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blogging, self-discovery

Stopping shopping

I’ve been reading a lot about living a minimal life recently. A life where you scale back what you have, are intentional about what you buy and simplify all areas of life (from how much you pack when going on holiday to reducing the amount of stuff you do just because you do it, not because you necessarily want to do it). It’s been really eye opening.

If you’re interested, some of the people I’ve been learning from are:

I mentioned in a recent post that I’m considering doing a shopping freeze. Where I don’t spend unintentionally for a period of time. I’m thinking of doing a month with the view to maybe extending it for longer.

Sure, since Jenson has come on the scene I’ve bought less for myself (it comes with the territory of having a baby who wants to be constantly on the go and doesn’t like wandering around in shops) but I’ve often ordered things on amazon on a whim, mindlessly bought stuff I don’t really need in the supermarket, made impulse buys in the few moments I’ve had in shops. And I’m starting to yearn to live a different life where I’m more intentional about what I spend my hard-earned money on.

There are several reasons why this idea has been brewing within me in recent times.

  • Now that Jenson is on the scene, the income we’ve got this year has been reduced by about a third. We’ve decided to give ourselves £200 spending money a month (£50 being dedicated to coaching sessions I’m having each month). This money is to pay for dinner out with friends, any necessities I need for myself, the cost of running this website, vegan treats, to pay for upcoming hen parties and weekends away etc. I know this is a lot more than some have but it’s a reduction in what I used to spend before.
  • When I go back to work, Jenson’s childcare will cost close to £1000 per month. That’s what Gregg and I used to save every month so if we are going to still be able to still put money aside towards future holidays and future dreams, I’ll need to spend less in my daily life. On this trip we’ve hatched another travel dream of spending 3+ weeks in India in late 2019 (just before we’d need to pay for a full priced plane ticket for Jenson). If this is to happen, my daily spend will need to decrease.
  • I’ve become aware of just how much I’m being manipulated by companies into believing that I absolutely need something to just find out that I don’t need it at all. There have only been a few things I’ve bought and still love from over the years – my computer which I use to write my blogs and coach people via Skype, my chakra necklaces that I wore regularly until having Jenson and intend to put back on when I return to work, my cornflower blue accessorize bag which I bought myself as a treat for passing my HR studies, makes me feel so pretty and which comes out every summer, my magimix food processor which gets used weekly if not daily. I want my life to be filled with things I love, not things I feel luke-warm about.
  • I find myself getting rid of things and replacing them with stuff that I then get rid of. Shoes that are uncomfortable, clothes that are pretty but not practical for daily use, charity shop purchases I make because they seem like a bargain or they are a good make (regardless of whether I really love how the clothes look on me). I’m no longer happy doing that.
  • My life is going to become more complicated juggling work and motherhood and my rich social life. I want to simplify every other area in my life so I have as much brain space to focus on what really matters to me. A tidy, minimalist house and wardrobe will help me to have a tidy, stress free mind.
  • I want my life to be rich in experiences, not in possessions but for the former to be the case, something needs to change.
  • I know that sometimes I push down my feelings with shopping. It’s not my poison of choice – food will always be my number one vice – but I get a thrill from shopping which feels like an endorphin high and I’m curious of why this is and what life would be like without the rush. Would I deal with emotions underneath more?
  • I want to tread lightly on this earth and so buying less seems to be exactly the right thing to do.
  • I want to enjoy and appreciate what I have instead of always wanting more.

So there you are and well done if you’ve made it through my massive list of why I want to do this ‘stopping shopping’ challenge. Why it is the right call for me at this point in my life.

So what do I need to do in order to bring this challenge to life?

I need to de-clutter my life – sort out and get rid of the clothes, shoes and possessions which are dead weight to me. This will partly have to wait until I’ve finished breastfeeding and no longer need the tops that allow me to feed Jenson/express milk but it can start now.

It would also be good, like Cait Flanders who did a two year shopping ban to draw up the rules of engagement.

Here are her rules:

What I’m allowed to shop for:

▪ groceries and basic kitchen supplies (plastic wrap, tin foil, etc.)

