My girls turned one! Life with two toddlers.

2015-328-6

So, I haven’t been writing blog entries as I planned to, but I do hope to become more active from now on. I hope to blog about raising twins, twin mother rants and of course about life in Japan, where I permanently reside.

Last week my girls turned one year old. A day I never thought I would see during my turbulent pregnancy (which I have described in detail on this blog in a previous entry).

2015-328-21

We had their pictures taken in a studio in Osaka city to celebrate them reaching the one year old milestone. It was my plan all along to have this photo shoot so we’ll always remember how they looked like when they turned one, since we all know that children grow up too fast. The girls were not happy about it and there for a lot of crying and babies trying to escape the scene, but we still got some decent pictures, which was convenient considering the fact that pictures like these are not cheap. We got 140 pictures taken and you know you’re in the hands of a professional when they’re actually able to capture pictures worth framing, since all mommy and daddy remembers are tears and screaming… or chewing on things.

My girls are officially toddlers now and they’re everywhere! When you have a baby, you desperately want them to do things, smile, sit up, crawl, talk and other expected human behavior, but when they actually start doing those things, you begin to have fond memories of the days where you could put a baby down for a minute and still find it the exact same place you left it. With toddlers, just doing the dishes takes forever since I have to keep an eye on two kids, who’ll try to climb the shelves, rewire the TV or pull out every single object in your drawers.

With toddlers you also get to keep the baby crying, but on top of that you get the added bonus of screaming and hysteria, like when I try to keep my girls from playing with the toilet or eating the dog food. They have ninja like movements and you know nothing will be left untouched. You laugh when family members tell you “I’ll keep an eye on it” after you warn them about their empty plate on the table, because you know that your toddler can get their fingers in everything within seconds – you never see them coming and with twins there’s always one who can distract, while the other do the deed.

The house is a constant mess and a toddler’s idea of playing is pretty much throwing everything around, either their toys down onto the floor or any other surface. You always have to keep an eye on the floor, because it’s like a minefield – littered with small things just waiting to be stepped on.

My girls will try to eat anything, paper, leafs, dog hair, tapeĀ and rabbit poop, but any actual food I’ve spend precious time on cooking will end up on the floor without a second look. The only thing I can get them to eat in the moment is pasta and raisins (of course not in the same dish).

Their naps are getting shorter and shorter, but they’re just as tired.My girls spend 80% of the day fighting over toys or space. They sound like alley cats fighting over garbage, they scream, hiss, scratch and bite and there’s a whole lot of crying.

Everyday is a battle, a war zone and I’m exhausted.

Welcome to the life with toddlers.

Happy birthday, girls.

2015-328-48AdobePhotoshopExpress_2015_10_23_15-34-29

Thoughts on moving to Japan [Part 1] – Money, work and childcare.

I had no idea which picture I should use for this post, because when searching “Japan” on image searches, so many different kind of pictures shows up. The beautiful ones of nature or historic places, the pictures of busy city lights and skyscrapers or the goofy ones of everything weird in Japan. Japan is so many thing and I’m still not sure, after all this time, what Japan actually is to me. Most of all I would like to see it as a beautiful country, with stunning sceneries and friendly people and there’s no doubt that this is a part of Japan, but there’s also so many other things – some positive, others… not so much.

After all these years traveling between Denmark and Japan and been in a Japanese marriage, I do feel like I’ve seen a lot of sides of Japan, some I would have liked to leave out, but it’s still a country, still a place with more than 100 million people, so you are to come across both positives and negatives. Just like everything else in life.

This blog will probably both be filled with the fun moments, but also the struggles I will face when I begin my life in Japan. I’ve known for 4 years that I would move to Japan in the year of 2014 and on the way there’s been many doubts if this was the right choice. I love my own country, with our high taxes, high quality in life, free schools, doctors and hospitals and a government which is ready to catch you if you fall down. It’s a lot to leave behind. Going to Japan I’ll enter a life with more uncertainty, lower taxes, but medical and education bills, almost no economical security net if get lost somewhere along the way and not to mention lower salary and close to non-existent childcare service. A country with lower equality of the sexes and where women often have to choose between family or career – because trying to juggle both will mostly just leave you stressed out. Even though women do have to chance to work on the same terms as men, they will also have to face the extreme over time schedules, the possibility of being transferred far away and close to no holidays.

The husband is often also taxed a lot higher if his wife earns a full time salary, and that tax money often equals a good amount of the wife’s salary, which just makes it seem like she’s working for free. Why even bother? The childcare service for children under 3-4 years of age is also extremely limited, have long waiting list and will take a big bite of your possible salary.

I will probably stay at home the first few years with our future children. Not because I in any way believe it’s a woman’s place, but because I feel it’s the best course to take in Japan. I could find a full time job, get pregnant, take leave, pay big bucks for a nursery, then I want a second child and it’ll probably be even more complicated to take a leave again and once again pay a lot of money for someone to look after my child. It’s not impossible – far from, but I don’t really have any career dreams. I think I would like to be a teacher or something, but if I have to chance I feel like I want to take things slowly and therefore have one or two kids before searching for work. I think I want to do some work from home – I have some business plans I want to elaborate in a later post.

My husband and I do think about our future economy a lot. It is kind of embarrassing to say as a soon-to-be university graduate, that I have no career goals. I have a lot of goals and dreams when it comes to children and family life, but none for any future jobs. Does that make me sound old-fashioned? For me, I think I find these dreams acceptable, because they are my own, not any social norms or society told to. I guess somewhere, women of the modern world started to feel bad about wanting to focus more on family, house and childrearing, rather than career, because women for decades have fought for the right to leave their houses and seen equal to men. I did take an education – I went 4 years to university and got almost only A and Bs. I speak several languages, I have strong opinions and I know what I want to in life – and… it’s not a stressful job.

Look at me talking about women’s rights and such, this what not what I was going for in this post, I guess as a women we’re brought up to not only believe that we can do everything – but also believing that we should.

I think the only reason why I know that I will find a job in a near future is not because of financial reasons, well maybe a little, but also because being home everyday would bore me to death. I’m not a native English speaker, which puts a few bumps on the path to become an English teacher in Japan, but I guess it’s not impossible. At least I speak Japanese, unlike many other foreign English teachers.

So I think I will end this post now, since there’s a lot of other things I have been thinking about, but I’ll safe that for a later post. Who want to read too long blog posts anyway?

I will move to Japan around the middle of September this year. It still seems far away, but considering how fast the past 4 years have flown by, 7-8 months is nothing and there is a lot to prepare.