Hi… I’m a mom of two now… And I’d like to share some thoughts with you.
First a few words on pregnancy, but I’ll be short cause what comes after is much better. Obviously, every pregnancy experience is different. For me pregnancy is just no fun, it means 9 months of no appetite; indigestion, fatigue and nausea. Both my pregnancies were exactly the same season – so good news for outfits and familiar timing, for dresses and open shoes from about 30 weeks. Bad news for another sweaty August towards the end, not knowing if you are peeing or sweating or if your water just broke. And you see these proud mothers and their strollers and envy them. Everybody kept saying how good I looked during this pregnancy so OK thanks I only gained 8 kilos but that’s mainly cause I was suffering. Yes, second pregnancy goes by faster but how uncomfortable is it when you want to have your toddler on you, lift her or play on the floor. And please all these websites: who cares if my baby is now the size of an avocado or a lettuce! I also found it weird how some people are super pregnancy friendly and some just don’t realise there’s more to it than a big belly and that you are not able to be 100% fit like others. So please, why aren’t there more reserved parking spots for pregnant women and strollers? Women in government are you reading this? Oh and another good thing is you can blame the farts on your toddler 🙂
A few thoughts on giving birth: just like babies have a deal with Murphy, I tend to believe labor has a deal with Karma. As much as pregnancy is tough on me, giving birth is something my body is very good at (and proof that I have a high pain tolerance); or maybe I am just very lucky – or it’s the compensation of those 9 months. Both times the babies came at week 38, naturally and super fast. Including an easy and fast recovery. Both times we went home within 24 hours and my body was back at its old weight and look. Remember; breastfeeding is very helpful here (faster shrinking of uterus and such). Breastfeeding gives me appetite and cravings and does NOT make me lose weight – fell in that trap the first time. I am also a big fan of Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital and system, the staff and their natural birth room; not so much for the useless accessories or nice curtains but for the time and space for intimacy and privacy before, during and after birth. When Nellie came to meet her baby sister barely an hour after birth, we have experienced the most beautiful moment of our lives. She had brought a gift we had wrapped together and was so sweet meeting her for the first time. The next day when we came home, we had a big balloon and gift for Nellie from Noa. Another amazing moment of true happiness, and the beginning of many more…
The first few days post-partum are very different the second time. There’s less chaos and you are not in shock from becoming a parent for the first time. You kind of know what’s next. The challenge is now to divide your attention between both and it takes time to get used to this new situation. There were three of us and now we are four! Major adaptation, new equilibrium. You thought you were a multitasker with one? Here’s a new challenge! (Guess moms of 3,4 and more kids are laughing out loud now). Do you also feel like your brain is drunk? I’ve heard that’s normal. It’s scary to notice you are not as sharp as you used to right!? Anyways, now it’s all about juggling and making sure you are organised and assisted in the right ways. I’ve learnt that the hard part is not the kids; it’s the logistics around it. Some people are more depending on paid help and some are very hands-on-independent-allrounder moms, it is your job to figure out which kind of mom you become. I tend to believe that the anxiety of failing or the fear of not knowing what to do, can lead to a lack of mommy-confidence when assisted by ‘professionals’. Or let’s put it this way: every time I’ve had to overcome a challenge I thought “I’ll never be able to do this alone” but I of course did. And I came through feeling stronger and more confident. Didn’t you have moments thinking: where is my medal, trophy, street name and then just hugely enjoyed some chocolate or wine as a reward?
