“Look at all these leaves Mummy!”

We were walking to our local park and my son had insisted on walking the entire way – the whole 1km. Almost halfway there we passed a section of footpath that had been completely covered with leaves by a friendly neighbourhood bush turkey. I’m sure its scratching drives the locals nuts, but for my son this particular part of the footpath immediately transformed into a rushing river that we had to jump or swim across multiple times, then into a bridge, before we became turkeys ourselves and scratched in the leaves. However, the entire time he was playing I had to keep suppressing the urge to tell him to hurry up so we could get to the park.

But why? We had no plans for the rest of the day, and thanks to maternity leave I didn’t have to be home by a certain time to check emails or delve into work. The day was wide open, and I was struck anew by how used to rushing and pushing I am and how I was sweeping my family along with me.

Kids being the catalyst to slowing down isn’t anything new; stop and smell the roses and all that, but I’d thought I’d got the hang of this slow living thing myself. Turns out, not so much.

As the tiredness from being at home with a breastfeeding baby and a nap-relinquishing toddler slowly crept up on me, I started to examine a few aspects of my life that are supposed to make life slower, easier, and ultimately more sweet for me – as well as gentler on the planet – however were in fact beginning to leave me feeling stressed and tired at the very thought of just how much I had to do. Basically, I began to question if they are still serving me.

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I don’t think I’m the only one to feel this pressure either. When you scroll through the “slow living”, “zero waste” etc hashtags on social media you are presented with a barrage of perfectly curated profiles of people who make everything from scratch, grow their own food, wear only secondhand clothes, are doing headstands on the top of mountains and spending their weeks writing letters to their local politicians with their kids or attending protests. It’a beautifully curated existence, but one that belies just how much work it can be. Further,  I simply wasn’t willing to dig in that much when I was bone tired and the prospect of washing another load of nappies before running to the farmers’ markets, butcher, bulk store and bakery for the weekly shop – toting everything I needed so as to avoid single use plastic – while also trying to spend time together as a family, exercise, practice mindfulness, and make time to socialise was frankly almost too much. And isn’t the entire point of slow living to make life better?

Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home fame has said there is a misconception that when you start to embrace a lower waste life (I’m also inserting slow living in here) that you have to make everything from scratch and do everything yourself. And this was the rabbit hole I’d found myself falling down. Homemade is generally better/more delicious/cheaper/better for you and the planet. But with dwindling energy and time I simply had to admit this lifestyle was no longer serving me – I was serving it.

I love cooking from scratch, but in this season of my life buying a loaf of bread from our local bakery is easier than finding the time and energy to make a loaf (as keen as I am to eventually try it), and opening a packet of pasta means I can get a delicious dinner on the table quickly and minimise the amount of flour being thrown around the kitchen by an enthusiastic child.

So to find the joy again in this lifestyle I used to love I decided to take the pressure off myself and began experimenting with what felt good instead on a physical and soul level, rather than aiming for perfect.

I began with my non-negotiables: good food, time outdoors, social time and time for actual self care eg meditation and movement, and I went in search of slow again.

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A strong morning rhythm helped to get me off on the right foot. I’d preferably wake before the kids, meditate for about 10 minutes, wash my face and make a hot cup of tea. But I also learned to accept that sometimes this would also look like wearing headphones while sitting on the living room floor and nursing a baby while ABC kids plays on the TV and Jman ran around the room. It’s all fine, as long as it happens.

The weekly damily visit to the Farmers’ Markets were supplemented by a farm box from a local micro farm, and I had to admit that grabbing a plastic-wrapped something from the shops would sometimes serve us all better than four separate stops around neighbouring suburbs while the car-hating baby screamed just so I could buy everything in my own jars and bags.

A bin full of stinky nappies went to the bottom of the list, so cloth nappies were added back in (because we were changing nappies anyway!), and prioritising mornings spent walking to parks or playing with friends combined with afternoons spent in the backyard pottering in the garden or playing with the hose, a book in the evening and ditching my phone early began to bring peace back to my days.

