Breastfeeding and me: a love story

amamentação breastfeeding

Everyone has a breastfeeding story. Out of every moment related to the birth of a baby, nothing is as polemic as breastfeeding. It’s what everyone wants to know and only some of them are cheeky enough to ask.

I know future moms who can make several claims about their unborn children: that they will be vegetarian, that they will support the local football team, that they won’t have toys. But then they become very careful and say “I’m not sure if I will breastfeed, because I don’t want that pressure”. Women are afraid. 

The current trend in social pressure is to breastfeed for a long time. Until the child rejects it, is what I’ve been hearing. I have nothing for or against. I just condemn the pressure there is out there. Any pressure is counterproductive.

The horror stories are such that we don’t even believe a happy story when we hear one. During my first pregnancy, a colleague told me she had a friend who cried when she stopped breastfeeding. It sounded over the top. But it’s more or less where I’m at.

Breastfeeding: my story

My breastfeeding story is just that: my experience. Or rather, my two experiences, distilled as one to avoid boring you.

Each one of us should make her own choices and understand what works better for her family. And everyone has her own limits. Mine is pumping milk. Unless a doctor makes me, I don’t want to do it. So, when it is time to go back to work and stop being a full time mom, the breastfeeding days approach their ending.

Beginning

In the beginning, like before a romantic date, it was all expectation. Or rather, there was the expectation, but, when the moment came, there was just the moment.

I was lucky to have pretty resourceful babies, who knew better than me what had to be done. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have my doubts. But at times, I just had to open my top and be still and they took care of it. This makes it much easier. Sending solidarity to all the moms out there for whom this is not as simple.

It was also luck not to have problems of which I had not even heard of, but of which everyone wanted to talk to me about during my pregnancy. For instance, there is a condition called inverted nipples and I’ll stop right here.

I have also heard horror stories about nurses. The one that helped us the first time was rounded and maternal. She helped. She took the baby and started explaining. I could barely wait to hold her (the baby, not the nurse) and didn’t pay much attention. The nurse pinched me, made sure I had colostrum, the first-hours milk. It’s a thick concentrated substance, which doesn’t look like it could feed any one.

But her little mouth, smaller than a coffee spoon, found the spot and bit me. I looked at the nurse and she nodded. Yes, it was normal to feel the pain. For the benefit of the dad, she said the feeling when the baby latches is like stepping on broken glass. To me it felt like tiny electrical shocks. Or the sting of several alfinetes em simultâneo. Maybe it was like stepping on broken glass with your nipples. 

In the beginning, it’s everyone’s game. Each touch is the first one, all new. You are still much more conscious of the physical side of things, than of your emotions. Everything is still tentative. And of the body. And of the hormones. Does he like it? Will I enjoy it? 

This is what goes through your mind in the beginning: do I have milk? Is the milk coming out? Is this normal? Is it supposed to hurt? Has the baby eaten enough? Are there people who take pleasure in this?

Middle

Just for fun, and because I made him, my husband bought me a Mother’s Day gift from our almost to be born daughter. He chose it. It was a white baby grow from Chicco, that said “I love Mommy”. It had a drawing of a cow. And this is all you need to know about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a lot of sitting or lying down with the baby. It’s great and magical. It’s exhausting. At times, it is frustrating. It’s a task that can’t be shared. But, like every maternity phase, the moments of intense joy and anxiety-inducing doubts are intermingled with a giant dose of monotony. Repetition. No drama. More of the same. On average, each feeding lasted for about half an hour. And they feed every three hours. You do the math.

During the first breastfeeding months, life takes the rhythm of the baby’s feedings. This blog was almost named “Between Feedings”, but I thought it could be limiting. To make the most of the feeding time, I bought books for Kindle, which I am able to read without using my hands. I also watched much more TV than I usually do (hi, The Ellen Show).

Like any relationship, familiarity brought comfort.

