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disgusting facts of motherhood, part 1

10 Oct

Remember a few weeks ago how naturally high I was from all the love and gratitude I felt pouring out of me? Remember how I bragged about being more calm and peaceful now with my three little bundles of joy(?) than I have ever been? That it can be done. Nothing seemed impossible.

That was before N. left for a 2-day business trip abroad.

I usually take refugee at my sister’s when he needs to travel or have my mom stay over or my mother in law help out with pick ups and drop offs at school.

However, this time, the universe decided to teach me a lesson and slapped me in my face challenged me by ‘sending’ my tribe to all kinds of strange locations as far as possible from this I-can-do-it-all-by-myself-mama.

This was day one:

I woke up at 06:15 feeling completely and utterly nauseated. If you know me, you know I don’t do nausea. If you ask me what the worst thing that my kids can bring from school is I will rank the stomach flu on top of my list. It is even worse than lice. That is how much I detest it.  I mumbled something of the sorts to the husband who was packing his carry on luggage and in an attempt to find a solution to the problem (nauseated mama + 3 kids + 35 minutes drive to school) he suggested the only logical thing a man would suggest: ‘If you are feeling too sick to drive stay home and let the kids skip school today’.

I gave him the look. You know, THE LOOK. The you-didn’t-just-suggest-I-help-Yiannis-cut-class look. It always amazes me how much power wrong wording can have on someone’s facial expressions.

Once N. left, I had twenty minutes to pack their lunches, fill up their water bottles, feed Benny, close the house and remember to take all three kids with me. Oh and the bucket, plastic bag(s) and kitchen roll which I threw on the passenger seat as my attempt to at least keep it clean.

36 minutes later we arrived safe and sound at school. I had hoped that after dropping off the kids at school that the nausea would start to subside as the first stressful task of the day was behind me. In an attempt to convince myself that I was feeling better I left the school and went to the nearest super market to do my weekly shopping. As I entered the mall and passed by the fast food restaurant on my right I felt the intoxicating smells of deep fried dishes attacking my oppressed nausea and the whole what-if-I-need-to-throw-up-right-here-right-now kind of panic took over.

In a desperate attempt to ignore the signs of my body I put the little-guy-outside in the stroller and headed towards the deodorant section of the super market.

Note to self no 1: when nauseated, avoid all kinds of smells. Even the AXE anarchy for men. Especially THAT.

Along with my very disgusted almost to0 sick to keep it together kind of look I went looking for diapers.

Note to self no 2: when nauseated, any kind of disgusting visual (even little precious baby’s pooh) might trigger the unthinkable.

As I was now speed shopping through the super market and desperately trying to shush my inner alarm voice, I was also having to deal with the screaming underfed baby in the stroller.

Note to self no 3: when nauseated, successful problem solving skills are non existent. Out the window. Gone.

I quickly decided to find a quiet place in the upper floor of the super market to nurse him as my shopping cart was full and there was no way he (or I) would last through the check out lines without attracting everyone’s attention. So as I was walking towards the men clothing section I spotted a well hidden (or so I thought) kind of bench. I parked the stroller, took the baby out, started nursing him only to realize that my time had come. That instant when you realize that you must unlatch the baby, throw him the safest you can back on the stroller, grab the plastic bag and picture yourself as Kristen Wiig in the Bridesmaids, is one of a kind my friends. One of the I-never-ever-ever-would-want-to-relive-again kind of moments.

Note to self no 4: when nauseated, by all means DO NOT NURSE

Until next time

love

t

and this was day 2

and this was day 2

I think I’ve figured it out

10 Sep

It might probably be a bit hasty and I am almost certain it will backfire at one point or another but I think I now know the 1 thing it takes to master the magical number of three. Children, that is.

Are you ready??

Taratataaaaammmmmm……

If you want to survive the new situation with little or no help you will have to let go of wanting to do everything PERFECT. As a matter of fact, leave the word PERFECT out of your dictionary for good. As in, permanently. As in, never use it again. Because one thing is certain. YOU CAN NOT DO EVERYTHING PERFECT. Unless you are a superwoman. Then, kudos to you! You are truly ONE OF A KIND.

