5.5.16

Guilty pleasures

Throughout our lives, we engage in random activities in private - those which we are ashamed of, which we wouldn't admit even to our closest friend.

Well, I am no different.

When I was young, in my birthday parties, we would make swim suit contests, dance contests, mimic REALLY BAD TV shows (like "Big Show Sic", the Portuguese will know this one) and so on. Me and my girlfriends would practice our dance moves for hours! Spice Girls's songs, of course. And we loved it!

Also when I was young, I remember sitting in front of the TV, watching VH1, MTV, Sic Radical (a Portuguese channel) and the like and taking notes of the songs I liked. I also remember watching Disney Channel for hours. No, I wasn't that young - these channels arrived when I was already 14 or so, I guess. The truth is I wasn't that ashamed of it. Well, I guess I am now. What a waste of time!

When I was in high school, me and a group of others in my class pretended we were doing something in gym class, when we were actually just chilling outside. We would only get up when the physical education teacher would come outside. And this was not because I didn't like the class or the teacher. I just hated the way they taught us sports! I also hated doing it in front of others... Because outside school, I was swimming 2 km every day and so on, I just didn't bother to do anything in class. Actually not in any class except Math and occasionally in other classes where the teacher was actually motivating.

Here is a proof: I am a marine biologist, I love it and I can't imagine myself doing anything else; but if you look at my biology grades... Actually, just don't. They were ok, but that's it, just ok. My biology teachers were almost always SO BORING! And the way they were teaching it was even worse. But well, I could make a post just about how bad the standard educational system is, but not in this one. I guess my guilty pleasure here was not making an effort to be better. I don't regret it though. Why would I?

In the University, I guess I was slightly unsocial. Not because I didn't want to go out, but because it's not easy to find motivating people. I hate to waste time with people that just don't have it. Anyway, my guilty pleasure here was spending HOURS watching movies and rating them. I could spend all day doing it and I loved it. The truth is I miss it terribly!

As I grew older, I had less time to watch movies, and fell into the trap: the TV series trap! Marathons of them! My excuse? It was easy to follow and it didn't require much of my time and attention: the characters are the same throughout, I already know the plot, etc. It was an "easy break" for my brain.

Now, with a baby, a full-time job and a man who loves to talk, my guilty pleasure is coming home from work, putting both baby and boyfriend to sleep and watching anything that requires ZERO brain activity - and this can be anything from "Grey's Anatomy" to "Game of Thrones" (yes, GoT fans, it's as bad!).

Sometimes, I even put a mask on my face (one that was given to me by the store where I buy shampoo and the like... Those that know me also know I would never buy these things myself) just because I CAN do it! Just to feel myself again, instead of just a mom, girlfriend, or housewife. The truth is: the baby wakes up sometime between my alone rituals to eat and the mask stays on my face for like 30 min or more instead of just 5 or 10 min like the package says... But who's counting?

And there you have it - my list of guilty pleasures!

16.4.16

Daddy's girl

Breastfeeding is magical!

I won't deny, I do believe there is an extra bond when the mom is able to breastfeed her baby. And please, before you get offended, hear me out. I know there are women who cannot breastfeed, who choose to not breastfeed, etc. I am not saying that that is wrong. Everyone should be able to choose. I chose to breastfeed and I have never regretted it (ok, sometimes I do, but just for mere miliseconds).

There are these moments when my baby is screaming with tears in her eyes and I take her to my breasts and she instantly calms down.
Or when she looks right into my eyes and I know she knows I am here for her.
Or when she smiles when she sees me taking my shirt off to feed her.
I wouldn't change these moments for anything else in the world. They are magical. They take me to a better place, just me and my baby girl. And the thought of knowing they will end one day scares me deeply. I know they will and that is why I want to cherish them as much as I can while I can.

...

While pregnant, I got a job I could not refuse.

And I didn't. Luckily, Danish parents get 52 weeks off, which they can split anyway they please. This is amazing, right? Right. So, for us, this meant that Michael would leave his job and he would take care of our baby girl.

I went back to work almost 2 months ago. It took a while for us 3 to get used to the new routines (not that there were any before...). Ok, it took a while for us to get used to the new standard: mom goes to work, daddy stays home, Lilli gets fed from a bottle more often.

These changes made us get mad at each other for no reason. They also meant we would have endless crying and nights spent awake, but we got over it and daddy and baby girl are having fun together. I miss them terribly, but I manage. (I guess living oversees for such a long time helps knowing some tricks on how to cope with missing someone, even though nothing could have ever prepared me to missing my baby girl).