After admitting defeat, slowly but surely the slow life has become the good life again.

I know there are many low wasters/ slow living advocates who would seriously disagree with me. Here’s a post that proves exactly that. But at the end of the day it’s about what feels good, and what works for our entire household.

So let’s go slow, on our terms.

Making: plans to go camping again soon. After Imbil we’re all very keen to make this a regular occurence.

Cooking: Nothing new really. I’ve been relying on old favourites a lot at the moment. Steve has been jumping in the kitchen when he can – normally on the weekends as we now eat dinner a 5pm with the baby. My favourite meal so far has been a pho he made after some friends did the heavy lifting and cooked the broth for 36 hours before dropping some to us. #winning

Drinking: So much strong milky tea. The love affair continues. Steve also stumbled upon a great drink: Ink Gin with tonic, ruby grapefruit and thyme. So good.

Reading: The Girl in the Spider’s Web. It’s been too long since I’ve read the original Millenium series, so I’m unsure if David Lagercrantz is successfully carrying on Stieg Larson’s narrative, but I’m enjoying it. I also finished Little Fires Everywhere (good but left me with many questions) and The Quarterly Essay by Annabel Crabb. The latter left me angry but it was also very pertinent to me in this time of life.

Wanting: A pool! Or a creek in our backyard. Basically anything that would allow us to swim without trekking to get there.

Looking: At toys everywhere. As we move back into normal life rhythm and away from holiday mode we’re also having less screen time and more time playing. It’s fun but so messy.

Playing: I’m changing this prompt to wanting to play: Uno, scrabble or chess. Also a lot of Transformers, dinosaurs and dogs. Thanks Jman.

Deciding: What to do in our now open weeks. Steve has gone back to work so there’s a lot of white space in our days. We’ve been filling it with park time, some pilates classes, lots of baking and swimming.

Wishing: We weren’t already having tricky conversations with our three-year-old about bushfires, drought, and sustainability. He’s on board with our day to day life (because to him it’s normal) but he’s confused about why Steve and I get so excited by rain clouds looming.

Enjoying: The long summer afternoons and hot cups of tea. Also reading.

Waiting: For Steve’s smoked eggplant meatballs to cook. Very literal around here today.

Liking: The surprise plants my compost keeps throwing at us. We’re now watching as a pumpkin vine blooms. Luckily the thyme bush is also going crazy, so I can possibly bully Steve into making his pumpkin and thyme scones.

Buying: Far too many bananas. There will be many smoothies and banana breads in our future. Other than that, not too much actually as the house deposit saving continues.

Watching: season 2 of Sex Education, and season 3 of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. Both are excellent.

Cringing: Once again at our Federal Government and the response to the bushfires.

Smelling: Mangoes. There’s a full bag of them sitting on the kitchen bench. I probably should slice them up and put them in the freezer for smoothies and sorbet.

Wearing: Togs, active wear or shorts and shirts. It’s too hot for anything else.

Sorting: Out all our clutter. Selling a lot on, donating some to op shops (although I’ve heard only 10 per cent of donations are actually sold, so maybe there needs to be a plan B). It feels very cathartic.

Getting: mentally prepared for my return to the office next month. I’m both excited and apprehensive about the new level of busyness about to hit our family.

Feeling: Tired and stiff after a sweaty pilates class. Who am I kidding, the tiredness is from much more than that. Balancing a baby with a non-napping child is tricky and exhausting work. I’ve got so much admiration for the friends I’ve seen do this as well as return to full time work. My question is: how much caffeine/chocolate/smoothies gives you the required super powers?

Snacking: Medjool dates stuffed with almond butter, mangoes, smoothies, and chocolate. These make me a better human.

Hearing: Talking Tastebuds, Led Zeppelin and a fair whack of Cannonball Adderley. And right now a lot of silence as two kids are napping and I’m taking the opportunity to type even though I should be napping too. Teething and the desire to crawl are not conducive to quiet nights.