The first few weeks with second baby are all about primary needs: eating and sleeping. I was lucky enough to have a mother around who can cook – even though my parents live abroad. I was so excited as I got my appetite back, went out every night for amazing dinners including good wine and with the baby quietly sleeping in her pram. And yes I sometimes dared to order two dishes and I survived the waiter’s judgmental look. Yes the baby blues may occur and you may wish there was a bar around the corner to go in for a glass of white wine and to cry it all out. As much as I am happy with the way society and the medical system guides us through pregnancy and birth, I wonder why there is no moral support system after birth. As a mother you feed and nurse babies, you give yourself fully, body and mind but you also need to be embraced and supported. It gets lonely. You need to take the time to listen to yourself and take a break from it all. So who do you call? Ghostbusters? Dads are great but can they understand you in those hormonal rollercoasters? Your friends? Those without kids: they can try but they can’t truly understand you. Those with kids are probably at other stages in life and only a few remember what you are going through and even less can or have time to provide support. So here again you feel lonely. I am someone who needs to talk, to share and I’ve learnt how and with whom I can do that. Comes with a bunch of disappointments too. Remember that not everybody is able to open up as honestly and some will just lie about sleeping through the night and baby schedules, which creates even more social pressure. My first few weeks of sleep can be resumed in one word: breastsleeping. In general, what worked for me was – just like with my first – to go out as much as possible from day one. The big heat was calming down and we took her with us to the pool, the beach, the park and most of our other habits. What also works out well for me is to be able to still have enough quality and quantity time with my toddler; I pick her up after daycare and we do a daily activity together – just the two of us – enjoying the journey and not only the destination.
A word about the working mom. Yes, some people will take advantage of your absence or weakness during pregnancy, birth and maternity leave. Why isn’t there more universal solidarity between women? We are all the same, we will go through things that men will never ever know, then how come women are so cruel to each other then? But what comes around goes around. Luckily, I know my priorities now and I know what truly matters. That is one of the perks of not being a very young mom. I call this the NO-FO-MO-asset: No Fear Of Missing Out. I feel accomplished: had more than enough time for personal, social and professional achievements. I have worked with my all time favourite artists and toured the world with mister Leonard Cohen. So for now, I am content and devoted to any precious moment with my kids – yes that includes the tough ones. And whoever doesn’t understand or tries to interfere can get lost.
The 5 main differences I noticed between first and second child:
Then you hit some milestones, 3 months, 6 months and so on. As a temporary conclusion I’d like to share the following wisdom I learnt:
Becoming a mom made me the happiest I’ve ever been.
As much as I would love to share photos of my gorgeous two daughters Nellie & Noa that are 2 years apart, I have to respect their daddy’s will to not share anything online. Respecting him and respecting their privacy…
The Norman amazing boutique hotel in my favorite neighborhood right behind Rothschild Boulevard… my advice is to go there for breakfastOnza located in the hippest area in the Jaffa Fleamarket amazing Turkish food and vibe
Orna & Ella perfect for lunch on Shenkin Street
Cafe Bucke perfect for breakfast and lunch, hip people only 🙂
Cafe Noir timeless! go for the chicken shnitzel.
HaSalon just google Eyal Shani. PS ideal for big groups and parties. need to make reservation ahead. this is the only restaurant I shared that is NOT walking distance from the heart of the city.
Nanuchka 100% VEGAN and then you just dance on the bar ok?Abraxas North as Jessica Biel tweeted: best burger ever
America Burgers my personal favorite burgers in town including an amazing vegetarian one!Delicatessen always good for breakfast and brunch and take away food and delicatessenBrasserie another classic of 24/7 amazing French foodManta Ray the only real gourmet food ON THE BEACH including amazing sea food and sea viewThe Old Man & The Sea real Meditteranean atmosphere and food at Jaffa Port
A few side notes:
guestblog by Peter Monbailleu – www.shakalaka.be
Fan for Life
Coming to Tel Aviv always feels like coming home to me, even though I am not Jewish. Originally arriving to the city very hesitantly – like many people, I’m sure – it took just a few hours to turn me into a fan for life. Was it the comfortable climate? Was it the warmth of its people? Was it its glorious food? Make it a combination of all of the above. Either way, since then, I have visited the white city many times. It became one of my getaway cities over time, a place where I can come to hide from the everyday hustle of a promoter’s life, a city that gives me energy and inspiration while at the same time relaxing me more than any other place.
Sharing the city
For my girlfriend and travel companion, it was her first visit to this mostly unknown, hidden treasure. It was fun to share some of my favorite spots and discovering some new ones, because Tel Aviv is a city that is constantly changing while maintaining its vibe.
