Cropping out the mess

How are you doing, lovely?

What are you doing today to keep you strong, as the world whirls around you?  

Where are you putting your own needs first?

To remind me of my general awesomeness, I'm wearing this badge that I made at our last Mamas' Retreat (you can see more pics of the lovely time we had over here)

It makes me smile every time I notice it.

Can you create something that does that for you this month...?

It's a time of the year when we can often feel like we're starting to lose the plot, and when self care and mama me-time are more important than ever.  

So naturally, Story of Mum are here with a timely reminder that you are ENOUGH.

You really are, even on the days when it feels like you can't possibly be.

We've created a few new strategies to help remind you of your enough-ness and to help you survive the next few weeks: 

We're sharing a simple idea each Saturday for staying calm amongst the madness over on Mamas' Everyday Retreat,

We've also created a new discussion strand there, the Sunday Rant (!!) Just in case you need a safe place to let a bit of anger out, so that you can free up some energy and start enjoying yourself instead.

We're saving ourselves until January for our next #somum party date, so put 11 January in your diary, and you'll have something to look forward to once the holidays are out of the way. Jump over to Mamas' Everyday Retreat to join us from 8.30 -10pm that day.

Christmas Gift Ideas

We wanted to find some longer-lasting ways to remind you of how amazing you are...

So we’ve collaborated with two amazing artisan maker-mama friends, Bloom Remedies and Stuff Made From Things, to create some limited edition very special mama support packages you might want to put on your Christmas list...

In one beautiful life-affirming package of goodness, you get all the joy-giving treats you need to make a huge positive difference to a mama you love -  or even better, to make a positive difference to YOU! 

(*cough* you could send this link to someone who needs ideas for presents for you...)

The gift packages are available from now until the end of December, and we have a limited number of each available. The last day to order a package in time for Christmas is midday on Friday 16 December, so if you're interested, jump in and order yours now.

We'll send some more detailed information out about each of the packages in the next few days, and here's where to find out more sooner.

Competition to win an etched glass decoration from Amanda Johnson

Competition time 

We have a little competition running on our Story of Mum Facebook page to win one of these lovely etched glass decorations worth £30.

It features a gorgeous retro Mum Tattoo design from Amanda Johnson.

The deadline to enter is Sunday at midnight. That's so the winner can get it delivered by Christmas - so if you win, that's one gift sorted!

All you have to do is click a few links, and you can do that over here. Hardly anyone has entered so far, so your chances are good! 

Kids' Construction Advent 

In other seasonal (ish) news, the kids recently had an awesome (and worryingly ambitious...!) creative idea...

Kids' Construction Advent using Gigi Bloks with Story of Mum: a christmas tree and presents

They decided to attempt to make something new and Christmassy from their beloved cardboard blocks to share each day in the run up to Christmas.

...A kind of Christmas construction advent calendar.

They confidently asked me to write to GIGI Bloks to see if they would like to send us some more blocks so that they could build extra awesome things - and to their delight, they actually said yes! 

(Even more amazingly, they also sent the kids the very first prototype of a triangle shaped block, and they have been SO excited to be the first kids to play with these - brave average pioneers...!)

If you like that sort of thing , you can follow their progress on facebook, and instagram (search for #gigiadvent).  (This isn't a sponsored activity, the kids just really love these building blocks...!) 

On the down side, my house is now littered with cardboard blocks.

On the plus side, when they're in the mood for building, they can be entertained for hours inventing stuff together.

So I get to have some precious mama me-time...

Don't compare our real-life mess and imperfection with someone else's cropped smiley photo

At this juncture, I feel I should also point out -  if you're not making cardboard creations with your kids every day, you're still enough. 

As we race through December, trying to fit everything in, it can be hard not to feel inadequate. It's hard not to compare ourselves with the 'perfect' looking families and holiday fun we think we can see all around us.

We probably all need to pause and remind ourselves that we never see the whole picture...  

In fact, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to frame all those Christmas construction advent photos to make my house look clean and tidy...

How hard? It's really really really hard. (I can't even get the picture the right way round here right now!)

Yes, the kids may be creative, and playing nicely, (they are in the photos that I choose to share anyway - here's another one, taken after the build, when they were sulking over a TV argument...).

...but there's also chaos, and chipped paint, and random stuff stacked up the stairs, piles of washing to do, food trodden into the floor, and a long list of jobs that fell off the 'can I be bothered?' list weeks ago. All that stuff is just hidden beyond the perimeter of my cleverly cropped photos. 

Loved: special gifts for mums: a gift package from Story of Mum including coaching, loved cuff, five a day ecourse, body balms, do it yourself kit to host your own Mamas' Retreat and more

We know it's possible to take a perfect photo, but 'real' perfection, if it happens, only happens momentarily. Ironically , if we do manage to catch a tiny frame of that perfection in a photo, we've probably missed living it.

So this month, let's remind each other not to compare our real-life mess and imperfection with someone else's cropped smiley photo. They're two completely different things.

The most important thing, the only thing that truly deeply matters, to us and to our children, as always, is love. 

We're all humans, trying to make sense of our messy complicated lives. We might make sense of these in different ways, but we're all trying.

And it's difficult, and painful, to open our hearts to that. But open our hearts we do.

Because we are mothers. Brave beautiful loved and loving mothers. And we know that acknowledging our imperfections and vulnerability ultimately helps us all to connect.

Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for trying so hard. Every single day including the bad days. Thank you. It's enough.

You are good enough, mum enough, brave enough, Christmassy enough, magical enough,  and just the right amount of messy enough. You really really are. 

Much messy love, imperfection and all the magic of the season to you,

Pippa and Penny

PS If you ever need some help to feel more enough, you know where we are. Treat yourself xx


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