Mother, Nurture & Wild
Offerings from the heart to meet you exactly where you are
<a href='https://mothernurtureandwild.co.uk/mama-take-a-moment-for-yourself-this-imbolc/'>Mama, take a moment for yourself this... Imbolc</a>

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Take a moment for yourself this Imbolc, Mama. Imbolc is a cross-quarter festival, marking the midpoint between the Solstice and the Equinox.  It’s a threshold time.  A time between time.  And in this way Imbolc can remind us...
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There are seasons within motherhood. Nobody told me this beforehand and it took me a few moves between one season and another to really notice them.  And when I did, it was something of a relief to understand.

There are seasons where you’re needed more - more than you imagined possible sometimes, so that you wonder if you can continue meeting it all - and others where you’re needed less intensely. Or just differently. Differently can feel like relief and like loss, sometimes both at the same time.

There are seasons where you have less space or more space or just a different quality of space. Seasons in which how mothering looks and feels from the inside shifts and evolves into something new. 

Sometimes a new season gently rolls in, in a way that was predictable. You had time to anticipate and ready yourself. It arrives and it either is or isn’t how you imagined but you knew it was coming. 

Other times, you wake one day expecting everything to be mostly the same and inexplicably it’s all shifted. Without warning or agreement. 

Space for you

As a Mama there are seasons where you feel more diluted than you’ve ever felt. Your edges floating away almost entirely. For a time that's ok perhaps, necessary even in order that you can mother the way you want to. And at some point you long for a clearer, more separate sense of yourself. 

Sometimes a shift brings more space for you. There’s more childcare, less night duties, school begins, they’re a certain age now, perhaps with older teens you're anticipating them being busy with their own stuff or leaving home for university. When space looks set to open it inevitably comes with anticipation of what that means for you. 

Sometimes you’ve longed for this space - all the things you’ll do with it! - yet when it comes it’s more disorientating that you imagined. You might have become so used to not having space for you that it doesn’t feel like the exhale you thought it would straight away. Despite all the anticipation and future-forecasting you find yourself somehow not getting to the things you thought you wanted.

With less obstacles standing in your way it ought to be easier, right? But self doubt may have chosen this time to raise it's head. Maddening as that is, it makes sense. Bringing something to life in your present feels way more risky than daydreaming into a future time.

Or maybe it just all feels very odd. Did you even really want this, you wonder. You question whether you're ready for this new season you thought you wanted after all.

There's the kids too. They may sail into this new season, seemingly flying. Or maybe it’s a rough ride and you’re extra-needed while they transition.  In that case, you might not always get to be present to your own transition into this new season.

This opening up of space that seemed so simple from a distance feels way more complex up close.

I've learnt that

Seasonal shifts take time to bed in.

For me, at least. Even when my children barely blink before galloping on in, I take more time to look around and feel all the things. 

I see what we’re leaving behind. The joys and the trials. The grief, which is often present, even when I’m so ready for the change. Because like all thresholds I see that moving through also means letting go

I see who they are now. I know them so deeply and there are new things now to learn about who they are, what they need and how I mother them.

I see what’s now possible. For me. The excited catch in my throat of that! But it can take a while to be ready to really lean into that possibility. To trust it. 

With each seasonal shift, I learn more about me. I experience my edges differently, have big feelings to process. There’s the opportunity to become more myself if I take the time to honour what feels important and listen within. 

False starts...

There are plenty of false starts. One foot in one season, one in the next, not fully getting going. Going out thinking it’s sunny and warm and realising I should’ve grabbed a jumper. It’s different now. I’m not sure how to get used to that yet.

And that's ok. Transitions need space and compassion for ourselves.

...new normals

In time it all settles into a new normal. And I’ve learnt this new normal either happens of it’s own accord, with me as passive passenger. Or, anticipated seasonal shift or not, I put myself in choice as I navigate the beginnings of our new season.

Being in choice

In each new season, I can meet myself again: who am I here now and how do I want this to be for me?

I might not have a whole answer right off, but what do I know? Maybe I want more of something and less of something else. I remind myself more knowing will be revealed as I move forward.

If it's been an intense time and you're feeling overwhelmed, let your answers be simple and small to begin with. You can allow this to be a really gentle inquiry. For now, just be curious and wonder.

Things that help

Having navigated a few of my own seasons so far, I want to offer up the three things that have helped the most when I'm transitioning:

1. Self compassion

You can’t always choose or predict a new season of motherhood, whether it drifts in on a Summer breeze or blows in with an Autumn storm. But you can always choose meet yourself in it with massive self compassion. 

~  Understand the disorientation - it makes total sense that you don't have a handle on it all yet. Whichever way a new season arrives it can take a while to adjust.

Allow for the confusion, you’re figuring out this new territory. If there are decisions to make in this new place, it makes complete sense that you feel uncertainty around them to begin with.

Offer yourself space for the grief if there is some - space for all the feelings this shift brings up. They are important. 

Give yourself time to acclimatise - take your time breathing into this new season and getting the lay of the land, don't expect yourself to be aceing it the moment it arrives. There's time.

Put the stick down - it’s ok to not have it all sorted immediately, for it not to feel how you thought it would or how you want it to. It's ok to need time or some kind of support.

If self compassion isn’t easy to access, think about how you would hold space for a beloved friend who was navigating a transition and feeling all the same feelings as you are. How would you speak lovingly and supportively to her? And how could you extend that same compassion and holding to yourself?

2. Nourishment

Transitions are taxing on your system, even if they're wanted.  Be mindful of what you’re needing to give mentally, emotionally and physically.  Know that you'll always feel more resourced if you can find ways of feeding back into the pot.

