This is a post I’ve been meaning to write since I was pregnant. The first time that it hit me that having a child meant that I was going to have to learn to slow down.
At the time we were booking our babymoon to Italy and I was doing my usual thing of trying to cram a million things into our two week trip. That’s when Mr A reminded me that I was seven months pregnant and needed to be sensible. I was tired and *huge* and couldn’t be running around in the same way that I had previously.
This was a really big learning curve for me. To slow down and learn to manage my expectations of how much I could achieve in a day.
As someone who always had an “if you just put your mind to it, you can do it attitude” this wasn’t always easy to accept.
Taking Mr A’s advice, I slimmed down our itinerary massively and we had a great final holiday together. I even managed to do some hiking in the Cinque Terra and go on bike rides along the coast, but I had to accept that the distances were going to be shorter and take longer than previously.
Fast forward almost a year and I’m still having to remind myself of those lessons.
I absolutely love doing things with my little adventurer and we’re always out and about on trips at home or away. But sometimes I’m guilty of trying to cram too much in.
A few weeks ago was the perfect example, we’d already been away for the two previous weekends but we were determined to squeeze in one last camping trip of the year. But after getting back home from the Peak District on Tuesday when Friday came around, exhaustion hit and the last thing I felt like doing was packing up for a weekend away. Cue me sitting on the kitchen floor, surrounded by half-packed bags, eating cake and complaining about how tired I was.
Now I’m aware that this is like complaining that my diamond shoes are to tight and I know that we are so lucky to have the opportunities to travel and go away as much as we do. But I also think that part of having children is realising that some things have to be different and understanding and accepting those limitations.
Even when we do go away, we have to travel at a different speed these days, especially now my little adventurer is starting to explore more herself. Sometimes we have to stop and look at a leaf for a long time or we can’t leave a cafe until she has waved to every person in it. But watching her figuring out the world is such a joy and I love the sense of wonder on her face when she sees something new for the first time.
This slower style of travel has benefits for us too we’re discovering, as we found out when we took a digital detox at Wriggly Tin Shepherds Huts. Slowing down gives us a chance to relax, to appreciate our surroundings more and to do the things we enjoy but often don’t seem to find the time for, like reading.
For us, having a baby has also meant enjoying more weekends at home. I’m a big fan of following families on social media who travel long-term, but I know that’s not the life for us. As much as I love going away with my little family, I also love spending time here in Reading, creating memories in the house that we hope will be our ‘forever home’.
Likewise taking the time to rest and recover from previous trips is also important so that we’ll be ready to embrace the next adventure.
I’ve had to learn many new lessons since becoming a mum and slowing down is definitely one of them. But I’m enjoying the different tempo of our lives these days and those weekends at home are just as special as the ones away.
Are you ever guilty of trying to cram too much into your weekends? Have you found a way to make yourself slow down?