The art of slow living

It was only yesterday hubby and I were sitting in the car while our 10 month old daughter was asleep in her car seat waiting for her swimming class to start that we were reflecting back on life before we had a baby. We wondered how we never had any savings even though we were both working full-time, about all the things we used to do, the places we went, the things we had… It blows our minds that now, having less than we’ve ever had before, we are happier, have more money in the bank and feel more fulfilled… and It’s all thanks to the art of slow living.

I’ve been practicing slow and simple living for about 3 years now, and I say practicing because it’s something you apply to your lifestyle slowly. You can’t just click your fingers and instantly change everything. It’s been 3 years of slowly learning, researching, reading, studying, adapting, adjusting, and training my mind. I also had a baby in those 3 years so there’s also been the added pressures and changes of motherhood and trying to keep a slow living lifestyle with a baby which has added to the challenge. (I’ll write a blog post about slow living with a baby soon!)

I always get messages from followers asking what slow living is, and I guess my view on it is it’s living a more balanced, meaningful, purposeful, nourishing, timeless, organic, natural, low-stress, intentional, quieter life philosophy.

Some people have reverse-engineered SLOW as an acronym: Sustainable, Local, Organic, and Whole. While some of these principles apply to other aspects of slow living, it’s certainly most applicable to slow food with its emphasis on quality ingredients, sustainability, and local production and consumption.

The ever-expanding slow movement goes way beyond slow living and slow food today. There’s now a slow version of almost anything you can think up: slow parenting, slow education, slow fashion, slow gardening just to name a few. “Slow living” is used interchangeably with a number of other slow living synonyms;

  • Paced living
  • Unbusy living
  • Soulful living
  • Balanced living
  • Intentional living
  • Connected living
  • Deep living
  • Mindful living
  • Simple living
  • holistic living

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Slow living is not about living your life in slow motion. It’s about doing everything at the right speed and pacing instead of rushing. Slow living isn’t about losing time by going slowly; it’s about gaining time by doing the things that are most important to you. I suppose you could say it’s about being mindful of every aspect of your life, and really nurturing the things around you.

Busyness and exhaustion are the defaults today. That means that it’s ironically perceived as more difficult to live slowly and with less. But, more and more people are learning firsthand that more does not equal better. And, busy does not equal important.

The changes I have applied to my life over the last 3 years have been tremendous. My perception of things, the demands and wants of consumerism, the way I look at food and materials, my job, relationships, and most importantly how I spend my days and what I do with my time has changed significantly.

Then

  • Shopping and carelessly buying clothes, shoes, makeup etc every week.
  • Had the latest trending mobile phone, tablet, cars, fashion etc.
  • Ate out at fancy restaurants every weekend.
  • Worked full-time and ran two businesses on the side.
  • Attended events and gala’s almost on a weekly basis.
  • Had more friends and people around me than I could count.
  • Had a home full of furniture, homewares, and “stuff”.
  • Felt depleted all the time but thrived on being busy and being wanted.
  • Mindlessly shopped for groceries every night instead of doing a weekly shop.
  • Self indulged all the time.
  • Splurged on holidays and weekends away all the time.
  • Rushed from here to there, always out and about doing things.
  • Did things to please others even if it didn’t please me.

 

Now

  • Very rarely will go to a shopping center, unless there’s something specific we need. and prefer to thrift or borrow items.
  • Cut down mobile phone plans and got rid of ipads and other gadgets.
  • Very rarely eat out, but when we do it actually feels like a treat.
  • I turned a hobby into a fulfilling business and I choose to work when I want while being a stay at home mama.
  • We have less than half of the furniture and homewares that we once had. All items in our home have purpose now.
  • I enjoy quiet days at home, and don’t like having jam packed days.
  • We carefully plan our meals for the week and do a weekly grocery shop.
  • We grow our own fruit, vegetables and herbs.
  • I have very few friends and people around me.
  • I like keeping to myself, and rather not let everyone know my business.
  • I respect my inner happiness.

