As a new mum, I recently downloaded the Wonder Weeks app. The theory goes, that rather than just the conventional 'growth spurts' and 'milestones' - teething, rolling, sleep regression etc - babies have 'Wonder Weeks'. These are the weeks when they are tackling some massive new mental shift: noticing patterns, for example, or moving from jerky mental transitions to smoother thought-processes. And with each great jump in learning, certain signs and difficulties arise - the app aims to show parents how to help with these and encourage whatever 'leap' is in progress.
The creators mention that Wonder Weeks may not stop after babyhood.
This sounds about right to me. Throughout childhood, teens and even adulthood, perhaps we continue to have weeks when we are making pretty major mental adjustments - and getting moody, tired or confused as a result.
This week has been something of a wonder week for me, in fact. It's been a week of transitioning back to work after 3 months' maternity leave. That's not a long break: a little part of me wishes I had a solid year to sit and gaze at my precious first-born. But running my own business means I have to take the bad with the good. I don't get a nicely funded, cut-and-dry maternity leave - but I do get to be in charge of my existence, my work and my own approach to parenting. That doesn't make it any easier at this point though. I'm grappling with mum-guilt because I'm not waving toys and singing disney songs all day long; instead, I'm reading emails aloud to my daughter or narrating admin tasks while rocking her in the sling or bouncy chair. I'm also figuring out the process of getting myself ready for work in the morning while ensuring she's fed, changed, cuddled and happy. Recent days have involved a last-minute granny session to cover an important meeting about Griffin + Bell TV, lunchtime tag-teaming with Matt, and plenty of trips to cafes, so the little one would be soothed into pram-induced sleep, allowing me to get things done.
And yes I feel somewhat exhausted and overwhelmed. But each day it gets a bit more manageable. As Matt says, you can only overcome the seemingly big issues by battling through each tiny problem one by one, until you find, to your surprise, that you've got a system nailed.
It's also been a wonder week for the business. We're making the big move from being a tuition agency and educational consultancy, to a new world of offering online video tutorials via Griffin + Bell TV.
Parents, remember your kids and teens are experiencing wonder weeks too - and think about how you can best support them. Whether it's something as huge as starting a new school or going through a proper set of serious exams, or something apparently more trivial, like adapting to a new homework routine or a change within friendship groups, this world never stops throwing new and challenging things at us. The hardest bit is viewing those tough weeks as wonders rather than trials.
My little girl is currently discovering the 'world of events', according to my handy app. What shall I call this wonder week for me? The 'world of the working-mum'? Or perhaps more accurately, 'The world of getting everything done one-handed, with less than 6 hours sleep and a very tiny (adorable) boss telling you when you are and are not free to do your job.' Looks like that's my new normal.