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There She is

Perfect pic.jpg

There She is.

So perfect. Standing next to me in the elevator, Her fragrance of choice, Dior Poison Girl, is gently touching the air around us, as an indication of Her strength and fearlessness. Her hair that was washed and blow-dried that morning, is now caressing Her shoulders and back. So perfect. Her shoes matches the strap of Her shiny, luxury watch, and the pen skirt is conservative, but the slit up the right leg tells a different story, to the chosen one (or ones). She is full of mysterious contradictions for the male population to attempt to unravel.

In Her left hand, She holds a Starbucks paper cup with freshly brewed coffee, that She sips from time to time, although it is clearly too hot to drink just yet. In Her right hand She effortlessly carries a tiny handbag, just big enough to hold the necessities of a young, independent, sexy girl; probably the Blood Red Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick; a feminine credit card holder, because who carries cash around these days, anyways?; and the most important piece of electronic a young, independent, sexy girl will ever need – Her phone. She, got Her shit together.

There I am.

Standing next to Her in the elevator. I am wearing my plastic beach slippers, only because the walk from the muddy parking lot to the office is too long and sweaty for heals. I am dragging with me one heavy laptop bag (that has lots of paperwork and books I need tucked into it), one workout bag (that actually looks super petite, but one I have to struggle with every morning to at all be able to zip up) and finally one very heavy meal bag to last me the following 3 days (because this mum doesn’t only eat salad). I look everything but graceful. In my left hand I am carrying a small plastic supermarket bottle, with a broken lid and a Spiderman sticker on. It also says Coffee on it, in case I ever needed to remind myself of putting coffee in there rather than 60% Jamaican Rum during the morning rush. It could happen, you know… My hair is up in an untidy ponytail, but not one of those “oh, I just got out of the shower, and my hair is really long and thick so I can just swing it up into a ponytail and I look fabulous” kind of hairstyle, but more like the “urgh, my hair is so dirty today because I woke up too late and didn’t have time to wash and blow-dry it and so I put it up in a ponytail that now just makes my head look small and my skull greasy” kind of hairstyle. Sorry, sensitive subject :).

I secretly recent Her, but I am curious nevertheless. Who is She? What does She do for a living? Does She have kids, maybe She doesn’t even plan to have any!? And so on. My imagination can stretch far, during the ride all the way up tens of floors.

I have never been one for comparing myself to anyone, and this is definitely not a case of jealousy, but I do however support stealing best practices from other people. She must have plenty of those, given how She looks like She is on top of Her game. I want to reach over and say to Her in what would probably be perceived as rather intimidating: – “How the fuck do you do it?” Every day, immaculate… I wish She would write an e-book on it, I would so be waving my slightly broken, bent credit card up high for that one!

But, I never ask Her, even though I meet Her there in the elevator almost every day. She may not take it as a compliment, and suddenly scary, undercover security men may show up and ask me to come with them. Lol, of course I am exaggerating, but yeah, maybe not so much after all. Women sometimes get startled by other women who are direct and straight with them, even when it’s a positive compliment. When the compliment comes from a man then we can classify it as flirting and deal with it differently depending on if the guy is a 10 pointer or not. But with women, it’s hard for us to place it.  So, I keep quite…

And you know, ladies, it’s not about being perfect, I never cared much for that, and it’s not my feeling sluggish. It’s the fact that I do think that being a bit organized and feeling a little more like one of those girls that got their shit together, will make me happier in fact. It’s peace of mind, to not constantly feel like there is something I am not doing the best way I can.

She is now getting ready to exit the elevator, when suddenly, there is a glimmer of hope. As She is walking out the elevator, I notice something I have never seen before. Under Her Black with Red Sole Jimmy Choo’s I can see a price-tag. A price-tag, under Her shoe, how could She forget to remove it? I am mesmerized, this is the first sign that She may actually be a human being.

L_O_V_E

A

Motherhood Quotes – TRUE OR FALSE (or not quite the entire story)

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Few assignments in life are so talked about and speculated about as the role of the mother.

There are a million truths and equally as many lies about what it is to be one.

