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>

Latest post

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...
Read more...
1 2 3 16

December.  Ah, season of twinkly lights, mince pies, massive long lists and over-giving.

I approach it with both a glowy warmth in my chest and an anticipatory tightening somewhere in my gut.  And I know lots of you do too.

From mid-November I started seeing a ripple running through many of my client sessions.  Or perhaps a clench would be more accurate.  One by one the wonderful women I work with were looking at the horizon and anticipating what December and the festive season were going to mean for them.

For those working on their relationship with rest and advocating for their needs there was the very real worry of ‘how do I keep tending to myself when Christmas expectations threaten consume me?’.

We've all gathered plenty of experience around what this season can feel like as a Mama and if we’ve been in the pattern of giving more than we have year after year it makes complete sense that we feel the need to brace for what’s coming.

Christmases past

The conversations I’ve been having got me thinking about Christmases past when (more than once) I ran myself into the ground doing all the things, making all the things, ticking the endless ‘magic-making’ tasks off my list.

I look back on that version of me who was unstoppable in her dogged determination of creating the Perfect Christmas and I feel a lot of feelings.

I’m not sure which was more to blame… capitalist patriarchal ideas of what a ‘good mother’ does at Christmas (you can almost picture the manual, can’t you?)... curated images of perfect Christmases on Pinterest boards and insta accounts... or my old over-working / over-giving tendencies which behind the scenes were being fed by not-enoughness.

A heady combination of all of it, I imagine, meaning my magic-making expectations of myself were way too high.

I knew this at the time on some level because, though there was beauty and joy and I’ve got some great insta-worthy pictures of it all somewhere, I was so tired that I was almost watching from a distance whilst being right there.

Everyone else was for sure enjoying it more than I was.

(If there’s a part of you that read that sentence and thought ‘well everyone else should be enjoying it more’… know that I imagined that to be true once too and now know it isn’t)

At the time I was sure it was coming from pure love for my family.  So much of it was.  But I now see how easy it is to get in the habit of over-giving – giving more than you truly have whilst side-lining your need to resource – and confuse it for piling on all the love.

Christmas present

These days I’m here for a slower and simpler December.  I edit both the list and my expectations of myself down to fewer things and find fewer means more special.

I hit easy buttons, noticing it makes little to no difference to anyone else and a huge difference to me.

I go gently with myself knowing I’m more present - my love more available somehow - when I’m taking care of me too.

I find the more I say no to, the more energy and capacity I have for what I say yes to.

If I could, I’d go back and give myself this knowing sooner.  But knowing it now is all kinds of good.

Finding slow

If in your heart you want simple and slow - giving within your capacity - but your list for the next week or so is saying anything but, here’s a place you can begin:

On your mammoth list or within your internal expectations of yourself for Christmas, find the thing that makes you heavy sigh at the thought of having to do it.  Or the thing for which each year the tiny spark of resentment you have for it grows. 

Imagine what it would feel like to just not do it this year. 

To take back the time/energy/money you put into it and re-direct those precious resources of yours to something you’d really full-body-feels love.

You get to make that choice if you want to. And you get to make it for all the other things that make you feel similarly.

Alternative lists

And let's make a different kind of list.  One that has a balancing effect. One that’s supportive, kind and reminds you that how you feel is important.  One full of self acceptance and self compassion.

Some ideas:

~ A list of all the slow, nourishing moments you’re looking forward to.

~ The ways you’ll take care of yourself over Christmas.

~ 3 ways you can settle your nervous system when you need to.

~ Ways to honour your capacity and say no.

~ 5 promises you’ll keep to yourself.

What would that kind of list do for you?

Wishing you all that you crave in these last weeks of the year, lovely x

*
Coach with me

I have openings in January for 1:1 coaching and I’m loving welcoming in women who want to… transform their relationship with rest, learn to advocate for their needs, invite in more of what they want in their life and see what lies on the other side of their self-doubt.

If you’re curious about how a coaching journey with me would support you, you’re so welcome to book in for a free call so we can have a cup of tea together and chat about it.  I’d so love to meet you.

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.

*
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

*
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. 

I wrote in my blog post at the start of Summer that this one was going to be a juggle with both working from home and tag-teaming childcare between us. I wanted to share an update about something that’s helping which I hadn’t anticipated.

It’s this:

I’m NOT trying to have the Perfect Summer

And it’s a revelation.

Why this feels good...

