Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Ex-Pat Wife and Mother

I am beginning to wonder if the ex-pat life is too rich for me.

I've never had so much household help, never belonged to so many groups, and never had such a social life as I do now in Abu Dhabi. I certainly have never shopped as much. Poised to embark on weekly riding lessons after a 25-year hiatus, I have to admit I'm feeling a little guilty about all the things I'm doing for me.

Mind you, with six children and a husband with a demanding job, plus nearly 20 years of marriage under my belt, I ought to take care of myself. (Why not have an expensive personal trainer?)

I tell myself I ought to pursue some of my own interests and have some fun. Makes sense, no doubt about it. I also firmly that believe no woman should be a doormat for her family. It's good "modeling" for my children that I insist on saving some of myself for myself, if you know what I mean.

But I suppose there is a small part of me that worries that my children are becoming too used to their mom and dad either having a get-together or going to one on the weekends. Too used to their mom breezing in from an activity a few minutes after they arrive home from school.

Yes, it's important that they know I'm a person and not just a facilitator of their lives.

But nothing good ever comes without sacrifices and hard work, and raising children is certainly at the top of the list of endeavors that require both.

Perhaps all this self-indulgence is just the pendulum swinging over from where I was before: burned out. Moving from a small town in New Hampshire, US to the UAE in the summer of 2006, on the heels of my mother's death in late 2005, did take a toll on me. These extra comforts I've indulged in since moving here have renewed my spirits. Abu Dhabi has been fantastic in that way.

So maybe the fact that I'm thinking I ought to be more selective about how I spend my time is a good sign. Maybe it means I'm finding the balance.


Land-Frau said...

Frances, go ahead and enjoy every minute you spend on yourself. An old, experienced wife, mother,grandmother and,since a little over a month,great-grandmother is telling you! Now,I envy you the horsebackriding in the desert, must admit,had to send my old horse to horse heaven last year. Gisela

Frances Gunnison said...

Will let you know how the riding turns out. I once saw a young lady riding with her abaya on. Looked like a scene from a beautiful movie.
I am sorry about your horse.
Thanks for the support re self-indulgence. Just learned that a friend back home has cancer - a reminder not to hold back and to truly live life.

Eileen said...

Indulge away my dear Frances! No time like the present! Judging by meeting your wonderful children in 2005, I think you have devoted an abundance of goodness to each of them. I bet they applaud you for "having a life"! (and I do believe it sets a great example, too!).

Oh, you know my father would be delighted with you resuming riding lessons!! Carry on!

Happy holidays 2007 in Abu Dhabi to all the Gunnisons!


asanti said...

Hello..nice blog..I am Any from Indonesia. I am a mother of two sons it's great to know u...a mom of six children. Perhaps I can learn something of motherhood from you. I just found out ur blog when surfing around about life in Abu Dhabi. I hope we can be friend :-)

Frances Gunnison said...

I never tire of talking about child-rearing. I've found women of all cultures discuss this subject without reservation. Let's be friends!