I found, after having my first baby, that jeeze, people have been bull******** me all this time! I, for one, did not hear any violins or see butterflies in the air when I gave birth. I didn’t cry tears of joy and say to my hubby that I love him so much and that we have the most amazing baby ever and so on. Lord, I just cried because it was all OVER! Lol, that was my first encounter with this big “cover-up” of the real picture of motherhood. There were many more, for example, how mothers would just be so calm and collected, have time for a nice quiet cup of coffee in the sunshine in their back garden while the awesomely happy, quiet and adorable 2 week old baby was sleeping. Yah right! The real picture for me was a lot more chaotic. While the screaming, stomach-achy, unhappy 2 week old baby had fallen asleep from pure exhaustion, I was getting busy cleaning up all the mess I had made while trying to calm this screaming, stomach-achy, unhappy 2 week old baby, during which I was constantly nervous that he would wake up and cut short my much needed tidying up. After the cleaning (if I got to finish it, that is) I would try to answer all the 10 000 sms’s, emails and fb messages from friends and family who wanted to know how the calm and collected mother was doing, but more importantly how the baby was doing. The experience was one that I think most mothers (and absolutely fathers go through as well). There is so much learning to be done; learning how to feed this little one, learning his personality, learning about how to care for him, learning to live with the current state of your body and how to cope with the fact that your time was no longer yours. Oh, and on top that, those godawful hormone levels raging through our system! There is really nothing rosy about that time, in my opinion. The fun part, and where I absolutely hear violins playing and see butterflies in the air is when they are growing up; the first smile, the first sign of connection and interaction. When they start to grab stuff (and bring it to their mouth…grr….), the crawling, the first steps, and the realization you see in their eyes when they taste different types of foods. THOSE are the moments that I feel the way I thought a mother would feel from the very beginning.

It was clear that women were not telling the truth, or I was just a weird exception to this general rule, and I should seek some kind of help. It didn’t cross my mind to be honest, but I know for a lot of other mothers out there it does in the shape of depression and just shutting down. If we were just a little more honest in our everyday conversations, then maybe we wouldn’t feel so down about the situation, we would know what to expect and what not to expect. Tell eachother: “You know what, having kids is the most fantastic thing you will ever do, but it can be pretty fked up as well! There are days when you feel like you could imagine having another 10 babies, and then there are days when you just want to go and hide from everything and everyone. If you decide not to have kids, I strongly believe you may regret it, it’s of course not a must, but it’s a beautiful journey and well worth all the less attractive elements of it”.

Here follows a few motherhood quotes, which may or may not be true:

1) Motherhood is dynamic, and you won’t enjoy every part of it.

TRUE: Yep, very very true. The ups are a high and the most amazing moments of your life, and the lows make you feel like you want to hit your head into a brick wall, over and over again.

2) Asking for help is a sign of weakness

FALSE: Never, ever be scared of asking for help. I think the more mature you become as a mother you realize that you could have asked for help a lot earlier for more things. Just a small note for anyone out there wondering, I am not referring to “asking” the Dad for “help”, there is not such thing, as he is equally responsible.

3) Motherhood is portrayed correctly in commercials and advertisement

FALSE: Nothing really is the way it is in commercials and advertisements. They are made up to sell us whatever it is they are promoting, so they will give you a story or an image that facilitates that process.

4) If we invest in our own needs, desires and interests, we grow as mothers and partners

TRUE: This I think can be considered a general rule, even though that will mean many different things for different mothers. Some interests can intertwine with those of your children, so it becomes combined activities.

5) A mother who works outside the home, has less love and feels less responsible for her children

FALSE: Stigmatizing mothers who work away from home is as destructive as it’s opposite. We have a free choice in how we raise our children, and not every solution works for every family.

6) Being a mother (a parent) is the most important job in the world

TRUE: Remember, we are raising future generations. What we do today with and for our children, will have consequences for all eternity. Pretty rad, right??!

7) The moment a child is born, a mother is also born

TRUE: Though sometimes these instincts can take time to manifest, since you are distracted by so many other emotions and activities. Its slightly overwhelming, so it may take time for you to feel that way, but that’s absolutely fine!

8) It’s not about what you gave up to have a child, it’s what you gained from having one

TRUE: Always look on the bright side of things. I know that I am sometimes rambling on about honesty and how motherhood can be a crazy journey and very hard, but honesty is only going to make those days when you feel like that better! You will be prepared, won’t think there is anything wrong with you and have more confidence in handling the challenging situations because you knew they were coming. Information is power, people, motherhood is not different!