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While both hubby and I have definitely made a great start to our slow living lifestyle, I’m excited for where we are going as a family. The changes we’ve applied to our life has brought us so much more happiness, but don’t get me wrong there have been some challenges during the process… Challenges such as learning to not impulse buy which takes a lot of will power, instead taking time to really think about the item we want and how much use it will get etc. People not agreeing with our lifestyle or the way we are raising our daughter, for example for Lara’s first Christmas we didn’t put up a tree or buy her a gift because we felt she wouldn’t have known any difference at 4 months of age, she didn’t need any toys or clothes etc, and all we wanted was just some quiet time alone as a family as my husband works over the Christmas break, so it was time together over decorations and gifts. I received the most horrible messages on social media about how I was a terrible mother for not spoiling my child, or giving her a real Christmas… A little hard to read but I didn’t let it change my views… Plus I’m sure the haters will love me again when they hear we’re not throwing Lara a party for her first birthday… 😉

Slow living may not be for everyone, and if someone told me about it 10 years ago I would have laughed in their face. It’s a lifestyle choice, that may not be for everyone but one that grabbed my attention at a time in my life when I needed it most. Maybe it’s a coming of age thing, in a sense of growing up and realizing what really matters in life, or maybe it’s something that has always been deep inside of you but you just weren’t listening.

Slow living is bringing it back to basics, and you don’t have to change everything at once. You can make small mindful changes to any aspect of your life and see where it takes you. You never know, it could be the best thing you ever do!

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x Jess

 

 

 

What I learnt from giving up social media for a month.

It wasn’t something I planned on doing, it kind of just happened…

In the past month there was a death in my family, I had influenza for a couple of weeks, then my bub got sick and my mobile phone blew up so I had to go purchase a new one and I still can’t work out how the heck to use it properly! With all that going on, I just took some time out, I was feeling deflated, worn out, and emotionally drained. Before I knew it I just couldn’t be bothered with my personal social media accounts.

I have a little photography business which I have an Instagram and Facebook page for, I did keep posting on these accounts as it’s my source of income but it was strictly business. No scrolling, just booking in clients and posting the occasional photo when I felt inspired.

Now you’re probably thinking, pffftt four weeks is nothing. But for someone who would log in multiple times a day, and post almost daily, a month is a pretty good break! I learnt quite a lot in those four weeks not tuning in to the constant scrolling, so much so I don’t think i’ll be logging on as often as I used to. I found I actually was so much more content and possibly even happier without it.

So here’s what I learnt…

  1. You don’t get your heart broken.

Often I would see posts of my friends having catch up’s without me, or someone having a party and I wasn’t invited… That stuff right there breaks your heart. The constant wonder of ‘why didn’t they invite me?’ and feeling like there was something wrong with me that my own friends didn’t want to hang out with me. It’s a kick in the guts especially when you’re already feeling isolated and alone as a new mama. I’ve learnt what you don’t know won’t hurt you, and by not logging in and seeing this stuff meant not getting upset or feeling rejected.

2. People actually don’t care. 

No one actually notices if you don’t log in. People are so consumed by their own lives that they don’t actually take notice if you stop posting on social media. In the month I was offline no one called or sent me a txt message to see if I was alright. I could have been hit by a bus and no one would have known. The lesson I learnt here is, if you have a friend who regularly posts online and then all of a sudden doesn’t, maybe check in on them. It’s these little out of the ordinary things that can indicate there’s something not right going on.

3. You get your time back for the important stuff. 

It’s amazing how consumed by our phones we are. When we are on them we aren’t present to the people right in front of us. Since having Lara I have made a conscious choice to not use my phone when she is awake for two main reasons… one because she’s obsessed with it. The phone can be just sitting on the table and she will reach for it. We don’t want her to grow up using phones and ipads as toys. The other because I want my full attention to be hers when I’m with her. Phones are a huge distraction to the present life, and by not logging in to my social media accounts meant I had no need to be on my phone really. (no one calls me lol) I often left the house without it, and when I was home it was left in my bag. It actually felt so good to not be controlled by technology, to not even think about it, not to even care what other people were doing. This is freedom!

4. You miss out on some big things.

Everyone these days announces their exciting news on social media. Pregnancy, engagements, new house, arrival of baby etc. By not logging in to social media meant I missed some of these announcements from friends, which made me look like I didn’t give a sh*t because I didn’t ‘like’ their post or comment a cute emoji. Sorry guys, I was grieving, dealing with my own emotions while coughing up a lung and drowning in mucus, but I promise I’m really happy for you all even if you think I’m an a**hole.