Tel Aviv is only about an hour away from Jerusalem so a visit to the holy city was inevitable. Our guide Karen was very well informed about all matters from the past and from today. She took us to some unique viewpoints and even into places where you would never come as a regular tourist. Jerusalem has always been a complicated city and it will probably always remain that way. But all its diversity is what makes it what it is today.
When can we go again?
We’re on the plane home now and while at the beginning of the trip there seemed so many days ahead, now it feels like they went by too fast. We’re already looking forward to our next stay and yes, I promise to get in touch with my friends there before landing. Sorry guys.
Thank you Marilyn for the tips. Thank you Melissa for arranging the tour guide. Thank you Iris for breakfast and ever lasting friendship.
Peter Monbailleu – www.shakalaka.be
Guestblog written by Misty Roberts:
“So, about a year ago my life kind of fell apart. I had worked pretty hard to get things to look conventional. You know- own a house, live with someone in a functional relationship, job, flowers in the yard, kitchen by Williams Sonoma. Then a series of unfortunate events occurred. I got really sick. And my relationship fell apart. And I wondered if I was going to be able to pay for my little perfect house. And car. And doctor bills.
You see, my role in life is to be strong. My role is to be the person who has all their shit together. I lead groups of people all over the world, when something goes wrong- they look to me. The one with all the answers. My job hasn’t ever been for everything to be perfect, it’s been to be able to anticipate and fix a problem before anyone else notices. When someone like that has things fall apart, there’s no hiding it. Everyone sees the cracks.
I’ve never felt more weak and broken in my life. And that’s saying something because the path hasn’t been easy. After a few months of wading in the shit, I woke up one morning and said “Ok, right…now to fix it.” I felt a bit stronger physically. Mentally, I was still a wreck. It’s my process in life to just make lists. So, I sat down and made a list.
“Things That Would Make Me Feel Better Right Now”
Do you know how long a list like that can become? I started out easy with things like wine. And new face creams.
Then I got serious. Things like “Sell house I bought for boyfriend and I to build a future in” and “Find a way to become more financially secure so that I never feel this hopeless again.”
And the last thing on that list- “Feel FEARLESS”.
Now, I know it’s not really realistic to say that you will ever feel fearless. But the kind of fear that had crept into my life after the previous few years was starting to consume me. I didn’t leave my little house. I didn’t want to go out in public, I didn’t want to meet new people. I just wanted to hide in my safe place and feel some kind of comfort.
So, I’m going to skip over the months of self help books, therapy, cases of wine, HOURS of conversations with dear friends, hard realizations, new jobs and lonely moments to the end.
Almost a year later, I’ve learned some things. I’ve learned some things about what I didn’t like about me. I learned a lot of things that I love about me that I had forgotten. I’ve remembered that I love traveling to new places. I’ve learned that I love doing things that some people would never think about doing. I’ve learned that after everything I went through- there isn’t much left in this world that scares me …at least to a point that i can’t overcome it. I’ve learned that I missed my friends. I’ve learned that I love making new ones. I’ve learned that people are generally good. I’ve also learned that everyone is flawed in some way and that those cracks let the light in.
So, this year I’ve done things. It’s been the year of adventures. I’ve flown friends to Seattle to see me, I spent 5 days with my oldest friend in the world on a road trip adventure to Marfa, TX to see The Marfa Lights, Prada Marfa and just indulge ourselves in some much needed catching up. I went to Cabo St. Lucas with one of my other oldest friends- rented a car in Mexico and saw the coolness of The Hotel California, ate some of the absolute best food I’ve ever had in my life and spent many hours just sitting around enjoying each others company.
But the thing that I did that I am the most proud of was take a trip by myself. Last year when my life was crumbling down around me, I went to Tel Aviv for work. I wasn’t able to do much because of work but I remember being in awe of how great the people I met were and how beautiful it was. So, wrapping up one project and starting another, I had a week off. I looked at where one ended and the other one started and a map and immediately knew where my destination was meant to be.