9) To the world you are a mother, but to your family you are everything

FALSE: Sounds pretty, but if we think about it, this is just what we are not looking to hear. We should not be considered the only person who matters in the family, the Dad should have equal importance and involvement. And to the rest of the world NO we are not only a mother, we are still women, friends, lovers, business partners and ravers (lol, I know I am), there is no need for us to bracket ourselves just because we put a baby into this world.

10) Always my mother, forever my friend

FALSE: Another one that sounds beautiful, but quite far from the real world. Yes, we should be there for our children and support, guide and love them. But while doing all those things, it’s quite tricky to also constantly be a friend, in its conventional sense. When they become older, have kids of their own, then perhaps, we can be friends on a more equal playing field, but when your kids are kids, you should be the adult and lead the way.

The myths and this “cover-up” may be there for us women to not back out last minute and re-think the whole idea of having kids, so in that sense it may be a question of the survival of human beings, but considering all other self-obstructive activities we get busy with here on earth (pollution, wars, poverty etc) I don’t think a little motherhood honesty would have any major impact.  And for the Dad’s, I am not saying you guys are not going through stuff when your babies enter this world, it goes without saying that you do, but since I am a chick, it’s a bit hard for me to give a correct reflection of your story here. (Ladies, follow some Dad blogs out there, there are many good ones!)

Main thing is that we keep sharing and open up to eachother, in every way that we feel comfortable, in order to debunk all those myths and create new quotes and reflections on the many truths about Motherhood.

L_O_V_E

A

 

 

 

 

Brangelina goes South!

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So, it has now been confirmed that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting a divorce. And the social media literally BLEW UP around this story! People (mainly women, sadly) are now at full speed with analyzing what went wrong and who cheated on who with who. Names included are Marion Cottilard, who has since completely denied any involvement in this mess. The coverage of this is rather disgraceful, but hey, nothing new there.

What is interesting here is how we are always very interested in someone else’s failure at marriage, even better of course, if it is a celebrity? I mean, if THEY can’t make it work, with all those nannies, cleaners, drivers and other support staff around to cushion the experience, then how can we? It makes us somehow feel better about ourselves and our situation.

In addition to the fact that following these celebrity couples is a total waste of time and brain space (which could be used for other things like keeping track of afterschool activities, birthdays of distant relatives we don’t really care about etc), we should know that we never have the full picture of anything. We don’t know what is happening behind closed doors. And do we really want to know? Don’t we have enough drama with what is happening behind our own? Or is our engagement and keen interest in these celebrity women’s lives in fact just an activity to brighten our own image of ourselves and our relationships.

Statistics tell us that more than 50% of marriages worldwide end up in divorce. Some countries slightly below or very much above, but the trend is clear; it is going up. Perhaps we have lost faith in the idea of forever after? Perhaps we are no longer feeding our young ladies with the idea that that fairy-tale day is going to be the start of the best thing that ever happened to them? Some aspects of this picture is clearly cracking.

Sounds depressing? It’s NOT, on the contrary! In the end of the day the goal has to be for us to become better at staying together and understanding what it takes to do that. Maybe marriage can sometimes give a false sense of security to a relationship, if we weren’t so sure that he would be there every morning when we wake up (because if he didn’t want to, it would be an administrative nightmare) we would have to fight that little bit harder for him to want to stick around and vice versa. Then we would just be together, nothing more to it, keeping it simple instead of complicating something already complicated enough.

Togetherness – A word I prefer to use, as it evens out the playing field, is a true reflection of what it means to be partners in life and sounds really really beautiful to me.

Good luck Brangelina, it’s a jungle out there, and finding someone compatible and someone who makes you happy is not easy. But as my Dad always responds when someone says “It’s not easy” – “Well”, he says, “it’s not that hard either” 🙂

L_O_V_E

A

A dream or a nightmare? – How to survive long flights with toddlers

flying-airplaneHot. Extremely hot. Sweat drops run down my back while hundreds of passengers are staring at you with irritation. Your heart is racing and you are losing it…What am I referring to?

