Blog Archive

Search This Blog

Friday, May 6, 2011

German Moms Do Laundry Too | Maris Ehlers Photography

Meike was a foreign exchange student from Germany who came to my high school in Montana for a year.  After she went back home, we of course lost touch.  Imagine my surprise when she found me on facebook about a year or so ago.  It's been delightful to reconnect with her, and I was delighted when she sent along a Mother's Day Musing to be included on the MEP Blog.  

I think you'll notice two things about her post: 

1.  Her English is excellent, and 
2.  Whether you are a mother in America, Europe or just about anywhere, we are more similar than we might think (especially with our tired washing machines!)  

Eight Observations from a German Mother
by Meike Gleiss
  1. Being a mother begins with giving birth to a child. I never thought that each birth would be so different - be it Caesarean section under general anesthetic (my first one), a normal one (which I sort of enjoyed, even without anesthesia) and last but not least a very fast one (I thought in the car without telling my driving husband:  “No, no, no! We’re going to get there too late!!!“). But all of them are experiences I would not change.
  2. I discovered in the long run that I never realized that the character of each new child is almost finished right after birth. Of course I have no idea about the oldest one, but I looked at my medium daughter being born with her wide open eyes - and she is still the most curious and active of the three. In contrast, the youngest one likes to do things in her own time and is generally not easy to rouse, which corresponds quite nicely to her first minutes on earth: she went asleep right after drinking a little.
  3. I always thought that the big change in becoming a family would be with the birth of the first child. Of course she demanded a lot of attention, but since we used to go for long walks each day I had enough time for myself, too. But with the birth of the second one, I suddenly had much less time than before.  It felt much more like being a family than having only one child. Having a third child within less than four years seemed to be almost easy. I did not have much time for myself by this time anyhow, so not much changed.  The biggest one loved playing with the younger ones, so there was really not that much difference. Only more diapers to wash!  The washing machine hardly had a day off.
  4. As every mother does, I waited anxiously for their very first words. When they were out, it was so cute and adorable! Now I sometimes wish I had also found the “Turn off“ button. If anyone finds it, let me know, please!
  5. I never expected to be thanked by my kids for being a pretty old-fashioned and strict mother. But after experiencing other children smacking at our table, getting better grades at school because we made them study etc. they did. Honestly.
  6. I am a person that plans almost everyhing well in advance, which applies to meals as well. So in the first years of being a mother I could not deal with surprise visits at mealtimes very well. I have learned to be much more relaxed in this area. I simply live after the German saying “Add some water to the soup!”  Only once do I remember visiting kids at our home to be a problem: It had been raining in the afternoon, and all eleven kids of the neighbourhood ran into our house  and were hungry. Afterwards, there was not one apple to be found in our house.
  7. Mothers of one child are always amazed that I am usually open for visits. Honestly: Four kids don‘t make more fuss than three, sometimes they even quarrel less because they seperate into two pairs. 
  8. As much as I love being a mother of three girls I know it would be easier with only one. Going downtown, I ususally feel like an owl turning my head to both sides and glancing back at a lagging child as well ... . But I am always proud to point out to some stranger “Yes, they are all mine!”

No comments: