It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday…
I don’t know about you but I’ve totally out of it this week. One of those weeks where the kids are all coughing and so no one sleeps properly, then in the morning I can’t get up. And to make matters worse, I wake up in the middle of a dream when my alarm goes off and then my brain spend the rest of the day trying to remember that it’s actually awake and not still trying to fly off the building to rescue my falling child.
Anyway, this weekend is one of recovery and I can’t wait!
This week we chat to Tarryn who shares what it’s like being part of her mixed race marriage.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do, what you like to spend your time on etc
Well I am a full time working, studying mom of identical twin girls, named Gabriella & Isabella. Time? Whats that? Lol…. I have no concept of time as it is dedicated mostly to them as they are a year and a half and SUPER busy.
Tell us a little bit about your partner – what they do, what they like to spend time on etc
My better half is an IT Manager (super IT geek if you ask me) lol… He loves gaming, everything to do with computers and is very domesticated! Hahaha. He loves building things, especially cars (yip that’s right, he can build up a car from scratch!), just hasn’t had any time to do those things as the girls are now our first priority.
Give us a bit of insight into your racial/cultural backgrounds.
Well we both come from Christian backgrounds, although our denominations differ – I’m Catholic and he’s Methodist.
I am coloured therefore brought up in a coloured household. My family was my late grandmother (who was also mixed race -coloured and German), my parents and my sister. My father was a Lieutenant for the Police, so him being surrounded by only females (my mom, sis and I) he was a bit overprotective and strict and stern, which today I would thank him for as he instilled some good morals into our lives about how ladies should be and act etc etc
Shane’s white and was brought up by his amazing grandmother and late grandfather. His Nana who is from England, is a very elegant woman, lady like with an amazing personality. She instilled lots of good qualities in them and step-grandfather from SA. (Real grandfather is polish).
Where do you live? Does how you are “accepted” change when you visit different places?
We reside in the Southern suburbs in Cape Town, and what we have found especially when go shopping in northern suburbs, people are always looking at us or where we reside people look at him funny as if they never saw a white person before.
I always noticed lots of strange looks when we out eating at a restaurant more so when they see our kids, I was even asked “are you the mother”?
I must say though when we go to Somerset West people are much friendlier and more accepting of mixed couples.
Ed’s note: That’s so weird – I find it the total opposite in Somerset West!
Tell us all about your kids – brag a bit – it’s OK 😉
My beautiful little angels are my Godsents, I wouldn’t have it any other way, they are such princesses and so heart-warming..
When you see them you just want to grab them and hold them close and not let go. Daddy though, is very over protective like he says “we are his girls” lol. When we initially found out we pregnant and that we having twins our jaws dropped to the ground and we were speechless for a few minutes, not long after we had to start planning for two and not one anymore lol.
The older they get the more painful it gets for me as every day I realize how fast they are growing and just the other day we held them in our arms, so tiny and precious, such angelic little beings and now they almost two. I prayed for them and God gave them to me, there are lots of hard times but we get through them as a family. They are the joys of my heart, my reason for living, my reason for wanting to better myself every single day.
Gabriella (Gabby) is a lot like me :), always shares and so caring but has a mouth on her too lol, scolds at everyone when they are “naughty” lol, she’s free spirited and loves people.
Isabella (Bella) is a lot like Shane, shes doesn’t take easily to people as she first “susses” you out lol, once she gets to know you she will then embrace your presence, she is very talkative but not infront of people she doesn’t know. She cares deeply and can be very goofy at times.
Gabby is a dummy lover and Bella a blankie lover doesn’t go anywhere without that blankie lol. They are my two most precious little angels, and even though sometimes just looking at them makes one tired, I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂
How do you and your partner view race in your relationship? What kind of role does it play in your family? Does it even feature?
Race doesn’t play a part in our relationship at all. Both Shane and I went to diverse schools and growing up had a mixed race of friends, so we never found race to be any issue in our daily lives.
Are there big differences in your marriage relationship that are affected by your heritage/culture?
Nope, not at all.
How have your families reacted to your relationship?
My family loves Shane to bits, they wouldn’t have it any other way lol….we are not the only mixed race couple in my family so our relationship never sparked a “WOW she’s with a white man” remark lol. My family is quite used the fact of mixed race couples within our close nit family unit.
As for Shane’s family, well there were some who accepted our relationship and then there were some who did not, the ones who didn’t accept, we don’t really have much communication with and it’s sad because we love them none the less.
What kind of experiences have you or your partner had when you have been out with your kids (alone with them or together as a family)?
When we alone or out as a family its always the same experience, we receive comments like “Awwww they sooooo cute”, or “ Are you their mom?”.
I must admit though, myself and Shane whether alone with our kids or out alone with them individually has been some hectic moments with temper tantrums, once Isabella threw a tantrum in Checkers as she wanted something and Shane would not give into her tantrum. Then a random coloured woman started throwing comments at him like “give the child what she wants”, “give her a bottle she’s hungry” “what kind of father are you”, not long after Bella went quiet, so he looks at the woman and says calmly…’I know my child” lol.
What are some of the ignorant and hurtful things that have been said to you and your husband about this issue?
The only thing that I am aware of is that one of Shane’s old colleagues said to him about 3 years back, that we would never work and it would be over within 3 months….and now it’s been 3 years, through all our ups and downs we made it thus far.
Other than that I haven’t heard any ignorant of hurtful things or no one has mentioned to them around me, I completely block out all negativity.
What do you think we can do to combat this ignorance/stupidity?
Well I believe that SOME people are set in their ways when it comes to this topic they will always remain ignorant as they are not willing to compromise or learn more about these types of things.
However I strongly believe that to overcome this or to combat this ignorance, they would only have to experience being in the presence of mixed race couples, get to know them, and see that we are no different to any other couple out there, everything’s the same except we have different skin tones and that’s about it.
Did you have any fears about parenting mixed race children before you had them? Have any of those fears changed since becoming a Mommy/Daddy to kids with mixed genes?
Shane and I had no fears what so ever, the only thing I said before the babies were born is that I wish they inherit his beautiful long thick eyelashes which they did! hahaha
Do you have any advice for those new to this experience?
All I can say is that things are never easy, as some families are very accepting and warm while others are not, but as long as you love each other and block out ignorance and negativity you will build a strong and long lasting foundation for your relationship.
And being in a mixed relationship is like any other, so do not allow people to make you think otherwise. Love is beautiful, kind, caring, and does not see what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside.
Is this is the first time you’re joining us? If it is, a big fat WELCOME, it’s good to have you stop by. Fancy catching up on all these other interviews that you have missed? Here are the other features – make yourself a hot cup of the good stuff, and settle in for some reading.
Here’s a little bit of background as to why I want to do this series and why I want YOU to read it and share it with your friends. I am one half of a mixed race marriage (if you want to read my story, check it out here) and we have had our fair share of adjusting to this new life that is often not accepted by everyone.
Besides the odd intentional racist, I feel like a lot of the hurtful comments floating around are actually just brought about through ignorance about how their words will affect other people. Thinking only of our own personal situations with little regard for others, because that’s all that we know. So in an effort to broaden what we know, I thought I would interview a wide range of South Africans that have a variety of different situations – from mixed race couples to single race couples that adopt cross racially to couples that share the same “race” but differ vastly in terms of culture. A bit of a mumble jumble of everything really.
If you would like to join in and be featured in this series or know of someone that would, please feel free to get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want this to be a safe space where we can share stories and encourage each other to be more accepting of our fellow South Africans of all races, cultures and situations. So while I want to encourage you to comment and open a discussion, I will not tolerate any abusive or troll like comments here.