How are you?
... and when did you last take a moment for yourself?
Consider us your monthly reminder to do just that. This is your time, right now. What do you need? How can you make yourself more comfortable as you read?
This month we're celebrating Mama Milestones: of all shapes and sizes.
What new experiences have you had since becoming a mother?
What have you done for the first time this week?
This week, I've worked out how to fold cardboard bricks into shape for the first time, and taught my kids how to do it too.
I've written a formal letter to my children's headteacher for the first time ever, protesting against too many tests for young children.
I've walked off, leaving a very angry child yelling behind me and refusing to move, expecting him to follow me - and he didn't, for the first time. Which was pretty scary. So I've learnt I'm going to have to do that differently...
For the first time in the history of my dodgy pan cooking, I've persuaded my kids to eat an omelette, by calling it a frittata.
I've touched a penguin this week.
Not strictly a mama milestone, but the kids were there and touched it too, and if they hadn't wanted to do that, I wouldn't have had a go either, so I'm claiming it ;)
And last but not least... I've literally just hung three things on the washing line before realising that the wash hadn't actually happened yet and they were still dry and dirty. First time for that too.
Writing this list reminded me of just how much effort and love and creativity and responsibility and focus and heart is required from us for this mothering malarkey.
We expect so much of ourselves. We're constantly doing things we've never done before. And yet we barely notice when we do those new things well (...or spend enough time laughing and learning from those less successful 'first time' things).
So this month, take a moment to notice all that you've learnt and tried and succeeded and failed at, all for the first time. And give yourself some recognition for all of that.
Why all the interest in milestones this month?
At Story of Mum, we reached a big milestone last month: our fifth birthday!
It's five years since we first launched Story of Mum.
And just like parenting, that time has flown by so fast!
Thank you for five years of your amazing mama stories.
We're so grateful to have spent so much of this past five years in the company of honest supportive inspiring mums like you, online and in 'real' life.
Our actual birthday was in April, but typically, we were too busy, so we're celebrating in May instead!
On 25 May, we're planning a day of lovely things to celebrate us turning FIVE. Read on below to find out how you can nab yourself a celebratory gift to party with us immediately. And make sure you're connected to our Facebook page and instagram to join in on the day.
We've had so many exciting ideas about how we could celebrate - and couldn't decide which was best. So we've decided just to do ALL of them!! Why not??
1. Five Free One to One Sessions
Our first gift to you is some precious space to be heard. Some support to explore what your next small step is, and some gentle encouragement to take it.
You can read more about the one to one support we offer over here.
Pippa is giving away 5 x 30 minute one to one sessions during the day or evening on Wednesday 25 May.
You don't have to know what you want to talk about. You don't have to say anything clever. You just need to be brave enough to make space to hear yourself think.
If you'd like to be added to the draw to win one of these free slots (they normally cost £35 each), reply to this email straight away with the header: "Birthday one to ones!"
2. Five Donations to Good Causes
On 25 May, we'll donate £5, £15, £25, £35, and £45 to good causes.
So who should we support? Which causes matter most to you?
We'll post on Facebook and ask you to suggest five charities or deserving causes to receive our birthday donations!
3. A Five Minute Mama Meditation
We'll record a five minute mama meditation to give you five minutes of magical mama bliss as part of our birthday celebrations.
We'll share the meditation on the 25th May via our facebook page.
4. Fifty Free Places on our Delicious New Ecourse: "Five a Day"
Have you had your 'five a day' today? This 'five a day' isn't portions of fruit and vegetables (although that's good too!), it's five precious minutes of mama me-time every day.
At Story of Mum, we know that every mama deserves to take five delicious minutes for herself every day (and ideally a lot more than five minutes!) in order to stay strong, healthy and full of goodness.
So especially to celebrate our birthday, we've created a mini e-course to inspire you to do just that, and we're giving away a massive FIFTY free places with a special discount code.
Sign up, and starting on Monday 6 June, we'll send you a tasty little film every day for five days, each packed full with five minutes of nutritious mama inspiration: a juicy boost to start your day!
Just click on the 'add to cart' button below and use the discount code HAPPYBIRTHDAY to reserve your free place.
What happened last month?
The little message to "sit here and think of someone you love" that we left in stones on our local seaside promenade went viral and featured in the newspapers! You can read about that in this blog post!
We also reprised #mykidsdressedme in aid of Oxfam's #dressedbythekids campaign, and persuaded lots of fantastic parents to let their kids dress them for the school run last week, with hilarious consequences!
What's up next?
A couple of years ago, I pitched a book idea to an agent at Britmums Live: "Mamas' Milestones: the good enough, the bad-ass, and the ugly"
It was a mother's version of a baby milestones book, and a creative journal, a place for mums to capture their best and worst parenting moments...
The agent loved the idea, so I wrote it up, but sadly, I never heard any more. With everything else going on at Story of Mum, that book idea fell off my list...
But this month, our birthday milestone reminded me of how much fun it had been to remember and create some of those milestones - and so that book pitch has inspired our creative activity this month: Mama Milestones.
Let's pause together and notice some of those awesome, funny, sad and special things we've learnt, shared, seen or felt as mothers this month... Take a few moments to capture one for us in the style of a baby milestones book.
Maybe it's the first time that you photographed your child's poo (yes I actually did that, am I alone?), or went out oblivious to an embarrassing child-related stain smeared across your shoulder (did that too...).
The first time you forgot your kids' favourite toy and all hell broke loose in public, or the first time you actually managed to get your kids up and out to school on time without shouting "SOCKS! SHOES! COAT!" until your voice broke.
Maybe it's the first time that you allowed your child to head into town on their own, and couldn't do anything all day except worry about them, or the first time you managed a night out with your partner without mentioning the kids.
Maybe it's the first time you took yourself off to do something just for you. (Speaking of which, we have a Mamas' Retreat next week, it's going to be awesome... can you come?)
Your Mama Milestone can be big or small, silly or serious. Capture it for yourself in a photo or a doodle, just as if it were a precious moment preserved in a baby memory book - and share it in our gallery.
And come share your Mama Milestones with us at our online community get-together!
This month's #somum Mamas' Retreat on twitter will be one week later than normal as we'll be in the thick of our residential Mamas' Retreat (exciting!!!) on the second Weds of the month.
So join us on twitter on Wednesday 18 May from 8.30pm to 10pm UK time (find world times here) where we'll be sharing our Mama Milestones and noticing the amazing new things we're doing and learning as mums.
And unbelievably we still have that beautiful shared room in Prussia Cove waiting longingly to nurture a mama next week. Can you join us on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th for some very precious mama me-time on the cliffs above the sea in Cornwall?
All the retreat details are over here. We'd love you to join us. And this is an experience we won't be able to offer at this price again.
In the meantime, we're looking forward to sharing your milestones, and celebrating all those 'first times' you have experienced and learnt from as a mother. You really are awesome.
And... on 25 May, we can't wait to celebrate our fifth birthday with you! So put the date in your diary, and get ready to party...
Much love, gorgeous gifts, and mama celebration!
Pippa and Penny
PS Don't forget to sign up for your free Five A Day spot using the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY, and email us back right now if you'd like to enter the draw for a free one-to-one.