Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Step 4: Wear Joggers

It's amazing the difference it makes when I put joggers on in the morning rather than ugg-boots! I can feel my legs moving faster. I am ready for action. And if there had been enough milk for coffee this morning...'with these powers combined,' the house would probably be tidy and I wouldn't be feeling like there is a grey haze over my brain. But as it stands, the joggers will have to do.
A few weeks ago, Tim and I decided to jump on the scales. I don't know if its my super-power joggers (or coffee) or my new gluten-free diet, or perhaps breast-feeding is actually doing what health professionals say it should, but we'd both lost 10kgs! (Tim, by the way, is not breast-feeding, but he does ride his bike a whole lot more than me!) We were so amazed that it had just fallen off us, without too much thought or agony. This is the way dieting should be, we thought. We just get on with life, enjoy ourselves, not get too obsessed with food or the scales, even enjoy those peanut butter cookies occasionally (Ok, maybe a bit more than occasionally.) I've been walking differently, thinking about myself differently, looking at myself in the mirror differently. "Mild-mannered mother-of-two steps into a pair of joggers and comes out..."
Then Tim's lovely mum came to visit.
"Are your bathroom scales accurate?" She asked me last week, "Because if they are, I've lost 7 kilos!"
I laughed. I just thought it was so funny and lovely. I'd been spending all this time thinking about spin and how to redefine myself and out springs this pithy little lesson about the measures I use to check if I'm ok or not. It's such a strange feeling to look in the mirror and see the same beautiful and content person I'd looked at yesterday but know that the numbers had changed.
So, as you can imagine, I'm not buying new scales! And every so often I jump back on the old ones and believe what I read. But mostly I'm on the lookout  for the measures I use and don't actually need anymore.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Step 3: New Terms and Conditions

About 10 years ago I was told that having kids made you realise how selfish you were. Back then I thought, "That would be great! I would love to learn to be selfless and pour my life into something so honourable!" Now I'm in it, it's not so appealing. "Can we just agree on some terms and conditions?" I said to my 5 month old this morning. I want a full night's sleep, I want a 2 hour lunch break and I want evenings off after 7. Is that really so selfish? To only want to work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week?

I'm amazed, when I put it like that, just how much "parent guilt" one can hold on one's shoulders. "I can't put my 3 year old in Daycare, I'm a stay-at-home mum," "I can't miss that thing that starts at 8pm, everyone will be there!"  "I can't put the TV on while I fold washing in order to avoid my 3 yr old 'helping'." "I can't sit down and have a cuppa and write about myself in the middle of the day!"

Early this year, I pushed past the 'critical parent voice' (yes, I've been to a psychologist!) and bought myself a Kindle (an e-book reader) with some Christmas money ("How can you spend money on a Kindle when there's all these books on the shelf you haven't read??") I justified it to my scoffing self because I was breastfeeding, and it's too hard to turn pages when you're holding a baby. ("what do you think your mother did?") Shut up! I told myself! And pressed "Buy". Anyway, that was a long was of saying that since then I've caught up on a whole lot of classics which never interested me when I supposed to read them at school. Did you know that Anna Karenina had a wet nurse AND a nanny! Apparently back then, it was considered 2 jobs! And a cook, and maids, and a driver, etc, etc. Even the poor widowed and fatherless Dashwoods had hired staff, while they sat around with not much money, but a whole heap of time to sew, walk and gossip. Their place in the world was defined by how much they did, or didn't, do. And, it appears, so is mine. I justify daycare day by telling myself I'll sew dresses and sell them online. "Oh no, Jodi. Can't have a day off! Can't just sew because you enjoy it!" I stack the dishwasher while I'm talking on the phone with one hand and jiggling a grumpy baby in the other, because I can't just sit and chat. I feel guilty about home delivered groceries, tinned baby food, and disposable nappies. No wonder I don't like my life!

A friend told me last week that parenting has been in incredibly humbling experience for her. She doesn't meet up to half her expectations, does things she said she never would and is learning to be okay with it. I appreciated this reflection more than the first I heard 10 years ago. So I have decided set these terms and conditions with myself:
-You can do things because you want to and choose not to do things because you don't want to.
-You can choose to do things you don't want to do and miss out on things you wanted. (Because you'll be ok.)
-You can sew something for yourself or for a friend even though it won't make money back on those extravagant fabric purchases. You do not need to make money from something to validate your enjoyment of it.
-You can eat leftover mince for dinner 3 nights in a row.
-You can make use of various services because they are there to make life easier, which is no longer a crime (home delivery, daycare, babysitting, husband willing to make coffee).
-You can be proud of your achievements and not belittle them.

In other news, Tully was getting up from the potty, pulling his undies and pants up this morning and I sighed at him, "Oh Tully! You're such a big boy now! Where did my little baby go?"
He rolled his eyes at me, "Oh Mum! She's in the bedroom, sleeping!"

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Step 2: The First Incision.

I could spend all day looking at beautiful fabric. Put the kids to bed, get out my collection, and goo at how all the pretty colours look together. Or scrolling through Etsy.com adding one design after the other to my favourites list - almost as fun as buying, and usually, unfortunately for my bank account, leads to extravagant (but very beautiful!) purchases. Then the kids wake up, the lap top lid goes down or fabric goes back on its shelf and I give a heavy sigh of desire and disatisfaction. There just aren't enough sleepy hours in the day!
A few weeks ago, around the time I decided to start blogging, I also decided to start cutting. I'd put it off for years. It's so much safer to collect, to admire, to keep it in that neat 1 yard cut. What if I decided there was a whole lot of other things I wanted to make from that beautiful yard? What if I RAN OUT?? What if, and this was the most scary, I discovered I wasn't actually that good at sewing. Or I just got bored of it. What if it just passed on like every other grand dream that gets shelved from dying motivation like my garden, my singing, having 6 children... I had to ask Mum to help.
A sewing holiday was appointed during Tully's daycare days and off to Sydney I drove, fabric and baby in tow. (I'm fortunate we now have a station wagon!) I purposefully chose the fabric I liked the least, bought what looked like an easy pattern and got out my scissors.
Here is the fruit of our labour:
 I was somewhat amazed. Designs which had been at the bottom of the pile suddenly looked so lovely cut into shapes, the frayed edges hidden away for good. Aren't they fun? Since then, wielding my scissors had become a little addictive. Here's some more creations:

The next dreaded incision will be the button holes. Might need to head down to Mum's again for those. Oh the thought of putting irreversible holes in my reversible dresses! It agonises me! Oh but the thought of leaving them forever unfinished, folded up in a cupboard, only to be brought out for show and tell when the kids are asleep...