Now over to you. How was your January?

Life posts inspired by Pip.

I’m fairly sure that most kids measure the flow of their years by annual family holidays.

For me it was weeks spent at Burleigh Heads over summer, Easters at Hervey Bay and the May long weekend camping at Lake Cootharaba, where family lore had it that it was always fine when we set up camp on Friday night before inevitably raining for most of the weekend – just enough to ensure everything was damp and muddy – before becoming gloriously sunny just in time for us to pack up.

I love camping. I love the simple meals cooked on the camp stove, the games of spotlight once the sun has set, the hours spent reading or playing games, the endless days spent in nature bushwalking or swimming, the moment when you finally give in and just let yourself be OK with the fact you will be encrusted in dirt for the entire holiday, dinners by gaslight – or even better by the fire – and the early mornings when you stumble out of the tent to birdsong and watch the rest of the camp ground come to life.

For our most recent wedding anniversary present Steve and I bought a tow bar for the car. Not the most romantic of presents, but one that let us pack our camping gear into the trailer, load the kids into their seats and drive the almost two hours to Imbil – a small town almost halfway between Noosa and Gympie, located on the Yabba Creek – shortly after New Years. My brother, his wife Kim and their delicious kids had booked four days out there with friends for the first week of the New Year, and we unashamedly crashed the holiday in the hopes that the addition of cousins his own age would make camping a little easier for Jman. The poor chook is not a fan of the dark or being dirty, which is kind of unavoidable in tents.

We succeeded. He and his cousins ran riot for the entire time, barefoot and with dirt under their nails, making up games that changed and evolved as the mornings went on. Before the sun got too hot we’d all throw on our togs, let the kids draw all over our faces with pink zinc and head to the nearby creek, taking it in turns to jump off the rocks, or capture snails that were floating downstream.

My brother and his family are seasoned campers and came equipped with everything you could think of including a paddle board (that I stole at every possible moment to explore up and down Yabba Creek, trying to swerve huge lungfish and laughing at cows ambling into the creek for sunset swims), and an inflatable rowboat that was used to ferry the kids out and around the creek.

When the kids were eventually convinced (read carried unwillingly) back to the tents for a rest during the heat of the day, we’d lounge as best as we could on camping chairs, attempting to read or chat, occasionally walking to town for ice cream or for the one pub dinner we had out.

Imbil is a tiny town, cute but sleepy, and the pub left Steve waxing lyrical. Not because it was full gastro pub, but because it was chilled and a gathering place. The locals had gathered for post-work drinks, leaving the dogs at the door to say hello to passersby.

It was a great few days, and it was hard to come home although that first hot shower was beyond incredible.

If I was a more conscientious blogger I would have taken more photos. But the current bushfire crisis happening across Australia has left me – like many people – feeling anxious and overwhelmed and I’ve found the best way to manage this is to leave my phone on flight mode and far away from me for large chunk of time. Plus who needs screens when you’re out in the great outdoors?

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Creek-side dinners

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Patonque and wine in the midday sun

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Always napping

20200105_182842-1 Tuna, spinach and lemon pasta (above and below)20200105_182229-1

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Current reads

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Climb, jump, swim, repeat

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Snuggling the babe to sleep

Do you like camping? Where are your go to spots?

Cooking: A lot, but mostly on rotation. Pasta with lemon, tuna and spinach; pizzas; baked risottos. Our little house is hot so I’m not all that keen on turning on the oven, and combined with Steve working away for a fortnight late last year meant I went for solid favourites that were also easy to make.

Oh, also marshmallow pavlovas for Christmas. So easy to make and very delicious, which is more than can be said for my trying a new shortbread recipe. It looked good but was baaaaad.

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Drinking: Right now, water. But a lot of tea – a lot of tea! Thanks to a teething babe – but also prosecco to bring in Christmas and the New Year, kombucha when I don’t fancy alcohol, and cider on hot afternoons when we decide a picnic dinner in the backyard is in order.