10 hour long flight, alone with 2 toddlers. It is probably the most stressful situation I have ever been through and knowing I have to go through it at least twice every year, doesn’t exactly make me spin around and tap dance.

 Now, all of the mothers out there that are sweet talking this situation, be real, it is a complete nightmare! At least it is for me…

 In order to help you (or perhaps myself) I am going to list a few useful tips that will make your trip a little smoother. Just a bit:

 1. Maybe the MOST important out of all, COME.ON.TIME.. DON’T be like those totally stressed out Mumz arriving to the airport 1.5 h before their flight departs and drag their children behind them, like they were just another annoying piece of hand luggage they had to pay extra for. They shout way too loud for the smallest thing and gets annoyed with the basic airport procedures required for all of us to be safe. It’s not fair to the kids and definitely not fair to yourself. You are the adult, make sure you guys arrive on time!

 2. Check in as much luggage as you possibly can. Do not take a cabin bag on the airplane because you will end up with 2 kids, and a cabin bag plus maybe a backpack and a pram if you must bring that. That is the very maximum of what you will be able to handle, trust me! More stuff will only make you more exhausted, irritated and the chance of losing stuff becomes ever so evident. So, pack light, you will need all your energy for the flight because you WILL NOT get any sleep nor will you be able to eat. #thestruggleisreal  !

 3. Bring a sling or baby carrier and a backpackThat’s about it. Do not take more, be as free with your hands as you possibly can. 

 4. Essentials to pack:

 Diapers – pack enough to last through the whole flight plus possible delays and security checkpoints, as well as if you arrive in the middle of the night and don’t want to run to the supermarket asking for diapers in some language you may or may not understand)

 Wipes – Where would we be if we didn’t have wipes? Would there be any normal mummies left in this world? Would anyone be going to sleep without their makeup on, would any food (or other substances) ever be dried off that baby chair?… You know that you are a mother when you use wipes for EVERYTHING

 iPad – Anyone who isn’t a parent, spare me the idealistic preaching here, come back when you have been on a 10 hour flight with a 3 year old and a toddler and then tell me you shouldn’t let children watch iPad

 Headphones – For you. For you know what..

 Change of clothes – if an accident occur, which it definitely will.

 Lollipops and candy – Now whatever you do, don’t give the candy to your children in the beginning of the flight. If you do, they will pretty much start acting as if they have taken ecstasy and run around like those electric bunnies in the Duracell commercial when we were little (round and round and round.. yah, you get the picture). But the candy is good to keep them still and preoccupied for about 30 min when your flight is coming to an end. Also the lollipops will help if they are having problems with their ears during the flight.

 Bottles – this is a necessity because you don’t want them to drink from a plastic glass and spill everywhere and also it provides some comfort if they want to sleep. But if you can, try not to bring any milk or formula, because of the liquids. They will scan everything at the airport going through security and they will even open the boxes of milk if they have to.

 Favorite toys – Whatever you do, if you have kids in close ages who fight a lot over the toys all the time, then bring the exact same toys so you won’t have any issue with that onboard

 Snacks – like cheerios, goldfish crackers or fruit

 Small gifts – like surprise eggs, that you will take out when it feels like the world is going to end…It’s like a First Aid Kit for Mumz. But please don’t buy the ones with chocolate, you have no idea how messy that can get (speaking from unfortunate experience)

 Sticker book – most kids like stickers and it will keep them busy and still for a bit.

 5. Go to bed early the night before! Make sure you get enough rest to last you for the next 24 -36 hours or so after the flight because your kids will be jet lagged which equals no sleep and lots of coffee consumption. Your first few days will be like in a daze (serious rhyming skills).

 Another important factor is the child-friendliness (or lack thereof) of airlines today. Some are great with kids, gives them welcome kits, chats and jokes around with them, and others have stewards that secretly hope that their airline will be the first to decide that children are not profitable since they don’t spend any money onboard, they only make life difficult for everyone else and if you are really lucky, they may throw up or wee wee on themselves during the flight and you will be the lucky one cleaning up.

Here follows some tips on the good ones:

 1. Air New Zealand’s Sky couches and Jet Cadets

They have a special economy sky couch seat that can be converted into a bed for the kids while the parent’s seat is still upright.