Back to the remaining human mothers, before (or in my case after) you hit rock bottom, LET some things GO. It won’t be the end of the world. I promise you that. Here is a short list of the few things I realized since the little guy inside made his debut:

1. Ask for help. If you are anything like me, too proud to ask for help, make an extra effort and DO ask for it. You will be surprised to see that there are more people than you think who are more than willing to give you a hand. I don’t know what I would have done this summer if I didn’t have my sister’s nor my mother’s help with the new addition. I felt a bit like a nomad moving from one house to the other and although it was tiring physically, it was the ONLY thing that kept me sane. Having someone to lean on is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in the world.

2. Plan wisely whenever possible. Taking all 3 kids to the supermarket after school (as in tired and cranky & hungry) is a big NO NO. I thought I could manage it. Two days ago, I learned it the hard way. Let me paint the picture for you by describing one of the ‘beautiful moments’ I had to endure while trying the impossible. I was struggling to keep it together while Jannis was chasing Iliana in all four aisles of the supermarket and Iliana was screaming bloody murder. You can do this, I kept telling my burnt out & utterly exhausted self. The little guy outside was now WIDE AWAKE (in my mei tai) and slowly beginning to take his oh-my-God-I-suddenly-realised-that-I-am-starving-so-lets-tell-mom-that-I-need-booby-NOW face while I was staring on my phone’s shopping list in the hope that all remaining 23 items would just magically put themselves in the cart.  For a moment I decided to ignore the chasing & screaming and started speed shopping. Then, on aisle 3, I found Iliana sniffing on shower gel bottles (yes, THIS she learnt from me) and Jannis rubbing his hands with 1/4 of the coconut shower gel bottle which he accidentally poured on his clothes. I will let you imagine the rest. SPOILER ALERT: Multitasking: EPIC FAIL.

3. LET GO of PERFECTION. I can’t stress this enough. When I generously agreed to give N. some much needed personal time and go sailing with Ilianas’ godfather (am I not the COOLEST WIFE EVER???), I took refugee at my sister’s (AGAIN). We were two adults and 6 children. When he came back, 4 days later, he saw Jannis and commented on his change of colour of skin. Jannis, now looked more like a 7year old South East Indian rather than a Greek. What happened to Janni? Didn’t you put sunscreen on him? he dared to ask me. Oh honey, be thankful that all six of them are still alive.

I rest my case.

Until next time

love

tatu

IMG_9558

party of five

guilty, by default

9 Sep

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine, a mom of one adorable little toddler, and the topic of guilt came up.

It was the first time she had left her son at her mother in-law’s for a sleep over and she was feeling guilty about it.

N. was the first one to notice. You see, he has lived with a guilty driven mom of two for the last 6 years and he sees the signs immediately.

‘Don’t feel guilty. He will be fine. Try to enjoy your free time.’

Oh…what does he know? He is a father. I am not sure he fully comprehends the power of MOMMY GUILT. I know the feeling all too well. I even bought a book about it.

It all starts from day 1 (the moment you realize you are pregnant). All of a sudden EVERYONE around you knows better. Heaven forbid you are a first time mom.  Do this, DON’T do that, eat this, don’t even think about drinking that, blah blah blah.

If you are a bit like me, lacking even a teeny, tiny bit of confidence, you are officially SCREWED.

The guilt trip continues. Unless you are having a natural birth at home, breastfeed the picture perfect little baby of yours 24/7, be in constant joy and feel incredibly happy and blessed, YOU HAVE BEEN AUTOMATICALLY DOWNGRADED to the MEDIOCRE MOM CATEGORY.

Top that with your sleepless nights and shocked realization that this baby is HERE TO STAY, you fall into this black grey hole where you are starting to lose yourself and become obsessed with trying to be THE PERFECT MOM.

DOES IT WORK?

NO WAY, JOSE.

What does happen though, is that you are heading slowly but steadily towards your first (and unfortunately not your last) mommy meltdown.

‘I have failed. I am a shitty mother. Why can’t I make it work? 

If none of the above seem familiar, congratulations to you, YOU ARE SUPERWOMAN!

Guilt is a powerful feeling. If you let it rule your life I guarantee you, you will be miserable. Can you get rid of it? No, of course not. But you can learn to control it. You can shush the inner voice at times when you know better.

