Motherhood · parenting · Personal

I’m a mom of two now…

Reflections on motherhood part 2

Hi… I’m a mom of two now… And I’d like to share some thoughts with you.

First a few words on pregnancy, but I’ll be short cause what comes after is much better. Obviously, every pregnancy experience is different. For me pregnancy is just no fun, it means 9 months of no appetite; indigestion, fatigue and nausea. Both my pregnancies were exactly the same season – so good news for outfits and familiar timing, for dresses and open shoes from about 30 weeks. Bad news for another sweaty August towards the end, not knowing if you are peeing or sweating or if your water just broke. And you see these proud mothers and their strollers and envy them. Everybody kept saying how good I looked during this pregnancy so OK thanks I only gained 8 kilos but that’s mainly cause I was suffering. Yes, second pregnancy goes by faster but how uncomfortable is it when you want to have your toddler on you, lift her or play on the floor. And please all these websites: who cares if my baby is now the size of an avocado or a lettuce! I also found it weird how some people are super pregnancy friendly and some just don’t realise there’s more to it than a big belly and that you are not able to be 100% fit like others. So please, why aren’t there more reserved parking spots for pregnant women and strollers? Women in government are you reading this? Oh and another good thing is you can blame the farts on your toddler ūüôā

source: Babycentre Uk
source: Whattoexpect
Nellie getting ready for her baby sister with daddy’s childhood’s anatomy book

A few thoughts on giving birth: just like babies have a deal with Murphy, I tend to believe labor has a deal with Karma. As much as pregnancy is tough on me, giving birth is something my body is very good at (and proof that I have a high pain tolerance); or maybe I am just very lucky – or it’s the compensation of those 9 months. Both times the babies came at week 38, naturally and super fast. Including an easy and fast recovery. Both times we went home within 24 hours and my body was back at its old weight and look. Remember; breastfeeding is very helpful here (faster shrinking of uterus and such). Breastfeeding gives me appetite and cravings and does NOT make me lose weight – fell in that trap the first time. I am also a big fan of Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital and system, the staff and their natural birth room; not so much for the useless accessories or nice curtains but for the time and space for intimacy and privacy before, during and after birth. When Nellie came to meet her baby sister barely an hour after birth, we have experienced the most beautiful moment of our lives. She had brought a gift we had wrapped together and was so sweet meeting her for the first time. The next day when we came home, we had a big balloon and gift for Nellie from Noa. Another amazing moment of true happiness, and the beginning of many more…

victory… the day after Noa came

The first few days post-partum are very different the second time. There’s less chaos and you are not in shock from becoming a parent for the first time. You kind of know what’s next. The challenge is now to divide your attention between both and it takes time to get used to this new situation. There were three of us and now we are four! Major adaptation, new equilibrium. You thought you were a multitasker with one? Here’s a new challenge! (Guess moms of 3,4 and more kids are laughing out loud now). Do you also feel like your brain is drunk? I’ve heard that’s normal. It’s scary to notice you are not as sharp as you used to right!? Anyways, now it’s all about juggling and making sure you are organised and assisted in the right ways. I’ve learnt that the hard part is not the kids; it’s the logistics around it. Some people are more depending on paid help and some are very hands-on-independent-allrounder moms, it is your job to figure out which kind of mom you become. I tend to believe that the anxiety of failing or the fear of not knowing what to do, can lead to a lack of mommy-confidence when assisted by ‘professionals’. Or let’s put it this way: every time I’ve had to overcome a challenge I thought “I’ll never be able to do this alone” but I of course did. And I came through feeling stronger and more confident. Didn’t you have moments thinking: where is my medal, trophy, street name and then just hugely enjoyed some chocolate or wine as a reward?

The first few weeks with second baby are all about primary needs: eating and sleeping. I was lucky enough to have a mother around who can cook – even though my parents live abroad. I was so excited as I got my appetite back, went out every night for amazing dinners including good wine and with the baby quietly sleeping in her pram. And yes I sometimes dared to order two dishes and I survived the waiter’s judgmental look. Yes the baby blues may occur and you may wish there was a bar around the corner to go in for a glass of white wine and to cry it all out. As much as I am happy with the way society and the medical system guides us through pregnancy and birth, I wonder why there is no moral support system after birth. As a mother you feed and nurse babies, you give yourself fully, body and mind but you also need to be embraced and supported. It gets lonely. You need to take the time to listen to yourself and take a break from it all. So who do you call? Ghostbusters? Dads are great but can they understand you in those hormonal rollercoasters? Your friends? Those without kids: they can try but they can’t truly understand you. Those with kids are probably at other stages in life and only a few remember what you are going through and even less can or have time to provide support. So here again you feel lonely. I am someone who needs to talk, to share and I’ve learnt how and with whom I can do that. Comes with a bunch of disappointments too. Remember that not everybody is able to open up as honestly and some will just lie about sleeping through the night and baby schedules, which creates even more social pressure. My first few weeks of sleep can be resumed in one word: breastsleeping. In general, what worked for me was – just like with my first – to go out as much as possible from day one. The big heat was calming down and we took her with us to the pool, the beach, the park and most of our other habits. What also works out well for me is to be able to still have enough quality and quantity time with my toddler; I pick her up after daycare and we do a daily activity together – just the two of us – enjoying the journey and not only the destination.

at the Pool on Noa’s 3rd day
source: Mommy needs vodka

A word about the working mom. Yes, some people will take advantage of your absence or weakness during pregnancy, birth and maternity leave. Why isn’t there more universal solidarity between women? We are all the same, we will go through things that men will never ever know, then how come women are so cruel to each other then? But what comes around goes around. Luckily, I know my priorities now and I know what truly matters. That is one of the perks of not being a very young mom. I call this the NO-FO-MO-asset: No Fear Of Missing Out. I feel accomplished: had more than enough time for personal, social and professional achievements. I have worked with my all time favourite artists and toured the world with mister Leonard Cohen. So for now, I am content and devoted to any precious moment with my kids – yes that includes the tough ones. And whoever doesn’t understand or tries to interfere can get lost.

