I used to be smart…right?

Life abroad has its ups and downs.  Life as a mom has its ups and downs.  And I just hit downs on both.

Before I get into this, I just want to say that I know it’s totally normal to have moments and days and weeks like this.  Moving so far away from home, trying to settle into a new life with a new language, and putting forth every best effort to find friends is taxing.  I totally get that this is how it’s supposed to be, and this is how I’m supposed to feel.  And man is this hard sometimes.

I speak Danish well.  I was blessed with a language-learning head, a little bit of perseverance, and lovely, incredibly patient, in-laws who’ve helped me so much.  But honestly, I don’t speak Danish well enough to be 100% myself when I’m speaking it.  A lot of the time, the words come easily, but sometimes they don’t.  It’s great that I’m able to communicate fairly well, but it’s frustrating when my train of thought is constantly halting, jumping, and false-starting because I can’t fish the right words out quite quickly enough.  It’s frustrating to have a funny comment that I can’t quite figure out how to put into Danish words, or to be explaining something, only to give up halfway through because the round-abouts I’m taking to explain things I don’t know the words to are just too much.  To be blunt, I feel dumb a lot.  And when I think about it, of course I’m not dumb–I learned Danish for goodness’ sake.  But I still feel dumb.

And feeling dumb isn’t making the job thing any easier.  I’m not quite job-searching yet, but we’re moving in September, and I’m hoping to find some sort of a job in the fall/winter–whether it be an at-home daycare, or a job outside of the home.  But just assuming that the at-home daycare doesn’t work out, I’d have to job-search.  And that is scary.  Completely apart from having to do this all in Danish and in Denmark where I know very little about the job market, I feel totally unequipped to be job-searching.

I’m going to go to the job center in not too long, present them with my educational and work background, and just hear what options I have here in Denmark, which I’m sure will help a lot.  Because as of right now, I don’t feel like I can do anything.

For most of my life, I felt smart.  In first grade, I was reading chapter books.  In second grade, I got to learn cursive.  In third grade, I was the fastest typist in the class.  You get the picture.  This continued through elementary school, middle school, high school, and, surprisingly, even college.  I know it sounds super smug, but I just got used to being one of the “smart kids.”  And that was a huge part of my identity.

There was a time when I was in college, working three jobs.  And I turned out some of my best work that year, yet I also remember having time to have fun with my friends, and plan my wedding and our life together.  Nowadays, I’m proud of myself if I manage to vacuum once a week.  (Although, come to think of it, I don’t think I vacuumed more than once every couple of months back then…)

The thing is, I’ve been not much more than a wife and then a mom for the past couple of years, and I feel like I’ve gotten gradually less and less intelligent.  I also haven’t been able to have a job for two and a half years now, which leaves me feeling less than competent.

I know that at one point, I was really smart.  I know that at one point, I was even really confident, and I felt like I could really do anything.  These days, I don’t feel like there’s any job that I could do well.  In my head, I know that I would actually be the best candidate for many jobs–that I would do them well, and be happy doing them.  But in my not-head, I feel completely inadequate.

SO!

So, I’ve made a small plan to get myself back on track.  My goal for the week is to make up a list of books I want to read that I can get from the library in Denmark, and go get them.  And that’s pretty much it for now.  But I’m going to try to use Theo’s naptimes to do more than giggle at posts on BabyCenter asking how people sanitize their baby’s high chair trays (ummmm….wipe with the damp cloth I used to wipe the baby’s face, anyone?) and watch terrible TV.

It’s okay that I did those things, but now that I feel like I’m coming out of the survival mode fog, I feel like I need to get my self back, and a part of that self is reading, learning, writing, and doing smart things.

Any recommendations for books (they don’t have to be “smart” books, haha!) or ideas for getting that old confidence back?

 

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A New Normal

Well…

Theo still slept through the night, and I haven’t fallen sick yet again, so it appears fate wasn’t paying much attention to me yesterday.  However, today, I just thought about starting a post on how things are starting to feel normal again, and how I haven’t felt like I was losing my mind in more than a week, so…of course, I’m losing my mind today.

It’s not that horrible, but Theo is just being a bit of a monster, and as I decided to do two batches of refried beans today, my head was just in too many places at once.  I found out last week, that the reason all my bean-cooking ventures have ended badly (or just plain late, as they take a good five to eight hours to cook) is that we have terribly hard water.  But before I learned this, I tried cooking some black beans.  I babysat those beans ALL DAY, adding water every hour or so, testing over and over again.  I put them on around 8 am, checked on them all day, and then….at four thirty…I burned them.  Like, really, really burned them.  So today, I set timers every 5-10 minutes, stirred and stirred and stirred, and managed to not burn them!  Although I think my brain is completely fried.  I just feel mentally done with the whole day.

But even on hard days like this, I can plainly see that it is nowhere near as difficult as it once was.  I may have gone a bit crazy today, but I didn’t take it out on Theo, I didn’t yell, or kick anything.  I didn’t even cry.  I just got through it, knowing that it would eventually be naptime, and there would come a time when he is not gritting his teeth, and lo and behold, it is naptime, and I had the time to clean, eat lunch, clean again, and have some ice cream, and this day will be over, and I will probably get to sleep a whole night (at least until five-something, which is good enough for me!).  And it’ll be okay.

