I have just emerged from a fog. This fog set in just after Christmas. It began with a crap January. I was 6 months pregnant and faced an unexpected challenge. It had lingering effects. I lost friends, tested others allegiances and basically sucked.
Miss E was only 10 months and she’d lost her ‘baby of the family’ status already. I was exhausted incubating another human. I struggled with feelings of guilt, which still remain.
Then Mr A arrived. It’s hard to even think about it or remember it, but I spent 12 weeks sleeping in a chair. I did not sleep in my bed for 3 months. Thankfully, we had bought a super comfortable rocker.
Miss E went through a stage where she woke up at 1am for at least 3 hours. Controlled crying wasn’t an option…. She was more stubborn than us and could cry it out for 4 hours.
|Butter wouldn’t melt…..
Dave went to Thailand for work, leaving me with 3 kids (4, 13 months and 4 weeks). I survived, by hibernating. Sleeping whilst standing.
We never complained, because we had been through this before, we knew the day would come where it would all fall into place. We KNEW we’d be okay. It would just take time. I recall talking to my sister saying, I know I’ll get through it, but fuck a duck, this is tougher than I’d ever imagined.
But now….. I AM BACK!!!
Just before the summer holidays, everything fell back into place. In fact, to be fair, the fog lifting coincided with my niece visiting from Australia.
Our trip to Italy was amazing, and the things we achieved as a family were amazing. It really gave us some great ideas for our future holidays.
I cannot be happier. I have always sung the praises of Holland and the work/life balance, but it is really paying off for us now. Mr A is at an age where I can leave him with the au pair which frees up time for me to go to the gym 3 mornings a week. I also go to bootcamp 2 nights a week (at 830p, way past my bed time), with my neighbour. We have a good laugh.
I have volunteered to be a ‘Class Parent’, which is basically a liaison between the teacher and the parents. I’ve overcome my nervousness about speaking Dutch and give it a red hot go and if I can’t, I just revert to English. I’ve made a bunch of friends since doing so – also discovered at least 1/3 of the class has an native English speaking parent.
The work/life balance is such that Dave did the parent/teacher interview himself (I had a dinner), and he’s able to volunteer to accompany the class to their excursion to the library. Don’t get me wrong, he works hard – really hard, but it’s not about hours in the office. He’s able to leave home around 8 and cycle into work and be home before bath time at 630p. Once a week he can surprise us and be home at 530pm
We are able to go out as a couple now. And this week we went to see a band in Haarlem and despite being twice as old as any one else in attendance, I felt amazing. We had such an awesome time. It helps that they start on time and finish on time (915p! – we had time for a fancy glass of red at the classy establishment in town).
|I can even wrangle 3 kids in a cafe 😉
I love living here. I love cycling into town and being able to go out for dinner and only have the sitter for 2.5 hours because we are so close. We have a choice of a thousand restaurants and babysitters do NOT cost $25 an hour.
Mr A is deadset the sweetest thing, sleeping 13 hours a night with a little feed here and there. Miss E still likes to mix it up – waking between 5am and 630am.
You’ll recognise me if you ever pass by me on the street. I’ll be the one with a big wide smile, forever grateful for everything we’ve got (mostly grateful NOT to be pregnant).