And then it’s routine already. I would fall asleep while breastfeeding. And then the baby is on dad’s ou auntie’s lap and tries to feed and everyone laughs. And then the baby is old enough to get distracted and your boob is hanging out until His Excellency refocuses on his meal. And then the baby seems to open your blouse himself to get there faster. And then the baby puts his little hand over your boob while feeding. And then the baby cries or dad gets romantic and your nipples start working. 

End

In my son’s first hour of life, we were lying down in the hospital, just the two of us. I was on my side, just sewn. He was also on his side. He fed with his eyes closed, in little bites, like the mammal he was. I stretched in the direction of his mouth. I looked at the eyelashes of that wrinkled face and focused on directing all my love to the nipple. I wanted to know him and for him to know me. I wanted to feed him and make him feel I was there. We had to get used to that new dynamic.

Here’s what no one tells you about breastfeeding: it’s a kind of superpower.

This week, almost six months later, a similar scene. Both of us lying on our sides, I already scarred. He was feeding, in his focused silence, with his eyes closed. He didn’t bite anymore, but took big efficient gulps. My little mammal had grown up. I stopped reading and stared at his lashes. We will have to get used to the new dynamic.

Weaning. So many contexts and this is the literal one. To think that he will never again eat from me, in me. It’s a kind of relief and a kind of sadness at the same time. A kind of saudade already. Who knew it would be so good. Or it is just like any relationship: you miss the good parts and forget the bad ones.

Just because a story ends, it doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.

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Rushed parents, stressed children (Mário Cordeiro book review)

Mário Cordeiro pais apressados filhos stressados

Note: this post contains my free translations from the Portuguese edition of “Pais apressados, filhos stressados”, a book by Mário Cordeiro.

First impressions

“Pais apressados, filhos stressados” (Desassossego, 2019) seemed like the title of a lighter book, like a self-help thing. Still, it was written by Mário Cordeiro, who I find interesting.

It’s a book about the use of time. How not to be its slave and get into the “hurry up” dynamic that affects us all. But the tone is hopeful: there’s almost always something that we can do to decide how we want to live. It’s an easy read, but embedded with deep ideas that point us towards serious reflections.

Rushed parents, stressed children

The author worries about the frantic rhythm in which the current society lives. And the harmful impact on the children, adults and families. The importance and benefits of living more calmly apply also to the adults/parents.

A part of the book adopts a more scientific tone. There are incursions about Man’s evolution and about the way our bodies work. Besides, the author uses the voice of “characters” who present credible points which are immediately recognisable. For instance, the father who feels that if he isn’t the one yelling at the rest of the house, they’ll all be late. Or the child who only cries until getting to school and is fine during the rest of the day. Or even the family dog.

We rush so much, for instance, that we don’t even value the knowledge and wisdom of the elderly anymore. Human beings are one of the species in which the non-fertile period (old age) is proportionately longer. That would have to have some purpose, in the context of evolution, which we are wasting and undervaluing arrogantly.

Each child – and each family – has its own rhythm, so parents should provide a sense of route, not an obligation of speed.

Mário Cordeiro

The big issues

that which makes us human is art, creativity, calm, reflection, contemplation and love

Mário Cordeiro

The author reminds us that we risk becoming robots, if we do not preserve our humanity. And, like Isabel Stilwell underlines in the preface, what makes us human is incompatible with the “narcisic desire to be everything and to have everything”.

Adding to this trend, human beings have an “instinctive need” to want control. This is because we are fragile but intelligent. We know time passes, which generates conflict.

The idea that is being pushed that we are narcisic gods, omnipotent, who “want it all, now” and that we shall have it because “we are entitled everything!” and all of this because “I am me”, is a fantasy, an illusion, a lie. LIE! In each moment of our lives we are choosing.

Mário Cordeiro

But let’s not forget that we are free, we don’t have to be slaves to the frantic way of life! We have more degrees of freedom to change our life than we think. Watching the news in repeat, watching TV shows, or spending time on social media are choices we make. What we can’t do, is having it all, like the author says.

