The fourth amazing woman I'd like to introduce to you is Sofia, entrepreneur and mother of one gorgeous girl Stella (17 months), a Swedish mama living in Bressanone, Italy. Here she shares some moments with us.
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1. Describe what the word motherhood means to you?
A couple of years ago I had a very clear dream one night. It was about a little girl, she was blond with eyes full of wisdom and way of taking life as it comes. She was magical somehow and I knew that if I gathered all the courage I could find in myself, I could meet her in real life. Motherhood means that I acted on this dream and made it all happen. Her name is Stella, I know now.
2. Tell us a bit about the place you call home?
Bressanone is a small mountain village located right in the middle of the alps, or the Dolomites as the italian alps are called. 20,000 people live here and you can reach anything you need within 5 minutes of walking in the city. Extremely convenient when raising kids I must say.
We came here three years ago after selling most of our stuff in Sweden, packing the car full and driving down here. We had nothing - no jobs, no place to live or friends and we hardly spoke the language. Three years down the line we have created a life for ourselves and our now 17 months old daughter Stella, who was born here. We moved here because we love the mountains, the outdoors and the Mediterranean climate. I’m proud to say we made a dream come true.
3. What are the ups and downs of raising a family in Bressanone?
So far it has been mostly ups I must say. Bressanone is a small friendly town with almost no cars in the center, lots of playgrounds and 10 minutes to reach amazing nature and outdoor activities. The child care centre is great, hospitals are very good and the city organises lots of activities for families all year round.
The downs are issues that are ok for now but will be a problem when Stella gets a little older. For example, Italy is a very very unequal country and I cannot see how I will be able to raise a woman-to-be in a place like this.
4. What is your favourite thing to do in Bressanone with your kids?
Well that’s easy to answer - to be in the mountains. We are no city people at all and we are the most happy when we get to spend time in nature. Stella is more or less brought up in the hiking rucksack..
5. How has becoming a mama changed you?
I’m very much the same person as before, I don’t feel that I have changed much at all. Maybe others would say that I have, but at least I don’t notice it myself. Of course I have developed some aspects of my personality but it’s more in terms of being practical, a little more organised and a lot more patient. Plus I feel happier and I have faced a few fears along the way.
6. How does the landscape influence your parenting style?
I feel relaxed here, like I’m in good hands somehow. Life is a little easier here I feel, than back home in Sweden. People seem to be really happy in this little town, whistling as the cycle to work, smiling towards each other. All this has a positive impact on me as a mother.
7. How do you achieve a creative work-life balance?
I don’t. And this is something that makes me feel frustrated at times. I have so many ideas that I want to do something with, and I simply have no time. But it is a choice I have made because I want to be with Stella when she is small. Still struggling to find a good balance in this area.
8. What's your favourite thing to do in the city when you're child free?I go to the local spa, we have a great one right here in the city. There is nothing like a hot sauna to release tension and regain strength.
9. How would you describe the childcare in Bressanone?
It’s super great. For example, the same day as we came back home from the hospital when Stella was born, Edith from the child care centre phoned me up and asked if she could come over to our place for a chat. She brought everything we needed including advice that helped me get over my struggles with nursing. I couldn’t believe it. A life saver!
10. What the best parenting advice your mother ever gave you?
Actually she never gave me any. Her parents often interfered with the way she was bringing up me and my sister, and I simply think she wants me to do whatever I feel is right for my family. Of course she is happy to give advice when I ask for it, but never until then.
If you've missed the other Oh Mother interviews you can read them here, here and here.