Mother’s Day: Elen Kristvik
Becoming a mother is a life changing experience, no matter where you are from. To celebrate Mother’s Day, a handful of inspiring mothers from all over the world share their thoughts on family rituals, loneliness, morning routines and on the lessons motherhood have taught them
What is the most important thing your own mother has taught you?
“That the feeling of accomplishment is vital for a person’s self confidence and that accomplishment has many forms. My entire life I have struggled with health issues, and I was born with a heart failure and have had to undergo three surgeries, lastly in November. Therefore, there are things that are harder for me, than for most people, and from time to time things that are impossible for me to accomplish. I am very aware of my physical limitations. However, not once has my mother uttered any doubt or scepticism regarding what I can do and have wanted to try. I know both my parents worry for me, maybe a bit too much for a child that is 38, hehe, but they have always been thoughtful, supportive and considerate in how they approach all aspects of my life. That is something I hold on to in raising Henry. I will believe in him and his strength forever and ever, support and cheer on him, both quietly and at times so loud anyone can hear and hope he knows he can lean on me no matter what.”
Which family rituals do you value the most?
“We read a lot for our son, and I love these moments. Also bedtime, it is just the most precious thing holding his hand while he falls asleep. Play time when we dance and play around. I also value allowing young and old the joy of experiencing birthday weeks (oh yes), weekend breakfasts, summer barbecues and family time in general.”
Name one thing you have learned about yourself from becoming a mother?
“That I am patient and calm, pretty much all the time. Hehe. And that I am so so lucky and thankful to be Henry’s mother, a real life three year old super hero.”
Which morning routine do you have with your son?
“I love our mornings. Henry and I usually cuddle and talk a bit before we get ready for the day. He says hello to his solar system mobile hanging from the ceiling in his room. He plays a little, either with his train track or sits by the table drawing planets. He is very fond of planets. I prepare his breakfast and lunch box, and sometimes he helps with it. I read out loud a little while he eats, at the moment we are enjoying «Folk og røvere i Kardemomme by» by Thorbjørn Egner non stop. After breakfast we usually draw a little before getting dressed to go to kindergarden. We ride my bike and listen to music on the way. Our mornings are stress free, and I am grateful to be able to have calm mornings with my son, which my work allows.”
Being a mother can be intense. How do you spend five minutes alone?
“As I am self employed I am fortunate to have some free time during the day. I write small texts and poems, about motherhood, my son or what I am going through. Writing is a necessity for me. In spring and summer I love riding my bike, I read books and I hike in the forest five minutes from our house after delivering Henry to kindergarden now and then. And I recharge when I am on the couch surrounded by heaps of pillows, watching TV shows.”
What taboo around motherhood that you would wish to break?
“I wish we could realize that going through a c-section is actually a surgery that requires some down time, and find it insane that we literally expect a woman to be up and running as usual less than 24 hours after. I am also very engaged in health matters going on in Norway, regarding situations to do with birth, children in hospitals and keeping our health care system public
It is not a taboo, but I am not a fan of ironic content about how draining and exhausting having a child is that we see on social media. I worry sometimes about the effect our generations oversharing of parent life and our children will have on kids. This is not regarding all subjects, this is specific to “funny” videos poking fun at parental life, and sharing without boundaries of children in social media. I wonder what a lot of children will feel when they see these things in ten years time.”
Text Anna Rolin, Bea Fagerholt, Andrea Smidt
Elen Kristvik, 38, mother to Henry, 3. Writer and journalist, living in Oslo, Norway.