The Universe likes me, I am pretty sure of it, but it’s nice to get a confirmation once in a while. And in June I did. Twice. 

Now, I know for most people going to a concert, while exciting, is no sign from above that they are the chosen one. But for a mom of two little kids to make it out of the house alone, past 7 pm, is nothing short of a miracle. 

In the past 3.5 years I have been out at night exactly 3 times, 2 of which are described in this blog post. I can see how people who don’t have kids would find this insane. I can even imagine that being a shock for other moms out there. Because I see other moms going out for dinner with girlfriends and taking weekend trips, which sometimes makes me feel like an idiot who can’t figure her life out. Most of the time, though, I am able to accept my own choices and their consequences. 

Before my first son, Kroshka, was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed: exclusively until 6 months and then on demand until 2 years old. So I did everything in my power to ensure the success: no pacifiers, no bottles, only direct breastfeeding as many times a day for as long as it took my baby to be full and happy. 

It worked. But what I — naively — didn’t realize is that this plan meant I wouldn’t be able to leave him for over an hour for the first half a year and for over three hours later on, as he started solids. I also didn’t realize that direct breastfeeding meant I would be the only one who can put him to sleep. 

I kept breastfeeding Kroshka well into my second pregnancy and weaned him off only a few months after Knopka was born when the whole story with no bottles and direct breastfeeding repeated itself. For the past 3.5 years my life has been planned around feedings and naps. After 7 pm I am home, that’s a non-negotiable. 

To answer some frequently asked questions:

But can’t you put the baby to sleep for the night and then go out?

No, because babies wake up multiple times, sometimes every 40 minutes once you put them for the night, and when they wake up they need the exact same thing that helped them go to sleep in the first place. Meaning: my boobs.

But can’t your husband put the kids to sleep?

My husband can put our toddler to sleep — no problem, but when it comes to a breastfed baby I have to be there. If a baby is used to falling asleep on the breast, it is quite difficult to teach him to fall asleep otherwise. It is possible, but it would be a lot harder for my husband to do, while for me bedtime is a breeze: a boob, a lullaby and twenty minutes of my time do the trick.

But can’t you pump milk? Then your husband could put the baby to sleep by giving him a bottle? 

Well, at first I didn’t want to use a bottle so it didn’t mess with my breastfeeding. But if I am completely honest: I do not want to pump milk. I really don’t. Not even a little bit. Pumping means that in order to get a little free time in the future I have to work extra hard first. 

I realize that majority of women have to pump in order to go back to work. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids for as long as I wanted. Pumping was a choice for me, not a necessity. I have tried it once — time-consuming and unpleasant — and decided it wasn’t worth it. I am happy with my choices, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t long to spend an evening with my girlfriends or go to a concert once in a blue moon.

That was a long long premise, but now I am ready to tell you all about Beyoncé, Harry Styles and what the Universe has to do with it all. 

It all started a year ago when I found myself completely, head over heels, in love with Harry Styles. “Obsessed” might be a better word, I’ll reserve the word “love” for my husband. I listened to his latest album on repeat, I watched every interview he’s ever done, I found (accidentally) his mom’s Instagram account, for crying out loud! She has over two million followers! I mean, the woman deserves recognition for bringing such a talented man into this world. 

And then I learned that Harry Styles was taking his Love On tour to Germany. I signed up for the tickets pre-sale and set a reminder in my calendar to be the first in line — that’s how much of a fan-girl (fan-middle-aged-woman?) I am. Anyhow, I was number three thousand something in line and scored the tickets for his concert in Düsseldorf after several hours of click-click-clicking. 

How exactly I was going to travel to a different city for a concert when the most I’d ever been away from my baby was about half an hour would be a problem future Yulia would have to resolve. 

When Beyoncé announced she’d be coming to Germany with her Renaissance tour, around the same time as Harry Styles, I had little to lose. I would either figure out how to attend both concerts or neither. So I bought a ticket for her Hamburg show. At least, she would be performing 15 minutes away from my house, not 4 hours away. 

A year flew by fast enough and now I was faced with the realization that I have to pump milk. The only way for me to go out at night would be if my husband could put Knopka, now one year old, to sleep all by himself.

Sleep consultants (yes, that’s a thing) say that when teaching a baby a new method of falling asleep (it’s science, ok?), it has to be during a quiet, uneventful period in life. No moving, no guests, no exciting happenings. Which was not the case for us in May. 

We had family and friends coming one after another for a full month. Amazing, but also exhausting. Kroshka started kindergarten — something I’ve been so looking forward to — yet no-one told me adaptation period would be so emotionally-challenging. After a week at kindergarten Kroshka got sick and infected the rest of us. Both kids coughed so much that they kept throwing up, night after night. A week later, the whole family got food poisoning. Read: more throwing up, albeit for a different reason. 

Between showing Hamburg to our guests, taking care of sick children, and semi-regular sessions with psychologist to figure out how to make the transition to kindergarten easier, I was at my capacity. Just thinking that at the end of a long day I would have to pump milk and listen to my baby scream as my husband tries to put him to sleep made me tired. What was I thinking buying those tickets! How naive of me, how stupid! I would have to sell them. 

