Posts in Parenthood

I recently embarked on my annual epic search of a holiday. I frenzied and trip-advised and searched every airline and website and travel guide until my eyes bled to find something that met all of our criteria (and by our I mean mine).

'Going away' as a family when I was a kid was either a day-trip to the seaside or a ferry to England to visit family. We didn't go anywhere outside of the UK until we emigrated to Canada in 1992. Talk about not doing things by halves: no holidays abroad, kids, but we will be moving across the world this year. Seems legit. 

In thinking about our plans this year I've been wondering what it really looks like to travel and see places in a more low impact way. I know that flying is far from sustainable with carbon emissions being a huge culprit in climate change (although some airlines are trying out new initiatives to offset) but I have started to consider other ways that we can be more thoughtful about the impact of our travels and bring my values along for the ride.

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It’s officially November, so I thought I’d get in early and start the conversation about Christmas and kids and all the stuff that comes with that. I think it’s worth taking just a little time now before the rush comes in to figure out how we can handle consumerism with our kids and family at this time of year.  

Raising kids that are not sucked into the consumeristic way our society is postured is a big deal to me and as I delivered my ‘Eco Family Living’ online course in September, I was aware of how many of the participants really wanted to dig into this issue too. How do we keep our kids from having too much unnecessary stuff without feeling like we are depriving them? How do we align our values to these gift-giving times of the year when so much feels out of our immediate control?

Firstly, I want you to know that it is possible. It’s possible to be a conscious consumer, to consider the impact of your purchases on people and planet and still have a magical time of gift-giving and joy with your family.  

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I wish I didn't have to write this post but I do. I wish I didn't have to consider the implications that come with pursuing that which makes you come alive with any kind of gusto but I do. I do because it seems like everywhere I turn, women are worried about taking up space. Worried that they are coming across as pushy; worried that they are seen as overly-confident; worried that if they go full throttle in their business and hobbies that they will be perceived as aggressive or salesy or up themselves or too much.

I'm kind of tired of it. 

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It's been well over a year now since that fateful day when I arrived home from having coffee with a friend to find an empty lonesome corner of our living room where our T.V. used to live.  

We had talked about getting rid of our T.V. for a while, but Dave took the bull by the horns one afternoon and dumped it in the basement for selling. At first I was a bit like "Oooookaaaaayyy....I'm on boaaaarrrrrd..." - the words leaving my mouth in slow motion so to try and give my head time to be convinced it was a good idea. We had a busy 4 year old and another baby on the way. How would I put in nine months of a maternity leave without being able to binge-watch something on the sofa while endlessly breastfeeding? What would I use as bait to give Levi some down time when I needed to see to the baby? It wasn't something I was totally sure was going to work for us, but I felt like it would only be fair to give it a try.

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When it comes to parenting, we are mostly winging it. Every day of this job/privilege where we have to keep these tinies alive and make sure they grow up to be decent humans is a learning curve. Every day we are faced with new challenges that we hadn't thought about how we would handle and conversations that we are in over our head with. "Mummy, when you're dead are you just lying in the ground dead?".... Yeah. That stuff. 

The last six years of parenting has been both but a tiny portion of life and a steep time of growth.  We have unlearned a heap of things that we thought we were supposed to do and be as parents and that process has been difficult and freeing all at the same time. I write what I'm about to write here not as an expert, but as a normal parent that is figuring it out daily - drinking in grace and compassion for myself as we navigate these unchartered territories for our own family.  It is relentless and rewarding. It is hard. 

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When it came to buying baby stuff for Ada, we were really focused on keeping things simple.  Most of the things we had from Levi's baby days had already found a new home or were donated and so almost five years later we were starting from scratch.  Most of the big stuff we tried to find second-hand, including our pram.  I remember feeling so overwhelmed by buggies and travel systems this time around.  The world of prams was a very different one now from 2011 and the amount of choice, add-ons and online reviews was immense and confusing. What did I really need?! It all felt too much so we settled on one from gumtree that looked really pretty but...

It took our trip to Italy for me to finally surrender that we had made the wrong choice of pram. Sure it was pretty, but it just didn't have the stamina for the amount of walking that we were doing. We had the tires blow out on us a couple of (really inconvenient) times over the two weeks we were away and had to scurry to local Italian bicycle shops to get them patched and fixed. Thank goodness for baby-wearing, even if it was 40 degree heat!  Lesson learned.  Sometimes second-hand items work out, and sometimes they don't. We needed a pram to be reliable as my back-to-work date was looming and we were leaving Ada in the trusty hands of grandparents who would be taking her out and about for walks all the time.  

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