Tel Aviv, Israel.
Now, I know that so many people hear Tel Aviv and think…”Israel, oh shit….things are scary there!” We as Americans are very programmed to believe what the mass media tells us (as illustrated by this fantastic election cycle we are in 😉 I’ll be honest, I didn’t look at any news before I went. I thought to myself that if I did, I would change my mind. I did know that last year there were some pretty heavy incidents between the Israelis and Palestinians. But that was about it.
My gut instinct told me to just get by with the help of my friends, in the famous words of the Beatles.
And I did just that. I let the 3 ladies that I had met while I was there working know that I was coming. We didn’t plan really because to be honest, I wanted to trip to just be a go with the flow kind of thing.
I left Boston and flew through London Heathrow, which was a nice break between 2 long flights. I landed in Tel Aviv at around 3PM and made it through customs and immigration in about 20 minutes. They no longer stamp your passport going into Tel Aviv, they give you a little card instead with a car code on it and your photo. Make sure you put that with your passport because you need it on the way out. I met up with the car driver that I had my hotel arrange to come get me. He was wonderful! By the time we got to the hotel, he had offered for him and his wife to take me out for a drink while I was there and given me his cell phone in case I needed anything while I was in Tel Aviv.
I checked into my hotel on Rothschild Boulevard. I had no idea what a cool area Rothschild was! When I looked for a hotel, I wanted something that was near the beach but also near the downtown area. I found this one right in the middle of everything. I had decided to kind of go for it on the trip and booked myself a Penthouse Suite. When I arrived at the hotel, the incredible nice gentleman offered to make me a expresso and then informed me that he was upgrading me to the Rothschild Suite, the nicest room in the hotel. I asked a million questions about the area and found out that there was a great coffee stand directly across the street, a market right around the corner, and an entire area of bars and restaurants about 2 blocks away. After getting checked in, I went up to my Suite. A full wraparound balcony in what was basically a large apartment! With a bottle of champagne waiting for me on ice! I can think of about 10 million hotels in the world that could learn something about hospitality from a place like this.
My first night in Tel Aviv was spent…sleeping. Haha! The Jet Lag kicked in and kicked my ass. I feel asleep around 5PM and woke up at 4AM.
Day 2- I met up at around 9 with my friend Marilyn, who it just so happens lived about a block away from my hotel! She and I caught up over coffee and she gave me the down low on the area. We parted ways and I decided to just start wandering around. I wandered and wandered and wandered. Up and down Rothschild Boulevard to the Habima Theater and all the way to the opposite end. A beautiful street lined with trees and bicyclists. It reminded me so much of Newbury Street in Boston. I stopped in the afternoon and tried Halva ice cream. The best way I can describe it is a pistachio peanut butter brownie 🙂 Of course, I had to grab some more coffee too. Tel Aviv is truly a city that people go outside. All of the cafes and restaurants were packed full of people. The city just really always seems alive. During the day it’s calm but in the evening, it buzzes.
I stopped on my way back from wandering around and taking photos and grabbed some Thai food because why not eat Thai when you are in Israel, hahah! Again the jet lag kicked in I was asleep by 10PM and up again at 4. One of my favorite things about this trip was making Nespresso in my room before the sun came up and sitting on the patio outside and watching the sunrises. I began my days with meditation to the sunrise. I’m not sure if you can get more idyllic than that.
Day 3 started with breakfast with Marilyn and Anat at the Sheraton. Anat was the wonderful woman that I met when I was there for work the year before. We sat drinking coffee and eating from the delicious breakfast spread and gossiping like only women do.
My friend Shiran introduced me to how great Gett Taxi Israel is later that day. It’s basically Uber but quicker! Her and I “uberred” over to Jaffa to walk around the street markets. I’ve never seen such large outdoor markets. So many beautiful things. I wanted to buy everything! But…getting it home would of been the problem. Anything you can imagine there. Furniture, jewelry, antiques, spices, baskets. Shiran and I stopped for lunch at a fabulous restaurant and had some beverage that I still dream about. Seltzer water with mint, honey and lemon. Spent some time wandering around the Jaffa MarketPlace and picked up some handmade soaps at Zielinkski and Rozen that I am still trying to eek out the last of because they smell so incredible. Inside the store they have all the large glass bottle of infusions that they use to make their products. I’m betting if you are there at the right time of day, you can watch them make your bottle.
