A picture of pride

I’ve recently started the very slow process of sorting through our family photos. I’m quite determined to succeed and proudly sped through a few hours of sorting without getting distracted (which is a miracle).

One photo caught my eye though and I snapped a pic on my phone before throwing it in the “kids together” pile. It’s a little shot of my sister and I grinning ear to ear in matching little outfits. I love it because it’s a great image of our cheeky sisterly love but I love it more because it tells a story I’m proud of.

When I was small my family didn’t have much. My parents scrimped for everything they had and worked hard to keep us clothed and fed depsite the odds. My childhood was sunny, fun and happy. I don’t remember being ‘poor’ and I don’t remember going without. To me, we had the world. We had wonderful big trees and bugs galore under every rock outlining our front garden. Us kids had a whole house of our own that we imagined into existence under the tree boughs along the backyard fence. And to top it all off we got to smell the incredible scent of mown grass in the summer evenings and release the heady aroma of lemon as we ceuahed lemon-scented tea tree leaves in our little palms.

My mum made a lot of clothes for us out of love and necessity in equal measures. In the photo below we are wearing gorgeous little overalls made by my mother’s hands.

Sitting on my mum’s living room floor sorting, I turn the photo towards my mum and smile saying “oh aren’t we cute?!” She says proudly “I made those overalls! They’re made from a pink pillow case and a scrap of material. Someone said to me ‘oh that won’t work to mix those fabrics’ but I made them anyway and they lasted ages. You got so much wear out of them!”

I loved how proud she was of that. And I felt proud too. I am lucky enough to call that resilient, resourceful person my mum. I am also lucky enough to have worn such beautiful clothes while I played imaginary houses and made mud pies. I hope my daughter can look back on her childhood with pride and see that I did everything I could to provide for her in the ways she needed.

It’s a really beautiful feeling!

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About doubt

I’ve spent so much of the last 9 months feeling inadequate and overwhelmed as a mum. What I’m realising is feeling like that doesn’t mean I’m falling apart or failing. It just means I’m human. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about motherhood on the blog despite my fear of becoming a ‘mummy blogger’. Today I wanted to explore something I’ve been thinking a lot about. Doubt. (Yes I’m a poet and gosh-darn do I know it!)

Going along on this journey of motherhood exposes you to a lot of challenges. For me, the biggest challenge is that it’s impossible to feel completely confident as a mum. Confidence for me comes from knowing I can ABSOLUTELY ace something. Anything less than being super bad-ass at something is just not enough. With a baby, life is full of “maybe” and “probably” and “who knows” and “I don’t know” and “there’s no right way to do that” and “just take a stab in the dark”. No one can tell me if I’m doing this thing right. No one can confirm that I’m doing the best I possibly can. I can’t be sure I’ve made good choices or, heaven forbid, the RIGHT choices (whatever they are!). And all of this leads to the ‘D-word’… DOUBT.

How do you live with Doubt? He’s such a horrible companion. Doubt takes your shoe soles and turns them to soap. Doubt fills your mind with booby traps and hides monsters in your cupboards. And the worst thing about Doubt is that he rarely flies solo. He’s super social and constantly invites his friends Fear and Self-loathing to every occasion. Ugh.

I’ve found that mummy life is a big old magnet for Doubt and keeping him out has become my full time job. Only problem?… my full time job SHOULD be to care for myself and my daughter!! 

So much of my time now is spent asking everyone and their dog and their dog’s fleas about how I should be raising my child and caring for myself. I convince myself that if I get the right affirmation or advice, it’ll help me ace this mummy thing i.e. See ya later Doubt! Then, when I get said advice, I still feel the same. I’m trying to take things on board and accept the help people offer but it’s hardly scratching the surface of how I’m feeling

Why am I struggling so much when I’m surrounded by love and support? I’m not sure I have a bullet-proof answer but I’m getting the gist. Here’s where I’m at with this whole thing…

I’m just going to put it out there and say maybe being ‘not ok’ is perfectly ok. Maybe not knowing whether I’m kicking butt as a mum is ok too. Maybe my inner feelings are just that – feelings. Maybe Doubt is just that friend who means well but kinda sucks at being a friend. Maybe confidence is not about being great at stuff. Maybe I can live without confidence. Woah. Did I just type that? Overachieving, perfectionist old me?! Know what? Yeah. Confidence is overrated and I just don’t have time to keep up this dead-end search for the holy confidence grail. For now, I’m trying my best to just ‘be’.

