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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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Imbolc is a cross-quarter festival, marking the midpoint between the Solstice and the Equinox.  It’s a threshold time.  A time between time.  Where we feel the Earth stirring, the pull of Spring but we are still in the hands of Winter for a while longer.

In this way Imbolc can remind us of other times in our life when we are no longer fully in one place but not quite in the next.  Still wintering but gathering for the emergence to come.  Feeling done with the current season of your life and awaiting the birth of the next.

It can be a good time to explore our relationship with those liminal in-between times.  To what extent can we let ourselves be in the metaphorical Winter? Gathering what there is to gather here, in preparation for the Spring that will come in time, if only we can hold on and trust. 

Imbolc seems to bring with it hope.  With it’s snowdrops and shoots, it’s growing light and birdsong.  It can feel like we’re waking up from a good sleep.  Something for sure to be celebrated.

Some sources have the name Imbolc derived from ‘ewe’s milk’.  Acknowledging this turning point for our ancestors when flocks would began to lamb and milk became available to sustain through this hungry gap.  An exhale in those times perhaps.

Other sources suggest it’s named for the Old Irish ‘i mbolc’ meaning ‘in the belly’ referring to this pregnant time of the year.  We might say we're in the belly of the year waiting for rebirth in the spring.

Imbolc is a fire festival, celebrated with the lighting of flames and watched over by the flame-haired Goddess Brigid.  A busy deity who is said to be Goddess of Spring, of Fire (both the hearth fire and creative fire), of Fertility and Midwifery and therefore Mothers, of Poets and Inspiration, of Healing, of sacred waterways and wells, of Blacksmiths and the Forge.

A folktale sees the Goddess Brigid take on each of these roles, believing she has more to give and doing a wonderful job of honouring them all>. But then she speaks with a wise bear who finds her looking exhausted whilst still looking for more places she can give of herself.  Wise Bear reminds her that whilst she is Goddess of fire and burns brightly her fire will burn out if she doesn’t feed and stoke her own fire.  He asks her to find what sustains her and that’s when she turns to creativity which helps her to continue burning.

What a metaphor for us as Mothers!

We explored these themes in my Imbolc workshop – part journaling workshop, part mama-circle – last weekend and it felt so nourishing to ground our very human experience in this very relevant time.

My next workshop has just quietly opened for booking if you want to join me for some Ostara magic – you can grab your place here before I start telling everyone about it

How I celebrate

I’ll be heading off for an early walk with two friends this morning for Imbolc.  It’s a lovely to time to think about what else we need in the way of wintry rest and replenishment while turning our thoughts to the seeds we want to plant for the year ahead – both metaphorical and actual seeds.  No doubt we’ll cover all of that as we walk.

3 invitations

If you’ve followed these posts for a while you’ll know I love to use these festivals as a way to take a moment for ourselves.  To connect in with where we are, how we’re feeling and what we need.

With that in mind I have my usual three invitations for you.  See what speaks to you and mould them into something nourishing and supportive for you…

1. Fireside-dreaming

Goddess of fire, Brigid, is associated with Imbolc and fire is used at this time both to honour her & celebrate the returning light.

Try this:

Imbolc is great time for dreaming into the year from your cosy hibernation cave. Indulge in some fireside dreaming - what will you invite in as the Earth stirs?

2. Stirring the seeds

Nature begins to waken. Deep within the Earth seeds put out first shoots, just as we begin to look ahead to what we’ll bring forth this year.

Try this:

Literally or metaphorically, what do you want to sow? You could sow some 'seeds' today. On slips of paper write your intentions, roll them into ‘seeds’ which you can plant in the soil too.

3. Let go the old

Traditionally, Imbolc is a time for visiting the water to clear away the old and make way for what’s new to sprout & grow.

Try this:

Take yourself on a walk to a nearby river, stream, holy well or the sea. Consider offering to the water anything you want to be free of in the year ahead.

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Allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful. Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  These invitations are still available to you. No urgency or expiry dates.

Imbolc blessings, dear one x

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If you’re in a threshold time and have been considering working with a coach to support you to move through, you might like to know I've opened up 2 more coaches places this month.

I work with women who want to bring their hopes and dreams for themselves to life, whilst navigating inevitable trip hazards like self-doubt, confusion, mum guilt and feeling lost. Take a look at my coaching packages here and if this support might be just what you need, I’d love you to book in for a (free) chat here.

These long nights and short days are not for everyone.  I used to find the lack of daylight almost suffocating.  But over the past handful of years I’ve found a deep love for the darkest days of the year.

I wonder now how I got there.  An appreciation for cycles and the somewhat revelatory realisation that we’re always in motion has been part of it.  And layered on top, an understanding that the darkness encourages us to travel into our inner world to tend to what’s waiting for us.

If this is what the darkness helps us to do I can get behind it, but I used to be a bit scared of the dark truth be told.  Then a few years back a friend organised a gathering on the Solstice and it changed something. 

A group of wonderful women I knew and loved gathered together in her home in the darkness.  She lived in the countryside with no street lamps for miles so it really was dark.  Her home was lit by a few candles only.  We had a solstice-y women’s circle, exploring our feelings about the darkness and this time of year.  So many of us felt discomfort in the darkness and the solidarity of the moment prompted us to blow the candles out and sit in the pitch dark together for a while. 

It was profound.  Sitting in safety and warmth in the darkness a deep peace settled in me, the kind I hadn’t really felt before. The darkness felt nourishing.  Like I needed it.  And my relationship with the dark shifted.

Since then it’s not about getting through what I used to see as the dark, depressing shortest day.  It feels more like an invitation to be still and listen to what treasures lie within the darkness.

No surprise then that this is one of my favourite Celtic festivals to celebrate by taking a moment for myself.

There are three invitations below of ways we can do this.

Join me in taking a moment for yourself this Winter Solstice?

Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice – the shortest day – falls on 21st or 22nd December each year.  In 2023 it lands on Wednesday 21st December and some celebrate it as the festival Yule.

We know this day has been significant to humans for millennia.  Placement of stones to line up with the Winter Solstice sunrise at sacred sites around the UK and Ireland (and around the world) tell us this and it’s clear to see why.  Imagine when the only light was sunlight, how these shorter and shorter days must’ve felt.  The turning point of the Solstice and the return of the sun was a time to rejoice, even though there is much of Winter left to endure.

Old traditions speak of the sun dying at this time of year and of being reborn by the Goddess at the Solstice.  The Goddess of the Solstice is the Dark Mother (also known as Mother Night or Mother Winter) and she is the giver of gifts and the teacher of lessons.

And so the Solstice brings with it themes of going within, honouring our lessons and our gifts, finding the light in the darkness, rest, renewal and rebirth.

It’s a beautiful time to be still in the quiet of the dark night, listening and tending to what’s here for us right now.  To rest in this pause.  To gather.  To wonder about the ways we’d love to be reborn with the increasing light.

May the longest night and the shortest day,

Bring rest to your mind and your soul, I pray.

May you find guidance and may you find peace,

As the cycle of light will slowly increase.

Embrace the magic that the darkness bears,

Breath deep in the chill and shift in the air.

May you always be blessed with the light from within,

And may wellbeing be yours as the new cycle begins.

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a Winter Solstice Blessing by Stephanie Laird
How we celebrate

These few days before Christmas can be so full, but since our kids were small we've tried to carve out time on the Solstice to pause together. It's a lovely antidote to the bustle. When they were small and woke at ungodly hours we'd keep the house dark and make it exciting to watch out the window waiting for the sun to rise on the shortest day. As they grew and mercifully slept in I'd take that peaceful hour to myself.

For the past few years, as a family we've enjoyed lighting a small fire in our firepit in the low light of the afternoon and reading Solstice stories around it, usually with obligatory marshmallow toasting or chestnut roasting. My youngest's favourite is the Solstice Badger and there are some lovely stories in Circle Round by Starhawk.

