A Slow Start

It’s Wednesday yet it feels distinctly like a Monday. With school holidays, three weeks off work due to the uni break, Easter, an operation, three trips in and out of Melbourne (for fun) and a seasonal change to boot, the last month has seemed like a circus. A mainly good and fun and happy circus, but a circus nonetheless.

Bird went to school for one day after Easter before having grommets in and adenoids out last week. A big week but overall, a success. That afternoon as we sat in recovery she looked at me and said, “Mum, everything is so loud!” After five years of hearing and congestion difficulties, I breathed a sigh of relief. For all the anxiety that had come in making that decision, will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we; in that moment, it was worth it.

She went back to school today and I’m back to teaching tomorrow and kinder is back and KB is at work and, as such, our life will start to resemble normality once again. No more late nights, dinner when we feel like it, pyjama days or nicking off to the country… at least, not during the week for the time being. Weekends are another story.

Last night I lay in bed as the night folded around us. I heard the flow of gentle breath coming in waves from all except me. My breath was full and awake at the midnight hour, though in the daylight, I long for sleep.

And such is motherhood, flowing from one moment to the next, the uncertainty coming in ebbs and flows, the solidity of our day to day routines seemingly fluid yet always constant and neverending.

Today, we took things slowly on our first morning back. We hung around at school chatting to parents, and worked our way back home to a hot cup of coffee, babycinos and a moment around the table cutting out pictures of dragons and making people out of toilet rolls with sticky taped wool for hair. We are heading off to swimming lessons now.

Even though the routine is back and a rhythm will once again be in place, I welcome it. Sometimes it’s nice to have something to rely on.

(Oh, and I baked a cake… this simple, delicious, refined sugar and dairy free orange blossom cake.)

some things i am trying to do

Number one thing: reduce iphone contact time

Number two thing: follow a daily rhythm (and invent one first)

I have read a few books and other things lately, and a couple have stood out more than others.

One book that has left its mark is by Sara Avant Stover called The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life. It sounds a bit self-helpy, but it really truly isn’t. Reading it has given me a great sense of clarity in my life. I borrowed it from the library, devoured it, yelled at the computer when it told me I couldn’t renew it and as such will soon be purchasing my very own copy.

One thing that was impressed on me by reading this book was, despite the keen awareness I have of my childrens’ daily rhythm, I actually have no sense of order or rhythm myself, to guide me through my mornings, my days, my evenings. As a result I often wake at different times, start my day in a variety of scattered and rushed and harebrained ways, and similarly seem to enter bed on the same note: a cacophony of washing, television, dishes, toy tidying, procrastinating and an overuse of my computer and iphone.

Which consequently leads me to my next realisation… or should I say, acceptance: I am addicted to my iphone. I love the damned thing and hate it all at the same time. But having any sense of rhythm just can’t happen with my iphone by my side. They completely counteract one another. I have realised that at night when I get into bed I think I’ll just check instagram before I read my book. More often than not I end up trawling the apps on my phone for over an hour before being too exhausted to read and too wired from my phone to sleep. I used to read so many books, and thanks to my iphone, it’s taking me months to get through one novel, if I ever make it to the end at all.

The first big change I have made to achieve the number one thing I want to do: turn my iphone off in the evenings and leave it in the kitchen until the next morning. YAY! I admitted to my mum the other day that I was doing this – and subsequently finding it really, really hard. That is when I realised that I was truly hooked to the stupid thing, when I was finding it tough to go to bed without it. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but it’s true. While you’re all sleeping lovingly with your partners, I’m spooning my electronic device. Mmmm cosy…

The other thing I watched that spurred me on to make this change was the video you can find here. While I don’t text and drive, I have a terrible habit of checking my phone at the [red] lights, constantly. When I watched the video, I felt such a sadness, that this is what we are doing to ourselves, and I realised I was only one step away from the people on the screen. There is nothing that can’t wait until you get home.

Aside from leaving my phone in the kitchen overnight, the other things I’m trying to do or have done are: leave my phone on silent, put it in the boot while driving, turn it off every now and then during the day, wait until I have my hands free before checking messages, let it go to voicemail if it rings and it’s not a good time, leave it on the corner bench of my kitchen, so it’s not sitting right there while I’m having meals with my family, playing with my girls… just generally trying to keep it further away from me than it usually is. I have also disconnected my email from my phone, which was just another thing to check all the time. Now I have to make a conscious effort to check my email from my computer, at a time that suits me.

As a result of keeping my phone [further away than] at arms length I am beginning to feel freer, believe it or not. It sounds stupid but it’s true. I am letting go of potential “photo opportunities” for instagram or other, I am finding I am less distracted and more able to live in the moment.

It also frees up SO MUCH mind space… wow, there is actually a mind in here behind my iphone. I don’t have to google to find a thought or an answer. Amazing revelations here today people!

Number two thing: a rhythm to my existence. With the iphone out of the way it brings me to my second thing. I’ve been really sick over the last few weeks, as a result of being a bit run down. I’ve stayed at home a lot more than normal, and although I’ve had a bit of cabin fever, I have also had the opportunity to create a bit more flow to my day. I’ve created a morning routine which works around the kids and includes a hot cup of tea and a relaxed breakfast without having to rush off anywhere first thing. I have also started to build some structure to my evenings now that the Pixie is sleeping a little more reliably at the moment.

It’s amazing what a difference just a few adjustments in the morning and evening have made to my life. The washing has been done, the house has been tidy and as a result I have been calmer and felt more in control. Apart from the other day, but we’ll just let that one slide… I’m looking forward to creating more rhythm for myself over the coming weeks. I’m a creature of habit, boring but true.

What are you trying to do less or more of in your life? What are you doing to make the change? Discuss!