Firstly, thanks for stopping by my blog. I really do appreciate you taking a moment out of your day to read it.
I started “Wannabe Supermaman’s Franglais Life” as a bridge between my family and working life as a 42-year-old British freelance journalist in South West France.
I live here with my three beautiful, mischevious children: Hugo (Super Petit Garçon, who is five); Clotilde (Super Petite Fille, three); and Sidonie (Super Petite Fille 2, 22 months), as well as my soul mate and French husband (Super Homme).
I was originally going to keep my work identity separate from my musings about life as a “maman” in France. I have done in the past. But now I think that the more working mothers speak out about the complexities of their lives, the better chance we have of creating a more compassionate and inclusive culture for working mothers and fathers.
I might be wiping jam off sticky fingers in the mornings, but in the afternoon I could be interviewing the CEO of that company and filing my copy to the editor just before the creche and school run.
I also understand – and have come to accept – that I can’t be the journalist I dreamed of being while being the mother I’m aspiring to be, especially while the kids are very young. I know now, too, that I fall short of being the mother I want to be because I work. But I try to do them both to the best of my ability.
This is also why I’m a “wannabe supermaman”. I will always try as hard as I can to be the perfect mother for my kids, as I imagine her to be, but it’s wrapped up in the realisation that I will never achieve this perfection. Fighting guilt is a daily battle and I’m trying to accept my imperfect self.
Do you want to “faire le pont” with me? Usually this signals a holiday, when the French take off the day between a bank holiday and a weekend to “make the bridge” and gain something like a four-day break. This blog, though, isn’t about vacations (haha, right, what are they again, exactly?), it’s about documenting how we live and feel, and what we say and do.
Why? Because so much happens and it’s so easy to forget. For example, with an English-speaking mummy and French-speaking papa, learning how to speak can be a challenge.
When he was little, after an initial quiet period, Super PG started to chat away in the most adorable mixture of English and French, which made me laugh on a daily basis.
I want to remember in twenty years’ time that “encorecolate” was more chocolate; that “Daddy CoCo” was his made-up name for Peppa Pig (“cochon” is pig in French – well, to him it makes perfect sense); and that “Allez, mummy, attraper gros truck, mama!” was him at his back seat-driver best.
These days he’s starting to correct my French pronunciation and tells people my French is “ok”.
Super PF is just something else. She counts in French and English, sings in both languages and is incredibly self-assured for her age. She used to say “Decilo” instead of “delicious” and “Atooler” was “A tout à l’heure” – so cute.
Super PF2 understands everything you say, but like the others she’s slower to start actually speaking than some of her French peers. She’s pretty good at saying no, though, and making all her desires very clear, yet she can be so adorably polite. If you ever need to ask her to say thank you, she’ll say “Merci, mama”, so she’s already translating and she’s not even two.
I just find that incredible. I’m still struggling with French after ten years and for them it becomes so natural to switch between the two languages.
And then there’s the other stuff, too. Amidst all the routine and the school permission slips and reading and disciplining and bike rides and breastfeeding and dinner making and tidying and school runs and (messy) lunches (where you can’t finish a conversation) with friends and work and phone calls and tantrums and deadlines and sleep deprivation and bath times and…entwined in all these things that must be done, there is both darkness and pure gold. I’m going to write about these moments and share them with you.
Thanks again for stopping by. If you’re on Twitter, maybe we can connect there too?