Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life

A little blog post series: I am turning 40 this week, and I thought it would be fun to look back at my last decade before my birthday. So, every day for ten days, there will be a new blog post reminiscing about one year. Also, check out my Instagram for a few more photos and videos from these last ten years of my life.

The Big Picture

Everything felt in balance when I turned 38. I spent all my time with Josephine and absolutely loved it. Obviously, there were days when I was just tired, but I was always happy. Slowly, we started to travel around a bit more. First, I would just take Josephine to places within New York City, like to the Financial District or Governor’s Island. Then we visited Rich’s relatives in Connecticut. In June we drove to the Berkshires to stay in an Airbnb with Rich’s parents. And of course, we spent several weeks in Maine that summer.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

Life slowed down a lot for me. Where I was used to often working 60 hours per week, I now spent my days just looking at my baby and also seeing things for the first time through her eyes. It was absolutely wonderful! What I found harder was that Josephine did not sleep through the night until she was about 9 months old. Sleeping is one of my super powers, but I also need a good amount every night. So waking up regularly was not exactly helpful. Unfortunately, Rich has a much lighter sleep than me. Often, he would get up in the middle of the night or early in the morning. He let me sleep while getting ready for work. I still remember other people telling us: “Enjoy this time. It passes by so quickly.” And I felt like: What are you talking about? I am just tired. – Well, they were absolutely right. A few months really are nothing in the big picture.

In September, we flew to Germany to meet my family. We introduced Josephine to so many relatives. I was particularly happy that she met my grandmother, who turned 91 that week. We were there for her birthday party. While Rich flew home after a week, Josephine and I stayed for a second. Having not been in Germany since 2019, I soaked up as much of it as possible. By that I obviously mean inhaled as many döner as possible 🙂 .

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

Right after Josephine and I had returned to New York City, the three of us flew to Florida to visit Rich’s grandmother. That was also the first encounter between her and her first great-granddaughter. Around that time Josephine started to crawl, which was a lot of fun. She was definitely capable of doing it, but initially didn’t seem to see why she should.

Around came the holiday season, and it was so much fun. I decided that we should take a short trip in winter. So I did a lot of research before giving Rich for Christmas a trip to Myrtle Beach. We then went there at the end of February when it was still cold in New York City. Myrtle Beach had been the perfect choice as it is only a short flight away, but much warmer. We stayed in a very family friendly resort with two indoor water parks. That was were Josephine finally took her first steps.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

Slowly, we were also discussing a second child. I felt we had gotten so lucky with becoming pregnant easily and fast with Josephine that we should try again rather sooner than later. After all, I wasn’t getting any younger. I mean, I still remember friends telling me, when I had just turned 30, that I was getting too old to ever have my own kids. Luckily, that was not true at all. We decided to have a second child soon-ish if it worked out (like without trying very hard).

Well, it turned out that I got pregnant pretty quick. This time I knew the symptoms and took a pregnancy test very early. By the end of April, I already knew that we were going to have a second child around New Year’s 2024. Having a toddler made the first trimester quite hard. I was a lot more tired and constantly nauseous.

Also, Josephine required much more input at that point. One day, after I had read our favorite book for the tenth time, I saw a job advertisement for a part-time teaching coach position, mostly remote. My brain was like: I need to apply for this job, else I will forever only recount children’s books. A week later I had an online interview and was offered the job. I said yes. I actually found out the same week that I was pregnant again.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

My Firsts

That year was mostly full of firsts with Josephine. First trips, first crawl, first Halloween, first Christmas, first birthday party, first steps, …

It was also the first time since Covid that we started traveling more again. I had not left the U.S. since 2019 and was thrilled to go to Europe. Two weeks in total felt too short.

Overall, I would say that this was the year where I had finally and for the first time found myself at peace and in balance. There is an inner happiness that I did not have as much before.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

What I Learned

Again, many many baby things. But also that I am not a person who would be great as a forever stay-at-home mom. I am a big proponent for the German model where parents can stay at home between one to three years after their child is born. And I have also learned that I am a strong opponent of the U.S. model that sends women back to work right after giving birth. I definitely would have not been ready when Josephine was six weeks or three months old. But once she was 14 months old, I felt that my brain needed a proper intellectual challenge. I was getting tired of reading the same children’s books again and again, and going to the playground at least twice every day.

I also became aware that being a stay-at-home mom does not mean you can easily run the house at the same time. I had obviously been influenced by a long tradition of the opinion that it is: oh so easy to just stay at home. Luckily, Rich has never that view and has always tried to do his share, even when he is at work all day long. But I had to learn to not fall into the everything needs to perfect because I just stay at home trap. That year, I definitely simplified a few things for us. We already had a vacuum robot, but upgraded to Gottfried, who easily takes care of all our floors. We regularly order groceries from Aldi through Instacart. That way we save ourselves the time and effort to go to the closest store in Harlem because they deliver everything to us. Every few weeks, we order all the big things we need. Despite the fees and tip, it is still not more expensive as Aldi is the cheapest supermarket around here.

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

Arti and Lotti are always there, too. They are well and enjoy life to the fullest, esp. since they learned that a small child throws down a lot of food for them to eat.

Last, I realized how much I enjoy organizing things and planning details. Like that trip to Myrtle Beach. Or Josephine’s first birthday party. Or Rich’s 35th birthday. I loved planning all of these and create things like posters and foods around a theme like a cat birthday party. I also sweart that there is a mom gene that only comes through after having a child. I can suddenly just do certain things like fancier cakes.

My Travels

1. The Berkshires, MA

2. Maine

3. Germany

4. Florida

5. Philadelphia

6. Myrtle Beach

Reminiscing My 30s: The 39th Year of My Life | janavar

7. Boston

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