Sometimes I wonder…
Would it be as rewarding
Without the hard bits?
Sometimes I wonder…
Sometimes I wonder…
Would it be as rewarding
Without the hard bits?
This week I’ve restarted another #100happydays photo project (on Instagram). Over the last couple of years I’ve become more conscious of what habits and practices impact my happiness, and this is definitely one that has a significant postive impact by giving me a reason to seek out, notice and create little moments of gratitude, connection and joy.
Another positive habit is daily journalling. I’ve been using the DayOne app for almost two years and this week I decided to upgrade to the latest version which includes the ability to keep multiple journals (plus some other nice features). Journalling has immediate benefits for me in that writing often helps me to figure out what I think, but the ability to look back and kind of join the dots to make better sense of who I am (or who I am becoming) is also really valuable. I’m also beginning to realise how much I’ve forgotten from the last four years of Ella’s life so I’m also trying to capture notes and insights about the kids – mostly so that I can remember, but possibly also so that when they’re older they can get a deeper insight into who they are.
Three things that have engaged my head and heart this week…
…living with children is probably the most powerful spiritual practice that anybody could ever be engaged in if you open yourself to it that way. I like to look at them as when they’re little as little living Zen masters that are sort of parachuted into our lives to push all our buttons and see how we’re going to work with the challenges they throw at us in addition to, of course, having to put food on the table, pay the rent, build a career, have a loving relationship…
This was a podcast episode with some wise messages about mindful parenting that I really needed to hear this week (see this Sticky Wisdom post). In moments of complete frustration, imagining E and L as little Zen monks brings a smile to my face! And I’m trying to remember to ask ‘what are they trying to teach me?’ rather than ‘why are they doing this to me?’!
2. Robert Sapolsky talking behaviour and biology on the Here We Are podcast
A friend recently recommended Robert Sapolsky’s book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. I have it on hold at the library but to be honest I’m a little daunted by a 800-page book on neuroscience so I went searching for a podcast instead. This episode had some fascinating insights and anecdotes about how the brain works, including a super interesting conversation about how ‘disgust’ is perceived/felt.
3. Jacinta Tynan: Why I’m Compiling a Daily Record of My Boys’ Childhood
This article was definitely part of the motivation for updating DayOne and starting journals for each of the kids. I really like the ‘one-sentence journal’ idea and it only takes a couple of minutes at the end of each day to jot down a few words to capture how they spent the day, a special moment or a funny quote. But listening to Sherry Turkle’s interview on On Being has me thinking about what physical artifacts from my kids’ childhoods I’m keeping (I’m very ruthless and there aren’t many artworks that get kept!) for them to discover later in life, and how I might ensure that the digital memories I’m capturing can also be retained and discovered.
This #stickywisdom from Jon Kabat-Zinn on the On Being podcast felt like it was especially directed at me!
Three things that have me thinking and feeling this week….
1. The New Work Smarts Report
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) have released The New Work Smarts report which forecasts the type of activities and requisite skills/knowledge that will be involved in work in 2030. In 2030, Ella will be 17 and probably embarking on first jobs and navigating the minefield of post-school career/education choices. Of particular interest was the fact that work in the future will be much more self-directed – with less management and training. This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the future of work and what their job/career may look like in 10-15 years, but I think it’s especially relevant for parents and educators to consider what kind of skills and experiences we should be supporting children to develop.
As I work on letting go of the pressure to be self-sufficient, I see that accepting help allows others true entrance into my life, creating the stronger community that I always longed to have.
Being back in the thick of newborn life I’ve found myself doing a lot of reading and thinking about birth and motherhood and reflecting on the ways that these experiences have shaped me. This week I read Lessons of Labor – a fairly short book in which the author, Julia Aziz, uses the stories of her three births (and miscarriage) to distill a number of life lessons. Although the birth stories are the framework for the book, I found it to be more a book about parenting and it reminded me a lot of ‘Buddhism for Parents on the Go‘. There were some particularly timely insights for me about asking for and accepting help, and about accepting rather than resisting some of the daily frustrations and challenges of life with little humans!
3. ‘Kids are gross’: On feminism and agency
Consent, respect, and bodily autonomy are at the core of feminism, but this piece reminded me that even when we’re loudly banging on about these things in our own lives it’s so easy to overlook them in our interactions with children. While I try to be mindful of these values in my parenting, I often find myself underestimating the perceptiveness and capabilities of my 4-year old (and her friends). This post definitely made me want to do better – and to expect the same of the other adults in my kids’ lives.
Last week I ended up in hospital with pneumonia. After 3 days of IV antibiotics and fluids, I’m feeling like a totally different person, but it was a really tough week. Being so sick really knocked me around mentally too, but now on the other side, things feel so so so much brighter and more positive. I am grateful for the wonderful public hospital care I received and have taken on board the message the universe has been sending about being willing to ask for help and not trying to hold everything together!
Three things that engaged my head and/or heart this week…
Oprah has a new podcast – Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – a personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. I’ve listened to the episodes with Brene Brown and Sheryl Sandberg – two women I’ve heard interviewed many times before, but whose messages and insights are worth re-listening to. I’ve also been listening to this podcast as I go to sleep in an attempt to distract myself from my annoying lingering cough!
There is no shortage of relationship advice online, but this post had some useful reminders. Processing my thoughts and feelings through journalling is something that I’ve found enormously helpful and has probably prevented many arguments!
This advice made me reflect on how much of our weekend/leisure time revolves around Miss E (4 years old) and what she wants to do or what we think will make her happy, and resolve to plan more family interactions and outings based on what makes Jason and/or I happy instead!
Will you remember
The crumbs on the kitchen floor
Or the hugs I gave?
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!