BELGIUM:  The Balancing Act

BELGIUM: The Balancing Act

balancing actI suppose it is inevitable. After all, people are what they are, they can’t change themselves. And although curiosity was apparently the mastermind behind the murder of someone’s cat, there are many curious people out there.

And curious people ask questions.

Sometimes stupid questions, sometimes profound questions, sometime questions which aren’t really questions but more a judgement on one of your actions and/or beliefs.

And sometimes people ask questions on matters which are none of their damn business.

One of those questions is the oft asked : “When are you having another?” or – since I have two girls: “When are you going to have a boy?”.

The answer usually runs along the lines of : “Oh not just yet! I have enough on my plate with just these two!” or “A boy? With these two… (at which I point at my girls doing whatever they are doing) the poor thing would just get traumatized.”

But I rarely tell the truth: No, never. No we are not trying for another baby. No we are not planning to “gift” our girls with a baby brother.

Perhaps it is due to the fact that I had my two girls in such a short space of time (When n°2 was born n°1 was a mere 16 months old) but I am most definitely done having children.

There are many reasons, finances being but one of them. No, we are not in financial trouble, but face it: raising a child is wickedly expensive. For the past three years we’ve spent a small fortune on day care and let’s not even talk about the price of diapers shall we… Had I been better informed I might seriously have considered buying stock options in Pampers or Huggies. With both kids in school we get a bit of financial breathing space, we can afford to finish our home.

But the main reason is balance.

When you are a mother, whether you have a job or are a stay at home mom, life is nothing less than a big balancing act on a loose rope above a pit filled with hungry tigers and fire.

Our balance is OK, right now. We are not in immediate danger of falling off the rope. Both kids attend school full-time, they are too young to have ‘real’ hobbies yet so no rush, rush, rush on Saturday morning – as yet (Please note: I do not count running after each other screaming bloody murder as a hobby).

Because of their relative closeness in age their feeding schedules (if I may be so blunt) are relatively in sync, meaning I don’t have to provide three or four individual breakfasts, lunches and dinners anymore each day. Lately they’ve started playing proper games together, in which each is an equal player and which do not require constant parental interference, just distant supervision.

We can start going on proper outings without dragging half the nursery and a whole plethora of baby food along, just a change of clothes, some cookies and a water bottle will get us through.

So in short: after four years of clutching desperately at that rope we’ve arrived at a spot where we can breathe freely, where we can relax for just a second, where there is time to be “us” and “just me” again.

The realization that we were as we should be came when we gave away the double stroller without an inch of pain or regret. Just happiness that there would finally be some more room in the garage.

Our family has found its balance and it feels wonderful.

When did you realize your family was as it should be?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in Belgium and mother of just two…Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes

Born in Belgium on the fourth of July in a time before the invention of the smart phone Tinne is a working mother of two adorably mischievous little girls, the wife of her high school sweetheart and the owner of a black cat called Atilla. Since she likes to cook her blog is mainly devoted to food and because she is Belgian she has an absurd sense of humour and is frequently snarky. When she is not devoting all her attention to the internet, she likes to read, write and eat chocolate. Her greatest nemesis is laundry.

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BRAZIL:  1, 2, 3…?

BRAZIL: 1, 2, 3…?

1,2,3It is no secret to those who know me that marrying and having kids wasn’t exactly part of my life plan. I thought someday I might want to, but up to my 24th year of age – which is when I got pregnant with our first child – the feeling hadn’t come up. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to marry and have a bunch of kids from the time he was a teenager!

After a lot of inner work and, above all, after seeing our son’s face for the first time, I fell in love with motherhood. The issue then became: how many children would we actually have? What exactly would be the average between my hesitance and my husband’s “as-many-as-I-can-convince-her-to”?

The answer was part instinct, part serendipity. As a wedding gift, one of my husband’s college professors had a painting made especially for us. The painter did not know us, so (as the story goes) the professor described us as two young, nature-loving, alternative creatures. The piece that resulted – which now hangs right here behind me – portrays a solemn-looking, round-faced couple that is so close they could be Siamese twins. The left hand of each rests on the other’s heart. The girl wears a flower printed dress, has flowers in her hair and a single flower in her hand. The guy wears a suit of sorts. On the side of each of their shoulders is a green, succulent plant, and above each plant is an angel resting on what seems like a marble pillar, one blue, one yellow. Above the couple is a yellow, flying fish.

I was five months pregnant then and had just found out the baby was a boy. The name we chose means “he who tills the earth”. I don’t know who said it first, but we started joking that the blue angel was our boy, the yellow angel was our future second child (a daughter whose name would mean “lady of the waters” in an Indigenous language) and the flying fish would be our youngest (a little boy whose name – a reference to a famous Greek character – would mean “he who balances himself in the air”).

Coincidence or not, here we are almost nine years later with the three of them, born in that order and aged nearly nine, two and a half, and five months. And with the added bonus that both our lady of the waters and our little “flying fish” were born in our tub, to the sign of Pisces!

Having gone through a particularly difficult pregnancy this last time, I constantly tried to convince my husband to undergo a vasectomy. He, however, did not even want to hear about it (like many men I know, he has a huge needle phobia!).

Later, while I was in labor, he said he would do it (talk about good timing!). At that moment I was ecstatic, yet after the baby was born I began to question myself about our decision. I look at that cute little baby (it doesn’t help that he is so calm and sleeps so well!!) and think wistfully, “Oh my, this is the last baby in the house until we have grandkids!” Or now, as the time approaches to start introducing food in addition to nursing, “This is the last time I will be able to smell this pure breast milk breath all the time!” And so on…

My husband of course took advantage of all this and decided to postpone the vasectomy for another two years until I am absolutely sure.

When I stop to really ponder, three seems like a perfect number considering our life style and the way we raise our kids. For instance, we enjoy working from home as much as possible and choose to rely on as little outer help as possible; all of this gets harder with more kids.
Of course, if we “accidentally” did have more children we would find a way. On the other hand, if my husband did undergo a vasectomy and then we later changed our mind, we could adopt (which was a possibility we had considered before having our third child).

Do I really want more kids or am I just attached to this cute baby phase? The truth is, I don’t really know the answer right now! Let’s see what the future has in store…
And you, how many kids do you have? Was it a planned number or did it just happen? How did you decide? Please share your story!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our enviro-mama and mother of three in Brazil, EcoZiva.

The photograph used in this post is of the referenced painting commissioned for the author and her husband. It was submitted by the author.

Ecoziva (Brazil)

Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog. Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.

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