My brain is mush. I may have forgotten how to write. We’re about to find out. Or maybe it’s been so long, that I don’t know where to begin. But begin I shall, because it is time to dust the cobwebs off my brain and start to fire these neurons again. You see, when I gave birth to baby Levi last year I was left with the mental capacity of a goldfish. A bad combination of new-mom brain, plus prior mom-brain, the mushy pandemic brain I think many of us have struggled with, maybe even some actual covid brain mixed in there. Plus the overwhelm that comes along with moving, settling into a new place, a new language barrier, new friends, schools, dentists, doctors, cultural norms, etc. It has, quite simply, been a lot.
If you’re wondering what we’ve been up to, the short answer is; the usual, with the addition of another child. Relatively commonplace day-to-day life, accented by once-in-a-lifetime trips every few months. We haven’t slowed down on our travel plans. In fact, even after having baby number three we picked up the pace. As our movement restrictions lifted, and baby’s passport was in our hands we were out of the gate. …well, even before we had the passport we were all over Germany. I am hoping my boys give me enough moments of peace so that I can backlog and share it with you. Have you ever been a boy mom x3? Moments of peace are rare.
This year we explored Malta, the Black Forest, and Salzburg. We took an Eastern Europe spring break road trip. We had a family reunion adventure in the German Alps. And because we won’t live in Europe forever, we went on a three-week Summer trip that was so insane Google maps literally cut me off from adding another destination (apparently 11 is the limit?). We didn’t let Google stop us.
I have learned to be v.e.r.y. gentle on myself this year. Not easy for someone who enjoys doing it all, all at once, all the time. In a world that likes to encourage you to do it all, all at once, all the time. Most things ExploreMoreCo were put to the bottom of my priority list during the busy season when we moved from Poland to Germany last year. Then we welcomed new baby and I sort-of unconsciously decided to give myself a year off from everything. The ability to take an unhurried amount of time off after having a baby is not a luxury that is lost on me. I removed almost everything off my plate, and added things back as I felt able to manage.
This year, I’ve practiced the art of riding the ebb and flow of life, rather than paddling out against the current. I’ve told and re-told myself that not every moment has to be progress. It is ok to just be. Not that I’m always good at this practice. My activities this year have mostly been things that directly enhance my overall physical and spiritual wellbeing. I prioritized rest, nourishing food, exercise, and quality time focusing on my family and their wellbeing, too. My main extracurricular activity was planning and executing our trips. That in-itself, a full-time job, but one that feeds my soul. By focusing inward, I was able to get through some of the tougher stuff like solo parenting and sleepless nights. Life is going to be harder in some seasons than others. But you don’t have to make it harder, by making it harder. Don’t be afraid to simplify.
Summer has shifted to fall, and I both mourn and welcome the new season. Unlike the weather which can be counted on to return once a year, the seasons of life are fleeting. I am acutely aware of this as watch my three boys, who grow and change every day. Like the weather, I both mourn and welcome each new stage in their lives, as we navigate the changes together. The year after having a baby is a huge adjustment. The year after having a baby, in a foreign country, mid-pandemic? What else do you want to throw at us, Life? (I kid, please don’t). In the absence of nearby family and close friends we’ve been doing this largely on our own. Shoutout to the amazing community we have fallen in to here in Bavaria. I’m grateful for this year of allowing myself to slow down. And as the seasons change again, allowing myself to ease back into some of the other aspects of life that I enjoy. Like writing here on my blog. Life is going to be hard, but we can be gentle on ourselves.
I’m looking forward to coming out of my hiatus and playing catch-up! I think this was a coherent-enough first start. There’s so much more we have to explore together. See ya out there.