Things I have learnt about motherhood so far:
- It is amazing how little sleep you can actually function on.
- Having a shower, getting dressed AND eating breakfast in the morning is an achievement. Anything else is a bonus.
- Have no expectations.
- I will never get to the bottom of the washing pile.
- Transition from house to yurt was stress free.
- Baby and cat bonded beautifully.
- I am not half as tired as I was the first month.
- I am back into my routine of morning meditation.
- I have also started online yoga classes whilst Oak is napping.
- I have been baking and making delicious home cooked meals every evening.
- Transition from house to yurt was challenging.
- Baby and cat not compatible, may have to sell at least one of them.
- I have never been so tired in all my life.
- Sometimes I am so tired I can't remember whether I am awake or asleep. This could be classed as meditation.
- Sometimes I fall asleep face down in whatever position I happen to be in. Almost yoga.
- I fall out of bed and reach for coffee, then tend to eat whatever is within reaching distance.
For some reason I thought that after the first month of having Oak out of hospital I would have settled into motherhood and fallen into some sort of routine, making the move back into the yurt nice and easy. I quickly realised that this was not going to be the case. Motherhood can be challenging, yurt life can also be challenging. I was of course looking forward to finally going home, back to our nest, ready to start family life in the woods, but I started to think about the creature comforts I would miss the most and what we could do to help ease the transition.
The first thing people always ask about yurt life is 'don't we get cold?'. One thing I knew for sure was that it would always be much warmer than any house. We live in a small space which is well insulated and takes no time to heat. We have one big yurt which is our main living space, a smaller yurt which is our bedroom and nursery, and a bathroom shed, all joined together with a central lobby area. Originally we had a woodburner in each yurt, but over the past few months Tom has replaced the woodburner in the big yurt with a small rayburn. This now heats our water for the bathroom, as well as three radiators; one in each room, so it's super cosy and warm.
We have a solar panel which charges leisure batteries which generates enough electricity to run lights, laptops, phone chargers and a quick blast on the juicer and blender. We have recently invested in three new solar panels which will keep us fully charged for longer and mean that we never have to carry batteries in and out of the woods to charge on the mains. We don't have a TV, hair dryer, toaster or any other electrical appliance that we don't see as essential, so mains electricity would not be something I would miss.
One thing we used alot in the house was the super fast WiFi. We took to watching films every evening, Oak watched stimulating baby visuals and listened to relaxing lullabies on you tube, I constantly googled everything I needed to know about motherhood. Amazingly we do actually have WiFi in the woods, however it is limited and not quite as fast. Will we miss it? I think probably not. We can now read more books in the evening, Tom plays his ukulele and Oak loves nothing more than lying on the bed watching the sky light in the yurt and hearing the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof.
When we first moved in we bought a beautiful free standing bath tub, however standing was all it ever did as the hot running water has been a long time coming. Whilst we were in hospital Tom worked endlessly to make this happen and with a combination of water bowsers, pumps, water tanks in trees, complicated pipework and radiators, he finally achieved the miracle of hot running water in the woods. We are able to have hot baths and showers in our very own bathroom, with coloured mood lighting at night and a woodland view during the day.
So we have warmth, we have enough electricity, we have hot running water and a luxury bathroom. We have internet and entertainment. We have a comfy bed, a gas oven to cook on, we have light switches and carpet and mirrors and cushions and a dining table. We have all of our belongings in one small space which is much easier to clean than a big house. We have beautiful views, woodland walks, bird song to wake up to and star lit skies to fall asleep under.
So what do I miss the most? I think it has to be the washing machine. We have always taken our washing away once a week, carrying it in and out of the woods. I was always prepared for having more washing once our yurtling came along but I had no idea how much extra there would be! Oak suffers from reflux which means he is sick ALOT. On himself, on me, on his bed, on our bed. All his clothes need changing at least once a day. It is also incredibly muddy out here at the moment so walking to the car and back will guarantee another dirty set of clothes all round. I thought I may be able to hand wash in the bath, but finding time to do this is impossible. So Tom has discovered something that could potentially change my world! A pedal powered washing machine! This is going to be our next big project. An exercise bike, a washing machine drum, some hot water and detergent is all we need. This way I will be able to get a load of washing done ready to dry in front of the Rayburn and get some exercise at the same time. Double win!
As for the cat; we acquired 'Skip' six days before Oak arrived. She needed a home and we needed a way to keep the mice away. As endearing as it is to find secret stashes of acorns and hazelnuts in your shoes, once they have moved their families in they cause chaos. So just as Skip was settling into yurt life with us our world turned upside down and she has been shipped from one house to the next until life settled down again. Now she is finally back in her home she is feeling a bit put out by our new arrival, and being a kitten still, has no regard for the fact that Oak may not want to play just yet. We recently fitted a collar on her which alarms and flashes when she goes to pounce; this way she should still scare the mice away but not actually catch any wildlife. It is also coming in quite handy for keeping her away from Oak!
So after the initial challenge of readjusting to the mud, the fire lighting, the outdoor toilet and having to be mindful of water and electricity, and despite my tiredness, I am loving being back in our home and introducing Oak to yurt life. We have been going for nice long walks in the woods and watching the world coming back to life as spring is stirring. I pondered giving up chocolate for Lent, but I decided in the end to give up all expectations. My only aim for this year is to be a Mummy and with solar power, pedal power and a little bit of flower power, we will bumble through our days just living, loving and learning. I may even reach the end of the washing pile.
One final thing I have learnt about Motherhood:
It is by far the best job in the world.