Reading: 2019 finished up on a good reading note. I flew through Kate Forsyth’s The Blue Rose and Madeline Miller’s Circe. Both were good, although I wasn’t as big a fan of the latter as others seem to be. I also finished To Love and Let Go and have almost finished Little Fires Everywhere after finding it at our local free book exchange. I think one of my quote unquote resolutions for 2020 will be reading a book a fortnight, because in reality life and work will inevitably collide and reduce the amount of time I can spend with my nose in a book.

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Wanting: Does wanting Steve to have a longer holiday count? After Christmas there’s not a lot of “wants” in the bank. Maybe a second cup of tea and a long bike ride to clear out the fog of the above mentioned sick and teething baby who is feeding around the clock.

Deciding: What to take camping when we leave in a few days. It’s Jman’s first camping trip and my first in four years and I am so excited!

Wishing: I could do something more than just donate money to the bushfire cause. Despite the way we choose to live I still want to take more action to help the planet even more.

Enjoying: This extended family time. It’s been a tough last few months with T growing so much I can’t comfortably carry her for all her naps, and Jman needing more one-on-one time. These two are colliding and winding up in inevitable meltdowns all around come 5pm. It’s been great having Steve home and the extra set of hands is awesome too.

Loving: That I can now walk into our favourite cafe and ask for no single use plastics – and have the waitstaff get excited about it! Also family bike rides to the cafe are pretty excellent.

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Pondering: What my resolutions will be for 2020. I don’t really believe in new year, new you resolutions but I do fancy a list of challenges to experiment with throughout the year. Perhaps I’ll do a post so I can remember them.

Considering: Whether to have a nap, a yoga flow session or lye on the couch and finish my book. It’s a kindy day, so T’s naptimes are somewhat luxurious free time for us. Update: we started to watch Tolkien instead.

Watching: Rosehaven. It’s my happy place. I also saw the new Little Women with some friends and we all cried throughout it. And Steve and I have binged on The Witcher as much as we can – half an episode here and there around a wakeful baby. It’s good, although took a while for me to understand and get into.

Cringing: At our Prime Minister and his handling of the climate emergency. ‘Nuff said.

Questioning: What else we can do in our lives to live a bit more lightly on the planet. There are days I feel we do plenty and that we just can’t do anymore, and then there are days that I feel as though we are barely doing a thing. It’s kind of exhausting, I won’t lie.

Smelling: The incense I lit earlier. It brings back memories of childhood holidays at Burleigh Heads.

Wearing: An op shopped men’s button up shirt I bought at a music festival at least 9 years ago, and denim overalls. Hashtag OOOTD – it’s a thing, check it out.

Following: Venetia Falconer and Max La Manna’s IG and YouTube accounts. I’m intrigued, especially since fast fashion is the next area of my life I want to tackle.

Noticing: Jman growing up so quickly. He now rarely asks to play imaginative games that act out his day-to-day life, which is how he used to work through things. Now we can talk things through with him, which is cool. It’s also kind of exhausting because he has some big feelings these days, especially coming off the back of a holiday and the festive season.

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Knowing: I need to ditch my phone for a while. It’s in my hands a bit too often, and as much as I love podcasts and capturing moments throughout our days it’s time for it to go away for a few days.

Thinking: About my return to work next month. I’m equally looking forward to it and recognising life will be pretty damn hectic for a while until we settle into a new rhythm. Also, it’s hot so it’s time for a swim as soon as the baby wakes.

Sorting: Through the endless piles of stuff in our house, listing some for sale and re-homing others.

Disliking: Our government. Once again. It’s time to do something because our country is quite literally burning.

Feeling: Tired, hot and happy. Holidays are brilliant.

Snacking: medjool dates stuffed with almond butter on repeat. Also fresh mangoes.

Hearing: People pottering around the neighbourhood. Lawns being mown, kids yelling to each other, some kookaburras. And a baby calling out so it’s time to put this away.

