Inspiring motherhood

Woohoo I am happy to present you the first Swiss mother here on my column! So please everyone welcome Sophie (btw I love your name, great choice -can you tell your parents :)?)

Hi dear. How are you and how is life?

Hey Mama Leone. I am fine and life is beautiful. :) Although I do miss the sun, this summer has been more rain than sunshine here in Switzerland … Well, the more I enjoy every moment in which the sun comes out. 😉

 Where do you live and can you show us a pic of your base?

I live in Bern, which is the capital of Switzerland. It’s a small and green city with a river that flows around it. 

How do you live? Can you tell us a bit about your lifestyle 

 I currently live in a small apartment in the city with my partner, our daughter and our cat, but we are trying to find a place with a garden, so we can grow our own vegetables and fruits. To satisfy our current need for veggies (which we eat tons of), we get a basket full of goodies from the farmer every week, a so called planned economy project.

 We are a vegan family and very passionate about it. For those who don’t know: vegan means we don’t eat, wear or exploit animals. We help organize vegan summer festivities and participate in protests against vivisection and many more. For me being a vegan is the most natural thing to do.  Since I’ve read and seen for myself all the terrible stories and facts about how we treat and use animals for our own advantages, not showing them any kind of respect or dignity, I know that I do not want to be part of this cruelty. For me animals are beings with souls that have a right to live and be free. They are not worth less than we are. However, I do believe that everyone should follow his or her own path and I respect other opinions and lifestyles. 

 I also love to do Yoga and dream of maybe becoming a Yoga Teacher sometime in the future. Yoga makes me feel light and free and helps me to let go of negative thoughts and fears. It taught me how to calm down, how to sit quietly and just be (although I still struggle sometimes with the sitting-still part ;)) I truly believe in the healing powers of Yoga, it brings our body and soul into balance. 

 All in all,  I am a very happy person :-) I like to laugh and enjoy life and what it has to offer. I have a lot of ideas and dreams that I try to follow and make come true. I love to spend time with my family and friends, to eat delicious dinners together, drink wine, listen to music and talk. My boyfriend and I both come from big families with lots of siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Luckily most of them live in the same town as we do, so we see them a lot. 😉

How is motherhood and what surprised you most about it?

Motherhood has been a wonderful and also challenging journey so far. It is the most beautiful thing to take care of another being, to grow it in your belly, give birth to it and love it for the rest of your life. I don’t really know what surprised me the most, to be honest. Maybe how much love I have for my daughter, how I can have tons of patience on one day and none on another, what a loving and caring father my partner is, how time flies as soon as you have a kid … I guess I could go on forever, it all surprised me and still does. 😉 

Do you work besides your fulltimejob being a mother? 

Yes. I was still a student when I got pregnant and had just started my master’s degree in law. So when my daughter was born, I still had one year of studies to do. Luckily, I didn’t have many courses left in order to finish. I mostly studied at home and just went to take my exams at the end of each semester.

Now (my daughter turns 1 in September :))  I have finished my master’s and took on a part-time job as a research assistant to a law professor at my university. I am very free with my hours, I can chose on which days I work and if I want to go to the office or work from home, so this is great advantage for me and my daughter. :)  When I’m not there my partner takes care of our daughter (he works part-time as a gardener) or our moms babysit. And of course I use the time when my daughter takes her midday nap to work, write my doctor thesis and clean the house.  

What is your passion? 

Well, I have many. They also change from time to time as I can find an interest in almost everything. I like to „use my brain“, read and learn. I am the logical, keen thinker kind of type but I also have a creative and spiritual side. Unfortunately I am not very gifted when it comes to the arts, I can’t sing, play an instrument, paint, draw or anything familiar very well. But I love to read. From classics to modern literature, fiction or non-fiction. So I’d say reading or literature is my passion. I also love to listen to audio books.

 I am very passionate about living a healthy life. I like to do sports (running, body pump, swimming) and I care about healthy food. We are what we eat, literally. So I prefer to eat healthy.  I try to eat a lot of vegetable and fruits and stay away from too much processed food. I prefer food that gives me energy and makes me feel good (but of course I also indulge in not so healthy goodies from time to time, as long as it’s vegan ;))

Other passions of mine are Yoga (as I wrote before), Ayurveda, tarot cards (I am still learning to read them though) and spending time at our little mountain hut.

Oh and I dream of traveling around the world for a few month or maybe a year with my partner, our daughter and (hopefully) our future children.