5. It made me want more out of life. 

I’m not sure if it was the death, the time out from social media, not being social or hanging out with friends for those few weeks, but I just have had enough of everyhting. I said to hubby I just want to go away, away from everything I know.  I want a fresh start, I want new experiences. I want to just pack up and leave without a word to anyone. So we talked about the idea of moving interstate, when to have baby number two, a holiday, our savings plans to buy a farm house in the country… what our life will look like in the next 5 years… We don’t know what it will look like, but we both agreed we don’t want to be doing exactly what were doing now, and that is enough for me to feel excited about the future.

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I gained so much knowledge in the past month. Death brings to light that our time on earth is precious. You could die tomorrow, what have you done? Could you say you lived a happy life? That you actually lived it, or did you spend half your time on social media worrying about keeping up with the latest trends, competing over friendships, arguing with people, not being aware of this moment right now because your face was looking down at a screen waiting for validation with a ‘like’…

What is the meaning of friendship? Is it just ‘likes’ and comments on Instagram and Facebook? Is it sending a daily snap chat? Or is it having someone call you and ask áre you ok?’ or dropping a pot of soup off to your doorstep when you’re sick? Actions speak louder than words. I’ve had a lot of words come my way in the past of Í’ll be a better friend’ and Í’m sorry I hurt your feelings’ but the action doesn’t end up changing, and it’s draining! We need to be more than virtual friends, we need physical friendships more than ever. 

I hope this posts encourages you to take a step back from social media, cut down your usage time. Check in on your strong friends, drop a care package to their door. Review your five year plan, what do you want out of life?. Life is short, live it now, don’t wait for the perfect time because there is no bloody perfect time. Tell someone you love them to their face instead of a txt message, don’t live a life of regret. I’m only 31 years old, and there are so many things I wish I had done differently in life but I was too scared. I missed out on opportunities because I didn’t take a risk… It’s only the past couple years I’ve turned things around and it is so freeing! Trust me! If you don’t do something now, you will stay in the same place, doing the same things, being defeated by the same people. The time is NOW!

X Jess

Baby led weaning ideas.

Hi mamas and papas,

Since I started my Lara on solids I’ve had so many questions asked about what I feed her. It surprises me so much on how scared we are as parents to start feeding our babies something other than milk!

We started Lara on solids right on 4 months because she showed interest in food. She would watch us intently as we ate and would open her mouth if I brought a spoon or food to her lips. Every baby is different though, and some take longer than others. I believe you should listen to your baby and go with what they want:- that’s where baby led weaning is fantastic!

If you are thinking about starting your baby on solids but are not sure where to start, try this – The very first thing we gave Lara was baby rice cereal mixed with her formula. Mixing the cereal with her formula makes it taste familiar, and also make the consistency quite runny so it’s easy to swallow. As your baby gets more confident with food you can increase the consistency to be more thicker. If you’re still breast feeding you can mix the cereal with your breast milk.

Now look, I’m no expert or dietician, and before I started feeding Lara solids I had no idea what to do. I asked everyone I knew who had kids and what they did, I googled, I scrolled for hours on Pinterest, I spoke to the maternal health nurse:- and everyone had a different way or different opinion. You have to listen to yourself and go with what feels right for you and your baby.

Below is a list of some the foods I have given and still give to Lara that she likes and are very easy for her to eat. Baby led weaning is pretty much about letting your baby choose what they want to eat by touching, feeling the texture of the food, smell and taste. Sometimes they will eat some, sometimes they won’t and most of the time it will end up on the floor so make sure you put a towel or matt down! You will soon learn what your baby likes and dislikes which will make life a bit easier for you when it comes to prepping meals. Plus it’s super fun watching your baby taste different foods and watching their facial expressions.

