Wow, so much has happened in the past year and I think it’s been the year I’ve learned the most as a mother.
It was a year of bravery, one that started with us packing up all of our belongings and moving across the world. I’ve had to be the bravest mother this year, the strongest mother this year and the most compassionate. This adventure, transition and new beginning has required that my kids also be brave, so I had to be braver. They had to be resilient, patient, friendly, smart. And so I had to be all these things too, even on days I didn’t wanted to be.
My brave boys have powered through this adventure like horsemen in the Snowy Mountains. They have stepped up to the plate, made us so so proud and dug deep when they needed to. We asked of them some things that adults would struggle with. We raised our expectations and they’ve kept meeting them. There have been days when they have cried, looked lost, been tired and didn’t want to ‘do’ French. But I can count these days on my hands. I have such proud Mum moments from this past year.
Last year my heart hurt and I longed after the thought of another baby. (You can read my post My Mothering Journey 2017 here) I didn’t want to say Charlie was my last, but I knew he was. The innate female desire (that not everybody has!) to keep breading is deep within me. I love babies, feel my ovaries shift when I see them, smell them. I follow people on Instagram who are expecting, or have just had babies and all of their baby talk doesn’t put me off. I love watching the magic and seeing others fall madly in love with their little people.
But what I know and am loving as I put the baby chapter to bed, is the extra time that I’m getting back with my husband and the quality time I get to spend with each of my kids. Charlie is still a toddler but his brothers can keep watch and I’m not nursing or settling and Rob and I are getting 5 minutes to ourselves again. The biggest change in my mothering journey has come in the form of having more time with my boys. Fitting freelance work and writing in between taking care of the household needs with Rob, has resulted in a 1000 fold increase in time spent together. This has been the most rewarding part of the past year. I love France, everything it has to offer but I love most of all, being a full-time mum.
It hasn’t been easy, I’ll be honest that I struggle with it and still have my days of needing someone to tell me I’m doing a good job. To get some recognition, feel like my mind is being put to good use, to be creative and challenged. But I’m fitting these things in better, getting up early to write and am trying to connect with local creative communities to fill my bucket. What I do love most about my days is the time I get to spend shopping for and preparing our family food. I love the meditative state that working in the kitchen puts me in. I potter away and it fills me with joy to make healthy food for myself and our family. I feel fulfilled being able to provide and to take my time making food. I never anticipated this discovery would give me such pleasure but am so grateful for having the time to do it all and immerse myself in this new creative avenue.
In a day and age where helicopter and overbearing parents are the norm, I was elated when a friend the other day said we ‘were the most laid back parents’ she’d met. We do let our kids be kids, we let the 2 year old have freedom outside to explore and get dirty and try to give our oldest the freedoms a 10 year old wants. At the heart of our parenting is an intentionality that takes their childhood seriously, combined with an independence that will hopefully arm them for the complicated world we live in. We believe that as long as our shared values are concrete and we reinforce these each day, we’re doing a good job as parents and I’m doing a good job as a mum.
If you’d like to read my post from 2017, My Mothering Journey, you can read it here.
I also wrote about my own mum a couple of years ago, who is The Most Humble Person I know. You can read it here.
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Be your own Brave image from Bravery magazine.