We headed back to my hotel and parted ways and I decided to walk down towards the beach. The one thing about Tel Aviv- it is HOT AS HELL! My skin has never looked better after spending 5 days there, I think I sweated out every toxin I’ve ever put in my body. I spent the rest of the day walking up and down the beach Boulevard and going in and out of little shops and dipping my toes in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. I found a fantastic restaurant that evening called Manta Ray and had dinner on the ocean front. Sea bass, gnocchi, risotto and a drink called Bitter Passion (which seemed kind of fitting for this trips cause) with red grapefruit, passion flowers and campari. Gett Taxi got my back to the hotel that evening, hahah! I couldn’t have walked a straight line if I tried.
Day 4- Remember that Fearless thing. Well, I took it to the limits on Day 4. So far I really had just been fairly lazy and wandering around in the city. I wanted to really see some stuff! So, I woke up- had some breakfast at my hotel-
and asked Anat if she knew where I could rent a car. Of course- right across from the Sheraton! I Gett Taxi’d over and met up with her. We went to the rental car spot and the because I was with her, they upgraded me to this snazzy White Audi! Vroom, vroom!
I hit the road to the Dead Sea. Driving in Tel Aviv is super easy! Incredibly Americanized. I mean, I drove around Los Angeles for 8 years, Tel Aviv has nothing on that! About an hour, 10 minutes and there I was. Staring at the Dead Sea! Anat had hooked me up with her friend at the Crown Plaza Dead Sea which has a private beach. I checked that out for a bit and decided that I wanted to hit the beach in an area with not quite so many people, I kinda just wanted to have that moment to myself. So, hopped in my car and drove a little ways down from all the hotels and found a beach that had literally 3 other people. I walked out into the water and I can honestly say you will never feel anything as magical as the Dead Sea. I peeled my outterclothes off and walked all the way out. I covered myself in mud and walked back out to let it dry. After about 10 minutes I hopped back in and walked out far enough that I suddenly couldn’t feel the mud anymore. The next thing I knew, I was floating in the Dead Sea. There really isn’t any way to describe this feeling. I spent some time floating then decided it was time to get on the road to Jerusalem. I took a different route than I had taken to get to the Dead Sea…and found myself a tiny bit lost in the Israeli desert. Remember that Fearless thing. It kicked in. Okay, Im lost in the Israeli desert. All the radio stations have switched to Jordan radio and my cell has lots service. Whats the best thing to do when you are lost? Keep going. So, I did. I turned up the Jordan radio station and kicked that Audi into high gear to see how fast I could go since there was no one else on the road. And sped through the Israeli desert at about 110 miles an hour. I’m not sure I will ever be able to describe the feeling of freedom that I had in those moments. I can say that all the moments of the past year kind of just flooded away. It’s the moment that I realised that I really can do just about anything.
I saw camels. Real ones that I thought were fake…until they moved and one nuzzled my neck. Trust me, you don’t want camel snuggles. They are sloppy and smelly. But incredibly funny.
I hit Jerusalem about an hour later and got lost again. Parking near the old city is pretty frustrating but so so worth it. No matter that your religious views are- when you are standing in the old city realizing that this is the oldest that we know. The beginning if you will, it’s pretty heavy. I visited the Western Wailing Wall and the site of the Last Dinner. I spotted a group of kids and one was wearing a KU Jayhawks hat! So…I followed them and their guide around. Haha! Who goes all the way to Jerusalem and runs into some good old Kansas kids- this girl! I took ALL the pictures that I could and bought some Jerusalem pottery to bring home with me as well as some handmade jewelry.
