Blog about living in Mexico by Photographer Erin Parker

Ever dream of selling everything & moving to Mexico? I did it and these are the stories.

It's Better for All of Us

I thought it was clever when I told people that it takes a village to raise a child, so we moved to one (envision this followed by a smug grin). In Santa Fe, we were lucky to have Phil's mom & Lauren, the world's greatest nanny, take care of Sydney while we were at work. We are here in part, because I didn't want to miss out on the milestones of raising her. What I didn't anticipate was my omnipresence with her. We don't have rigid work schedules, Phil writes and weddings are seasonal. As a result, I've pretty much evolved into a stay-at-home mom. 

It's not working for me. 

I love her. She is a marvel and I'm so lucky to have such a free and spirited little girl. But all this togetherness is robbing me of my free and spirited self. I'd like a couple open hours in the morning a couple days a week. I'd like to be rid of the guilty feeling I have when I long for alone time. I hate myself when I succumb to the temptation of plopping her in front of Dispicable Me 2 for the umpteenth time. 

For months, other expat moms suggested I put her in the local day care and I use my parents willingness to help and the support of a flexible and incredible husband as my polite rejection. Then Sydney turned two and my sweet tempered toddler turned on me. 

I started trying to rationalize with her. I was making deals with someone who has zero capacity for reason. She was begging to play with other kids. PInterest and MommyBlogs have great suggestions for ways to entertain and educate but they all feel like five minute band-aids on a situation that needed so much more. My shit was gone. I was failing as a parent. I went to the day care. I found out the requirements. I spent the weekend second guessing myself. On Monday, she started. 

That's her sitting in the high chair on the far right, looking back at me. The teachers took her right in and engaged her as tears welled in my eyes. She didn't cry. Not at first. I heard her calling for us, "Momma, Momma, Eeerrrrrinnnnnn, where are you? Pheeeel? Daddy?" We got in the car. My head went into my hands. The coveted alone time seemed like a selfish, stupid idea. We drove away. 

She survived. 

There are hiccups, but we'll work them out.  I can't communicate with her teachers for shit. The main lady - maestra name unknown, speaks english as poorly as I speak spanish. We fumble through pick-up. Day one, she told me with pantomiming and sound effects that Sydney fell and had a bump on her head. They smothered it in some mysterious white cream so Sydney looked a little like Cameron Diaz in that classic scene from Something About Mary. The bump is a hemangioma (do YOU know the spanish term for confluence of blood vessels?) that will eventually be absorbed into nothingness. My response was "La lunar. Siempre aqui". It's a birthmark. Always here. The look of relief on their faces let me know her semi-perma bump scared the shit out of them. Day two's comical language mix up was about Syd's unwillingness to take off her backpack. I think she wore it the entire four hours. I'm not sure. When I picked her up today, she proudly pointed to the colored and glittered duck art she made with the name "Cindi" scrawled across the top. Cindi is not a nickname I anticipated for Sydney. 

If anything has motivated my desire to learn Spanish, it's this daycare. 

This big scary change is good. She's learning how to socialize with other kids. She's learning Spanish. She's exploring a new world without me and I know that is fostering independence I am incapable of teaching. The daily breather from one another rejunivates our free and spirited selves. When I pick her up in the afternoons, she climbs into her seat on the back of our bike and immediately starts singing. She can't articulate what happens during the time apart, but her song tells me all I need to know. She's happy and I know it. {clap clap}