Life posts inspired by Heidi and Lauren

I’m not one to go in for the whole “new year (new decade), new you” kind of resolutions, being firmly of the mindset that you needn’t wait for January 1 to try something new. However, I do like the idea of looking forward and considering what it is I’d like to tackle or achieve in the coming year.

So here it is, my list of non-resolution resolutions divided up into things for me, things for both Steve and I, and what you’d find us eating if you popped by on a Saturday night.
For me

  • The pursuit of slow. Kids are pretty much the antithesis of slow, but at the same time force you into slow living. They fly around, swapping toys every few minutes before growing bored yet at the same time can make a 100m walk last an hour as they stop to watch ants scurrying, the shadows moving across the pavement, literally smelling each flower they pass. It can be amazing and frustrating at the same time.
    These past few months I’ve found myself asking Jman to wait for a bit, to let me finish XYZ so we can play. Basically saying no in a variety of ways. So I hereby resolve to embracing the slow, to letting the jobs wait a little longer and saying yes to playing a bit more.
  • So long fast fashion. We can say no to single use plastics all we want, make our own beauty products, and buy our food at farmers markets but there’s no denying fast fashion is still the pits when it comes to environmental damage. It’s rare I buy new clothing – I really do hate shopping centres – but for those occasions I do I’m going to hit up my local op shops and secondhand websites first.
  • Just for funsies. I may only make it through five pages of my book each night before needing to sleep, but I’m going to attempt to tackle reading a new book each fortnight. This little corner of the interwebs will also get a bit more love as I’m currently dreaming of all the writing I want to do but am having trouble finding time for.

For us

  • Holidays and time together. Once upon a time Steve and I had an agreement to show our passports some love each year. It was glorious. So 2020 will mean more time in tents, at beaches, up in the mountains together as a family.
  • Movement. When I say movement, I don’t mean of a pounding the pavement nature, but more of a playing and moving way. Family bike rides, waterfall swims, hikes, days spent playing beach cricket. All the good stuff.
  • Be adults. Our year with a second baby is drawing to a close. Already we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, when things are a little less hectic and T and I aren’t tied as closely by breastfeeding. (The girl loves to eat so I’m already loving heading off for a yoga class, lunch with friends, movie or massage.) So a regular date night would be a dream.

In the kitchen

I’m no cook, and I’m not going to pretend to be one, but I do love cooking good food and all that entails – here it’s normally good music on and all of us gathered together while Steve or I cook away with Jman in his learning tower and assisting us. But despite our love of food we do have meals and snacks on rotation that’s getting a little stale. What’s more, more often than not we’ve discovered that making something from scratch is much easier than we expected it to be – I’m looking at you pizza dough.

  • Pastry. I’ve got a serious soft spot for pies and apple pies in particular. But I’ve never tackled making my own shortcrust pastry after being told it is finicky.
  • Pasta. Spoiler alert, we’ve actually made our own pasta before and it was delicious, but it’s something I’d like to make on a more regular basis.
  • Up the plants. I enjoy meat, but when Steve isn’t around I swing from vegan to pescatarian and back when preparing our meals. Plants make me feel my best. However, my vego cooking repertoire is pretty limited.
  • Meat. I asked Steve how he’d like to get his cook on this year and he said “more barbecuing”. The man is obsessed. While I’m sitting on my yoga mat of a night he’s researching barbecuing methods.

So there you go. It’s a small list, but one I’m looking forward to tackling throughout the year.

Did you make any resolutions?

In a year that pretty much hasn’t been * – no holidays, no travel, no long lazy days spent wandering from bed to beach to couch with a book in hand, the concept of a beach holiday seems pretty much as far removed from reality as can be.

*Yep, even I take umbrage at this. 2020 has been a year of PLENTY for many reasons, but I’d like to shove those reasons as far down the back of the couch cushions as possible heading into the festive season and pretend just for a bit that a lack of beach holidays has been as bad as it got this year. OK, as you were.