Walk through Sunday moments with me

We wake up in the middle of a cloud that has descended into the valley. Mist all around and above and below. Breakfast is out at a beautiful restaurant. Big wooden benches and a heavy-set table with views out to rain and green paddocks. 

The baby sleeps while we linger on the porch enjoying food, coffee and conversation. The air is gently filling our lungs with clean, cool breaths.

Back at home we move around the house like little dolls. One on the couch, two in the kitchen, one in the study, one on the rug. Then change positions. One sleeping lightly, one in the sun room, one kneading dough, one stoking the fire. Pizzas tonight. 

The rain clears and lets the sun steam the land and bake the verandah. Bees float around happily among the lavender buds and ants scale the little stems. It’s humid outside and puddles reflect the blue sky like mirrors.

There are so many quiet little places in a house. Spots content to stay empty and keep watch over those who wander past. The dough is rising in a warm nook. Mist is rising out of the warm hills. 

The sun is dipping down below the clouds and spilling golden light into the house. I can hear the rustle of dinner preparations. The pizzas will be ready soon. Hot coals wash waves of heat over us and scorch the pizzas in seconds. We huddle together for the last meal of the day.

The sun shines one more broad spotlight through the thick clouds lighting up a crease in the valley. The day draws to a close with a moonless sky.

We drive home along wet roads with highbeams on and yawns permeating the quiet spots in conversation. I click through photos in bed. The fan, jittering side to side, blows air gently over my bare legs as I type this last sentence and begin the upload of pictures for you to walk through below.

Hope you’ve enjoyed glimpses some Sunday moments with me.

Things they don’t sell in baby stores but should

It seems there’s no end to the gadgets and gizmos we apparently need for our little ones. Baby stores are not for the faint-hearted. They’re filled to the brim with everything you can imagine to transport, carry, entertain, feed, teach, stimulate, soothe, bounce, move, wrap, dress and care for bubbas. But you know what? They haven’t got it all.

I’ve come up with a few things I’d be glad to purchase next time I’m in one of those crazy pram and parent-filled places. So, baby stores near me… read on. And when you make millions on my great ideas, I’d like my cut to be forwarded direct via cheque.

So, here are the things they don’t sell in baby stores but should:

Remote controls and mobile phones. And none of this toy remote/phone business! Kids know the difference. I’m talking real life technology that is somehow magically locked so my child can’t change the channel, buy stocks or send selfies.

Metal detectors. Doubly useful – 1. being able to scan the room for dangerous items my kid is sure to find e.g. scissors, keys, cutlery, bobby pins. 2. finding lost items that the little human has hidden in crazy places e.g. remotes, keys, phone.

Coffee. Must I explain?

Mummy uniforms. We all know that a killer pair of tights and a forgiving top are the essential wardrobe of any new mumma. Anything black is a bonus and removable burp cloths (or chuck rags as I so lovingly call them) would be nice. Slip on shoes are a must. Could you please sell these as coordinated sets? I would also appreciate the chance to try these on in peace (as per idea below).

Creche. This seems a no-brainer. Can you watch my little angel while I browse/try on/purchase my items? It’d be lovely not to contend with tantrums and grabby little hands while I shop.

5 minute makeovers. Could you please pop some eye masks on my dark circles while you brush my hair and moisturise my hands? Would a spot of ironing be possible? I’m talking basic makeovers here. The kind that say “I got dressed today and had more than 2 hours of sleep”.

Hugs. You may laugh but this one is serious. I need a hug. I need all the hugs I can get. This idea alone could make you filthy rich because parents everywhere are needing a good old fashion cuddle. If you could also provide tissues, that would be lovely.

What would you add to the list?

 

 

Tiny Heid, illustrious author

Enjoy these stories written by 7yr old me.

Note: Drawings by 31yr old me. Spelling and grammar as per original copy.

The Triple Eyed Monster

There once was a monster he was triple eyed.

