Stop looking at your phone Mama Magpie

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I have been at my parents house in the countryside this week with Baby Magpie. He is getting to spend some much deserved quality time with his grandparents, and we have left Mr Magpie back in London to do a few of the many little jobs needed in our eccentric house.

In the day Baby Magpie plays with his grandparents and I try to film little bits of him sitting on the swing and that kind of thing on my phone to send back to his dad so he doesn’t completely miss out. In the last few days I have noticed that Baby Magpie will stop smiling or laughing when I get the phone put to film him, and instead looks at me with a serious expression as if to say ‘mummy you are not paying attention’.

A while ago I blogged about being present as a parent, but from the perspective of how it might affect my mental health. I spend most of my time with him at the moment, but the quality of that time is very different depending on whether I’m trying to do something else at the same time or am just able to concentrate on being with him. Often there are things that just need to be done, but I also find myself picking up my phone or computer when I don’t really need to, because it’s become a reflex in modern life to do that. Babies are very clever. He can tell if I am present in the moment with him.

Recently Baby Magpie has been reminding me that putting a phone, even for goodish reasons, into the middle of my relationship with him tells him something about what is important. It’s when I put the phone down and concentrate just on him that he begins laughing and smiling again. 

Thank you for reading. I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Pick up the baby: dealing with writers block when looking after a small person

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Regular readers of this blog will know that I have set myself the inadvisable task of trying to finish (and publish, or find a publisher for!) my novel this year while I am on maternity leave and also looking after a tiny person.

So far things have actually gone quite well, in that I’ve managed to finish a first draft of my novel. However it has been completed while I am in a sleep deprived daze, and so I am sure that there is lots of work to do now to make it readable.

One of the things I found early on was that when I did have those moments to myself in which I could write, I found it very difficult to get words down. I have previously blogged about some of the strategies I was trying out here, which included writing everyday, and having a (sort of) plan of what I would write. As I now have a finished first draft, I can say that they have worked ok.

The thing I didn’t write about in that post is what helps when those things fail. There have definitely been moments where I had a bit of time, and I knew what content I needed, but somehow the words wouldn’t come. In this situation I found that the best thing to do was actually to walk away, and pick up the baby. Or do the washing up. Or fold his cloth nappies. Something like that.

I think for me, just doing something different and physical like playing with the baby, paying attention to all the new little things he was doing instead of working on a sentence was actually a great way of giving my conscious brain a break. Often after a little bit of time I would find that my subconscious mind had worked through what ever sentence I was having trouble with, and something good enough for a first draft would pop into my mind.

Sometimes the only way to moving forwards with an idea is to step away from it.

I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Motherhood: time moves differently here

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It’s been a few weeks since I have posted anything as I have been engaged in a final push to finish a first draft of my novel. As I get closer and closer to the end I feel more motivated to put the few hours a week I have free to myself to that purpose. I’m very close now, which is really exciting. Regular readers of my blog may know that I have a bit of an issue around actually finishing things.

I’ve also been making sure I spend a lot of time just hanging out with Baby Magpie. He’s beginning to do all sorts of interesting things and I don’t want to miss out on them, as he seems to change every day. I’m not sure what I expected, but I find that the days just seem to drift past at the moment in a kind of dreamy haze. Some days are tough, and I get very tired, but mostly the time just slips by as my partner and I feed and play with him.

If you had told me this is what it would be like before he was born I’m not sure I would have believed you. A year off work felt like a long time then, now it seems to slip past so quickly. However, it feels like time well spent to me.

I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Love in the time of coronovius

There is a quote about history which goes something along the lines of ‘the past is a different country, things are different there’. It’s been over a month since my baby was born and I am beginning to feel something similar about being a parent. It is a different kind of existence. Time moves differently here.

Before I got pregnant I thought quite a lot about how to use my time efficiently, how to fit the most in. Now days pass and I have little idea about how the time passes.Yesterday I managed to spend half an hour editing an early chapter in my novel and it felt like a big achievement.

This morning I have spent a significant amount of time watching my baby smile as he farts in his sleep. He seems content with himself, and so I am content to sit here with him.

It feels good, even with the coronovius raging outside to be present in these moments with him. I thought was quite a patient person, but am learning new things all the time about that. It is another thing to feel greatful for.

I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.