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Baby Time – Three Month Check In

Hi,

This is a three (ish) month check in on how everything is going with the baba, from a male perspective.

Do you ever get fed up of those parents who constantly talk about their children? Well, here I am, writing about parenthood. Whoops.

It’s amazing to watch a purple slimy gremlin develop into an actual baby and from there watch a personality develop. To date, I have probably been covered in 17 litres of slob, 21 litres of puke, and surprisingly I have only been shit on once, so I’m not doing too bad.

To go along with the puke and slobber there are the orders. The tiny baby shouts orders at me like a general drawing her troops to attention. She doesn’t cry very much, just shouts at me.

“AAAAHHH,” “AH,” and “AAAHHH,” translates into “Hey you,” “You there,” and probably something else not as polite. She only seems to shout at me, which is interesting, not her mother.

All of the above considered, what is the verdict?

Fun, probably the most fun I have ever had. I never expected that. I expected hard work, tiredness and irritability and a life of drudgery where we carted a portable human from one food station to the next. Instead, we got smiles, laughs, liquid of varying degrees of colour, consistency and smell and other forms of fun.

I realise we have it easier than a lot of parents so I do not want to sound aloof or as if we have gotten it so right. We haven’t, we have just gotten lucky and I am sure the shit will hit the fan sometime (hopefully not literally) and catch me completely unprepared to tell me, “You know not what you do and you are an arse for thinking you do.”

So, where am I going with this? Who knows, I suppose I would like to get the word out there to expectant parents, do not worry, what will happen will happen and it will be difficult or not so difficult, the child will puke or cry and you will be covered at different stages in many different liquids (or solids) but I believe you will be happy.

She is shouting at me as I write this, I am not sure which translation applies but I think it is the less polite one.

Anyway, you will succeed. You can only succeed, so try to enjoy it while you do.

If you enjoyed reading this, please share it or have a look at some of our other blogs.

Peace,

George

New Parents: The Unexpected Feeling

No words can describe the elated feeling we have experienced in the past 3 months. We knew having a child was going to change our lives forever but we didn’t realise how much emotionally it would affect us. We still cannot believe our little girl is here. During my pregnancy we would chat about what we would look forward to most; like seeing how small her baby toenails were going to be or feeling her wrap her tiny hands around our index finger. When we saw her for the first time, we both cried with relief but also at how perfect she was, even if she was covered in gooey stuff & crying her heart out! Lol. She had the cutest little ear which was folded over like a taco and little red birthmarks on her eyelids & back of her neck. These were all extra little bonuses of cuteness. She looked so healthy & perfect.

At night when she is sleeping, we both stand over her crib to look at her before going to bed, her crib is beside our bed. We love all her little sounds and gestures. It’s like our hearts are going to burst with love. This is the feeling that we didn’t think about prior to baby. No matter how hard a day we may have had, seeing her smile or hearing her gabble to herself washes all the other stuff away. Of course, we knew we were going to love our child however the massive feeling of love that swells inside is nothing like we felt before. I love George with all my heart, I thought the love for our baby would feel the same but for me, it is very different. I feel like I’m going to burst someday just looking at her.

During feeding, I love the little satisfied sounds she makes & how she snuggles in and gets really cosy. She plays with her hands during feeding in such a gentle way & likes to touch my neck. It’s so cool to see someone so happy & content. When George gets back from work, she gets super excited and gives a huge grin & snuggles her hands to her face with excitement. We are beaming when she does this, it’s one of our favourites.

My experience so far has been amazing. It helps our baby has the same priorities as her parents, she loves food & sleep. I don’t think I have smiled so much in my life; she is a little character & cracks me up every day. The love I feel for our baby feels like a warm feeling in my heart that radiates when I think of her or look at her. Seeing George in his role as a father fills me with joy. He is so patient & kind to our little girl. She adores her Daddy & loves spending time with him.

We are learning about each other every day. Sometimes we get everything so wrong. We think she is hungry when she is bored,we think she has wind when she is hungry…..slowly but surely, we are learning how our girl is communicating. I feel we are getting there and at month 3 everything has kind of settled.

Having a child was a huge decision for us, we knew, either way, we would be happy with or without. Now that she is here, we could not imagine life without her. We are enjoying every day with her & trying not to wish our lives away to when she can talk, walk, eat food etc. She is definitely teaching us to live in the moment & be present. Our little girl is our best friend & we hope to be the best parents for her as we can. For sure we will get so many things wrong along the way but we hope that for the most part, we will provide a safe & supportive space for our child to become who & whatever she wishes to become. So excited about parenting & the development of our child. Love truly does conquer all.

Thanks for reading,

Chat soon.

Theresa xxx

 

Worry – Is Your Free Time Being Hijacked?

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking of something you should have done at work or something you missed? It’s human nature, it’s just a pity these damn thoughts pop unto our heads when we’re trying to have a good night’s sleep or enjoy our weekend.

I will often be at home, on a hiking trail or in a yoga class and an unwanted thought rudely invades my headspace. It could be work, it could be something else. It lurks around in the back of my mind, waiting for a time to pounce, just before I get too comfortable, then it jumps out and starts demanding my attention.

Obligingly, I take the bait and start worrying as I am expected to. There is so much out of our control, or more accurately out of our control at this time, right now. If we cannot deal with the issue that’s taken up residence in our headspace there and then, we can kindly ask it to leave.

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.

