Firstly, I am grateful that both my girls are napping right now. Ah, the Golden Silence! And without napping girls, there can be no post, so without further ado…
This week I am grateful for the lovely area in which I live, that gives me so much pleasure when I am out pounding the pavements doing battle with the baby weight (and making promises to self about not baking any more delish biscuits from my new Vegie Smugglers ebook. Or at least, not gorging myself on them when I do!).
I used to exercise in the glorious in its own way City of Glasgow, Scotland. This could not be much further from that! All of these pics were taken on my smartphone while listening to very loud music and feeling very good indeed 🙂
We had a lovely weekend away and today I decided to just leave all the post-hol clutter and washing and take Miss M out for a walk and picnic in the Botanical Gardens. The temperature in our little subtropical corner of the world is apparently only 23 degrees this afternoon but it feels much warmer. I’m not feeling very energetic to say the least, but I am feeling very content. When we drive 10 minutes down the road to the lush green Gardens or go for a walk by the Pacific Ocean I do always without fail still take note and count my blessings – it’s a far cry from Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, fond though my memories are! But after almost three years here I no longer really feel like we’re in a foreign country on a day to day basis. However, when we go away somewhere as we have done this weekend, I suddenly find myself travelling in Australia! It’s great! Beautiful, beautiful scenery, great weather, gorgeous beaches, and kangaroos! The roos are of no interest to Miss M whatsoever, lil Aussie that she is, but to her parents they are still an object of some excitement. I also still get a bit of a buzz out of seeing palm trees and parrots! What can I say? Might sound a bit mad to some but as always, it’s the little things, isn’t it? Grateful, much. Happy Blogtoberfest Day 16!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 16/31
By 6.45 this morning I was desperate to run away. I’d had a bad nights sleep due to the weird pregnancy pains in my legs. My toddler was in a blinding rage because nobody understood the sequence her stuffed animals and pillows were supposed to be in. I tried to help, but got it wrong, which made things worse, I was pushed away, then my HEEEEEEEEELP!!! demanded, then pushed away again. “I just want to run away!!”, I declared to my husband in despair, dreading a whole day of horror ahead. “Well, you can’t, because you’re a mummy”, he said as he left to go to work. Helpful. NOT!! Two options, switch on the telly for some peace and get ready to endure the guilt on top of the despair. Or bundle us both into the car and go for a walk by the ocean. 2 hours later we are back home and my world is a much nicer place in which to exist (well apart from the tantrum about the crayons but I don’t expect miracles!).
Midwife at noon, wish there was some chocolate in the house that I could scoff before I get the diet sheet I’m going to ask for in place of repeating the glucose intolerance test 😉
I’ve ploughed ahead with the first chapters of Sarah Napthali’s Buddhism for Mothers in the last couple of days and already I notice a difference in my daily life! Best of all has been the reminder to really look at my daughter, and be in the moment with her, see things the way she sees them. Sometimes when I hear her wake from her afternoon nap I’m guilty of thinking,”oh god no, not already…”. If I lay her down with that attitude, of course we’re not going to have a positive start to the rest of the day when she wakes. I know such feelings are normal at times and I shouldn’t beat myself up about them, but at the same time, allowing them to take control of my thinking just isn’t constructive. And after all, she is wonderful, and all of life is just wonderful to her – I don’t want to miss that in her, and when I take a step back and really look at her, my mood can’t help but lift!
This morning we went for a long walk by the ocean. Everything takes more than twice as long with an almost two year old, but hey, what’s the rush! Watching her pick up leaves and stones and listening to her chattering away and giggling is such a joy. The world viewed through her eyes is very simple and if I’m mindful to take a leaf out of her book and just stay in the moment with her, all of life just seems simpler to me too.
This morning my daughter and I went for our morning walk at the much more civilised time of 8.30am. It’s taken a lot of heartache but I am delighted to report that it looks like Tizzie Hall has indeed saved our sleep! Plus, I’m thriving on the new daily routine and I think Miss M is too. I only wish I hadn’t dismissed the idea of a strict routine for so long! She still wakes around 5.30am and cries a little, but she goes back to sleep by herself or plays until about 6.45am give or take a bit of squawking. To go from starting the day at 4am to this in less than a week, with the added bonus of no fights at nap time, is just wonderful!
