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FotoRicordo, FunTime!, Kids

June 3rd World Bicycle day – get your family on the bike!

I am a very busy mom. I mean, who isn’t ? They say you do not understand what busy mean until you become a mom. Then they say – when you are a mom – that you do not understand what busy is until you have a second kid. On one side I believe it is right, but it is all matter of choices: we are all busy one way or another, and what keeps us busy depends often on our obligations – certainly – but also on our choices.

Often we feel overwhelmed, and that depends on the balance between what we HAVE to do, and what we LOVE to do.

This is why it is important not only to make time for things we committed to do – but for things that make us happy – which are often the ones we postpone.

One thing that makes me happy is riding my bike. Get down that path, in all speed, with the wind blowing through my hair, enjoy the view of the fields around my home, singing a son with my son behind me, to finally get into the busy streets of the city. Cross the ancient buildings to arrive to the parc, and unfold the cloth to start a pic nic with the family in front of the lake. I love these Sundays!

Our days are so packed that if we want to fit everything in the schedule, we cannot avoid using the car. Then depending on where we live, cycling can not be an option. But today, the World bicycle day, get on your bike, get your family on their bike, and ride to a park, a lake, a field, a square and enjoy a pic nic outside. Take a picture of the ride. Cherish that moment. Because remember, as Einstein once said: life is like riding a bicycle, to keep balance you must keep moving.

Mom's Life, Pregnancy

I had a miscarriage.

I was ready this time around.
I knew when the right time to take pregnancy test was, I knew when to call the doctor for the first appointment. I knew what vitamins and supplements to take in the first weeks. I knew how to adapt my dietary habits. I knew, and I knew that 9 months would fly! And that this, this one would be the last time I would be pregnant. And somehow – I was already sad about it.

I learnt about the pregnancy really early on. I knew what signs to look for that I did not even need to take a pregnancy test to know! But I took the clear blue test anyway, and got all excited when I read “1-2 weeks pregnant”! So I called the doctor to book the first check up. Then I sent an invite to my husband saying “first lunch date …”. He thought it was going to be a lunch date between us – he did not pay attention to “first”. So the day we went for lunch and I brought him to the hospital… he started to cry of happiness. It was an amazing moment. This was our first date with the fruit of our love.

Only few days passed, and we had already imagined how to announce the pregnancy to the whole family. This time no big announcement to everyone like the first time, but small groups to share the news. Maybe something funny through our son… capturing the cute moment for the family memory book.
We had already thought on whether we wanted to know the gender or not, and whether to disclose it. We were already brainstorming on the possible name! We were 2 months in the journey!

The the second check up arrived… and here I knew we would hear the heart beat – this is a moment you will never forget. That is the moment when pregnancy gets real. There is life inside you and you hear proofs!
So we went on a second date … but there was no heart beat.
I had a spontaneous abortion.

I did not say a word. I asked very factual questions, and try tol hold my feelings for the rest of the check up. I asked all i needed to know on how to handle the removal, and wrote down all the instructions on what to do. I have been told the percentage of miscarriages: 1 out of 4. Very high, I was simply part of the norm.

After lunch i had to go back to the office. On the surface, i was trying to hold it all together, trying to do like nothing happened… but something was dead inside me. Not only the life i was looking forward to meet, but the desire, the hope. I went through my darkest moment. Nothing I could hear would make sense any more. I did know it was part of life. I did know. But… I wanted that life.

What to do now? Life continues, you still need to go to work, you still need to take care of your family, but you also need the time to mourn the life that died inside you. And… that you can do only after 9pm, when you hade dealt with all the rest. That is hard to put a time to deal with sufferance.

Only my husband and parents knew about the pregnancy, and they tried to comfort me with all the possible logical arguments and action oriented comments like “you will try again”… yes, we would try again, yes it happened only once and there are people who are sterile, yes we had an amazing kid already… i knew all that. I did realize the luck we had the first time around. But I felt alone. Alone with my pain, because that life was inside me, and maybe I did not take good care of it. Maybe it was my fault. I felt guilty for all I have done or not done. I felt guilty for everything: for doing sports, for drinking that glass of wine (i did not know i was pregnant yet), for traveling to the other side of the world for work, for sharing the news with my parents too early, for not sharing it with the people who I needed the most who could now just hug me instead of thinking “what the fuck is wrong with her ”, for skipping one day of folic acid… anything.
I felt guilty, like if it was all my fault and I could prevent it. Which I knew was illogical, but that is how I felt. And I felt lonely.

