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Parenting

This is your life

I have opened my computer so many times over the past few weeks to write to you, but the words somehow wouldn’t flow. I even googled ‘writer’s block’ to see if that could provide me with any kind of inspiration. Instead it threw up the definition for my ‘creative slowdown’ – a condition that ranges from not being able to come up with new ideas for a few weeks, to not being able to produce anything for years. (Bear with me here, the moral of the tale is coming!)

“You’ve been blogging like a demon lately!” my friend commented one day. “Not really, I’ve not written anything for weeks!” I cry, feeling the pressure to produce rise a notch. I present my dilemma to my visiting mother in law, while also discussing the fact that life seems to have reached a bit more of an even keel, all be it a very non-stop, noisy one. “Ah,” she nods wisely. “Well, there you have it. Creativity is at its height when something is in crisis. Artists do their best work when things are going crazy. Maybe your dust is starting to settle.”

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I had to smile to myself. It dawned on me that my lack of blogging might not be down to the fact that I can’t think of anything to share, or the fact that life is busier than ever. Perhaps it is due somewhat to the notion that the dust just might be starting to settle. Or perhaps, it is because I’m a little more accepting of this crazy journey I find myself navigating!

Yes, almost without warning, life has slowly been taking on that new norm I’ve penned so many words about. My stress levels have gone down just a fraction. My shoulders have dropped a little. I’ve hopped off the raging rollercoaster of hormones that is so common a ride in those early months post birth. I find myself now stepping out a bit more confidently into the busy, noise filled days with our little family, spurred on by the mild recognition (and a strong coffee) that rest is something that just isn’t likely to be on the agenda for the next few years.

It’s like someone sat me down and said: “Cheryl. This. Is. Your. Life,” while presenting me with a scribbled over book of general crazy behaviour, with no rules or instructions.

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In reality, somewhere along the line, I think I’ve been maturing into this hectic, colourful role of motherhood without totally realising it. My ability to function as a human being on sporadic sleep cycles has improved. My acceptance that things rarely go to plan has smoothed out a tiny fraction. My patience for daily tasks such as “Getting Out Of The House” is slowly getting better. Yes, on some days, you might even find me in Spinneys wandering the aisles with the two bears, and quietly think to yourself: “Man, that lady takes it all in her stride!” (Ha! Let’s have a coffee and chat more about that later…)

Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some sort of Meet the Parsons fairytale. Life is still messy. Geez, it is so incredibly messy, and at times way beyond my comfort zone. I still wake up never quite feeling rested. I still look in the mirror and lament that dragged through a hedge backwards look. I still feel more aches and pains in my body than I’ve ever done in my life. I still lose my s&*t (and my car keys and other household items) on a regular basis. I still look at bendy, lithe bodied people in their stretchy pants and admit to feeling a little pang of envy. My darn belly still wobbles.

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But somewhere along the line, I’ve started to get better at dealing with the fact that the stride you might think I’ve gained will probably go t*ts up tomorrow. I’m embracing this crazy phase, in the knowledge that it is such a passing one. Henry is already crawling and trying to pull himself to standing – a stark reminder that these little people grow up quickly. Molly has developed the ability to bargin for what she wants (“I’ll do it after I’ve finished my programme. Is that a deal, Mummy?”)

While I’ll be honest here and tell you that there are times when I just want to escape on a silent retreat to the depths of India, I know I’d get a day in and feel like a piece of me was missing. I find myself looking forward to the company of these noisy little people who regularly drive me up the wall and round the bend.

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Ironically, I also found myself this week being asked to submit a newspaper article on the importance of finding time for silence. I researched it in the knowledge that my own life is far from silent these days. And I suddenly realised that I’m quite ok with that. My mother in law again had some wise words on the subject: “I’ve been thinking about your article. I know you don’t get any real silence these days. But it’s profound when the children first leave home. No phone going, nobody arriving. No ghastly music blaring. No arguing. It’s really quite strange.”

I now find this silence in the yoga classes I teach. The little pause when we come to standing to check in with our breath. The space in savasana as bodies lie totally relaxed on the floor for that final blissful few minutes of rest. It’s also in the quiet, steady breathing of Molly as I realise she has nodded off mid story, wrecked after a full day of non-stop activity. It’s in the peaceful face of Henry as he takes his bedtime bottle, eyes half closing in satisfaction. It’s in the coffee I share with you as a friend as we discuss a particularly tiring, stressful day.

Yes, this is my life. My crazy, noise filled, non-stop life. It’s teaching me way more than I’ve ever learned about acceptance and patience, and some days those lessons are harder than ever to take in! But so far, I think we’re doing just fine. I’ll keep you posted!

”What day is it?”

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

(A.A. Milne)

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