In the background

L and I are constantly exhausted. Last weekend, L was away for work until Saturday afternoon, so I had to look after Pallino on my own for most of the day. In the evening I was so tired I almost fell asleep while I was preparing him for bed. At 8.30pm we were both in bed, talking and reading, with the feeling that it was very late… On Sunday, I went to a yoga class in the morning and then we all went to a park. We came back home at 5pm and again we felt very very tired.

Every evening we think about all the things we should do, from cooking to washing to sorting out the letters we received during the day, and we don’t have the energy to do them. Is it like that for every parent? If I don’t go to the gym at least once a week, my back hurts. If I go, I feel knackered for the rest of the day. L works 10-12 hours a day. He should look after his health a little bit more, but doesn’t have time. He should exercise a little bit, but when? If each of us went to the gym two evenings a week, we’d never see each other, and Pallino’d never see us together during the week. Same if we both wanted to exercise at the weekend. And we don’t have time to do all the other things anyway, because we’re not able to go to bed late at night (L does sometimes, for work, but that doesn’t help at all). We cannot afford a nanny, and anyway we like to spend time with Pallino.

I’m not obsessed with cleaning or tidying up, and the flat is very small so it doesn’t even take that much to clean it, but it’s constantly in a mess. We prioritise doing things together (like going to the park) and meeting friends when we can (everyone is busy and it’s not easy to meet up anyway), but everything we do requires a big effort and feels like it’s done in a rush and we never recover the energy.

Working part-time and keeping Monday afternoons for myself certainly helps a bit. It’s a fifth of my salary gone, however, and I don’t know how long we can afford this. And I don’t know what L can do. We would like to move to a bigger place at some point, and in that case I will have to go back to work full time.

I wouldn’t want it any other way, but being alone in a foreign country is tough.

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