Fifteen years into being a parent and I still wonder, sometimes, whether freedom in my current reality is only an illusion.
Maybe it’s even a lie I tell myself.
Like Lisa, whose question I’m answering today, I make a conscious effort to experience more freedom because I want to feel like I choose to do the things that I do as a mother and homemaker.
A low-quality picture of a middle-aged man holding a baby went totally viral online over the last two weeks. The picture, featuring Professor Sydney Engelberg, was taken here at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, my alma mater. At least three Mommy bloggers were moved to say something about that picture.
No wonder! How often do you see a university professor comforting a student’s baby while teaching organizational management? “Education for me is not simply conveying content, but teaching values,” he says. “How better than by role modeling?”
That could have been my baby 14, 12 or 7 years ago, when I was still desperately trying to complete my bachelors degree (Yes, it took me 13 years) with my babies—one at a time—in tow.
My BA had turned into a mishmash of subjects soon after I began it. I loved everything about being a university student- the bus ride with the mix of Israeli and foreign students; the academic, intellectual atmosphere; the $2 coffee that you could get at every corner; the echo of your footsteps as you walk in the long halls; and the smell of the Humanities library.
If I had to wrap all that up in one word—for me it was FREEDOM.
Though there’s evidence that I over-extended my freedom… I occasionally skipped exams, changed courses almost at the same rate I later changed my daughter’s diapers, and before you know it—reality hit me. I was married with children and no academic degree in sight.
That’s when I had to grab any relevant course that fit into my crazy stay-at-home-mom schedule, rushing in and out of the class to calm my baby down, nurse her, and then hope she would fall asleep in the sling for the remainder of the lesson.
Going to the university at that time felt more like a punishment than anything (despite the fact that, like the professor-turned-celebrity, my teachers and peers were, for the most part, tolerant and accommodating).
I wanted to feel free as a full-time mother, as I did when I was a full-time university student. Instead, I was constantly torn between the lesson and my hungry baby screaming outside in the babysitter’s hands, not sure who I really was anymore.
The first time I touched upon this sensitive topic was in the episode on drinking your coffee while it’s still hot.
I can honestly say that today with seven children (my oldest not yet fifteen) I feel like I have more freedom than I had with five and even two children in tow. That’s because I truly live by the actionable insights on freedom that I’ll share with you on today’s episode.
And that’s what freedom is about, after all: if you feel free, than you are free.
To your most fulfilling & liberating parenting lifestyle,
P.S. We unintentionally demonstrate the complexity of today’s topic around the middle of the episode: while I’m talking to the camera, my husband, who set up our UpsideDown Parenting home studio in the dining room, took a break to chop vegetables for our children’s lunch. In case you’re wondering about the noise in the background.:)
P.S. 2 Prof. Engelberg certainly deserves the excitement around him: click here to see the viral picture.