▪ basic cosmetics (like eyeliner and mascara, but only after I run out)

▪ toiletries (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.)

▪ cleaning products (namely laundry detergent)

▪ a few essential clothing items identified at the beginning of this challenge

▪ gifts for others

What I’m NOT allowed to shop for:

▪ “fun” cosmetics (namely nail polish)

▪ clothes (except for a few essentials, or if I lose weight and nothing fits)

▪ shoes (this will be easy, as I hate buying shoes anyway)

▪ books, magazines and notebooks (this will be tough)

▪ household items (candles, decor, furniture, etc.)

▪ electronics and appliances

While Cait writes about physical purchases she makes, I want my list to include all the things I spend money on. Here’s what I’m contemplating as rules for myself:

What I’m allowed to spend my money on:

  • Groceries on my pre-written shopping list (removing the impulse buys I so often make)
  • Basic home supplies when I run out (cling film, cleaning products, etc.)
  • Toiletries for myself, Gregg and Jenson (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, nappies etc.) but only when I have used up everything I already have.
  • Essential clothing – a new pair of work trousers, a pair of flat work shoes that are comfortable, can be worn with every work outfit I own and are good for my back (I suffer from lower back pain but never usually bear this in mind when I buy shoes).
  • Replacing clothes that break over my time stopping shopping (i.e. my jeans that are on their way out)
  • Transport to work
  • The cost of house up-keep (basic paint, repairing our broken gate)
  • Resoling my old Birkenstock sandals so I can continue to wear them in the future and avoid buying another pair.
  • Gifts for others
  • My ‘vegan living’ magazine subscription which inspires me and helps me to stick to my plant-based lifestyle
  • Printing out photos to put up at home of recent adventures
  • My annual website subscription
  • My coaching sessions
  • Occasional meals and coffees out with friends
  • Experiences I want to have – trips to the cinema, massages, weekends to see friends, holidays

What I’m NOT allowed to spend my money on:

  • Clothes and shoes (except for a few essentials listed above)
  • Books, notebooks and cards
  • Cosmetics
  • Household decor
  • Coffee out at work
  • Electronics and appliances
  • Trinkets when abroad

Some of these things make me feel uncomfortable – stopping the impulse buys at the supermarket, not spending money on pretty notebooks, not buying very many clothes. But I also see that there is a lot that I am allowing myself to buy. I’m hardly depriving myself!

And immediately I feel like I need to do this for longer than a month in order for me to see how this goes. What about three months? Six months seems too long so there it is! Until 19 September 2018 I’m going to have a go at stopping shopping. It feels scary, exciting, liberating and right all at the same time.

I’ll let you know how it goes, dear friend!

blogging, parenthood, self-discovery

Just one day

I promised myself that I would be honest on this website and so I’m going to write something that most parents will think (and many will say to their friends) but is not something I feel very comfortable sharing and putting out there on the Internet. But here we go…

I wish I could not be a parent for a day. No, that’s wrong. I wish someone would take care of Jenson and I could let go of all the responsibility of being a parent for just one day.

This wish comes from having spent 4+ hours on a coach ride with him from Da Lat to Nha Trang and, arriving at a paradise-like beach with plenty of bars and sun loungers but having my little man to jiggle around and keep happy. It also comes after a few days of him being extra clingy to me – perhaps due to a wonder week development (a wonder week is scientifically verified a period of time where a baby is leaping forward in their development – check it out!) or perhaps due to the upheaval of travelling that I’ve put him through. If Jenson isn’t attached to my breast, he’s been keen to be on me for most of the day and when he has been distracted by someone else and then sees me, he starts crying. Reminded that he wants to be with me.

I love my little baby to pieces. So much so that I feel I’m going to squish him to death sometimes with all the cuddles and kisses I give him. And I don’t regret choosing to have him one bit. As I sing to him, he is my sunshine, my greatest sunshine. But I sometimes miss being just a team of two with my husband. I miss having uninterrupted lie-ins, going for late night drinks with friends, being able to read a book on a journey, spending my time with no one to answer to but myself.