The 5 main differences I noticed between first and second child:

  1. You don’t panic at every cry and calmly finish what you were doing (including eating your plate, showering or being on the toilet). Calm parents = calm baby, cool parents  cool baby.You have much more mommy confidence to start with and that is an asset for the mood and mind. You trust your baby to know its needs without interfering which means you let go of control a lot – also great for mood and mind. And congratulations, you achieved the level of “expert” in multiple departments: strollers, carriers, breastfeeding and pumping, clothing and other practicalities that make life easier…
  2. You know there is no routine at first so you don’t lose any time on speculating on it. You don’t obsess at analysing and planning her diaper, sleep and feeding schedule in order to feel you are a good mom. No need to overanalyse and study each phase by the book because by the time you think you got it, baby is already at the next; there is no now.
  3. More than ever you enjoy the small things and moments you get for yourself including going to the bathroom alone! That feeling in the shower and when you get out and it’s quiet? No one screamed or cried while you were in there? Woo-hoo!
  4. Many things you said NEVER to for the first are now being ignored: watching tv, letting baby with babysit or other family members, in the car without the security isofix car seat, breastfeeding* in car… *Let’s see how long I’ll keep breastfeeding (First baby was breastfed till 19 months) You don’t change yours nor baby’s clothes on every spit up, people even give compliments on your hair while you know there’s spit up in it.
  5. You still get very angry when someone says “don’t cry” to the baby, that never changes, let the baby cry it’s her only way of communicating ALL of the emotions she has!

Then you hit some milestones, 3 months, 6 months and so on. As a temporary conclusion I’d like to share the following wisdom I learnt:

  1. One of the secrets of happy motherhood for me is what i called NO-FO-MO earlier: it’s not an age thing, but you have to feel you are ready to be devoted to this. Whether on a social, personal or professional level, you have to feel that this is ‘the here and now’ you want to live in, that your baby is the center of the world right now, and you’re not thinking of what you are missing in the outside world – traveling, partying or being anywhere else, because then you won’t stand the crying at night.
  2. My second advice may sound easy but isn’t and it’s called CONNECT & DISCONNECT: connect to the baby and disconnect from the world, you, your schedule, your logics, your plans… and your phone. There are days you may feel you have lost yourself completely and your labels have been reduced to ‘mom only’, but these days happen and pass too. You sometimes ask yourself what you have done all day huh?
  3. For breastfeeding moms another thing that works for me is PUMPING from the early days-weeks: breastfeeding is amazing. Besides giving the baby all she needs nutritionally, it also creates a great bond of intimacy and it’s easy everywhere you never have to worry about bringing anything. But breastfeeding is very time consuming and some struggle with this dependence. Therefore pumping can buy you freedom. I just did it right from the start and am very proud of the stock I have in my freezer now.
  4. I learnt it takes (another big cliche) a strong relationship with your partner to make it work and the secret is called PARTNERSHIP: it’s all about communication and taking time to listen to each other (which not always works as we all fail at times). When you are both busy with the kids, days can easily go by with barely exchanging a few technical details about the kids. And you can easily fall into isolation. So whatever it takes, make sure you make time to communicate. Doesn’t have to be a forced date night where you both fall asleep at the table though.
  5. GUILT AND AMBIVALENCE Can’t hide or lie about this one: moms know these feelings. Guilt of sharing attention, guilt of our own needs… Ambivalence of the nostalgia to our old lives, our freedom, our old habits. But I wouldn’t trade what you have now for even a second.
  6. And again, the hardest thing is to adjust your needs to the baby. Sounds cliche and with my first I couldn’t. Now I managed to be able to LET GO of logics* and the schedule I’m used to, the home tasks to be done, the pseudo-urge to do things right now. It’s a big challenge to overcome that the laundry or dishes can wait for now. It’s hard to fall asleep cause there’s nothing more to long for now the baby is here. And to feel you circle is full. For daytime naps, what helped me was breathing exercises (I don’t like the word meditation), going to my acupuncturist and listening to music. Even though those kids tunes were humming on repeat in my head (“Mummy finger mummy finger where are you”….) And at night after the babies are asleep, i see my window of me-time shrink and deal with the dilemma of crashing in bed versus me time. *With logics I mean the tendency of planning and negotiating with yourself (if she ate now she will probably be hungry then, if she sleeps now she will waker up then): no need cause babies have their own logics and will surprise you so why bother guessing. Don’t forget to enjoy every little moment cause time flies…
  7. THE OTHERS (again): advice of others is the worst. Most people really mean well but we get easily frustrated and pressures if things are not the same for our babies. Now can only I hope I don’t sound like all those mothers I hated when giving their advice as if they have all figured it out.
  8. Get over the OCD: They say one kid is one and two is twenty. No it’s not. This only applies on the laundry. Tidy people like me may get in major conflict with an OCD tendency and it’s hard fight: if you fall in the trap of slavery to the cleaning and tidying the house at your pace you may get stressed when it interferes with kids needs. But if you don’t do it, you get stressed and it doesn’t leave your brain. so again here, find balance. as this cool mom said as long as she can pave a way between the toys without stepping on any lego to make it to bed and bathroom she s ok with it.
  9. YOU CAN DO IT – it’s in these times you realise you are a superpower and you can overcome anything that once scared you. People will nag, even unintentionally and you’re wondering how you’re gonna handle. And then hop, you just did! What a satisfaction when you finished your day and juggled all things.