Baby led weaning ideas;

  • Roast pumpkin pieces
  • Steamed brocolli
  • Boiled eggs
  • Tuna patties
  • Tuna and rice balls
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Peanut butter on toast (no crusts)
  • Avocado slices or on toast
  • Mini quiches (no crusts)
  • Banana
  • Hash browns
  • Sausages
  • Steamed apple and pear slices
  • Cheese slices
  • Mini pancakes
  • Steamed zucchini

At meal times I put 2-3 options on Lara’s high chair and let her investigate, play and eat. Once she’s had some time to eat then I top her up with either a sachet of food or something I’ve made to make sure she’s eaten enough. I also give her a sippy cup with water to help wash it down.

If your baby has no teeth yet like my Lara (8months) or if your baby is in the early stages of eating then just ensure the food you give your baby is really soft. The usual rule is if you can squish it with ease between your thumb and finger then a baby can mush it with their gums.

Also, your baby will gag, but remember this doesn’t mean they are choking. It takes practice to learn how to swallow food and baby’s have a very good gag reflex so don’t panic, they are just sorting them selves out. Learn the signs of choking:- if your baby isn’t making any sound, looks distressed and isn’t breathing then your baby is choking. Always ensure the food you give to your baby is super soft. A baby will choke if the consistency is too thick or too hard as this will get ‘stuck’ in their throat. This has happened to us – I fed Lara some mashed sweet potato but didn’t water it down so it was really thick. One spoon full later and she was choking and ended up vomiting all over me. Lesson learnt!

If you are worried about egg and nut allergies then speak to your doctor first. I gave Lara natural peanut butter and egg from 4 months to build up her resistance. My advice is if you’re wanting to try egg, start by just cooking up the egg yolk. The egg white is full of protein and can be too overpowering for little bodies which can make some babies sick if they are sensitive. So introduce the egg whites slowly. A good way to do it is by making scrambled eggs and slowly increase the egg white ratio as the weeks go on.

Starting your baby on solids shouldn’t be stressful or scary, it’s fun and exciting!

Don’t feel like you have to go out of your way to make your baby special meals, because it will just cause you more stress in the long run:- Unless you’ve got all the free time then go for it! I feed Lara pretty much what we eat, sometimes just making a few easy adjustments. This way she will learn to eat the same food as us which will make dinner time much easier and you won’t have to worry about cooking different meals for everyone.

Again, I’m no expert, and what I do works for us! Lara loves her food and eats very well. We are now working on her feeding herself with a spoon, which is giving me more anxiety than anything because now she can flick food across the room on the spoon and the clean freak in me can’t handle it *facepalm :- but she has to learn somehow so let’s just roll with it.

Pinterest is really handy for baby led weaning ideas and also tips on how to cut and prepare foods to make it easy for baby to eat without being a choking hazard.

I hope this has helped you in some small way and gives you a little confidence to start your solids journey with baby.

Remember, be patient with your little one and have fun! Don’t force them to eat things they’re not interested in because this will just push them further away from the experience and will end up with fussy eaters in the future.

I’d love to hear how you go, so make sure to leave a comment.

X Jes

Baby led weaning banana and blueberry muffins.

My Lara is 6 months old and is eating anything and everything! She is such a good eater, but I’m constantly researching new recipes to try as I sometimes feel I can’t keep up with her.

Lara started eating purée foods at 4 months old and at 6 months old she is eating almost everything. I try to let her feed herself as much as possible even though the mess drives me insane. Baby led weaning has been really interesting for Lara and let’s her experiment with different textures and flavors.

These muffins are great for baby led weaning or even snacks for toddlers. There’s no sugar either! Even I have been sneaking some with my afternoon coffee! Lara loves these muffins and eats them so well! I cook up a batch of these on a weekly basis, they are super easy, minimal ingredients and healthy!

So if you’re like me and always on the look out for new things to try, then I hope this recipe appeals to you.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium bananas mashed with a fork.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.
  • 100g of melted butter.
  • 1 and 1/3 cup of plain flour.
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
  • Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl, mash up bananas with a fork.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla and butter.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the wet ingredients together. The batter should become smooth, yellow and a little frothy.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and beat for a further minute or so to make a well-mixed batter.
  5. Portion into an oiled muffin tin. The mix makes 12 standard size muffins or 30 mini muffins.
  6. Top the muffins with a couple blueberries (or if you prefer, mix the blueberries into the batter)
  7. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes. (Cooking times will vary on different ovens so keep checking them)
  8. Cool and serve! Yum!