It feels like a new normal, and I think it feels that way, finally, because I am getting sleep–and not broken-up-into-pieces sleep, but whole good chunks of sleep.  And I’m a better mom for it, and a better wife.  And just a better person altogether, I think.  And life seems to be settling down.  Our meals are planned, and cooked, and cleaned up every day.  I have time to bake, and blog, and the house is relatively tidy (in my humble opinion).  We’re going to parties, meet-ups, and out to do family activities.

Yesterday, we went out for a long walk.  Theo fell asleep, so on the way home, we stopped by a beautiful grassy spot, spread out the blanket, and had a mini-date while Theo snoozed away.  It was wonderful, to have some time to talk, cuddle, and eat fresh salsa and chips, and we talked a bit about how life feels now, compared to pre-Theo.

As everyone knows, I had crazy baby-fever.  I wanted a baby so badly.  And I didn’t really care about vacations, getting to do whatever we wanted, sleeping in on the weekends, etc.  I just wanted a baby.  Now that we have one, we can both agree that life was easier, and maybe objectively “better” before we had Theo, but that there’s no way we would choose to rewind and go back to that life.  Now, life is much, much fuller.  Like…like we’re finally wearing shoes that fit, instead of shoes a couple sizes too big.  And of course it’s tough, and we’re tired, but it’s somehow right.  And now that we’ve really fallen into our groove as a family, it’s wonderful.

It’s taken a long time, but I feel like we’ve come out of the baby-fog.  And although we have absolutely no plans to do this soon, I can see us having another baby at some point.  While we were still in the thick of it with Theo, we frequently thought to ourselves “how on earth could we ever, ever do this again?”  But at this point, we know we will, and that we can.  If we did it once, and came out the other end, better than we were before, we can do it again.

But right now, we’re just happy to be a family.  A normal family, a good family, just us.  We finally feel like us and I can’t say how relieved I am to feel like life is do-able again.

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“Untitled”

Does anyone else have as much trouble as I do titling things?

I’ve honestly not posted blogs because I couldn’t think of a title for them.  I’ve sat with my cursor patiently blinking in that title bar for ages without a single thought in my head.  I guess if I ever want to meditate, I could just open up a new post for the blog and effortlessly drain my mind of all thoughts.

But anyway, I’m mostly here to tell everyone that I’m better!  I’m all better!  Although it kind of seems like I shouldn’t say anything about it, lest fate hears me, and I fall ill again (sort of like telling people your baby is sleeping well), but I just can’t help it!

And on that note, my baby is sleeping well! (Best to do all the fate-tempting at once and get it out of the way, right?)  The only problem is that he sort of does these short screeches in his sleep every time he wants to change position or something, which wakes me, and it takes me forever to fall back to sleep, but as long as I don’t have to get up, I can’t complain too much.  It definitely makes me look forward to moving, though, so he can have his own room (and we can have ours back again!)!

And speaking of moving, we’re hoping to know in a couple of weeks whether or not we’ll get a newly-renovated three-bedroom apartment up in Farum.  It’s a good distance from the city, but close to a train line, and although Andreas will have a bit more trouble getting to work, and it’s a lot more expensive than here, we need the room, and we’ll at least be living closer to Andreas’s sister and her family, whom I would love to see more often!

I’d best get back to my relaxing weekend day (it’s a three-day weekend here in Denmark because of the Pentecost, which I don’t know what is, but if it gives Andreas a Monday off, I’m all for it!)  We had pretty busy days both Saturday and Sunday, so today is relaxation, baking, and long walk to a playground day which is going swimmingly so far!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful (illness-free, sleep-filled) weekend, and I’ll be back soon with more posts (although I’m not promising any interesting titles to go along with them).

And So It Continues…

Guys, I’m still sick.

I felt good for a total of about 8 days in all of May.  First with that terrible cold or flu or whatever the heck it was that left me with a pulled muscle or tendon or ligament in my ribs that STILL really hurts.  Then, after I was finally feeling back on my feet for a few days, food poisoning (or maybe stomach flu or whatever).  I was finally recovering from that and told my sister I was feeling pretty great when…eye infection.  And it’s awful.

Andreas and I have been in survival mode for the past month, and it’s really rotten.  I haven’t been able to meal plan, or when I have been able to, I end up getting sick again and not being able to cook!  Andreas has had to take a few emergency days off because I’ve been just too sick to take care of Theo, and I feel like such a nuisance to both him and his workplace.  I’ve had to cancel more than half of the plans I made with friends, and I’m just TIRED of it.

And I think Theo is too.  Either that or he’s teething but he’s the clingiest monster who is in the WORST mood the past few days.  And since I have to wear my glasses because of my eye infection, all he does is try to pull them off my face, or pull my hair out of my head.

I’ve had a bad month.

But all I can do is hope that June will be better (well, the rest of June.  The first day was terrible!), and move on.

Time to close my eyes and hope it’s magically healed by morning so I can actually… you know … see.  *crossing fingers*

How we've all felt for a solid month.

How we’ve all felt for a solid month.