Becoming a mom made me the happiest I’ve ever been.

As much as I would love to share photos of my gorgeous two daughters Nellie & Noa that are 2 years apart, I have to respect their daddy’s will to not share anything online. Respecting him and respecting their privacy…

Liked this post? Read part one here and part two here

Personal · Photography · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

Tel-a-visitor: Impressions of Tel aviv by Misty Roberts

Guestblog written by Misty Roberts:

“So, about a year ago my life kind of fell apart. ¬†I had worked pretty hard to get things to look conventional. ¬†You know- own a house, live with someone in a functional relationship, job, flowers in the yard, kitchen by Williams Sonoma. Then a series of unfortunate events occurred. ¬†I got really sick. ¬†And my relationship fell apart. ¬†And I wondered if I was going to be able to pay for my little perfect house. ¬†And car. ¬†And doctor bills.


You see, my role in life is to be strong. ¬†My role is to be the person who has all their shit together. ¬†I lead groups of people all over the world, when something goes wrong- they look to me. ¬†The one with all the answers. ¬†My job hasn’t ever been for everything to be perfect, it‚Äôs been to be able to anticipate and fix a problem before anyone else notices. ¬†When someone like that has things fall apart, there‚Äôs no hiding it. ¬†Everyone sees the cracks.

I‚Äôve never felt more weak and broken in my life. ¬†And that‚Äôs saying something because the path hasn‚Äôt been easy. ¬†After a few months of wading in the shit, I woke up one morning and said ‚ÄúOk, right‚Ķnow to fix it.‚ÄĚ ¬†I felt a bit stronger physically. ¬†Mentally, I was still a wreck. ¬†It‚Äôs my process in life to just make lists. ¬†So, I sat down and made a list.

‚ÄúThings That Would Make Me Feel Better Right Now‚ÄĚ

Do you know how long a list like that can become?  I started out easy with things like wine.  And new face creams.  

Then I got serious. ¬†Things like ‚ÄúSell house I bought for boyfriend and I to build a future in‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúFind a way to become more financially secure so that I never feel this hopeless again.‚ÄĚ ¬†

And the last thing on that list- ‚ÄúFeel FEARLESS‚ÄĚ.

Now, I know it’s not really realistic to say that you will ever feel fearless.  But the kind of fear that had crept into my life after the previous few years was starting to consume me.  I didn’t leave my little house.  I didn’t want to go out in public, I didn’t want to meet new people.  I just wanted to hide in my safe place and feel some kind of comfort.

So, I’m going to skip over the months of self help books, therapy, cases of wine, HOURS of conversations with dear friends, hard realizations, new jobs and lonely moments to the end.

Almost a year later, I’ve learned some things.  I’ve learned some things about what I didn’t like about me.  I learned a lot of things that I love about me that I had forgotten.  I’ve remembered that I love traveling to new places.  I’ve learned that I love doing things that some people would never think about doing.  I’ve learned that after everything I went through- there isn’t much left in this world that scares me …at least to a point that i can’t overcome it.  I’ve learned that I missed my friends.  I’ve learned that I love making new ones.  I’ve learned that people are generally good.  I’ve also learned that everyone is flawed in some way and that those cracks let the light in.img_0858

So, this year I’ve done things.  It’s been the year of adventures.  I’ve flown friends to Seattle to see me, I spent 5 days with my oldest friend in the world on a road trip adventure to Marfa, TX to see The Marfa Lights, Prada Marfa and just indulge ourselves in some much needed catching up.  I went to Cabo St. Lucas with one of my other oldest friends- rented a car in Mexico and saw the coolness of The Hotel California, ate some of the absolute best food I’ve ever had in my life and spent many hours just sitting around enjoying each others company.


But the thing that I did that I am the most proud of was take a trip by myself.  Last year when my life was crumbling down around me, I went to Tel Aviv for work.  I wasn’t able to do much because of work but I remember being in awe of how great the people I met were and how beautiful it was.  So, wrapping up one project and starting another, I had a week off.  I looked at where one ended and the other one started and a map and immediately knew where my destination was meant to be.

Tel Aviv, Israel.  

Now, I know that so many people hear Tel Aviv and think‚Ķ‚ÄĚIsrael, oh shit‚Ķ.things are scary there!‚ÄĚ ¬†We as Americans are very programmed to believe what the mass media tells us (as illustrated by this fantastic election cycle we are in ūüėČ ¬†I‚Äôll be honest, I didn‚Äôt look at any news before I went. ¬†I thought to myself that if I did, I would change my mind. ¬†I did know that last year there were some pretty heavy incidents between the Israelis and Palestinians. ¬†But that was about it. ¬†

My gut instinct told me to just get by with the help of my friends, in the famous words of the Beatles.

And I did just that.  I let the 3 ladies that I had met while I was there working know that I was coming.  We didn’t plan really because to be honest, I wanted to trip to just be a go with the flow kind of thing.

I left Boston and flew through London Heathrow, which was a nice break between 2 long flights.  I landed in Tel Aviv at around 3PM and made it through customs and immigration in about 20 minutes.  They no longer stamp your passport going into Tel Aviv, they give you a little card instead with a car code on it and your photo.  Make sure you put that with your passport because you need it on the way out.  I met up with the car driver that I had my hotel arrange to come get me.  He was wonderful!  By the time we got to the hotel, he had offered for him and his wife to take me out for a drink while I was there and given me his cell phone in case I needed anything while I was in Tel Aviv.