Stop. Breathe. Take. One. Step. At. A. Time.

Is it going to be easy?? HELL NO. But it’s definitely going to be worth it.

Until next time

love,

tatu

scary mommy

source: scary mommy

Hi, my name is T. & I am a screamer

3 Jun

There. I said it.

A few days ago I came across a post which made me cry. I don’t know if it was me (definitely me) but as I kept on reading I felt more and more horrible. Horrible for being able to relate, horrible for EXACTLY knowing what she meant when she said she saw the fear in the eyes of her child. JUST HORRIBLE.

I promised myself I would change.

15 Minutes later Iliana came to me and whined for the 358th time and I lost it. I screamed at her that I can’t take any more of her whining. WOW. The promise to myself lasted 15 fucking minutes. I should get a medal for that. Don’t you think?

The failing-to-be-the-perfect-mom guilt kicked in. Again.

Am I slowly turning into my father? He was the screamer in our family. My mom was the calm, the patient, the loving. My dad screamed. Not often but when he did he screamed like there was no tomorrow. I still remember it to this day. I remember I used to tell my mom that he scared me when he screamed and that I would NEVER do it. Funny (definitely not the appropriate word), how life turns out.

You see, I know the theory all too well. I have even read a whole book about being a scream free parent and I still think it belongs to one of the best parenting books I have read so far. But there are (sleep deprived) days that I feel I can’t deal with anything. I say something once, twice, three times and my children keep ignoring me. I know what I am supposed to do and what works with Yianni & what works with Iliana. Still, I lose my patience and what do I do? I scream. And what happens next? They obey. Out of fear. Total loss of communication. TOTAL FAILURE.

It breaks my heart. EVERY TIME.

I then ask them not to talk to me for a while. I stare at the wall, trying to comprehend what just happened to make me lose control. Sometimes I stay angry. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just keep staring at the wall.

Yiannis knows better not to approach me in the following 10 minutes. Iliana on the other hand, waits for a few minutes to pass, checks for a window of opportunity and when she sees the sorrow taking over the anger she approaches me cautiously.

Mami, hast du dich beruhigt?  = Mom, did you calm yourself down?

It breaks my heart all over again.

I apologize and hug them and try explaining the unexplainable. And each time my kids tell me, it’s OK mom. It’s NOT OK though. It sucks.

Then I remember my blogger friend Jane’s words who embraces imperfection and accepts the challenges that parenting brings upon us.

At the end of that horrible day I feel less of a perfect mom and more of an imperfect, normal human being bound to make mistakes. I forgive myself. I give myself some credit. I usually end the day with a glass of a wine and a consolidating self talk: At least I don’t….them (I will leave it up to your imagination to fill in the blanks). I take a deep breath and promise myself that I will do it better tomorrow. At least I will fucking TRY.

love,

until next time

tatu

p.s. I am thinking of creating an A.S.(anonymous screamers) group, would you care to join me??

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my loves, my life

copy and paste

28 Mar

Do they ever grow out of it?

My children are currently in the phase of copying and pasting each other in EVERYTHING they do.

I usually don’t mind that much. I have learned to adapt. I buy Iliana a lollipop, I buy one for Yiannis as well. I need to change Iliana’s pjs because she vomited on them, Yiannis demands to change into a clean pair as well (even though his is spotless). Unless the circumstances ask for differential treatment (such as birthdays, namedays or sick days) I treat them equally.

I know what you think: Why do I give in? Well…I have decided to pick my battles. Yiannis can be exhaustively stubborn and I can be extremely tired at the end of the day. Furthermore, one of my resolutions this year was to say more often yes than no, right? If it were up to my son we could argue about anything & everything. I am trying to convince myself that it is a trait what will serve him well later in his life. Iliana is generally easier to handle but once we go down the negotiation road she follows closely in Yiannis’s footsteps.

Yesterday the copying-pasting thing reached its peak. After visiting the pediatrician for the 3rd time in the last two weeks, we stopped by the drug store to get all the necessary evil to put us on the right track again. We ran into our close friends D. & V. who volunteered to take both kids into the hairdresser’s next door until I finished getting all the stuff we needed. Aaaahhhhh…perfect. I had the next five minutes all alone.

