Gabriela Antonini

Gabriela Antonini chronicles snapshots of her moments on her Instagram @g_and_tribe, in between racing one of her three lively children, sharing chocolate with her theologian husband, feeding her ever-hungry progeny or singing lyrics wrong with the hubs. She is often found with her nose in a book, at the beach, up a tree or carrying around a teapot. Born in Slovakia, a childhood spent in Melbourne, she now lives in Perth heartily appreciating its exquisitely mild weather.

teachable

“If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding” (Proverbs 15:32 NLT).

What does being teachable mean to you? I’ve been contemplating what I believe it to mean and how I reflect this in my life.

I have a procedure I try to implement when it comes to critical feedback. It’s worthy to note that by critical and criticism, I do not mean an attack. I mean an evaluative suggestion of improvement or observation from another (usually well-meaning) individual.

When I hear criticism, I hold it temporarily; assess if it is something I need to take on board or not. If this process of reflection brings light to a change I could make which would be beneficial, I endeavour to do so and take steps to do so. If my thoughtful consideration doesn’t deem the change valuable, I catalogue it or dismiss it.

There is so much good that can come from giving thoughtful feedback, asking for thoughtful feedback and receiving thoughtful feedback.

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at-home-role

In my household we’ve undergone a change in our previous roles.

At this point my husband’s main duty is to be the stay-at-home parent. My main duty is being the full-time student or as I’ve been treating it, the away-parent.

NGL, I totally struggled with this. My husband had completed a lengthy and arduous degree and had been applying for work to no avail. It felt right to be ‘my turn’ to dip into some studies. To indulge in some learning and career interests of my own. I thought this would be a welcome relief.

However, I continued to carry the mental load.

Well, still continue. I struggle not to think about the things the kids need to get done after school, what needs to be done at home, which social events are forthcoming with preparations needed, and things the kids are going through that I want to check up on.

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lifestyle-undesigned

Have you heard of the concept ‘lifestyle design’?

It’s this idea that a person can take control of and design their own lifestyle, a concept that is supposed to have garnered a lot of interest due to an inspirational book ‘Four Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss. Basically, the idea that you can change how you think and what you do in your lifestyle in order to find fulfilment in your routine and way of life.

When I heard this, I thought as parents, we had no such luxury available to us.

Our lives, whether intended or not, will revolve to some extent around our children.

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research-prepare

When I’m faced with something new, I research.

I gather all the possible knowledge and tales of experience I can carry. Books, journals, magazines, people, Google, are all valuable resources.

When I faced parenthood at a young age, this was my tactic. Learn it all. Download the intel and execute exceptional parenthood.

It may seem that I grasped at a semblance of control over the uncontrollable for the illusion of being prepared. It did give me some peace though, and it armed me with some tools to use in moments that were beyond me. Most used was prayer; my mantra was a prayer for knowledge, wisdom and patience. I begged for the way to know what to do, the best way to do it, and to grow some capacity to withstand the struggles.

The thing that the research didn’t prepare me for was the overwhelming love.

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embracing-mediocre

My Instagram feed is like my wardrobe – eclectic.

There’s no one particular theme to the accounts I follow. I tend to gravitate to those whose creativity, or style, or perspective, or habits, or environment, or language inspire me.

Then there are the simpler accounts, casual personal accounts like my own, owned by wonderfully mediocre women like myself. Who take the photos with their phones, some snaps blurrier than others and the kids are usually dressed by themselves and not a sponsor* (*If you’re a brand who sends clothes to InstaMums for features– holler, my kids are size 3, 7 & 8).

These unprofessional, personal, heartfelt accounts, I think, are imperative to my Instacommunity.

They remind me of games I might like to play with my children again, or a beach I haven’t visited in a while, or give me insight into what a Northern hemisphere Christmas must be like. They also aren’t polished to the point where I wish my life or house or kid’s wardrobe was more like theirs. Their spaces and days are similar enough to my own. It’s a little bit of ordinary that I need to see, so that I do not get trapped in the habit of comparison. As I frequently tell my children, “comparison is the thief of joy” (Thanks Theodore Roosevelt).

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discussing-money

I remember as a child being told, “We can’t afford it.”

I’ve heard myself say to my children, “We can’t afford it.”

It confounded me when I heard it and I didn’t feel right when I said it, so I made a conscious decision to stop saying it.

I thought more deeply not only about what information I was passing on, but also what attitude and what picture of a relationship with money I was modeling.

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beautiful-simplicity-daily-habits

Morning or night person,

routine-driven or spontaneous person,

melancholy or sanguine person;

we all have a unique blend of characteristics that shape how we live out our days. Whichever of these we are, whatever it is we do, it’s important to take stock and reflect if what we’re doing is working for us.

Every now and then I begin a new habit, sometimes to replace an old one and sometimes to add to my current ones. Being intentional about my habits helps me to spend my days the way I want to spend my life.

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parenting-change

I turn on my phone and I read about Charlottesville, about atrocities around the world… I feel helpless. What can this person that I am do to ignite change and inspire love? What difference can I make to the world? I’ve not got substantial amounts of money to donate, or time to give or even much of a sphere of influence. I read, I cry and I pray but as a person of faith I believe I am also called to action. As a builder of community and kingdom, I believe that whatever it is I can do, I need to do. Thus, I need to take stock of what I can do, and at first, it doesn’t seem like much. As Arthur Ashe’s well known quote is drummed into my memory, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”, I go ahead and make a list.

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