Last week I did my Level 1 Compounding course (more on that later!) and given that I needed to be on the Brisbane northside by 9am, this meant crossing from Ipswich through the city in peak hour traffic. There’s no way I was going to do this by car (the amount of fuel and time wasted for peak hour journeys through the city with only one person in a car makes my heart ache), so I decided to take my bike….
…that I hadn’t ridden in nearly 18 months…
As a motorcyclist, there are certain challenges I’ve faced – bikes being very tall and heavy, protective clothing that doesn’t really fit properly, trying to fit glasses into helmets, but the most challenging has been balancing childbearing with riding. Having babies has meant several breaks from riding – it’s hard to put on a helmet when morning sickness makes being upright a challenge or plopping an 8mth pregnant belly onto a bike comfortably!
With my first pregnancy I stopped riding early on and due to a difficult pregnancy and birth, I didn’t get back on the bike at all until nearly the start of my second pregnancy. I was so fixated on my pain that I didn’t enjoy riding and used any excuse to put it off. I eventually sold that bike because it made me sad to see it sitting unused in my garage.
I ended up buying another bike. It was smaller, lighter and an astonishing shade of purple! After my second pregnancy I was a bit more confident about getting back on the (mechanical) horse, but I still put it off for months because I was terrified about getting through a certain turn on a particular hill. My fear held me back so much and I knew it wasn’t rational, but when I finally took the bike out for a twilight run, I wondered what it was that had held me back? What was all the fuss and internal noise about? There was really nothing there.
This last pregnancy, I stopped riding at about 3mths when nausea made it almost impossible to wear a helmet, but I knew the bike wasn’t going to be neglected for long. I had thought after a nearly 18 month break I should probably do a practice run, but I was keen and I felt more than ready. I ran through the elements of riding and the route I would take over and over in my head in the preceding days (“Cool Runnings” came to mind!) and that morning, I pulled on my husbands Draggins (baby belly is taking a bit longer to reduce this time around…), strapped on my tiny backpack, took a deep breath and kicked into gear without a single hesitation or doubt to hold me back. I’d done this for a decade.
I knew how to do this.
I could definitely do this.
How was it? Is was just like riding a bike… you never really forget 😉
Guest Blogger – Andrew Browne
I was going through the back catalogue of one of my favorite YouTube channels the other day and came across this video and it really struck a chord with me as both a passionate gamer and the parent of three beautiful children under 5. The video is a touch over three years old now, but it’s still relevant today – perhaps even more so. I recommend all parents with young kids, regardless of whether or not you are a gamer yourself, stop reading this now and watch the video.
Now, if you’re not a gamer and pay any attention at all to the news you may be under the impression that video games are only for antisocial losers who are on the fast track to committing a mass shooting. While this isn’t the place to discuss how inaccurate this is and why the media do this, what it does do is promote misunderstanding and fear of video games. And that can be very harmful to your relationship with your children.
Gaming culture is now so mainstream and intertwined with modern culture worldwide that, no matter how hard you try to stop them, your children WILL be exposed to video games to some extent and it will start from when they’re toddlers. You can either chose to embrace this and participate alongside them, helping to guide their first steps from when they’re old enough to stop dribbling on the controller. Even if they leave you behind as they get older, it’s still something positive you shared and can help open conversations when your children need it.
Or you can be afraid and negative, either making it something your child feels alone doing or attempting to outright ban your child from them. That will create a divide between you, a sore point used as ammo to provoke or prolong an argument.
The non-gamers reading this may be going “That’s all well and good, but I only know Grand Theft Auto and/or Call of Duty from the News and neither are suitable for my toddler”. Well, I’m here to help! Here’s a few examples of games I play with my kids:
Abzu – available for PC and Playstation 4
An undersea adventure of a game that came out only a week or two ago at time of writing. It’s stunningly beautiful, both visually and musically, and simple enough that both my two and four year are able to control the action with minimal assistance. They’ve learned heaps about marine animals, things like the difference between fish and whales/dolphins or that there are sharks that eat plankton.
Spintires – PC only
A bit of a surprise, but my two year old loves this one and has christened it “Bumpy Truck” (which is very cute!). He sits up on my lap steering while I work the pedals at his request for “forward” or “back”. He’s worked out how a steering wheel works and that running into trees/rocks/deep water is bad.
Slime Rancher – PC only
A bit too complex for the two year old, but the four year old loves it. Bright, colorful and the slimes make cute, if odd, farm animals. She’s learning a lot about about farming practices, like planting crops and feeding domestic animals, plus a bit about economics when selling the produce of different types of slimes. There’s also an element of physics as you can vacuum up slimes then shoot them out so they bounce around.
Every woman who’s ever had a baby has been given the same advice – cuddle your baby, accept all offers of help, sleep when the baby sleeps…
Hahahaha! Oh, that last one always got me! Who’s got time to sleep when the baby sleeps? Is the laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, looking after older children and work just going to happen on its own?? When the baby sleeps is when stuff gets done!
As it turned out, today I had the perfect opportunity to test out that last piece of advice to see if it was possible to sleep when the baby sleeps and not be eaten up with guilt.
We’d been up most of the night with a grizzly, unhappy, sick and teething baby – come morning, there were two grizzly, unhappy, exhausted parents. Sound familiar? One of us got to drive an hour to work, the other got started right away. I managed to get through most of my day by setting tiny goals such as making breakfast for the toddler, making some peppermint tea and forgetting to drink it until it’s stone cold, finding a laundry basket that didn’t have gumboots or glitter in it (toddlers are fun!) – just small achievable wins.
By 3pm, however, I’d hit my wall. The baby needed to be cuddled constantly, my upper body was about to go on strike (he’s 9kg after all!) and I was losing my ability to see straight. I lay down with bub and closed my eyes for just a second… …and woke up 20min later to the toddler asking for strawberries and the baby grasping at my chest. What happened? Where did the time go? I was just going to close my eyes for a second!
When the mind and body need to rest, it will happen. The laundry and deadlines were still there, but then so were the house and the children. Everyone was still happy and no-one was wondering why I was sleeping. If a 2 year old can accept the practicality of a nap, why do adults beat themselves up over it so much? Those 20min of rest allowed me to be a better mother and worker for the rest of the day. It’s time people (but especially women) let go of the expectation that superhuman stamina is standard and accept that a nap can be exactly what’s needed. Laundry be damned!