Tuesday, May 11, 2010

remedy, ambition and contradiction

We've been cooped up at home with a cold. All three of us are snuffly and coughing and generally miserable. Although it's very autumny and crisp the sun is still bright and welcoming and there have been some lovely warming moments spent on the balcony (all rugged up with a cup of tea in hand). Remedies have come in the form of lemon & honey tea, reading Vogue and the following delicious treats:

  • Macro organic crunchy peanut butter (without doubt the best)
  • freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • local mandarins
  • rice crackers/corn crackers/ryvitas with avocado, hummus and tomato
  • spelt sourdough pumpkin bread (common ground bakery)

The laptop has been open all day long, sitting on the table and I've been writing intermittently. It's a nice way to work actually. Typing in tune with spontaneous bursts of inspiration.

While reading the June issue of Vogue (gorgeous Samantha Harris graces the cover) I stumbled across an article by the fabulous Felicity Loughrey. "Relight My Fire" is about ambition and the loss of it as we age. Within the first paragraph Loughrey states that perhaps her ambition "...fell out with the placenta," (she's a mother of two). It sparked a plethora of thoughts, most in relation to my return to professional writing. It has interested me how many people have expressed their relief that I'm 'using my degree' or embarking on a 'professional journey' again. Because apparently teaching yoga isn't all that recognised in the big wide world of success. Sure it doesn't pay all the bills but it sure does make me a better person/partner/mother/writer.

After three-and-a-half years of living in the beautiful and very protected bubble of pregnancy and motherhood stepping back into the professional game has been daunting and nerve wracking. But it has also sparked my ambition in a way I never anticipated. I'm reading more articles, newspapers and magazines than I have in years. I'm inspired by the people I'm meeting and I've gained confidence in my ability to evoke emotion with words. But does this ambition allow me the time and energy to bake bread, grow a vegie garden and spend countless afternoons at the beach with Che? Theres no way I'll let it stop me being the mother I want to be...I've just got to find a way to make it all work together.

Contradiction is a good way of describing how I feel sometimes. Do you ever have that feeling? For instance, if someone was to ask me how I would describe myself as a mother I would say: "I'm an earth mother with a penchant for designer clothes." I love love love going into the city with some spending money and immersing myself in boutique shops - clothes, bags and T2. And yet there is no way I could live in a city (I've tried before and I found it utterly exhausting). Yoga has encouraged me to simplify and declutter but I'm still a long way off from living simply. I love the opportunity to spend a morning at a local cafe and yet sometimes I think it would be ideal to move far away into the country hillsides and live on a property.

Daniel and I have been watching past episodes of Grand Designs and the most inspiring building we've seen is the Woodman's Cottage in Sussex. It really made us think about how unnecessary all our stuff is and how one day, we would love to live simply and sustain-ably, in-tune with the environment. I just wish I could successfully stifle my deep yearning for new clothes. There-in lies the contradiction.

For now I'll sip my tea and write my dreams and perhaps one day soon, in this very space, you'll read of our leap of faith as we venture into the hillside (sounds romantic, doesn't it?) x


  1. I love that motherhood has given me an air of possibility. I don't think my ambition has dimmed, merely altered. I am every so glad of that.

  2. I feel the same way about myself. I'll go months without buying an item of clothing for myself, but when I do, it's usually something more expensive. I feel like such a contradiction, since we definitely life more simple and sustainably otherwise.

    I actually consider myself more ambitious since the birth of my son! I've always had things I dreamed about doing, but never the courage to actually make them happen. He makes me feel as though I could do anything. I love that feeling.

  3. I agree with some of what the two ladies have already said on here. I am ambitious, but in a very different way since having had Luna. I'm an ambitious mother, partner, thinker, and humanitarian. Before, I was ambitious about pursuing my MFA in fiction, now I'm not ... I understand the priorities in my life, and, just as I've reshuffled those, I've reshuffled my ambitions. Great and thoughtful post!

  4. I feel like I could have written this post. Around the same time I entered motherhood, I also started an online business, selling my art. It was very successful from the get-go but I struggled with balancing mothering and ambition. I always felt guilty about wanting to do one when I was doing the other.
    Fast forward a few years and I'm STILL in the same place emotionally (with two sons now) but I have a better handle on how to make it work. I took a year long hiatus from the art world and I am now gathering myself up again to make an entrance in a few months time, this time with full-time child care a few times a week. I know that for me it' the only way I can balance my two loves.
    I wish you the best on your journey. Your honest blog posts helped me "fill my well" when it was near dry in those many dark months without creativity.

  5. Jodi, Did you also read the women's edition of Good Weekend, in the Sydney Morning Herald. I still have it, and the article you refer to. Both have had me pondering. We MUST natter over it with a chai in hand soon. We keep saying it, but it never happens.

  6. I like your thoughts here. I know my mother sees maintaining a professional career while having a couple of kids as a paramount importance. I, on the other hand can't help but think women like us have moved on since then. Life isn't all just about work and family at least not for those who think more deeply. We are all complex entities with different needs and desires and there's something fabulously human and wonderful about that. Of course we can't be defined by one single thing whether that be the city/house we live in, the clothes we like or the children, partner and job we choose. We are all changing all of the time (and yoga is a great tool for helping ground us!). Thank goodness, there is such choice and freedom for us nowadays if complexity and challenge also! And thank you for writing the article. It inspired me. I think our only real aim in life should be to best we can be. How great for your loved ones to have you in their lives. To dream dreams is easy. Only the brave follow them!

  7. Beautiful post- you certainly do have a way with words. I hope I can get back to a sense of ambition one day too, Right now mine is all over the place up and down... but that's OK, because my whole life is up and down. I am a bit of a contradiction too, you can't be a perfect earth mother living in this world and day and age. You just make little changes each step of the way. I would love to retreat to a little cottage... one day. xo m.

  8. Oh yes! I must comment and say I feel the same way. But really, how can one not be a contradiction in this crazy world we live in? There is always so much coming at us that causes us to question who we really are. But as long as one stays rooted in their foundation, then I think it's okay. Beautifully written.

  9. Ah I've been thinking about this since I read it the other day Jodi. I think motherhood merely reconfirmed my *beliefs*...but perhaps that doesn't make me the lucky one. I feel the world we live in combined with the ego makes me question myself still or even feel *simple* for desiring a simple life...you know?

    So glad you are on the mend.

  10. Oh Jodi, I feel the same way! It's a constant conversation I have with myself - should I move to the country? Or stay in the city? I want to live a simpler life, but I always find an excuse to stay put in my comfy one bedroom apartment in the city. Perhaps we just need to go! I think human beings are very adaptable, perhaps it's just fear of the unknown that holds us back. Oh boy! Now I'm feeling inspired to pack up and move bush again! : )