I hadn’t realize how different my life seems to other people until going back to Mexico. People assume that I’m alone the whole day, and while it might be true to some extent, I’m definitely not lonely. Not only do I see familiar faces every day, like my neighbors’ or my classmates at the gym, I also have started to build some kind of social life.
For the moment, I am putting some effort in building a community of mommy friends. Even though it is not easy because you can hardly finish a conversation when you’re taking care of your baby, everybody’s on the same boat as you and it so refreshing and fun to relate. Let me take you on what a day in the life of an expat mom in Brussels looks like!
Our day started at 7 am with the sound of Max’s sweet wake up calls :) They are these discrete baby cries that say something between the lines of “mommy, time to wake up! I’m bored!”. So then I get up, change his diaper, play with him or snuggle a bit and then I give him a bottle. After that, I make coffee and he helps me get breakfast ready. After my husband is ready, we have coffee together. After he leaves, Max and I play some more and catch up on our favorite Youtube videos or play some music. Lately, he’s been loving Feels. A beat he couldn’t get enough of in Mexico!
At 9 am, Max is already ready for his first nap of the day. And it usually lasts around 40 min. This time though, went on until 10:00 which meant we were a bit late for our play group date. But since this one is an unstructured playgroup, it is more flexible for those of us with smaller children. The playgroup we were attending is one of the many activities planned by BCT-Brussels Childbirth Trust. Over the summer, I signed us up to this club for international families settled in Brussels. They ran several parental support groups, playgroups, courses for their members like First Aid Care and job seeking workshops. They also even publish their own magazine filled with useful information about fun events going on in Brussels and the area. Our commune has a weekly morning coffee, and I also attend the playgroups at one of their locations, which is where we were headed this time.
The club is so well organized and there are always tons of activities that for lack of organization I keep missing, but now all of October’s events have been added to my calendar. They even have a Spanish Speaking group that gets together once every month and apparently there will be a Halloween fiesta this year. Definitely check them out if you are in Brussels!
He always loves these playgroup date because he basically has the chance to play with toys he doesn’t have yet, lol. Which also helps me decided which toys are worth investing in. For example, back when I was thinking of getting him a baby gym, one of the girls who hosted one morning coffee had one and as soon as he saw it, he couldn’t get enough of it. We purchased one similar and he has loved it ever since! He also loves meeting new babies like him, and is just now beginning to interact more with them. It is very endearing, and sometimes so mind blowing to see how fast they grow.
He had a snack there and immediately felt asleep after. Luckily I was with my carrier,so I stayed for a little bit while he slept. I played it cool while everyone sang nursery rhymes in English because I basically don’t know any of them. Okay, maybe a couple from when I was in kindergarten but I don’t remember them and plus he was asleep so I had the perfect excuse.
We were back home by lunch time and some more play time before he felt asleep again for his proper second nap of the day. The last one was more of a snooze because we were home pretty soon after he fell asleep. After I ate, we both fell asleep for like two hours straight. He really sleeps more comfortable in his bed and when everything is dark and quiet. After that, we woke up to the unfortunate events of a poop explosion. I remember a time when I was disgusted by the amount of time new parents talk about poo. But now that I am a mom, I realize how normal it is and how much poop rules your life.
Anyway, after a good hour cleaning the mess and bathing him and everything, it was back to play time again!! We usually go for a walk around this time, but then again, life got a bit hectic and by the time I wanted to go out it was pretty cold to go anywhere. An hour really makes a world of a difference to the weather in Brussels!
At around 5pm it’s dinner time for him. He loves eating his fruit and veggies purees, but his all-time favorite is the one with banana and apples. This puree is his favorite thing in the whole wide world. That worried face he has on the picture on the left? It is basically him being sad with 1 second that has passed since his last bite. The first time he tried it, he jumped up and down with joy and was basically begging for more. He always wants to lick the plate after eating it. Honestly, this doesn’t happen with the other purees I’ve done. Then again, those include zucchines and well, I guess this option is much better!
My husband usually arrives home at around 5 pm, and since I haven’t renewed my gym subscription (oopsie!), we have dinner together quite early and play with the baby. Yesterday, we were trying to teach him how to give things. Let’s just say he is better at taking them, lol. We then do Max’s bath time together and soothe him at around 7-7:30 before going to sleep. We dim the lights, turn off the TV because he gets distracted and overstimulated it is hard to make him go to sleep. We give him a bottle and it’s bedtime for him!
Now this is Mommy time! Right after Maximilian goes to bed, I get “unready” for the day. I remove my makeup, clean my face with this Rituals cleansing moringa cream and brightening face exfoliant. After that I took a bath, washed my hair and once I was done, I put on my much needed Louis Widmer eye cream and a little bit of this amazing Skyn Iceland blemish gel. Then I spray some of this Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Miracle mist on top of my face and hydrate my skin with Sweet Almond Oil (for my stretch marks) and Dove DermaSpa Goodness body lotion for the rest of my body.
After this, my husband and I spend some time together either by watching Youtube, a movie or a TV series.This time we watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and it was okay I guess. I was basically an anxious mess yesterday after I heard about what happened in Las Vegas. I thought of all the families that have been devastated by this senseless tragedy. I also thought about the times I strolled around those streets without a care in the world, and of all my friends and family who have attended concerts there. That could’ve been us.
And maybe it is because I am a mother now, but if I used to feel these things a lot, now I feel them a while lot deeper. How can make a better world for him? How can I protect him, us? What kind of world will he grow up in? What kind of tools will he need to have in order to navigate this world? And maybe it is also because I am an expat mom but, how will this affect our lives abroad? Our travels? Can we move to an igloo?
On a more positive note, I never thought I would love routines and find joy even in the most mundane of things, like riding the tram or dealing with poop explosions. I still love adventure and spontaneity, but there is something about building a home and bond together that makes my heart burst with happiness. It feels a thousand times better than catching those after party sunrises at the beach. And man, that was my favorite thing in the whole world.
Did you liked this day in the life? What else would you like to know about the life of an expat mom?