I told everyone I was not going. I checked how to transfer a ticket on Ticketmaster. I put “write a Facebook post about selling the tickets” on my to-do list. Then, I never did it. I kept hoping for a miracle, I guess. I had those coveted tickets everyone dreams of and now I’d have to willingly give them up? Not. Fair. The Universe seemed to agree.

Two weeks before Beyoncé’s concert, Knopka, who usually goes to sleep at 7.30 pm, fell asleep 15 minutes later. Big deal, you are probably thinking. But it is! At 13 months babies start the transition from 2 naps to 1. Their awake windows become longer, the naps take time later and the time for night sleep also moves down. It’s not something you can plan or force, it just happens when the baby is ready.

Within a week, Knopka was going to sleep at 8.30 pm. I felt a glimmer of hope. What if… What if I went to the concert after his second nap and came back to put him to sleep for the night? No pumping, no crying. Pure magic! 

I kept pushing his naps down by 5-10 minutes daily. Until on the day of Beyoncé’s concert he woke up from his second nap at 5 pm. I was a free woman until exactly 9.30 pm at which time my carriage would turn into a pumpkin and I’d have to be home. 

In the morning a friend asked if I was excited to see Beyoncé and I immediately, without even thinking, replied: no. Not for a second did I let myself get excited, but went on with the day as per usual instead. Make breakfast, wash the dishes, put Knopka to sleep for his first nap, have lunch, go for a walk, second nap, prep dinner, more dishes, bath time. 

At 7 pm I called a taxi. Even though sleep time was sorted, there was still a slim chance that Knopka would be overly tired and have a melt down in which case I’d have to come home immediately. 

I didn’t let myself get excited on the way to the stadium, nor when I ran around in search of the right entrance. Only when I made it inside and saw Beyoncé, teeny-tiny from my far-away seat, and heard her magnificent voice, did I breath out and my eyes welled up with tears. Not because I am such a big fan, but because the pressure was finally released. I was there. I kept looking at my phone, anticipating a message from my husband, but there was none. 

I won’t tell you much about the concert, because this post is not about the concert, even though it may have sounded like it at the start. After 1 hour and 20 minutes, barely half way through the show, I jumped into another taxi and went home to put Knopka to sleep. A happy woman, I walked through the door at exactly 9.30 pm, at 9.40 my baby was sleeping. Then I bought train tickets to Düsseldorf for my whole family and booked an Airbnb. Harry Styles’ show was in 6 days. 

The only problem was that Harry Styles, reportedly, comes on stage at 9 pm, so Knopka would have to go for the night at 10.30-11 pm. This time we were really pushing it. If I am lucky enough and we wake up an hour later than usual, and if Knopka goes for the first nap around 11 and then naps for no less than 2 hours, and if I put him for the second nap around 5 and if he, hopefully, sleeps long enough to wake up just before I leave for the show, but not too long so he thinks it’s the night and just keeps sleeping, and if he’s not too tired and cranky after the second nap… then I’ll make it! 

It was completely unrealistic to expect that everything would go exactly as planned. And yet it did because the Universe likes me, that much I know. I was at the venue at 8.30 pm, anxiously waiting till Harry makes it on stage. I looked around the stadium: 50 000 people and none of them have to be anywhere! Common Harry! My baby wants to sleep! I need to see you! I kept checking messages every 2 minutes. 

When he finally appeared and started singing Daydreaming, everything inside of me relaxed. Even if I’d only got to hear that one song and then had to head home to my crying baby, it would have been enough. 

But then he sang Golden and I was still there. And then Adore You. And then Keep Driving. I sent a message to my husband:

All good?

He asked for you a few times. Getting cranky little by little 

Let me know when you think I should come

I think around 10.30 would be good


Yawning a lot

Ok. One more song and I’ll come from here.

Come from there at 10.20-10.30

*Praying hands*

Better to come

I am out 

Ordering taxi


Waiting for pick up

In taxi

15 min



Now ok

6 min the app says

Then ok

And then I was home. At the Airbnb that is. And as I ran up the stairs Knopka met me with outstretched hands, mumbling mama over and over. I stayed for most of the concert. Missed As It Was, one of my favorite songs, but who cares! I saw Harry Styles. And Beyoncé. 

I wish I could tell you that the moral of this story is jump and the net will appear. But I don’t believe in it, even though I believe the Universe is on my side. Because six months ago I had tickets to a concert of a famous Russian poetess, and while it may not sound as exciting as Harry Styles, believe me, I was as eager to see her. And I didn’t. Because the stars didn’t align and I had to sell my ticket at half price on the day of the show. 

If there was a moral to this story it is this. Get yourself a partner who, when you say “Let’s do a 4-hour train ride with a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old to another city where you’ll be looking after the children while I get to see Harry Styles perform live. Also, you won’t even be able to see the said city because it’s a weekday so you’ll be working”, replies with “OK”.