I wouldn’t change being a mother to Jenson for anything in the world. I know there will be a time where I can leave him with family or a babysitter. Heck, I know there will be a time where I’ll wish for him to want to spend time with me.

But just in this moment I wish I could pause time and have a bit of a break. And that’s ok.

self-discovery

Returning to work

I’ve had a few dreams recently about going back to work and they weren’t the nicest. In one, my husband, Gregg suddenly wouldn’t look after our son. I had to get a friend to look after Jenson at the last minute and spent the whole of my first day at work worried about how he was doing and not concentrating on the tasks at hand.

I’ve had another similar dream about leaving my son recently and it’s made me think about what is going on. I mean, I want to go back to work and have Gregg spend quality time looking after him.

I know a lot of it is the unknown. I’ve got no clue how Jenson will be without me there to comfort him. It’s all he’s known and it’s all I’ve known – the thought of Gregg doing this task, my task, of comforting our son, makes me feel a bit apprehensive (what if Gregg can’t calm him easily) and sad (I love bringing him comfort, will this change the bond I have with him?).

There are also questions in my mind about how I’ll be at work – I used to give my absolute all to work but with less sleep and a baby I’ll be keen to get home for every night I’m unsure about how I’ll adapt back in the workplace. I know I’ll give my all, but my all might be less than before and this makes me nervous. It’s the reason why I’ve committed to fortnightly coaching sessions as I navigate this new reality of working full time and being a devoted mother.

I know there’s also something in this anxiety about control. During these past five months I’ve taken most of the decisions about Jenson’s care and have taken what’s known as an attachment approach focused on ensuring that Jenson feels secure and safe even if this means allowing him to feed to sleep on me and not forcing him to sleep in his own bed amongst other things. But with Gregg in charge, I’ll no longer be the main decision maker. About what Jenson eats, how he sleeps, what activities he does, how his time at home is spent. I trust Gregg and, as 50% his guardian, he has the right to have an opinion about how Jenson is raised. But I like being in control and this will take that control away from me.

But I know it’s right – I know we’ve done the right thing for our family by sharing the leave. So even if I’m anxious, I’ll continue to remind myself that this is an active choice we’ve made.

  • A choice that is right for me as I love my job and don’t want to slow down my development as I enter motherhood
  • A choice that is right for my husband so he can form a strong bond with our son
  • A choice that is right for Jenson so he learns that both males and females can be carers
  • A choice that is right for our society to normalise dad’s taking a more active role in the family care.

So even though I feel anxious subconsciously and may continue to have these dreams until my return to work, I know I’m doing the right thing.

self-discovery

Cambodia

We’re just preparing to leave for Siem Reap Airport to leave Cambodia and set off for three and a half weeks in Vietnam. This first week has flown by and I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve loved this country that we tacked onto our trip almost as an afterthought.

So I want to spend a few moments reflecting on this experience with you, dear friend.

What we’ve seen

We arrived in the capital, Phnom Penh, and spent 2 full days looking around it. As many visitors do, we went to visit S21, the school where thousands of people were tortured into giving false confessions about crimes they had committed and were subsequently executed. To think that humans are capable of such atrocities, such hateful acts of violence and cruelty, is unthinkable. I don’t understand the lure of power that pushes men and women to act in such ways and it’s difficult to imagine that similar things are taking place around the world today.

After this we went to the Killing Fields, where thousands of people were killed en masse under the Khmer Rouge. Some people survived the brutality of this regime and their stories were shared on the excellent audio guide. One of these stories has stayed with me. A lady had just had a baby when the Khmer Rouge came to power. She was put to work in the fields and, on no more than a few bowls of watered down rice soup a day and hours of toiling in the fields, was unable to produce enough milk for her baby and was only able to feed him at night after 12+ hours of gruelling work. And sadly, but not surprisingly, her baby died. I cried for her – the distress she must have felt at not being able to do enough for her child, how she’s still haunted by her past to this day – and it put my challenges breastfeeding Jenson into perspective. It’s been a bit of a struggle but I’ve had access to support, time to rest up, the ability to switch to formula if needed, a supply of supplements…everything I could wish for. I’m so very lucky and I have nothing to complain about.