3 invitations

If the wheel of the year festivals fascinate you as they do me, they can be a lovely reminder to pause and take a moment for yourself.

I’ve made some of the ways I love to connect with the Winter Solstice into three simple invitations for you.  See if there’s one that speaks to you…

1. Winter wander

Wrap up warm and take yourself on a grounding Winter walk in nature.  With no agenda other than to feel the earth beneath your feet and the natural world sinking into it’s winter slumber.

Notice what you see, hear, smell and feel. Then enjoy the ritual of cosying up when you get home and allowing your own winter pause

2. Nourishing dark

Light a candle in the darkness and watch the flame as you sink into a place of rest. If it feels ok, blow it out and allow the darkness to hold you awhile.

Try to let your thoughts and feelings be what they are without judging. Take some long, slow belly breaths as you sit in the stillness, elongating the out breath. Sit for as long as feels good then light the candle again when you’re ready and notice what it brings.

3. Return of the light

It’s a beautiful time to watch the sunrise and the dreamy winter skies that go with it. If you naturally wake (or are woken by small people) while it's still dark it can be lovely to open the curtains and keep the lights off in your home while you wait for the sun. As the sun rises and the light filters in, take a moment in that gentle wintry half-light to ponder:

What is bringing you light in your life right now? And where would you love to be inviting more light into your days? What would bring you lightness right now? Your journal might come in handy.

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Allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful. Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  These invitations are still available to you. No urgency or expiry dates.

I love to hear what you do with these invitations.  Feel free to let me know over on Insta how they panned out for you.

Winter Solstice blessings, dear one x

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Before you go, two offerings:

If, like me, you love using the festivals to take a moment for yourself, you might like to know about my (virtual) Imbolc Workshop in January - part mother's circle, part journaling session, steeped in the energy of this beautiful festival and season. There are 3 price points to maximise accessibility and the group size will be limited so reserve your place now.

If Winter has you feeling reflective just now, you might like to download my Self Care Journal for Mums. Subscribers to my free email community can download this for free. You're so welcome to sign up here if you'd like to and you'll get instant access.

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

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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.

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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

A year ago I began writing a series of insta posts around the Celtic Festivals. In recent years I've loved learning about the eight festivals that form the wheel of the year and had on occasion joined gatherings and workshops associated with each of them. But I was curious with these posts how they could become a way of connecting with myself.

So I began to look at: what are the themes of each of the festivals, what are the traditions... and how could I make the connection between celebrating this moment in the year while doing something supportive or nourishing for myself.

I wasn't sure if I'd have enough ideas for a year of festivals or whether they would all lend themselves to a relationship with self care, but I've found that I easily did and they definitely do. Embodying and celebrating the seasons as they do, there's so much within them that reminds us to slow down, re-establish our contact with the ground, reflect and give thanks, metaphorically plant seeds and harvest. And coming around every 6 weeks or so there's a beautiful rhythm available in these regular pauses.

Samhain is the Celtic festival that falls on the 31st October each year and traditionally this was seen as the beginning of a new turn of the wheel, a new cycle. I wasn't sure whether a year of these posts was enough and it was complete. An insta poll told me otherwise!

It seems lots of you love the regular invitation to connect with yourself and the season through these festival-centered posts and I love making them for you, so here we are beginning again.

Join me in taking a moment for yourself this Samhain?

Samhain

Samhain (pronounced 'sow-een') is the Celtic Festival in which modern day Halloween has its roots, though our ancestors celebrations were very different. While in the UK Halloween is all ghouls, witches and scary stuff, Samhain was traditionally represented by the Crone goddess - symbolising deep feminine power and wisdom - and was celebrated when the veil between ours and the spirit world was said to be thin. A time for remembering who and what has passed, connecting with the mystery and magic felt all around at this special time of year and tuning in to the grounded wisdom within us. 

In the Celtic wheel of the year, Samhain is the new year when the wheel begins a new turn. The Crone reminds us that just as we let the old year die so a new one may be born, we too sometimes need to let go in order to make space for what’s to come. 