Time is the rarest and most precious thing we have. So, exchanging goods for time is winning. For instance, having a smaller house which enables a shorter commute. “In our daily lives, winning time is winning the lottery.” Precisely.

How do we make our children acquire competencies, develop talents, express themselves “up to the last drop of humanity” and, at the same time, wishing them a tranquil, calm, peaceful life?

Mário Cordeiro

The bedtime stories

It’s one of the activities most reccommended by the author. And it’s a reflexion of what the book promotes. Reading stories should be a slow and paused process. We should let children change the story, not demand their submission. Their contributions are a reflexion of their concerns, which they need to have addressed. Besides, more than the plot, story time lets kids know the parents are there. That mindful presence is the most valuable part.

Mário Cordeiro refers to the bedtime story as an “opportunity that cannot be wasted”. It’s a “mix of tenderness, joy, rest, leading to sleep and creativity”.

Another goal of the stories is the “reposition of the ethical logic”. Good and evil must be clearly distinguishable and the good might as well win.

Other ideas to think about

“Pais apressados, filhos stressados” is a multi-disciplinary book. Here follow other interesting topics approached in the book:

  • Reflection on cities: “the idea that cities are a very dangerous place is exaggerated”, since, excluding some risks and with the right planning, cities can be pleasant places to live.
  • Noise causes stress, sleep and dream disturbances, irritability, hypertension. Artificial man-made sounds are much worse than natural ones (the rain, sea waves).
  • There are complements to activities we are doing that “open up horizons in our neurones”. For instance, the author was listening to Bach on Youtube while writing this book. On the other hand, anything that puts us in a state of monotony and turns us into “acephalous and repetitive machines” is bad.
  • The value and the merits of walking, specially without a pre-determined destination. It’s a habit that enables us to be mindful of ourselves and that we have a body. It is a dehumanisation to feel the obligation to go outside only to purchase something.

Going out without a euro in your pocket would be weird… but it should be normal, when we go outside for a walk, to walk, to do the most health-beneficial human activity there is, the most global and organised. Walking beats the hell out of activities like “going to the gym for two hours a week”.

Mário Cordeiro
  • Meals are a privileged moment for family conversation, socialising and sharing feelings. Having said this, meals in restaurants with kids should not be too long, because it is exhausting for the children.

Meal time is a great protective moment against the risks that threat our mental as well as physical and nutritional health.

Mário Cordeiro

Mini issues mentioned

The author has thought a lot about all these issues. So, the book mentions many more ideas, concerning which much could be said.

  • The importance of parents getting involved in the education and even scholar experience of their children.
  • The negative attitude of some parents: “what a great mother I am” vs “I have great children”.
  • The benefits of not overloading our children with extracurricular activities. It is critical to have time to rest, sleep, play and be with the family on the weekend. Having commitments every Saturday at 9am could be counterproductive.
  • Do not overstimulate the kids: it may cause emotional problems.
  • Valuing life’s little pleasures (on a personal note, it is one of my main challenges). The author exemplifies: bike rides, going to the playground, cinema sessions on the couch.
  • Human beings evolve through a mix of what the author calls “adrenalin poles” and “endorphin poles”. Without rest and pleasure, there is no humanity, nor growth.
  • We should not be slaves to our mobile phones. Today people assume that just because they are calling or texting us, we have to answer.

Let’s relax, be happy and let them enjoy their childhood in a balanced way, with no demands or obligations.

Mário Cordeiro

And also this

Funny enough, the sentence that touched me the most in the whole book was not by Mário Cordeiro:

He who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, to grasp, and to enjoy it.

Alexis de Tocqueville

In a nutshell, “Pais apressados, filhos stressados” is a book which makes you think, whether you are a parent or not. I liked it.

What abou you? / E a menina?

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35 things to do before turning 35: a bucket list

bucket list até aos 35 anos bucket list until I'm 35

35 before 35

Ah… a bucket list! Why are they so addictive? I don’t know. But sometimes I find myself doodling this kind of things on a notebook. This is my bucket list until I’m 35.

