My Shirts Don’t Fit, And That Makes Me Sad.

Stolen from google images <3

Stolen from google images ❤

For the first time today I put on some of my “loose-fit,” pre-pregnancy clothing and realized that it 1) is no longer to loose, and 2) definitely no longer fits. All of my shirts, sweaters, pullovers, and jackets come to somewhere around my bellybutton line. I was very sad about this fact, because up until now I have been able to stay in a few pieces of my “normal” clothing, and thus retain some sort of fabricated (haha!) connection to my pre-pregnancy self .  Today’s failure-to-fit only added to my realization that I have become a bipedal uterus. It’s days like these that I feel as if my only purpose in life is to eat and grow a baby.

On the other hand…this also means I get to go shopping for more maternity clothing! Yay! While maternity fashion is not the most varied or youthful (think solids and thin horizontal stripes on everything), I have managed to find a little bit of hope around the internet. Pinterest has some amazing suggestions for maternity fashion, including individual pieces and full outfit designs. One of the trends I’ve seen that I have fallen in love with is the slender belt fastened over the bump. It makes the bump stand out more, and it adds a bit of something to the otherwise bland repertoire that is maternity clothing. Sadly, this trend does not seem popular here in Germany, as most people laugh when they see my belted bump. But I will not give in!

Is clothing really that important, in the grand scheme of things? No. But being pregnant can be a very real kick to the self-esteem, and being able to find nice, fashionable clothing while pregnant helps with the serious decline of a lady’s self-image. During pregnancy the body goes through so many changes, and it really helps to have something about (or on) your body that isn’t totally new and alien. Still being able to find cute clothing and styles is one of those things.

My muscles ache from being pulled in all directions at once, my joints hurt, my feet are swellings, and I can only sleep for a few hours at a time before my back kills me or the baby moves around so much that I can’t sleep. But at least, AT LEAST…I can go and buy some new shirts that don’t make me look as frumpy and worn out as I feel. It’s a small victory, but and important one.

PS: I know that the bigger I get, the bigger the baby gets, which of course makes me happy. Of course! Of course! It means he’s healthy and developing well, and as a mother this makes me happier than a bird with a french fry. But let me tell you, saying “Oh, you’re getting so big! The baby must be doing really well!” does nothing for my bruised self-esteem, as I progressively become more and more whale-like in stature. I am not the type of person to be simply happy or sad about a thing. I am both at the same time, and this is what makes me human. So there.

Advertisements

What IS The Modern Day Mother? A Bit Of A Rant.

Before I explore the topic of this post, I would like to comment on the fact that I haven’t written very much so far. I don’t actually have anything to say about this fact other than “I know,” and “Maybe I’ll try harder from now on, maybe.” While I enjoy writing, it’s actually fairly stressful for me. Every time I sit down to write I recall this quote by Mark Twain: “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.” I am then frozen by the enormity of the task set before me, and attempt to avoid it by making myself busy with other “important” things, like rechecking Facebook or cleaning out the spam folders in every email account I’ve ever created (even though they clear themselves out at the end of the month). I won’t promise to do better. I just wanted to let you know I know.

Now, on to the actual topic of this post!

I’ve been doing a lot of “research” on parenting and motherhood in the modern age. I use the lower case “m” for modern, because I’m not talking about the actual label for this period of time (what are we at, by now? Post-Modern? Post-Post-Modern?), I just mean “not old, the time that people would generally accept at present-time.” I am particularly concerned with WHAT a mother is, at this point in time, because I am A) Soon to become one, and B) Hold the firm belief that I am utterly incapable of being one. I am sure that every soon-to-be-mother has the “Oh My God” moment where they suddenly realize that they are not made to be a mother and that they have made some kind of terrible mistake and cannot possible be handed the responsibility of not only keeping another human being ALIVE, but raising it in such a way that it becomes a good, appropriate, socialized being. I have read, over and over again, that this is a totally normal reaction that every women goes through, and that parenting comes with time, just as playing the piano or riding a bike does. This, however, does not sway my egocentric self into believing that I am not the exception to this rule, and that somehow I have gotten myself and my poor unborn child into an impossible situation.