As I sat at my computer trying to dredge up some inspiration to write, I remembered all the half-formed blog posts I had stowed away. Ideas thrown on the screen to be written up properly at a later date when the words flowed a bit more fluidly and I had more time to dedicate. to it And then I laughed and laughed and laughed because anyone with a young toddler in the house knows that excess time simply doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, flicking through photos from our last beach holiday at Angourie seemed like a much more pleasant way to spend a spare 10 minutes than attempting to flesh out freelance pitches that I wasn’t sure I really had the mental space to fulfil for a few more months (insert more internal laughter here. Perhaps I’ll come back to them later).

But back to the beach. A few years ago we had the beginnings of a beautiful annual tradition with Steve’s family, when we’d all pile into a house for a week before Christmas. It was noisy and it was crowded and we’d leave with completely exhausted children, but man it was fun. Plus, beach.

When we packed up almost 12 months ago we were talking about making the Angourie holiday an annual one. But then 2020 hit. So instead I trawled through the few meagre photos I have and wished we were going again. Side note, as much as I like ditching my phone during holidays, I really should get a proper camera so I can capture all the memories. Or, I could just be in the moment.

Anyway, here’s Angourie. It’s pretty fantastic.

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It’s fair to say Steve and I are food lovers. We both enjoy getting into the kitchen and making a mess – which would be a whole lot easier if we had a dishwasher – and the majority of our social outings revolve around food, farmers’ markets, restaurants and delis. It’s pretty awesome.

So it came as a shock to have a child who just wasn’t that fussed about food. He could have taken or left solids as a baby, and would have happily lived on bananas, porridge, pasta or honey toast for the better part of a year.

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There are, however, a few solid favourites guaranteed to get him into his cooking stool, apron on and whisk and rolling pin in hand. What’s more, not all of them involve cakes, banana bread or biscuits (although let’s be real, if he gets to lick a batter-covered spoon he is THERE).

Tortillas were up there for a while, as was bolognese and fish, however these days when I ask what he’d like for dinner that week he always replies with “pizza! Every night I want pizza”.

He’ll choose to top his with cheese, ham and sometimes pineapple (while I sneak finely chopped veg on too) while Steve and I will jazz ours up with zucchini, roasted pumpkin, red onion, garlic, mushrooms, anchovies, whatever protein is going, and a hefty dose of cheese.

A few years ago my brother showed me how easy it is to make your own pizza dough, seemingly effortlessly combining the flour and water on the benchtop while we watched on. The kicker is that it also freezes well, meaning you can always have some ready to go #winning. We’ve never looked back.

And because lately I’ve been kneading and rolling on a fortnightly basis with my little helper by my side ready to roll out the dough and sprinkle on the toppings, I thought I’d share our fail safe pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups plain flour (we’ve used wholemeal, unbleached white, spelt etc and they’ve all worked well)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Method

  • Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Add the combined water and olive oil and mix together, at first with a spoon and then with well-floured hands.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. It may take a while but a good song on in the background helps.
  • Leave the dough to rise in floured or oiled bowl until it has doubled in size. On cooler days sitting on top of a warm oven will help this along.
  • Halve the dough and set one half aside for the freezer. Roll out the other half, pierce it all over with a fork and then add whatever toppings take your fancy. We still divide this piece into 1/3 for the child and Steve and I share the other 2/3.
  • Cook in a moderate to low oven for about 40 minutes, keeping an eye on it.

 

To freeze the dough, simply sprinkle some flour into a freezer-proof lidded container and place the dough in. Then, 24 hours before you need it, move it to the fridge to defrost and to the bench about an hour before you roll it out so it can warm up. Then just knead it again, roll it out and off you go.

Et voila! Perfect pizza.

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The sun is almost up. I can hear the birds chirping away outside in the pre-dawn gloaming while I roll over sleepily for the final feed of the night, knowing within the hour I’ll hear Jman asking Steve what we’re doing today, demanding Weet-Bix and running in to cuddle me (or his sister. There’s a lot of love there). As T finishes up we both snuggle up under the doona for a final snooze and I feel contented. Happy. Complete.