I checked into my hotel on Rothschild Boulevard.  I had no idea what a cool area Rothschild was!  When I looked for a hotel, I wanted something that was near the beach but also near the downtown area.  I found this one right in the middle of everything.  I had decided to kind of go for it on the trip and booked myself a Penthouse Suite.  When I arrived at the hotel, the incredible nice gentleman offered to make me a expresso and then informed me that he was upgrading me to the Rothschild Suite, the nicest room in the hotel.  I asked a million questions about the area and found out that there was a great coffee stand directly across the street, a market right around the corner, and an entire area of bars and restaurants about 2 blocks away.  After getting checked in, I went up to my Suite.  A full wraparound balcony in what was basically a large apartment!  With a bottle of champagne waiting for me on ice!  I can think of about 10 million hotels in the world that could learn something about hospitality from a place like this.


My first night in Tel Aviv was spent…sleeping.  Haha!  The Jet Lag kicked in and kicked my ass.  I feel asleep around 5PM and woke up at 4AM.  

Day 2- I met up at around 9 with my friend Marilyn, who it just so happens lived about a block away from my hotel! ¬†She and I caught up over coffee and she gave me the down low on the area. ¬†We parted ways and I decided to just start wandering around. ¬†I wandered and wandered and wandered. ¬†Up and down Rothschild Boulevard to the Habima Theater and all the way to the opposite end. ¬†A beautiful street lined with trees and bicyclists. ¬†It reminded me so much of Newbury Street in Boston. ¬†I stopped in the afternoon and tried Halva ice cream. ¬†The best way I can describe it is a pistachio peanut butter brownie ūüôā ¬†Of course, I had to grab some more coffee too. ¬†Tel Aviv is truly a city that people go outside. ¬†All of the cafes and restaurants were packed full of people. ¬†The city just really always seems alive. ¬†During the day it‚Äôs calm but in the evening, it buzzes.


img_0529I stopped on my way back from wandering around and taking photos and grabbed some Thai food because why not eat Thai when you are in Israel, hahah!  Again the jet lag kicked in I was asleep by 10PM and up again at 4.  One of my favorite things about this trip was making Nespresso in my room before the sun came up and sitting on the patio outside and watching the sunrises.  I began my days with meditation to the sunrise.  I’m not sure if you can get more idyllic than that.

Day 3 started with breakfast with Marilyn and Anat at the Sheraton.  Anat was the wonderful woman that I met when I was there for work the year before.  We sat drinking coffee and eating from the delicious breakfast spread and gossiping like only women do.  


My friend Shiran introduced me to how great Gett Taxi Israel is later that day. ¬†It‚Äôs basically Uber but quicker! ¬†Her and I ‚Äúuberred‚ÄĚ over to Jaffa to walk around the street markets. ¬†I‚Äôve never seen such large outdoor markets. ¬†So many beautiful things. ¬†I wanted to buy everything! ¬†But‚Ķgetting it home would of been the problem. ¬†Anything you can imagine there. ¬†Furniture, jewelry, antiques, spices, baskets. ¬†Shiran and I stopped for lunch at a fabulous restaurant and had some beverage that I still dream about. ¬†Seltzer water with mint, honey and lemon. ¬†Spent some time wandering around the Jaffa MarketPlace and picked up some handmade soaps at Zielinkski and Rozen that I am still trying to eek out the last of because they smell so incredible. ¬†Inside the store they have all the large glass bottle of infusions that they use to make their products. ¬†I‚Äôm betting if you are there at the right time of day, you can watch them make your bottle.


We headed back to my hotel and parted ways and I decided to walk down towards the beach.  The one thing about Tel Aviv- it is HOT AS HELL!  My skin has never looked better after spending 5 days there, I think I sweated out every toxin I’ve ever put in my body.  I spent the rest of the day walking up and down the beach Boulevard and going in and out of little shops and dipping my toes in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.  I found a fantastic restaurant that evening called Manta Ray and had dinner on the ocean front.  Sea bass, gnocchi, risotto and a drink called Bitter Passion (which seemed kind of fitting for this trips cause) with red grapefruit, passion flowers and campari.  Gett Taxi got my back to the hotel that evening, hahah!  I couldn’t have walked a straight line if I tried.  

Day 4- Remember that Fearless thing.  Well, I took it to the limits on Day 4.  So far I really had just been fairly lazy and wandering around in the city.  I wanted to really see some stuff!  So, I woke up- had some breakfast at my hotel-img_0551

and asked Anat if she knew where I could rent a car.  Of course- right across from the Sheraton!  I Gett Taxi’d over and met up with her.  We went to the rental car spot and the because I was with her, they upgraded me to this snazzy White Audi!  Vroom, vroom!


I hit the road to the Dead Sea. ¬†Driving in Tel Aviv is super easy! ¬†Incredibly Americanized. ¬†I mean, I drove around Los Angeles for 8 years, Tel Aviv has nothing on that! ¬†About an hour, 10 minutes and there I was. ¬†Staring at the Dead Sea! ¬†Anat had hooked me up with her friend at the Crown Plaza Dead Sea which has a private beach. ¬†I checked that out for a bit and decided that I wanted to hit the beach in an area with not quite so many people, I kinda just wanted to have that moment to myself. ¬†So, hopped in my car and drove a little ways down from all the hotels and found a beach that had literally 3 other people. ¬†I walked out into the water and I can honestly say you will never feel anything as magical as the Dead Sea.img_0569¬†I peeled my outterclothes off and walked all the way out. ¬†I covered myself in mud and walked back out to let it dry. ¬†After about 10 minutes I hopped back in and walked out far enough that I suddenly couldn’t feel the mud anymore. ¬†The next thing I knew, I was floating in the Dead Sea. ¬†There really isn‚Äôt any way to describe this feeling. I spent some time floating then decided it was time to get on the road to Jerusalem. ¬†I took a different route than I had taken to get to the Dead Sea‚Ķand found myself a tiny bit lost in the Israeli desert. ¬†Remember that Fearless thing. ¬†It kicked in. ¬†Okay, Im lost in the Israeli desert. ¬†All the radio stations have switched to Jordan radio and my cell has lots service. ¬†Whats the best thing to do when you are lost? ¬†Keep going. ¬†So, I did. ¬†I turned up the Jordan radio station and kicked that Audi into high gear to see how fast I could go since there was no one else on the road. ¬†And sped through the Israeli desert at about 110 miles an hour. ¬†I‚Äôm not sure I will ever be able to describe the feeling of freedom that I had in those moments. ¬†I can say that all the moments of the past year kind of just flooded away. ¬†It‚Äôs the moment that I realised that I really can do just about anything. ¬†