 2. Emirates Airlines Sky surfers and Fly With Me Monsters

They have collectible fuzzy toys, blankets, and Sketcher seatbelt critters that encourage little ones to comply with safety requirements. They serve special children in flight meal for kids age 2-12 and offers baby food too. Loads of children movies and television channels dedicated to kids and the kids will get colourful headphones.

 3. Etihad Airways Flying Nannies

You read right! The crew has gone through special childcare training so that you can sit back and relax while your precious ones are being entertained with puppets, face painting, magic tricks, and arts and crafts for the duration of the flight. The service is free and available on all long-haul flights.

 4. Asiana Airlines Magic Shows and Special Accommodations

On this flight they stage magic shows and traditional costume shows, give cookie-baking classes, and engage children with face painting and other fun activities.

 5. Qantas’ Family Zones

The Family Zones at the airline’s domestic lounges are really something. Chic and colourful, these junior lounges are equipped with iMacs, Sony Playstations, children’s furniture, toys, and books.

 Ahhh, I wish my flight could be one of these airlines, but unfortunately not. So, all you Mumz out there who knows what I am talking about, keep your fingers crossed (and pray for me if that’s your thing) because on Sunday I will be doing the highway to hell trip all over again.

 A thought: A mother is by far the strongest living entity in this world. We are doing great and it will get better…

 Love 

 Belle

Son: “Mommy, when I grow up, I want to have a baby in my stomach!”

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Yes, one of the many questions and conversations creeping up on us parents when the kids start to gain real awareness of things. They question everything, and they won’t settle until they get an answer that appears logic to them. We are fools if we think we can fool them. Kids are sharp, real sharp, and they know when you are trying to hand them nonsense on a platter.

One of my close friends have a 6 year old daughter, at the time I believe she was 5. She is the most adorable and seriously clever young lady. Every night they are reading the bible. One night, the questions started to come, and it went down something like this:

Daughter: “Mum, did you know Jesus?”

Mum: “Ahm, no, sweetie, I didn’t”

(Silence)

Daughter: “Mum, did Grandpa know Jesus?”

Mum: “No, baby, let’s keep reading”

(No silence)

Daughter: “But Mum, did Grandpa’s papa know Jesus?!”

Mum: “No, he didn’t!

Daughter: “So, who wrote the book then?”

Mum: “People around him did”

Daughter: “But, Mum, how can we love someone that we don’t even know?”

Oh no, they won’t accept just any answer.

And isn’t that one of the key learnings we have to make from our own children? Their questions force us to consider our own standpoint on various topics, makes us question the way we look at the world and other people. The way we express ourselves suddenly becomes very important, and I am not referring to cursing (guilty :)), that’s the bear minimum, no, I am talking about nuances in language, the words we choose and how we can speak differently to different people in different environments. Kids pick up on all of these signals, like little sponges they soak up whatever dishwater we serve them, clean or dirty. They will store it and use it when you least expect. And worst part of it is, you can’t really blame them!

But most of the times, I would have to say the conversations are hilarious! No one ever told me that you would laugh so much with (and sometimes at :)) your kids! Especially when they reach the age of awareness. It is a pure joy to listen to their long (sometimes excruciatingly long) monologues about going to space, and about the red rocket, that has a mouse at the driving seat, that has two giant, huge, massive boosters on the back, and how it will go to space and back in one minute and 30 seconds, and now the time is 5pm, and we have to go to school and then… and then…. Yes, you get the picture! Patience is key here, to let them finish their very long sentences. If you try to interrupt, it may be perceived as a lack of interest, or that you are trying to correct them, truth is they are not looking for your input, it seems more like it’s their way of processing information coming in. Evaluating it, out loud, all in one go. I love it!

Few times, however, the conversations have been a lot more serious.

Once, on the way home from a day at Aquaventure Water Park, on The Palm Jumeirah, my 5 year old son suddenly turns off the radio. Now, when he turns off the radio, I know it has to be serious, since he absolutely LOVES the radio. He turns to me, with eyes piercing through my skin, all the way to my spine:

Son: “Mum, how did my baby-brother come into your stomach?

(Mum freaking out!)

Mum: “Daddy gave him to me” (such a poor reply, I know! Slap!)

(Silence, and a minute of thinking)

Son: “But how, how did he come inside your stomach”

(Mum sweating)

Son: “Mum, is there a hole in your stomach?