I chatted up the drug store owner, felt gratitude towards my generous friends who gave me the gift of alone time and finished my shopping. Upon leaving the store I suddenly remembered the promise of 1 lollipop for each. I politely asked if I could take 2 for my kids (the son of the owner gave me the don’t-give-me-that-crap-you-just-want-them-for-yourself look), chose 2 interesting enough flavors and left.

The moment I stepped into the hairdresser’s Yianni did not lose any time and demanded his promised lollipop (if you ever contemplate with not following through what you have promised Yianni, think again). I take them out of the bag, show them to my kids and slowly start spelling the flavors: c-h-e-r-r-y annnnnnnnnnnnnnddddddddd  w-a-t-e-r-m-e-l…I WANT THE WATERMELON, shouted Iliana. Yiannis’s already tense look turned into the evil-brother-ready-to-murder-his-younger sister look, NOOOOOOOOOOOO…..I WANT THE WATERMELONNNNNNNNNN.

Oh….I snapped. I lost it. I was furious & totally overreacting. I started preaching on how ungrateful they were only to realise a few minutes later that the only one who urgently needed a time out was me. The realization of a parent.

Until next time

love,

tatu

 

10 things I miss

25 Mar

5 1/2 years ago my life changed forever. I became a mom. My old life seized to exist and my new wonderfully challenging life began.

I cherish my new life and I wouldn’t go back to my beautiful uncomplicated life even If I were given the choice. However, when shit hits the fan I find myself in a difficult situation, I tend to get nostalgic and miss a few of the older simpler little joys of life. Here are a few:

  1. The glorious simplicity of the weekend. I worked for 5 days and rested for 2.  Waking up on a Sunday morning at 09:30 was considered TOO EARLY.
  2. Simple getaways.  Back then: N & myself worked too much and felt like we needed a long weekend away? Easy. Nowadays: N & myself are too tired to even plan a weekend away, especially when there are a million things to consider and a zillion things to pack.
  3. Planning & Execution. I always thought these two were a match made in heaven. It has now come to my attention that whenever I plan anything ahead it almost never gets executed.
  4. One on one quality time with a grown up. I spent half of my weekend in the hospital keeping my mom company and although hospitals are pretty depressing I managed to spend some semi-uninterrupted (doctors and nurses and hospital staff kept coming in) one on one time with my mom. No kids, no interruptions.
  5. Leisure time. I was a semi workaholic. I was the first to arrive and the last one to leave work. When I left though I had, the things as a mom I miss the most, time to myself.
  6. Enough time & money to spend on loved ones. Now, I neither have the time nor the money.
  7. Time off. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  8. The ease of rescheduling. I felt tired, I slept.  I was ill, I took a sick day. I felt bored, I rescheduled. Just like that.
  9. Getting paid to work. I worked 5 days a week and got paid. Now, I ‘work’ 24/7 and never get paid.
  10. Stress free chilling at the beach. Apart from carrying 4 sets of towels, sun lotion for the kids & myself, extra change of clothes, a potty (well we all know why now, don’t we?), swimsuits, goggles and swim masks, floats, fins, drinks & snacks and the 27 swim toys (God forbid I forget to include the Barbie watering can or the Mc Queen water pistol), I must keep my eyes on both kids while I make sure they are a) wearing their hats, b) covered top til toe with total sunblock cream, c) sharing their toys with the other kids on the beach & d) last but not least NOT DROWNING.

Until next time

love,

tatu

heaven and hell

I apologize to you, my non parent friend

13 Feb

if you ever happened to be at my place at around 7pm. I am well aware of the fact that I have either

  • a) caused permanent damage in the ‘I wish I had kids’ department
  • b) worked as the most efficient contraceptive
  • c) shown you my Cruella side or
  • d) all of the above

There are no beautiful and calm bedtime rituals in this household. I have been told they exist. I have tried everything to make that happen but have miraculously failed at it. Big time!

If you are the peaceful and precious bedtime magician please make sure to have left our premises by 7pm. If you feel like you need a reminder of why you are still not ready for a kid (or ever will be after witnessing that) feel free to come by anytime between 7 & 8 pm. I can guarantee you the ‘drama’ of a lifetime.

