Motherhood has taught me more than I ever imagined. How to go to the toilet with an audience watching. How to do my mascara while holding a baby on my hip. How it’s possible to dye my hair pink in the shower by accident (that really happened). How to slow down. The list goes on. Perhaps the most surprising thing about all the valuable lessons I'm learning is that they're often taught to me by my children. They're the ones who really teach me each day...
You see the thing is, I thought I was the one who was supposed to teach them? I’m the Mum, right? Turns out they’re pretty insightful and smart too. So this week I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learnt from my two toddlers – Arabella, 3, and Lottie, 2. While a lot of what they do and say is immensely entertaining, look a little deeper into day-to-day situations and you’ll find you can learn more about life than you think from your toddlers. (Not related – but sorry for the blurry photo. It was the best we could do at 8am, pre-coffee and on the way to preschool).
Determination is a wonderful trait
There’s nothing quite like a determined toddler. When you tell them no, they simply ask again as if you never said no. Often, Arabella will rephrase her question, thinking if she mixes up her words slightly, it’ll be like a whole new question so I’ll probably be fooled and say yes. Can I have a cupcake? No. But can you just show me the cupcake? No. Do you have any cupcakes in the fridge? No. Is there a cupcake in that bag? It goes on and on until I’m officially worn down and give up. Here, just have the cupcake and let’s move on. Mission accomplished. Toddler: one. Mum: zero. Earlier in my career, I possessed fierce determination. I didn’t take no for an answer. And setbacks only made me more determined. I took the road less travelled to reach my goals. I couldn’t get a job as a fashion writer in Sydney, so I took one in Dubai and spent two years living and working there. During this time, I used to send regular emails to magazine editors in Sydney asking them for a job. Usually, they never wrote back. I used to email the then editor of Vogue often with examples of my published work. She never wrote back once. And then after about two years, I got a reply. She offered me a job. A little determination goes a long way (on a side note: it’s also important not to come across like an annoying stalker or toddler). These days, I’m more determined to forge a career that allows me to also raise my children but the point is determination is a great trait. Foster it, nurture it, encourage it – it’ll take us all a long way in life.
Open your eyes and look around
Isn’t it wonderful how toddlers live with their eyes wide open? While many of us live glued to our iPhones (guilty!), they’re looking at the red autumn leaves, the bright blue sky, the different people that pass us on the street. My girls teach me daily to live in the moment. To get off my phone because there’s a beautiful world out there to enjoy and discover. Emails, texts, calls – they can all wait. I’m learning to make a conscious effort to be in the moment with my kids. Yes, it can get boring looking at the ducks for half an hour, but it’s important. It means something to them.
Cuddles make everything better
I’ve often said to my husband that when I am upset, he doesn’t need to say anything, a hug will fix everything. Sometimes, we all need a hug. Toddlers know this. They love a hug. If my girls trip over or hurt themselves, a quick cuddle and a kiss on the ‘hurt’ spot usually dries up their tears. Touch and affection is so important. My girls often remind me how powerful a simple hug can be.
Crying feels good
It’s ok to break down. Ok, not quite like a toddler (throwing yourself on the floor and kicking your legs and arms at the supermarket isn’t really appropriate for a grown-up) but sometimes, we all need a little cry. Embrace it, let it all out, then pull yourself together and get on with life.
All you need is love
Toddlers don’t care about having the latest pram or a perfectly styled nursery. They don’t care what brand your handbag is or if you haven’t shaved your legs for a month (or is that just me?). I’m all for buying nice things and love decorating my children’s room, but what my girls remind me of daily is that all we need is love. Material things come and go and ultimately, they don’t make us happy. My girls have taught me I don’t need to keep buying so much stuff. You just don’t need that much stuff in life. Focus on experiences, not material possessions, and love generously.
Have you ever noticed how happy a toddler is when they’re freshly bathed and running around in the nude? They act like they could rule the world. Nude and not a care in the world! I’m not suggesting you start jumping up and down on your bed in the nude post-shower (although it’d probably be fun) but what I’m saying is you should love your body. My body certainly isn’t in the shape it used to be, but I’m proud of what it has done – I’ve birthed two babies! There is nothing more extraordinary than bringing a child into the world – be proud of your body and love it (not loving your deflated boobs is totally ok – they will NEVER be the same after you have a child).
Ah, the art of forgiving. This is possibly one of the most important traits you can possess. We only get one life. This is it. If you’ve fallen out with someone and miss them, then pick up the phone and call them. Forgive and forget. As my mother would say “just get over it darling”. Life is too short. When I’ve been cranky and raised my voice at my girls, I’m always amazed at how quickly they forgive me. They don’t judge me, they just forgive me. It’s the most admirable quality in the person.
Now onto the site this week...
We have photographed and interviewed the beautiful Byron-bay based sisters behind cult Australian fashion label Spell & The Gyspy Collective. What an inspiration these women are! I loved reading every word of their interview and hope you do too. Sarah Brooks-Wilson writes about all those unexpected beauty issues you get when you’re pregnant and we’ve also rounded up our favourite children’s beds. Our London editor Claire Brayford has written a fabulous article on how to wear dungarees and still look like a grown-up (I promise, it is possible even if my husband disagrees). I’ve worked with Claire (now a mother of two) for years and she’s one of the most talented fashion writers in the industry – it’s so exciting she’ll be contributing more to the site in the coming months. Our contributing photographer Grace Alyssa Kyo is also over in New York for a couple of months – stayed tuned for lots of exciting New York stories! I am also hosting a Q&A session this Saturday at Laduree in Westfield Sydney with the gorgeous illustrator Kerrie Hess to launch her ‘From Paris With Love’ collection of boxes. We will be there from 2-5pm so come and say hello!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week.