A random act of kindness prevented me from bursting into tears today.
A random act of kindness put a gratitude smile on my face and calmed me down.
A random act of kindness showed me that there is support out there, even when you feel alone and overwhelmed.
I thank that woman who walked by me, saw my struggle and came back to ask if I needed help.
It may have seemed an insignificant thing what she did, on the other hand it was all that I needed in that moment.
Today was one of those days when everything was a struggle. Yes, I know, being a mother rimes with struggle. But being an expat mother many times rimes with even more struggle.
It started with a difficult night. I had worse nights before, but believe me, sleeping a total of 5 hours and those ones interrupted several times is a torture. And accumulating several nights with less than 6 hours sleep (when I actually need around 8 hours to properly function) over an extensive period of time can contribute to a lot of physical and psychological struggle. Unfortunately, when it comes to compensate on sleep, help is not that easily accessible. As an expat mother, I cannot rely on grandparents to babysit for a night or two just to catch up on some sleep, as my neighbours do.
My day had started with a sleepless difficult night. Then, to make it even more challenging, as if it was not enough, my little one was fussy all day long. Perhaps he was tired as well. Or just having a bad day. And when you are sleep deprived, the constant noise of a fussy baby is a serious stress factor. But this was not what almost made me cry.
I will spare you all the details of the mundane routine of cleaning, cooking, feeding, doing the laundry, wiping the floor and furniture of the thrown food, pumping breast milk several times, washing and sterilising bottles, rocking to sleep, calming cries and whatever else may include caring for a 7-month old baby. Yes, he is cute and adorable. Yes, he is a miracle. Yes, I love him so much, as I never loved anybody before. And yes it is so hard being a mother.
I suffer of chronic tendinitis of my wrists which appeared in the first month following the birth of my baby. And despite taking weekly physiotherapy sessions, the pain is still present, being made worse by all the activities that the maternity involves.
I cannot not rock my baby. I cannot not hold my baby. I cannot but push the pram, hold the heavy diaper backpack that carries so much more that diapers, breastfeed my baby, place my baby in his pram/ car seat/ baby carrier and do any other action linked to caring for a baby. And most of these actions involve my hands and my wrists, which maintain the tendinitis.
And here I was, returning from the physiotherapist after my weekly session in an attempt to heal the wrists tendinitis when my baby started crying. He does not like to spend too much time in the pram. So I stopped to put the baby carrier on and eventually place him in it. Easier said than done, especially when you suffer from tendinitis.
The carrier was partly hooked, baby was safely in. With one arm I was holding him and with the other one I needed to fasten the carrier behind my neck.
As I was preparing to do it , a woman walked by me and looked at me. I looked as well and the thought of asking for help came across. But she went past me before I made the decision to ask for help. So I attempted to fasten the carrier with the right hand that only minutes earlier received a physiotherapy treatment. “Auuuu!”, I whined when a sharp pain crossed my wrist. That was it. It was too much!
Tears were forming in the corner of my eyes.
Then I heard a voice behind me.
“Madam, would you need some help?”, the woman who had just walked past me earlier asked.
“Yes! Gladly”, I replied with relief and then I explained to her how to fasten the baby carrier.
I thanked her filled with gratitude and walked home with my mind filled of better thoughts than before.
When I returned home, a surprise was waiting for me in the living room. Not a pleasant one, though. My dog had made a huge pee and walked through it, leaving a collection of paw marks. Not seeing properly, I l stepped on one of his pee marks. Breathe in, then breathe out. Caaaalm!
I unbuckled the baby carrier, placed the baby on his mat, removed my tights and then started to clean.
Had not been that random act of kindness earlier, that support that decreased my level of stress, I would have probably had an outburst which might have been followed by bouts of guilt.
Luckily, a random act of kindness saved the day… and kept me sane.
– special thanks and lots of gratitude to my darling husband too, who was cleaning and sterilising bottles and doing other baby related things whilst I was writing this article.