There’s this subtext that seems to run through Summers once you have children that says ‘this is the only Summer they’re going to be like this - this age - so enjoy every moment, make all the memories, capture all of them in instagrammable photos and make it the most perfect GOLDEN Summer there ever was’.

If it were a film I can hear a trailer announcing: brought to you by the makers of the ‘good mother’ and ‘supermum’ myths, Patriarchy Studios brings you this season’s blockbuster: The Perfect Summer… enjoy every second!

Wow. The pressure.

I’ve been guilty of doing a number on myself with this storyline more Summers than I want to admit. Equating my love for my kids and wanting to be present to the stage they’re at with it needing to be perfect. Holding up an unnecessary measuring stick to our golden-in-parts-but-also-very-messy-and-imperfect Summer holidays and feeling like I’d failed in some way, even though I tried to tick all the boxes.

When you notice yourself think ‘this must be perfect’ it’s worth asking ‘or what?’.

What would it be if it wasn’t perfect? Disappointing? Not enough?

And what do you make that mean? That you’re not enough?

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a form of self doubt that I work with a lot with 1:1 clients. It’s seductive in that it says ‘do this thing perfectly and you’ll be safe / acknowledged / enough’.

But it’s an exhaustingly false promise because I’m not sure anything ever is perfect and even if it was I don’t think we’d recognise it as such.

The thing about perfectionism is that it always wants more and better. You're rarely ever done with it. And so we exhaust ourselves trying and then still feel unseen / disappointed / not enough anyway.

Since a disappointment is likely the very thing we’re trying to avoid our Summer being, when we set our sights on the perfect golden one, it turns out it’s a double-bind.

This year is different

This year, having worked a lot on my own perfectionism-flavoured self-doubt this past couple of years, I’m loving that I seem to have been able to unconsciously ditch this impossible ideal when it comes to our family's Summer.

(It’s totally ok to consciously ditch it, too)

And there’s this sense of: ooh so if it doesn’t have to be perfect, what could it be?

Messily imperfect and human? Just normal but sunnier? A whirl of tag-teaming with some chilled out pockets and the odd golden moment?

This feels freeing to me

And likely our Summer will always be whatever it’s going to be whether I try to make it perfect or not. This way, I get to take the pressure off, ditch the mum guilt and just be in it. Enjoying it for what it is, instead of being disappointed for what it isn’t.

Maybe I get to enjoy me for who I am, not berate myself for who I’m not too. And that’s pretty cool.

If you’ve been holding up a measuring stick to your days and feeling a whole load of not-enoughness, let this be your permission slip to put it down.

How about we have a messily human Summer together and lean into the exhale that brings.

*

If you'd like to read more like this, consider joining my (free) email community who I share my 'Gentle Words' love notes with once or twice a month. You'll also get access to The Self Care Journal - a 20+ page journaling workbook to work through at your own pace, based on my coaching process, to help you find clarity over what needs tending to for you.

I have 2 spaces opening up for my 3 or 6 month 1:1 coaching programme in September. This is the ideal container in which to tackle your perfectionism and other flavours of self doubt so you can be free to move forward those things that call to you. You're so welcome to book in a virtual cuppa with me to see if this would be a good fit for you. You can book that here.

Take care, lovely x

Feeling worried about the Summer holiday juggle does not make you a ‘bad mother’.  It makes you human. Read that again if you need to let it sink in.

I’ve heard from so many Mums this week – friends, clients and on social media - who are feeling a bit anxious about the Summer ahead and I think it’s worth saying that if this is you… it’s understandable and it means nothing about your mothering.

It can feel like if we’re being anything less than positive about a stretch of time with our children we’re at risk of being judged as ungrateful, ‘bad’ or less than.  We end up pre-emptively judging ourselves, denying our right to feel how we feel and imagining once again it’s only us.

‘I shouldn’t be stressed or worried about this, I should be looking forward to Summer... everyone else is!’

Let’s remember three things.  1) Lots of working parents or those with commitments alongside their children have complicated feelings about Summer. 2) You can hold many feelings simultaneously and your feelings are valid.  3) There is a reality to all of this that has absolutely nothing to do with how much you love being with your child/children or your worth as a Mum.  When your childcare stops for a period, it's the school holidays or your usual rhythm changes but you still have a job, a business or a whole heap of commitments you have to tend to, the juggle is A LOT. 

You’re not wrong or bad or anything else for noticing this.  You’re human.

