How are you doing?
Are you 'back to school' or 'back to homeschooling' or mostly feeling back to front...?
And how are you looking after yourself? Is there a little more space in your day than before at the moment, or does life still feel overwhelming?
Have you paused to acknowledge all you have done, managed, coped with, experienced, given, learnt over these past months?
Because you have been amazing, and I suspect, so much more awesome at getting through this with your loved ones than you think.
Can you take a moment to pause and reflect on that - right here right now?
If you like journalling, or making lists, you could grab a pen and note down a few of the things you've coped with in recent months.
If you're not into writing, you could simply name a few things aloud - acknowledging how hard it has been, and how well you have done, just as you'd support a friend.
If even that feels impossible, and all you can think of is the things that didn't go right, then take a moment to focus on one of those 'failures' and look at it afresh. How can you flip it? What did you actually manage to do well in that situation (did you manage to provide food or shelter for your kids)? What didn't you do that would have made it worse? (did you manage not to attack anyone, to keep all your clothes on, and stay off the national news?)
It's never quite as terrible as we tell ourselves.
Over here, I'm finally getting a little headspace outside the flow of family, work commitments, and responding to the changing world in which we live.
As my kids went back to school last week, I thought you might appreciate my latest parenting "lesson"...
1. Sending kids back to school during a pandemic is an emotional rollercoaster.
You may feel fear, excitement, joy, loss, relief, anxiety, bliss, horror, or all of the above all at once.
2. When your child or children have lived in your pocket, up in your face, on your lap, and in your head full-time for 6 months......you may imagine that you will feel thrilled at all the space now available to you in which to finally attempt to catch up on six months of chaos clearing / overdue work / relationship repair / detox / therapy.
3. However, rather like childbirth, you may also find yourself suddenly forgetting the pain and challenges of the last six months, and reimagining this period of confinement as one of blissful family union, happy smiling board games, and children agreeing to do the washing up without requiring you to scream loud enough for the neighbours to consider phoning the police.
4. As a result, you may actually miss your children, and feel a bit lonely.
5. Luckily, at that point, you will spend an hour or so walking around town, happily chatting to people for ages - on your way to a meeting, where you will be asked why you have a school tie attached to your back. You will feel embarrassed and terribly guilty at having somehow jumbled up the washing (like that time you went swimming with a clothes-peg still attached to your bikini) and realise that you could have lost your son’s tie, and oblivious, then got furious at him for losing it AGAIN - just when the poor love needed your encouragement the most. Phew.
6. When you apologetically tell your son all about it, he will confess that his choice to attach his tie to your back very much amused his friend who was visiting at the time, and they never imagined that you would fail to notice before leaving the house.
7. At this point, you will remember that the last six months have been an unmitigated hell, and send him off to school with a skip in your step, and a ‘kick me’ sign ready to return the favour. But of course you won’t actually do the second bit - because the truth is you do actually miss them. A lot. Confusing times.
Hoping you can relate to that kind of amazing... and that it helps you to see the funny side of whatever parenting 'lessons' have been happening in your part of the world...
I'm celebrating having managed to do a few things over the last few months - I'll share some of them here to give you some ideas for things to celebrate of your own.
Throughout lockdown, I've tried to look after myself well - knowing how vital that was if I wanted to look after anyone else.
I haven't always succeeded of course. But more often than not, I've been able to communicate my needs, reprioritise when I needed to go to bed early, and continue laughing at the disasters.
That means that my house has mostly been a tip of course, and I've had to get comfortable with that - we can't do everything... And generally, for my sanity, I've chosen a walk or a swim over housework.
Maybe most significantly, I've carried on with a dietary cleanse that has been helping me to manage the onset of peri-menopausal low mood, anxiety and hormonal changes - and I've found (imperfect but doable) ways of working around the kids - much less than usual of course, but still - work has been done.
So, alongside running Sea Soul Blessings and script editing, I've continued to coach amazing women like you. I really love connecting with other mamas as they find a way through the challenges - witness their own growth - and look ahead to the future they'd like to create.
The autumnal shift that comes with the kids going back to school is always a powerful place to start.
So if the world is opening up for you a little, and you're curious about coaching, I'm always here for a chat.
We can see if working with me is a good fit for you, or I can signpost you to other possibilities, so just drop me an email. I have two spaces available starting this month.
Last but not least, I'm also celebrating managing to build a new wardrobe with the kids - well, second time around - but that's a parenting lesson for another day...
In the meantime, I'm waving at you with a slightly goofy post-swim smile from my little corner of family chaos near Penzance prom, reminding you to acknowledge and celebrate all of the things we've managed to hold together, including ourselves - some of the time.
Every little thing you do for your family, to keep food on the table, to remind them that they are loved and you are there for them, whatever else is going on around you, it matters so much. Thank you for all you are doing over there.