How we celebrate

As a family, we're rather partial to bringing Autumn inside so there are always mini pumpkins and gourds scattered around. My children cottoned on to the upsides of Halloween traditions a while ago and as the only children in this corner of our sleepy village our neighbours love filling their halloween buckets with treats, so I have to admit this is the main kind of celebrating that goes on in our house on 31st October.

Samhain then has become something I get to have for myself. I mark quietly in that hour after they're in bed and at this liminal time it feels like a really special thing to do for myself. Some ways I connect with Samhain are below:

3 invitations

If the cycle of these festivals call to you, it can be a lovely thing to use them as regular reminders to pause and do something lovely with or for yourself.

I’ve drawn on the themes of Samhain to make three simple invitations for you.  See if there’s one that speaks to you…

1. Begin again

Samhain brings in delicious new year energy as the wheel begins a new turn. A perfect time then for fresh starts and new intentions. For remembering that it's always ok to begin again.

Try this:

~ Turn to a fresh page in your journal and fill it with imaginings of what 'beginning again' would mean to you just now.

~ You might want to choose a new goal or intention to begin working on, or bring to life one you've been carrying but not acting on.

~ You could make a new daily promise to yourself - 'I will do this thing for myself each day' - and begin keeping it from today.

2. Honour what's been

For our Celtic ancestors, Samhain was a time to remember, honour and celebrate beloved souls who had passed. We might use it for our own reflections.

Try this:

Take a moment to sit with your heart, honouring who or what you need to. Acknowledge what has passed for you this year. Notice what you're grateful for - the gifts and all you have learnt.

3. Sit with a flame

Samhain is one of the Celtic fire festivals, often celebrated with the lighting of fire or flame. Inviting the light to travel with us as we head into the darker months

Try this:

With a fire or candle, find solitude in the darkness of the evening to sit with yourself. In the quiet, can you drop into you? I wonder what you need to hear today and can you tell it to yourself?

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Whenever I share these posts I always say – please allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful.

Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  These invitations still available to you.

There are no expiry dates with this stuff.  No ticking clock or urgency.  The perfect time to take a moment for yourself and do something that feels nourishing is the very next window you can find, regardless of the date.

Go gently, make it easeful and bring all the self compassion.

I love to hear what you do with these invitations.  Feel free to let me know over on Insta how they panned out for you.

Blessed Samhain, dear one x

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If you're feeling called to self-inquiry and reflection right now, you might like to download my Self Care Journal for Mums. Subscribers to my free email community can download this for free. You're so welcome to sign up here if you'd like to.

I remember in my school days absolutely loving this time of year. Perhaps because it's just been my birthday and it feels firmly like my month. I feel at home here in September and wish it could last a bit longer.

It was, I'm pretty sure, also something to do with Harvest Festival. I bloody loved it. From the last-minute rifling through cupboards for a contribution to take in, the big bountiful display in the school hall, the harvesty songs we sang and the knowledge that all this stuff was going to people who needed it. To be shared out.

I had no idea of course that all of this had it's roots in Mabon, but if I had I'd have been a big fan.

Mabon and the Autumn Equinox fall at a time when perhaps we still have one foot in the Summer that has been whilst noticing daily the shifts in temperature, changes in the trees and hedgerows and the mounting urge to get re-acquainted with all our knitwear. As I embrace this seasonal shift, I'm looking forward to carving out a moment to myself this Mabon.

Join me?

Mabon

Mabon is the Celtic festival of the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are once again briefly in balance before we head into the darker part of the year.  Traditionally, a time when the changing season was honoured and the harvest celebrated.

Mabon altars would be adorned with produce from the harvest and, as with many of the Celtic festivals, a feast prepared.

How we celebrate

When my children were younger our nature table would have been filling up by the day, creating a natural (messy!) altar which sang out Mabon. These days I tend to find acorns in pockets or rattling around the washing machine more than anywhere else, but I still love to gather some late flowers and signs of Autumn for our mantle.