Can you give us some mama – advice?

I think my advice would be to trust your instincts. Talk with other mothers and fathers, with your family, doctors and midwifes,  ask questions, do research if you are unsure. But most of all: trust yourself and your baby, listen to what it tells you and enjoy being a Mama! :)

 There are many ways to raise and love a child, many pro and contras for all the different opinions, thus every mother has to find her own path, the one she feels good with. Here are some things that worked for us, maybe it makes sense to other Mamas too:

  • Babywearing: Our daughter cried a lot as a newborn and she hated to be in the stroller, so we carried her everywhere. A good wrap or baby carrier that you feel comfortable with and is safe for your baby can work wonders. I love to wear/carry my daughter. For the swiss parents who read this: I can very much recommend the Luemai (www.tragebaby.ch): Beautiful, unique, handmade baby carriers that are the best for your baby! I don’t know whether they also ship worldwide though.
  •  Montessori: When I discovered Montessori, I was so happy and intrigued by it, because its ideas and principles make so much sense to me. The Montessorieducation focuses on the child’s individuality and encourages self-dependence, believing that every child has an innate path in psychological development. It’s very interesting and can give one some new inspiration on how to raise or live with children. For the german-speaking mothers I can recommend the following two books:  Lieben – Ermutigen –  Loslassen von Heidi Maier-Hauser – Kinder fördern nach Montessori von Tim Heldin and the Mama-Blog ElternvomMars

They have good advice on how to deal with certain situation, funny games for the little ones to discover their five senses and a lot more. What we  try to implement in our home is to create space for our daughter that allows her to do as much as possible by herself. For example, we have a small table and chair for her, we keep her toys in small baskets on the floor and she also sleeps on a mattress on the floor (like we do), so she can crawl out of her bed and play if she wants to (which is really nice for me in the morning, haha ;)). 

 What do you do in a difficult moment?

I try to stay calm and think clear. Of course, I don’t always succeed, sometimes I catch myself raising my voice or getting angry. If I reach this point, I take a step back or leave the room if possible and breathe. If my partner is around I let him take over. We had a lot of difficult moments in the first two months as our daughter used to cry a lot (we don’t know why, but I think it is because of the traumatic 72h that she spend at the neonatalogy, even if it was necessary). All you can do in such a situation is to be there for them, carry them close to your body and stay calm. 

What do you do in a difficult moment?

I try to stay calm and think clear. Of course, I don’t always succeed, sometimes I catch myself raising my voice or getting angry. If I reach this point, I take a step back or leave the room if possible and breathe. If my partner is around I let him take over. We had a lot of difficult moments in the first two months as our daughter used to cry a lot (we don’t know why, but I think it is because of the traumatic 72h that she spend at the neonatalogy, even if it was necessary). All you can do in such a situation is to be there for them, carry them close to your body and stay calm. 

What inspires you about being a mother? 

Everything! Being pregnant, giving birth and raising a child brings up so many new topics and questions that I never thought about before. It’s a whole new world to discover, a new responsibility and also a chance to discover your own childhood again. My partner and I often talk about our memories, how we saw the world as a child and suddenly I remember little things again that I had forgotten about. Also my daughter inspires me to be a good example for her and to follow my dreams and my beliefs. I love being a mother and I hope to have more children in the future. 

And I get inspired by all the other Mammas out there, those I know in real life and the ones I see a glimpse of their lives on IG or the web (yay to mama blogs!).

How are you different and alike your own mother? 

That is a good question.  It’s interesting how you suddenly see your parents with different eyes when you have children on your own. Well, I think I am very different to my mother when it comes to what I feed my daughter (although she has almost become a vegan too now) and academic medicine (I prefer homeopathy and alternative medicines). Also my mother is a very selfless person, she did everything for us, her children, supported us and put herself and her dreams in the background. I cannot say that I am the same. I would do everything for my daughter of course and will always support her, but I think a lot about myself too! 😉 

I also see a lot of similarities though: the way we interact with babies and children and the patience. We both love birth stories (my mom has a lot of them as she is a midwife) and we like to meet up for a coffee at our favorite café & bookstore in town.

Even if I plan to do a few things differently when it comes to my children and even if I don’t always agree with her, she was the best Mamma to me and I hope to be and become as good a mother as she is.

Thank you beautiful mommy for showing us a bit of your beautiful life! Oh and please tell your man how much we adore babywearing-dads 😉 ! <3

Lots of love, Mama Leone.

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