I saw camels.  Real ones that I thought were fake…until they moved and one nuzzled my neck.  Trust me, you don’t want camel snuggles.  They are sloppy and smelly.  But incredibly funny.


I hit Jerusalem about an hour later and got lost again.  Parking near the old city is pretty frustrating but so so worth it.  No matter that your religious views are- when you are standing in the old city realizing that this is the oldest that we know.  The beginning if you will, it’s pretty heavy.  I visited the Western Wailing Wall and the site of the Last Dinner.  I spotted a group of kids and one was wearing a KU Jayhawks hat!  So…I followed them and their guide around.  Haha!  Who goes all the way to Jerusalem and runs into some good old Kansas kids- this girl!  I took ALL the pictures that I could and bought some Jerusalem pottery to bring home with me as well as some handmade jewelry.  


The trip back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem wasn’t quite as uneventful.  I got stuck in traffic for a few hours and by the time I was returned the car to the Sheraton, I was really happy to see a Gett Taxi pull up for me.  I headed back to my hotel and hit up the market on the corner.  Grabbed some hummus and pitas and assorted things…and wine.  I enjoyed my last evening on the patio of my stunning hotel drinking and eating and packing.

I called my driver that picked me up at the airport and asked if he was available to drive me back to the airport in the morning.  He was and offered to come get me early to have breakfast with him and his wife.  What a great offer!  So, he picked me up an hour early with his wife in tow and we hit up a spot that was fabulous.  I ate the most delicious omelet ever with an array of breads and sauces and Israeli yogourt.  Yum.  And my last delicious coffee.  

The trip out of the airport isn’t quite as quick as the trip in.  The security lines are pretty crazy but when you put it in perspective that it is to keep you safe, it makes sense and is a lot more tolerable.  Made it to my gate with about 15 minutes before boarding and hopped on my flight to Amman, Jordan to start work again.

All in all- my trip was fantastic in so many ways.  I never felt unsafe.  The people of Tel Aviv are friendly and most speak English or there is always someone closeby willing to help.  It seemed like every person I met in Tel Aviv struck up a conversation about where I was from and the reason for my visit.  Jerusalem was a bit more aggressive, if that is the word for it.  Not quite as friendly but I was in the biggest tourist spot so that’s to be expected.  

I recommended to some friends that were traveling through to spend a few days.  They did and I think they fell in love the same way that I did.  I learned some things about myself on this trip.  And about Israel.  And it’s people- all of them.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  


Focus on · Personal

Reflections on motherhood part 2 – the first year…

I’ve been wanting to post more about my experiences earlier on at 3, 6 and 9 months but see, my baby girl¬†turned one already. Guess I was too busy discovering and learning all these things that I’m about to share with you. Of course, everybody starts with “I can’t believe it’s already been a year”. I remember the day before she came, the birth and every week and month. And luckily I wrote it all down in her book in case I’d forget any detail. Just like my mom did with me and I am still re-reading it.¬†Weekly since pregnancy. My feelings, her first smile, her weight, every milestone, her feeding and sleeping schedule, when did she turn around, her first solid food, etc. Despite being tired and yearning for full nights sleep, despite some very challenging moments and lonely times, it has been the best year. Nellie has been bringing us so much laughter, joy and happiness and has filled our hearts with a new indescribable and unconditional love.

The first year in 10:

1. “TMI=Too much information”¬†In my previous post* I had already shared breastfeeding mom’s munchies and sleep deprivation. My¬†brain felt like the hard drive of a computer; like it is constantly¬†on red saying “disk almost full”. So much new information to remember. I¬†used to always forget something when leaving the house with the stroller (fresh water, fill diapers, bring other clothes etc). In the end just remember they really need your protection and a lot of love and affection.

2. “Forgiven, forgotten, forbidden” You still haven’t forgiven or forgotten those who came empty handed (food-wise not gift-wise) in those first few weeks nor those who asked you the ‘forbidden’¬†questions (i.e. “So what do you do all day?” etc)

3. “Flying with baby”¬†When you are going on a plane with the baby: passengers look at you as if you’re going to hijack the plane. If your baby cries during the flight you get two kinds of looks: 1. pity – mostly by parents who’ve been through this many times and/or 2. anger – mostly by men. Can’t blame them, I used to do the same. Only after landing when she was quiet after all they ask her name or give me a smile.

4. “The suppository victory”¬†Every new mom dreads her baby’s first illness. But once it happens, you just erase yourself completely and naturally, you only worry and care for your child. Remember how good it felt when¬†your mom took care of you¬†when you were sick. This is where you bless and¬†praise breastfeeding once again. Another epic moment of baby’s first illness is the suppository. Failing ¬†the first suppository¬†action feels worse than failing an exam or your driver’s license. I won’t go into details. But here again, overcoming it makes you gain a lot of Mommy-confidence.

5. “Matching outfits” Who needs style advice, Pinterest or fashion magazines for clothing inspirations? Just¬†match your clothes to the baby’s outfit. Or to the colours of your stroller or Babybjorn.

6. “False needs”¬†Society has come¬†up with false¬†needs and new moms are easy targets. I still get angry because of it. Charging way too much money for classes, workshops or accessories that are completely unnecessary at those ages. Or a mobile in stroller – nature is the most beautiful view; let your child look at the skies, the trees and¬†the birds.

7. “The phone”¬†like you once knew it enters another dimension. While you may have enjoyed phone conversations in the past, this is definitely something that stays in the past. You have no time, no hands and no patience for phone calls. You have better things to do. Oh and did you also curse out loud anyone calling you between 6 and 8 pm?

8. “Knowledge is power, ignorance is loss” Being a mom feels like playing chess: you always have to think and prepare for the next step or more. There are no two days the same, everyday is something new. And if you like routine and have trouble with change, here’s another challenge for you: you barely have time to adjust to the current¬†schedule¬†that you already have to adapt the next. But what helped me through all stages was to be and stay informed, to read and learn about what happens physically and emotionally. Unfortunately too many ignorant people will teach you lessons and too many myths are accepted as facts.

9. “Loneliness”¬†It feels like there is a women-mommy code not to talk about the difficulties ahead during the first year until you bring it up retroactively. You’re lonely and alone when you need to talk: your friends without babies assume you have no more right to complain (I used to think like this too) and your friends with kids¬†have no time. Luckily some friends stick around and some new bonds are being made. I don’t feel as lonely as I used to since Nellie is in my life.

10.¬†“The others” The amount of justifying you have to do towards others. How many times have I had to explain¬†“No, my baby¬†doesn’t take a¬†pacifier. She sucks her thumb and it is fine. She self soothes and uses it when she’s tired or hungry. And no it will not ruin her teeth.” AND we can see her face on photos. And so many more examples I force myself not to share. Not to focus on the negative and bad vibes. Just learn your lesson and move on knowing your truth.

During the first few months “colics” and “teething” are the code word for every cry. And we worry. And yes basically it can only be 4 things: tired, hungry/thirsty, pain, diaper. But I believe in Aletha Solter’s approach. Babies need to cry to let their feelings/nerves/frustrations/anxieties/fears out and we must show them that it is okay to feel strong emotions and that crying is the way to express them. Instead of grabbing for a toy for distraction. How about telling your baby “it is OKAY to cry, I am here for you” instead of rocking and jumping while saying “don’t cry don’t cry”. They need to feel it is okay to cry and that we are here to love, hug and protect them. With time you won’t be scared of tears and cries anymore; you will know how to interpret them¬†and sooth calmly. Babies are the reflections of us, if we keep cool they will stay cool too.¬†

Maybe it’s because I gave birth at a more mature age¬†but this first year I spend it all¬†with my baby. She has rearranged my list of priorities. Luckily I feel I’ve had more than enough time for myself, my work and other achievements and¬†occupations; and I feel more available and devoted to spend most of my time with her “cause I don’t wanna miss a thing”. I’m also blessed to have a few precious people around me to help when work gets crazy (show business).This precious time is unique and we can never get it back. If i leave her for more than 2-3 hours i already miss her like crazy.

That first birthday party is not only a celebration of¬†the baby’s 1st year. It’s also a major milestone for us mothers. We deserve a hug, a pat on a back and seeing our babies growing and glowing is the best reward. Like a graduation from Mommycollege. Being thrown into parenthood was like moving to a new country without knowing the language. You just learn it by practicing and speaking it. And you learn that your baby is there to help you and guide you, if you let her, if you connect to her. Maybe she taught me more than i taught her. To let go and trust her. They know best what they need.

Oh and don’t forget to dance a lot… and sing… and laugh…

*Previous post “Reflections on Motherhood part 1 – the first three months…” ¬†Read it here

Focus on · Personal

I’m a mom now…

Reflections on Motherhood part 1 – the first three months…
It’s been a long time since I have written a post. But I have a good excuse: I had a baby. Her name is Nellie, she’s now 3 months young; growing and glowing. You’d think I’d have more time to write now? WRONG. Therefore I decided it’s time to share some precious information regarding pregnancy, childbirth and the beginning of this new life and your new title ‘Mom’. Despite the fact that I was well surrounded by experienced friends and family, there are still many things I didn’t realize or maybe didn’t want to truly hear. So let’s start with breaking a few myths:

1. “Maternity Leave” cong√© de maternit√©, zwangerschapsverlof or ◊ó◊ē◊§◊©◊™ ◊ú◊ô◊ď◊Ē all have the word leave, cong√©, verlof in them: there is none of that for you these first few months. It’s the hardest work you’ve ever done. Physically and mentally. Period. And it’s my first child.

2. “You go to sleep when the baby sleeps.” No you don’t because during that time you have to: cook, clean, eat, shower, shit, arrange, run errands, see visitors, be social and any other activity you’re supposed to do. And the first few days after giving birth you are insomniac anyways.

