Tag Archives: mother

numb

3 Sep

For the past few days I have been complaining to N. about feeling overwhelmed. How life with my three HEALTHY children for the past 2 1/2 months has been draining, exhausting and nerve wrecking.  I even told him that my mom was probably right. I couldn’t DO IT ALL. I was probably not cut out for ‘this’.

And while I was trying to keep my cool and not yell at Jannis for waking his little brother up from his much needed nap, I came across a picture of a little boy. THE little boy. In the red shirt. Lying on the beach. Face down.

My heart stopped.

I closed my eyes. I wanted the image to disappear from my head. I desperately needed it to be fake. A hoax. Oh, how I wish it were that simple…

His name was Aylan. He was 3. He drowned along with his 5 year old brother and their mother while fleeing Syria. His father was the only one that ‘survived’. Although I am not sure if alive is how he feels right now.

Anger. Despair. Panic. Shock. Breathlessness. Sadness. PROFOUND sadness & guilt.

Who am I to complain about such trivial things as not getting enough sleep? What ‘problems’ am I really talking about?

We don’t have ANY problems. Not any big ones anyway. Our ‘issues’ are not permanent. We haven’t suffered any horrible losses which have left irreparable voids in our hearts and lives.  We are going through a slightly challenging phase, which will soon pass.

Right now we have each other and this is the richest we will ever be.

until next time

love

t

what mother’s day looks like at our home

11 May

I am not big on commemorative days. For all sorts of reasons. Why should there be one specific day to celebrate something/someone? I mean, do you feel more in love on February 14? Are you less of a mother worthy of celebration on the remaining 364 days? Maybe I would feel less strong about it if it were celebrated in a simpler way. Not in the lets-buy-some-more-commercial-crap-to-show-our-love-on-the-day-we-are-supposed-to kinda thing.

That being said, when the kids gave me their handmade mother day gifts last Friday my vision became temporarily blurry as well. And although I didn’t get to see my mother yesterday I too wished her a happy mother’s day. And when Omi (my German grandmother) came to the phone I wished her happy mother’s day too and told her that if it weren’t for her none of us would be here right now (for all intents and purposes I left all the males out of the equation). And yes, subconsciously I hoped for a day full of flowers, hugs, kisses, mommy awards etc.  Instead I got a Sunday, similar to any other family day of the year. Let me paint you a picture:

  • Early wake up by the little guy outside in a soiled diaper followed by Yianni’s daily homework battle timing vs sleeping in
  • Siblings fighting over who gets the bigger egg for breakfast vs breakfast in bed
  • Struggling to convince the kids that I am not their slave/housemaid/personal cook while yelling at them to clean their mess up vs the family enjoying some quality time while peacefully playing HOTEL
  • Trying to unhook the little guy’s claws hands from my legs so I can prepare his long overdue lunch while screaming at N. that he needs to take him NOW vs enjoying lunch on the seafront with all three kids behaving impeccably
  • Blabbering something like this is not how I imagined to spend the day to N. with him replying that I should have told him it was important to me and he would have made the effort #MEN vs a joined effort of N. & the kids to surprise me with, well, anything
  • Dancing with the kids in our living room vs dancing with the kids in our living room
  • Iliana cited a poem she learned by heart and I was so moved I had to record it. Three. Times. Yiannis borrowed my phone, inserted the correct grammar spell check and typed up a note with how he feels about me vs nothing would beat that

You know. Reality vs picture perfect & utterly unrealistic family moments. And it got me thinking. Why should I waste my time thinking of the things I would like to have instead of the things I am actually blessed to have?

Let’s be authentic and impulsive and appreciative of each other EVERY day. Doesn’t that sound much better?

Until next time

love

tatu

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

a little bit of gratitude

25 Sep

A little over a year ago I was completely ignorant of the magnitude of happiness that the little guy outside would bring to our lives. The day I held the positive pregnancy test in my hands I started crying and crying and crying and the only one that saved me that day was MY person, MY ROCK, my sister Alex. I honestly don’t have a clue what I would do without her.

Alex was thrilled. She was ecstatic. She was out of this world happy. She tried to calm me down by saying all the right things and she even managed to make me take a momentary glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel. She stayed calm and reassured me that everything was going to be alright. 

Well, she was DAMN right. After a trying and very difficult pregnancy, everything DID turn out alright.

I would like to dedicate this post to the people who stood by me and whose gestures of kindness helped me in one way or another to fight my inner demons and simply gave me hope. HOPE is a wonderful thing. HOPE is essential to leading a happy life. HOPE is priceless.

A big shout out to my enthusiastic sister and my loving hubby, who always encouraged me that I COULD do THIS.

Special thanks to my mom who showed empathy, compassion and patience when mine was running out and to my mother in law who went into the trouble of putting properly cooked food on our table, every single day.