It’s been three years since I wrote this post about entering motherhood. I flicked through it again recently, nodding my head at what I’d written while also laughing a little. It is so earnest. So serious. I can remember sitting in my car, tapping away at it on my phone as Jman slept and the whole parenthood thing felt so very real and hard and full on.

Oh the difference a tiny bit of time can make. I can only imagine what my mum and Grandma have thought, watching on these past three years. And although a lot of what I wrote last time is still pertinent second time around, I thought I’d update the list a little more for past Kylie, and if it helps anyone else that’s an added bonus. So here we go.

  • Everyone is making it up as they go along. They really are.
  • Treat yourself like you would a toddler. I’m blatantly stealing this from my friend Steph. Feeling like you’re totally out of juice? What would you say to a melting down toddler? Are you hungry? Tired? Do you need a cuddle? A bath? A song to dance it out to cranked up loud? Apply the answer to yourself accordingly.
  • Life will return to normal. Eventually. But it will be a new normal.
  • Everything is a stage and will pass eventually.
  • Never touch a sleeping baby. No, really. Never touch a sleeping baby.
  • One day they will ask for Dad and your heart will break even while you breathe into the space it creates.
  • Let go of rigidity about routines and instead find a daily and weekly rhythm that works for everyone. Mornings out, afternoons in the yard, a daily chore and an early family dinner seem to work best for us.
  • Know when to throw out the plans, defrost a dinner from the freezer and spend the day playing in the yard with the hose.
  • Kids really have no regard for how you thought parenthood would be. Remember this.
  • Also know when to strap on a carrier and get on with your day while a babe naps on you rather than fighting against it.
  • You really don’t need screens on as much as they are. It doesn’t help anyone in the long run.
  • Never underestimate the power of a packed lunchbox.
  • You will always regret that third tea or coffee.
  • An early bedtime is better than two hours trying to get a 40-minute nap to happen.
  • Adding a sibling is a wild card you can’t prepare for.
  • Learn to say no. No to every day being spent out and about; no to yet another craptastic toy entering the house; no to visitors when there’s a new baby; no to a car trip that will result in endless screaming; no to the 20th load of washing done at the expense of playing with your kids.
  • You don’t have to do it all alone. Ask for help when you need it, lean on your partner when there’s no juice left in the tank.
  • Be an adult and realise that goes both ways. Some days you will have to carry the load because they can’t. It swings both ways.
  • Be wary of insisting on “me” time at the expense of “we” time. You will miss out on many precious moments that way. Instead, as your yoga teacher once said, integrate self care into your day rather than have it as an addition that you need to find yet more space for.
  • That being said, find a way to fill your tank. Read, journal, move your body, listen to an audiobook or podcast while cooking, cook good food, get outside, lie on the couch and watch a movie on a hot afternoon. Everything will flow better when you do.
  • Learn to sit in silence each day. However, accept sometimes that will look like headphones in your ears while you sit under two kids and attempt to ignore the endless wriggling.
  • Dark chocolate and red wine is good for the soul. So is a green smoothie or a meal full of veggies. Find a balance between the two.
  • A freezer full of tasty, nourishing, home cooked meals is your best friend when days go to pot or you’ve had to work late.
  • When two sisters-in-law told you not to lose yourself in motherhood, they were right. Remember who you are without your kids and work hard to maintain that person.
  • You will yell. Accept that, but also learn to apologise. Being the adult doesn’t always make you right.
  • People like to “should” at you. Ignore them and instead work out what works best for you and your family.
  • If musical beds means everyone sleeps, then let it happen.
  • Hand-me-downs are golden.
  • So are cloth nappies.
  • Kids need far less than you think they do.
  • The days are long but the years are short. Truly.
  • Remember to enjoy your kids.

Now to you. What would you tell your past self?