Travelling with a baby

Jenson has been such a delight on this trip. Sure, it’s not like a trip without a baby – I watched one film during the 17 hour flight and was stretched beyond my means when we arrived in Cambodia having only had 10 hours sleep over 2 days and was faced with a baby who was wide awake.

But it’s been as I had hoped. Jenson loves being out and about in Asia. He has smiles for everyone we meet and is content to be in his baby carrier as we explore everything around us.

He’s also been happy to have naps on the go so we’ve been able to have dinner out each night and have been up at 4am to watch sunrise over the temple of Angkor Wat. He’s been a real dream.

It’s also been amazing to see him take his first bits of food over here. A bite of some watermelon, a nibble of some vegetables (all safe stuff, before you start worrying, mum!). Seeing him grow and develop and take more and more stuff in on our journey.

Highlights

There have been so many amazing things that we’ve been lucky to see. Here’s just a few of them:

  • Cycling around the red dirt roads of rural Cambodia
  • A visit to the houses on stilts and boat ride on the Tonlé Sap lake
  • $4 massages!
  • Delicious noodle soup for breakfast
  • Exploring the temples of Angkor

So many things that have opened my eyes and brought a smile to my face.

The people

Oh how I’ve loved the Cambodian people I’ve met. They’ve been through such atrocities less than a generation ago and yet they are truly warm, welcoming and always seem to have a smile of their faces.

And they have been beautiful with Jenson. I can’t count the number of people who have asked to take photos of him or have held him whilst we’ve eaten dinner or had a massage! They are such wonderful people and they have made this time here so special.

Right, got to dash to the airport so will stop here! It’s been an incredible start to a trip of a lifetime.

blogging, respect, self-discovery, vegan

Tread lightly

I don’t often write about my choice to eat a plant based diet on this blog of mine but the concept of treading lightly on this planet has been on my mind for a good while and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you. It probably sounds weird to be writing about this as I’m on amazing travels around Asia but, without many dairy/meat free options here, I’m being challenged daily about my lifestyle choices.

Until recently I used to call myself a vegan. I was proud of this way of life and of being part of a community of people, but I’ve realised that I can’t truly call myself vegan because of some of the choices I’ve made recently. And I’m ok with that.

For example, I re-introduced locally sourced, free range eggs to my diet in the attempt to increase the amount of breastmilk I was creating for my son. I don’t know how much it has helped but after weeks of struggling, I feel like I am now able to provide well and I also feel morally fine about eating the eggs of chickens that are treated well. I don’t eat many eggs, but I won’t refuse to eat them.

And then there was my last minute dash around town to get the final bits for my trip. The realisation that my sandals weren’t going to last me through the journey and a frantic trip around town to get some replacement ones.

I tried on some shoes from the vegetarian shop in town and, although they looked like my usual Birkenstock sandals, I could feel that they’d slice my feet up within minutes and I didn’t have time to get my feet blistered and heal before going away the next day. And so I got a pair of leather Birkenstocks. In that moment walking away from the shop, I felt so wrong and I still do today. I feel like I’m wearing death with animal skin on my feet.

But the truth is that most people are wearing, eating, using things that cause harm to another living being. The cheap clothes that come from sweatshops, the glue made with animal products, the medicine made through the testing of animals.

So I’ve accepted that I am not officially vegan. I eat a plant-based diet and am trying to tread as lightly on this earth as possible.

On my trip around Asia, I’m eating vegan when I can and always veggie where not possible. I’m not buying countless souvenirs which will sit on my shelf or in my wardrobe and then get taken to a charity shop or thrown away. I’m considering a personal shopping ban (inspired by reading ‘the year of less’ on holiday). And when I get back, I’m going to have my old Birkenstocks re-soled so I won’t need to buy another pair in the future (or will plan in advance and try a pair of sandals from their vegan range.

I’m doing my part to make as little impact on the earth and to harm as few beings as possible. I’m not perfect and I’m going to leave some sort of mark on this planet, but I hope to be gentle, be kind and do the best I can.

blogging, parenthood, trust

We’re off!

So here we are at Gatwick airport, just over an hour away from taking off on our family adventure in Asia.

Over 33 days we’ll explore and travel through Cambodia and Vietnam and I’m feeling a mixture of joy, exhaustion (I’ve been up since 4am with a certain someone!) and nerves at how this will all go.

Because this is new and scary to me in so many ways:

  • Taking a long-haul 17 hour flight with a baby
  • Caring for Jenson in the heat and humidity
  • Having time in Vietnam where we’ve got no firm plans (so we can go with the flow and plan a few days in advance instead of being stuck with plans if they don’t suit Jenson)
  • Travelling with my husband for over a month and being out of our comfort zones together
  • Having to barter when I don’t have much patience in me or fight to stand up for a fair price (at least not when I’ve been awake since 4am!)
  • Being out of a routine and far away from friends and family

And yet it’s also right for us as a family:

  • Starting our family as we mean to go on – full of adventures
  • Reconnecting with Gregg when so much of motherhood has involved a laser focus on Jenson and not much else
  • Learning and growing and exploring a part of the world that I have not yet seen
  • Making the most of our shared parental leave – a rare time when we can both be off work and still have money coming in
  • Exposing Jenson to difference at an early age
  • Learning to live with less – we’ve just taken one travel rucksack with us that weighs less than 18kg
  • Coming back with so many memories to treasure for a lifetime

And so into this adventure I leap.

Hesitant, full of anticipation but sure that this is the right step for me and my family

blogging, self-discovery, truth

Crossroad

It seems like an age since I wrote my last post. In reality it’s been a few weeks but so much seems to have happened in this time. I’ve prepared for a month-long trip away to Asia with my husband and 5 month old baby, I’ve spoken to work about my imminent return to the office, I’ve started to be regularly coached, I’ve spent quality time with my son enjoying everything we (ok, I) love in Brighton – baby groups, ice creams in the sun, time with close friends – and I’ve had a visit from my very close friend, Nadine, who flew over from Texas to stand by my side for a bit and support me with looking after Jenson.

It’s been a very full time and so I hope you’ll forgive me for my silence.

I wanted to take a moment before the day starts to ponder upon what I explored in my recent coaching session – the thought of being selfish.

I know that I can’t do everything I want to in life now that I’m going to become a full-time working mother. Or more I could do everything but it would mean that I can’t do much of what I want for myself.

And what do I want for myself?

I want to live a life that lights me up.

A life full of time with close friends instead of saying ‘yes’ to every offer made to me. A life with time to spend playing with and loving and treasuring my husband and son instead of rushing around. A life where I have space and time instead of rushing around from commitment to commitment. A life where I have time to coach those looking to find freedom from comfort eating and people pleasing instead of having no time for this vocation that I so love. A life where I can save up to travel around the world instead of frittering away money doing everything offered to me.

But the thing that is holding me back is this one big, dirty thought that I can’t seem to shake.

That taking this path I so long to follow is selfish. 

Selfish – such a loaded word. It blunts the enjoyment of pursuing my dream of a life that lights me up as I feel that to do what I want, I’m trampling on others and am taking up too much space in this world. It makes me feel like I’ll stop being loved if I show my true self and follow my own compass instead of being easy-breezy and always going along with the flow.

And then I remember this amazing quote by Nayyirah Waheed that my friend, Heather, sent to me:

What about this theory – the fear of not being enough and the fear of being too much are exactly the same fear. The fear of being you.

Because who am I? I am someone who is both selfish and selfless. And for that matter, I am so much more. I am also someone who is both strong and weak, loving and hateful, patient and impatient, opinionated and shy. But I try to push down that which I deem to be ‘wrong’ – being selfish, weak, hateful, impatient, shy.

But I am these things.

And to deny who I am is to deny my true self.

I don’t know if any of what I’m saying is making sense. I feel like it’s only half-sense to me.

But the bit that does make sense is to embrace who I am. To acknowledge that I’m selfish sometimes and that’s ok. And I’m hateful sometimes and that’s ok. And that I’m weak sometimes and that’s ok. And I’m impatient sometimes and that’s ok. And I’m shy sometimes and that’s ok.