I used to have a list of things to do before turning 30. Then I turned 30. Then 31. Some of them got delayed and others just don’t make sense anymore. But I mean I feel so young. And full of potential.

I believe writing a bucket list is an act of optimism.

The list

Here is my bucket list until I’m 35:

  1. Finding the right red lipstick for my skin tone and hair colour. This is one of those that has been postponed many times. In theory, I love a red lip. In real life, mehhh. I’ll get there.
  2. Save money every month to pay back our mortgage.
  3. Go to Greece, specially to some Greek islands.
  4. Learn how to play Christmas songs on the piano. Or other songs. Basically, practice the piano, so it looks like I can play something.
  5. Create a workout routine that works with my lifestyle. Nothing too demanding or sophisticated.
  6. Visit the Douro region and the Gerês National Park in Portugal.
  7. Do some volunteer work.
  8. Take a course, even if it’s online. Anything goes: literature, art history, writing, photography.
  9. Learn how to cook more and better. Including oven dishes and creative ways to cook vegetables. That is, that take away most of that vegetable taste.
  10. Investigate options for whitening my teeth.
  11. Cutting down my wardrobe to things I actually like and use. I’m at that stage where it feels like I have too much stuff and nothing to wear.
  12. Learning how to use my DSLR camera. To get out of the auto mode.
  13. Write a short ebook, just for the challenge of it.
  14. Start doing Pilates again. My posture has never been better than when I took some private classes, some years ago.
  15. (Re)learn how to ride a bike. They say you never forget, but I’m afraid I did. And I want to be able to ride bikes with my kids.
  16. Have a bottle of champagne in the fridge to commemorate successes.
  17. Read more books by Portuguese authors. I’ve been reading in English a lot. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by how little I know about my native tongue’s writers.
  18. Make family photo albums regularly.
  19. Write my Grandfather’s story, including interviews with my Grandmother. Half biography, half family story.
  20. Do something that brings joy every day.
  21. Create a book club (or join one).
  22. Read the Bible.
  23. Decide what I’ll do about my white hairs. They have been popping up a lot recently.
  24. Take a photograph with the statue of Fernando Pessoa in Chiado (Lisbon).
  25. Stand up paddle. I said I would and I didn’t.
  26. Create a book or a file with my go-to recipes. To make it easier to get them, buy the stuff and use.
  27. Plant a tree. Or at least grow some herbs.
  28. Turn our home office into an office. Right now, it’s a multi-purpose space, meaning it works for almost anything except working.
  29. Create a date night. Or afternoon.
  30. Read books from my reading bucket list (more on this later).
  31. Learn 100 new words in Portuguese. Yes, it’s my native tongue, but I feel like my vocabulary is too limited. This works out to around 25 words per year, 2 per month.. Too ambitious?
  32. Pray more.
  33. Plan the week’s family meals (including snacks) on the weekend. At least most of them.
  34. Go to Iceland or Saint Petersburg. Or Namibia. Very different destinations, but they have a reasonable flight duration. They would work as less than 10-day trips. This is critical as, with the kids, we won’t be having 3-week trips in the near future.
  35. Keep the blog, write regularly and improve every year.

This is my bucket list until I’m 35 years old. I’ll find it funny to compare with what really happens 5 years from now.

What about you?

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Things that bring me joy: April 2019

coisas que me trazem alegria things that bring me joy

So I am reading “Hashtag Authentic”, by Sara Tasker. I am enjoying it more than I thought and will review it for sure.

One of the exercises she proposes is about paying attention to the little everyday things that give us joy. These small moments may sometimes be absent from our photos. We may tend to focus on the bigger milestone moments. But noticing them is the basis for being grateful (and having an authentic Instagram profile).