Miscarriage is hard, more psychologically then physically. But also practically: how do you explain at work you will be absent for a while? How do you explain your head will be partially busy for a while? How do you excuse yourself for snapping at everything for a while? Well you don’t … and you keep everything for yourself. Maybe you isolate yourself, and you fake it. And again, wait for 9pm to let all your tears flow away… And that… is hard.est.

I can say now I believe I managed pretty well.
I called my manager, I told him I lost a baby, very factually, I tried not to cry, but I did not manage. And I explained how I wanted to be handled “no reconforting words, no questions, no personal talks for a while, just mere back up on my tasks and understanding for my uncommon behavior”. Initially I hesitated in sharing it. But I am proud of doing it that way because it clarified expectations. And i got more understanding than i had expected.
I called my parents and told them they needed to stick with one grand son for a while. That I was fine, and I needed no help. I consciously lied, but I realized they needed to be handled more than me. Of course they did not buy it, but they got I did not want any comforting words. I wanted my time alone.
Then I messaged my best friend telling her I needed to talk to her. She surprised me asking me if I was expecting… and I had to give her the sad news that I indeed was expecting but not anymore. And she knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Because she had a miscarriage too. She was the only one that knew how to behave around me, and there i understood: you can understand only if you go through it. In that exact moment I understood what she went through too, for real.

I learnt 3 things through my miscarriage:

1. I will not wait 3 month to announce my future pregnancy to the ones I love. Because if anything goes wrong again, I will need their support.
2. I will share my experience, I will not keep it secret. I want my friends to know, because I want them to know I am there to listen if ever they go through something similar.
3. Sometimes it is better to share a bit more than needed – with work colleagues for example – to avoid misunderstanding afterwards. People can be surprise you. Positively.
4. I have been lucky my first pregnancy – because everything went well the first time. But that is not the norm. I will be more understanding of people who are trying to have their first baby but nature challenges them. For them, it must be a nightmare.
5. I will never – never – never say to anyone: “you will try again”.

Today she was supposed to arrive. Today I was supposed to become a mum for the second time. Today is probably the time I am ready to look for a new life.

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FunTime!, Kids, Mom's Life

TODAY IS GLOBAL PARENT DAY! Let’s do something fun!

When I was younger, I disliked these commercial Days (valentine’s day, women’s day, mother’s day…).

First, because I do not know the meaning of those anymore.

Second, because it seemed unbalanced: nobody ever told me there was a child’s day, so why is there a mother’s day? Ok, I was a pain-in-the-ass kid. That did not change when I grew up and everybody was celebrating Valentine’s Day. But I was single and there was no Single’s Day. Or if they did exist, they were not known, as they were not marked on the calendar (yes the paper calendar in the kitchen).

Then growing up, and having boyfriend, I started to follow the Valentine’s Day habits – fancy dinner, flowers and little gifts… just because it was the only way to receive some attention from your loved ones. Still pissed me off he needed this day to do it, but hey… I guess that seemed the norm until I realized I was simply in love with the wrong person – and that those attentions can be given also the other 364 days. Then it became a habit you have to abide by: and the expectation created frustration… so what is the point of this forced consumerism? I was really against. Until I turned this into an opportunity.

The truth is that I have never reflected properly on the chance these days give: they remind you to celebrate a moment, and everyone can get his special day. And come on, if that day has not been created yet: just do it yourself! It can be fun!

So here we are, this year I discovered the existence of Parents Day – and I decided to give it some meaning! I decided to turn this into a funny day.

Initially I was planning to explain my kid what parent means, but then I thought “does he know already what a parent is”? And here the fun started.
Not only I did not need to explain, but he knew clearly – from a perspective of a not-even-2-year-old – what a parent is. So we started the role play.

In the car, coming back from day care, I told him : “you know, today is parent’s day. Do you know what a parent is? Would you like to be show me? ” … what I did not expect is the level of excitement this created. And even less that he would understand so clearly my question: come on, he is not even 2!

So we arrived home, I parked the car, and the role play started: he became the parent! He sat on the driver seat and ordered me to attach my belt. He told me about the day, and then he did like if we arrived home. He turned off the radio, and we left the garage.

After entering home, he set his little table with 3 dishes, and he took my hand to help him open the fridge. I took the meal I prepared for tonight and he brought it to the table. He served my plate, his dad’s and his own and said “bon appetit”! Then he stand up and screamed “the bib! Mom you need to wear the bib!” – he went to take his bib, and put it on me telling me “I do it!” all very proud! And he was also very proud not to wear it for once!