He was a sad monster even thowe he was friendley but he looked VERY scary. Everyone teased him because of his three eyes.

One day he went to the wized and asked him for only two eyes. The wized said that it is inposebl but he said he’d try.

So the following day the triple eyed monster met the wized on his morning stroll. Have you found a cure he said. Yes said the wized, Just drink this strawberry flaved milk.

The monster drank a little bit then in a flash there was his two perfect humen eyes. So he was never teased again and he lived hapily ever after.

The end. By Heidi.

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Snail

One day Snail went for a walk in the park. It was spring, his favrite season and allso it was hot he was ROASTING so he went back home.

First he had a cool drink with ice blocks in it then a fuzzy man apeared who are you an ALIEN FROM SPACE. He said to himself im just dreaming.

The End.

snail

What Dinosaurs Do

What do you think dinosaurs do?

My dinosaur studdies maths he’s never got an A+. BUT this time he got one because I helped him he donsent even know what 1+1 is.

But he’s always fat! do you want to know a secret!! he eats spuds!!! ooh yuck!

dino

 

Dreamy moments: PetRox

I’m a bit of a dreamer.

When I was small I loved coming up with interesting ideas for my future jobs or pursuits. My imagination was pretty wild and wooly so I rarely followed through with my hair-brained ideas. To this day I’m often coming up with weird and wonderful ideas for my future self. Thought I’d share some of my quirky little ideas I’ve dreamt up over time and here’s the first… PetRox.

I love craft and was dreaming about how I could put my creative juice into a project that could make some pocket money. My idea was a small business called PetRox. I remember thinking the ‘x’ in ‘Rox’ was really cool. I had a pet rock growing up and thought it was awesome. I now planned to share the awesomeness by creating a collection of pet rock characters that I would sell complete with their own unique ‘houses’ made from small boxes. Each rock character would have a name and backstory and would be lovingly hand-painted and googly-eyed by me. I even created some prototypes (shown below). Unfortunately I don’t remember their names or house concepts. But seriously, just check out that monacle and kilt…

I felt the idea had so much potential and dreamt of my Etsy store and what it would look like. I wondered what custom orders would come in or whether I would share stories of successfully ‘adopted’ pets in a “where are they now?” section of my website. Maybe the pet rocks would travel the world or build an extension on their box house. Maybe I could sell pet rock kits for keen DIYers. The possibilities seemed endless.

And I’ve got to say I still think it was a cute idea. What do you think? Could PetRox take off and form a stony empire? Would you buy a pet rock?

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Dressed up with nowhere to go

As a new mumma it can be hard to look after myself. Getting dressed in something nice is often low on my list of priorities, let alone getting dressed at all! Putting something nice on even if you’re not leaving the house is a simple way to self-care.  Don’t get me wrong – clothes can’t address all the challenges in life. But spending some time on yourself in that small way can really make a difference to your frame of mind. So how to find that spark of morning motivation? Well here are some ideas.

A blogger I’ve followed for a while is Andrea Michelle aka Fox In Flats. I really like Andrea’s Style Dares. She ‘dares’ you to step out of your fashion comfort zone through month-long challenges designed to get you out of a style rut or just try something new. 

Andrea’s DAREcember brings the fashion fun to the festive season. The idea is to post photos with the hashtag #DAREcember so all the dare photos are findable and you can connect with other ‘dare-ees’. You can see eachother’s ideas and be encouraged and inspired. I played along with DAREcember back in 2014 and loved it. It became something to look forward to every day. 

Another kind of fashion challenge that’s a little less structured is Lindsey Cheney’s ‘What I Wore Wednesday‘ or WIWW. Lindsey is the author of blog The Pleated Poppy. Through WIWW Lindsey shares what she’s worn through the week. She started it as motivation to get out of her PJs and house clothes more. As a mum of three who home-schools and works from home, Lindsey found it really inspiring to share and hopes it inspires others to get more creative with their wardrobe. 

Now I’m no longer working full time I’m thinking I should do something like this again. It’s rare that I feel excited about what I’ll wear on a given day and I’d like to get more creative again.

Here are some shots (and the little dare guide) from my DAREcember. P.s. Looking back at these photos makes me tempted to chop my hair off again!