Let me take a moment to clarify. I am not saying that I do not want my child, or that I wish I could take it all back.. I am extremely happy right now. What I am saying, essentially, is that I am not sure what kind of mother I will be. I am not the “DIY Mommy,” capable of making napkin rings and tea-cozies from old curtains with the snap of a finger. I am not the “Career Mommy,” balancing home and work life with ease. I am also not “Fitness mommy,” working endlessly to get back to my previous shape, or “Playgroup” mommy, or “Knitting circle mommy” or even “Clears-out-the-dining-room-to-make-more-room-for-toys mommy.” I don’t fit into any of the typical Barbie-name-like Mommy circles. I suppose I am one of the other mommies, the ones who do their best for their children, but never get it quite right. Like the mom who insists she can sew her child’s Halloween costume, but ends up running to the store to buy one the day of Halloween because she never got around to actually doing it. Or the mom who always forgets to pick her kids up from soccer practice. Or maybe I wont even fit into one of these ideally-imperfect motherhood categories and I will simply “be” whatever it is I will be, and my child will simply turn out to be whatever he will be, as well.

But why does it matter? Shouldn’t I just focus on “doing my best” and letting the pieces fall where they may? I believe that is probably the only option, but I am not terribly happy about it. I want to provide the best for my child, as all parents do, but in today’s world it feels like that is an impossible task. And it seems that everything that goes wrong in a child’s life is the mother’s fault. Daily I see and hear criticisms of mothers, things like “If she had gone back to work to make more money, this child wouldn’t be in this situation,” “If she hadn’t been so greedy and had only stayed home with her child, he/she would have turned out better,” “It’s because she pays too much attention to him,” “She doesn’t pay enough attention to him,” “It’s because she hold him/her too much/too little.” And on and on and on. There is so very little support for modern mothers. They are expected to be everything, all at once. To both be devoted to her child, but not TOO devoted. To equally share her time between herself, her children, and her partner. When anything goes wrong with the parents, everybody looks to the mother and criticizes.

This isn’t to say that the father isn’t equally responsible, or equally to blame when a child is misbehaved or when something in the child’s life goes wrong. But, of course, I think it’s unrealistic to say that society treats the mother and the father as equally responsible for the well-being of the child. Modern fathers are expected to participate in their children’s lives, but a father who is rarely home is still much more “acceptable” than a mother who is rarely home. I do believe the tides are changing (finally) with the new trend in stay-at-home-fathers, but there is still a long way to go.

Ok, I would love to wrap this up on a happy note, but I have been writing forever and I’m tired and I want to eat a snack. So, TTFN!

The Family and It’s Pets-Part 1

The Family and It's Pets-Part 1

They claim this thing is a dog, but I have serious doubts as to the validity of this assessment. They have affectionately named the creature “Mo.”

A quick look into it’s behavior and environment: The Mo enjoys laying on furniture and sleeping, eating, getting treats, and taking walks. This is all standard dog-like behavior, except the manner in which he does these activities is strange (even for a dog). The Mo only eats if no one is looking–this means that he will eat from his dish only when he feels he is alone, and he takes all of his treats into an empty room and waits until he is sure no one is looking before eating it. In order to nap he must first gather every pillow in the room and pile them up in one corner of the couch. He then proceeds to sleep directly on top of this pile. It is worth noting that he doesn’t carry the pillows in his mouth, but rather uses his hind legs to KICK the pillows into place. When taking walks he demands to either be in the very FRONT, or the very BACK of the group. He will not suffer himself to walk AMONG his companions, be they man or dog. The only exception is when he is forced to walk in dark areas or at night, at which point he either walks very close to the group, or refuses to walk at all and must be dragged like a limp corpse down the street.

Also, The Mo just doesn’t LOOK like a dog. All of this evidence combined has caused me to come to the conclusion that The Mo is probably NOT a dog, but perhaps some new species of Germanic Rat or other loathsome creature. More observation is needed to truly understand and describe the nature of this “animal.”