*

I don’t have all the answers for your unique situation, love, but as a self-employed mama who can no longer drop all work for the duration of the holidays, with a self-employed husband and two kids who of course have beautiful, ever-growing appetites for all the fun (and no additional childcare), I can offer you how I’m approaching it all.  Maybe our worlds are totally different and maybe there’ll be something in here that’s useful for you…

the Worry Box

I had a chat with my husband while racing to a school choir performance yesterday (so many end of term things this week!) about what’s in my worry box where the holidays are concerned.  He had some stuff in his too and it felt helpful to share them so we can figure out a way to balance our work with the desired holiday fun.  That convo isn’t finished yet (we arrived at school!) but where we got to was helpful and it’ll be supportive to keep having it I think.

Family chats

What’s worked well in past years, particularly since Paul’s work came home for the pandemic and never left again, is a kind of family meeting in the first few days of the break.  Our kids are 9 and 12 now and they respond really well to knowing what’s going on for us and having the chance to talk about each of our hopes, wants, needs and expectations.  Beforehand Paul and I will come up with our plan for balancing our working hours and share it with them.  It’s always fairly fluid because depends on what the week’s client work looks like for each of us.  But I find sharing with the kids a view on how our week days might look helps them anticipate what their days will look like.  And clarity upfront tends to avoid disappointment later for my two.

the Summer list

Within that chat we’ll make a Summer list.  Everyone will throw in ideas of what fun stuff we’d like to do and we’ll each choose our top one or two as definites.  The rest will be like an ideas pot we can dip into as the holidays go along.  We’re outdoorsy and big fans of (free!) outdoor fun so lots of that kind of stuff will end up on the list.  River swims and beach expeditions will feature highly I’m sure and I’m looking forward to that.

In days and out days

We’ve always naturally fallen into an in day / out day rhythm or something resembling it.  None of us have the nervous systems for wall to wall fun every day and that bodes well for the balance with work.  We’ll likely talk about what projects or home-based things they want to do over the Summer and organise anything they need to help with that so they can more easily occupy themselves when we’re needing to work at the same time.  Last year R caught both the baking and running bugs which kept him busy and us in good snacks.  This year N wants to do the library reading challenge, likely from a den in the garden.  I’m quite up for that myself!

Advocating for & communicating my needs

I love my kids being home and I’m not immune to mum guilt so it’s way easier than I’d like for me to slip into ‘it’s ok, you go and work and I’ll be with the kids’ mode.  But it isn’t an option this year.  We have to share it more.

I’ll need to take time out at the weekends to look at my week ahead and be clear about what I’ve got on and what I need.  Some things just really need a quiet house and we’ll have to figure out how we each get that. 

If you’re carving out time for work too, something I would offer… be extra realistic with yourself about the amount of time you need and communicate it clearly.  Don’t expect yourself to squeeze 6 hours of work into 3 hours because that’s all you feel comfortable asking for.  It’ll only increase your stress.  Agree ‘from’ and ‘to’ times and be boundaried around them.  It’s inevitable if we’re all home that one of my kids will come and find me with a random question their on-duty-at-the-time Dad could’ve just as easily answered – I’ve had to get a lot better at lovingly-directing them to him so as not to interrupt my flow.  Otherwise my whole morning quickly reduces to ten actual minutes of focused work.

Being realistic

I could make the Summer a lot harder on me by over-reaching.  I’m have a history of that and it does me zero favours.  So my Summer approach is going to be about a hefty dose of realism over the space I have and focusing on the essentials – client sessions predominantly, groundwork for upcoming projects and keeping marketing activity ticking over.  A slower and more spacious Summer pace and lower expectations.  I’m privileged to be able to choose that, I know. 

So anything that isn’t essential and won’t fit into the time available I’ll park for September.  And doing that feels much easier when I make clear notes I can pick up later.  An ever-present notepad (or notes app) is my friend because you can bet your life I’ll have a thousand ideas I can’t immediately act upon as soon as I breathe out.

Keeping boundaries

As far as possible, if I’m working I’m working, if we’re out we’re out, if I’m doing something with the kids I’m there in that moment.  Being boundaried around the time we’re IN really helps me to be present. But it takes work because if I don’t delineate clearly - ‘this time is for this and tomorrow there’s time for that’ - I’ll end up distracted and feeling like I’m doing everything badly. 

