Wednesday, 31 March 2010

I am a joiner

I while ago I heard someone comment about how some people are 'joiners'. They will join anything which moves and love to be on committees. The way it was described it seemed to be something to be embarrassed about and a sign of some personal insecurity. At the time I thought maybe that was true and I know there are people who seem addicted to committees. But I think I am proud to be a bit of a joiner.

I mentioned this in conversation today and a number of mums said that being part of things is how you form community. I have always wanted to be involved in things but often found work meant I was too busy or too tired to do it. Now that I am home and more flexible most of the week I have more time. And being a Mum puts you in touch with so many groups which only exist because of volunteers who believe in their cause. I love that finally I am able to contribute to the community in a tangible way and there is so much which can be done!

Living in Auckland can feel very lonely. So many people but no connections. Joining creates connections and community which is no small thing. One Mum I talked to today said it was wierd now that her oldest has started school cause she doesn't know all the parents of the kids. Suddenly people are strangers again after the preschool years where she knew all her kids friends and their parents.

I guess joining also gives life purpose. Each day can be very repetitive with a wee one and being part of a group gives me adult connection and motivation. It keeps my mind ticking over and keeps me reflecting on my parenting. At present I am helping out with my local La Leche League group. The women I have meant are inspiring, strong and intelligent. They are such a blessing and an invaluable support.

So I am a proud joiner. And I think with so much pressure on our time and the economic pressures facing everyone, what we all need is a few more joiners who can make life a little easier for others.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Eclectic Effervescence: Offense.

Eclectic Effervescence: Offense.

Eclectic Effervescence: Offense.

Eclectic Effervescence: Offense.

Check this out. Facebook must be very male dominated where its management is concerned!

Surrendering to a decision I had already made

Anyone who knows me will know that Ella's sleep has been a common topic of conversation. She still wakes at night and recently stopped napping in her cot during the day. Every few weeks I hit a wall of exhaustion and we re-evaluate how we are dealing with things and try to improve the situation. We got to the point at the weekend where I just felt desperate and exhausted and just couldn't go on with nothing changing. But here is the rub. I just can't and won't leave Ella to cry. Many people have sung the praises of leaving your bub to cry for three nights and how it worked wonders with their child's sleep. Now I believe these stories but I just couldn't get my head around leaving Ella to cry. So each time I got to the end of my rope I would ask for advice and be told that this was the only option.

But this week a miracle happened. I realised I had already decided what I wanted to do and the only step left was to surrender to it. I had a lovely chat to a mother who has chosen to raise her children in a gentle way. She has her babies sleep in her bed until they are gently ready to leave. She finally put into words what I have been struggling with. I know how I feel in my heart but I just kept getting stuck thinking that going with Ella's needs would lead my life into chaos and it scared me. All these fears stopped me surrendering to what I knew in my heart. And also it is hard to choose a different way of doing things without people to talk to about it and see how it is done.

So that night we decided to welcome Ella into our bed, not as a desperate way to cope with her waking, but as a normal way to parent your child when they do normal baby things, like waking in the night. We have also decided to change our practical bed arrangements to make it work. And for day naps if she needs to feed to sleep with me that is fine, or if she needs to be in the wrap or buggy that is fine too. I am going with her and not thinking about 'routines' and what other people are doing. We are going to do our own thing and go with our own pattern.

As soon as my husband and I made that decision I felt such a huge burden lifted and such peace and freedom. I am no longer reaching for some illusive perfection or the 'right way' to do things. Instead I can feel confident in my instincts, my research and my relationship with Ella.

As I look around our home I see that I had already made this decision. All the books I have read are gentle in approach. I am committed to breastfeeding for as long as it is a positive experience for us both, and I always gravitate towards parents who do things in a gentle way. So my conversation really just gave me permission and a practical way forward.

So I feel like a new woman. I am not going to work as much as I had, so I have more energy. I am going to bed with Ella so I get early nights and napping during the day even if their are other things to do. I am slowing myself down to move more at Ella's pace, rather than what I was trying to do before.

I have hope and joy back in my relationship with Ella. Life is good!