The trip back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem wasn’t quite as uneventful. I got stuck in traffic for a few hours and by the time I was returned the car to the Sheraton, I was really happy to see a Gett Taxi pull up for me. I headed back to my hotel and hit up the market on the corner. Grabbed some hummus and pitas and assorted things…and wine. I enjoyed my last evening on the patio of my stunning hotel drinking and eating and packing.
I called my driver that picked me up at the airport and asked if he was available to drive me back to the airport in the morning. He was and offered to come get me early to have breakfast with him and his wife. What a great offer! So, he picked me up an hour early with his wife in tow and we hit up a spot that was fabulous. I ate the most delicious omelet ever with an array of breads and sauces and Israeli yogourt. Yum. And my last delicious coffee.
The trip out of the airport isn’t quite as quick as the trip in. The security lines are pretty crazy but when you put it in perspective that it is to keep you safe, it makes sense and is a lot more tolerable. Made it to my gate with about 15 minutes before boarding and hopped on my flight to Amman, Jordan to start work again.
All in all- my trip was fantastic in so many ways. I never felt unsafe. The people of Tel Aviv are friendly and most speak English or there is always someone closeby willing to help. It seemed like every person I met in Tel Aviv struck up a conversation about where I was from and the reason for my visit. Jerusalem was a bit more aggressive, if that is the word for it. Not quite as friendly but I was in the biggest tourist spot so that’s to be expected.
I recommended to some friends that were traveling through to spend a few days. They did and I think they fell in love the same way that I did. I learned some things about myself on this trip. And about Israel. And it’s people- all of them. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Meet Marilyn! Marilyn is from my hometown Antwerp but moved to sunny Tel Aviv in 2007, where she works in the music business. This girl even toured with Leonard Cohen, very cool. You can read all about Marilyn’s love for Tel Aviv on her blog Marilyn & Josephine. Here are her highlights!
Born in Antwerp
Profession Concert promoter and freelance producer
Favorite quote “You can become anything you want in life”
“I’ve lived here since …” 2007
“I came here because of …” I didn’t really have one reason and didn’t really plan on moving or staying. I just came for a few months to “check things out” and see if I’d find myself, my job etc here.
“Taty and I know each other from …” Via via via via many ways but mainly via both our dj brothers.
“When family/friends come to visit, I always take them to … first” The beach and the best food spots… and then to a night out in Tel Aviv, 24/7 city.
“If I want to get to know new people, I go to …” Any bar around my corner on Rothschild Boulevard.
“If I want to have an amazing breakfast/lunch/dinner, I go to …” Breakfast: Delicatessen, The Norman, Benedict, Ben Ami, Max Brenner, DaDaDa, Lachmanina. Lunch: Hummus Nahmani, Mezze,Arcaffe, Rothschild12, Cafe Noir, Tachtit, Buddha Burgers, Shishko. Dinner: Cantina, Cafe Europa,Nanuchka, Jaffa Flea Market, Manta Ray, Fortuna del Mar, Abraxas North, Messa, Port Said.
“My morning routine consists of …” Capuccino on the boulevard…
“I like the locals more than Belgians because …” They are always up for a chat, intimate talks with strangers, familiarity and being comfortable.
“I like Belgians more than the locals because …” They have distance and manners.
“If I miss one thing here, it’s … “ My mom’s kitchen and den Delhaize… en rijsttaartjes.
“If there’s one thing that frustrates me here, it’s …” The ignorance of the world. People who’ve never been to Tel Aviv and have the falsest image of this place.
“I get inspired here by …” Anything around me can be a source of inspiration if one is open to see…
“Since I live here, I’ve changed my mind about …” Not that many things…
“If I could go back in time, I would go grab a … with … ” Coffee with Golda Meir – look her up!
“The one thing I’d like to accomplish still, is …” More kids 🙂
Coffee or cocktails? Since i became a mom: coffee
Wine or beer? wine always
Red carpet or red lipstick? carpet
USA or Europe? both
Organic food or fast food? organic cause it’s hip but it’s expensive and fast food is also welcome every once in a while
Movies or musicals? movies
Island life or city life? city life for real life
Spicy or sweet? sweet
Bike or car? bike if possible
In control or out of control? in control is reality
Meat or fish? meat
Christmas or Easter? none of the above
Spanish or Italian? depending for what: food? language? boys?