I hear a lot of mamas saying they’ll catch up with work in the evenings once their kids are in bed.  That doesn’t work for me.  Working when I’m not at my best energetically will make everything take longer.  I’ll get wired from being at a screen when tired, stay up too late trying to compensate for the lack of flow and end up a cranky tired mess.  I’d rather figure it out in the daytime hours and have evenings as family or rest time, especially now my kids stay up a bit later.

Yes to playdates

My kids have lots of friends in our local area and being the age they are now they’re very up for hanging out with them more.  R has started cycling to meet friends on the other side of the village and has plenty of people he enjoys hanging out with.  N has friends whose parents are also juggling work and/or younger children.  So I think we’re all up for a bit of playdate swapping.

It’s different when kids are younger I think.  I remember playdates then feeling like more of me was required.  These days (and with the privilege of a big garden) as long as they have access to food and drinks they’ll happily occupy themselves with friends over.  And if I decamp downstairs to keep a general eye on things, I can often get a fair amount done.  We don’t have family nearby to ask for help so playdate swapping is gold!

Anchoring myself

I love routine and I love ditching routine.  Both can be true.  So I will love the fluidity of Summer and the difference of our days.  And I will thrive on retaining some sameness. 

That means, anchoring myself with the daily habits that feed and nourish and keep me feeling tethered.  And it makes sense to keep these simple, doable and with some flex.

My daily non negotiables right now are eating well (a protein breakfast particularly), 20 mins of stretches/yoga and a walk.  When my kids were younger I would’ve struggled to hit one of these but they’re part of my norm now, integral to my vestibular rehab (I had a virus damage my right-side balance nerve a couple of years ago) and so good for me on so many levels.

Book-ending work

Some days it’s inevitable we’ll both need to work for a good chunk of the day and our kids will need to occupy themselves.  I have to remind myself, at the age they are now this is not a problem.  There’s plenty for them to do and they are good at finding what they need.  I can trust them with this (banking these sentences for a Summer mantra as I type them!).

And I will likely feel some feelings I’d previously have called mum guilt. But I’m not sure it is guilt.  Regret that I’m not doing something fun with them perhaps.  Or not even that.  Just missing the ones I love while I work at something I love and this means nothing has gone wrong?  Notice how the language you choose changes the way you feel about it.

And so to satisfy my conflicting need to be with them and be with my work, I’ll try to book-end the day somehow.  A nice breakfast together (breakfast is my kids love language, especially if it involves maple syrup), an early dog walk ramble up to the woods, a nice together-y kind of dinner.  R has requested the odd evening dinner-picnic by the river and I’m thinking this would be a great balancer for all of us on a work day.

Connection over box-ticking

I remind myself often that small moments of connection are worth way more than ticking boxes of stuff we’ve done or spending loads.  Pretty often when my kids ask if we can go somewhere, what they’re really looking for is connection.  That’s what I want to focus on.

It won't be easy

If, as you're reading, you think I'm saying it's going to be easy, please know I'm very clear it won't be! Our Summer juggle is likely to be a shitshow very often. Especially if we have this hot weather consistently through the holidays because it's made everyone's tolerance of everything much lower around here the past few days.

I'm just hoping that by giving it some thought in advance, by all of us communicating needs, expectations and hopes, by having ways we can support ourselves while we're juggling, we have a better chance of it all working somehow. And hopefully, have it feeling like we've all had a Summer at the end of it.

and you...

I wonder how some of this applies to you, love.  Your situation will have it’s own flavour and might be completely different to mine.  I guess the questions to ponder are:

~ What are the hopes, wants, needs and expectations of all the family members over the Summer – and which of those can realistically be met?

It can be disappointing to put it all on the table and find it’ll be impossible to meet all of it, but I would always prefer to ground our Summer in reality upfront. To figure out what's doable rather than deal with waves of disappointment at the end of Summer when we’ve busted a gut and still didn’t manage it.

~ How do you need to advocate for yourself and keep communication open?

Placing yourself as part of the family team, rather than solely the enabler of the family team can help.  It has to work for you too, love.

~ What are the ways you and your lot stay grounded and connected to each other and where can that feature?

If time is tight, little and often can be the best way.

~ And how can you be with yourself compassionately?

If it’s a massive juggle, can you acknowledge how much that taxes you?  When you’re in the midst of it all doing your best, how can you talk the kindest to yourself?  When it feels good, how can you let yourself be in that good moment?  And when it feels hard, how can you ease the load for yourself?