3. “It is¬†love at first sight.”¬†No, it’s not. It takes time to learn and to love. Yes you are so excited and overwhelmed when you finally get to hold that baby in your arms. That baby you have been waiting for for so long. That baby you imagined, seen on the ultrasound and wondered¬†how it will come out. That baby that kicked your belly for months. That baby you’ve been talking to in the street while passers-by¬†were wondering if you were crazy. There have been loads of psychology books written about it, some call it ‘baby blues’¬†etc but fact is:¬†there’s a transition between the imaginary baby and the real baby. It takes time to understand what has happened and it can feel empty despite what people are willing to admit. And don’t forget: you are tired from giving birth even if you had the easiest delivery¬†ever. And yes, the hormones… And then everyday, ¬†you learn to love her more and more and more and cannot imagine what life was like¬†before she came – and mine is only 3 months now… The attachment, love and care grow daily…

4. “It must be gas/colic” Everyone has an opinion and will tell you what to do, especially those who have children of course. I could write a whole post on this: in the name of what do people allow themselves to tell you things? I’m sure they don’t have bad intentions, but don’t they know how annoying it is. Do I tell others what I think of the way they dress or talk? NO so?? In the first few weeks it will stress you out the most because it may not work on your baby and you don’t know what those cues and cries mean. It’s only after 6 – 8 weeks that your mommy confidence is slowly but surely getting strong enough to be able to say out loud: “I know my baby and I know what is best for her”. So then those comments get even more annoying. I just try to stay nice. And for you and yourself: it is a process of trial and error. You have to try what works best for you two. And not freak out because you cannot trust your gut feeling from day one. It is by overcoming crises that you gain this confidence. And what worked yesterday may not work today.

5. “What? You haven’t read this book?” Same rule applies for books. Knowledge is power, it is great to be informed indeed and maximize your knowledge of facts. But again, a lot of these books will make you stress out and put you in a constant state of guilt when your baby doesn’t match the guidelines or doesn’t reacts in the same way as the book says. For instance how many hours a day a baby sleeps, whether or not she takes pacifiers, how much she should eat etc. Again, with time it will reconfirm itself: mothers know best

6. “Food, food, food” When you breastfeed* you are hungry, very very¬†HUNGRY. Hungry at another level. I couldn’t eat much during my pregnancy because my stomach was upside down and I had a lot of heartburn so woohoo I didn’t gain weight (only 9kg in total) and woohoo I am catching up on food now.¬†¬†So you will obsess about food and preferably good healthy food in order to produce good milk. But as you have no time to go buy and cook it, you will appreciate the good people around you helping out with that: bringing food, cooking in your house and storing it. I’m not so good with the freezer, I usually open it years later when it’s too late while cleaning it out with my mom. You will hate anyone who comes to visit and doesn’t offer to bring something to eat – even if they bring baby gifts. And you will remember this months later too. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† *a footnote on breastfeeding: just like many other challenges that come with motherhood, breastfeeding will feel like the best feeling ever and worst feeling ever. Especially in the first few days, again, it is a skill to learn and yes your instincts will help but it’s not all natural from day one. Whomever says it is, may not be completely honest. Doctors, nurses and friends or family may have good intentions but can raise the pressure: for good milk you need good nutrition, lots of fluids and sleep –> SLEEP: n¬į2 already mentioned it:¬†no you don’t sleep. Vicious cycle.

7. “So what do you do all day?”¬†You will forever hate the person asking this. But I used to think the same I admit. All the cliches are true and you don’t understand things until they happen to you. To answer the question partly: just the breastfeeding can give you an idea: if you feed 8 √† 10 times for about 30 minutes, and add to that burping, pumping etc. you have already filled ¬†at least 6 out of 24 hours. That’s half a day isn’t it? Got it?

8. “What now?”¬†During pregnancy you are well surrounded by your doctor, your nurse, your apps and your midwife or doula. You even have classes that prepare you for giving birth, breastfeed etc. Where is the class that prepares you for what comes AFTER? All of a sudden, you go home from the hospital and are thrown to the lions. Long live Google to find out what happens to your body, to your baby etc in those first few weeks. But accept that the overwhelment lasts and can make you feel completely out of balance, even depressed.

9. “You have to put your baby on a schedule” Newborns don’t have a schedule, they don’t even know the difference between night and day, so chillax your brain, instead of trying to force all kind of tricks to get your baby in to a routine, take your time and let it happen naturally in the coming months. So the schedule thing is for later. Again, don’t fight it. (Easier said than done, I know that). Most women I know are strong independent women who are used to control their lives. A baby is the ultimate challenge there: you learn you cannot plan your day like you used to. And your daily happiness is based on matters like: did I manage to finish brushing my teeth, eating my breakfast, knitting one more line etc.

10. “Why is the baby crying?”¬†Babies cry. They just do. There are the basic needs like ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’m tired’, ‘I’m dirty’ like you read in most books. But there are also many other reasons babies cry. Keep in mind that just like in adulthood, tears are made to release tensions and let emotions out, babies do the same. We need to let them cry – still haven’t exactly figured out how to do that.

10 random tips I’d like to share:

1. Keep a book where you write everything down because with time you forget things. I am keeping a book for my baby that started with the predictor pregnancy test and in which I write daily or weekly. Nellie’s first bath, Nellie’s sleeping schedule, her size, her weight, her smiles, her toys etc. My thoughts, facts etc. Think about the amazing memories for later. My mom made one for me and I thank her for it every day.

2. Make space in your cameras, computers and iPads¬†because you’re gonna fill it up with many photos.

3. The beginning of this new life is filled with ambivalences and contradictions: a. time goes by fast and slowly at the same time. b. you are bored and super busy at the same time. c. you’re the happiest and the saddest you’ve ever been, all this in one day – or even in one hour in the first few weeks. And once you passed the 3 months milestone, it gets better they say. And worse I add. Contradictions.

4. Remember: Nothing comes completely naturally, it takes time to settle in and just remind yourself you are doing as good as you can. Easier said than done, I know.

5. The first 6 weeks are not about happiness, they are about survival, you only care for primary needs: eat sleep shit – double check you buttoned your shirt, brushed your teeth and have no spit up on you those first few weeks when leaving the house

I also borrowed a few funny tips from this lady Adriel Booker, she made a list of 100 tips for pregnancy, birth and motherhood:

69. Your baby will sleep through the night sometimes… and when he does you will have insomnia.

78. There will be days where you cry as much as your baby. This is normal. There will also be days when you cry more than your baby. This is also normal. 

