What I’ve Learned: Summer 2017

Summer…. it is a season for relaxing the pace a little, letting the kids run wild, picnics, barbecues, trips to the Lake. And – when you are pregnant – a time to hide away in the cool comfort of air-conditioned rooms, collapse onto the couch while the kids play around you, and figure out how to spend your rapidly dwindling ‘energy tokens’ to get through the day.

Reflecting on the things I’ve learned so far this year was a surprising process. We are barely two months into 2017, but already there have been things that have stood out as lessons, insights and changes. I’m linking up with Emily Freeman to share my list.

1. I’m more of an Instagrammer than a Tweeter

Previously I just didn’t really ‘get’ Instagram. I would randomly scroll through every now and then to catch up with pictures from family and friends but I wasn’t really sure what to post or highlight myself. Now, I love the format and the ability to connect with others in a vivid and visual way, particularly through daily challenges such as #365Mumtastic. You can follow me by clicking the link below if you like, or join in with the Mumtastic challenge – I’ve found it a great way to prompt me to capture moments of the day that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. My Twitter feed on the other hand, has become very sparse…. Oh well.

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2. Regular Bullet Journalling is Worthwhile

Last year I dabbled in the Bullet Journal world, but this year I’ve gotten serious about it – actually using it to log my tasks every day, and write reflections about the little moments. When I get to the end of the month is is so helpful to be able to go back and remember things that I would have otherwise forgotten, and track how struggles I thought were never-ending really only lasted a matter of days. Perhaps I’ve gotten in a little too deep, however, just used some washi tape  for the first time yesterday and found it a tiny bit thrilling… oh dear.

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3. Fake Urgency Trips Me Up

I don’t know about you but a mere walk through the house can have ‘to-do list’ items flooding my brain. ‘Pick up the toys on the floor’, ‘Those sheets need washing’, ‘What do I need to get out of the freezer to defrost for dinner tonight?’ ‘When did I last vacuum, this floor is filthy!’ ‘Oh, birthday party this weekend – I need to get a present for that’. The list can be seemingly endless, and often I fall for the spark of urgency that accompanies the message. I’m learning, however, that most things that seem urgent actually aren’t, and waiting that extra second or two to ask ‘is this important now?’ helps me to distinguish between the false messaging (some of the time).

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4. Management Books Help With Parenting

You might be surprised, but there are actually a lot of similarities between running a household/parenting and pursuing effective management strategies. This year, the books that have resonated with me the most have been ones like ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less‘ (Greg McKeown), ‘Rising Strong‘ (Brene Brown) and I’m currently in the midst of ‘Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration‘ (Ed Catmull). Granted, Brene’s book is a lot more in the general ‘self-help’ category, but I find it much more freeing when I can read a book and pull out parts that are applicable to our family, rather than feel boxed in by a book that is devoted to the subject. Perhaps it has something to do with the insight that our lives model far more to our children than our words could ever hope to, and by investing into our own character and self-awareness, we are ultimately helping our children in the process?

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5. Living in the ‘Now’ Solves a Lot of Problems

A couple of the phrases that I have been repeating to myself this year include ‘Be Here Now’ and ‘What’s Important Now?’. I’m continuing to discover that presence or mindfulness can hugely boost gratitude, lower stress levels and improve my mood. I have a long way to go in developing this habit, but the moments I remember to slow down and see what is right in front of me are the ones that impact me the most. Even this morning my EnneaThought for the Day echoed this sentiment: “When we are able to notice what we are doing now, to experience our current state completely and without judgement, the old patterns will begin to fall away.

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6. Pregnancy is Tough the Fourth Time Around

The best thing about pregnancy is how quickly you forget how it feels. The worst thing is the realisation when you are in the middle of it “Oh yeah, this is really hard work!”. There are days when I feel like my energy levels are similar to what I remember the last few weeks being, and the thought that there are still seven weeks to go can be a little overwhelming. It probably doesn’t help that school and Kinder drop offs require getting kids in and out of a hot car multiple times a day, particularly when one child (who shall remain nameless) has decided to assert her will and independence and refuse to play along, rendering it necessary to carry her kicking and screaming to her seat. Fun times. I can also confirm that the urge to swear every time I drop something on the floor has well and truly kicked in.

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7. Adjustment Happens More Quickly Than You Think

Whether it is learning how to cook ‘low carb’ meals for Dave, or getting used to school drop offs and pick ups – what seems monumental or difficult at the start quickly becomes the norm and you don’t even think twice about doing it anymore. A good thing for me to remind myself whenever something ‘new’ rears its head and I am tempted to catastrophise about it….

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8. Playing Table Tennis is a Great Way to Chat

For a while after we got the new table, it became our nightly ritual – heading into the ‘recreation room’ to hit some shots and have good conversation. Dave and I found that we conversed for a lot longer than normal and had the chance to go deeper into topics because there was more space to marinate between thoughts. Now, whenever we have people over it has become part of the nightly ritual – after a round of The Ball Game, of course.

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What have been your insights and epiphanies this year? It can be as simple as ‘I need to rest more’ or ‘I’ve discovered that I love Earl Grey tea!’. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below 🙂

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8 comments

    1. I mentioned that like people should know the game, didn’t I! Actually, it is a wooden marble and card 4-6 player board game that our friends from America designed and made… It is similar to the game Trouble, but with a lot more strategy, and with cards and teams… if that makes it any clearer!

    1. Thanks so much, Dolly 🙂 Sounds like we have a lot of similar interests! I got onto the Creativity book from reading about it in Rising Strong, it is a good one, though I only have a day to finish it because it is due back at the library on Monday 🙁 Great to have you stop by!

    1. I like that you put ‘relearn it in a deeper way’ – often I feel frustrated when I forget lessons and feel like I’m just repeating the past, but if I looked back I’m sure I would see that the relearning of the lesson was on a different level and therefore even more important – thanks for that brilliant insight!

  1. Emma, I am sure baby #4 has already arrived? I came over today from Kate’s FMF party and saw your summer 2017 post and couldn’t resist. Something you say sparked a memory.
    I was a stay at home for years when my then-husband decided he liked someone else and I had to enter the job market. A semester of typing in high school saved my life! When I interviewed for a pretty decent job, the owner of the business asked me, “Have you ever run an office before?” To which I answered, “No, but I’ve run a home and quite well.” I got the job because he saw the connection!!! Love you. You are in Fall now, correct?

    1. Oh how I wish, Susan! Still here and waiting (sometimes patiently, most of the time not so much!) Love that story of how your running of a home translated into acknowledged experience – it is so true…. the skills we have to use every day are very important and transferable!

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