. I remember sending them pictures of houses and we basically did the viewings together via phone.
Gbam! (lol sorry, I can be very dramatic). My husband had to return and I was alone with both kids in an almost empty house with internet, cable, pots, some clothes and two airbeds. I didn’t sleep the first night after he left as I just kept thinking. I wasn’t scared of the new life but everything loved ones had said before then kept replaying in my head. No one said anything in malice but everyone generally assumed that I wouldn’t be able to cope without my husband and they shared their views a lot. So it got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I had bitten more than I could chew.
What has been seeing me through:
- God: Oh my! my spiritual relationship is sharper than at any time before in my life. I hear from God a lot more clearly and in more details. Knowing He is with me keeps me going.
- My husband: Having a spouse who appreciates all I do is definitely an enabler. I don’t have to guess or wonder as he regularly expressly how blessed he is to have me. When he’s done making my head swell, it’s like fire in my bones that if I see a lion in real life I would just tear it’s jaws with my bare hands LOL.
- Joy: This fruit of the holyspirit is so much more evident in my life. Even before I applied for any job, it was the joy of the holyspirit that kept me riding high with assurance that all would be well. I play gospel songs and the boys & I have regular dance marathons.
- Instructions: I’m not in the camp of Christians who believe God doesn’t expressly speak but just nudges your mind in a certain direction. Maybe that is how some others experience it but to say God doesn’t speak wouldn’t be correct in my opinion. God surely does speak to me. For example, before I even left and landed here, God had told me to take some months off work and stay home. He told me what exactly I was to do during this period and that I would hear from Him when it’s time to go back to work. God confirms His words when he speaks and there is no confusion. I didn’t really share this when God told me but one of my soul sisters received the same revelation and shared it with me. We were sitting in her house and she said, “Babe don’t freak out but God doesn’t want you to start working immediately you go there. You won’t even get a job immediately if you try.” Then she proceeded to tell me what God wanted me to do in that waiting period and it was the same thing I had received myself. I finally got the go ahead to apply for jobs in March and I started working at the beginning of April. Receiving instructions regularly from God is one of the major ways I ‘do it’ because it’s the fuel that keeps me going…like light that shows the path more clearly.
- The Word: I spend time daily to study the bible. I enjoy reading the word of God and it is so applicable to life as we know it today. My imagination runs amok sometimes though like wondering about the relationship at home between Deborah and Lappidoth, what God was thinking when He laid in wait for Moses before Zipphorah intervened, what Ruth was doing at the feet of Boaz all night long and more more sensitive things I can’t type on here.
- Plan Plan Plan: It’s funny I say this because I am the most organized-disorganized person you will ever meet. I’m that girl who knows in details what I’ll wear for a specific event next year but no matter how hard I try I turn up late for events. I’m that girl who knows what her kids will take to school throughout the week for lunch but has no idea what my Facebook password is. I’m that girl who colour codes laundry instead of chucking it all together even when I’m sure no harm would be done but can’t for the life of me keep all my clothes in the closet. I’m sure you get the drift now. Knowing how my strength of organization is also my weakness, I have to be intentional and deliberate about being in charge. I plan and prepare ahead as much as possible and this is really one of the ways I ‘do it’. For e.g, it’s almost midnight on Saturday now and after i’m done with the this post, I would make sure to iron the church outfits for the boys and myself instead of doing that when I wake up in the morning. I also prepare a weekly menu for school lunch and home dinner and try not to deviate from it as much as possible.
- The boys: It’s funny how they are the reason why I get asked “how I do it” but yet they are one of the motivating factors in terms of coping. I find it rewarding to engage them and we do things together. Their hugs and thanks keep me going.
- Physical support system: My physical support system makes sense and with my spouse not around this is key. I am friendly with the neighbours and have built a comfortable rapport with them that if for e.g my car isn’t parked at home at a late hour i’ll be sure to receive an sms from one of the neighbours asking if all is well. One of my neighbours brings me treats 2ce a week – Thai noodles, candies, puddings, fruits etc. I am spoiled silly by her and all this started because she put to bed and I went over to pay a visit and help out. That singular act opened the dam and now she just keeps taking care of me. I also have two ‘younger sisters’ (my babies) who help me out with the kids when I need to dash out for a couple of hours (e.g to go do my nails). Church has also been okay and I am close enough to speak with someone on the phone every week.
- Remote support system: I have superb remote support system. My biological sisters (I have 4) are all over me like ants on sugar (they’ll deny this LOL). My brother (I have only one) is such a positive minded person and he only ever has encouraging words. Having a Whatsapp group definitely makes it easier. My soul sisters are also super fantastic. We pray for one another and keep in touch like there’s no distance. I also have people close to my heart that I keep in touch with especially via Whatsapp. Trust me when I say that app was created specially for me.
- Me time: Having me-time keeps me sane and functional. I go to the salon without the boys once a month for some self love (manicure & pedicure). Attending vigil in church is also my me-time as I don’t go with the boys (vigil runs from 9 pm – 12 am) and I am super charged after.
- Information: My ideal job would be something in Research. I enjoy searching for valuable information. Before landing I had joined useful Facebook and Whatsapp groups. I also posted on the moms group of my local community introducing myself and asking some questions (BEFORE LANDING). There are so many helpful resources one can find on the internet. I use ‘Facebook Events’ to know what’s going on locally and places/events to take the boys to. I also ask people questions physically. Within one month of landing, a dear friend added me to a Whatsapp group in my area for buying and sharing goat meat. I know where to buy affordable and non-GMO tomatoes, pepper, chicken etc in bulk, I found someone who makes affordable Nigerian meals & pastries etc. You need access to useful information to make things work as well as having the right attitude so people would be willing to share correct info with you.
The above may not ALL work for you but hopefully you find something on the list that is suitable. I didn’t mention determination, passion and other things. For e.g, I enjoy writing and this blog keeps me going. It’s almost 1 am and the fact that I enjoy it is why I am awake. Having things you enjoy or are passionate about is really important as they keep you positively occupied. I wouldn’t say the experience so far hasn’t been tough but what I can say though is that it has been as ‘scary’ as envisaged. I have realized more than ever that God is faithful and a ‘good good’ father as well as how strong I am. I am actually a small girl with a BIG God.
Have you been in a similar situation? How did you cope and retain your joy and faith? please share!