Today we’ve had some distressing wider family issues, but because we started off with cuddles, a lovely walk by the ocean and a visit to the play park, I’ve been in a good frame of mind from the outset, so it’s all been manageable. My goal is to take Miss M for a morning walk by the ocean at least three times a week. She has a great time, and the benefits for me clearly go way beyond the physical. The ocean is there for the taking every single morning, it’s free and it makes me feel good. What better way to start the day!
One of the things I am struggling to accept is that the SAHM’s To Do list is NEVER completed. I have just carried 16 things into this week from last week’s list. This morning we needed to drop one of the cars at the mechanics, and usually I would want to head straight back home as soon as possible to get on with all my chores and lists, and my husband and I would then spend Miss M’s 90 minute nap in separate rooms doing our own thing. Today I decided to stop worrying about all the stuff I have to do, be in the moment, and put Family Time first. Instead of rushing home I suggested that we take Miss M to the play park and then have a walk to the marina, during which she would fall asleep and my husband and I could be alone together during the day without distractions – a very rare occurrence! The sun was shining, the waves were crashing against the rocks, and we walked and talked about our plans for the year ahead, and our goal of buying a house by the end of next year. We even did some snogging on the harbour wall, which was rather lovely!
However, experience has taught me that throwing caution to the wind with regard to household management for even half a day in an unplanned manner can cause a chaos spiral, so after a happy family lunch I consulted my organiser and I got stuck in to some baking and cleaning. While my husband fell asleep on the sofa. And thus The Resentment started to simmer beneath my surface. Being mindful, I told myself that he had been up since 5am, that he would be doing dinner and bath later, that he deserves some down time too; and I managed to put a lid on it. Until Miss M decided the TV was boring and being in the kitchen with mummy and her floury hands and hot oven was way more fun, and he did not respond fast enough to my call. Then some milk was spilled (literally), and my red mist descended. All my good intentions and a lovely morning spoiled. And I felt so ashamed because while my daughter is too little to understand an argument between her parents, I’m sure she gets the vibe. I struggled to regain perspective and control, and eventually managed to explain to him how resentful I was feeling and why his reaction to the milk being spilled angered me (oh, how trivial it all seems now!!). An unhappy silence reigned. But then, a short while later, he said the magic words: “would you like me to do the hoovering?”. And just like that, peace was restored. While certainly unpleasant, this horrible quarrel was shorter than most – perhaps in part due to the beautiful morning we had shared.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
My daughter is a very early riser. This morning she woke just before 5am and simply would not be persuaded that this hour is ungodly, so by 5.20 my husband had decamped to the spare room (his turn today) and I was trying to prise my eyes open while Miss M sat bolt upright on my tummy, thumb in mouth, swinging her little legs expectantly, waiting for this wonderful new day to begin. There are a so many mummy blogs and books in which women talk about grasping the early mornings with both hands and rejoicing in the extra hours in the day. I’ve made a couple of half-hearted attempts to do the same but in the end just figured that these women are a breed apart, and I will never be one of them. Usually I plonk Miss M in front of a DVD at this time, while I lie on the sofa lamenting my lot and praying that the day will soon come when she sleeps until some glorious hour, like say 7am. No more!!! I peeled the cabbage leaves from my crop top (nobody tells you bad things can happen after you finish breastfeeding!), got us both dressed, gave Miss M some milk and yogurt, and by 6.30am we were standing by the creek watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean. It is hard to feel resentful about being up very early in the morning when so much of the world is clearly up and at ’em already! The market stalls were setting up, the first stage of a triathalon event was underway and the path was buzzing with early morning walkers, yet still peaceful. The air smelled fresh and the day felt full of promise. I actually felt quite emotional – we live in such a beautiful part of the world, and watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean with my little girl in the calm of early morning, how could I not feel grateful and more than content? 4.4k later (thank you Cardio Trainer) we were back at the Surf Club ordering coffee before having a play on the beach. Instead of watching Disney, my daughter had met birds and dogs and people, felt the wind in her hair and shouted at the waves, and learned how to trap a leaf between her toes and carry it there. What better way to start a day in the life of a mindful mum?