Being a mother in Switzerland means doing all, and all means all: working 100 percent, looking after my two boys, taking care of the household, and above all trying to have a relationship with a man.
But let’s not talk about the fourth thing! This is another story. Let’s talk about the three other things which are in total already much too much.
I’m not complaining, not at all, because I wanted it this way. I certainly wanted to be a workingwoman and wanted to have kids. But nobody asked me whether I wanted to clean floors, change beds, wash cloths, fix lights, heating, shower nozzles, toilet boxes and so on and on.
I’d rather sit and write than arguing with youngsters about their consummation of computers and smartphones games or telling them twenty times to feed their pets, etc. But I’m not complaining, because I wanted to be divorced and educate my kids according to my style.
So, what’s the point, you may be asking? The point is that I cannot fill well all these roles because it would be a 300 percent job. And it’s pretty hard to confess that I’m not a perfect workingwoman, nor a good mother and at least a busy housewife. I’m constantly facing insufficiency.
And in order not to drive mad, I have to eliminate certain roles at certain times. Some days, I laugh at my kitchen disorder. Some days, I let the boys go on a long leash. Some days, I feel like writing and not working for money. And some days, I don’t know what should come first…
Can you follow me?
It is our new baby: three months old, silky coat and not shy at all. Loulou tells our two other cats who is the boss in this house. Hissing und growling like a big old cat, this tiny thing already knows how to make upset the others.
The cat is the late birthday present for nine-year-old Little Boy, and he is the new mother of this creature. He takes his role very seriously. I found him yesterday sitting in his room with his cat, reading with his softest voice little stories to his four-legged friend and looking at me proudly like a mother with her baby.
This morning, Little Boy first complained when I woke him up with his cat. “Loulou crawled under my duvet tonight and bit me in my big toe”, he told me and asked, “do you know how much painful this was?” I understood very well. Although, he had been warned of these kinds of coincidences by the former cat mother.
But Little Boys’ dedication to Loulou is still unbroken. He didn’t have time to do his homework after school because it wanted to play with him and he found it an excellent idea.
Well, we’ll be talking soon to the cat in order to get some free minutes for homework.
My boys are teaching me – among a lot of things – one important thing: being open.
Being open for new experiences, new people, new places, new tastes, new colors, new feelings.
For example, I’ve never dreamt of going fishing, cleaning fishes and cooking them. And when you open our fridge right now, you find living mealworms. Thanks, Big Boy.
Or I didn’t have any experience in my childhood with playing with legos. But it feels satisfying lying on the floor of the living-room and putting together a VW bus of at least 10’000 pieces.
Or I wasn’t the typical game player when I was younger. But now I’m spending hours by playing Uno or Rummikub with Little Boy.
Being open isn’t an easy thing to do. But it gives me much more in return. And there will be more experiences in the future I’ve never dreamt of. I’m sure and open.
5.45 p.m. in a restaurant in Venice with their father
Big boy: “Hi mom, how are you?”
Me: “Fine. Thanks. How about you?”
Big boy: “Fine. Mom, can you give me the permission for some apps. I want to play some games on my iPod?”
Me: “Hmmm… you want to play…”
Big boy: “You know: I need to download these games.”
Me: “Hmmm… where are you at the moment?”
Big boy: “In a restaurant. Do you give me the permission?”
Me: “Hmmm… How is the hotel in Venice?”
Big boy: “It’s okay. Mom, will you do it now?”
Big boy: “If you do it now, I’ll call you again tonight.”
Me: “Hmmm… Can I talk to your brother?”
Big boy: “Okay…”
Little boy: “Hi mom. How are you?”
Me: “Fine and you?”
Little boy: “Okay. Mom, you have to give the permission to B.”
Me: “Hmmm… and if I don’t want?”
Little boy: “I pass you again B.”
Big boy: “Yes or no?”
Big boy: “You are so mean, mom! I’ll hang up…”
P.S. Thanks to the father for the picture.
Sitting at the lake and trying to bring calm into my body.
No way. Head is working.
Where is the switch?
Thinking of the yoga teacher and remembering a yoga posture.
