A bed time to remember

Jasmine, you just amazed me with your kindness, your maturity and your compassion.

I was lying with you at bed time, stroking your hair to help you relax as you had been rather excited. Daddy was out so it was just me and you, with Summer already asleep in her bed.

Summer suddenly started crying, which isn’t unusual but as you probably knew when you heard it, that meant I needed to go to her. I told you I’d be right back but you burst into tears and insisted on coming with me which of course, I allowed, because those tears were pure sadness.

You sat quietly on my bed whilst I lifted Summer out the cot and cuddled her back to sleep. I wondered what you were thinking then, seeing me cuddle Summer. Were you jealous or just watching? Were you sad or comforted?

I put Summer back down and we snuck out but in your innocence you started talking a little too loudly, waking her once again as we got to the door. Hesitantly, we went to your room and I hoped, maybe, although I knew it wouldn’t happen, that Summer would settle on her own because the thought of leaving you again to go her had my heart all twisted and sad. Instead you turned around and said, “oh Mummy, Summer is crying you need to go give her a cuddle.”

You gave me permission to go to her, not because you were trying to stay up later but purely because you understood it’s what she needed. I was so grateful in that moment for your kindness, being able to soothe Summer once again without worrying (too much) about you.

Again you sat on my bed as I held your sister in my arms. You popped back to your room to grab your Ellie Nellie and then lay still on my bed, watching, just quietly. I put Summer back in her cot but she woke up crying straight away, wanting more time with me and wanting to feed.

We went back to your room and I explained that I needed to be with Summer for longer. I explained that I’d come right back to you just as soon as I could. I explained that Daddy was out when you asked for him.

I fed Summer and she calmed instantly, her head becoming heavy as she found sleep again and I could hear you in your room, waiting, understanding, yawning and sighing. You could’ve been crying, pulling at my clothes wanting me all for yourself as often happens at bedtime but tonight was so different.

I came back to you and you were awake, ready for cuddles of your own. I held you and told you how proud I was that you’d waited for Mummy and how kind you had been to Summer. I told you what an amazing big sister you were.

Then you paused and looked up at me. You said, “I want to share my Mummy with Summer,” and those eight words of kindness overwhelmed me. I love you so much, angel girl.

Could 2019 really be the year?

I am one of those people who quite enjoys the strange time between Christmas and New Year, where you don’t quite know whether you’re coming or going. I find myself in a naturally reflective mood, setting intentions and goals for the year ahead, pondering the year gone by and giving myself an annual pep talk that come January, I really will start using my wardrobe instead of my floordrobe! This year, I realised that the pondering and the intention setting is the easy bit, the dreamy bit (I’m such a Pisces!) It’s lovely to sit down and set goals, visualising our best selves and feeling motivated by the fresh new start that 1st January brings. The thing is though, I’ve lived through enough New Year’s Days now to know that in reality, it can often all feel like a huge anticlimax because having spent all that time dreaming, you are then bluntly awoken with the same old crap, just with a different date attached. The clothes are still on the floor, I’m still too tired to exercise and there’s still a to-do list that’s growing by the hour. That feeling of discomfort from procrastinating worms its’ way back in and as the spiral of excuses starts again, days can tick into weeks without anything really changing.

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Jasmine and Summer on Christmas Day

All that being said, this isn’t a time to be self-critical or give myself a hard time for not living a picture perfect life. I am, after all, a Mummy to two young girls who DO take up most of my time, energy, love and time (I know I wrote ‘time’ twice but it’s the most important one.) I achieve so much each day when I look at my two girls but this year, I want to feel different in myself. I believe it’s more than possible for me to make some changes that will benefit my whole family.

This year, 2019, I’m aiming to create a life of more joy with less ‘stuff’, more knowledge with less screens, more yoga with less avoidance, more creativity with less self doubt and I’m determined to make it the year that come 31st December 2019 I can say, “yes, I really did it!” The number 19 is my birth date. It’s also my wedding anniversary date and was my Grandma’s birthday too so it does hold a lot of significance. Maybe that’s why this year feels like a big one.

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So without further ado, I’m going to write my resolutions, not only to be as a record and a memory for myself but because the act of writing them down makes them more real and also allows me to be more accountable to keeping them. Here goes….

