So 2013 was not the year for blogging for me, with only a measly handful of posts. No, 2013 was the year in which I worked a lot, was pregnant a lot and had a baby. Which didn’t leave me much time for blogging. However, I’m coming out the other side of those crazy first few months and am already back doing some work. You might think I’m nuts but running your own business means a different set of rules, plus I’m lucky in that I love what I do and never completely tuned out of the wonderful world of L&D even when I was off (well, maybe whilst I was in hospital).
I’ve been through some steep learning curves in my time – leaving home for university, living abroad, carving out a career, setting up two businesses – but becoming a parent is possibly the most epic learning journey I’ve ever been on. Baby Thomas is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me. And even though I wasn’t naive enough to think it would be a cake walk, I have still been amazed by just how much there is to learn. The sheer volume of information available is astonishing but ultimately you have to find your own way through pregnancy, birth and parenthood. There are some great resources out there, and like any good learning journey, it’s about taking the best of the information you can find, then applying that in practice and/or referring to it when you need it.
Funnily enough I have created a blended learning approach without even realising it. My best sources of information have been my peers (friends who now have kids), those senior to me (mum, mother-in-law etc), books, online forums, live demos (hat tip to John Lewis), free resources from suppliers like Boots plus instructor-led training (pregnancy yoga and antenatal classes). I also now have two apps on my phone that I wouldn’t want to be without. In all honestly there is too much information out there and my mum has often joked about how on earth people coped in the good old days before all of these resources existed. But they’re there to be used, so I went about selecting those I found most useful or approachable, sticking with them and filtering out a lot of what I deemed to be superflous. At the end of the day, babies are obviously all different so what works for one won’t work for another. And it’s the very fact that there are no hard and fast rules that generates the wealth of information available.
A lot of it is obviously on-the-job training as well. The saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ was never more true for me than when it came to bringing a baby into the world. I personally think there’s a lot of things people don’t tell you until it’s too late so you can’t back out, but there are all sorts of details like say how to put a baby to sleep in his cot that I was completely unaware of until we got home from hospital with him. Turns out there’s a whole checklist of dos and don’ts that you’re supposed to follow – who knew? Not me until I looked it up online.
I’ve also discovered that parenthood is a very emotive subject and one that everyone has an opinion on. Well meaning friends and relations tell you horrific birth stories when you’re 8 months pregnant (not helpful), or tales of how to get through sleepless nights. I have listened politely to it all and used only snippets that I felt would work for me. And in turn now, I find myself offering advice but trying very hard not to push it on people because ultimately there’s nothing like actually doing it in practice. But despite being uncertain about lots of things and a little on the tired side, it is the most fantastic journey I’ve ever been on. The only real downside has been being awake during the night to watch England’s horrendous performance in the Ashes in real time!
I’m thrilled to be back working and finding a balance between my ‘old’ life BT (Before Thomas) and my new life with him in it. I’m lucky to have a great support system and the best colleagues and clients. Also, the timing is fantastic because one of my first projects is chairing the backchannel for Learning Technologies 2014 which is just around the corner and I can’t wait. Bring on the next learning journey and the continuation of this one which I’m sure is set to last a life time in the best possible way 🙂
P.S: This isn’t going to turn into a baby blog. I have got a separate one of those so this remains focused on L&D, marketing and anything else that floats my professional boat.