Exploring the beach

I recently spent the weekend in a little cabin up at Diamond Beach. Waking up near the water with salt air swishing through the old curtains was such a treat. We spent three days clacking around on the linoleum in our thongs so our feet didn’t get black on the bottom. We read books, went for little walks, played Scrabble and grazed on delicious lovingly-made food with my mum’s incredible slices as the cherry on top.

Little H got to do plenty of swimming which she absolutely loved and I got to take some moments to myself while the bub spent time with family. 

In the mornings sunshine would gently light up our verandah with warm pools of yellow-white. Flowers and foliage adorned most of the little cabins and houses around about and the light-play was lovely at the beginning and end of the day.

At dusk we walked along the beautiful beach and I took photos as the sun shot its last rays across the sand. The light made the sand glitter. It cast long shadows behind anything tall enough to stand in its path. And while it lingered I ran along in stops and starts discovering little details with my camera. I miss the beach. We used to live a lot closer when I was young. So for me, the textures, sounds and sights of the coast are full of nostalgia. For the little one, they’re exciting and new. I love that. Nature has this constant presence that defies aging, renewing itself every second. Always old, always new.

What I wore – Relaxed sunny denim

Now I’m a mum it can be a challenge to put together an outfit that is comfy yet doesn’t scream “pyjamas”. Well, challenge accepted.

This little combo is a favourite of mine. I got this light denim dress from Big W (Emerson brand). It’s a nice length, light-weight and breastfeeding friendly. Some people might not like the ‘shapeless’ shape but I love it. I used to wear a lot of shift dresses before I had the bub and now can’t because I need to whip the girls out regularly. Even though it’s been a blessing to be able to breastfeed, I seriously miss being able to wear pieces that don’t have to open at the front. This dress is a bit of both worlds – pre-baby style and practical mumma style – so it’s pretty nifty!

And my beloved canary yellow Salt Water sandals make the outfit look finished (with a bright sunshine-coloured full stop!).



Photo journaling kinda saved my life

Warning: mushy, emotion-filled stuff to follow.

When my first serious relationship ended I didn’t cope very well. I think most people have a story like this. I found it hard to sleep, I rarely ate, I moped and stared out into nothingness and cried that gross kind of cry where all the snot gets your nose stuffy and there’s just goo all over your face and tissues don’t really seem to help.

I’m sure while this was going on I was terrible to live with. I was a real Debbie Downer. At the time though, I was quite unaware of most things because I was deeply buried in my own thoughts and feelings. This intense self-reflection started to really eat away at me. Too much time spent in your own mind can be unhelpful to say the least. And continuing to travel through life with your eyes closed in grief, your lungs restricted by sobbing and your tummy empty from a gut-wrenching fear of the future… well, I try not to think too much about where I would have headed. 

This all sounds overly dramatic but to me at the time things seemed insurmountable and my motivation to get up every day was beginning to wane. That is until I started my photo journal. 

I decided at some point that enough was enough. I needed something to give me a good shake. I remember thinking how I might be able to wake myself up from the break-up haze. My conclusion: take a photo of myself every day and write a reflection to go with it. Part of me wanted to document the pain and part of me wanted to dig myself out of it. And, for me, doing a project like this meant the difference between barely surviving and really thriving. 

This first photo journal lasted 77 days. I didn’t have a goal in mind for how long I’d keep going and that was a good thing. Goals can be helpful but sometimes they can also put more pressure on when you don’t need it.

Later, I started another photo journal that I hoped to keep for 365 days. I was inspired by a Project 365 photo-sharing group. This time it was more light-hearted and I lasted 137 days. Pretty respectable if you ask me! 

Photos capture so much. I found that if I took the time to grab a photo at some point in the day it would jog my memory later that night when I wanted to write about the day or my thinking behind the photo. I also found a simple structure (photo, bible verse, thought) helped the first time around when my brain felt like mush. Although, I was kind to myself if I just needed to ‘wing it’ some days.

I would really recommend photo journaling as something to try. Whether it be for creativity, motivation, documentation or processing. It’s a great alternative to a written journal and one that will continue to teach you every time you wince through a revisit. Gotta love that weird place called Memory Lane!

Day 18 of my first photo journal