Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world; no holidays, no sick pay and no dental. It has got its perks though, you get to love and cherish your own little baby.
Adriel Booker makes parenting look like a piece of cake; combining her love for her children with her love for writing, she certainly deserves her part in Australia’s up and coming parenting influencers for 2016!
Adriel’s story will give you all the feels; you’ll laugh, cry and feel all of the things in between. She’ll inspire you and encourage you to turn your hardest times into your most educating, as well as finding your feet in a new place.
Adriel will leave her mark on you, and you won’t regret letting her and her story into your life.
What is your name?
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My husband and three sons and I live in Newtown (in Sydney’s inner west) where we lead a non-profit youth organization. I’m a youth worker, writer, speaker, and—of course—a proud boy mum to a five and six year old, as well as a six week old. My husband is a Sydney boy but I’m originally from Oregon in the USA. Although I miss it and always jump at the chance for a visit, I think trading my mountain views for city life and weekends at the beach has been pretty awesome. I adore Sydney and wouldn’t choose anywhere else to live even if I could. My passions are women’s issues, parenting, politics, and theology… you know, just light dinner conversation topics. (Ha!) When I’m not taking myself too seriously I love rummaging through used book or record stores, lounging on the beach, reading, and sleeping in (or at least fantasizing about someday sleeping in!).
What is the name of your blog?
I write under my name—AdrielBooker.com
How did you get into blogging and what inspired you to start up your website Adriel Booker?
Like many mums, I first started my blog a few months after having my first son in 2010. After adjusting my work hours and public speaking schedule around the needs of my new baby, I found myself needing an outlet for my “grown up” thoughts and to help make sense of my new life that now wrapped itself around motherhood. When I began writing, I had never read a blog before—the whole medium was so new to me. I quickly fell in love as it connected me to other mums and writers and women who were passionate about my same interests.
Tell us a bit more about what your social media/ blogs include…
I’m probably most known for writing about motherhood—the wonder and heartache and challenge and hot, beautiful mess of it all. I don’t shy away from the hard stuff and some of my most popular posts have been about dealing with gender disappointment in pregnancy, dealing with anger, wading through the grief of miscarriage, and how to thrive as a first time mum. Other reader favourites have been DIY and decorating posts, party planning resources, and travel posts including a series on our year living in a renovated vintage caravan with our two young kids while travelling around Australia. With Christmas coming up, I have another popular post that surfaces every year with over 100 ideas for Christmas countdown activities—it’s heaps of fun. I also use my blog and social as a platform to raise awareness and resources related to maternal health and other women’s issues in the developing world, which ties in with our family’s non-profit work.
Do you have any future plans for your blog/ social media in the next few years?
At the moment I’m working on my first book, which is about my experiences with three consecutive miscarriages and how they’ve helped shape my mothering, my faith, and how I live my life. It’s an area I’m passionate about—peeling back the layers of stigma on the difficult aspects of parenthood and helping to normalize the many different experiences we have as mums and dads. As such, I’ll continue to write about motherhood and faith and life on my blog. My other area of passion that surfaces often on my blog (and social media channels) is advocating for maternal health and other women’s issues in the developing world. I lead an online initiative called the Love A Mama Collective and rally thousands of women every year for an annual Mother’s Day Drive to raise clean birth kits and other maternal health resources and midwifery scholarships for women who don’t have access to health care like we enjoy in Australia. To date we’ve raised close to 20,000 clean birth kits and have distributed them all over the world in places like Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Togo, Uganda, India, and Sudan.
You write a lot about being a first time mum – what is something you wish someone had told you before about being a mum?
I wish someone had told me that I could trust myself more and relax as I learned to care for my baby. In my zeal to be a great mum I read a ton of parenting books and they ended up confusing me and leaving me feeling like I was somehow doing things wrong if my baby wouldn’t sleep or follow whatever other pattern the books promised. The reality is, being a first time mum is both magical and exhausting, and although we can all recognize similar feelings and experiences, we each have our own path to forge as we become students of our babies and grow into our own skin as mothers. I wish I would have known that it was okay to feed my baby to sleep or not worry about a schedule or hold him as much as I wanted to. By the time I had my second son, much of my parenting philosophy had been turned on its head (in a good way) and I cared for him much differently—by following his lead rather than always trying to force him into following mine. I also wish someone would have been open and vulnerable with me about how common miscarriage is and how devastating it can be. When we lost our first baby I was blindsided and had no idea how to process what had happened. It would have been nice to know I wasn’t alone in that heartbreak.
What are three things that you should buy before preparing for a newborn?
I don’t know how anyone survives the newborn days without babywearing! I have an Ergo baby carrier, a Moby-style wrap, and a ring sling and I use one or more of them every single day without fail. (I have a six week old right now!) I also love a great pram (we have a City Select that I adore!), and—of course—a fantastic camera to document it all (I have a Panasonic Lumix GF-1 that I love).
What is your top tip for baby proofing the house?
We don’t spend a lot of time baby-proofing because we’d rather focus on teaching our babies how to navigate around the house and keep their little hands off what needs to be kept off! In saying that, baby gates across stairs and wall socket protectors are the two items we’ve dutifully used with each of our babies.
You describe your home as ‘tiny’ – what are three ways you have made it feel bigger that our readers can apply at home?
Actually, the home we’re living in now isn’t tiny, but we did live in a tiny vintage caravan for a year before we moved into Newtown. (And, yes, it was as romantic AND as hectic has you’d imagine!) One of the things I loved about living in the van was that everything in there had a purpose and a place. It helped us to cut down on junk and clutter and excess and also helped us to be deliberate about staying organized. Because it was a small space we had to be really intentional with keeping things tidy. My boys were three and four at the time and even they learned how to keep their bunks and toys clean and organized. It made for a much calmer, peaceful, cozy little home for all us. Living in a tiny space also forced us to be creative—we had to think creatively about cooking, clothing, hospitality, you name it. Sometimes I miss the creativity that was born out of necessity in our tiny space.
Editors Note **
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