Today we're sharing an excerpt from this month's Mama-Loving Mail. If you'd like to sign up for those, you can do that over here.
How are you doing?
It’s easy to get stuck, lost and overwhelmed by the feeling of not being able to do it all. Whether that’s parenting, working, learning, supporting, or creating systemic change - there is always more to be done than there are hours in the day.
Since I last wrote to you, so much has happened in the world - including the tragic death of George Floyd and the increasing impact of the Black Lives Matter movement.
For those of you who experience racism on a daily basis, I can’t imagine how hard it has been to carry the additional pressures of recent weeks alongside everything else. I am so sorry, and I’m sending you so much love.
To those wanting to understand more, and work against racism in all its forms, take a moment to read and sign this petition to improve maternal mortality rates and healthcare for Black women in the UK.
I know how hard it can be to find useful resources when you're feeling overwhelmed, so while I’m no expert, I’ll also share some of the resources and perspectives I’ve found useful in recent weeks in a special feature below. If you only have time for one right now, I recommend Nicole Cardoza’s Anti-Racism Daily - a compelling daily email series to learn how to fight systemic racism.
Consider today’s Mama-Loving Mail as your reminder to pause. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all you haven’t yet done, notice all that you are doing. And all the magic that you are.
I know that you are coping with so much right now. Managing so much strangeness that has become our ‘everyday’.
I know that you are stretched in every direction - even more so than usual.
I know that there are sunny days and moments of respite. That there are impossible beauties in your world, even on the dark days. That while there is disconnect and distraction, there is also presence and connection.
I know that there are also those days when it all feels too much. When your voice breaks as you try to hold yourself together. When you feel like giving up. When you blame yourself for the shouting and feel like a failure. When your whole body aches, along with your heart.
I know that you’re feeling the turbulence in the world: a pandemic, a climate crisis, huge injustices, and rising political tensions. So many battles still to fight. So much to learn, and unlearn. So much to do, and be, and change for our children.
And yet, such little time to yourself.
How can we possibly do it all?
We can’t - but we can try to do it together.
I shared these simple words from the ever-inspiring Andréa Renae with my Sea Soul Blessings community this month. Because they always help me. They are a vital reminder that we are not alone in the struggle - we do not have to be enough all on our own.
Lockdown has made many of us feel more alone - but we are still connected.
We are still here for each other. It’s that connection that inspired me to write to you today, to encourage you to check in with your needs - to rest and look after your beautiful tender self.
Pushing ourselves on when we are already over-stretched can sometimes seem the only possible response. And sometimes that is truly all we can do - the fight is too necessary, the list too long, the pile too high, the need too great, and we have to keep going.
But that can’t always be the case.
You can’t keep going like that all the time.
When you don’t rest, you diminish your capacity to do anything at all.
Changing the world for the better, being the parent we want to be, is a lifelong journey - one for which we need to build our strength and resilience. Without tending to ourselves, we can’t tend to others.
We can only be the people, the mothers, the change-makers we want to be - if we look after ourselves. If we motivate ourselves with kindness. If we understand that we simply can’t do it all, all the time.
So, right now, in this moment for yourself - can you stop to notice all that you are doing?
And all that you are doing right? Or well enough?
The small changes you’ve made. The moments when you held on. That time when you really connected, and listened. When you tried your best. When you lifted your head instead of giving up. When you got the kids fed and into bed, no matter what they ate, no matter what time it was.
What three things could you do to take better care of yourself in this moment?
Could you take something unnecessary off the list? Ask for help? Speak to yourself differenlty? Go to bed earlier? Drink more water? Call a loved one? Take some deep breaths outside? Move your body? Sit down? Have a bath? Concentrate on chewing? Stretch?
Think of three things - and take another moment or two to do them right now.
Making these simple changes regularly - offering yourself kindness, making time for yourself, and using that time well to meet your needs - is the basis for all positive change. It’s vital. Even when I’m coaching someone through big life changes in their career, family, relationships - we often come back to these small shifts and their simple power to move us forward.
You are holding so much. Give yourself time to think. To rest. Look after yourself.
Sending you love from over here. Sending you faith that you can keep going. Sending you permission to pause. Sending you a reminder that you are strong, and beautiful, and so needed in this world.
BLACK LIVES MATTER: MORE RESOURCES
As promised, here are some of the anti-racism resources that I’ve found useful to read, watch, use and share in recent weeks.
I learnt a huge amount from reading Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book, “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race” some time back. More recently, I've learnt from these:
· The Black Lives Matter website - how to support the cause.
· The Independent’s guide to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement if you can’t attend a protest
· Nomypalony’s guide to anti-racist charities you can donate to in the UK
· This list of Black-owned sustainable businesses to support, compiled by Curiously Conscious - we can shift the culture by shifting what we buy, and who from.
· Dr Anita Phillips talking about the history of dehumanisation, and its impact on contemporary racism (video)
· Akala talking about racism in Britain (video)
· Courtney Ahn’s simple visual guide to white privilege
· Adele Jarrett-Kerr’s perspective on unschooling for de-colonisation
· Uju Asika’s post: “What Do You Tell Your Children About George Floyd?”
· Uju’s book, Bringing Up Race, is also coming out in September - her post here tells you more about that, and contains some more excellent resources.
· The #sharethemicnow series on Instagram - Black women including Austin Channing Brown, Brittney Cooper, Tarana Burke and Dr Yaba Blay, took over white women's instagram platforms to share their expertise and experiences with a wider audience. Search the hashtag to find more.
- Environmentalists Mary Annaïse Heglar and Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson always inspire me - and in these two articles they look at the connections between racism and the climate crisis.
For now, I’m dedicating regular time to learning more about structural racism and how to combat this within myself and without, donating to organisations making a difference on the ground, and exploring other ways to help. If you have any thoughts on other ways that we can be of help at Story of Mum, please get in touch.