12 Learnings in the Past 12 Months, Carolyn Taylor

Penned by long time friend and Caci Brand Partner, Carolyn Taylor follows up with a highly anticipated sequeal to her 40 Things I Learnt at 40 blog—12 Learnings in the Past 12 Months.

In a catastrophically awesome turn of events and since my last blog for Caci, I find myself with an unexpected yet entirely welcome new label to attach to my identity - that of ‘Mum’!

Firstly, I can’t believe it’s been a year since I penned the '40 things I’ve learned at 40' blog. Let me tell you, never in my wildest dreams could I have ever predicted the year I was about to enter into and all I’d learn in the year that was to follow.

Finding out I was pregnant ON my 40th birthday is something that blows my mind on the daily as I look down at our little man, Jasper James. Never could I have imagined I’d be blessed with the birthday present of a child, considering I was in the thick of perimenopause at the time and had been told it was ‘basically impossible and incredibly unlikely’ that I’d ever be able to conceive naturally. Let me tell you, the main thing I’ve learned since my 40th birthday? Life has its own plans and you can’t be the boss of when or if they happen, TIME will take care of things.

Sticking with the kind of format you’re familiar with from yours truly, I’m going to jump into the top 12 things I’ve learned (or re-learned) about TIME these past 12 months. This is written through the lens of ‘new Mum’ but I hope you get something out of it to take and fit into whatever you’re up to and wherever you’re at in life right now!

