Nick went back to work yesterday, which means the rhythm of family life will resume and new routines will start to take shape. Georgie is now 4 months old, becoming stronger and more aware of the world around her by the day, and 3-year-old Beau is awaiting a place at our selected preschool. This new year really does represent the next phase in our family life, and I have some clear intentions for it…
Now, I have absolutely nothing against new year’s resolutions, or setting big personal goals each year… but at this current stage in my life, I prefer a more gentle approach – one that’s realistic in terms of where I am at (full-time mother of a preschooler and a baby who is breastfed on demand) and doesn’t hold me to ransom should things go off track. There are no targets to hit, no boxes to tick, just a focus to give me direction and a few plans to guide the way. Well-being is my ultimate goal. I just want to live a life that is mindful and present and connected.
These are my intentions for 2018:
- Gently move towards a plant-based diet;
- Ease back into daily walking;
- Find a weekly restorative yoga class – maybe try Yin;
- More books, less screens;
- Nurture those friendships I value.
And I have a couple more:
- Start taking Celebrant bookings again, mid-year onwards;
- Write/blog on Sunday afternoons, as able.
And finally there are some family matters:
- Continue our monthly date nights;
- Celebrate Beau starting preschool;
- Have a Naming Ceremony for Georgie;
- Travel to Fiji in August for our friends’ wedding;
- Plan our 2019 UK trip;
- Start to think about our first home build.
And that’s it. Writing it out makes it seem like an awful lot, actually – but it really isn’t. Prioritise my well-being and cherish family-time could summarise it. Oh and avoid dickheads. Just avoid them.
We really have had the loveliest end of year holiday, to welcome in 2018. The last 3 months of 2017 were intense – naturally, after having had our second baby and recovering from another c-section – and they culminated with Nick needing a 5 day hospital stay (getting home at 5pm on Christmas Eve!) due to a back injury. We really did need that break.
So we had a relaxed Christmas at home, cancelled our New Year holiday, and enjoyed two whole weeks of being together, with no plans other than what we felt like doing.
We went to our favourite beach and swam in the ocean; we had a BBQ with friends; we woke up and watched the rain bucketing down outside, all snuggled in one bed; we cleaned the house; we went on a train ride from Glenbrook; we picked strawberries in the summer sun; we played games, read books, had naps, and slept in; we shopped in the sales, rode scooters in underground carparks, and ate burgers in the boot; we caught up with laundry, made homemade pizzas, watched a movie after the children went to bed, and ate all the leftover Christmas Stollen (I did, anyway).
And then, after the loveliest two week break – it was Sunday. It was the day before Nick must return to work… and I began to feel the relaxation of our holiday dissipate and anxiety creep in.
It knocked me off my feet a little, this anxiety. I couldn’t place where it was coming from, or what it was about… I just felt heavy and unmotivated, unable to focus, and the day seemed a bit awkward with indecisiveness around our plans. So, come 4pm, I’d had enough. I packed us a picnic dinner, bundled us all into the car, and we headed to our local beach. Long Bay. Bliss.
I found my clarity almost immediately. The breeze cleared my mind, and the sound of the ocean waves brought me back to the present moment: I was feeling anxious because I hadn’t done resting yet.
I simply wasn’t ready for the year to begin – for Nick to go back to work and me to return to full-time parenting… I didn’t want to answer my business enquiries, or set any measurable goals for my writing… I didn’t feel energised enough to start going for walks, or to make it to a yoga class, or to swap my easy cheese sandwiches for garden salads. I didn’t want to do anything and, anxiously, I felt as though I needed to.
Walking along the beach – the very same beach I walked when pregnant with Georgie; when trying to conceive her; when both pregnant and post-partum with my first born Beau; when I’ve lost loved ones; failed things and made mistakes; said goodbyes; welcomed new beginnings; and changed directions – I found my clarity, just as I had done a hundred times before about a hundred different things. And I realised – with the sand under my feet, breathing lungfuls of the fresh, salty air – I just need to bring it back to basics.
And I need to bring it back to basics for as long as it takes.
I can simply rest for longer. I can give myself the grace to rest for as long as I need to. All year, if that’s what it takes, or even longer than that. I will rest until my energy returns. I will nurture and nourish and nap.
I need a summer of long weekends, and a winter of early nights. I need a spring of walking amongst the trees and reading in the afternoon sun. I need music and poetry, to dance and sing, cuddle my babies, and laugh with my husband. I need to kiss him more. I need coffee dates and long chats with new girlfriends, and dinner parties with old friends. I need to stop and breath, to look at this tired and fat and scarred body in the mirror and to bask in her utter beauty. I will regain my strength, my shape, and I will regain my spirit.
I will rediscover that young girl I was, and meet the strong woman I now am. I will figure out what I want to do, and the kind of person I want to be.
But first, I need to rest.
I have two little people who need my hugs, and love, and milk. And I am everything to them. These days of them finding their own rest in my arms are few. So that will be our focus for 2018. And I think it will be the biggest one yet.
2018 will be a year of self care, and self love. It will be slow and gentle, but deliberate. A time to finally gather my senses and embrace only that what matters.