How to throw a dreamy Summer Solstice party.

In case you didn’t realize it, the Summer solstice is fast approaching… Friday 21st December. It not only marks the first official day of Summer but it’s also the longest day of the year here in the Southern hemisphere. 

The word “Solstice”originates from two Latin words: “sol”, which means “sun” and “sister”, translating to “to stand”. So it’s basically a given to get your best girlfriends together and throw a party to celebrate the change in seasons ans officially welcome Summer.

The Summer solstice is all about celebrating nature, the longest day of the year, and honouring the sun. The more natural feel to your gathering spot, the better. I think having your party at the beach or in the forest would be the perfect setting.

When it comes to a dress code, you could suggest all-white attire, as it’s worn in some traditional celebrations and represents purity (The Solstice is believed to be a time of spiritual renewal).

As an ode to the sun, light up your space. Start by hanging fairy lights to set the mood and scatter mini tea lights around your space. Add foliage & vases of fresh flowers, and garlands of greenery is the perfect way to decorate. The day/night should be more go with the flow, so set a boho atmosphere by scattering throw pillows and blankets as comfy outdoor seating.

One popular tradition is that people pick flowers and craft wreaths to hang on their wall or wear on their head. You can honour Mother Nature by setting out fresh flowers and greenery that guests can weave into flower crowns or mini wreaths. I personally like this idea as it also means everyone can wear their flower crown at the party and will take home a little something to remember the event.

Now a party isn’t a party without food and drinks right?! I think bowls of fresh Summer salads, fruit platters and delicious cakes dressed up with edible flowers. Grazing boards are such a popular way to feed your guests, so why not get creative with some cheese, crackers, bread, dried fruits and nuts. Whip up sparkling and fruity drinks like a tequila sunrise or Mojito. 

I love the idea of adding a mystical tradition to your party. While the sun is still in view, lead your guests through a renewal ritual. The is believed to be a time of spiritual renewal so why not use this magical time to wash away unwanted negative energies with a sage wand and set intentions for your year ahead. You and your guests can take turns to sage each other. It is really such a beautiful gift to be smudged by someone else. Visit www.wolf-and-she.myshopify.com to get your smudge wand.

A bonfire makes the perfect end to a party where everyone can lounge around and relax. If you don’t have access to a fire pit or are somewhere with fire restrictions, sparklers work just as well. They are a fun way to close the party, plus they look super amazing in photos. 

So now you have all the tools you need to host your own Summer Solstice party! Get those invites out ASAP as you’ve got 1 week to get things sorted!

Happy party planning and sun worshipping.

X Jes

 

Budgeting with a baby

Before Lara came along I was never really one to budget, neither was my husband, so I guess we were a bad influence on each other when it came to money matters.

We were both living out of home at 18 years old, renting with friends. When Aaron and I met back in 2006, we moved in together a year after we started dating. We still rent the same place we first moved in to which is pretty special I think, and I guess pretty lucky to be able to rent the same house for 10 years and counting.

Let’s be real, renting is dead money! And it’s so hard to save for a house while you’re paying someone else’s home loan. Unfortunately we don’t have the privilege of moving in with parents to help save for a house deposit, so it looks like we will be stuck in the renters trap for a few more years yet!

Before Lara we basically lived pay cheque to pay cheque! We had new cars, we went away all the time, we travelled overseas, went out to dinner at expensive wineries every weekend, and basically just lived life not really caring about the future, and just lived in the moment, splurging on anything and everything we wanted.

Realizing how much money I used to spend on hair, beauty and clothes blows my mind now! I used to get my nails done every two weeks, spray tans, facials, hair colour every 6 weeks, extensions, eyelash extensions, shopping sprees every week… the list goes on! Buying pointless, unnecessary shit that I thought would make me happy.

When we got married last year we did the first grown up thing and opened a joint bank account and got private health insurance. When I fell pregnant a month later we knew things had to change because not only was a baby on the way, we knew that I would be finishing up at work soon enough, which meant we would only have one income. The company I worked for were closing up around the same time Lara was due to be born, so once I finished work there was no job to go back to.