Mum: “Yes, that’s right, there is a hole, he came in through the hole”

(Silence)

Son: “How did he come out? Did he grow big like a superhero and PUSH himself out!?

(Mum laughs)

Mum: “Yes, that’s pretty much what happened, baby!”

Son: “That must have hurt”

(Mum thinking – no shit, Sherlock :))

Radio back on.

I am sure every Mum and Dad out there have had these interesting conversations with their children, where they have to tread carefully, but speak truthfully. Otherwise these little Einsteins will catch us out and won’t settle until we explain how things really are.

This is our time, however, to equip our children with the right frame of mind, a truthful and real version of life and all that in encompasses. Perhaps we should try not to sugar-cote everything, and wrap it into little digestible munches, in order for them to gulp them down, so we can move on with our day to day. We should rather approach them with real words, real explanations and take the opportunity while its still there, because soon, before we know it, media, films, music, other people and the rest of the world will have a great impact on their perception of life and from there on the rest is history..

L_O_V_E

A

Motherhood 1.1 – Honesty is a first step

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There are few things that interest me, as much as meeting other Mumz nowadays. I see it as a chance to understand how others make it all work; the family, the job and their own sanity. Enthusiastically, I often find myself asking questions like:

-What are your long term goals? What do YOU want to do?

-How often do you do something for yourself?

-What did you study?

-What are your hobbies?

-Do you get to blow-dry your hair every day? (For the record, that was a joke:) )

I am less interested in what her husband does for a living, which school her kids go to or if she is considering having more babies anytime soon. Sometimes, other Mumz are not expecting these types of questions, especially from this crazy, Swedish chick they just met :), others don’t even know what to answer. – “Hobbies?” They say with a blank stare, like, you mean arts and crafts with the kids?” And I will need to clarify. – “No, I mean you, yourself, any hobbies, anything you like doing outside of the family?” They usually reply that they don’t have time for that, or they never thought about it. I sometimes walk away from those meetings, secretly hoping that a seed has been planted in their minds, the beginning of a new era, where they aim to develop themselves. However, I know that’s naive and of course it takes a lot more than a weird conversation with a crazy, Swedish chick they just met, to change these things. It takes honesty, and it seems the best place to find that nowadays, is the internet.

If you go online and read what other mothers all around the world are describing, it can appear as if we are fighting a constant battle, with many front lines.  At our workplace we fight to keep up with the young, hot, ambitious, single woman with her elbows out, ready to walk over dead (female) bodies to climb the ladder. We are also in battle with our male co-workers, even the ones with family commitments. Despite having kids, they are always able to work late and put in that extra time, because their wives are the ones going home early from their jobs to manage the situation. We are committed to our jobs, to our careers, but our private lives are constantly grabbing our attention, stealing our sleep and demanding our presence.

At home, we are many times still expected to fulfill the typical role of the “perfect housewife”; cooking, keeping the house clean and ensuring that the kids are keeping up with their ever growing volume of homework. The men, are many times very involved, but not considered the primary responsible for all of these areas. We delegate, at best, many times, we just end up doing everything ourselves.

With our friends and family, we fight the battle of a perfect appearance. We don’t want to show everyone that we weren’t quite prepared for what was going to come, when we decided to do it all. We don’t want the questions, from the people who care about us, because that might just bring the issue to the surface, make it real for ourselves.

I spent many nights, reading other blogs on the same topic, and more importantly, the comment fields, sometimes in the hundreds, on one single post. It’s truly heartbreaking. Some mothers have nervous breakdowns, they stop at a traffic light and start crying, sometimes for hours, without even knowing why. It transcends culture, religion, race and nationality, it’s like a widespread venom, to whom no one really has an antidote. What can we do, how can we change this? Or is it just one of those elements that time will conquer?

Usually, it’s not the kids, they are beautiful and the most amazing blessing ever, and it’s not the job, its fulfilling and developing. It’s not the husband, he is supportive and caring. It’s everything, everything all together. And our own utopic (and completely unrealistic) idea of doing everything, and being everything to everyone.

I don’t have any smart solutions to offer here, no shortlisted advice. Maybe we can help eachother to find those along the way. Honesty is a first step.

L_O_V_E

A

 

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