Last week my big baby turned 4 so we’ve been enjoying ongoing festivities as we celebrate with family and friends. Each birthday feels like a massive milestone for me as a parent and a real opportunity for reflecting on how our lives have changed and what I’ve learned. Motherhood has transformed me in many many many ways – some which I’m very aware of, and some that I’m sure I’m yet to realise!
Just over 4 years ago I attended antenatal classes with a wonderful group of women and their partners. Their friendship and support has been so essential to me as I’ve navigated my way through the uncertainty and challenges of parenthood, and there has honestly not been a week that’s gone by in the last 4 years when I haven’t felt enormous gratitude for having them in my life. I love that Ella has such wonderful ‘aunties’ who have watched her grow up and genuinely care for her, and it’s such a delight for me to do the same for a great bunch of gorgeous kids.
Last week also marked 50 days since our little man arrived. What a ride! He isn’t so keen on napping during the day (but is doing well overnight (and a billion times better than his big sister did) so I definitely won’t complain!) so I’m doing lots of baby-wearing again. When it’s too cold/dark to venture out we’re doing lots of dancing around the house. Thank goodness for Spotify’s Disco Forever playlist. Dancing seems to put him to sleep and calms me down too. Right now we’re bopping to the Have a Great Day playlist. If dancing to Bill Withers’ Lovely Day doesn’t brighten your day a little, I’m not sure what will!
Spending more time at home provides plenty of opportunity to notice (and get frustrated by) the mess and clutter in our home and I feel like I spend far too much time tidying up – especially on days when I’ve got both kids at home. To tackle it, I’m participating in the 30-Day Minimalism Game this month – throwing out/donating one thing on the 1st, two on the 2nd etc. By the end of the month our home will be 496 things lighter! So far I’m finding it pretty easy to get rid of unused junk and duplicate items, but I suspect it’ll get more challenging toward the end of the month and I’ll need to question my ‘but we might need this someday’ tendencies!
At the moment I’m reading The Big Leap (as part of the Lead Mama Lead book group). So far it seems a bit self-helpy with not much scientific/theoretical grounding, but it is prompting some good self-reflection about how my beliefs/personal narrative might be shaping decisions and ‘success’ in career and relationships.
I’m trying to read ‘better’ and absorb and apply more of what I read, rather than just consuming information quickly and somewhat mindlessly. In particular, this piece, ‘How To Retain More From The Books You Read In 5 Simple Steps‘, has prompted me to write a short comment about why I’ve highlighted a particular passage which is having a big impact on how deeply I consider and retain information I read. I also find talking with others about what I’m reading/listening to is a great way for processing/remembering (Em – we need to schedule more frequent calls!!).
I’ve deleted the Uber app from my phone after listening to this episode of The Dollop. The other podcast that I listened to this week, an interview with Tiffany Dufu on The Good Life Project, was also great and left me feeling much more positive and with some useful ideas that I can implement in my own life as well as exploring through Lead Mama Lead.
Other things I’ve read recently that I thought were worth sharing…
- With E recently celebrating her birthday we’ve had an influx of new toys, which is so lovely and generous, but runs counter to my current minimalism efforts! This piece had great ideas for non-toy gifts which I’ll certainly be suggesting to family for Christmas/future birthdays.
- Katherine Murphy has published an essay which provides an incredible insight into the toxic workplace environment of Australian politics. Who would want to work like this?
- Doing the Minimalism Game has got me thinking much more intentionally about the space I want to live in, and adding more family photographs to our walls will be part of that.
- This video has some excellent suggestions for questions to ask and things to say to young girls that aren’t based on their appearance.
- Facebook obviously knows that I’m parenting a newborn so my newsfeed feels full of articles and ads on baby sleep! Generally I’ve learned to avoid them, but this one about sleep deprivation had some good advice. One of the things I learned with E was that it’s often much easier to focus on building your own resilience and capacity to survive the challenges associated with sleep than it is to ‘fix’ your kid. I remember when she cut her first tooth I walked to the shops to buy paracetamol and a teething toy for her, and two blocks of chocolate and a bottle of wine for me!
- Finally, I liked these poems – How You Stay Married After Children, and Good Bones. I’ve jumped back into writing the occasional parenting haiku too.