I wanted to write about inspiration. I must have typed 10 or more titles and each one I deleted as it sounded too self righteous and too overdone by other writers. So, I decided to write about what I know. Parenting. When that little bundle of joy is placed into your arms, a whole new world is opened up. It may be a world that’s hard to navigate and scary as hell at times, but it’s also full of emotion…and inspiration. So, here’s the five ways parenthood has inspired me.
- To be more organised
I’ve always been a fairly organised person. I’m the sort of person who writes lists for every occasion…mainly because my memory is shockingly bad. But, I’ve not always been the most organised in terms of time, self care, ‘doing things’ or house hold stuff. Becoming a parent suddenly meant time was precious. When the children were babies it was a case of ‘what can I do whilst they’re asleep?’, now with a school child and toddler it’s ‘what can I do whilst they’re amused or napping?’. I found myself in a cycle of overdoing things and then being too tired or deflated that I’d then do nothing for the next couple of days. But I found a balance. I used The Organised Mum Method for housework (she has a daily list which I find stops me doing the whole ‘boom and bust’ whilst still having a more tidy/organised home…it’ll never be a show home though). I started to say ‘no’ to some of the many meet ups and clubs. I hated turning people down and feeling like the kids were missing out, but sometimes staying at home or doing your own things is better for you, and stops you wondering where time has gone.
2. To start writing again
I love writing. I’ve written stories and poems since I was old enough to write. I used to enter every poetry and short story competition (and won a few). But the older I got, the more life got in the way and I stopped. It was only after I had my eldest, J, that I decided to start a blog. I wanted to document what we were going through. I wanted to share things with the world that worked for us. But mainly I just wanted to do something that I enjoyed and made me feel like me. It’s opened me up to a whole world. I’ve made so many new friends through the blogging community and through social media community groups. I’ve learnt new skills and creative ideas. I’ve become more creative in my photography skills and think more about composition and colours. I’ve found a passion and although I don’t have a huge following, I am still getting that little thrill every time someone reads something I’ve written or complimented a photo of mine.
3. Trust myself more.
They say to trust your ‘mummy gut’, ‘parental intuition’ etc. When I first became a Mum, I didn’t. I didn’t think I knew enough, I didn’t think my opinions or views were important or knowledgeable. I second guessed everything. Whenever I did raise things with professionals I was shot down and accepted it. However, seeing my baby in pain led me to a showdown with the GP and finally getting a diagnosis of Cows Milk Protein Allergy by the dietician. Turns out I was right the whole time. Then later on when I was telling the health visitor I was concerned about some of J’s behaviours and I was told I was imagining it. I pushed and pushed and eventually they agreed to make a referral (I think to shut me up). A little while later we got the Autism diagnosis and J finally got the help, support and understanding he needed. When my youngest was born I used my voice from day 1. I was more vocal about what I wanted with the midwives (who were amazing), I asked for help when I needed it and insisted I got it and again I fort with GP’s until eventually we were referred to dietician, yet again with CMPA (the dietician was not pleased that we had to fight so hard to be seen). I feel like I have more courage to stand up for my children and insist things are seen too, looked into and supported.
4. To seek a slower pace of life
I was always on the go pre-children. I lived for my job and when I wasn’t working I was going on extra training, reading the newest research and trends or going out with friends. Despite having a chronic illness, I pushed myself and it was never a good thing as I would often relapse and end up back on crutches, or being bedridden for days…which I could do without children to care for. I didn’t look after my body and it rebelled. Once I had the boys I soon realised I didn’t have to sign them up for every club, I didn’t need plans everyday, I didn’t need to book weekends at every theme park. We will often stay home and relax. We’re together and play or explore. We’ll go to the woods or park to play and have time away from lights and screens. I give the children time to explore and time to try things for themselves rather than hurry them and saying ‘let me do it’ (well sometimes I do, after all I cant let J spend 4 hours on one sock!). Point is, my life isn’t about how much we do, it’s about what we do. I want to enjoy all the stages my children go through (although I’d skip the sleep regressions) and am in no rush for them to grow up.
5. To take better care of myself
As I said earlier, I haven’t always looked after my body. I would drink, I would eat more takeaways than I should and bought jars of sauces (which now I know more about salt content, I’m surprised I’m not shrivelled up inside). I would push myself to keep up with friends and stay out, dance…even if I suffered for days afterwards. I relied on painkillers a lot rather than getting to route of the pain and stopping it. Now I have the boys I want to be around for a very long time. I want to be able to do things with them and I can’t let myself get back into the bedridden stages again (Although sometimes I do, simply because M.E and fibromyalgia doesn’t do as it’s told, and decides it knows best – but I have plans for those times). Now a days I eat better (well, reasonably), drink much less alcohol and sugary drinks, cook more from scratch, go to bed earlier (although my night does depend on the boys), have more rest days when I can feel the signs that my body isn’t happy. I still have a bit more self care to do as I do neglect myself physically in terms of physical appearance. I’ll spend money on clothes for the boys but then live in my shapeless clothes which frankly make me feel like crap when I look in the mirror. I need to invest a bit more in myself sometimes.
So there you are. I could think of more as once I got going I realised just how much parenthood has done for me…becoming more ‘eco friendly’, more patient, seeing life though others eyes more. Parenting isn’t easy and the changes I’ve gone through haven’t been easy. Some days I yearn for the old me but those moments usually pass…I can not deal with hangovers and kids! But, parenting is also the best thing I’ve ever done and I like this version of me. I’m excited to see where life takes us in the future.
How about you? How has parenthood inspired you? Any examples you can think of? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Also, please share this blog on your social media so others can reflect on their experiences…especially on those days where you just feel like being a parent is just too hard or you’re failing in your role!x