It’s only in writing that paragraph above that I realise the feelings I am ‘ok’ with are those which don’t take up too much space in the world – I realised this because I wrote ‘And I’m shy sometimes’ but felt that it was more ok for me to be small and shy than loud and opinionated. I’m ok with showing the emotions that don’t clamour for attention. Being loving, patient, strong, shy, strong, selfless are feelings that seem ok because they take up less space in the world…but when I’m my true self – the Amy who is both selfish and selfless, loving and hateful (you get the gist…), that’s not ok because it demands me to take up more space and be seen as something that might not be accepted.

Oh geez, this is tricky.

I’m getting to a space where I’m starting to see what it would be like for me to accept exactly who I am. It feels scary because I feel that to be me would be to show the ‘true’ Amy that might not be loved by everyone or anyone.

I know that’s not true – I know that most people in my life will love me exactly as I am because as much as I try to hide that which is unacceptable to others, I can’t help but be me at times. Plus, I don’t think that most people’s love for me is based on me saying yes to their invitations or me doing things I didn’t want to do or not speaking my mind.

But some people may not like me as much. And it feels scary to risk that love, even if it is a love paid for by being less than I am.

And so here I am at a cross roads. Knowing that I want to become more ‘me’ but unsure how to start that journey. Feeling the fear of showing myself but knowing that it’s the only way to be, dreading  the discomfort of this journey but knowing that it will be worth it.

It is the only path I can take for it is the path I want for myself – one where I show courage to take a route I’ve never taken before. Where I speak my truth, even if it’s scary. Where I start to love myself for exactly who I am without hiding.

A life of courage, truth and love.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, eating disorder, Fear

Feeling

I’m feeling so many things at the moment as my life prepares to shift dramatically again.

I’ve only got 2 weeks left of my maternity leave in Brighton before I go off on an adventure of a lifetime to Asia with my husband and my baby boy. And then after that I’m going to be returning to work full-time and my husband is going to take over the full-time care of my son.

I know these things are right for me – going abroad in search of new experiences as a family is sure to strengthen my family and it fills me with such excitement.

And going back to work and giving my husband time to bond with our son – time I’ve already had – is also so important and right for us as a family.

But I’m still feeling all shook up as the end (or the start of a new beginning) is upon us.

And it would be so easy to push down all the negative feelings with food in this moment, as I have so many times before. The anxiety, the fear, the feeling of wanting to freeze time, the frustration.

But I know that this doesn’t serve me at all.

It just buried the pain deep inside me. A pain I’ll have to feel at one time or another.

So I’m choosing to feel how I feel at 4am as my son plays next to me.

Sadness that our precious time together is coming to an end and that I’ll miss so many ‘firsts’ as I’m back in the office.

Frustration that so much of the next 2 weeks is jam-packed with plans when I just want to be in my baby cocoon and just be with my son.

Anxiety about the unknown – how we’ll cope with a jet-lagged baby (by taking things easy I suppose), whether my husband will cope with the constant haggling we’ll need to do abroad, how our time in Vietnam will work out.

These feelings are sad ones, hard ones, feelings that are due to projecting into the future and thinking ‘what if’ ‘what if’ ‘what if’. So they’re not feelings I can deal with by being proactive.

There are some things I can do –

Reduce the plans in my diary over the next 2 weeks.

Feel the anxiety, frustration and fear – these feelings sit in my stomach and on my chest like a weight.

Acknowledge that this is how I feel. Just getting it out there by sharing what’s going on with you, dear friend, is enough to reduce some of the urge to push down my feelings with food.

So I’ll keep feeling what I’m feeling. It’s the only way of being which doesn’t end with self-destruction.

blogging, courage, eating disorder, self-discovery, self-judgement

Leading lady

I had another great coaching session this afternoon and want to write about a concept that I explored with my coach, Erika – that of leading my life like I’m the leading lady in it.

Since I was younger, I’ve had the impression that (for the most part) I’ve been the side character in other people’s stories. I’ve listened, consoled, been part of things but have not been the central character in my own tale.

