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We, mums, are all in the same boat — Team Mama

May 17, 2016

A few months ago, Isabella, a lovely reader who’s grown fond of La Tela (and I of her), wrote me something that made me smile. Her words are so honest, sweet and familiar that they made me think, once again, “No matter how different and unique we all are as individuals, mums are all in the same boat. We all have the same problems and worries, feel guilty in the same way. And we’re all striving to be better mothers and people in this amazingly crazy journey of parenthood”.

So today, with her permission, I want to share with you what she wrote to me for the Team Mama column. And if you can relate to her words the same way I do, let us know, share it with us. Because alone we’re smart, together we’re brilliant—wow, did I just invent the Team Mama’s motto? 💪🏻


Letter by Isabella, mum of Enea (14 months)

Dear Carlotta,

My name is Isabella, mum of Enea who was born on March 18th 2015. I found your blog ten days ago, while looking for some tutorials on how to make the Montessori mobiles for the kids’ Open Day in the company I work for.

What did I find, in addition to the tutorials? A stranger, so familiar that I already feel fond of her. In every one of your posts, I find something I’m looking for, a confrontation I need, a point of view I hadn’t discovered yet or found the strength and the determination to follow (I’m learning it’s really not about “the right time” or “the perfect moment”, it’s all about determination).

You write in three languages that I feel connected with, one because it’s my mother tongue and the other two because they’re dreams of mine that never came true (and today I can say it’s all my “fault”).

I admire you for what you do, for what you write, maybe even just for the way you write it, which makes a big difference. The difference between “doing something” and “wanting to do something”, a difference that often in the past had the best of me.

Lots of similarities, lots of differences. Similarities that bring us closer, differences that make us richer.

I spent the last year of my life trying to be a better mother, not just a good mother. Montessori, extended breastfeeding, unconditional love, education to independence, baby-led weaning, and knowing that every moment, no matter how difficult it is, is a phase and it’ll pass (sometimes even too quickly). This morning I found the motivation to write to you, reading your post about letting your baby cry. It’s been a difficult morning at work, after a very difficult night, more than others.

Enea is good, he’s very good. At the nursery, they call him “Felicetto” because he always smiles. He’s also good at night, he wakes up every 4-5 hours, but he rarely takes a long time to fall back asleep. Unlike last night. I had come back from the company party, I was exhausted, but every time I was about to fall asleep he’d start crying, in the bed next to mine (I’m trying to move him to his room, but I keep postponing it with the excuse of creating the perfect environment, but really because I don’t want to let him go :). He wouldn’t fall back asleep, he was looking for the breast, but not even that worked. And then there’s this really annoying habit of his of pinching my skin with his nails. Constantly. My chest and neck are like a mine field, I don’t know how to make him stop: I remove his hands, kindly, I kiss them, but nothing, he always goes back there so I spend all the time pushing away his hands, instead of kissing and hugging him.

And when, like yesterday, I lose my patience, I’m not the loving mother I want to be, I don’t let his father calm him down (it would have taken him just a few minutes and then he’d have slept well), I spend the next day being eaten alive by guilt and looking for solutions.

I’m terrified by the idea of letting Enea cry. Even more so because I know that it might not work. I already tried, in the first months, when all I heard was “if you hold him, you spoil him”: I knew that all a baby needs is love and milk, but my always questioning myself made me try letting him cry, overwhelmed by criticism and tiredness. But it didn’t work. And who knows if it’d work now. Yesterday I was thinking, “How does one stop breastfeeding at night? Is it ok to do it?”.

I try to listen to Enea. When it’s time to sleep and I’m around, he usually looks for me to calm down. Then, in the last few weeks, something happened: when he’s calm and almost asleep, he wants me to put him in his bed. So something IS changing, even if I just follow his instinct, without forcing him, but it’s not alway easy. And when I don’t feel up for it (or I’ve got a patience debt) this is what happens: I write down what I feel in the attempt to process and rationalise the situation. This time I chose you to be that friend that I’d like to have close to me in these moments, somebody who’s so in line with my understanding of motherhood and breastfeeding. Somebody that I can’t find in my group of friends.

Thanks Carlotta, to walk down your path with braveness, to anticipate your life instead of simply seeing it happen. I’m starting now, and I’m aware of my own limits, I want to get as close as possible to them in order to realise that I can even overcome them, like Enea already has, making me find my strength, which is more than I thought. People like you make me feel that “I can do it”: like that time during labour when my mother-in-law, mother of six, showed up unexpectedly… I didn’t want to see anybody, but in that difficult time it was good to have her there: “If she survived six births, I can definitely survive this one!” ;-)

Tell me what you think

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Bean and seed mosaic
I'm not perfect. I'm aware
DIY yoga cards for kids
Children at the restaurant: let's recalibrate expectations
Don't ask your children to share their toys
Those "good job" that erode our children's confidence
Our Montessori birthday
Two alternatives to screens that my kids love
Using fear and threats to control children is never right!
"Stop crying!" doesn't work
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Podcast

On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.