It’s the Easter school holidays. Leo has had his first term of school and he’s loving it but he’s also tired. We’re all a bit tired. Except for Clem who has three naps a day.
Jeff and I were keen to get the illustrations finished and scanned before the holidays but it hasn’t happened, so it’s Easter Saturday and we decided to get what we have done scanned.
Going to Officeworks wasn’t on Leo’s to-do list and I found myself loudly despairing that he wasn’t into the idea of doing something we wanted to do for a change. I wrestled his PJs off, trying to get him dressed. It was not my finest parenting moment. Eventually we negotiated in a side trip to Woolworths for dominoes and some fish and chips, and we set off.
The irony of getting all het up over a project whose message is to cultivate happiness through peacefully being in the moment is not lost in me. (The scans look awesome by the way).
Sarah Napthali‘s book Buddhism for Mothers really resonated with me when I read it a few years ago. Its messages of being truly present with your children and practicing self-compassion are gently expressed but so powerful. It crystalised a lot of things for me – especially the quote above, which adorns a cupboard in our kitchen.
“I may as well show up for my life in the present moment rather than drift off in thoughts of the past and future.”
It’s such a simple idea, but it can be acutely hard to do sometimes. Especially when you’re having a difficult time.
I hope that our little picture book contains some of this wisdom (in rhyming couplets). I could write a thesis on all of the thinking behind our book, but I’ll stick to just writing a few blog posts instead.
This book feels so important to me. Like a pressing thing that we’ve got to get done because when it comes to fruition it might make a difference to someone’s life. In my wildest dreams, it could make a difference to lots of people’s lives.
Working on it and thinking about its message of loving yourself, despite all the mistakes you might make and how unsure and uncomfortable you feel, has certainly changed my life.
The thing that makes Jeff and I laugh about what we’re doing (writing, illustrating, designing, self-publishing and marketing a book) is that behind every part of it is a profession people work years to master. And we are trying to do it all! What hubris! But we are doing it anyway. Continue reading The biggest thing I’ve ever done (apart from having kids)
Some backstory on the origins of the (yet to be completed) book You’re Doing Great, Baby by Jeff Edwards (my husband) and Beth Taylor (me).
In 2012 Jeff and I started writing a picture book for new parents. We didn’t know exactly what it was about but we knew we had something to say to new parents:
- You’re doing great
- Be kind to yourself – having a baby is a major learning curve
- Early parenthood can feel lonely and overwhelming
- It’s hard work being a baby – they’re going through a massive learning curve too
- When you and your baby can hang out and just ‘be’ together it feels really great
- Your child is your greatest teacher
- You are your child’s greatest teacher
We also knew all the things we didn’t want to say to new parents:
- Advice about feeding, sleeping, eating, teething or developmental milestones
Continue reading The story so far
When Leo, (our eldest) was really little, I was obsessed with his sleep. I wanted to teach him to fall asleep and stay asleep by himself, but it seemed like the only way of doing that involved tears.
When he was ten weeks old we went to a sleep school and came home and tried to pat and shush, but it just didn’t work for us. One very memorable time all three of us ended up in tears and we knew it wasn’t working. We were sleep-school drop-outs.
During that time when all I thought I wanted was for him to learn to sleep by himself – out of our arms, out of our bed, as the books said – Jeff said something that’s always stuck in my mind.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be kind to be kind”.
It totally blew my mind.
That simple truth cut through all the conflicting emotions I was feeling. My love for Leo, my desire to control him, wishing for a full night’s sleep, wanting to do the ‘right’ thing (whatever that was), wanting to hold him when he cried… All the stories I was telling myself just melted away with those simple words.
Continue reading ‘Sometimes you’ve got to be kind to be kind’