Tag Archives: parenting

about imperfection & new beginnings

20 Jan

 Recently I met up with a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while and she asked me the question I have been asked a few times since the little guy outside joined our family:

‘how do you do it all? 

I thought she meant my latest creation, so in pure excitement I began to blabber about the whole process behind each new recipe post.

‘No, no’  she kindly interrupted me. ‘I mean, the whole thing. The kids, the house, the crafting, the new blog’, she said.

‘Well, its chaotic and some days are really tough, but if you take a look at the great big picture, life is great. Seriously, I can only recommend adding another tiny human to an already messy household’ I replied.

Its like my sister told me when I asked her why she is getting another dog, when she already has one. ‘Since I do everything anyway for Pluto, why not do it for one more?’ And so she got Micky. And after a hell of very difficult first year, they learned to love each other and have become inseparable. Did you see what I just did there? I compared the addition of another tiny little human to the addition of another pet. I know, I know. It is very naive and too simple. But you know what? Simple is good. Simple is sometimes better.

N. & I have been having the same conversation every night for the past 19 months and 3 days. HOW DID WE LIVE WITHOUT PETROS? And honestly, I don’t know. I think back at the very dark period in my life when I first found out I was pregnant again & I try to understand the heartache. Why was I so devastated? So blind? My old self infuriates me. But I am not holding a grudge anymore.

I think the most valuable lesson my little guy outside taught me is to embrace imperfection. I have become softer, calmer and more forgiving. Mainly with myself. And that is a huge thing my friends. HUGE. I don’t drown anymore in guild trips. When I fall, I gather my pieces and get up again. Perhaps stronger than before.

And during this self transformation I decided to share the love I have for food and started my own food blog. And this is an invitation for you my lovelies to get engaged. There is a link on http://www.wonderbitesbytatu.com where you can subscribe and get my recipes per mail, you can like my facebook page, you can follow me on instagram or spread the love and help me build my tribe!

Are you with me?

until next time

love

t

 

this is my truth

18 Nov

I don’t want to make any excuses.

I don’t have time. I am guilty of using this phrase every now and then and although it seems to be most of the time true, it actually isn’t.

Yes, having three kids and a household to take care of doesn’t leave me with a lot of ‘free’ time, but it all comes down to HOW I chose to spend this ‘free’ time. Most of the time you will find me in my kitchen. Sometimes I am too tired to do anything productive which is OK. Ever since the little guy outside made his début I find myself in a constant state of accepting and embracing imperfection.

Talking about imperfection I have decided to embrace my imperfect little belly which depending on the angle of the picture makes me look 3 – 5 month pregnant. I am at my pre-pregnancy weight but my body has changed and I have learned to respond with a smile at innocent little five year olds who ask me WHY I have such a big belly. Instead of badmouthing my body I tell them that I have been lucky enough to grow inside me 3 utterly nauseating at the time wonderful creatures and that I love to eat. 

I still breastfeed my 17 month old blessing of a wonderfully vivid and healthy boy. I officially apologize to any of you I had silently criticized about extensively breastfeeding your toddlers before. I never planned to nurse him that long and although I am in a constant forgetful sleep deprived mode, I am no way near weaning him because the truth is, I still cherish this special bond. So, for all of you who are dying to ask me the same question I have been asked a zillion times in the past six months when will you stop? the answer is whenever I feel ready.

I love making plans. Sure, making plans and actually executing them are two different things but even if the plan doesn’t work out it doesn’t mean it was not worth it in the first place. That being said, the execution of my BIG PLAN to start my own food blog has taken a bit longer than anticipated, not because I didn’t have the time until now it’s because ”life happens while you are busy making other plans”. But I am determined to make it happen, so stay tuned 😀

Last but not least. Appreciate the small things, learn to let go & enjoy life.

Chose to be happy.

until next time

love

t

   

Breastfeeding: a true story

13 Nov

This is by no means a bragging post.

This is simply me, wanting to document the third (and last) journey of mine while I still have the luxury of exclusively breastfeeding the little guy outside.

There are certain things about breastfeeding that no one tells you about.

When you become a mom for the first time, you are immediately flooded with all kinds of insecurities concerning the well-being of your newborn. The weight you are forced to carry for being solely responsible for its survival, weighs heavy on your heart and soul.

Then, your milk comes in. And it hurts LIKE HELL. And you turn into an ugly Dolly Parton version of yourself (I could draw you a picture but I am pretty sure you’d rather not). You begin to wonder:  Is this how it’s supposed to feel? Is this normal? Do I have enough milk? And along with the pain, the hormones and the self-doubt you get an overflow of information (you never asked for in the first place) from relatives and acquaintances trying to impose what THEY think is best for you. And while you are trying to tame the inner voices, a smart-ass, formula bribed, so-called pediatrician pays you your first visit and informs you that your baby is losing weight and that YOU might not have enough milk and that they might need to supplement with formula.

While I experienced all of the above I was one of the lucky ones. I had my sister’s back. She had previously nursed all three of her girls and reassured me that although it sure didn’t feel like it at that point, it would eventually get better & I would even enjoy it.