Here is a list of the tiny things that bring me joy “in my gut” right now:

  • A new book just about to be read
  • When both babies are safe and asleep and I’ve got half an hour to write (or sometimes shower)
  • A trip to be planned in the near future
  • Wearing hoop earrings
  • A pen that just slides through the paper
  • Fresh sheets that smell well
  • Sleeping without pyjamas
  • Photographing the exact moment I wanted to capture
  • Pastéis de nata and a coffee
  • Hydrated soft skin
  • Starting to wear spring/summer clothes
  • The possibility of buying almost an entire summer wardrobe for less than 100€ courtesy of Primark
  • Readings stories with my daughter
  • When my daughter wakes up and says “good morning, mum”
  • Walking outside with just enough warm wind
  • When I organize a tiny part of our house, like a kitchen drawer or the kids’ socks
  • Sushi dinners
  • Having ideas of things to do/write about
  • Watching the big tree regain its leaves from the kitchen window
  • Making lists
  • Completing tasks on my to do lists
  • When the sun is out

I think this might be a cool exercise if I do it every once in a while. I may even find out things that bring me joy that I had never considered. For instance, I never thought hoop earrings would be part of the joy list. But there you go.

I am off to buy some hoop earrings.

E a menina?

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Good answer #1: Tina Fey

Tina Fey breakfast

Tina Fey. Source: Forbes

Tina Fey gave this answer on an interview for promotion of one of her movies.

Question:

Eat breakfast or skip breakfast?

Answer:

Eat breakfast.

Then when you get to work pretend that you have not eaten breakfast and request a second breakfast.

Tina Fey

 

This is the kind of genius we’re dealing with. You can’t go wrong with Tina Fey.

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First child: 11 impacts on the return to your routine

primeiro filho first child

Yes, it’s a love fest when your first child arrives. The baby is born. A couple of months go by. Life goes on. Maybe you are back at work. And there are a few details that are brand new at this stage.

Here follow 11 impacts I felt when I returned to my pre-baby routines.

People start asking “what about the next one?”

It’s tempting to reply back “what about you?” or “what about shut up?”. You may still be breastfeeding ou in your maternity leave. But there will always be someone who’ll want to know when the next one is coming. A smile might not be enough to deter these nosy people.

Friends don’t ask about work and ask about the baby

It’s like we stopped having other dimensions or goals. We have a label on our forehead that says “mummy”. They tell us about their love lives, work and holidays. And then they ask “What about you? How’s the baby?”.

Your body gets really soft

Every thing that grew to fit the baby and its entourage shrinks. There’s skin to spare. Parts of the body that never were never soft start to be. You fear being as soft as a an old lady at thirty. Going to the gym is on the to-do list. But it ends up getting replaced by stuff like sleeping. Or “going outside to see the dog”. Or sitting on the bed, wrapped in a bath towel, looking at the wall.

You get calmer

Paradoxically, your first child being a life that depends on you, your anxiety diminishes. Your hormones work in mysterious ways, in this case for the best. It’s like there is a bigger purpose behind each day. In my case, I feel the little things don’t bother me as much.

You can do the same amount of work in less time

The productivity of women who work outside the house should be studied. They want to leave early to be with the baby before bedtime. Or you have errands to run at lunchtime that don’t fit anywhere else in your schedule. Work gets done regardless.

Everyone assumes that you’re not available at night

You start to be invited to afternoon teas. Or breakfast. You find out there was a dinner last night when you see the photos on the following day. “We didn’t tell you because with the baby and everything…”

And sometimes you really can’t (or don’t want to) go out at night

The first child is at home. And he’s the cutest baby. You’ve been away all day. The baby cries if you leave a room. 30 euros to have dinner at that place? And they said it would rain. Tomorrow it would be good to wake up early. I rest my case.

People ask wether it’s easy to juggle maternity with work

But only if you are mother. If you are a dad, people just assume you can do it. Or that you don’t care. A first child also opens this window. People feel like they are legitimate to ask personal questions. Where does she sleep, with whom. Who gets up. Kindergarten or home?

