I grew up in the country on a farm and my brothers stayed in the country. One did a short stint in Sydney before moving to Wagga, Griffith and now on a farm near Gundagai. My other brother lived in Wagga for a short time, now lives in the country town of Temora (30 minutes from where we grew up).
Their wives are both country girls and their wives families grew up in the country. My nieces and nephews go to the local catholic country schools.
Although I grew up in the country and went to the same school as some of my nieces and nephews now go to, I lead a very different life. I went to boarding school at 14 in Sydney. I did a short stint in Canberra for my uni life then lived in Sydney. I then moved to London, back to Sydney, back to Canberra, back to Sydney, to Washington DC, to Canberra, to Sydney. I have moved a lot and lived in some of the biggest cities. All the while, my brothers were building their family and lives on farms and in country towns.
When I go back to my family for such an event, I am reminded of the differences in our worlds. I am also reminded of my upbringing and I am grateful for the habits and values that were instilled in me from having grown up in the country.
My brother and his wife today were going to get the sheep in to the yards and weigh them before the truck comes tomorrow to pick them up to be sold. They have just put snake repellers around the back door, they saw 5 snakes there last summer. They will fill buckets full of grain twice today and take them around to two of their mobs of sheep, pour them in the feeders and round the sheep up to eat the grain. They will go home for lunch and have a cup of tea before heading out again in the afternoon to put the sheep from the yards back into a near by paddock. The kids will ride their motorbike, feed the dogs and play their X-Box and tablet.
The pace is slower. The talk is different. It is more about people they have a common knowledge of knowing. It is about the weather, the sheep, the cattle, the Land newspaper. But it is also the same. There is talk about where their kids will go to high school, their next holiday, the trial and tribulations of kids on school holidays, sleep overs, playdates and the worry as a mother of kids settling into daycare or highschool. Talk about the football. Talk about their business and the dread of making school lunches again when school goes back.
Their community is everything. They know everything about the new neighbour who has just moved in across the river – who their parents were, how many kids they have, their ages, their interests. People drop in for a cup of tea on spec. They are driving past on the dirt road from their house to town, see the ute in the driveway and drop in. They are welcomed with open arms, maybe a piece of cake and certainly a cup of tea and a yarn at the kitchen table. The local pub is a hub. That is where you go for dinner if you can’t be bothered cooking – it’s a 20 minute drive away. There is always someone you know there and if not, you would call the local family and they would drop up for a drink.
It seems uncomplicated by traffic and strangers.
But for me, I like traffic. I like strangers and I like hanging at the front of the coffee shop waiting for my take away hot chocolate. I like the sporadic conversations I have with complete strangers. I like to walk up the street and be anonymous. I like to have opportunities to work where I want to. I like to go to the beach and swim and build sand castles with the kids. I like to look out over the harbour. I am a city girl now. I love to be reminded of the world I grew up in – the nature, the grounding values of community, the fresh air and the satisfaction you get from working hard on a farm. I love to visit my brother and his wife and see my own kids having a ball with their cousins. But I like to go back to my city and smell the smog, drive my kids to school in the traffic and buy a coffee and the paper and go to the park with the kids.
I am lucky to have both worlds.
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About Anna Partridge, Founder of BombardedMum
Anna Partridge is a school teacher, mother of three young children and founder of parenting and education blog, BombardedMum www.bombardedmum.com. She walks alongside mums with children aged 0 to 12 years to run the often treacherous gauntlet of motherhood! She inspires mums to be the most awesome mum they can be and gives them empowerment, inspiration and confidence to be a great mum and great woman. Anna runs parenting workshops about ‘Raising Confident and Resilient Kids’ and other parenting related topics. Through her work, Anna is building a community of mothers who are sharing the inspiration and challenges of raising the next generation. To work with Anna and be the most awesome mum, book your complimentary 30 minute Mummy Mojo call here.To find out more about Anna Partridge, visit her website here.