Lunch With The Family

As many of you know, I grew up in a fairly small family, and most of the time it was just my grandparents and I at home. We never really had planned “family” meals, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the things I have had to adjust to since coming to Germany has been family lunches and dinners, in a family that is not so compact as the one in which I grew up. To my surprise (and at first, my chagrin) Sunday lunch is routinely a family affair, and rarely numbers less than 9 people at the table (if you don’t count the 3 month old). 

Image

One of the most difficult things about family dinners with this rather large German family is that all of their interactions happen in German, and I don’t speak much German. It’s tedious at times, trying to follow along with the conversation with my limited vocabulary and knowledge of the grammar. For ME, a typical conversation at the table sounds something like this:

Person A: What?

Person B: Blahblahblahblah, you know?

Person A: Yeah, but blahblahblahblah.

Martin: Blahblahblahblah ((laughs at what was apparently a joke)).

Person A and B: ((look angrily at Martin))

Martin’s Mom: Maaaaaaar-tin!

Martin: ((looking at me)) You don’t want to know.

Me: Don’t worry, I have absolutely no idea what is going on. 

 

Sometimes I think I am lucky because my inability to understand means I get to avoid participating in all the drama. But then I realize that not understanding what the drama is ABOUT isn’t the same as being able to avoid it entirely. There is also the fact that, at times, I don’t even realize people are angry or upset, and then I laugh at something, and everyone looks at me like “You have no idea what’s going on, do you?” and I look back at them like “Oops, was that wrong? I have absolutely no idea what is going on.” 

YOU: This sounds exactly like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
ME: Yes, but it’s much better because it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas 2-4 times a month! Yaaaayyyyy!

That isn’t to say that there is ALWAYS drama or uncomfortable moments when the family gets together. I’m sure there are times where everyone gets along and everything goes well and the baby doesn’t start crying and no one makes anyone mad and the children aren’t bored and there is enough of every dish for everyone….but I suspect those days are few and far between. And I have yet to experience one. Here’s hoping for the best next Sunday!

My Million Attempt To Look Interesting On The Internet

Ok, so, here it goes. Another attempt to write about my life in a fun and interesting way, that perhaps other people will enjoy. Or perhaps not, seeing as how I am no social networking goddess and am not good at “getting myself out there.”

I figured I should give it a shot anyways. Here I am, in the tail-end of my 6th month of pregnancy, and I have nothing to show for it. Well, I have a huge bump, and the wiggly-baby-troll who currently lives inside it, but other than THAT…I mean, mom’s are supposed to document their pregnancies, right? It’s not like this happened out of the blue. This isn’t like an episode of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” I’ve KNOWN. I just didn’t talk about it for a long time, and then when I DID talk about it I felt like I had done something WRONG by choosing to propagate the species, because I had done it in a less than typical manner.

However, when I decided to get pregnant I did so with the attitude that I didn’t care what other people thought, and I continue this stance (just choosing to be a little more public about everything now). So, I will blog about my experiences, for the memories and for the vain and desperate hope of “being heard.” But more on the theme of being pregnant and isolated in a non-english speaking country will come, I’m sure. I won’t bother with that now.

Just so you know, if you don’t know me by now (cue music), I am not particularly crafty, nor do I have a keen eye for design or fashion. While this is a blog about pregnancy and eventually motherhood (if I keep writing that long), it most likely will not be the typical mother’s blog full of home-made baby-toy ideas, or the best way to plan a nursery, or offer advice on anything. There is plenty of demand for that sort of thing, I know, and there are plenty of blogs out there to address those needs.  Until I find my niche, I’m afraid this blog is going to be more self-serving than public service. But maybe someone out there will be able to read what I write and think “Oh, at least I’m not alone,” or in the very least “Haha, she’s so weak, I will follow in order to watch her fail!”

Don’t deny that watching other people be not as good as you at something makes you feel better about you being you. Everyone feels like that about something, at some point. It’s ok. We’re all people.