We started off with our mobile phone plans. We switched them both to the same network and cut down the plan and immediately saved $100 a month! How crazy! We then got onto all the amenities and researched cheaper providers, and we did the same with our car insurance. It took us both by surprise at how much money we could save just by doing a bit of research for cheaper providers, but still get the same quality service and cover. We should have done this years ago!

We wanted to save as much money as possible while I was still working, but we both had quite a bit of credit card debt and thought it would be best to pay them off and clear all debt before Lara came.

We ended up having to pay around $5,000 for Lara to be born in a private hospital which didn’t help the little savings we had. If I could go back and change it, I’d still have Lara at the Bays Hospital because it was the best experience and care anyone could ask for! We will be having all our babies at the Bays, so I guess we better start saving!

We stopped eating out so much, and became quite mindful of our spending habits. One of the biggest money savers we found was our grocery shopping bill. We never did a big weekly shop EVER! We would just pop into the shops every night on the way home from work and buy ingredients for dinner which was such a trap because you’d end up spending $40-$60 a night!Now we plan out the meals for the week and write a shopping list. It’s actually a bit of fun trying to keep the bill under $100 every week, the lower the better and more exciting! Did I really just say that? Ha! Obviously the weeks where we need to buy formula, nappies and wipes, the bill goes up by $70 but that’s expected.

Before I fell pregnant with Lara we had a big clean out at home and threw out clothes, homewards and just stuff! It was a huge declutter, and the thought of clearing out the clutter and creating more space was so refreshing! I read a lot of books about minimalism and slow living and it really changed my mindset about the accumulation of ‘things’. Everything I buy now is thought out. “Is it necessary? What is it’s purpose? Do we actually need this?” I hate clutter, and everything in our home is there because it has a purpose. It’s quality over quantity, and that’s the mindset I have especially for Lara’s belongings. She has a small amount of toys, but they are quality toys.

Life is definitely very different to how we were living before Lara came, but that’s the sacrifice you make when you decide to have a baby. I no longer go to the day spa for pampering, and I get my hair colored maybe once every 6 months. I did find it very hard in the beginning not being able to just buy what I wanted when I wanted, but it really does make you think about what you’re spending your money on. I know from Aaron’s perspective he feels a lot of pressure to be the sole income earner, and it makes me more aware of my spending habits. Each pay day I withdraw myself $50 cash for the week and that’s for me to spend as I wish. It’s my coffee date with friends, tickets to the maze or aquarium, or a little something for Lara or myself. Or I can save it up for something big. It’s money I can spend without feeling guilty that I’m just spending all Aaron’s hard earned wage and any big purchases we always discuss before doing so.

Having the cash in my purse really makes me question what I spend it on. When you just use your card, you just constantly ‘tap’ purchases and you don’t realize how much you’re actually spending. There’s something about having the physical cash in your purse that you can see that makes you stop and think if you really need or want a coffee.

People keep asking when I’m going to go back to work, and truth is I probably won’t be on the job hunt any time soon. We want to have more babies and we want to have them within the next 4 years (before I’m 35) so there’s no real point in starting a new job and then having to leave again, plus I don’t want to put Lara in day care. I also just don’t want to work for anyone. I know that probably sounds a little selfish but I’m just being honest. I don’t feel called and I have no desire to be in a 9-5 mediocre job. If I’m going to work I want to do purposeful work, something I absolutely love…

I recently just started up my own online business which was a little scary to get started as we had to outlay some money to get things up and running. Starting your own business is risky because you don’t know if it’s going to work or not, You just have to jump in and see what the universe has to offer in return. This project is a great creative outlet for me which does wonders for my mental health. I get so much enjoyment from creating things with my hands, and it makes me excited to put myself out into the world and have people purchase my creations. It’s even better that I can do all this while being at home with Lara! I’m hoping that this little business can keep me busy and hopefully help us toward our savings goal.