So now it is mostly daddy putting baby to sleep. I try and try, but daddy manages ALMOST EVERY TIME! I get jealous, I am not going to lie. But you know what? It's ok. I know that they are creating their own special moments, just like me when I breastfeed her, and that's ok. They deserve that time alone, even if it is hard at times.

All this also means I have to pump milk several times a day at work (more on this on another post), and thinking how much of her development I am missing... But no worries, I know she is in the best care possible.

And I know all this because nothing can make daddy smile the way our baby girl can. They also stare at each other's eyes, they also cry of tiredness, they also sink into deep relaxation when they smell each other, and that's ok. She daddy's girl.

She knows I am here, she is mine and that I am the one with the boobs, but SHE IS DADDY'S GIRL.

13.3.16

Non-stop moving

I am sure this post will make some people mad or at least jealous. I am also almost sure that this is not common, especially in such a short time.

My baby girl is only 4 months and has been traveling quite a lot.

She has been in:
- 12 flights,
- 10 cities
- 6 countries,
- and 2 continents.

And this is without counting the trips we did while she was literally a part of me.

She has been eating:
- in trains,
- in planes,
- in buses,
- in ferries,
- at airport security,
- outside a graveyard,
- coffee shops,
- restaurants,
- bars,
- conference halls,
- etc...

She has been sleeping in her pram/buggy for more than a month now.

She has been taking baths in bathroom sinks, hotel bathtubs, kitchen sinks or no baths at all when lacking for a better option. Needless to say that diaper changing has been quite the adventure, one may say.

My baby girl has been through a lot and has been managing quite ok. Even when we had to move to a different country.

And yes, she's only 4 months.

And even with jet-lag, we keep exploring wherever we are. Under sun and under rain.

Oh yes, and we are flying again in a week.

Who's jealous now?

No, this post is not to make anyone jealous. It actually has the sole purpose of inspiring parents around the world to not be afraid to travel. Yes, maybe we have been lucky with our little one, but you'll never know if you don't try, right? There have been some hard times, but we just take a deep breath and go on.

"Don't ever hesitate to pack and go."

So, keep moving, folks!

14.2.16

Single-handed job

Hello fellow readers (anyone?),

I write to you from a different country. Yes, we moved, but more of that in another post. Today, I am here to talk about how my multitasking skills have improved in the last 4 months.

If you want to improve your multitasking skills, follow these steps:
1. Make a baby. If you need advice on how to make a baby, please, send me an e-mail and I will make a drawing for you. If you need advice on how to make a non-crying baby, give up right now. That is not a baby! That does not exist in the real world;
2. Wait roughly 9 months. Yes, 9 months is worth it, trust me;
3. If you're a woman, then go ahead and push him/her out of you. If you're a man, wait until the biological/surrogate mother does that extremely easy job (NOT) for you. And no, it's not men's fault biology works the way it works, so just deal with it, ladies;
4. Hold baby in one arm et voilà!!! If you have made more than one baby, you're basically screwed, unless you're Chuck Norris, then you will be just fine!

Easy, right?

I can do almost everything while holding a baby in one arm. Needless to say, that arm is usually the left (I am right-handed), and is probably stronger than the right one by now... But who cares?

3.1.16

I left my baby

Last week I left my baby...

Hold your judgmental thoughts! Me and my man decided to leave our baby girl with her aunt for 3.5 h.

And why, do you ask?

Because STAR WARS, that's why!!! And it was worth it!

I mean, I felt a mix of things. On one side, the movie was great. It was beyond my expectations.

But even with
  • the right amount of action,
  • a good dose of drama,
  • great photography
  • respectful acting,
  • enough entertainment,
  • not diverging from original story,
  • etc.,
  • etc.,
  • etc.

I still felt that those 3 h and 30 min were the longest of my life. It was the first time I left my baby with someone else. It felt like something was physically missing from me. I am not kidding! After all, she has been a part of me for almost a year now and that sure leaves an impact.

I also felt a little guilty because I did not leave my baby to go exercise, to go to a doctor's appointment, or to do something extremely important for me or for her. No, I left her to go and have something for my own pleasure. Selfish? Yes, maybe, but I deserve it!

I do not want to stop doing things I love just because I am a mom now. Being a mom is not a condition. It's not a burden. It does not mean we have to stop living. Being a mom is extending your love and your heart to unimaginary proportions!