Early bird or night owl? when you’re a mom: early bird
Chocolate or vanilla? none of the above
Adele or Celine Dion? hmmmm…. celine dion cause HELLO ruined it
Chandler or Joey? ROSS
Cats or dogs? love both but no need to have one of my own
Vacation or staycation? STAYCATION – when you live in a city on the beach with 300 days of blue skies a year its also a vacation
Mountains or ocean? mountains
Chicken or pasta? better together
Scandinavian or Latino? LATINO
Ski or surf? surf
Finding true love or winning the lottery? finding true love
Oscar/Grammy or Nobel Prize? whatever they wanna give me
Instagram or Facebook? Pinterest
Amid the abundance of hummus and pita, notorious nightlife, and booming startup culture, there is a design scene in Tel Aviv that cannot be overlooked. The city—architecturally known to house the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus buildings—is full of creatives who make everything from handcrafted wooden furniture that wouldn’t feel out of place in Brooklyn to modern innovative lighting and traditional ceramic crafts. Neighborhoods like Noga and Florentin are buzzing with art and design galleries, such as the recently opened SAGA, whose space outside the Jaffa Flea Market houses the work of an all-star lineup of young Israeli design talent. Supplement visits to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Bauhaus Center, and Design Museum Holon with stops (or stays) at these 10 local spots, which will satisfy any design lover’s creative eye.
I’ve been wanting to post more about my experiences earlier on at 3, 6 and 9 months but see, my baby girl turned one already. Guess I was too busy discovering and learning all these things that I’m about to share with you. Of course, everybody starts with “I can’t believe it’s already been a year”. I remember the day before she came, the birth and every week and month. And luckily I wrote it all down in her book in case I’d forget any detail. Just like my mom did with me and I am still re-reading it. Weekly since pregnancy. My feelings, her first smile, her weight, every milestone, her feeding and sleeping schedule, when did she turn around, her first solid food, etc. Despite being tired and yearning for full nights sleep, despite some very challenging moments and lonely times, it has been the best year. Nellie has been bringing us so much laughter, joy and happiness and has filled our hearts with a new indescribable and unconditional love.
The first year in 10:
1. “TMI=Too much information” In my previous post* I had already shared breastfeeding mom’s munchies and sleep deprivation. My brain felt like the hard drive of a computer; like it is constantly on red saying “disk almost full”. So much new information to remember. I used to always forget something when leaving the house with the stroller (fresh water, fill diapers, bring other clothes etc). In the end just remember they really need your protection and a lot of love and affection.
2. “Forgiven, forgotten, forbidden” You still haven’t forgiven or forgotten those who came empty handed (food-wise not gift-wise) in those first few weeks nor those who asked you the ‘forbidden’ questions (i.e. “So what do you do all day?” etc)
3. “Flying with baby” When you are going on a plane with the baby: passengers look at you as if you’re going to hijack the plane. If your baby cries during the flight you get two kinds of looks: 1. pity – mostly by parents who’ve been through this many times and/or 2. anger – mostly by men. Can’t blame them, I used to do the same. Only after landing when she was quiet after all they ask her name or give me a smile.
4. “The suppository victory” Every new mom dreads her baby’s first illness. But once it happens, you just erase yourself completely and naturally, you only worry and care for your child. Remember how good it felt when your mom took care of you when you were sick. This is where you bless and praise breastfeeding once again. Another epic moment of baby’s first illness is the suppository. Failing the first suppository action feels worse than failing an exam or your driver’s license. I won’t go into details. But here again, overcoming it makes you gain a lot of Mommy-confidence.
5. “Matching outfits” Who needs style advice, Pinterest or fashion magazines for clothing inspirations? Just match your clothes to the baby’s outfit. Or to the colours of your stroller or Babybjorn.