Life doesn’t have to boring when you’re on a budget. There’s actually a lot of things you can do that don’t cost anything! Entertaining babies/kids isn’t hard and doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. We spend our days going for walks, the park, beach, gardens, & foraging. We have picnics with our friends, and go for hikes to magical places. There’s free story and activity time at the library, local play group for $2, and music, messy play and so much more that has very little costs involved. When we’re having home days we play in the back yard, and make our own sensory games and messy play. We still go out for breakfast and lunch etc but it’s once a week- once a fortnight if anything. You don’t need to have money to have fun!

While our dream to purchase a farm house over looking the hills is now further away than ever, and the luxury lifestyle is now no longer… Having Lara in our lives is all worth it. I don’t care if I don’t have the newest clothes, expensive makeup, or fine dining, I couldn’t care less for material items anymore. As long as Lara is clean, healthy, there’s food on the table and a roof over our head, then I’m happy! You don’t need alot to have a happy life. And with having less than I ever had before, I’m actually the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life.

Your priorities definitely change once you have babies, and it’s a good thing!

A mama’s mindset

Since becoming a mama to my beautiful daughter Lara, I’ve had so many other mamas and mamas-to-be asking for advice on how to mentally transition into mamahood, and doing so with a positive mindset.

I’m sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have the perfect answer. I can however tell you about my own experiences and how I have managed to keep my slow living lifestyle with a baby.

2 years ago I started a journey of mindfulness. I wanted to experience life deeply and be as present as I could. This meant slowing life right down and intentionally doing things rather than just mindlessly rushing from one thing to the next.

I particularly delved into this lifestyle when I became pregnant because I learned that by keeping myself calm, relaxed and quiet during my pregnancy was good for my stress levels, good for baby’s stress levels and it would ultimately result in having a calm and content baby. Now who wouldn’t want that?!

Over the years of living this lifestyle, it has really helped me transition into mamahood with understanding and patience which are two important things to have when you are a new mama.

I’m not going to sugar coat anything here, and I’m being completely honest when I say that the first month was the hardest for me. It’s not that parenting is hard, it’s just that life is different to how it used to be. And it’s an instant change that you can’t really prepare for until you’re living it! You’re now responsible for someone, and that someone is completely dependent on you. That in itself can be pretty overwhelming.

I questioned everything I did in those first few weeks, and all I wanted was for someone to tell me the right way to do things. Patience and understanding really helped me from loosing my mind. If Lara was upset, I would make sure I stayed calm and relaxed, and I found that Lara would pick up on my energy and she would relax too.

I remember when the midwife came to our home during week one for a check up and she was going through some programs and she passed me a brochure about shaking your baby. Now we all know that shaking your baby can cause permanent injury and even death and that you should never do it. But I can honestly understand how it can happen. There are some frustrating times of being a mama, and sometimes it’s not just the baby that makes you feel this way. It can be too much pressure from your partner for you to do more around the house while they are at work, feeling lonesome and isolated when the new born bubble disappears and friends and family drop off the radar, or just the fact that your hormones are all over the place and you feel like an emotional wreck! There are so many reasons to not feel good mentally, but if we just slow down and take each moment as it comes with calmness and mindfulness it not only makes life with a baby a little less stressful but it makes life in general more clear.

I really try to be present as much as possible when Lara is awake. I take her for walks and show her things up close and talk to her about life. We explore nature and I get her to feel the different textures of plants, flowers and trees. We go on bush walks, sit at the beach or just lay in the forrest watching the tall trees sway in the breeze. Being out in nature calms us both, and it makes me feel so good to receive earth medicine.

When she tests my patience, I sit her up on my knees and look into her eyes and I tell her how I’m feeling. It somehow makes me feel better to vent out my frustration by talking to her, rather than just getting myself all worked up. In that moment you kinda stop and breathe, and get that sense of calmness back which helps get through the situation at hand.

Children are only children for a very short period, and they learn the most from birth to age 5! I really want to be as present and feel so deeply in these precious times so I can give Lara the best upbringing possible. I resigned from my job 2 weeks before I gave birth, and I’m in no rush to get back into the workforce anytime soon. I love spending my days quietly and slowly living life with Lara by my side, nurturing her and loving her with my full and complete attention.

To end this post il leave this quote. One that I read and will keep with me. An insight into a mama’s life who wishes she didn’t mindlessly rush through life. A reminder to treasure every moment.

X Jes