We can catch these thoughts and save them for later. If its work related I generally send myself an email, so there is a reminder sitting waiting for me when I get in. Otherwise, I make a note or if I’m driving, I ask Siri to set a reminder or send an email.

Unwanted thoughts don’t have to hijack our headspace. We can save them for a suitable time and place to deal with them. When you are in a position that you will not forget what has come up it is easier to stop worrying about it.

It can be tricky to catch these thoughts, it comes with practice. Daily meditation is so important. Start small and build up but be consistent, even if it is only a few minutes a day, eventually, you will become more aware of your thoughts and your state of mind when you’re not at ease. (See the end of the page for some of our previous blogs on meditation)

Meditation and concentration are the way to a life of serenity.

What if it doesn’t go away? When you affirm something, your brain listens to you. I often tell myself, “I don’t need to think about that right now.” My brain listens to me and I can dismiss the thought. It may keep popping back into my mind, especially if it is something troubling but repeat, repeat, repeat.

Your unconsciousness is not the one in charge, you are. You do not have to take all the suggestions the unconscious mind throws at you.

Beware of the procrastination bug also, you can only tell yourself “I don’t need to think about that right now,” so many times before it’s effectiveness will fadeThe defences against worry and preoccupation breakdown. Acknowledge whatever it is that’s bothering you and set aside dedicated time in the future to think about it. If you can do something about it there and then, it is best to act rather than defer but it depends on the situation. If a professional item pops up when you’re in the middle of family time you’re not going to drop everything.

If you can’t act on it or chose not to for a good reason, set something in place to remind yourself and tell yourself that you do not need to think about that right now. After time and practice, you will start to catch your uninvited worries sooner and more often.

The future can be a source of anxiety and stress and it is something we must think about and make decisions about but I believe in deliberate thought rather than background worry which in the long run will only add wrinkles to your face and grey to your hair. Allow yourself to set the worries aside for the right time.

Peace,

George

Further Reading:

Meditation Challenge: 40 Day Sadhana “Your Habits Define You”

A Daily Meditation Practice: Make It Work For You

Meditation: It Takes Two Minutes

Deep Work, By Cal Newport: A Book Review

“Instead of scheduling the occasional break from distraction so you can focus, you should instead schedule the occasional break from focus to give in to distraction.”

What is deep work? Cal Newport, in his book, Deep Work, provides the example of a blacksmith who hammers away at a metal ingot for endless hours until it eventually takes the shape of a beautiful sword. This man takes immense satisfaction in his work, using old fashioned techniques and, as he toils, he enters a hypnotic state of concentration. He does not mindlessly hammer on the metal but picks out the exact spot he must modify, working his mind as much as his arms.

This is deep work and this is what Newport talks about. He offers advice on how to get to such a state telling us that it is harder and harder to get there in today’s world with so many distractions.

Newport discusses the importance of working without interruption. We are now reachable at almost any time. Many authors and productivity gurus have spoken about distractions and the impossibility of multi-tasking. I have written a previous blog about it myself. We do not multi task, we simply switch from one task to another and when we do this, we lose concentration and efficiency. We lose the depth which Newport is talking about. He references Sophie Leroy, a business professor at the University of Minnesota, who demonstrates that when switching from task A to task B, our attention stays attached to the first activity, which means we can only half-focus on the second.

“Maybe social media tools are at the core of your existence. You won’t know either way until you sample life without them.”

He encourages breaks from social media for up to a month or so to see if you really need it as part of your life. From my own point of view, I use social media to promote the blog you are reading and I really feel the distracting pull of it. If I am working on something and my phone is nearby, I feel the need to jump on the social and check the stats, which in turn leads to a loss in concentration and a waste of time.

To combat this, I like to use screen time on the I phone, you can set time limits on the applications you use and set downtime periods for your phone. Generally, most apps are locked out of my phone from 8:30pm to 7am the next day. I can make calls, listen to audiobooks but I cannot read text messages, check emails or use social media outside of these hours. I set a password and save it elsewhere and the password is forgotten. This may not work for everybody but I find it useful. Refer to the below video.

Newport recommends to turn off all notifications, with a constant stream of information, it is impossible to get into a state of deep, productive work. I like to put my outlook into offline mode when I am working one something that needs concentration as the constant incoming emails grab me like a moth to a flame and I can’t help but check them.

“If you want to eliminate the addictive pull of entertainment sites on your time and attention, give your brain a quality alternative.”

He recommends planning your evenings and weekends by blocking out time for everything, including downtime. I don’t like the idea of living a scheduled life but in the work environment I have to block out time for what I am working on, otherwise it either won’t get done or I will spend too much time on it and ignore my other requirements.

Watch your internet usage. Plan your evenings and downtime around activities which don’t involve the internet. From a blogger’s perspective, this is difficult but that’s where the screen time feature and being deliberate about when I work online comes in. It is very easy to get sucked into the screen and stay there. I make time to go and read a book, get to yoga or get out for a run and I take these activities as seriously as I take my professional life or our blogging work.

To wrap up, this is a short, easy read. I listened to the audiobook in about a week. It has useful advice for professionals, students or anybody who’s work revolves around sitting at a desk or computer. If I was to sum up Newports advice in one sentence I would say cut the screen distractions from your life as much as is practical and remember that you don’t need to be accessible or responsive to people at all times.

I hope you enjoyed the blog.

Peace,

George