On a weekend away last month, we were reminded of one of our favourite quotes on the wall of a cafe.
Before Baby, our lives were quite different.
We both worked a lot, and the rest of our time was spent shopping, going out for meals, cocktails, champagne, spa days, weekends away, and multiple foreign holidays a year. We had lie ins with no 6am baby wake up calls, and only really had to consider ourselves.
There is definitely a period of adjusting, which can be overwhelming at times. Nothing prepares you for how intense, exhausting, and full on being a parent is. We certainly understand the feeling many new parents have, of unintentionally losing yourself and becoming just a parent. And this was, and is fine by us. We absolutely loved throwing ourselves into motherhood and thinking of nothing else, for more than the first year of Oskar's life. We can 100% say that we have always given him the absolute best, and put his needs first, which will always be the case. But after the initial adjusting period, and you begin to get your own sense of self back, this can be strange.
Who are you now that your world is so different?
Who are you now that your world is so different?
The biggest change that having a child makes to your life, is your time is very rarely your own. The time you do have is so precious, and it's hard to do anything apart from try and catch up with housework, or just sit and take a breather!
So as your time becomes more precious, you realise that things you would have previously dismissed as 'little things' really are the big things when you look back on them. Those little things make you who you are, give you that sense of contentment and happiness, and it's important to make time for them. Rather than dreaming of a big holiday for example, it's important to fill our day to day lives with little things that we will look back on and realise made up the big picture.
Following on from last years 'hygge' trend, 'ikigai' is a Japanese philosophy which basically means 'the reason to get up in the morning. It's about 'discovering, defining, and appreciating life's little pleasures that having meaning for you', according to the author of The Little Book Of Ikigai.
We'd love to read what yours are, especially if you're a parent! Here are ours...
Last week we went on a date night, as Lauren's mum had volunteered to look after Oskar for a few hours. We went to Zizzi, had food and wine, and then went for a cocktail. Something that would have been a simple, weekly occurrence previously, but now as it is something we get much less often, is much more appreciated. Since Oskar was born 14 months ago we have been out at the two of us three times, just for 2-3hrs, leaving Oskar with his grandparents. We went for cocktails on my birthday, for pizza and to see a play, and to Cirque Du Soleil.
However as Oskar was older this time, we felt much more comfortable about leaving him, albeit just for 3 hours. It was so, so lovely. To concentrate on each other, to have conversation over our food, and then to sit outside a fairy lit bar by the waters edge drinking cocktails. To dress up, to carry an Alexander McQueen bag instead of a changing bag! It really reminded us how important it is to still make time to be wives, to do things you've always done, things that make you feel like yourself. The feeling as we drove home was one of refreshment, contentment, and reminded us that especially as Oskar gets older and we are happier to leave him with grandparents for a short time, we definitely need to do date night more!
Going out for breakfast
Going out for breakfast has long been one of Laurens favourite things to do. Its a more relaxed, casual way of going out for a meal, and is such a lovely start to a day! No one wants to wake up and cook food, so going out for breakfast means being able to have whatever you want, no cooking required! Plus breakfast time is usually a quieter time to go for food, especially if you go for our favourite time of breakfast date - midweek when most people are at work!
We have always been nature lovers, and have had some amazing glamping holidays pre Oskar. Since then we have had a wonderful first holiday in Pembrokeshire National Park ad so many trips to beautiful forests and parks. Something about the forest really does feel magical, so being surrounded by nothing but trees and sky brings us a kind of peace we've never felt elsewhere. We are also lucky to be able to look out of our window and see nothing but trees - we never get tired of seeing the seasons reflected so beautifully, those autumn leaves leave us awestruck every year!
Exploring somewhere new
Despite our far flung trips being temporarily put on hold, we have explored places in the UK which would have missed the opportunity to do so before. Since having Oskar we've revisited Devon, London, Wales, Brighton, the Cotswolds, and had our first trip to The Lake District, which was just beautiful. We have made good use of our National Trust membership and visited beautiful places nearby. Discovering places as a family, even places that weren't new to us as a couple, has given us such wonderful memories. We also have plans to start venturing further afield again perhaps next year, but for now, our favourite thing to do is explore the world, including places not so far afield, as three.
Treating yourself...not just your children!
We are definitely guilty of treating our child way, way more often than we do ourselves. Over the past year we have rarely bought new clothes for ourselves, whereas Oskar has beautiful toys and gorgeous new outfits! So we definitely want to try out remember to buy ourselves a little something sometimes, to go to the hairdressers etc, and generally do things that make us feel like ourselves.
Time with the people who matter
We are both working less that we used to, which has made time to see family, anf friends more. Although we would still like to have more time for other people (when you have such little free time, its hard to want to spend it doing anything but just being together) but we have had some wonderful times over the past year, and we want that to increase and continue. We have been to our first wedding as a family - at the end of July we ventured up north for the wedding of two friends we met via Instagram 6 months ago and really get on with. Becky and Janay's wedding was just stunning, we were made so welcome by the brides families, and the food was all veggie and vegan! The lovely ladies even invited us to spend a night with them at their beautiful wedding venue as they had a room free - which turned in to the four of us (plus our two baby boys) eating Indian takeaway in the fancy dining room of a haunted house, talking about everything and nothing until the early hours!
We have also spent more time with our families due to Oskar and its lovely to watch their love grow for him. Hes growing to love his cousins, which is really sweet to watch!
But of course, as well as seeing people, going places, there's also the little moments where we are all snuggled in bed, or playing a game with Oskar, or eating dinner together, or laughing at something silly, listening to music, reading, planning for the future, sat in a coffee shop or walking Willow. Little things that make us happy, but actually make up a lot of our lives. Which is why its important to spend life doing what makes you smile, what gives you peace, what makes you, you.