Despite what it may sound like, I definitely don’t intent to preach about mindful parenting. I’m a big believer in doing what works for you! Mindfulness is something I have always incorporated into my practice as an Occupational Therapist however it was not until recently that i started to embrace it myself especially since becoming a new mum. Being mindful can be as simple as being present in the moment – watching the amazement in your child’s eyes when they see a butterfly fly past or when they look you at you and smile for the first time has reminded me to take a breath away from the busyness of my everyday life and get lost in the present moment. I must admit though this is easier said than done between the dishes piling up in the sink and the dirty laundry waiting to be washed or the washing that has dried a week ago and has yet to be folded.
I was one of those people who was late to get onto the social media bandwagon, and probably only started exploring it further when I was looking for inspiration for my wedding and then again when we were building our first home. But truth be told, it was kind of a scary and intimidating space for me. There were so many “perfect worlds” to follow and images that I felt I could never live up to. It wasn’t until I had my first baby that I found inspiration from real mothers out there who were brave enough to share their truths and struggles and that’s exactly what I intend to do. Hearing others’ stories and their tips and advice really helped me feel like what I was going through was “normal”, and that it takes strength to admit that you’r not okay.
So who is Irina you ask? In all honesty I have been in search for an answer to that question for about 28 odd years. For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with anxiety, questioning my worthiness in all aspects of my life due to this feeling of needing to be perfect, and struggling to find a purpose. or a way to bring that purpose to life.
The turning point for me was when I became a mother almost two years ago, as cliché as it may sound.. Whilst the first 3 months were probably the most challenging in many ways, and left me questioning my identity even more so – between double pumping breastmilk whilst dancing around for the purpose of entertaining my then newborn who refused to sleep AT ALL.. Somehow the role of a ‘mother’ happened to be one that gave me direction and purpose.
In saying that, I don’t believe that it necessarily has to define me as we have many roles in life. The core of my studies as an Occupational Therapist was circled around the definition of an Occupation. My take on it, is ANYTHING that you do that brings meaning to your life..it fills my heart to have been able to help others find purpose in their life through occupation that is meaningful to them, whether it be returning to work, or carrying out self-care tasks or looking after their babies – it really can be even the most basic of occupations that people struggle with which has a huge impact on the way you feel and perceive yourself and your ability to execute your dreams. The great part of it is that everyone will find different meaning in different occupations, and what allows us to thrive, is doing what we love at the end of the day… as long as we can find a way to execute it.
Whilst being a mum has helped me find my identity it wasn’t an easy journey and wow what a shock to the system that journey was! The past (almost 2 years) have been a rollercoaster of emotions. If there is anything I want to share with other new mums is that every stage of the journey is temporary! The teething, the sleepless nights, the colic, and most importantly the cluster feeding will not last forever! Whilst there are various ups and downs along the way, each challenge is unique and testing in its own way… for me each challenge wasn’t just about learning how to adapt to each phase of my babies development, but I’m also referring to adjusting to my new life role as a mum and the impact this had on my friendships and relationships. This is what I was probably the least prepared for.
The lack of sleep, troubles with breastfeeding, even just learning how to settle my baby (who I was told had reflux and colic and every other scary title under the sun) wasn’t even the half of it. One of the most challenging parts for me was the friendships that disappeared, the invitations that stopped coming because it was assumed I was too busy and tired with a new baby – and yes I definitely was exhausted but boy how nice would it have been to have the option. Luckily for me this journey has led me to connect with new and inspiring people who have had the most incredible impact in my life and will remain lifelong friends.
With all that said, I do really want to keep things as light hearted as possible.. I like to see the funny side of things (although to be fair this usually comes well after the tears and breakdowns). I have so many things that I cant wait to share with you all, my love for being a parent being one of them along with the concept of mindful parenting, but also my obsession with organisation, Excel spreadsheeting (yes that’s a thing), fashion, all things domestic and everything in between.
I am about to embark on a new journey as a soon to be mother of two! My daughter Alessia will be 23months when this little guy is due to be born, and whilst half of me is terrified, I’m also really looking forward to sharing this journey with you all and always keen to hear from you, your thoughts, advice, and just in general connecting with like minded people so please reach out!