Over the weekend, your rest your head but not your back

In a regular weekend, on Sunday evening you can’t remember the world you left on Friday. And you’re already in the naps and diapers rhythm. But picking up a baby is like lifting weight with your back. If you were at the gym, and instructor would come and correct your posture. Back at home we do it with our eyes closed.

You cry over diaper commercials

These days, any old Pampers commercial makes me cry. Or anything that has babies in it. Or stories of parents and children or a child suffering. But it doesn’t need to involve suffering. The other day I cried watching a baby clapping his hands.

Watching pregnant women makes you nostalgic

You may not know if you want more kids. Or not want the second one so soon. You might have had morning sickness, heartburn, insomnia and hot flashes. You may have thrown up outside your house, because you couldn’t reach the bathroom. But a pregnant woman walks by and you miss it.

I blame hormones.

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Salvador Sobral: 3 + 3 reasons to admire him

Salvador Sobral

Salvador Sobral – Source: Facebook of the artist

I have liked Salvador Sobral from the beginning. I didn’t know him well. One interview here and there. A vague memory of his appearance in a talent show. His sister, Luísa Sobral. Up to 2 days ago, I knew little more than the song that won the Eurovision in 2017.

Salvador Sobral gave a great concert at the EDP Cool Jazz festival this year. I was lucky to have been there.I had a blast, despite the song set being almost a total surprise. For me, since I haven’t been following his career closely.

There are 3 qualities that I think anyone would recognise in Salvador Sobral:

Freedom

I think what I most admire about him is the sense of freedom which emanates from him. Is he as free as he seems to be? Ricardo Araújo Pereira describes this attitude as “a certain I-don’t-give-a-f*ckism”. It must be so good to be so free. It’s so rare. I wish.

Musicality

Salvador Sobral is a singing machine. In tune like a little bird, but more powerful and with a larger range (is that how it’s called?). He sings whatever is in front of him. His voice is unlike any other. It may sound feminine or masculine. Dry or mellow. The notes come out connected to one another, like in a rosary. Without that boring space in the middle, that sometimes comes up in other performers. It truly embraces us.

Unpredictability

With him, one is never bored. Each show, each song, each line. What’s he gonna do with it? Not even he knows and it shows. Besides, he has a great sense of humour. It all comes down as genuine. And it entertains a hell of a lot.

To these, let’s say, universal reasons to like him, I add another 3 of my own:

Relationship with his sister

It always touched me to see the relationship he has with his sister, Luísa Sobral. Maybe because it reminds me of my own relationship with my brother. She is older, he described her as “super sensible, pragmatic”. He is the young, idealist one, trying to be the less compromised version of himself every day.

Pregnancy memories

Our baby was born in the end of May, 2017. For that reason, in the last months of pregnancy, I heard “Amar Pelos Dois” many times. In the beginning it was involuntarily. When I watched the Eurovision final I was converted. I used to sing the song to the baby before she was born. Even today, when she listens to the opening of the song, she stops whatever she’s doing. And she stares, as if it reminded her of something.

Courage (or attitude)

Here I wanted to explain how much I admire his attitude in the face of the health issues he has faced. But perhaps that’s not courage. We tend to classify as courage things that are part of other people’s way of being in face of circumstances. It doesn’t even occur to them not to act like that.

But if I had had a heart transplant, I would probably chicken out. And start living in fear. Eating just lettuce or almonds. Going to bed early. Taking my vitamins and doing medical exams. Controlling myself in everything. And what kind of life would that be?

Either way, Salvador Sobral is one of the most interesting personalities we have right now in Portugal. It’s good to have artists. I’ll keep on following his work.

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Summer holiday 2018: 5 things I want to do

férias de Verão summer holiday

I am almost starting my summer holiday. Which to me means Algarve. And sea, family, walks on the wet sand, zero makeup and flip-flops.

It’s such a wanted time, that part of me just wants to leave. Without agenda or watch. But the other part, the part that enjoys making lists and that uses the pauses to reorganize thoughts, has already defined goals.

Here are 5 things that thrill me planning this summer holiday period.

Reading Einstein’s biography by Walter Isaacson

I have been planning this for years. Einstein has always left really curious. Each time I read one of his quotes I remember this book. When I was on maternity leave, National Geographic aired a series about his life. But I ended up getting distracted and not watching any complete episode.

This biography in particular interests me a great deal, because I had already read his Steve Jobs’s bio. And it’s a great book. I thought it very impartial and very thorough. He presents every element needed for us to understand the subject, but he doesn’t provide any judgement. The reader takes the conclusions. And he writes interestingly, which helps. Joining biographer and biographee, I’m sure it will be a fascinating read.

Taking pictures of family holidays

Anything with the light of the end of the day and the sea behind. We all look better. And it’s memories that is always nice to revisit. Even more so this year, which is the first Summer with the baby really open-eyed. It’s the first time she’ll wear bathing suits and try the sea. And we are all together, relaxed, and by the end we are even tanned.

Summer holiday means grilled fish

Not all restaurants do it. But we go to this place where the fish is fished on the same day, it’s not frozen. And it tastes amazing. I have a book by Portuguese chef Sá Pessoa in which he says a fish that smells like fish is no longer fresh. In order to be fresh, it has to smell like the sea. And that’s how I imagine they smell, before being cooked. After that they just really taste like fish, with olive oil and vegetables or salad. Bliss.

Walking on the beach by the sea

I do it every year. It’s the thing that I enjoy the most to do at the beach. More than laying on a beach towel toasting. More than bolas de Berlim and even more than going for a swim. I prefer the tranquil walks, parallel to the sea,  charging my batteries.

It might seem silly. But since long I have believed that the steps I take on that wet sand, sometimes with water over my feet, are the source of energy for the rest of the year. It’s not just the legs that grow stronger, there’s some kind of phenomenon that occurs inside my head. Or spirit.

Stand-up paddle

SUP for you and me. I’ve been willing to try it for a few years. It seems a cool combo of exercise and leisure. But I have managed to always find an excuse. The water is really cold. Today is windy. This swimming suit is the right one. I’m fat (I don’t know why, but this sometimes works as an excuse for things). Wasting money on this? It’s for tourists. Etc.

Then Winter comes. And between nose blows I see one of my favourite celebrities in Hola magazine paddling in a placid, greenish sea. Next Summer, that’s it, I think.

So, just like the last 3 years, this is a goal for this year’s summer holiday.

 

These are my plans. When I return, we’ll see what I managed to do, but it feels good to leave with such nice goals.

E a menina?

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The kind of mother I would like to be (and not be)

tipo de mãe kind of mother

I would really like to give my children good moments. So much, that I wonder whether I would have to be a different person to be the kind of mother I would like to be.

I don’t say “give moments” in the “women’s magazine/quality time rules/#lookatmegivingmoments” sense.

What I mean is that I think about this a lot. We play and we are there every day. We love them. But there are moments in which parents must choose what they’ll expose their children to. Reminds me of a sentence that I read somewhere:

The role of parents is to give their children wings and roots.

The kind of mother I would like to be

I would like to be one of those mothers who go the market. And buy the fish that is then cooked in family for lunch. It’s just that I never went to the market in 30 years. And everything I’ve cooked in the oven ends up too well done.

And I would like to be one of those mother who rides her bike by the river. Even though I don’t know if I can still ride a bike. They say you never forget, but I don’t really buy it.

I would like to be one of those mothers who takes them to the swimming lessons. And while they’re there, does an aerobics class. Or whatever it is fit mums do. But even pre-children I rarely went to the gym.

I would like to do a tour of Portugal’s castles and to go the regional fairs and local markets.

I would like to have all the shopping and waxing out of the way. And leave the weekends just to play. I would like to read a story at bedtime.

I would like to go to the beach in April or October. If there was one of those too-sunny weekends.

