How are you doing? How are you surviving the juggle?
We often talk about motherhood in terms of juggling. Probably because there is always something to be done. Or in fact, there are always many things to be done. And more often than not, all at the same time. So many balls in the air.
I wonder, when we laugh it all off as ‘the juggle’, do we normalise the overwhelm? Does it teach us to expect it? To simply accept the selfless juggle - it's just part of the experience of being a mother.
I do this myself, often. And yet, I know that language has power. That using this circus image must somehow diminish our effort. A "juggle" involves skill, of course. There is great aptitude involved in keeping those balls up. But it is carried out for entertainment and applause - and then, it's over. The juggler goes home. But our juggle? It goes on day after day after day. With very little applause...!
And so we forget - that we are so much more than the juggle. And that our juggle is so much more than we acknowledge.
How many of the balls that you’re juggling right now are effectively invisible to you? Juggling invisible balls - balls that you can only see when you drop them? Well, that’s an impossible task. And a thankless one.
Each moment is so full. You hold it all.
Please, notice all of the "inconsequential" things you’ve done today. Because they are not inconsequential. Take a moment to put each ball down - and to really see it. Understand its impact. Because they all count. They all have value. And they are all, generally, unseen. Don’t let another day slip by without bringing all of those balls into focus. Without witnessing the weight of all you're juggling - the strength it takes. And giving yourself some appreciation for that.
See the shopping, washing, drying, cleaning, sorting, feeding, wiping, clearing.
The listening, reminding, supporting, inspiring, soothing, holding, understanding.
The phone calls, the emails, the diaries, to do lists, the targets, the deliveries.
All the things you remember - the dates, the names, the clubs, the homework, PE kits, uniform, birthdays.
All you have to learn - new skills, new challenges, new situations and contexts, solutions to problems.
And yet - at the end of a day of this constant activity - how often do you still feel like you’ve achieved nothing? How often do you see nothing but the balls you dropped?
And how often do you struggle to find the time to meet your own needs - because you’re so busy juggling? How often do you miss the value of all you do? And fail to value yourself as a result. If you can't see it - truly can't see it, ask yourself - what would happen if we just let the balls drop? Every single one.
What if every mother everywhere did that? Imagine. The relief. The horror. The world stopping. The slow awareness of all we do spreading. The awe.
Because what you do is awe-inspiring. And maybe we don't see that - because we just call it a 'juggle'. Instead of seeing it for what it is - an infinite series of amazing catches. All those vital life-saving catches that you make each day. Each one evidence of your quiet heroism - your Herculean act of holding.
And each catch proves: you are here, amongst the washing and the cooking and the working and the doing more than your fair share of chores. You are here being paid less than your male counterpart, caring for your children even though society doesn’t value that because it has no financial worth. You are here at home keeping everything running, keeping the cogs of the country turning, keeping the balls in the air, keeping the balls in the air, keeping the balls in the air.
When it all gets too much for me, I head to the sea.
I head to the sea where there are only pebbles, and peace, and space to lay it all down.
I throw every single ball I've caught into the water, until the only ball left is me.
A tiny ball. Sometimes, almost invisible.
But as I swim, I expand. I find myself here. I float, staring up at the sky, at the clouds high above, and I sense the shape of my own body, my limits - where I begin and end. I am held by the water. Feeling my own presence.
I am here. I am here. I am here.
I float until it gets too cold, and the balls start popping up in the water around me. Because time is running out and there are things to do. There are the needs of others, all around me. There is this life I chose. That I made. That I make every day in the doing and the spinning and the catching.
And there is my choice to find myself, still, within it all.
When I return from that stillness, I am stronger. I can remember how important it is to make that time for me. I can create more space between the throws. More time between catches. I can feel the weight of each ball as I hold it - and honour myself in that holding. I am brave enough to throw the balls a little higher and further. And in between, to allow those balls to take care of themselves for a while.
Maybe this is what happens as our children grow up. Slowly, the throws get further and higher. Higher and further. Up into the clouds. Until we can see them no longer.
And will we, later, miss the busyness? The circus thrill. The sense of our own invisibility amongst so many unacknowledged balls? Will we miss the constant movement? Our ability to ignore our own feelings and needs in pursuit of theirs? Will we still do it all - for them? Or perhaps, for ourselves instead? Who will we be? Beyond these unwitnessed acts of mothering. And who are we now?
Can you see yourself amongst it all, in this moment, right now? Witness the miracle of all those catches, day after day after day?
Can you let the balls drop - just for a moment?
A moment to appreciate all that you do.
A moment in which to see yourself again.
To give yourself space.
What do you need?
Can you give yourself that now?
You are here. You are here. You are here.
And you're not alone.
If we can help, let us know.
You might like to join our free facebook group: Mamas’ Everyday Retreat.
You could give yourself some coaching sessions - space to hear yourself think, overcome overwhelm and find more focus, rest and joy.
Reply to this email if you'd like to know more, and we can chat by phone to see if it's the right fit for you. We also offer bursaries to those in need.
In other exciting events news... tickets have just gone live for our next day retreat in Penzance in June - yippee! You can read all about that and get your tickets here. We're doing just two of these a year at the moment, and they are absolutely delicious! If you need something to look forward to, I highly recommend booking yourself a day of nurturing, connection and solstice delights.
And if you're a sea-lover, I'll also be hosting my first ever Sea Soul retreat in April. We'll use Sea Soul Blessings and other tools to find deeper self compassion, and connect to the sea with mindful activities on the beach - followed by an optional dip! Find out more below.
In the meantime, we're sending you so much love. Let us hold all of those balls for you for a while, so you can find yourself again.
You awe-inspiring heroic Hercules, you.
If you liked reading this, sign up for our Mama-Loving Mail to get personalised reminders like this direct to your email once a month. We also share info about our events, letting you know when tickets for our retreats go live.
May you be FREE
To swim from ocean to ocean, to follow your own currents and rest in the tides, to possess time, is to fully appreciate the privilege of being at liberty to choose. The sea attests to your right to control your own destiny, even in a world over which you have little influence.
May your life be your own. May you trust your capacity for self-reliance. May your love be unconstrained, and your choices unlimited. May you reject control and claim freedom. May your liberation liberate others.
Find more Sea Soul Blessings at www.seasoulblessings.com
Monthly Retreat Party: Join us on Wednesday 26 February from 8.30 to 9.30pm for our monthly #somum Mamas' Retreat Party in Mamas' Everyday Retreat. Mamas' Everyday Retreat is a safe kind space for mamas to connect and support each other. You can expect much me-time encouragement, compassionate conversation, gentle motivation, and surprise treats. If you're not already a member, ask to join the group and we'll add you.
MIDSUMMER RETREAT: Release, Refocus and Recharge. Join Pippa Best and Leif Olsen on Saturday 20 June from 10am to 4pm for our second ever midsummer day retreat for women. Come celebrate the year's longest day together with gentle encouragement and connection, delicious yoga stretches, tasty vegetarian food, time in nature, and some simple creative activities to inspire you to approach the rest of the year with renewed confidence and refreshed motivation.
You might also like this from Sea Soul Blessings...
The Healing Sea: A Sea Soul Retreat. Saturday April 25 - 10am - 1pm, followed by a dip! Hosted by Sea Soul Blessings, this simple morning retreat is a chance for sea-lovers to come together and reconnect to the water – appreciating the many benefits of time in nature, finding ways to develop your own self compassion and mindfulness practices, and trying out simple tools with the capacity to calm, soothe and inspire us.