6. “False needs” Society has come up with false needs and new moms are easy targets. I still get angry because of it. Charging way too much money for classes, workshops or accessories that are completely unnecessary at those ages. Or a mobile in stroller – nature is the most beautiful view; let your child look at the skies, the trees and the birds.
7. “The phone” like you once knew it enters another dimension. While you may have enjoyed phone conversations in the past, this is definitely something that stays in the past. You have no time, no hands and no patience for phone calls. You have better things to do. Oh and did you also curse out loud anyone calling you between 6 and 8 pm?
8. “Knowledge is power, ignorance is loss” Being a mom feels like playing chess: you always have to think and prepare for the next step or more. There are no two days the same, everyday is something new. And if you like routine and have trouble with change, here’s another challenge for you: you barely have time to adjust to the current schedule that you already have to adapt the next. But what helped me through all stages was to be and stay informed, to read and learn about what happens physically and emotionally. Unfortunately too many ignorant people will teach you lessons and too many myths are accepted as facts.
9. “Loneliness” It feels like there is a women-mommy code not to talk about the difficulties ahead during the first year until you bring it up retroactively. You’re lonely and alone when you need to talk: your friends without babies assume you have no more right to complain (I used to think like this too) and your friends with kids have no time. Luckily some friends stick around and some new bonds are being made. I don’t feel as lonely as I used to since Nellie is in my life.
10. “The others” The amount of justifying you have to do towards others. How many times have I had to explain “No, my baby doesn’t take a pacifier. She sucks her thumb and it is fine. She self soothes and uses it when she’s tired or hungry. And no it will not ruin her teeth.” AND we can see her face on photos. And so many more examples I force myself not to share. Not to focus on the negative and bad vibes. Just learn your lesson and move on knowing your truth.
During the first few months “colics” and “teething” are the code word for every cry. And we worry. And yes basically it can only be 4 things: tired, hungry/thirsty, pain, diaper. But I believe in Aletha Solter’s approach. Babies need to cry to let their feelings/nerves/frustrations/anxieties/fears out and we must show them that it is okay to feel strong emotions and that crying is the way to express them. Instead of grabbing for a toy for distraction. How about telling your baby “it is OKAY to cry, I am here for you” instead of rocking and jumping while saying “don’t cry don’t cry”. They need to feel it is okay to cry and that we are here to love, hug and protect them. With time you won’t be scared of tears and cries anymore; you will know how to interpret them and sooth calmly. Babies are the reflections of us, if we keep cool they will stay cool too.
Maybe it’s because I gave birth at a more mature age but this first year I spend it all with my baby. She has rearranged my list of priorities. Luckily I feel I’ve had more than enough time for myself, my work and other achievements and occupations; and I feel more available and devoted to spend most of my time with her “cause I don’t wanna miss a thing”. I’m also blessed to have a few precious people around me to help when work gets crazy (show business).This precious time is unique and we can never get it back. If i leave her for more than 2-3 hours i already miss her like crazy.
That first birthday party is not only a celebration of the baby’s 1st year. It’s also a major milestone for us mothers. We deserve a hug, a pat on a back and seeing our babies growing and glowing is the best reward. Like a graduation from Mommycollege. Being thrown into parenthood was like moving to a new country without knowing the language. You just learn it by practicing and speaking it. And you learn that your baby is there to help you and guide you, if you let her, if you connect to her. Maybe she taught me more than i taught her. To let go and trust her. They know best what they need.
Oh and don’t forget to dance a lot… and sing… and laugh…
*Previous post “Reflections on Motherhood part 1 – the first three months…” Read it here
Mario Troiani is an Italian freelance photographer living in Tel Aviv. Here is a selection of his pictures of the city. On July 15th 2015 Mario will present his latest exhibition “The Sound of Tel Aviv” at the Felicia Blumenthal Music Center (Bialik Street 26).
Photos by Teddy Cohen. Graphic designer from Tel Aviv. Follow his photos on Instagram
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Boogie Boy will perform at the Namal Tel Aviv Hangar 12 on Monday March 30th during the Belgian Culinary festival.
Join us for a celebration of food, beer, music and sport.