It took 2 whole months, a different pro-nursing pediatrician and the LLL (La Leche League) support group to make it work, but it did. And after the first very hard couple of months I started seeing the beauty of it.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all moonlight and roses. Here are a few examples of what breastfeeding was/is to me:

  • For the first few months your baby is like your key chain. Glued on to you. Especially if your baby eats irregularly (all three babies suffered from acid reflux which on some days meant that they were on the breast 24/7).
  • You can NOT smoke/drink alcohol/starve as this will affect your milk supply.
  • You might have to say bye-bye to certain foods/drinks which make your baby fussy. Because lets face it, fussy baby=sleepless mommy.
  • Your milk is light=easier digested=frequent night waking.
  • You feel like super woman. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Which brings me to the next point:
  • You become mesmerized by the power of nature.
  • You get sick, baby gets antibodies through your milk, baby doesn’t get sick.
  • You have the power of the tit. If everything else fails, put your baby on the boob and it will immediately calm him down and drowse him off to dreamland.

Last but not least, do what you feel is BEST for YOU. If you feel like nursing is your thing, do it. If you feel that your baby will strive more on formula, do it. And feel damn good about it.

Until next time

love

t

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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

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

little miss sunshine is back!

5 Nov

‘Mom, is Iliana not going to school anymore?’

Ouch.

I dreaded this question ever since I decided to take her out of school. As a a responsible and grown up parent I decided to address the situation when the timing was right. I wasn’t ready for 06:42 in the morning though.

‘Well honey, no. Iliana is not going to school anymore’.

‘But why?’

‘She was miserable. She was being bullied. Remember how you had a hard time at this kindergarten as well?  I usually avoid bringing the bullying incident up but I felt like unless he felt her pain there was no way he would accept her quitting school.

‘Yes, I remember. In that case, you did good.’

I always seem to forget how wise Yiannis can be for his age. If you manage to have the patience to explain EVERYTHING in FINE PRINT to him, 24/7, you are in for a treat. I rarely do have it nowadays, I’m afraid.

So, yes. I did the unthinkable. At least for Greek standards. I decided to keep her home for one more year. At the age of almost 4. And you know what? She is back. Happy, smiling, joyful, positive, full of energy and the life of the party.

I might not have any free time left but I will eventually, and I am in no particular rush at the moment. I am planning on savoring the one on one quality time I have with her.

I am relieved and calm again (most of the time). 

Thank you for your support, your ideas and your comforting words. Thank you Jenny & Matt for pointing out the obvious and proving that at times like these you really have to listen to your instinct and look at the big picture.

until next time, 

love,

tatu

 

you said WHAT?

3 Oct

Do you remember the wise-ass person you were, before you had kids?

No? Good for you. This can only mean two things:

1. You are in complete denial

2. You are in complete denial.

Please repeat after me:

I will never say I will never do that, again. Because truth be told, you will almost certainly will do that at some point or another. Unless you are Heidi Klum or Angelina Jolie with 5 nannies for each child.

Would you like a few examples?

  • I will NEVER use TV as a babysitter. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hysterical, right?
  • I will NEVER lie to my children. Oh honey, go watch some more TV, mommy is still working (excuse me for desperately needing some time to myself in order to vegetate in front of my laptop)
  • I will NEVER yell at my children. Well you already know how that worked out.
  • I will NEVER bribe my children with crap so that I can have a peaceful grocery shopping experience. Lollipops, gummy-bears and kinder chocolate eggs are not considered crap, right??
  • I will NEVER punish my children by taking away privileges which have nothing to do with the incident in the first place. If you hit your sister again, there will be no TV for one week!

Thankfully, after 6 wonderfully challenging years, I now know better. I am no longer ignorant. I don’t pretend that I know everything because I really know nothing. I am trying to raise my children in the best way I can and I make mistakes and screw up more than I care to admit. I have decided though NOT to beat myself about it, I just try to do better next time.

This is the only advice I give to you: Get some decent sleep. 

Until next time

love

tatu

Image

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.

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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.

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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

5 phrases I hate hearing

14 Jul

There is a time and a place for everything but sometimes what the person next to you might say has the power to either MAKE you or BREAK you, especially if you find yourself in a not so happy place.

Here is my top 5 list of things one should avoid saying when confronting me or any other lunatic alike:

  1. THERE IS SO MUCH WORSE OUT THERE. Gee, thank you for pointing this out, as I am a complete self centered idiot that drowns in INSIGNIFICANT SHALLOW PROBLEMS rather than focusing on the good things in my life. I am well aware of the much worse out there and I really DO enjoy my life. However, there are times that even I, with my so called perfect life, get carried away by problems which make me sad or worry. This is not a competition. This is LIFE.
  2. CALM DOWN. Unfortunately I am neither a robot nor a flawless human being. Sometimes I am frustrated and sometimes I need to get it out there. I will calm down eventually but one thing is for sure. Your suggestion to do so doesn’t bring me there faster. A hug or a simple touch is a much better alternative.
  3. I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR KIDS. They are so much fun. This is one of my favorites. Leave your job and your old independent life back, have a kid or two, be a stay at home parent and take care of your kid(s) 24/7 and then come back to me and I will have this talk with you. ONLY then.
  4. I TOLD YOU SO. This is probably the one phrase which triggers the time bomb in me to go ka-boom. I am human. I make mistakes. I learn from my mistakes. End of story.
  5. THIS IS FULL OF CHEMICALS AND SOOOO BAD FOR YOU. Enjoy the simple things in life, right? Unless I feed myself gummy bears for breakfast and chips for lunch everyday please keep the I-care-about-you-so-I-feel-the-urge-to-dictate-what-you-consume comment to yourself. I cook and I eat healthy. Occasionally I eat junk. So the f*ck, what?

Kindly excuse my not so zen like post. I am having one of those days.

until next time

love,

tatu

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