At school (a Steiner school) my boys are used to celebrating Michaelmas which usually falls a few days after the equinox with a similar theme to Mabon but with the exciting added element of slaying dragons. There's also usually some bulb-planting.

So our celebration is a mish-mash of all of these elements and comes down to how we're feeling at the time. This year we have a huge haul of damsons gifted by a neighbour so I forsee jam-making as our marking of the harvest. Crumble too, no doubt, as part of a Mabon meal over the weekend. And definitely bulb-planting because i'm gradually expanding the daffodil population of our garden each year.

As you'll know if you've read these posts or my insta ones before, I love making the Celtic festivals a reminder to take some time out for me. They hold such wonderful themes to draw upon for self reflection and nature connection. Ingredients that make taking a moment for myself feel really nourishing.

Take a look…

3 invitations

If the cycle of these festivals call to you, it can be a lovely thing to use them as regular reminders to pause and do something lovely with or for yourself.

I’ve drawn on the themes of Mabon to make three simple invitations for you.  See if there’s one that speaks to you…

Rest

A favourite seasonal book - Circle Round by Starhawk - reads:

“At Mabon, the Mother of the Harvest becomes the Old One, the wise grandmother who teaches us to rest after our labours”. 

I adore this.  What if we tapped into our own inner wise grandmother and listened to what she had to tell us about rest? I wonder what she'd share.

Try this:

Tune into your inner wise grandmother and celebrate Mabon with a pause to rest.  Decide what restful thing you could do this weekend or in the next few days and honour it.  Even if that means something else doesn’t get done, you need to say no to something or somebody or you need to call in support.

Making a commitment to rest and keeping a promise to ourselves is a way we can give thanks to this awesome body that houses us and for all that we are in the world.

Re-balance

At this time of balance between day and night, light and dark, it can be a good time to reflect upon your own sense of balance.  Nobody is in balance all of the time, it would be impossible to achieve. But sometimes we can become so used to being out of balance that we almost stop seeking it. So this time of the equinox can be helpful reminder to check in with yourself.

I'm offering some reflection questions here which you could either just ponder on or journal on...

Reflection / Journal prompts:

~ How am I feeling in myself just now?

~ Where am I needing to bring myself back into balance?

~ What would do that for me?

~ What would really nourish me?

Self-kindness

After Mabon, as we move into the darker months, many of us find we naturally go within ourselves, experiencing a time of more introspection.  Just like we might cosy up our home ready for the colder season, I love the idea of softening to ourselves around this time. So that when we go within we take with us our most gentle words.

I wonder if this year you’d benefit from taking more self-kindness in with you as you go?

Try this:

Experiment with self-kindness by spending a whole day talking to yourself with the level of kindness you reserve for a beloved person or pet.  Whenever you notice any judgy or critical thoughts or less-than-gentle inner self-talk, all you need to do is acknowledge it and guide yourself back to ‘what would the kindest part of my offer to myself here?’.

It may be harder than it sounds but don't be discouraged. You're experimenting and nothing has gone wrong. Just keep noticing and re-phrasing your internal messages so they're kind and compassionate. It's such a great practice to play with and I wonder how it makes you feel after a day of self-kindness? Could you maybe try it again the next day?

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Whenever I share these posts I always say – allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful.

Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  They’re still available to you.

There are no expiry dates with this stuff.  No ticking clock or urgency.  The perfect time to take a moment for yourself and do something that feels nourishing is the very next window you can find, regardless of the date.

Go gently, make it easeful and bring all the self compassion.

I love to hear what you do with these invitations.  Feel free to let me know over on Insta how they panned out for you.

Mabon blessings, dear one x

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If rest, re-balancing and self-kindness are resonating with you right now, you might like to download my Self Care Journal for Mums. Subscribers to my free email community can download this for free. You're so welcome to sign up here if you'd like to.

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. 

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.

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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

I reeaaally love the shift that arrives with Lammas (pronounced LAH-mus). There’s a mellowing that hints of September (my birth month) in the distance but still plenty of Summer days to be had. Calmer than earlier Summer and more grounded. 

