Parenting - - In This Issue -

Our new colum­nist says it with images

Our new col­umn is about new be­gin­nings. Petra Ba­gust takes us on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery com­bin­ing words and images in a cel­e­bra­tion of cre­ativ­ity, par­ent­hood and eyes wide open.

Stay cu­ri­ous … try some­thing new … or take no­tice. It’s a take on one of the five keys to stay­ing healthy men­tally, (ac­cord­ing to our friends at Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion NZ). With that in mind, here I am try­ing out a col­umn in Par­ent­ing Mag­a­zine. Truth is - I’m also cur­rently try­ing out ched­dar cheese with raisins, in a car­a­van on Great Bar­rier Is­land, where the wind is gust­ing up to 50kms an hour. Last night we shook, rat­tled and rolled as the wind hounded our sleep, sound­ing more like pound­ing rain than fast mov­ing air. Wor­ried I am not, be­cause our car­a­van is still stand­ing and de­spite the shak­ing, I am rugged up with fam­ily close by, a good at­ti­tude and an ipad in my lap.

Coin­ci­dently, this is the same month I re­signed from TVNZ’S Break­fast pro­gramme two years ago, be­gin­ning a jour­ney that now finds me hap­pily sit­ting here, de­scrib­ing my life as a port­fo­lio of ac­tiv­i­ties. The space cre­ated by not work­ing full time has al­lowed me to change how I do life ... and I’d love to share some of my thoughts with you over the com­ing months. I’d also like to hear your sto­ries of life lived in Aotearoa - what in­trigues and in­spires you.

Let’s start from two years ago. 2013 saw me un­em­ployed and tak­ing what I called a sab­bat­i­cal - re­cov­er­ing from the 4:20am starts and a job that felt like a virus was tak­ing over my mind.

Healthy be­hav­iours were at a min­i­mum - ex­tra cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties and cre­ativ­ity - what was that? Let’s not men­tion ex­er­cise, time to talk or lis­ten to the kids and Hamish. If the fam­ily was fed reg­u­larly, it was a suc­cess­ful week. I wasn’t win­ning any prizes for do­mes­tic in­volve­ment - you should have seen my linen cup­board! Truth is, I had started not to see it.

Don’t get me wrong - I loved many of the op­por­tu­ni­ties on Break­fast. I got to cover the Christchurch earth­quakes and be use­ful to peo­ple around the coun­try. Re­port on the Royal Wed­ding, an elec­tion, the Olympics, even our own Rugby World Cup. I can hap­pily say I loved my last three months on air - it's just that TVNZ’S Break­fast wasn’t the job for me or my fam­ily long term.

The joy of own­ing my own mind again was sig­nif­i­cant. The joy of be­ing home and present for my three young chil­dren was com­pelling. I quickly added read­ing, ex­er­cise and a few cre­ative out­lets to my life.

One of those out­lets was Instagram. As the proud owner of a dusty BFA (Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts) it was won­der­ful to have a su­per easy way to ex­press stuff vis­ually. I started look­ing around me and notic­ing the beauty in the familiar again, like the change of the sea­sons. I went through a ‘tree photo’ phase, which helped me re­dis­cover the place I lived, and the in­her­ent good­ness of it all.

The sky, it turns out, had been show­ing off all the time, and I had fi­nally taken no­tice. It was like flex­ing an un­used mus­cle, which is now grow­ing strong again. I see things that used to pass me by. I’ll catch my­self say­ing to the kids – “wow - look at the way the light hits those clouds”, or “do you see that sil­hou­ette of the build­ing against the sky?”. The thou­sand-plus fol­low­ers I have on Instagram came af­ter TVNZ, I feel like they be­long to me (in a nice way), they feel earned.

So, if it’s ok with you, I’d like to take you on a jour­ney over the next few months, us­ing my Instagram feed. Lets see where we end up – it’ll be a win­dow into my world, and some of the ways I am cur­rently stay­ing cu­ri­ous.

It was Hum­ble be­gin­nings - my first Instagram. six months be­fore I posted again!

Left to right: Na­tive Pray­ing Man­tis (see the paua like mark­ing on in­side front leg). Read­ing by torch light, in­sect in my lap, this is the 30th photo I took! Faded jaded, glo­ri­ous day on Great Bar­rier. Sky Juice - sum­mer net­ball. Glimpse of Auck­land on a


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