I would like to go to Christmas concerts. And buy chestnuts on the street, watch the Christmas lights. But only if they are really colourful and Christmas-y. If it’s those neon blueish ones, with neutral symbols not to offend anyone, we’ll stay home. Bake cookies.

I wish there was music and we all tried to play it.

It would be fun to play board games. Do they still make them? And to have more rituals like “Friday night is movie and pizza night”.

I would like to do all that, but I don’t know if I’ll be lazy about it.

What I wouldn’t like

What I wouldn’t like is to spend the weekends in shopping malls. And that the children started celebrating Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Just because it seems so nonsense and strictly-commercial for a Portuguese family.

I wouldn’t like to go to restaurants and to have to give them a tablet. Just so I could finish my risotto in peace.

I don’t want to split the weekend amongst dozens of kids’ birthday parties in warehouses wherever. So I think we’ll need to set rules. They’ll go to their bestfriends’ parties, but they don’t have to go to a party for each member of their class.

I wouldn’t like it if we went to bed late, ending up wasting the morning or sacrificing sleep. I wouldn’t like that they said “pffffff I have nothing to do”.

Ideal world

In the ideal world, these moments wouldn’t be just during the weekend. I would have the flexibility to marry time and intention.

Oh well, this is what I feel right now. Who knows the kind of mother I’ll want to be in a few months?

E a menina?

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9 things all bloggers are doing (and should I?)

what the bloggers are doing

You just need to open any blog for women, not to mention Instagram. There they are. Being bloggers/influencers up to the utmost daily detail. Even their toilet paper seems to belong to some feed.

For those of us starting out, like me, it leaves you wondering. Should I also follow some of their examples? They are very successful.

Here are 9 things that the bloggers and influencers from my feeds are doing:

1. Eating avocado toasts

And not any old one. They are highly photogenic toasts, in vaguely rustic plates and in tables with floral arrangements. It looks good.

Should I? Nothing to lose.

2. Eating, in general

Tons of brunches, watermelons, sushi, macarons, ice cream, delicious local pastry, capuccinos, cotton candy, powdered protein, protein powder turned into pancakes, green juices. And other, more or less healthy, food. But always photogenic.

Should I? Hum. Better not.

3. Opening boxes of products

Generally cosmetic. But I’ve also seen it with food (granola, seeds, food suplements) and accessories. It’s such a strong trend that it has its own name: unboxing.

Should I? Meh.

4. Showcasing credits of bloggers photos

Even when they weren’t taken by professional photographers. Even when the photographer was their 16-month old daughter or the Grandpa, who doesn’t even know how to connect to the Internet. Photo by Kitty, the Cat.

Should I? Not for now. Unless it’s a professional photographer.

5. Highlighting the National Smile At Your PEt Day

I have no idea if this is a real thing, but it might. Regardless, every day is the day something is celebrated. Even if it’s the photo that I myself shared 3 years ago. You might as well point it out.

Should I? Why not? It’s a way of getting to know new ephemerides.

6. Taking photos from your exact point of view as you look down

You know? Those in which the legs in denim shorts show up, as seen from above. As the background for a bowl of oatmeal or a pack of serums (it that the correct plural?).

Should I? Only when I get so fit that my thighs don’t touch one another.

7. Having a tribe

I don’t have a tribe. That I know of. Unless my friends count, but I don’t think they do. I say this because none of them goes to music festivals wearing a bandana. And not one of them is a freelancer in a creative field. They probably aren’t even familiar with the “tribe” concept.

Should I? Yeah if they get me tickets to events!

8. Going to the gym

I know, I know. This was one of the good ones.

Should I? I should, I should.

9. Being solemn

Like Ricardo Araújo Pereira said, there are people who use social media as if they were representatives of the country. They express their pain for tragedies or congratulate celebrities for their achievements.

Should I? I don’t want the pressure of missing some important landmark!

 

Anyway, what would we be without our favourite bloggers? I’m still following.

E a menina?

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