  1. Read more books. A classic, I know, and I often make this a resolution. I love reading but last year I think I managed a total of 3 books with a further 5 abandoned without being finished. These days I love digesting personal development books, parenting books, factual books or a good old fiction book. So often I put the TV on the evening and say, “there’s not really much on is there?” and so when that happens from now on, I want to reach for my books. Amongst many, on the list so far are “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, “The Highly Sensitive Child,” by Elaine Aron and “I am Malala,” by Malala Yousafzai. I have been making an Amazon wish-list of books which is helping me keep track of what I want to read and I’m setting a goal of 12 books within the year, which can include audio books too.
  2. Exercise. Such a January cliche but hear me out. I haven’t exercised properly since before Jasmine was born, which is getting on for 3 years now. I don’t feel strong in my body despite having a heavy toddler who insists on being carried all the time. I suffer with back pain a lot (thanks pregnancy, co-sleeping and hormones) and my energy levels can be rock bottom. I’m now 6 months post partum with Summer and feel very ready to start working on myself again. My goal is going to be exercise of any form at least twice a week, preferably yoga or dancing around the kitchen with the girls.
  3. Reduce my screen time. In the spirit of accountability, I’m just going to say that my average daily screen time is a LOT (if you have an iPhone, it tracks it for you). Mine is far too high. I love my phone and I love connecting with my friends on Whatsapp, being inspired by blogs or social media accounts, taking (and posting) photos and writing blogs when the moment strikes me but I’m still guilty of mindless pick ups, falling down the scrolling hole and being on my phone in front of Jasmine and Summer. I really want to change this habit and put some of those ‘wasteful’ screen hours towards something else.
  4. Write more. Ah, my blog (this one you’re reading now!)  I started this blog last year because I wanted to journal about my motherhood experience, have a creative way to express my emotions (thanks motherhood for that, too) and leave something long-lasting for my girls to read. I must have written 15 or more draft blogs that sadly I’ve never gotten round to finishing, despite waking up almost every day willing myself just to do it. I want to keep writing because it helps me in so many ways and I believe that our ability to share our vulnerabilities and emotions is how we can connect to one another.
  5. Minimise and de-clutter. Back in November I started (and never finished) a blog about how I managed to get rid of over 415 items from my home in just one month. I am hoping to write that one up sometime! It was an amazing and eye opening experience and since then, I haven’t stopped. I feel passionate about living a life with more by having less and this is a new but exciting journey for me. I want to continue to make steps towards living “zero waste”, minimising our belongings as a family and tuning in to what truly brings me joy. I can’t wait to see how this one in particular unfolds over the year.

And that’s it. 5 “resolutions” that can last me the year but that feel like me and where I am at in my life. I’m actually so excited to get started.

 

Is it just me?

Is it just me who loves being a Mum
But also wishes I could have more fun?
Is it just me who finds it so tough,
Day in day out, it can be so rough.

Is it just me whose house is always a mess,
Who frantically tidies before having guests?
Is it just me who feels like a winner,
When I don’t just make pesto pasta for dinner?

Is it just me who wishes for time
For yoga and books and other things mine?
Is it just me who always feels tired
But being a good mum keeps me feeling inspired.

Is it just me who plays all day long
Whose baby smiles at her favourite song?
Is it just me who worries too much
Because I’m not doing enough of such and such?

Is it just me who wishes for sleep
Who hears the baby wake as soon as they peep?
Is it just me who sometimes cries
When you suddenly realise how time flies?

Is it just me who opens the door
To check on her babies just one time more?
Is it just me who wants to run away
To forget my responsibilities just for one day?

Is it just me whose eyes fill with tears
As I think about my hopes and fears?
Is it just me who never quite knew
Just how much I’d change having you?

Is it just me who learns every day
Because you are the ones who show me the way?
Is it just me who stares into your eyes
And wonders how I won the prize?

Is it just me who is awake all the night
Feeding and cuddling and holding you tight?
Is it just me who needs to be told
“You’re doing great,”… that never gets old.

Is it just me who needs a break
Perhaps a hot tea and a big piece of cake?
Is it just me who gets driven mad
Who feels everything in between happy and sad?

Is it just me who worries about you
Like sometimes I just don’t know what to do?
Is it just me who can’t do it alone
And is thankful for all the mums in my phone?

Is it just me who escapes to the shower
For 5 quiet minutes but wants a whole hour?
Is it just me who can’t stop kissing those cheeks
Who wants to slow down the passing weeks?

Is it just me who feels incredibly proud
Who wants to show the world and shout it out loud?
Is it just me who never feels good enough
I should probably be doing more crafty stuff?

Is it just me whose dream has come true
By becoming a mummy to both of you?
Is it just me who doesn’t want you to grow
Yet wants you to, so there’s more I can know.

Is it just me who needs more time for self-care
For exercise, napping or washing my hair?
Is it just me who thought I knew how it would be
But then becoming a mother truly humbled me.

Is it just me who has a big dark fear
That something bad will happen when I’m not near?
Is it just me who does the same as my Mum
Giving a magic kiss better when you hurt your thumb?

Is it just me who needs her friends
To help with all that motherhood sends?
Is it just me who gives a laugh and smile
When I watch that old video I haven’t seen for a while?

Is it just me who wants to protect you from bad
In a world that can sometimes seem a little bit mad?
Is it just me who has marks on her skin
From the days from when I grew you within?