85. Keep in mind that immunizations are harder for mama than for baby.

88. Always try to leave five minutes earlier than you need to. Then you will only be five minutes late to wherever you’re going (instead of ten) after you’ve changed the pooey diaper that inevitably happens when you’re walking out the door.

90. Doing a load of laundry, folding it, and putting it away all within the same day will make you feel like wondermom. (Go ahead and congratulate yourself and tweet about it when you accomplish this.)

So to end this personal piece: enjoy your pregnancy and get as much rest as you can. Being pregnant is the best excuse ever to be lazy. I enjoyed every stage despite sometimes being impatient, worried and anxious. But that’s my nature anyhow. Only in the last trimester did I really start thinking and preparing for birth (class, books, doula etc) and preparing the home (nursery, baby accessories etc). I couldn’t really think of what would be AFTER giving birth and maybe that’s for the best, I don’t know. We just passed the 3-month milestone and every day means more happiness and more¬†challenges. Trial and error once again.

Oh and also, try to calculate not to be highly pregnant in August – especially if you live in Israel. And we had a war on top of it all this August! You will probably go through a roller coaster of emotions due to fatigue and hormones; spontaneous cries for all and nothing. Enjoy it and let it flow.

Feel free to contact me if you want to share your personal story. We all need to be encouraged and hugged. We all deserve some understanding and a shoulder to cry on. Our guys can be amazing, but can they really understand what we women are experiencing here? In the past when asked who I admire and who are my inspirations, I had no answers. Now I know: Mothers. I’m just one of those who need to talk about it and let it out. How come I never see them crying in public? It’s a pity many ¬†have¬†to experience this alone and in solitude.

And to end, here¬†is another nice article to read at night by another mommy blogger called Megan Minneman Morton “Mommy, Somebody Needs You”

photos by Yariv Fein


Growing up or growing old?

Recently i turned 29. This means i’m in the last year of my irresponsible life, where i can casually keep it immature without people judging me for it. However, i feel things are changing: i can’t go out and party anymore like i used to. Usually around 2am i’m either dead tired (or dead drunk, as the amount of alohol needed to get drunk decreased a lot). I rather stay home on a Friday night with a good movie (asked me this 5 years ago i’d be like: hell no!). Most of my girlfriends from University are married or slowly getting there. And according to my Facebook newsfeed: 2012-2013 has been a very sexual active year since half my facebook friends recently got babies. It also means i’m almost 30 and being single in this society when you are a girl + 30: that’s a whole different thing.


So what do single girls in their¬†almost thirties do? They get reality checks. Cause somehow whenever a girl hits that 3.0 mark it’s a bullet train ride: get a decent guy, get married, get some kids, get a house, get a .. life? Yeah, society pulled that little trick on us ages ago, and in the great evolution “from housewife to who’s wife?” this is the one thing we forgot to get rid of. And the pressure of what is generally expected, weighs on me like an elephant on a mouse. Cause, seriously, what do i want from life? Do i want the perfect husband? The perfect family? Does that even exist? In my opinion, perfect husbands died with Clark Gable (they are literally Gone with the Wind). And a perfect family? Being raised between kids with divorced parents and later ending up one myself, I simply can’t believe in perfection. It just does not exist. And even if it does, it’s not what i want. I want imperfection cause that’s what interests me. It really does. Perfection is boring. But then what do i get? Imperfect relationships? Intense acquaintances? Impossible situations? When i was only just in my twenties, impossible relations were okay. Cause when you’re young you can allow yourself to have fun and most of all: you can allow yourself to get your heart broken. But the older i get, the more i get to know myself and the more i want to stay true to the person i am becoming. I think more before i act. My voice of reason usually speaks louder than my heart or desire. I accept more and i accept less at the same time. I am less selfish and i understand that things can’t always go like i want them to, but on the other hand i protect myself more and therefor accept less bullshit. Or don’t i? I genuinely believe i am growing, and at the same time i find myself in situations where i’m pulling myself in every direction as long as i don’t have to face the biggest fear of all: What if i End up Alone. Panic Attack.


We live in an era where everything is blurred. On one hand we all want to feel free. More and more young people start their own businesses to be free from a boss, we all want to travel the world, and a lot of us don’t want to commit to anything. This is understandable. In a generation where speed is a principle, more than a tool, we can’t commit, because every day might bring something new. A new challenge, a new project, a new job, a new person. Why should we commit to one person, when you can go on the internet and easily communicate with millions of people from all over the world. Look at our phones: we have so many different apps to chat or to publicly display our life: whatsapp, facebook, imessage, email, instagram, facetime… Even a plain old text is getting out of fashion. And sending out texts means wanting an immediate response. Time has no meaning anymore. Time seriously does not exist. Months have become minutes and days have become seconds. The last few years on the other hand, due to economic crisisses, we started to feel limited in our freedom. Suddenly we realised that stability is not such a bad thing. We started to appreciated old values again. But did that change our lifestyle? Did it slow us down? I don’t think so. I think it left us even more confused. We want to go there, but also stay here. We want to feel safe, but we need to feel challenged at the same time. We want to be happy, but we can’t be happy with what we have, we always want more.¬† And this is how i experience my ‚Äúrelationships” as well. Everything goes so fast, and before i know it i find myself in that same old awkward situation: “where do we go from here? what the hell am i doing?”. We are not together, we are not “apart”. But do we want to be “a part of” eachother?¬† How do we get there? Yes, hitting 29 got me thinking. A lot. And i still haven’t figured it out. Should we go back to pre-Clark Gable time? It wasn’t all perfect either back then, but at least there was some feeling of security. I don’t know actually what i want. Good thing i have another year to figure it all out.