A Country Mile

July 11, 2011 at 9:57 am | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop, Transylvania | 25 Comments
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My husband recently asked me what I was doing with myself these days. I laughed. Okay, I sort of laughed. He back-peddled.

“I mean, now that Lollipop and Giggles are in preschool all week,” he said. “Don’t you get bored? Won’t this apartment start to drive you nuts?”

The answer? Probably, yes. But right now? I’m savoring it.

I do laundry, and I put it away. On the same day. I mop and no one inadvertently sprinkles specks of leaves on my wet floors. I walk down the hill to the market and back up toward home pushing 25 pounds in the double stroller, instead of 65. I have the brain space to notice the wildlife and the produce and the bumper stickers … instead of how many feet meters are between my children and the taxi careening toward us.

If it’s cold and rainy, Bun and I burrow in our beds and nap. We play “You Didn’t Eat That Magnet, Did You??” We empty and fill and empty and fill the dish-towel drawer. We share cookies and laugh at each other. We swing and read our Kindles at the playground. (Okay, he swings. I read. It works.)

We enjoy each other’s company in a way we’ve never been able to before. And sometimes it feels selfish. All day, just me and the baby? Yes. Don’t my older children need me? Yes. Don’t they miss me? And vice versa? Yes.

But the truth is, they are getting so much more out of this year abroad by going to school than I could ever show them. They are with children their own age, many who speak two or three languages. They are cared for by teachers who want them to do well, want them to make friends, want them to be happy here. They have easy and immediate access to clay and paint and beads and real, live goldfish. They come home and report that, yes, they do like cabbage.

That’s not to say it’s been easy. It hasn’t. More days than not, they wake up and say they don’t want to go. There are tears at drop-off and cheers on Friday. But there are also smiles at pick-up. And goodbye hugs for new friends. And art projects, petals, and rocks proudly gripped in small hands. There are tales of cake for afternoon snack. Cake!

And with time for myself and the baby? I’m more patient. I’m gentler with my words. I’m a better mother. I’m a better me.

Funny thing is, it took 6,000 miles for me to realize it. I’ve come a long way. In more ways than one.

What makes you better? Have you ever been burnt out without realizing it? Isn’t it funny when caring for one child seems like a break?


Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
See the photos.



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  1. Stacia, beautiful picture and post! It’s similar to any time you decide to send your kids to preschool, that we want to be super mother of the year, superwoman, and yet they are happy and engaged and make friends. My daughter is still best friends with a little girl she met in the baby room at their daycare! But your kids have the added benefit of learning a new language. That’s cool.

  2. I love that photo. The words? Love those, too. Your comment about laundry made me laugh. (The back of the couch was intended for folded laundry, right?)

    I’m trying to think of an answer to your questions. The closest I come off the top of my head isn’t about parenting but blogging. It hit me out of the blue one day that I wanted to delete the whole thing. I opted instead to revisit how often I was posting, and whether I shouldn’t consider making sure my other writing gets done first. (I have considered it. Ahem.)

    I’m curious how I’ll answer the final question once Li’l D has a sibling. For now, I suppose I ought enjoy the peace of having but a single little one!

  3. Oh Stacia!!! Yes. As a full-time working mom, Yes! I get this. There are many reasons why I work, but this is one of them. It’s the people they are learning to be without me, and the person I can then be when I’m with them. So I’m glad you’ve found this, and I’m especially glad you are getting this special time with the little one. He deserves it too! So bravo to all of you!!

  4. Savor this time! When my two oldest went to school, and I was left with just Gabe at home, I felt much the same way. But both you and your baby deserve such special time, a time to connect and recharge. I’m so happy for you! And what a great experience for your older two…it’s so hard to let go and not feel guilty, but really, that is what motherhood is all about: knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

  5. beautiful Stacia. It’s the simple things in life that make it what it is.
    You are doing great, I am sure a little homesick, but what an amazing time you are having. No worries of “what can I or should I do this week?” just “Im here in another country and I am gong to just simply BE” I am so happy bun, giggles and lollipop get to have these experiences over there. And you guys of course, too.
    We miss you and think of you often!! hugs from Tilli and I!!

