When the Vibe Israel team asked me what I most wanted to do in Israel, I thought for a few hours, then I knew exactly what.
I wanted to meet a local mom, and I wanted to photograph a small part of a day in her regular life.
Okay, sure, Jerusalem would be cool, the Dead Sea would be rad. But when do I have the opportunity to connect with a mother a half a world away, and document her in a way that is so meaningful to me, and hopefully to her?
The journalist in me wanted to report on how similar and different motherhood is between her and me. The photographer in me craved new spaces and fresh faces. The blogger in me wanted all of YOU to connect with this woman and family the way I was hoping I would (and did).
Esin lives in Tel Aviv, in a small apartment, with her husband and 2 young children- a boy named Yuval, and a girl named Bar. They are currently building their dream home, which Esin is itching to move into for many reasons- one being that she’s an interior designer, and really looking forward to putting personal touches on her own space.
We began our afternoon together with some divine Israeli takeout- the really yummy, healthy kind, I’m told. Hummus, falafel, dried fruit and nuts, and some cookies that Esin made out of probably 20 lbs of butter. The unhealthy part of the meal, but I wasn’t complaining.
Or, a friend of Esin’s and straight up hilarious person, joined us, too. Her family lives too far from the city for me to meet her children that day, but I’m really happy she at least got to hang out with us and chime in.
I did get to meet Or’s girlfriend for a short time who was pregnant and just had her baby yesterday! (Congrats Or and Ellie!)
We talked for over an hour, comparing cultures and questioning each other like we had just met at summer camp and wondered what the other’s town was like. We came to the conclusion that we are really quite similar in so many ways, from work-life balance struggles to how we are combining the internet, motherhood, and what we love to make a living.
Or does marketing for baby brands and products, and she blogs for a large Israeli parenting site. As for Esin? Here’s a little more about what she does, in her own words:
I am an interior designer, working from home. Mostly I design spaces and apartments and houses for families with kids, while paying attention to functionality and design. On my blog, I write about styling and about the process and the choices that I take with the family. It’s important for me that through my writing my followers will get to know me and my style.
I could write about these women and our conversations all day, but I guess I should get to the pictures. There are a lot of them. Get your scrolling finger ready!
After our lunch wrapped up, it was time for Esin and I to head out and pick up her children from school.
I laughed because Esin lamented that they must pass by this snack shop every day on their way from Yuval’s school, and every. day. he begs for a treat. I KNOW YOUR STRUGGLE, ESIN.
Between pickups and the apartment, there were a few carseat battles and Esin apologized more than once for her “messy” car. It was like I was home with my people.
The children were delighted to arrive back. I think this could have been because there was a plate of buttery cookies on the coffee table. Not sure.
While Yuval and Or took up a lively game of ping pong..
I poked around and took more pictures. I was quite nosey, and in love with Esin’s decorating.
You can not escape minions.
She had strict instructions from me to not clean. I wanted to capture real life. Isn’t real life the most beautiful?
I asked Esin to answer a few questions about motherhood for me.
Do you think it’s easy or hard to be a parent in Israel? Why?
For me, its easy to be a parent in Israel!! First, we live in a warm country, our winter is short so we have a little bit rain and then a long summer with a lot of outdoor fun days with the kids. Tel Aviv is the biggest city in Israel, but compared to big cities around the globe, its very small, so everything is close and safe (more quality time with my kids), for example, my parents live 5 minutes walk from us, my husband’s work is 15 minutes drive from our home, and the beach is 5 minutes drive (my kids are crazy about the beach and the sand).
What’s your biggest fear as a mother?
My biggest fear as a mother is that my children won’t feel safe to tell me everything (good or bad). I would like to know all about my children and what they are going through so I can help them when they feel needed and be happy for them when they are happy.
What are you most proud of as a mother?
Mmmmm… nice question! I think that I’m most proud of the values that I’m giving them. I would like my children to be caring and polite.
What was my takeaway from this? As cliche as it sounds, we have so much in common. The differences were there, of course, but through all the cultural barriers and the horrific and hilarious Google translations for words that were lost, we were mothers in a fast-paced world. We have technology at our finger tips, but we struggle to find the time to balance everything. We want the best for our kids, and we wonder sometimes what that is. We wrestle toddlers into car seats, and we have sippy cups on our floor boards.
We are driven by love… and a healthy dose of humor.
I hope you all loved getting to know Esin, her family, and Or today! Tomorrow, part 3 of my Israel posts will be about overcoming the fear I had before I went- on more levels than just the “OMG, a 13 hour flight?!” fear. Hint: postpartum anxiety lost this battle.
I'm half a world away from my family, my home, my routine. This trip was a HUGE leap for me. I couldn't have dreamed of doing this even a year ago. My anxiety wouldn't have let me. But today? I am here. And I looked down as I waded through one of the 7 wonders of the world at the two bracelets I absentmindedly slipped on my wrist this morning to discover this. Fly, Warrior. Indeed. (Fly bracelet from @averyandaustin and Warrior bracelet from the #warriormomcon by @mantraband) #warriormom @postpartumprogress #vibeisrael #vibemommies