Vanessa Clarkson | Nourishing Foundations
Motherhood Notes

Being a stay-at-home, work-at-home mum

It’s been a little while since I’ve been on here… things have been pretty crazy over the past couple of months. As most of you know, my first cook book, Real Food For Babies And Toddlers hit the shops in Australia and the UK. This book has been a long time in the making and I’m pinching myself constantly that it is finally out there in the big wide world. And I’m not exaggerating here… I’ve had some beautiful messages saying such lovely things about it, but each and every time I’ve read one, I’ve literally had to walk over and pick up my book and question whether we are talking about the same thing! It’s that imposter syndrome I wrote about briefly in an earlier post – I don’t think it will ever leave me.

So, anyway, I’ve been busy writing pieces to promote my book, doing interviews and so on. If you head on over to my Facebook page I’ve shared a couple of the radio interviews where I’ve talked a little more about the book and why I’m passionate about baby-led weaning and real food. 

This has also been a big time of change for me because in April I left my job that I had been doing for 3 days a week, and now I’m home with the boys full-time. Truth be told, I’d been itching to make this change for such a long time – I remember thinking that I wouldn’t go back to work after I had finished my maternity leave with Jonny, but the security of a regular income pulled me back. I have come to realise though, that I can only be the best version of myself when I’m doing the things I love, with the people I love. And hey, if it all goes horribly wrong, I’m doing this safe in the knowledge that I can make a really good dal – living off lentils is my pastime. 

Doing things for me

Writing the book and receiving all the lovely messages of support, has really reaffirmed to me that I want to focus on my own projects for now. I’ve started by tidying up this website and hopefully making it easier to navigate. I’m hoping to write pieces that fit into 3 themes – nourishing families, motherhood notes and real food recipes. These are the 3 areas that take up the little space that’s left in my brain (after I’ve portioned out the other bits to the boys and my daily home duties). Please do subscribe to receive updates if you like to hear more. You will also receive a free short guide to stocking a plant-based whole foods kitchen. This basically includes all my kitchen essentials for pulling together simple, delicious and wholesome meals for my family. I’m keen to hear what you think of it.

I’ll also be working on some other projects for me, bits and pieces for freelance clients and I will continue to advise on a few of the Government nutrition committees that I’ve been on. These occasionally mean I have to travel to Sydney or Canberra for meetings, but otherwise, all the work I’m doing is around my time with the boys.

Finding a new rhythm

Over the past couple of months I’ve been easing into a new flow with the boys, and so far, so good. Except, I will hold my hands up now and say that I’m finding it terribly difficult to wake up at 5.30am and do work. It’s cold and dark and even though I’m really excited to crack on – it’s just not enough to peel me out of my cosy bed.

I am really annoying myself with this behaviour because I don’t even have an excuse of a restless night’s sleep to blame because Jonathan, who’s in bed with me, has been sleeping really well (hoping not to jinx it by writing that). In truth, I actually feel well-rested when my tweeting-bird-alarm-thing goes off at 5.30am – this is sheer laziness on my part. I can only hope that now the days get longer and the mornings brighter, that the sun will make getting up feel more appealing. 

My days revolve around playing with the boys, feeding them and making sure they get plenty of rest. Jonny still naps in the afternoon and so this is when I can do some work in the day (I’m writing this while he naps now). Laurence kept his afternoon nap until he was nearly 4, if I remember correctly, and he always had a good solid 1-2 hours. I’m hoping Jonny will be the same. If Rob is able to get home from work by 6pm, I’ll plonk myself down in front of the computer for an hour before the boys go to bed and then I’ll do a little more work afterwards (if my brain hasn’t turned to complete mush by that point or if I’ve already managed to do plenty of work that day).

This last bit is key for me – some days I can get up super early and between that, nap time and before the boys go down I can get a lot done… it’s on these days that I have to force myself to have some downtime before I go to bed. It’s too easy when you’re on a roll to keep going with it, but I have always regretted it afterwards because that’s when I burn out. I’ll get ill or I’ll be wiped out the next day.

I think that the trick to juggling all these elements of our lives is being gentle with ourselves – the world will not stop turning if I don’t send that email before I go to bed. Little-by-little, bit-by-bit, things do get done and chipping away at things adds up in time. Projects can take longer than we would hope, and that can be frustrating, but I try to flip this thought process and focus on the things that I have achieved. Some days I get no work done but we were all dressed by 8am, I’ve kept the house reasonably tidy (read, a 5 rating on the 1-10 bomb site scale), fed the boys and done some chores. These are all triumphs and things that needed my attention. 

I’ll also let you in to another secret… I have one of those robot hoovers that keeps on top of all the crumbs, glitter and squished raisins. Honestly – game changer. Especially with 2 children and 2 cats! 

I’m keen to hear your thoughts on balancing it all. Do you have any tips to share in the comments?


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