The woman behind the pram

Me with my almost two-month-old baby in the pram.

In my third year of university my husband, then boyfriend, lived in a house close to a primary school. I practically lived at that house and so I would often walk through the park and along the creek behind the school on my way to and from lectures. On my morning and afternoon walks I would often see mums pushing prams, trailed by one or two children in crisp or dishevelled uniforms, depending on the time of day. I remember on one particular occasion, I passed a mum pushing a pram, with her older child wandering a few metres behind, and she had a tired and vacant look on her face. I remember thinking: I don’t want that. I was in my early twenties and children were far from my mind, but even so the woman behind the pram made child-rearing look soul sucking.

Continue readingThe woman behind the pram

Notes from a far isle January ’21

Technically a December 2020 photo, but I apparently haven’t taken any photos in January. This was taken on a dog walk and I liked the composition with the Christmas lights, the power line and the full moon.

In my last blog post, I wrote about not setting goals for the year. But I guess that wasn’t entirely true, because I have set myself the goal of publishing more on my blog. I aim to publish a bi-weekly essay, but I’ve also decided to intersperse those essays with a bi-weekly series of “Notes from a far isle.” This will be a place for me to dump book, essay, film, television, and music recommendations—as well as anything else that crosses my radar. Plus the odd bit of self-promotion for good measure. I can’t claim it will be a treasure trove of resources, but I think one of the things I miss most about social media (see my post about quitting Twitter and Instagram) is getting to share things I love with others.

Continue readingNotes from a far isle January ’21

A postcard to 2020

First photo of 2020, taken on an afternoon walk with the family. Feels like another lifetime ago.

There’s a song that we often play in the week between Christmas and New Year. It’s called, rather appropriately, “The Week Between” and it’s by John Roderick and Jonathan Coulton. There’s a line that I love and that I keep playing over in my mind:

The week between
New Year’s resolutions and conversations with last year’s dreams

Continue readingA postcard to 2020

On not reading

It’s no secret that I love to read. Being a reader has always been a huge part of my identity; I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading and books.

As a kid, I loved going to my local library and getting out a big stack of books. I’d go home, dump the pile on my bed, and settle in. I loved books about vampires, anthropomorphic animals, and children leading double lives as detectives or spies. I loved escaping into fantasy worlds. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was 11 (I literally grew up with HP) and I longed to get an acceptance letter from Hogwarts in the post.

Continue readingOn not reading

A few books about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood

Reading has always been my route into understanding the world. As soon as I get interested in a topic, I immediately start searching Google for lists of books on that topic. So, when I found out I was pregnant I started Googling. I also headed to my local library: the baby and parenting section was mostly comprised of copies of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and baby name books, but I did manage to pick up a copy of Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes. I devoured it in two days; it was exactly the kind of book I was looking for. I wasn’t interested in dry textbooks or manuals that would tell me the how. I wanted to hear from other women who had gone before me—with a smattering of interesting research into the science, history and culture of pregnancy and parenting. In other words, exactly what Garbes was offering.

There are many lists out there of books on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. BUT, ho hum, here’s my list of books I enjoyed and/or found particularly enlightening.

Continue readingA few books about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood

Of toast and time

Image by Ruocaled. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

The other day, I finally accepted something about myself: I like to eat toast for breakfast. Of course, I’ve known this for years (and my husband clearly thought I was stating the obvious when I told him about this new-found acceptance). In fact, I can (and have been known to) eat toast for every meal. But for the last few years I’ve (mostly) resisted my love of toast because I felt like I needed to eat a healthy breakfast. I peaked during my overnight oats period. But when it comes down to it, I’d always prefer to have toast (spread with marmite or jam) and a cup of tea first thing in the morning. Being a tea drinker has been a big part of my identity for a long time—I used to drink milky tea from a bottle as a toddler—and now I have a new facet to add to my identity: I eat toast for breakfast.

Continue readingOf toast and time

How to fold laundry

Image by briandeadly. Used under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license.

It’s winter and I’m home from school. My mum is in the kitchen chopping vegetables and I’m kneeling on the couch in front of the window. Our house has a bay window, a divided-lite window—the kind with lots of little panes of glass. I can’t see out of the window because the dryer has fogged it up, so I draw on the condensation instead. These panes of glass are 50 years old and you are 25 years in the future.

Continue readingHow to fold laundry

I want to sell you the world

Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand

Last night I watched the first episode of Our Planet, a Netflix Original David Attenborough series. It has been on my radar for a while and I wanted to watch it, but I also knew it wasn’t going to be comfortable viewing. I was right. I desperately wanted to look away, to close my ears, as my TV flickered with images of skyscraper-sized chunks of Greenland iceberg crashing into the sea and Attenborough spoke of how the polar regions are warming faster than the rest of the planet.

Continue readingI want to sell you the world