So with this mellow and more settled energy abounding, I’m looking forward to carving out a moment for myself this Lammas.

Join me?

How we celebrate

When my children were littler we might have gone with tradition (see below) and baked a Lammas loaf or some other kind of baked goods. Old me had more appetite for organised activities and I guess I was working on establishing things like cooking and baking together as a norm when they were younger. Current me finds the kids are happier to bake spontaneously as the mood takes them and I'm happy to go with that. So our family Lammas will be more of a going with the flow low key celebration.

When we discovered one of our favourite woods-to-fields walks featured a beautiful golden wheat field yesterday and I pointed out it's Lammas today the kids asked if we can go back with a Lammas picnic. To be honest, any excuse for a picnic!

And as you'll know if you've read these posts or my insta ones before, I love making the Celtic festivals a reminder to take some time out for me. They hold such wonderful themes to draw upon for self reflection and nature connection. Ingredients that make taking a moment for myself feel properly nourishing.

Take a look…

Lammas

Lammas (also know as Lughnasadh), on 1st August, is the Celtic festival of the first harvest. Historically it would have been a time of celebration for the early harvested goodness and of hope for waves of greater abundance to come. 

Celebrated traditionally with the baking of symbolic loaves as offerings to the Gods & Goddesses who might bless them with even more abundant later harvests in return. With gathering in, sharing and feasting. It would have been a time of hard work alongside huge gratitude for the bounty this work yielded. 

3 invitations

If the cycle of these festivals call to you, it can be a lovely thing to use them as regular reminders to pause and do something lovely with or for yourself.

I’ve drawn on the themes of Lammas to make three simple invitations for you.  See if there’s one that speaks to you…

Lammas journaling

This is a lovely time to draw upon the themes and energy of the early harvest to inspire your journaling.  Gratitude, abundance, nourishment, hope and celebration make for lovely focal points to explore.

I wonder which of these themes speaks to you. 

Journal prompts, if you need some:

~  What do you need to gather in or harvest?

~  What are all the things you feel grateful for?

~  How are you nourishing yourself?

~  How could you celebrate all that you are? 

Abundance tea

The early harvest abundance was often celebrated with baking and producing feasts, but in all honesty that sounds a bit too close to a normal day for us Mamas! I like the idea of celebrating the abundant and verdant time of Lammas more simply with a cup of garden tea and a quiet sit once the kids are in bed. 

Try this

Brew up a cup of foraged tea and take a quiet moment for yourself. If you grow culinary herbs like mint, sage or rosemary or have some in the fridge, they will work. Or maybe you have things like lemon balm, fennel or chamomile growing near you. There are lots of flowers that can be steeped as a tea - rose petals, calendula (marigold), borage, lavender to name a few. If all else fails, you can always find some nourishing nettle tips somewhere around - just remember to wear some gardening gloves to protect against stings. Plus, always make sure you know exactly what you're picking and that it's safe.

Golden time

Lammas is a time of golden fields and golden light. A beautiful time to soak up what you love about late Summer whilst carving out a window of time for yourself, if you can swing it.

Try this:

Make a date with yourself (or perhaps with a friend if you'd relish the company) for a Lammas walk. Find a lush and beautiful place. Watch the sun dance, rise or set. Or take some golden time out for whatever you want to do.

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Whenever I share these posts I always say – allow whatever you do with these invitations to feel easeful.

Kids and life don’t pay any attention to these festivals and you might not read this until days after the event.  They’re still available to you.

There’s no expiry dates with this stuff.  No ticking clock or urgency.  The perfect time to take a moment for yourself and do something that feels nourishing is the very next window you can find, regardless of the date.

Go gently, make it easeful and bring all the self compassion.

I love to hear what you do with these invitations.  Feel free to let me know over on Insta how they panned out for you.

Lammas / Lughnasadh blessings, dear one 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.

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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?

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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

© 2022 Lisa Mabberley
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