Robbie in his sleeping bag in bassinet on way home – an hour before landing in Sydney
It’s 8am Sunday morning Sydney time; 3pm LA time, and we’ve been travelling (including car, airport transfers and actual time in the air) for something like 28 hours. We just missed our connecting flight to Canberra so I’m mainly writing this to stay awake. And because I wish someone had wrote it for us before we travelled!
Last Sunday, Simon and I flew Virgin Australia Canberra – Sydney – LA – San Jose and then the final leg was a 2.5 hour car ride to Pacific Grove.
Why did you go all this way with a 6-month old, you ask? We were both invited to participate in a really amazing week of strategizing big picture ‘breakthroughs’ to get progress on climate change with about 25 amazing climate folk from around the world. It was called the Climate Strategy Accelerator, convened by three big philanthropic foundations: Packard, Oak and Good Energies.
The meeting was a challenging, inspiring and profoundly thought-provoking experience that I suspect will prove life-changing for many of its participants, either through the ideas we came up with or the relationships we formed. But to write about that would require more brain capacity than I have right now, in my jet lagged and sleep deprived state.
So, to the practical lessons learnt from the journeys there and back. In no particular order, here are my ten commandments of international travel with a 6 month old.
It. Gets. Better.
Robbie is now almost six months, and as I write this he is asleep. He went down at 9am and I know he won’t wake up until 11am. (In fact, if the past week is anything to go by, I am going to have to open the curtain at 11.15 to encourage him to wake up – he’s such a sleepyhead now!).
This morning, we woke him up at 7.30 and spent a beautiful hour and a half playing on the sunny bed in our front room (yes, we now have our own bedroom separate from Robbie – so great), reading books (both of us) and practicing rolling (him, not me). Last night, he only woke twice to feed (at 11.30 and 4am), after going down at 6.30pm. So when I woke up this morning, I felt human. Just like I have for the past week.
Robbie’s ‘thinking face’ at 3 and half months
My friends without children ask me what it’s like being a Mum.
I had imagined, before my son was born, that I’d be able to describe my experience. After all, I’d never had any trouble describing other experiences in my life, even very intense ones. I’ve been a journal keeper since I was 11 years old (and it is bloody hilarious to read back over those old entries). I love telling stories. I write. Words flow.
At least, they used to.
Since Robbie was born I’ve barely scraped out four diary entries in four months. And they are short. Things like “I’m so exhausted. Going to try to catch up on sleep today”.
I wanted to write about this time, I really did. Most nights I would compose sentences – even whole paragraphs – in my head. But there’s a wall there, a wall of tiredness, that has stopped my hands from picking up a pen or opening a word document.
But it’s time. Here it is: an attempt to describe what motherhood is like for me.
There’s no doubt my approach to life has changed.
First published on Mamamia
Sunday morning, to the casual observer, looked like a normal weekend at our place. I walked outside, picked up the paper from our front yard and watered the hedge before the Canberra sun got too hot. My husband held our ten-week old son in the shade of the front porch.
But there was a spring in my step and a grin on my face that wasn’t there the day before. Because on Sunday, we woke up to a different world – one that I, and tens of thousands of environmentalists, had been working towards for over a decade.
In 2005, I was a delegate at the UN climate change talks in Montreal. Ten years later, the world finally has a legally binding agreement aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C by the end of the century (quick recap: burning fossil fuels has already warmed the world an average of 1 degree C over what temperatures were before the Industrial Revolution, causing those once-in-a-hundred year type extreme weather events to become the new normal).
OK, so I haven’t blogged for a long time. The little man is why! 2015 was a very, VERY busy year. I found out I was pregnant in January, gave birth to Robbie on October 2nd and have been adjusting to my new life as a parent since then. Oh, and also worked with my amazing team at WWF-Australia to deliver the best Earth Hour ever. And edited a cookbook, Planet to Plate. And helped build a network of farmers passionate about tackling climate change. And bought a house. Yep, it’s been a big year. Not much time for blogging. But I’ll try to do more now… when Robbie is sleeping (which is rare!).
So, after the success of our 2014 documentary, which Channel Ten very kindly aired for us just before lights out, we decided to make another one in 2015. This one is close to my heart, and I’m very proud of it. It features some very amazing farmers that I’m proud to call my friends, and is all about the reason I got involved in climate change campaigning in the first place – the impact of extreme weather on food and farming. It was made by the amazing team at Woody. Enjoy!