Feeling Like Yourself

I had an illuminating conversation with a group of friends the other day. One of the girls described a workshop that she attended,

‘We were sitting around the table and the facilitator said, write down a list of things that you like to do. Next to that, write down a list of things that you’re good at. Now circle the activities which overlap; that’s where the magic happens. And here I was sitting in a room with the most amazing, talented, witty, clever group of women that I knew …..and everyone had blank pages. I wanted to leap out of my seat and grab someone else’s page. I can rattle off at least ten things that they were brilliant at, but I struggled to come up with my own list.’

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, many of us have lost sight of what we love and what we are good at. Or is it that somewhere along the way, we became far more critical of our output. And when there’s a disconnect between our intention and our work, we become disheartened. We stop writing. We stop drawing. We stop creating.

A ten year old version of myself would proudly declare that she was good at swimming, and that she loved the ocean. That she’s okay at drawing but she’s fantastic at reading. She would be just as quick to tell you that she’s clumsy and that she sucks at dancing. And it would be a fairly objective assessment of myself, without pretence or judgment.

Nowadays, I’m not sure what I’m good at. I’ve stopped doing a lot of the things I love because there are ‘more important things’ to do.  I’ve become good at the things required of me, but I’m not sure if they are what I’m naturally talented at.  This is further compounded when I became a Mother, because having a baby quite literally, rocks your world.  What little energy I have is focused on my family’s needs.  If you want a fancy term for this, there are many articles going around the internet which addresses this ‘Connection Depletion’: i.e. the idea that we become disconnected from who we are once we throw ourselves into being mamas.

“It’s the complete lack of thinking about what we need because we’re too busy juggling what everyone else needs” (see the book Happy Mama by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz which gives some good suggestions for how you can find yourself again).

Over the break, my hubby and I managed to get into the Ocean and go snorkelling. It was a great thing for my soul and for my energy levels. I felt like I could survive quite a few more sleepless nights, because I was refreshed by that one dip in the ocean. And that’s what we’ve got to keep doing. Keep going back to what we love and to make time for it. Sometimes the washing can wait, while you go for a swim.

As we breathe out 2016 and breathe in 2017, I’m going to be more intentional about making time for doing more of the things that I love. I picked charms and glass beads to wear on my bracelet, as a visual reminder to myself to keep going back to the Ocean.  To cultivate my strengths.

We lose ourselves in the things we love, but we find ourselves there too.

Pictured are the flip flop and starfish charms, together with some glass beads which reminds me of an octopus and the ocean (bracelet, charm and beads all from Trollbeads). PS. The pudgy feet you see in the background belongs to my daughter haha.

This post is sponsored by Trollbeads Australia. Each bead is thoughtfully designed and individually crafted by hand. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support the original content on Brunch with Viv.

Feeling Like a Mum

It’s been almost two months now since our little girl entered my world.  I am daily transfixed by her, I love her and I find her to be terribly cute.  But sometimes I can’t shake the feeling that I should be feeling more like a Mum.  As far as maternal instincts go — I wish that I was more in tune with what my baby is thinking, feeling and needing.  Sometimes her cues are not so obvious and a lot of responding to her needs is detective work.

During the first couple of weeks, I struggled with breastfeeding.  That overtook my world.  When we found out that our little girl had lost more than 10% of her birthweight, I was scared and that completely shattered my confidence.  My thinking went:  if I could not even provide for my baby’s most basic need, how am I supposed to parent her?  I obsessed over her weight, her milk intake and the number of diapers she was producing.  This turned into an unhealthy obsession with everything related to her – from her temperature, the volume of her spit-ups, to her sleeping arrangements etc. etc.  I found it difficult to sleep, difficult to relax, and difficult to enjoy being her Mum.  I look back on those earlier days and wished that I spent more time being and adoring and less time googling and obsessing!  Realisations can come at the strangest of times.

dog

Last Friday morning, I was taking my little girl for a stroll at the park next door.  She was sleeping happily and peacefully in her pram (rare occurrence), when all of a sudden an off-lead Eskie charged at the pram and started barking and jumping.  I instinctively stood between the Eskie and my little girl and did everything in my power to ward off the dog, who made an attempt at the pram several times (I blame the owner, not the dog by the way!)

In those moments of warding off the dog, something clicked.  I knew without a doubt that I would do everything in my power to protect and love this little girl.  It wasn’t even a conscious choice to be made by me, the instinct to love and protect her was already in me.  Even though we are just starting out, even though we are just slowly learning about each other, even though some days I feel clueless – we are a team.  She is my daughter and I get to be her Mum!