A slow start to the year

It has been quiet here, hasn’t it? I did that thing where I just lived life and kept my reflections mostly to myself over the past few weeks (Laurence has probably been finding it exhausting).

I even managed to unplug quite a lot because this is something I’m working on. And it’s proven what I believed is true, the less I look at a screen, the less Talitha asks for a screen.

It’s been both liberating and scary. It’s been freeing not having SO MANY opinions barking at each other in my head. I crave more quiet. I haven’t made resolutions this New Year, really, but I know I want it to be a quieter, slower and steadier one.

Actually, the latter two are probably part of what scares me about taking a step back from social media. Without the distraction of my phone (well, with less of the distraction of my phone, let’s be real) I have to confront the things I do not like about staying at home with my children. It can be boring and quite a lot of the time, I still don’t know what I’m doing.

On the flip side, I’m enjoying more moments of being truly present and feeling unhurried. Toward the end of last year, I’d begun to feel pretty harassed because I had so many things I was attempting to do at once and not doing any of them particularly well. Having had some time to slow down, I feel able to take things one at a time, say no to some things and start untangling priorities. I’ve begun to accept that I can’t do everything all the time and that that’s OK.

Sorry if that’s all a bit cryptic. Perhaps, as an antidote, I’ll share some real things that have happened here recently.

Shortly before Christmas, Ophelia was dedicated. We’d like our children to choose baptism later on as part of their own faith journeys so rather christen them, we’ve joined hands with our church, family and friends, thanked God for their lives and promised to raise them in the knowledge and love of God. It was precious to celebrate Ophelia’s life and, especially, to have close friends agree to be her godparents.

Christmas and New Year’s seem so long ago now. My parents came over from Trinidad so it was quite a busy time with lots of days out including a trip to London which, amusingly, featured stopping to listen to a steelband play carols on Oxford Street!

New Year’s Eve found Laurence and I watching The Help on TV in our jim jams because we just know how to live. It was lovely just having a nice long chat over Prosecco. We even missed the countdown.

Actually, it feels like we’re only just getting back into routine. A combination of the freelance slow down over Christmas and some work from home has meant the girls and I have had Laurence around more than ever.

He and Ophelia have done a lot of bonding and she’s just gone through a developmental leap (she’s 10.5 months now) so he’s got to witness major change more closely than usual. As my father-in-law put it, she’s between baby and toddler now. She’s started pretending to talk on the phone, recognises words and names and even meows at the cat. She would probably be signing if I were more committed to it.

Another effect of Laurence being home this much is that our garden is basically a building site. I have total faith that it will be worth it in the end and am quite glad that I’m not the one out there digging up patio and moving around scary bits of glass but, my, it’s a big job.

With him out to work again, I’m glad for our steady schedule (even if I have a cold today and have had to cancel everything) of seeing friends and going to home ed meet ups and other groups but I’m conscious that I haven’t yet struck a balance between what each child needs and what I need. How much do we go out? How much do we stay in? How much do we plan? How flexible should we be?

I know the questions but, for once, I actually don’t feel like I need the answers. We’ll happen upon them like everything else, slowly and quietly.

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  • Slowing things down when you feel overwhelmed is so important, especially with children. Loads of Belle’s friends have hectic lives already where they are at clubs every single day after school and I do worry about the impact not just short term but long term with regards to their expectations about how fast paced life should be.
    Slummy single mummy recently posted..My favourite things – January 2015

  • ‘Woman after my own heart’ is the phrase that comes to mind as I comment. I can so relate with a lot of what you wrote and you’ve got me thinking about considerations with two children that I haven’t previously thought about because I only have one now.

    My little one is just a wee bit older than Ophelia (beautiful name)! He is becoming a toddler right before our eyes and going through so many changes; his dad is sharing in these more than previous changes due to the down time of the end of the year; so exciting! I’ve also been thinking about his dedication for months now and I think we’re going to be doing it soon; such an important decision.

    I’ve been pondering on the impact on my recent engagement with social media due to my new blog, on my mothering. Infact, just tonight as I sat and hopped from one site to another whilst trying to breastfeed, I wondered about how my mothering will be if I’d never engaged with social media or started my blog [I can see a blog post coming on :-)]. I definitely have more pondering to do in this area.

    I like your attitude … going at a slower and quieter space … not feeling the need to answer questions you have immediately … happy to explore at your own pace and figure it out in your own time.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post on twitter at the time you shared it this evening. I’m so thankful that I saw it and just felt the need to read it. I’ll probably pin in on my ‘like blog posts’ board for future reference.

    Thanks also for writing a very thoughtful post; so engaging to read!

    • I think it’s all about balance. Social media has had an amazing impact on my mothering. It’s opened me up to ideas and information I’d not come across before. It’s given me adult company during night feeds and difficult days. It’s given me a place to think out loud and share discoveries. It’s offered help when I needed a quick response and given me an avenue for helping others. So, it’s definitely not all negative from my point of view. I think it’s impacted my mothering in good ways. But. It can also be a distraction. It can overwhelm. It can feed my envy and fear. I’m very conscious of the impact seeing me look at a screen may be having on my three-year-old, especially. I see it as just another part of life where we all need to apply wisdom.

  • Thanks for your reply; I do agree with you. I don’t think social media is bad in itself; it’s about how you make it work for you, like most things in life. Social media has definitely been a mostly positive tool for me at the place I’m at on my life’s journey. As you wrote, it’s another area of life that needs careful thought in its use. Have a lovely day.

  • I know what you mean about social media/my phone. For a long time now I’ve told myself that it keeps me connected/apace with life and is my window on the world while I’ve been a stay at home mum. But really it can be a massive distraction from the kids which is the reason I elected to stay at home. I think it’s all about balance and I’m really trying to take longer breaks from it and be more present. We also put the kids on a big ipad ban before Xmas and it has stopped a lot of fights. Now they don’t ask for it at all (much). Thanks for sharing this xx
    Kathryn (@KatGotTheCream) recently posted..New Year by the sea (+ things to do in Northumberland)

  • I hear you don’t know if its age, maturity or tiredness lol but I’m feeling similar to you. I did manage to come up with personal resolutions but nothing like ‘lose weight’ or ‘eat better’ I just want to feel more like me again. How hard can that be, right? :0)

    I think one thing motherhood teaches us is to take things one at a time. Happy New honey. Be good to yourself.

  • Love this post. I’ve been struggling with a bit of a smartphone addiction and I do think that the more I look at my phone, the more Eleanor wants to be looking at a screen of some kind. I’m still trying to unplug more as I know that I’m a role model for Eleanor, and also that I tend to get irritable when I use my phone too much. It is good to be able to focus properly on Eleanor, or to get things done around the house if she doesn’t need my input in her play. It’s hard to keep up with social media though, I feel very out of the loop!
    Bec (@becb1984) recently posted..Landing the helicopter

    • I can definitely identify with the irritability! I also find it interesting how much more likely Talitha is to play independently if I’m “doing” something as opposed to if I’m sat with a screen.

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