The title is from a post written in 2014 on the Where’s Joe Wellington blog. When I moved down here, I heard Kiwi’s use the word knackered, but because of their accents I thought they were saying “naked”. It was always a bit confusing until I looked it up and realized that I too, was feeling quite exhausted.
In fact, constantly.
Already worn out as a new mum, moving to a new country made everything that much harder. I think that surprised me. For me, going to the grocery store was comparable to enduring 26 hours of childbirth without an epidural. So much hub bub having to search for a store online (and what’s with all the dairies on every corner?), then punching it into the GPS where I have to argue with the robotic voice over the pronunciation of Taranaki, then remembering to drive on the left, which means all gears and things are on a completely opposite side, too. The actual shopping is, of course, more than a chore, too; not knowing many of the products down here, the reality of being in another country so very far away from any usual comforts strikes… and the homesickness settles in.
It was also exhausting living in doubt. I understand worry comes with being a parent, but everything was magnified. There was anguish daily; attempting to find a routine was difficult. Not only was I a new mum in a new country, but I’d left my job. I had to figure out what being a stay-at-home mum meant (note: there’s not much staying at home involved), where to go to buy everyday necessities, and the biggest concern of all: how is my son getting on?
Forming friendships really helped (to this day). I found it easy to make friends, Kiwi’s being quite friendly. Surrounding myself with other wahine was what got me through the first year.
Because we moved three times in three years, I’d say fatigue lingered for quite some time. It wasn’t until my kid started pre-school this past year, I finally started to breathe again.
But before then, the knackered truth weighed heavy on me. Recently, I found a wrinkled note in my handbag from May 2015. Apparently, I was desperate to get it out of my system:
I can’t keep doing it all. I have no energy. I can’t worry about mice or mould or asbestos. I can’t do the dishes, put them away, scrub the sink & counters, mop the floor, take out rubbish, pick up mail, vacuum, do laundry, clean out pantry & scrub shelves, dust, change the linens, scrub toilets, break down boxes, worry about mould in floor of laundry, worry about earthquakes, train our dog, walk our dog, get kid on Kindy lists, make friends, play, write, grocery lists, wash windows, cut the lawn, wipe spider webs, shake out rug, worry about kid’s bed, worry about loud neighbours, worry about blinds, bathe kid, struggle to brush his teeth, fix the rocking chair, worry about car oil and tyres, email landlord about rodent traps, worry about driving husband to work, picking up husband from work…
I can’t keep doing all of this. I am breaking down & I can’t keep going.
Yeah, that was definitely a low. At the time, we were living in a horrible rental situation. The landlord was extremely greedy, taking advantage of us and never having to lift a finger. In hindsight, we were aware of what she was doing (or lack thereof) but we didn’t do anything about it because… we were too knackered. There was no support whatsoever and I’m just so incredibly grateful that part of this adventure down here is over.
I’m happy to report we’re in a much better situation now. A gorgeous, warm home with landlords who not only care about their property but about the people taking care of it, and my kid attends a pre-school with awesome, supportive teachers. So, like I said, the exhaustion has subsided. For the most part.
While we’ve lived here for three years, there’s still so much to learn. Now that the fog has lifted, we’re able to stay in the present and enjoy what this country has to offer. We’ve handled it. I’ve handled it. This is our home now.
Perhaps The Knackered Truth is just my new state of being.