Welcome back, I’m so glad you’re here.
If you missed my first post, hop on over to have a read here, as this carries on from there…
You know those small, seemingly insignificant moments that end up changing your outlook on life for good?
Well the ‘second thing’ that happened to me was one of those.
Around the time that my second daughter turned one, we went on a family holiday with our friends and their kids. I was not in a good place at the time. Life had come at me fast for the year prior to that: start-up, baby, toddler. A husband with a Big Important Job who, as a result, was rarely there. I rushed around tired and exhausted and my ostensibly cushy middle-class life seemed, well, kind of hard and a little bleak.
But anyway, away we went on this trip. One of our friends was into photography. Nothing fancy, just iPhone stuff, but he was good at it — and I started to copy him. He taught me the rule of thirds. I found myself learning to slow down, to really take in what was in front of me. I started taking more and more photos — of both nature and my family — but what I was really capturing was something beyond just photographs.
I started to see great beauty to life again. The bits of me which were broken began to mend.
I took myself off to a professional photography course that proved to be life-changing, and I spend the next six months writing and taking photos. I feel alive again. And it all started with something so simple; finding the time to look and appreciate what was in front of me.
In time, I started a blog and my third, and current, career in writing began. And that, really, brings me to why I am here and what I’ll be writing about for Baby2Body.
One of my favourite quotes about parenting is from Michael Levine, and it goes:
“Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist”
Sometimes, often in fact, I get it wrong. “Mum, you’re a 4/10 Mum” my little girl (a tad brutally if I may say so) informed me the other day. I talk very honestly on my own blog about my experiences as a parent, including all the times I get it wrong, and I can see from the comments I receive that, now and again, this resonates. What I will write about here will in some respects be a continuation of the same theme: honest and frank reflections about my life as a parent. I very much hope for some of you to be able to relate to, and perhaps, if I’m any good at this, find some comfort and support from these reflections.
Some of the moments I talk about will, I promise, be heart-warming stories of fluffy bunny rabbits, successful parenting hacks, and well-behaved children that will, hopefully, inspire and reassure you that it’s all worth it (which it is). Many, though, won’t be.
There will be moments of getting it wrong and the guilt that comes with that;
Shouting, earlier this week, at one of the kids in a way that was not cool (I was tired, we were late for school, she was being a brat, but still – I’m the adult); and spending the duration of the day feeling sick to the pit of my stomach.
There will be moments of deep conflict;
Writing a bio the other day and agonising for a whole hour over whether it was Mother, Writer, Photographer or Writer, Mother, Photographer (I am still unsure of the answer); missing Hallowe’en this year to work. A choice, perhaps, but one that left me feeling rubbish for a while afterward.
And there will be moments of doubt;
Sitting in bed on a Sunday morning with a hangover whilst a small finger is inserted into my eye socket — “remind me again Bert, why did we do this?”.
Here, as I do in all my writing, I will not shy away from asking controversial questions about the imbalances still present in modern parenting conventions;
Why I spent an hour fretting about the order of words on my bio when it still would not, I am prepared to bet, cross the majority of father’s minds to even include the word “Father” on a CV (although times, they are undoubtedly, slowly, changing). Why I rather than my husband ‘assumed’ it would be me and not him to take the kids trick or treating for the fourth consecutive year in a row.
Most of all, though, my stories will be about love;
An overwhelming, life-changing, devastating love that at times I thought would break me but which, I now see, is making me. The kind of love that you feel when you look through your study window one Hallowe’en evening and catch a glimpse of a baby dragon and a onesies cat trotting along the street and realise that these little creatures are yours and that everything is, really, just as it is meant to be.
There will be many of you, I am sure, for whom parenting comes more readily and naturally than it did to me. Hopefully, you will still find moments of humour and light entertainment in some of the things I write about. I suspect, however, there may also be some of you for whom the journey seems hard and at times, perhaps, overwhelming, as it did for me. I would hope that by sharing my experiences with you — unvarnished — I might make those times just a little bit easier.
Until next time…