Body in quiet pose, head trying to concentrate on the breathing.
Head rotating. Not finding the switch for the breathing.
Giving up. Feeling the bad weather in my head, looking at the lake and accepting that total silence isn’t possible at the moment.
Never mind. Will be trying another time.
8.35 p.m. during summer vacation
Little boy: “If I have to watch your film, I want to play with your legos.”
Big boy: “I don’t want to watch again your ‘Baymax’.”
Little boy: “But I don’t want to watch ‘Wasabi’.”
Big boy: “Why don’t you want to watch it?”
Little boy: “I prefer ‘Baymax’.”
Big boy: “So, I won’t let you play with my legos.”
Little boy: “But you told me this morning…”
Big boy: “I changed my mind.”
Little boy: “You’re so mean.”
Big boy: “Well, let’s watch my film and you’ll get my legos.”
Little boy: “I don’t’ like this film.”
Big boy: “I don’t like yours…”
Little boy: “Okay…”
Big boy: “Do you want to watch now?”
Little boy: “But will you give me your legos?”
Big boy: “We’ll see…”
Little boy: “You’re never keeping your word… ”
Big boy: “What are you blabbering?”
Little boy: “Okay… I don’t want to watch your film.”
Big boy: “You’re again ruining the good mood…!”
12.45 a.m. first day of summer vacation
Little boy: “Where is my coffee?”
Big boy: “What…?”
Little boy: “You promised me a cold coffee.”
Big boy: “I beg you pardon.”
Little boy: “Don’t you remember?”
Big boy: “What…?”
Little boy: “For sure. We made a bet and I was right.”
Big boy: “What? A bet?”
Little boy: “We were looking for the right name of a film.”
Big boy: “Okay. Right! I owe you a cold coffee.”
Little boy: “I want it now…!”
Big boy: “I can make you one now.”
Little boy: “But, I want a cold one from the shop.”
Big boy: “I don’t want to spend money.”
Little boy: “But you promised me.”
Big boy: “I’m always short of money…!”
Little boy: “But, you lost our bet.”
Big boy: “Hey… you cannot ask me when I’ve so little money…”
Little boy: “This isn’t my problem…”
Big boy: “Come on. Don’t be so mean.”
Little boy: “So… when do I get my coffee…?”
I know you must have felt rather powerless in many situations in your life. Otherwise you wouldn’t have made me feel so helpless talking to you.
You knew everything better than me. You did everything better than me. I didn’t have any chance to do something well.
I felt so worthless when I didn’t understand the math homework and you spent hours to explain to me everything starting with the basics. As a math professor you felt yourself so helpless because your daughter couldn’t calculate the easy things like 1 plus 1.
Years later, when I wanted to move out because I couldn’t stand any more our daily discussions, you were so upset. I was scared to discover so much anger in your face.
A few more years later, my very first article was published in a big Swiss newspaper. You were asked by my boy friend why you didn’t congratulate me. You answered: “Everybody can write an article. This isn’t such a big thing”.
Yes, father, you realized much more important things in life. But one thing wasn’t your thing: To make feel someone confortable in your company. And I suppose I know why. You never felt at ease with yourself. And I feel sorry for you… and for me, too.
While a lot of friends of mine spent their summer vacation on the seaside, my father decided that hiking in the Swiss mountains was the best thing to do with his family.
My brother and me tried to have fun with our father’s hobby. But we were very often “like a cat and a mouse” as my mother used to say.
Being a mother myself, it isn’t surprising to me.
Hanging around with children of the same age is much more interesting than carrying a backpack for a week with always the same menu, dry bread, jerky, dry apples, dry apricots and water.
And the highlight of the week was a liter of apple juice divided by four at the restaurant.
I think our dog did enjoy this much more than me.
It has been a lake, an evening and a warm summer night.
My boys and me enjoyed this moment.
We three felt secure, fearless and careless.
There were just a few birds talking before going to sleep.
And us three looking at the twilight sky.
The picture records the moment and my feelings.
Fortunately, we’ve got pictures to remember what we easily forget.