Full-time work and full-time twin mom: the how-to guide in times of a global pandemic

The plan was perfect: take a little time to ease back into work by working part-time while my husband would get our twin girls started in daycare. Then, by May, he would drop the kiddos off in the morning and I would pick them up in the afternoon. Then Corona happened.

The reality is this: We both have finally arrived at positions in our jobs that we love. It is challenging, but very rewarding. And we have 11-month old twin girls at home with no help because there is a global pandemic.

Here are my 2cents of advice for everyone in a similar situation:

1.) Know how much sleep you need and get that amount at least four days/week 

My sweetspot is seven hours. I am a morning person and that means that I am sometimes going to bed ridiculously early to catch up on sleep. Not sleeping enough puts me on edge, at work and with the children. So no compromise here.

2.) Meal prep in advance 

Hangry eating binges happen, no doubt. But they do not make me feel that great. I prepare healty nutrition-packed lunches in advance and have healthier snack options ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Love your life. Every minute of it. Even in the most impossible moments. 

My husband put it this way: It looks like a Hangover 4 movie in our living room, but we had a great nap.

4.) Communicate to your work 

Obviously not everyone’s workplace is understanding. Last week both my husband and I had simultaneous calls and I decided to take the girls on a walk while being on a quite important call. I informed my colleagues in advance that I will have to be outside walking. I also emailed all my material in advance and let them know about my points just in case something would not work out with the call.

5.) Wash your face, put on real clothes and treat yourself well  

I love my PJs and hoodies and while it has certainly been awesome to be a little more chill about clothing and appearance in the beginning I have now started to dress myself, dress my babies and switch my camera on during work calls. On the weekends we do something special, like a bike ride with picnic.

There are days when I am surprised how well this is working and then there are those devastating days when I am questioning everything. Overall, I would not want to have it any other way.

How long working in double shifts from work to babies is possible? I have no idea.We hope to have an au-pair starting in August and dearly hope that the girls will be able to start daycare at some point in 2020.

Oh, January

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January is a hard to deal with month for me. I might also face a couple of intimidating thoughts right at this time and blaming the one month that usually motivates people to eat healthier, smoke less and work out … Continue reading

India

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I have been writing so much for work that my private headlines are not really the most creative. But this one sums it up pretty well. Pouya, me, India. Naturally, the minute I told my body I am going on … Continue reading

The German World – through His Eyes

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Be careful what you wish for: When Pouya and I decided to relocate to Germany we were telling our friends that it would be an adventure. It’s surely been adventurous, but maybe not the adventure that we had associated. Schorle! … Continue reading

07-17: A month to remember

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Kassel – Aalen – Boston – Lake Placid – New York: Triathlons, Cardboard Boxes, Saying “See You later” and a very powerful question that I answered with a yes (well, honestly, it was “Oh my god!” Pause “Yes!”)  Continue reading

Why I don’t want stuff – Project 333

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33 items of clothing for 30 days, can you do that? I just unconsciously lived a minimalist lifestyle, and you know what I missed: Nothing! With a big move from Boston to Germany looming, there are a lot of thoughts … Continue reading

Peter Drucker made me quit my job…well kind of

When the 100-year old writings of an Austrian Business dude totally throw you off…

Peter Drucker is the ultimate dude when it comes to leadership advice. Although his works date back to the early to mid 20th-century, his writing still holds true in times of Twitter, digital everything and snapchat.

The Austrian dude has a chapter about time in his book “The Effective Executive”. As he goes explaining how time is the only true scarce resource he consequently states: If you are doing something that is not contributing to your goals, you are wasting your time.

I was listening to that chapter after a not so great day of work that had already been preceded by many not too great days of work which had already been foreshadowed by a couple of meh months at work, you get the idea. And the only thing that kept me sane during this time was my workouts, weekends filled with skiing or other fun adventures and my friends in Germany, in South East Asia, in Boston that never get tired of listening to vents, to complaints, to doubts.

 

You will just have to listen to the Dudes…

I would not go so far as to say that Peter Drucker told me through the grapevine to put in my 2 weeks notice, but that night when I was chopping vegetables in my beautiful Boston apartment I felt that change was going to come my way and that I would embrace it: The uncertainty, the angst, the excitement, the freedom, the opportunity to work more focused towards my goals.

And enjoy the moments of deepest uncertainty

Yesterday Pouya & I walked to cozy Spy Pond in Cambridge on the first day of sunshine after three days of icy rain and snow storms in Boston (yes, Germans, I knwo . We carried with us the Greens from the Persian Sofra. Tradition has it that on the 13th day of Persian New Year you are supposed to tie a knot into your greens while making a wish and then sending the greens into the water. Obviously, I cannot tell anyone about the wish that I made while brading the greens. I can tell you, though, that sitting by the water, enjoying a sunny afternoon moment filled me with inner peace. After all Lichtenberg said “I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.”
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Thanks Dudes! Peter Drucker and Georg Lichtenberg

Persian New Year: Tahdig, Hafez and the goldfish

Spicer, Trump and friends keep handing out so much bull, I will keep it lighthearted today and hand you some happy moments of my international love experience. You could also subtitle this one with: Dating a Persian, 101.

Persian New Year

Today is Persian New Year, or Nowruz. Let me start with a cool fact: Persians celebrate their New Year (which is like christmas for Germans) at the vernal equinox. And they are peculiar about the timing. The New Year celebration is exactly at the time of the actual equinox, today at 6.28AM, but changing every year. You would think that if there is any nation in this world who celebrates a holiday ON TIME, it would be the Germans…

IMG_0469Just as christmas, Nowruz comes with a lot of traditions. Before the actual celebration every household prepares as so called Sofra  – a table decorated with seven things that start with the letter S. Very typical is the spice Sumac, an apple, Greens which are called Sabzi in Farsi, a mirror, a goldfish…Yes, you read correctly! An alive goldfish is part of Nowruz. Can you imagine my excitement about getting a pet goldfish? Unfortunately, or I am assuming Pouya thinks differently about this one, we were too late and could not get a goldfish, but rest assured: I will be a Sofra earlybird next year…

 

Let’s talk food. I have had quite some exposure to the Persian cuisine. In Farsi, the word for stomach and heart is the same, that hints at how important and intricate Persian cooking is. While many dishes are absolutely delicious, there is this one thing that I am almost as obsessed about as Peanut Butter, and that is Tahdig. Imagine this: You take a tortilla and butter, and put that tortilla at the bottom of a pan and on top you put cooked rice. Let that sit for long enough and the butter, tortilla and rice form this dark brown crust…Tahdig is also where Persian hospitality comes to a brief pause – because the bottom of a pan is only so big, meaning there is only so much Tahdig and everybody wants it.

So, what happened last saturday at a Nowruz celebration is that, at a certain late-night hour, I found myself in the extremely lucky situation of having discovered that there was a tiny bit of Tahdig left over at the bottom of the pot. I was comforted by the Persians present that under the influence scraping off Tahdig is a very ok thing to do…

Lastly, Persian New Year has a wonderful tradition and that is reading  Hafez‘ poems. Traditionally, you are asking yourself a question silently, then open the book and somebody will read the poem to you. Hafez words are so complicated and complex, though, leaving so much room for interpretation that it can take a long time to interpret the meaning of the poem, especially in the context of your question. I will, of course, not convey the question that I asked, but it’s been a precious experience to experience the most important tradition of a culture you learn so little (and that little you do hear is mostly negative) about when you grow up in the Western world.