Reach over and over for your favourite ways to take care of yourself.

3. People to bear witness

I wonder how you could feel supported as you navigate this shift and who could be the best support for you now.

It might be a partner, friend or trusted loved one or maybe others who know your children or understand this place you're in well.

If self doubt, confusion or paralysis are present when you really want to be moving forward, you might find working with a coach supportive.

And if this is a tough transition which is bringing up unresolved stuff from the past, a therapist might be worth exploring.

You are so worthy of the support you need.

And finally...

Shifting season is a process. A messy and imperfect one most often. The best gift you can give yourself is to meet yourself just exactly where you are within it. Allow yourself be on the journey - in the process of becoming - in each and every one of your seasons. Call in the support, speak to yourself gently and take as much care of yourself as you can.

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Coach with me

I love to work with women who are moving between seasons on their Motherhood journey - or wanting to feel more established in the season you're in. If a new season has you confused, self-doubting, disorientated or excited for what's possible here but lacking direction, you might find the support of a compassionate coach really helpful.

Take a look at my coaching journey ‘the Unfolding’ where I walk alongside you for 3 or 6 months to help you root into your next season, create more of what you want for yourself and feel more full you. 

You're so welcome to book in a virtual cuppa with me here to talk about what's happening with you, what you need and see whether we’re a good fit to work together.  I would love to meet with you x

This is particularly for the mums who’ve gained some space and time with the back-to-school of September.  Whether school has started for the first time for you this month or you’ve sunk back into the much-needed routine of it all.  Extra-specially relevant if this is the first time in a long time that you’ve actually had some consistent child free space in your week…

So term has begun.  The first couple of weeks are under your belt.  Hopefully your kids have settled in/back to the extent that you have more headspace.  And now finally it’s time for that epic list you’ve been compiling all Summer (or for 4 years) to have your full attention.

Time for you to finally FINALLY get done all the things you’ve been longing to get on top of.

But you’re exhausted and nothing is happening quickly enough.  Or the thing you imagined would take you a morning has taken you a week and a half and you’ve barely scratched the surface.  Or the thing that seemed like a small hill has revealed itself to be a mountain on closer inspection. 

You’re lacking motivation, certainty, clarity, creative flow or some other elusive magic that would see you flying.

In your head you were going to be aceing it by now and you’re starting to feel down on yourself that you’ve entirely wasted these first couple of weeks.

I feel pretty sure about saying… you haven’t.

It's understandable

If since school went back you haven’t managed to:

~ Choose / pick up / change / sky-rocket your career

~ Start an instantly thriving business

~ Deep clean & declutter your entire house

~ Become a top cross-fitter from a starting point of zero exercise for years

~ See all the people

~ Pick up all the projects

~ Sort out your entire life

~ Do all the other gazillion things you swore you’d do as soon as you had consistent child free time

It is ENTIRELY UNDERSTANDABLE

(And also entirely understandable that you might want some kind of life overhaul)

When space opens up

When long anticipated space opens up it’s so common for us Mums to have pre-loaded a shit ton of expectations on it.  We’ve had a lot of time to think about all the things we’ve not been able to get to!

These expectations are such that you’d have to be a super-human time-traversing being to meet them.  Which you, wonderful as you are, are not. Nor should you attempt to be.

Let's remember...

A week or two is barely enough time to catch your breath, re-discover the ability to string two sentences together and get used to drinking hot cups of tea again.

You have absolutely not failed, fallen short or missed any boats.

At the same time, your frustration and disappointment make complete sense as well.  If consistent child-free time has been a long time coming, if you’ve waited ages to get to all this stuff, of course it makes sense that you want to be cracking on. 

I would offer that it takes time to re-group and get back into the swing.  It takes time to make shifts and changes.  To get something big moving or overhaul some area of your life.  When you’ve anticipated some kind of movement for a while and space for it finally opens up, it’s understandable that you want it to happen immediately – yesterday, ideally.  

And yet, maybe it’s ok that it needs more room to unfold.

What you can do:

If you have disappointment or frustration around your once-the-kids-are-back-at-school plans, here’s what you can do next:

~ Start talking to yourself softly and encouragingly (gently catching yourself when you forget to)

~ Give yourself the grace to really catch your breath and feel how you feel – particularly if this is the first child-free time you’ve had in a long while there may be some exhaling and unravelling to do first

~ Allow this to take the time it takes – how often do we rush ourselves to get on when it might go better if we took that extra time to gather?  And if it is your first consistent space for a long time I’d really recommend a pause before you dive into what’s next.

~ Meet some of your needs that you’ve been putting off for too long – the things that will fill you up so you’re not trying to be productive from a place of empty.

~ Check in with whether you still want all those things you’ve been earmarking for when this space opens up for you – it’s normal to find it feels different once you’re here

~ Ask yourself what you have capacity / appetite / energy for just now – and be honest with yourself

Then (and only then)

~ Choose ONE focus that feels good to be with first 

~ Be realistic about timeframes & expectations of yourself

~ Notice that the self-doubt coming up is a mechanism designed to keep you safe and it's only part of the story

~ Ask yourself (and return again and again to) ‘what is the next most doable step?’

I'm rooting for you x

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Coach with me

If September has felt overloaded with expectations you couldn’t possibly meet and you crave clarity, support, direction or a plan you feel good about, it might be a good time to have some coaching. 

Check out my one-off deep clarity session or my coaching journey ‘the Unfolding’ for longer support. 

You can book in a virtual cuppa with me here to talk about what you need and see if we’re a good fit.  I have space opening up in a couple of weeks time and I would love to meet with you. 

© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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