He loved being the parent, but even more he loved the evening routine!
He took my hand and walked me upstairs to brush my teeth, he picked my pijama, and told me to lay in my bed, and he run to his room to pick a book and read a story in his own way, describing a couple of images. Then he kissed me goonight, and tried to turn off the light. And he told me for the first time “I love you mom”.

And he laughed! Of how he laughed!
It was such a fun role play, and it was filled with teaching moments on how he perceives my parenting style. It moved me.

It is definitely a role play I will want to try again over the years, it is incredible the amount of laughs we had, and you can learn from how kids behave as parents!! You realize that kids learn more from what you are, than what you teach them!

I hope you had a great Parent’s Day too! Have you done anything special ?

PS. if you want to know what Global day of parents is about click here!

Mom's Life, Step Mother

Life of a single mom is not harder than the life of a traditional mom.

I am having a tough period at work, lots of responsibilities, lots of extra tasks and not enough time to finish them. Am I the only one? Hell no! I am aware of that.

With time, I learnt how to become more efficient and organize my time, and thanks to this I still do manage to stick with my self-inflicted rule most of the times: be home between 6-8 pm. These are the only hours I can spend time with my son, because before that he is in daycare and after, well I am lucky enough that he sleeps. But after I put him to bed, well I go back to the kitchen, pull up my laptop and start again to work.

When I go to bed, I am destroyed, with a mental charge like many other people – once more: I am aware of that! I am not the only one – and the morning after… well I wake up already tired with the to do list in mind. Let out the times in which the night does not go as smooth as you would believe. Does it feel familiar?

I still get up in the morning, prepare my son to bring him to day care, and then go to work. Do I get a medal for that? Of course not, that is my job. Do you believe people at work think I am having a tough life? No. They do not care. Here is what they see: you are happily married (well first you are still married, second the desk picture shows you are all smiley, so…), you have a nice house, you have a beautiful kid who lives on your desktop background who sleeps at night (of course otherwise you would complain during the day), so: your life is easy. Do I believe is hard? Again, no! I believe there are tougher times we need to cope with, but overall I am lucky. I am fully aware of that. So, I do not complain. It is not in my nature, and if I find myself unhappy with something I do everything in my power to find a solution and change it.

Anyway, at 9 I enter the first meeting of the day and the person in front of me tells me her story about how yesterday it was her day to take care of her daughter, so… she did not manage to finish on time… and I hear “I am a single mom”.

Oh. My. God. You got to be kidding me. I would have understood many reasons, but not phrased that way. I held my patience and went through the day.

Today I need to work late, so my husband is supposed to go pick up our son to day care.
But eventually he calls me and all of a sudden, I need to reschedule all my plans and at 5:30 sharp I run out – not to be late at daycare – and stuck in traffic I try to have few calls in the car.

Then I arrive and that is the moment when time stops. This is the best part of the day where the rhythm changes totally. It is no more about being efficient and bam bam bam do things one after the other. It is about me and my son. His time. I make room for him only, despite I try to concentrate everything in those 2 hours: playing time, cuddles, dinner, bath… I push out of the door all the stress of the day, and I dedicate myself totally to the mommy role. And I manage because that is very precious to me.

But that evening… miss ex has a problem and cannot go pick up his son at school, my husband is already busy… so – as I am already out – I go. I do not want him to be outside of the school like that time she forgot to go pick him up (yeah, WTF).

I drive 40 more minutes to go pick him up. Then I run home and cook dinner for all. My husband arrives and he tells me he needs to take a plane the day after for his urgent meeting. But that he does not have any shirt (our cleaning lady kind of disappeared) and if I could iron one for him.

That is where I snapped: What makes you believe I own the monopoly of the ironing board in this house? So we negotiated the tasks to be done: you clean the kitchen I iron your shirts.

And there, while I was alone ironing, I thought “is life of a single mom really harder?”. As a single mom, you are as alone as I am most of the week, but you get few days off and surely one weekend out of two for yourself. I do not. So how can your life be harder than mine?

This is specific to my case, because all the people involved here have equal opportunities. Of course, I understand there are other types of single moms, where they do not get any support from the father of their children, neither financially neither in time. But. That is not the rule. And I hate we make a rule just about single moms. Because my husband – who was also a single dad – did not have as much compassion from anyone around him. And my life is not easier than theirs either. And there are WAY WORSE SITUATIONS than any of these – that nobody pays attention to. And I have no patience for this any longer.

There. I said it.