From my real life friends who went out of their way to help me (thank you Iro & Daphne for that surprise delivery of burger & fries-you seriously MADE MY DAY) to my fellow blogger friends whose words of encouragement made all the difference (Matt, you might be right, he might turn out to be my favourite after all).

Thank you.

Life is good. Life is NOT PERFECT. It is blissful, chaotic, beautiful, frantic, challenging, stressful but most importantly BEAUTIFUL.

Yes, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL

Until next time

love

t

happy

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

if you get easily disgusted, don’t read this

24 Aug

While we were vacationing in Pelion a couple of weeks ago, my sister and my cousin had the insane magnificent idea to go swimming on the beach of the busiest, widely known, beautiful beach of Mylopotamos.

20130824-164002.jpg

N. & Ch. (Alex’s husband), tried to talk them out of it, giving them multiple reasons why this would probably be the worst idea of the whole 7 day trip, but they were so persistent, they just decided to go along. Mistake No 1.

After a full breakfast, Mistake No 2, I had the splendid idea to switch places with Ch. & ride along with Alex & the girls (Mistake No 3). I do remember my last words to Ch. before I sat on the co-drivers seat: If Iliana complains that she has tummy ache, stop the car and we will switch places, ok? Ch. gave me the my-mind-is-totally-somewhere-else-and-I-will-nod-just-to-get-you-off-my-back look and said OK. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.

Half way through the 1 1/2 hour torturous ride up & down the mountain to the beach, N. stopped the car.

S H I T.

A semi panicked, semi guilty looking N. exited the car.

– WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? I asked him. Of course I already knew the answer to that.

– Iliana just threw up.

– Oh no. No, no, no, no…If you know me, you know I can handle almost anything related to kid’s typical illnesses (sore throat, ear infections, bronchitis, you name it). Almost. The whole seeing what my kid just ate in detail accompanied by the most disgusting smell in the world thing I don’t deal with, well.

Numb and with the most disgusted look on my face I was staring at the 3-year-old who was crying like hell covered in the full morning’s breakfast, mumbling something about men being useless…

Thankfully my sis came to my rescue. She managed to calm Iliana down, clean her up (wet wipes inventor-I love you), put her dress and the 2 Barbies who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time into a plastic bag and into the trunk and pretended she didn’t mind. Oh yes, the whole puke-aversion thing runs in the family.

20130824-165232.jpg

we found a waterfall and tried washing everything under the crystal cold water that was coming down the mountain: including 3-year-old Iliana

Needless to say the already way too long drive to the beach got an hour extension and when we finally arrived at 3pm at the much awaited beach we realized we had to park 1 km away from the 300 steps which would lead us to it only to share it with another 1000 people who had the same dumb idea.

Tired, nauseous & fed up we took the absolute necessary things (or so we thought) and started to walk towards our destination. Nobody dared to say anything as we all felt like fusing time bombs who were just about to go off with the teeny – tiny – bit of stupid comment.

When we finally arrived at the beach, we discovered that there was no space left for 9 people so we squeezed our belongings together and shoved them next to some rocks convincing each other that, and I quote ‘we are so lucky, we found shade’, ignoring the fact that we had just carried an umbrella & a tent for 1 km and 300 steps.

The kids managed to stop whining & fussing as soon as they hit the water and N. & I decided to take turns in staying with Iliana as she didn’t really feel like swimming (can you blame her?)

After a couple of drama-less hours had passed I decided to leave everyone behind and go for the long-awaited swim in the sea. It was great. Worth it? Definitely not, but still I tried convincing myself that it was great.

When I returned to the gang, N. & Alex seemed eager to share with me the latest incident of the day.

Iliana had suddenly felt the need to pooh (after she had eaten two dozens of grapes, Mistake No 4) and thought to share it with the other 1000 people on the beach by shouting out: I HAVE KAKA!!!!! A painful realization: We had forgotten THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL: the potty.

-SO? what did you do??? I was smiling….Finally, something that happened without my presence.

– She shitted in a plastic bag.

– Oh great! still smiling

– And while we were praising ourselves that we had brilliantly mastered the crisis, wiped her clean and threw away the only plastic bag we had, she shouted: I HAVE MORE!!!

– hahahahahahaha (ironic, right)

– And then we took the huge bag of chips (crisps if you are British) we had just licked clean and let her finish in there.

– Honey, I am proud of you!

Until next time

love

tatu

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??

20130603-183438.jpg

my loves, my life

3 chauvinists and 2 parenting fails

11 Apr

I knew my day was off to a bad start when I spent the first half hour of the very early morning in the bathroom trying every parenting technique in the book to convince Yiannis to pee in the cup for his annual blood and urine examination. I think the I-will-slap-the-pee-out-of-you-if-I-have-to did the trick.

I then dragged his very hungry and thirsty little ass to the Social Security Organization to renew our family health book only to encounter Mr Chauvinist no 1 treating me as an imbecile for not understanding the 156th change in the renewal procedures.