Until next time

love,

tatu

Image

revisiting parenting advices vol. 1

21 Nov

In theory we are all great parents. When the actual time comes to put theory into practice that is when some of us do not quite deserve the parent of the year award. This is a short list with a few things that didn’t work with me while parenting my 2 kids (in case you are torturing yourself that you are the only parent out there who follows the best parenting advices and still fails at stopping the tantrums, fussing and whining).

  • Offer choices. Really? I always offer my kids 2 choices and they never seem to agree with any of them. I ask them: ‘What would you like for dinner? Chicken soup or yogurt with honey (not combined obviously)? Their answer is: Pasta.
  • Lower yourself to the eye level of a child. Whenever my son did not listen, I lowered myself to his eye level and usually got a slap on my face.
  • Choose the clothes he/she will wear the night before.  I helped Yianni choose his clothes yesterday night just before bedtime only for him to wake up today and have him fuss that these clothes were not the ones he really wanted to wear to school.
  • Use the preventive approach. If I tell Yianni that I had a rough day and I can not put up with more whining it is like I trigger this button inside his head which orders him to do the exact opposite of what mom says.
  • When your child throws a tantrum put him/her in time out. Remain in control and gently but firmly insist that he/she stays there. Gently??? Is there a parent out there that has any gentle feelings after having been screamed and yelled at for the last 15 to 20 minutes? If yes, please know that you have my utmost respect. For life.

And as my favourite comedian of the 80’s said: “In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck – and, of course, courage.”
Bill Cosby, Fatherhood

xxx

T

today a boy stole my heart

17 Nov

No. It was not my boy. It was someone else’s boy.

We went to a birthday party this morning. Both Yianni & Iliana had been waiting for this party the whole week. You see, being able to attend birthday parties during wintertime is something rare. Chances are that either one (or both) of them are down with some sort of  flu. Surprisingly enough, this time we managed to make it.

While I was trying to convince Yianni to mingle with the crowd and terribly failing at it, I saw this boy. A tall boy. A happy boy. A different boy. I stared. I know how rude it is to stare. That is something I try to teach my 2 kids. But you know when you see something different and sad and you just can’t keep your eyes off of it? That is what happened to me. While I was staring I tried to comprehend the difficulties and problems and worries his mom must be going through and I felt so little.

A few minutes later I saw a girl go to him and ask him something. He did not reply. He just smiled. The most genuine smile I had seen in a long time. She turned to his mom with a bedazzled look and asked her: ‘Does he not speak’?  The mom replied: ‘No, he can not speak. But he can give you great smiles. And hugs. He gives the best hugs in the world.’

A profound sadness overcame me. I struggled to hide my over-emotional reaction.  Who was I anyway? How can another mom’s struggle affect me in such an intense way? I ll tell you why. I can not begin to understand what she must be going through. I will not pretend that I can relate and the truth is I do not want to relate. I will let this be a reality check for me and N. and whenever I feel like parenting my 2 healthy kids is difficult I promise I will think of her and her boy with the million dollar smile.

xxx

T

the post that changed my life

14 Nov

Back in January while I was surfing on the net to find some tutorials for my newly acquired self-taught skill, sewing, I bumped into a blog post which literally changed my (parenting) life. I laughed and cried and then laughed some more. There it was. Finally. Someone who had the nerve to speak out. Someone who did not fear to uncover the human side of motherhood. I could relate.

The feeling that I was not alone in NOT enjoying my 2 kids to the fullest made me feel normal. Human. I was able to forgive myself, I was able to let go of the guilt that was eating me up for the last two years. Society has so many expectations from us  mothers, to be perfect and loving and smiling and just simply thrilled while raising our kids 24/7. When I failed in perfectly parenting my children I went down a lonely road. A road of guilt and regret. What I didn’t realise is that this exact same guilt is what destroyed me. What made me less of a parent. There is no gain, only pain when we let our regrets take the better part of us.

This is what I have realised ever since I read this post until now. I love my kids to pieces, I would do anything for my family to keep them safe and sound. They are, mildly put, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE. But they can be a pain in the ass and when they are I am most definitely not in a constant parental bliss. As simple as that!

xxx

T

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