We carried our babies inside us and it sure felt as long as the wait for the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"; we gathered the strength to push them out of us with excruciating pain (or not so much for the lucky ones); we took a long healing time; we feed them and nurse them 24/7; and we are eternally devoted to them. She is my everything and, as Michael's nephew calls her, she is lille Fia. She is in fact a little version of myself and Michael. So yes, we deserve a few hours for pure and simple self-time.

So, please, mommies of the world, go and have some fun! And yes, daddies, you deserve it as much!

(P.S.: Sure, non parents of the world will be like "3 h and 30 min? That's nothing!" Well, to you I say: "May the force be with you for you have no clue what you are saying.")

18.12.15

Mom's body

This is an issue that has crossed the mind of every woman, regardless of whether she wants to become a mom or not.

I was never much worried about acquiring a mom's body postpartum, mainly because I did not want to be a mom until perhaps a year ago. This may sound sad, but it is true.

Women have been looking at the mirror for a long time. In fact, most of the time, women seek that perfect look to prove that they are better mates than other women, while making them jealous. In the wild, we often see this type of mating behaviour in males, not females. So why do human females use their bodies and appearance to attract males and not the other way around?

The answer relies in the history of human behaviour. Since the early signs of society, women were associated with weakness. However, thousands of years later, I would expect that evolution would have taken care of this irrational mindset. But no, our society still keeps objectifying women's bodies as they please and we pay for it.

Becoming a mother (or some form of it) is almost as old as life itself. Being a human mom is as old as being human. Worrying about body image is as old as sexual behaviour, but using women's bodies to sell clothes, perfumes, cars, tobacco, and so on is as old as marketing (a.k.a. yesterday)! It is wrong and should not happen.

I am not saying it is wrong to want to feel beautiful and sexy. This is normal as our instincts tell us that better looking mates will provide better (healthier, more resilient, etc.) offspring. What's wrong is using bodies to sell stuff. That is wrong! So ladies, whether you are a mom, grandma, aunt, single, divorced or widow, your body is yours and does not belong to anyone else! Let them criticise as much as they want. Only you should have the power to change the way you look.



So yes, even I thought about my body post-birth. Yes, I also worried that I would never look in the mirror the same way. And you know what? I was damn right!

It is ok to have boobs of different size - especially when you just breastfed from your smaller one (yes, we all have different sized-boobs).
It is ok to have stretch marks.
It is ok to not loose all the weight in the start.
All these marks represent the struggles your body has been through. Pretty much like scars, but scars marking a beautiful event in your life - becoming a mother.

So yes, I have a mom's body. But guess what? I am a mom and I have a body, so yes, I have a mom's body and I am pretty damn proud of it!

19.11.15

Open letter to my neighbours (boob talk)

Dear neighbours,

This open letter aims at explaining the reasons behind why I am regularly walking around topless. There have been countless moments where you found yourself looking through your window - maybe having a cup of coffee - and then, suddenly, there I was with my boobs free from (almost) all their worries.

I understand it may be uncomfortable for you; however, I will never apologise for it. Here are the reasons why I will not apologise for my toplessness (and prepare yourself for some more awkward boob talk):
  1. Try to image sore nipples, swollen breasts, and hot chest. It hurts to the point that no piece of fabric (bra, t-shirt, shirt, whatever) is welcome. Thus, walking around with my boobs out feels just like heaven!
  2. When my baby is hungry, SHE IS HUNGRY! Again, any amount of fabric on top will just slow things down and make her mad. You don't want her to get mad and cry, do you? (Even though it is also healthy if she cries a little and learns that life does not always go as planned...)
  3. I am home and I do whatever I want at home. Enough said!
  4. (Warning: lame excuse) I have to be honest: I do not have any breastfeeding-friendly clothes, therefore, I mainly use loose t-shirts, which, again, make it harder for me to undress fast enough to feed my daughter.
  5. Hey, it's just boobs, ok? It is not my fault that society turned them into sexualised objects. Yes, that's right! Their original purpose is actually something else... Guess what: breastfeeding!
  6. You are not alone in this journey. I have had to take my milk machines out in front of friends, at the airport, cafés, restaurants, etc. And she is only one month old!
So no, I am definitely not going to apologise for it. As much as it may be weird for you to see me topless on a regular basis, there is nothing I can do for you. However, the good news (for you) are that winter is coming, therefore my toplessness-time will be drastically reduced, since I am starting to feel cold when I free my milk-producing-gadgets.

#freethenipple