HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Born near Nuremberg, Germany – now living in British Columbia, Canada
ON THE WEB www.kerstinauer.tumblr.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two
DAY JOB Working at Home Hardware – part time
freelance writer (books for German travel guide publisher and articles for magazines like the Canadian Newcomer Magazine)
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married to husband #3
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK Our whole family loves the book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.
It is very special to us because we were introduced to it by Steve Carroll, our school librarian, who passed away after a short illness last year. He was a great mentor to my children since our immigration to Canada and a friend to my husband and me. He is greatly missed.
We got the book from the school library numerous times but never bought it for ourselves. When Steve got sick and had to go to treatments almost daily, he made his wife stop at a book store one day and bought that book for us. He was too weak to give it to us himself and passed away soon after. A few months later his wife brought the book to me and we have treasured it ever since.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
It definitely gets easier every year. My kids will be 11 and 15 this year and one day per week they walk home together after school and spend the afternoon by themselves. The other days I’m either at home or get off work at 3 pm when school’s out and we go home together. School breaks are a bit of a challenge, but I usually make sure they are occupied and have chores when I’m gone and if it worked well they get to watch a little TV when I get back. I sometimes do wish that we would have grandparents here (or anybody willing to spend some time with the kids), just to get a little husband – wife time before 10 pm… But our families are in Germany and we are in Canada – I think I have accepted that that’s just gonna have to wait a little longer.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I have never been much of a risk taker and I’ve always been a rule-follower and that is still the same (except maybe the rule following…). My son is very accident prone and that made me more careful (too careful?). One thing that is definitely different than before is that the responsibility I feel for my kids just exhausts me and I feel a little trapped.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
Sex and communication do kind of belong together. The amount of sex we have and how much we talk to each other kind of comes and goes in cycles (and I don’t mean my cycle). I would say we average about 2 times a week for sex and it’s best during the afternoon when we send the kids to see a movie ☺ – I am much less tired than at night….
We talk to each other every day, but sometimes there is just not that much to say. We enjoy spending time together and really look forward to maybe a weekend alone when the kids are bigger. One thing that has been good for us is the motorhome we bought last year. We go on family camping trips as often as possible and sitting by the campfire at night without a TV is awesome. We definitely talk more then.
*Editor’s Note* Bravo for answering the “sex question”! Click here if you want to read Kerstin’s very funny post about marital love-making, “I Heard An Orgasm“.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
I like to think that I’m a pretty laid back parent. I have certain rules which are not negotiable, but other than that I respect my kids and let them develop their own opinions and don’t force them into anything. My weakness is definitely that I’m too protective and probably don’t give them as much room to grow as they should have.
WHAT ARE YOUR SPOUSE’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
My husband does not like to plan ahead and is pretty spontaneous. I think for his parenting style that makes him pretty flexible and open to change and that’s good for the kids. His weakness is his impatience.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
NOBODY!!! I recently read about au-pair Grannies being offered by a German agency. A live-in German granny. I think that’s kind of cool and maybe we’ll try that.
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
My son (10) has some pretty big anxiety issues, which in turn cause him frequent migraines. For years we thought he was suffering from food intolerances, but we just could not quite put our finger on it. Hardly a week goes by when he does not get sick from something he ate – he gets pretty bad headaches and throws up.
About a year ago I started writing down everything he ate, when he threw up, what was going on that day. We finally got an appointment with a specialist – and he was diagnosed with migraines. Possibly with certain foods as a trigger, but mostly due to anxiety and stress. This is not great, but something tangible we can try and find a coping mechanism for him.
His situation makes me anxious and most definitely overbearing. I’m mother hen.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
I sometimes don’t give my kids the attention they deserve and try to do too many things at the same time. They say to me: ”Mom, why are you not listening to me? Don’t you care?” I don’t want to be a parent who does not care.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
When I feel like I passed on important values and virtues to my kids.