  6. Glad you are able to notice the world around you, hear your own thoughts, and breathe, for the first time in a while. I know just what you mean. Just in time for all the new experiences surrounding you. 🙂

  7. I’m so glad to hear you’re “taking it easy” and really enjoying the slower pace there. A mother’s job is 24/7 literally, and it’s so funny that your hubby thinks you might be “bored”. 😀 Despite the hardships you might face this year, you’re going to have some wonderful memories and accomplishments living abroad and experiencing a different culture.

  8. The fact that I only work 3 days a week makes me a waaaaaay better wife and mother. No question about it!
    I’m glad your enjoying your quieter days!

  9. Is it me? I just always hated the question, “What did you do all day?” Umm, I still have a kid at home and there’s a bazillion things to be done and what about dinner, eh? and when is gymnastics this week?

    Clearly, I need to take a page out of your book and slow down. Breathe. You’re doing great.

  10. Sometimes it takes big changes for us to find….us.
    Love where you are and where you are going.

  11. I love that photo and I love how you are savoring and appreciating your new adventure. Those kids, your kids are so blessed to have this experience under their little belts…and blessed to have you as a momma!

  12. I loved reading this 🙂 maybe I should travel a couple thousand miles too!!

  13. So glad you’re adjusting so well in your new environment. I find that I’m the same – I’m a better mom when I’m away from my kids longer. These days on maternity leave it’s really making me think about what I want to do with my career. I would hate going back to the long 9-5 hours (plus commute) but I don’t think stay-at-home works for me. Is there anything in between?

    Love the picture, btw!

  14. I can relate. I had my first time with just Ali a few weeks back. David went to Nana/Aunt Sharon camp. Having one child was soooo different and it was extremely nice to have a chance to focus on just her and us (Jim was gone too in Atlanta)! It’s those moments when we can “catch our breath” that really help us rejuvenate!

    I love your outlook on life and how you always seem to see the glass half full!! Love and miss you!!

  15. Oh, I got a good chuckle out of this! What weary mother can’t relate?

    And yes – burnt out. Ten years worth. Trying to figure out when it’s going to get better. (Maybe some of that KitchWitch Crack Broccolini? With a side of cabbage – which frankly, I love?)

    (So how is it going – really?)

  16. what a great post. You have come a long way and you are finding peace in your new world and surroundings. I love that you have the extra time with the baby and you are gentler and better. Good for you!

  17. Isn’t it amazing that having to care for “only one” baby when it’s your third is SIMPLE when having to care for ONE BABY! when it’s your first is overwhelming?

  18. I love the picture of you walking with them. Oh my goodness, part of me can’t wait until I have that time in September with just Baby. And part of me is going to miss them so much. Yes, burnt out without realizing it but lately, definitely, definitely realizing it.

  19. Tracey, ultimate mother of three mentor, said exactly what I wanted to say and said it well. It’s such a gift to have a time alone with number three. It’s enjoyable and relaxing in a way that being alone with the second (before there’s a third) and especially the first seldom was (for me). On a related note, I did errand yesterday with just my five year-old for a couple of hours. So EASY and so fun, but I doubt I’d think so if he were my only one!

  20. Stacia, this is so beautiful and sweet. When I spent time alone with baby Rose, sometimes I felt like I was cheating on Col. It can be so delicious and easy to just be with one non-verbal baby. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  21. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

  22. Lovely post and so full of contentment 🙂 I think that being in a foreign country also opens our eyes more, returning us to those early baby and toddler years when everything is fascinating to us and we take nothing for granted. It’s a wonderful coincidence with your new relative freedom of having your older 2 children in preschool.

    I sometimes feel very guilty being home while my son is at school. It’s one thing when I’m busy with my work, but my work is cyclical so there are days when I nap or do something totally self-indulgent and I know that my son is way busier at school. But I deserve it, right?

    Otherwise sleep is good for me…boy, does it make a difference in what kind of mom and human I am the next day!

  23. Lovely post. I am always amazed at what it takes to get us to slow down. Your words indicate you are living in the present and embracing what is instead of what isn’t. So happy to hear this. And hope it continues.

  24. I cried. Tender words. Obvious you’ve found the now and brought it close in your far away place.

  25. […] Giggles doesn’t Want me to leave, she lets him Feed the class […]

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