  1. Take TIME to listen to your intuition
    On your 40th birthday and for a few weeks before, you’d been weeing heaps and wanting to eat kiwifruit every day. You know you don’t need to wee that much normally, and kiwifruit isn’t even a fruit you like. Weird. Along with that, you have always loved drinking Veuve Champagne, so why the heck wouldn’t you all of a sudden – especially on the night of your 40th birthday? You go pee on a stick despite the fact you ‘know’ you couldn’t possibly be pregnant and you feel like a bit of a twit even bothering, but behold – two pink lines come up (and because only expletives came out of my mouth at the time in shock, I shall not write exactly what I said when I saw them) but blimey, intuition is everything. Sadly, the Veuve wasn’t touched but I got a far better birthday present instead ha!
  1. Who needs a clock to measure TIME anyway?
    Since becoming a Mum, time is now measured in new metrics. See below:
    Seconds – are measured by the baby smiles that take your breath away
    Minutes – are measured by the baby crying, my gawd those minutes feel like an eternity
    Hours – are quite simply measured in how much sleep I got the night before. Those hours determine the mood I’m in for the next 24 of the things haha
    Days – are measured by when the baby’s last poo was. Forget Monday to Friday, I generally don’t know what day it is anymore, but ask me when JJ last pooped? Oh, I’d be able to tell you at the drop of a hat!
  1. TIME for a new skincare routine
    Nights will be when you will have your ‘pamper and take care of you time’. When Jasper sleeps through the night for the first time, you’re almost mad about it because it strips you of your opportunity to ‘night spa’.
    Let me elaborate: At the end of each night feed I treat myself with a ‘three step middle-of-the-night skin regime’ as made up by me and provided by Murad!
    Step 1. before hitting the hay - standard night routine of cleanse, tone, serum and moisturise using the Murad Hydration 'gang’.
    Step 2. round 2am – after this feed has finished, I generally go to the loo and then apply Nightfix Enzyme Treatment. 
    Step 3. round 5am – after the feed has finished it’s Murad Multi Vitamin Infusion Oil's turn to work its magic till wake-up time.
    Without the night feeds, my ‘me time/take care of skin time’ diminishes greatly. I know most new mums want this night to arrive quickly, I didn’t, and needless to say it’s not happened since. Great for my skin, not so great for my sleep!
  1. TIME to grow
    The 9 months of pregnancy speeds by. You’re one of those weird women who want it to last longer. Knowing it’s highly likely that you’ll never be pregnant again, you make a point of enjoying your ever-changing body and marvel at all it’s doing to create a tiny human and keep it safe in there. It’s truly miraculous that a woman’s body only needs a sperm and an egg and her body takes care of the rest. The eyelashes, the beating heart, the teeny weeny fingernails, the smallest fingers you ever did see…9 months?! Whatever our personal experiences of pregnancy are (and trust me I know I got lucky, it’s horrendous for some, of that I am aware, and I sympathise) then ‘wham’ there’s this new little human…is quite frankly something I’ll never get my head around. How in those 9 short months a human is ‘built’, is incredible and quite honestly if I never do anything noteworthy from this point on in my life, I won’t care. I’ve already been witness to what my body can do when I was under the impression it couldn’t, and those 9 months are something I will always treasure and miss, as time only gives you a short ‘pregnancy window’ in the grand scheme of things.
  1. Everything becomes a personal TIME trial
    You never realised how self-indulgent you were with your ‘get ready in the morning time’ until you suddenly had none. Actually, make that ALL time…Your days become a personal ‘time trial’ where each gap of when JJ is sleeping (if he does) quite literally become like your own personal Olympics, racing to beat yesterday's ‘personal best time’ of smashing things off your ‘to do list’! Never will you be so good at forward planning what you’ll do with your next free 20 minutes because 20 minutes goes damn fast and if you only get a few 20 minute blocks during the day, you’d best be on your ‘A-Game’. If you’d asked me 12 months ago if 20 minutes was a long time, I’d have said ‘hell no’! Now? It’s all the time I need to get a whole lot accomplished. Perspective around time changes massively when you suddenly have a whole lot less for yourself…On my marks, get set, go!
  1. TIME is short
    I don’t mean for this particular learning about time to sound morbid, but it has the potential to be so. Never in my life have I thought so much about mortality and the fact that one day I’ll not be here. From giving birth and being reminded that we were all once this little – a helpless baby human to a fully-fledged ‘adult ‘seems like it’s happened in the blink of an eye. Looking back at the years that were brutal, months that were hard, minutes that are remembered yet long gone, I can’t believe I’ve been alive for nearly 41 years already. It’s heart-breaking to even think about not being in the same world one day as our beautiful son. Some nights I just look down at him and wish time would stop and keep us held in these precious moments forever, with him snuggled up safely in my arms. It’s a weird thing, when you want to suspend time yet knowing that’s impossible. It’s a constant reminder to be present, not wish time away, be still and just enjoy…because one day, not too far from now, life won’t look the same for any of us. The beauty in knowing this, is that I hope to treasure ‘normal’ a whole lot more than I used to. It’s the boring and normal moments when I’m still in my pyjamas at 10am, eating breakfast at 2pm and writing blogs at 10.24am on a Sunday... while my husband and son have some ‘man time’ out and about. That I’ll miss the most and cherish forever.
  2. TIME for the groceries
    You’ll look forward to grocery shopping cause it’s no joke what they say, it actually is ‘you time’. Perusing the isles slowly for basic stuff like toilet paper suddenly brings you joy. You find yourself having a have chuckle about this one day as you throw a 12 pack into your trolley and the older lady next to you also grabbing loo paper looks sideways at you with the ‘poor woman, she’s clearly lost her marbles’ kind of look. I beam a smile back at her and she scurries on, probably wondering what on earth I find so amazing about toilet paper.
  1. Take the TIME to revaluate what ‘success’ actually is
    Since being a Mum, I measure success differently.
    It’s a nice long walk in the sunshine with JJ.
    It’s being able to enjoy a skin treatment in clinic at Caci Mt Eden and not having to cancel because JJ is in a ‘great mood today’ and will chill while I get a TREATment.
    It’s a snooze that lasts longer than 30 minutes.
    It’s having a snuggle with my son and breathing in his baby smell, knowing that one day soon he will smell different, and no longer (heartbreakingly) like my new born baby.
    It’s getting dinner prepared before lunchtime, knowing that you never know what’s going to happen after 2pm each day.
    It’s eating that dinner with both hands and having ten minutes to do so.
    It’s having a snuggle on the couch with your husband when the baby goes to sleep cause you both (for a moment) have your eyes open at the same time.
    It’s catching up with a friend for an hour for a wine and chat and then really looking forward to going home instead of staying out.
    Success to me is now all the small things I took entirely for granted only 9 short months ago.
  1. Appreciate the people who take the TIME
    You’re able to, as a new mum, realise you were a rather slack friend to the friends of yours who became mothers before you! You didn’t know what they needed, and in hindsight it certainly wasn’t just your company, chocolate, wine and some lame jokes. As a new Mummy you quite quickly see who the lovely and kind people are in your life. Strangers and friends alike. Whether it be that tradie who lets you cross the road with your pram despite there not being a pedestrian crossing, or that Mum who’s been a Mum for years already on the way to ‘school drop off’ who will wait for you when you’re still crossing the road even though the light turned green, then give you a smile that says, “enjoy those moments they go so fast, look at mine in the back seat”, to the friend who goes out of their way to make themselves available to help with meals, drop offs of clothes their kids have grown out of so JJ can use…kindness is everywhere. It blows my mind and it reminds me that if we really care, we make the time. Plain and simple.
  1. TIME happens. Control the controllables.
    You want a reminder of ‘time’ and how persistent it is? Look down at the skin on your hands while you’re holding your nudey rudey baby boy with his porcelain perfect skin…Skin is the one indicator we all have that reminds us of time as we age with it. Our skin shows us how we have taken care of ourselves and what’s happened to us - our scars, our freckles, our wrinkles, we are all aging and there’s nothing we can do about it, so why bother. We can however choose to just take care of ourselves at each age and stage. Inside (by doing the work and being accountable for ourselves) and outside (by visiting Caci ha).
  1. TIME teaches us to be calculated
    You want to know how a baby is feeling? Holy moly they will tell you and they will have no qualms about it! They don’t need words, they don’t ‘allude’ to things, they don’t and can’t lie, they don’t try and ‘say things just right’ they just communicate exactly what IS for them with absolutely zero agenda. I love that about babies. I wish adults would do the same and just cut the BS that we sometimes throw at each other. Time teaches us to ‘think before we speak’ and yes, I agree there is absolute sense in that for many situations – I don’t want us to go out there and get ourselves fired or anything, but how amazing would it be if communication just was what it was?

  2. TIME to be grateful
    Life is hard, then it’s happy, then it’s brutal, then it’s surprising. All I know is that things change and evolve all the time and being grateful helps weather the storms when they arrive and helps us keep perspective. Practising gratitude also reminds me that when I’m in a glorious phase of life, to enjoy each moment because you never know what’s coming next.

I won’t even blame hormones for some of my more ‘emo’ learnings this past year. It’s just I guess, that when something life altering happens, quite simply, some things won’t remain the same about how you once viewed the world and that’s ok. Hope you enjoy. Thanks for taking some of your precious TIME to read this.

Love Caro x


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