Is it just me who wants to give all Mums a hug
To offer support with a drink in a mug.
Is it just me who wouldn’t change a thing
Who can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

Don’t go, Summer

With the Autumn Equinox behind us and the weather on the turn I’m feeling really nostalgic for all things Summer…both the baby and the season! This summer season was a biggie for our family. The anticipation of our second baby arriving, our last few months spent as a family of three and an intense heat wave certainly made it a summer to remember. Wow! Those days seem so long ago already and looking back at photos of our adventures with Jasmine and ‘bump’ brings me so much joy. How is it possible that Jasmine already seems to have grown up into a different child yet again in the few months that have passed since then? I have such happy memories of our time in the hot weather, playing in the paddling pool in our garden, spending hours outside, having picnics and ice creams, going to our first ‘festival’ and boiling away in the intense heat with only a single fan in the house to keep us cool. I will fondly remember this summer of fun, the 3 of us (and bump), and the gorgeous never-ending sunshine which I’ve come to appreciate so much these days.

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Jasmine enjoying the sunshine in the garden
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Jasmine at her first festival 4 days before Summer arrived

Then there’s the other Summer, our aptly named second baby girl born during the heat wave of July this year who has transformed us into a family of four, made Jasmine a big sister and brought us all more happiness than we could have imagined. Summer is growing and changing so quickly and the weeks are flying by in a flash. She has a huge gorgeous smile, takes lovely long naps and has such an easy-going and relaxed nature (so far!) I am in absolutely no rush for her to grow up and wish I could slow down time to enjoy her just as she is, to soak in those snuggles and stare at those eyes. I already worry that my memories of her time as a newborn seem distant. Did I take enough photos? Will I remember those precious first weeks in years to come? Did I make enough time to take it all in? I haven’t recorded all the details or memorised the dates of her milestones because time just seems to have vanished somehow. (They said this would happen with baby number 2 and I guess ‘they’ must be right!) Summer will soon be 3 months old and although there is so much fun ahead of us, my heart feels a little sad that my little one is already growing up so much and there’s nothing I can do to stop it!

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Summer as a newborn

So summer is over and autumn is officially here. My newborn has grown in a flash and I’m left with a feeling of slight sadness and apprehension. The seasonal change at this time of year is always a challenge for me, let alone when the clocks change! I adore long light evenings and detest it getting dark at 4pm. I’ve noticed that with the seasons changing, my thought pattern is becoming a little negative and that is something I need to keep in check. I’m feeling disgruntled at thoughts of cold weather and the inevitable colds and flues that Jasmine will bring home from nursery and no doubt pass to her sister. I’m aware that the upcoming seasons present an even greater challenge to be productive and active and resist the urge to hibernate under a blanket every night of the week. I’m already longing for another summer of sun that now seems so far away. The transition this year is more difficult than ever because it carries more emotional significance and I feel like I’m saying goodbye to a time I will never get back again but have enjoyed so, so much. I know I need to remain positive, get outside, focus on my gratitude and move with the flow of life, which includes babies growing up and seasons changing and as always, I’m focusing on the lessons that all these feelings can teach me.

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Newborn yawns

Being your Mummy teaches me so much and no less on this occasion. This week and in this transition, I’m focusing my thoughts on these important things….

  • Practicing mindful parenting. Learning to slow down and savour those precious moments without distractions. Taking time to really ‘be’ with my children, whether it’s for half an hour or five minutes but to be fully present is such a rewarding experience but can be so hard to accomplish in today’s world of business and ‘to do’ lists.
  • Go with the flow. The seasons changing is part of life (especially living in the UK) and is also Mother Nature’s best work. Every season comes back around each year and moving with the flow of this can help me to remain tuned in to all the good things that they bring. Each season and each new stage with a baby brings about new beginnings and new things to enjoy.
  • All good things must come to an end. The glorious, precious newborn days (which I appreciated so much more this time round) may have come to an end but it doesn’t mean the memories aren’t there. The good things teach us what we love about life. For me this summer has shown me I appreciate hot weather and being outside with Jasmine and that I can strive to achieve elements of that in the other seasons too.
  • Take photos! Yes, technology is both a blessing and a curse and yes our phones can take us away from being present with our kids but I am so thankful for our ability to capture happy moments on camera with no limitations. One of my favourite things to do is look back at photos on my phone whether it’s from a year ago or a week ago and it never fails to make be smile thinking about those moments or talking about how much Jasmine and Summer have changed. Photos are a way of preserving memories both for myself and my girls.
  • Gratitude. This is the biggie! I know that when I’m feeling low or when those negative thought patterns kick in, coming back to a gratitude practice always lifts my mood. So rather than getting frustrated when it’s dark at 4pm and wishing for something else, I’m going to remember by gratitude practice. Gratitude for the change in seasons and the different experiences they bring. Gratitude for the abundant life I’m living. Gratitude for being a mother.
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Our smiley Summer