I’ve, of course, had moments, relationships and twists in my life where I’ve felt at the centre of my own universe. But for a great part I’ve felt like someone on the side lines.

If I’m honest, I think this is a large part of why I suffered with various eating disorders in my youth. Trying to push myself down to fit into a smaller space. Feeling like I should need less from others. Complying with what I felt was being asked of me even if it wasn’t something I had the energy for or if it was in my best interest.

I lived small.

But I’ve started to unfurl over the past years and I’ve realised that I’m sick of playing a minor character in my own story.

I want to be my own leading lady and I want to take some time to ask myself what this means.

It means recognising that I only have set resources, energy and time. Especially when I return to work in July. I’ll be split between my job (which I love), my son (who is my top priority) and everything else. I won’t have time and space to give away freely and even if I did, I want to live intentionally. Not saying ‘yes’ to everything, I want to choose what I spend my time doing.

It means allowing me to be myself. Embracing all that I am. The parts of me that are kind, funny, thoughtful, generous and interested in others. But the other less palatable parts of me – like how I feel like I’m stubborn and difficult instead of being easy-breasy. How I’m complex and need time and space to process things. How I’m a geek, I love my work and love learning new things – I need to be constantly challenged to be happy. Acknowledging that this will mean that not everyone will like me, but that’s ok.

It means viewing myself intrinsically as a leading lady. Being the centre of my life and sharing what is going on for me in whatever way I choose to do so. I see my life as leading lady being one where I have my close circle of friends who I invest my energy into – it’s in these close relationships that I truly feel at my best.

And I also see myself being present to all the lovely people I have the pleasure to cross in my life without feeling obliged to give more than I can to them. No need to accept invitations I don’t want to accept. No obligation to invest more than I am able to.

I felt scared about writing this post and sharing my thoughts with you, dear friend, because I worried that you’d think me big headed (wanting to be the leading light – I sometimes don’t feel worthy of this) or would take offence at the notion that I’m anything other than grateful for the interest that other people show in my life. But I thought I’d act like a leading lady and start to do what is right for me – part of that is writing this.

And I also decided to share my thoughts because I believe that we don’t act as our own leading ladies (or men!) enough and I wanted to encourage you to be your own leading star in your life. Go after your dreams, create a life you long to live.

Because as much as I think that I deserve to be my own leading lady, I also think that you deserve to be yours.

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blogging, parenthood, self-discovery, self-judgement

Perfectly proportioned

I’ve written a lot on this blog about breastfeeding, specifically my troubles producing enough milk and worrying about my baby boy’s weight which started off in the top 25% of baby weights but then sunk quickly to the bottom 9%.

I’ve spent hours expressing milk to top up what he’s getting, taken so many supplements and medication, researched at all hours how to increase my milk fat or general supply.

But no matter what I did, he stuck in the bottom 9%.

I worried that it was me – had I not eaten enough at the start to get my supply going? Were the TV shows I watched too stressful and curbed my supply? Was there something wrong with my diet? Was I to blame?

And then I got angry. At the messages that I heard about needing to breastfeed or failing as a mum. At the high standards I hold which means that if I can’t do something 100%, I view myself as failing. At my body that was not doing what it should be.

And then a few things happened –

1. I went to see a paediatric doctor, who explained that a baby’s birth weight is linked to how efficient the mother is at growing the baby and after the birth, it’s down to ow good the baby is at putting on weight/finding their natural weight.

2. I came away on such a wonderful holiday with close friends and I relaxed. Whether it’s the hearty meals or the wonderful company but I seem to be producing enough milk, more than I’ve done in ages.

3. A break away from routine and the generously helpful hands has given me a bit of space and perspective about Jenson’s weight.

My son is beautifully chubby, with little sausage links and dimples on his arms, a cute round bottom and little double chin.

He’s also petite – he’s not as broad as his little best friend – but he’s perfectly proportioned.

And over the past four months he’s kept on the 9% track. Whether he’s been fed more or less, whether I’ve expressed more or not. He’s doing his thing, growing at his pace.

And so I’m going to remind myself of this if I get home and start to worry again about how he’s doing.

He’s doing fine. He’s doing his thing. We both are doing enough.