When we decided to sell everything and move our two-year-old to the middle of the ocean, we essentially had no idea what we were getting into.
We knew a few things . ..
We knew if we waited any longer, we’d be stuck in a school system and probably would never leave. Once these kids get into a school it’s sacrilegious to move them if you can at all avoid it. Although, I really don’t think that should be that big of a deal. Learning to make new friends shouldn’t be something we wait until college for.
We also knew that we loved the ocean. Who doesn’t? And the beach. Who doesn't?
We knew we hated the winter. Who doesn’t? Okay, so there are some of you out there, weirdos.
We knew we didn’t exactly “fit in” in suburbia. Okay, we stuck out. I learned at Gymboree class that not only did not give a shit if my kid was doing what your kid was, I really wasn’t interested in your excuses for why your kid wasn’t doing what you thought your kid should be doing. Shut the fuck up.
I also was 100% sure I couldn’t pull off the “Jon and Kate plus 8 hairdo”.
So we did it. We moved to a rock in the middle of the ocean “for a year”, three and a half years ago.
That two year old is getting ready to start school on said rock in the middle of said ocean.
So I thought I’d write a little note to parents all over the world who dream of a different type childhood for their little ones, one that doesn’t include comparisons, egos, xanax, or requirements of matching bows with every outfit.
You know, the kind of life that you have a wine spritzer because you want to, not because you have to, Mrs. Robinson.
My kid’s hair looks like shit all the time. She gives new meaning to “beach hair don’t care”, she may even be crossing over to “Beach hair, give NO FUCKS”. Even when she lets me brush it, it looks like crap. In fact, 90% of the kids I know give no fucks about how their hair looks. Occasionally, one will get in a mood, and dial up their hair, it lasts minutes and is usually forgotten in a matter of seconds from the time they start playing. It's stringy, sun bleached, and salty.
No mother I know cares what their kid’s hair looks like. NONE. If it is remotely clean and out of their eyes so that they can climb and not kill themselves, GODSPEED.
My darling has her own “style”. For a while, it was a mix between the lips of a Palmer Girl and a Street Urchin, but these days it has morphed into a mix between Blanche Devereaux of the Golden Girls and a cowgirl. Neither of which work on the beach, but no one cares. She has her jewels, her makeup, and her red boots, and all parents are supportive, and by supportive, we all laugh behind her back.
Also in our group, we have a child who prefers to be called a Dolphin, one who refuses to wear underwear, and one who is oddly drawn to the 80’s. Many other idiosyncrasies, but they're all “unique” and allowed to be so.
I’d like to announce that she recently decided to start wearing tops with her bathing suit. Not that I or anyone on this island cares. Tourists care. That’s weird. Isn't it weird that we live in a world (or at least most people do), which sexualizes kids to the point that they have to wear an uncomfortable bikini top? Why do any of us? Fucking conservatives.
My little mermaid also CAN NOT sit down at a table without taking off her shoes. It is seriously like she is unable to do it. She is also almost incapable of wearing socks (the boots are helping), and I’ve been gearing up for months for her to be able to STAND to wear closed toed shoes.
These kids here can hardly stand wearing any clothing at all beyond, shorts, tees, loose dresses, and bathing suits (maybe). Comfort is key. Looks mean nothing. And most important, ain’t no mother judging what your little vagabond shows up in.
Because we don’t give one fuck. Not, even, one.
“Did you bring the Sangria? Great.”
“When is your Momma getting in?”
“You need my help?”
Those are the sort of fucks we give.
It’s literally a “group textable event” when your kid takes her first strides in the pool by herself because we all can stop worrying a little bit about THAT ONE. Because we are surrounded by water. THAT is what we care about.
No, seriously, we don’t talk constantly about what little Billy has been doing academically. There is no “milestone talk” at all. If we talk about them at all, it’s about how weird they are, and how funny they are, and how we think we might be royally fucking them up.
“I seriously think she is hiding her reading from me” Actual words from me.
“Oh fuck that” actual words from another mom.
Oh, and we don’t “socialize our babies”. We get together so we don’t kill them or more likely, ourselves. They seem to socialize themselves.
There is something about water that makes socializing a lifestyle, not a verb. Oh, and they know how to act around water, and on boats, and they aren’t constantly trying to drown themselves.
We also don't over schedule our little Sallys. I'm not really sure why anyone does this to themselves, but it just doesn't happen here. We would never sign our kids up for 3 weekly activities, never.
First, it sucks. Second, it sucks. And third, Fuck that. Because our lives matter too. Maybe here it's just easier to blow off what we don't want to do because no one cares, or we are naturally more relaxed, or we are just more likely to say “Fuck that”, just like we did when we moved out of the states to begin with. But there is something to showing by example that we matter too?
MOMS LIVES MATTER.
I do not want my little sparkler growing up, only to throw her entire life into her kids. I'm not building this identity for it to be lost completely for anyone or anything. I matter, she matters, we all matter.
The days of “martyr mothering” are fucking over.
Over-scheduling as an entire concept is denied here. We show up for a beach day, bring goggles and a few other things, maybe, and they figure out their fun. It usually ends up being something neighboring dangerous, and they usually end up handling it, all while we lounge around cocktailing, eating, laughing, you know? What people do with their friends.
P.S. You never ever see a parent hanging out with a parent they don’t like. Life is too short for that, and I’m sorry, but fuck that.
Then there is the weather, it's always nice, it's always the same, until it's not, but usually we are able to be outside, there is rarely a day that my little mermaid is not in some body of water. There is something there, happiness? Just add water.
I like to rinse the attitude off, oh, and it works for big kids too (like mom sized kids).
Let's not forget, we outwardly drink, there is no Mrs. Robinson, COO COO CA CHOO shit here. There is no “daytime wine spritzers” or adult sippy cups to keep from the kids. “That's Mommy’s beer”. No hiding. No shame. Just real.
We all drink. Shit, half the moms I know take a few courtesy puffs to take the edge off of parenting most mornings. (stop acting like this shit isn’t hard)
So one of my BEST parenting decisions I ever made was to move to this rock. Raise my sparkler here during the time that she is influenced the most by the people she is surrounded by. She is real, comfortable with herself, and is loved and accepted by our island family.
So if you are questioning moving here with your baby, here is what I say to you - this is the absolute best childhood I could dream of giving our child. If you are questioning the “American Dream” at all, you can escape the rat race here. If you are longing for real moms, void of comparisons, and competition, I found that here. There is a simplicity and beauty to letting them be.
Now for school. Deep breath in.