After making us wait painfully for 25 minutes for no reason whatsoever, he practically threw the health-book in my face and told me that I had insufficient documents. It was 08:30 in the morning and I was already starting to lose my patience. I left frustrated and angry and remembered why I despise going to all Greek public social services.

While driving to the clinic for Yiannis’s  blood test Mr too-old-to-drive-let-alone-have-a-drivers-licence Chauvinist No 2 forced me to reverse my car when he misjudged the distance between our two cars and almost crashed into mine. He then slowly passed my car, lowered his window and started swearing at me for no apparent reason. Poor Yiannis heard more swear words in the one sentence the grandpa articulated than he has heard in his entire life.

The first tears of the day were shed.

A few minutes later I pulled myself together, entered the clinic with Yiannis, handed over the pee in the cup only to be told that he actually didn’t need a urine test. G R E A T. The whole parenting fail had been for nothing.

We returned home to cranky Iliana who was trying to deal with the lack of sleep and too much TV (fatal combination – I can reassure you). After inhaling a toast in milliseconds (have I ever told you I use food as comfort??) I played the referee between the siblings who were out to get one another and mainly THEIR MOM (or so I thought).

I tried to reason with them, it didn’t work. I tried yelling, it didn’t work either (it never does). I tried threatening that I would not take them with me to the local farmers market, it didn’t work either. In my last attempt to get their attention I turned into Cruella and started hitting the trash bin. Not only did it not work, I now have a semi broken trash bin.

We avoided each other for half an hour. It worked. I apologized and we hugged and then I tried explaining to them that I am not having one of the best days and they kept on saying: mama, es max nix! Oh but it did. I felt awful. I felt guilty. I decided to move on. I didn’t have the time or energy for self loathing. I left the house with the kids and went fruit and vegetable shopping.

In the late afternoon I kissed my kids goodbye, left them with my mother in law and headed to Yiannis’s school for a parent teacher meeting. I was tired and sad but I was thankful that I didn’t have to deal with bedtime as I was confident that I would commit the 3rd parenting fail of the day.

3 Minutes later I was pulled over by the traffic police.

‘License, registration & insurance’ were the orders of Mr Chauvinist no 3 (and worst of all). S H I T. The insurance paperwork had failed to reach our address on time (no surprise at all if one thinks of the lack of Greek postal efficiency) and although properly insured I was lacking the evidence to prove it. I tried explaining Mr Scumbag that and showed him the email of the insurance. Not only did I fail to convince him of my innocence I was ordered out of my car and threatened to be ripped off my licence plate & driver’s license should I not comply.

I approached cop no2, handed over my papers and tried hard NOT to completely lose the tiny amount of patience I had left. I was given 2 tickets. One was for 10 EURO for not carrying the insurance papers and the other one was for 500 EUROS for the lack of proving I do have an insurance. You see we still live in the Stone Age where police cars are NOT online with the system to double-check  the validity of the insurance. I now have to go to the post office, pay the 10 EURO, go to the police headquarters to prove the validity of the insurance and erase the 500 EURO ticket. WHAT the fuck FOR?

I love my country but not on days like this.

Until next time

love,

tatu

chauvinists

tension, tension and some more tension

27 Mar

What I need is patience, patience and a LOT MORE patience.

The situation is like this:

The kids are still sick (I kind of regret the thought I had two weeks ago that this winter has been easy on us in terms of sickness). Yiannis has been sick and OFF SCHOOL (the latter being the hardest) for the last two weeks, Iliana followed a week later. N. felt off a couple of days ago and guess who got the fucking flu now??? YEAP, you guessed it. No wonder.

They still haven’t found what the hell is wrong with my mom (she got admitted to the hospital a week ago). In the meantime she feels like shit, is horribly bored and needs to feel pampered and well taken care of.  After all she has done for us the least we can do is take care of her.

As I returned yesterday from yet another day spent in the hospital (my mother in law has spent more time with the kids during this last week than she has in the last 6 months-bless her), I was hallucinating due to sleep deprivation thinking of Michael Keaton in this movie he did ages ago, Multiplicity. It’s a comedy about a man who never has enough time for the things he wants to do and is offered the opportunity to have himself duplicated.

multiplicity

Between you and me the movie is pretty lame, but the idea of being able to duplicate myself seems very appealing to me at the moment.  That is the magic power I would choose to have right now.  No, I am not full of myself but for the purpose of keeping it together I would love to be able to have 5 versions of T at the moment.

One for the kids, one for N., one for my mom, one for the housework & one for my sister, who is attending to her 3 kids, taking care of our dad & pampering our sick 91-year-old Omi (oh yes, I forgot to mention, that she got the evil flu my kids seem overzealous to spread around) and is not far away from a nervous breakdown herself.

Thank you all for your very sweet thoughts, prayers and kind words. Thank you for all the great ideas to let some steam off (even if it means creating a calmer yet FATTER version of myself).

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

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