I am so grateful for the Luxmama Club. I am so grateful that I have somewhere to turn when things look hard or when I don’t know where to find the answer. My only wish is that I had known about them before I became a parent.
I grew up in Luxembourg so I never consulted the English speaking community much. I tried to be stay up to date with the Danish community but with everything else I tried to be as local as I could.
Having my first son was not the piece of cake I had hoped it was. I wasn’t given the right help or support that I had hoped for, so my birthing experience was far from good. I had read all about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding from Danish sources and was mildly shocked when I understood that things work very differently down here.
When it was time to have my second son I thought it could be a good idea to see what the English community was offering and that is when I found the Luxmama Club. In the beginning I was a tad hesitant and maybe a little standoffish when it became too holistic or green or environmental for my taste – I mean sometimes it is purely about survival… but these fears quickly disappeared when I saw and experienced how nice everyone was and how open minded people were about doing things differently. The Luxmama community is so diverse with people from all over the world so there are bound to be clashes, but everyone seems to give each other space to be as we are. And, truth be told, we do need to look better after our environment, with all the disposable nappies, plastic bottles and what not…
For me, the Luxmama community is the village we need in order to raise our children, because it does take a village! I am not very good at asking for help, so it took a while before I realised that being a parent, especially to multiple children simply cannot be done without asking for help. Even one child can be highly challenging. Not only asking for help is difficult, but also receiving help nobody has asked for can be very hard.
When I was in the first months of baby bliss I was shocked by my new sleepless existence and how far we can go without actually sleeping, but at some point the ball drops and our bodies simply won’t play along anymore.
How nice would it be if we wouldn’t have to let it go so far? If it was completely natural that someone comes over with a hot homemade meal without any strings attached. Or someone was coming by to take the baby out for a walk so it could get some fresh air while mummy could just be herself for a little while. Maybe even do some chores, maybe shower!!, or just clean or tidy up the house? How nice would that have been?
When the second baby arrived things really got out of control. Not only was there even less sleep – is that even possible? Yes it was… and as parents, we have to split ourselves into several people. Both my boys needed attention from me, how was I supposed to handle that?
One of my big struggles was that the bigger kid was going to crèche and my rule was that he was not allowed to stay there longer than x number of hours. It felt cruel to me to let him stay any longer. So when I had to pick him up, it was usually during naptime of the other kid. How was I supposed to handle that? Disrupt a sleeping baby, which I think is a terrible thing to do. Any parent knows or should know not to disturb a sleeping baby – when they finally freaking sleep!! Am I right? Or should I go against my principles and let the big kid stay in crèche longer? Which kid would win? Who was more important? Impossible questions. How nice would it had been if I could have a grandparent, a neighbour or friend nearby who could just be there while I pick up the other kid? This would also help with not having to take the baby in and out of the freaking child seat… am I right? But this is the not the world we live in, so we have to adapt. Sometimes the baby would win, but more often than I care to admit I had to wake up my sleeping baby. Aiihhh the guilt.
It is always about choices. For instance baby should be laying flat on his back most of the time for healthy spine development, but the safest way to travel in a car is having the baby in a maxi cosi, so what should you choose? Or should we take public transport everywhere we go risking that some places are not handicap friendly? Which, it turns out, they are not.
The first months I never had a warm meal, because baby always needed my attention during dinner. I was the one with the boobs, I couldn’t really give them away, could I? Although I really wanted to. I remember during pregnancy I was thinking, if I could just not be pregnant, just for a little while, just to have a break. Like hanging a jacket on the rack and put it back on when I was ready. But the alien inside my belly was stuck with me and I with him, nowhere to drop him off.
These are only some of the issues I was facing with my baby and I had a healthy happy baby, I don’t even want to think about those that struggle with diseases or other. On top of that we actually do have 3 grandparents here to help us out… and I still feel that I needed or need a village! The kids are getting older and new challenges arise and the village is still needed!
Even if in today’s world we have come so much closer with social media and easier travel methods, we have come so far away from each other.
Just the other day at a bellies and booties get-together a mother was complaining about
never having any time for herself! She was clearly deeply in love with her baby girl, but she was so missing a little time for herself – MAMA, we hear you!! If we had a village community this would happen less and less.
In the spirit of Christmas why don’t we come together and help each other out? Do you know someone who is about to be a parent or just became a parent? Becoming a parent is hard work and it can be so hard to ask for help. It can be such small things as helping a tired parent get his/her pushchair out of the bus, or offer to hold a crying baby while mother is trying to find her wallet in her oversized bag that is now filled with baby stuff and no longer has lip-gloss and a compact mirror. Or offering your neighbour to help out with their kids when they need it.
To new parents I have to say that it is never too late to build your village. If you are alone here in Luxembourg with limited friends and no family I urge you to reach out to a mom’s community. Even if you do have family and friends, like I have, you still will benefit from a village. You do not have to face these challenges alone. If you are feeling what you are feeling, I bet you someone else is feeling the exact same thing! Please don’t wait until the ball drops, reach out now. It is completely OK to think parenthood is hard because it is! And we do not need to do it alone. We are here for you!
Finally and probably most importantly let’s support each other in our journey of parenthood. We all come from different countries and we all have different customs that we agree with or not, this doesn’t matter. We are all parents and we all love our children more than life itself. We all want what is best for our children! Let’s stand together!
From everyone here at Luxmama:
We wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here is to a new beginning and to creating that village!
More about the Author
Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. She helps her clients deal with the overwhelm of parenthood. Through diet and lifestyle changes she motivates and encourages her clients to live their best live. She helps her clients lose weight, gain more energy, increase quality of sleep and finally feel awesome about themselves!
Struggling with weight herself for most of her life, she can truly relate to her clients and offers a safe space to talk about issues around food, body image and self-love.