We all know that having kids can severely put a cramp on an adult’s social life — one has to schedule around bedtimes and nap times or risk meltdowns or one has to find and hire a babysitter, which then doubles the cost of a night out. But having a child can also have an opposite, expansive effect. I’ve met a diverse group of moms here in Lausanne who are juggling the expat + professional + mom life, so my friend pool has grown interestingly. I’ve also been discovering new parts of Lausanne that I hadn’t visited before.
This is happening in a big way right now because crèche ended, and it’s terrible to keep a 2-year old indoors all day. Last summer’s routine of morning walks to the lake for playtime no longer works because my son’s too old to sit in his stroller for the length of the walk I’d like to take but too little still to keep up on his own.
Over the weekend we aimed for a sandy beach halfway across town and discovered a huge recreational area that we’d never visited in our four years here. There was a skate park, tennis courts, boats, beach volleyball, playgrounds, and a mini train for kids. Yesterday I met up with a mom friend and her kids at a pool that was also across town. This one had less traffic than the one closest to us, and the children’s splash area had a waterfall, little dams they could control, a slide, and a bridge. I’m getting to know the city in new ways — first as a new resident, then as a new mom, and now as a parent of an active and independent toddler.
Getting out has been really good for my head — the exploration, the sunshine, the activity, and the news cycle escape. When my son has childcare, I frantically work to make the most of the time I have, and our hours together tend to be quieter because he’s tired from his various activities and needs down time. Now my goal is to exhaust him so he takes a long nap so that I can work a little during the day and then to pick up again after bedtime — and of course I schedule a few extra hours of help when possible.
We’re figuring out a new rhythm, and while transitions and uncertainty are both hard, I’m trying to make the most of this time to pause, look around, and have toddler-sized adventures.