When we heard about a mutual friend of ours, Kera Thompson, of the dreamy and beautiful blog Deep Down, living abroad and raising her family in Abu Dhabi, we were so curious to find out more! Motherhood has such an immense amount of unknowns but moving to a new country and then raising three kids adds even more unknowns to the list.
Kera grew up in small town in Indiana just outside Chicago. When she moved away to college, she was surprised to find the man of her dreams and they we were engaged ten days later! After they got married, Kera began her study Interior Design in college. Upon graduation and welcoming their first baby, a boy, Kera juggled projects and motherhood and quickly found herself drawn to graphic design. After the birth of their second son they made the great exodus to Abu Dhabi, the capitol of the United Arab Emirates. (This photo by Jamie Beck of UAE’s Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – is one of our favorite photos, ever!)
Kera says after living abroad for four years, that the experience has afforded them so much growth and excitement. Living in a beach-front apartment, surrounded by diversity, only an hour away from the most opulent city in the world, she says that her creative side is never short on inspiration.
Kera loves hip-hop music and bluegrass, photography and decorating her apartment (which was featured on the cover of Emirates Home Magazine.) She lives for the “runner’s high” and has completed two marathons.
Here’s a bit of our interview with Kera:
1. What is the biggest challenge you face as a mother?
“My biggest challenge as a mother is embracing the process of shedding my former ‘self’ and coming into the woman and mother I aspire to be. My role as mother is not something that always feels natural to me. At times, I think of how my life would be different or more exciting if I had chosen a different path. But I believe that parenting is about accepting and embracing the joy that comes from learning to give fully of one’s self. Accepting with grace the ebbs and flows that marriage and motherhood inevitably bring, and realizing that part of the process is about learning how to shamelessly love and care for yourself as well. Ultimately, I hope I will be able to say that I learned to be present and giving in each moment, and that my family feels how deeply I loved them.”
2. What is your must-have mama item?
“My iPhone 5! It captures priceless photos, reminds me of soccer practice, calls for back-up, navigates me to play dates, and entertains my kids if I need a moment to think (or try on clothes at Zara).
3. What are your favorite brands for clothes and gear for your kids?
“I don’t typically buy designer clothes for my children, only because I feel that with stores like Target and H&M, I can achieve the same great looks AND have money leftover to spend on myself! (I am a sucker for expensive makeup and skin care.) I love Aden+Anais swaddling blankets, Melissa & Doug wooden toys, my B.O.B Duallie stroller, Britax car seats, I also love the Mustela and Weleda product lines for baby skin care, too!”
4. What is the biggest challenge of living abroad, what is the biggest pay-out?
“The biggest challenge living overseas is being away from our families. We usually make it home only once a year, and that is hard on both the kids and the grandparents! But the pay-out is the fact that my husband gets fifty days of paid vacation with most of our major expenses covered (like housing, car, food and other bills!)… which allows us to afford domestic help, spend entire summers in the states, see the world, and ultimately save for our dream home when we return to the states. Being an ex-pat definitely has its perks!
Kera, thanks for being this month’s Mom You Should Meet, it is so fascinating to learn about different moms leading different lives. While everyone has their challenges and successes, we must say, living in the UAE sounds pretty awesome!