*

If you'd like to read more like this, consider joining my (free) email community who I share my 'Gentle Words' love notes with once or twice a month. You'll also get access to The Self Care Journal - a 20+ page journaling workbook to work through at your own pace, based on my coaching process, to help you find clarity over what needs tending to for you.

Wishing you a gentle and lovely Summer, Mama x

The festivals from the Celtic wheel of the year are beautiful markers within the year through which you can connect to nature and ground into the present moment. Becoming aware of this moment, this very point of the season - and what it symbolises - and soaking it up.

I love also using them as a way to connect to myself. And the fact they're spaced so evenly throughout the year means that if you follow them, you're never too far from that moment of reconnection.

Beltane

Beltane - falling on May 1st - is a rich Celtic festival with many themes. A celebration of the fertility of the Earth and of life in all it’s forms - plants, animals and humans. Mothers were especially celebrated at Beltane as the bringers of life.

A favourite book I reach for at each turn of the wheel - Circle Round by Starhawk, Baker & Hill - talks of raising up motherhood during this festival, in all it's forms - adoptive, biological, step, foster, guardianship and fathers fulfilling the traditional role of mothering. They write "When mothering is truly valued as the most priceless gift we can give to a child, and when women are truly honoured and supported for all the work they do in raising children, we may see a great shifting of priorities in the world."

The book also offers this prayer for Beltane:

"Mother of all, hear our prayer this day for the protection and blessing of all the mothers! You who hold seed in warmth and darkness till it knows to seek the sunlight; You whose winds carry the rain across the vast, arching sky, spilling it down on the thirsting soil;

You in whose arms we rest at the end of the day, in comfort and peace; we call you!

Hear our words of praise for the mothers of the world!

We call you blessings down tot he women in our circle who are raising children. Speak through their hearts and hands as they guide the growth of their children. Help them feel your love, help them replenish their stores from your endless well of strength and energy. Help remind them even when they don't think they need it, that we are all grateful for their work in raising the next generation.

For all these children are our children, and they bring great joy into the world. We know that what happens to the smallest of us also affects the largest. What befalls one child soon befalls the nation. And so, Mother of Creation, while we bless the mothers here, let us also bless ourselves with open hearts and open hands so that no child in this circle shall go wanting. By our love and by our efforts, may we be known as a people who honour mothers; as a people who give their children what they need to thrive; as a people thrice blessed by happy children, healthy families, and the boundless outpouring of your love into our lives. Mother of the World, with your blessing may we all grown in our capacity to love unconditionally, to nurture where there is need, and to tend well the fruits of our creation. Blessed be the mothers! So mote it be."

Circle Round - Starhawk, Baker & Hill

One of the fire festivals, Beltane is also a magical time when it’s said the veil between our world and the fairy realm is thin. So many threads within Beltane to draw upon to create your own moment of connection to yourself, the Earth and this festival. Choose something that calls to you. 

Soak up the morning

Beltane is a very feminine festival and a celebration of life. As the bringers of life women and mothers were particularly honoured. A Celtic ritual saw women gather together at daybreak to wash their faces in the morning dew - a ritual said to connect them together, to the Earth and thought to preserve their beauty for the year ahead. 

Take a moment for yourself amongst the morning dew, alone or with a friend. A walk, a sit with a cuppa, earth yourself barefoot on the grass, try out the dewy face-wash - whatever calls to you

Invite pleasure

Beltane is a time for celebrating the joy of being alive and giving thanks for all the different kinds of pleasure our bodies give us. A wholly easier thing to access than happiness or joy, pleasure is a felt sense in the body and there are lots of ways to invite it in. 

Have a pleasure-seeking day and seek out some simple pleasures that feel good for you. All the things that delight the senses and make it feel good to be alive - from fire to food to dancing and from wildflowers to orgasms, anything goes. 

Self Care rituals

Since Beltane celebrates mothers and coincides this weekend with the Taurus new moon whose theme is deep self care and tending, do we need any more reason to pile on the self love?

Carve out a moment for the self care you need. Take some time, tune in and listen. Get curious about what will nourish you and if it’s not immediately possible to do that make a plan for when you will and be sure to honour it. You are important.

Hold it lightly

I hope something within these invitations speaks to you and you feel inspired to carve out a moment for yourself around Beltane.

As with anything like this, keep it light. Zero pressure, bring self compassion, choose nourishing over perfect. And do it on any day you have the space, time or energy. There are no expiry dates and the wheel turns very slowly so there's time to seek out that moment.

Beltane blessings, love x

© 2024 Lisa Mabberley
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram