How are you doing? We just wanted to send you some love for the year ahead, and a reminder that you are enough right now, just as you are, crappy hair, weepy days, mess-ups and all.
Because this time of year can be full of self-criticism. Adverts everywhere remind us of our many apparent flaws under a harsh end-of-party light.
It's hard not to see all the things we didn't manage to do in 2015, all the mistakes and slow progress we've made. It's hard not to feel this overwhelming new year pressure to change 'for the better' somehow.
Yet mixed up with all that self-criticism is hope - of a new start - a fresh slate or possibility - faith that we can finally be who we want to be. That's the good stuff.
And being mean to ourselves in order to change for the better doesn't nurture hope, it squashes it. Feeling like we can't celebrate until we change stops us from enjoying the day in front of us right now.
We can remind ourselves to make healthy self-loving decisions, follow through on dreams that we have, but don't let them stop you from enjoying who you are RIGHT NOW.
New Years Eve is just another day. And in each day there is hope.
We hope that this year for you is a beautiful mosaic of imperfectly-shaped but undeniably special moments.
Moments when you pause to enjoy the present just as it is, and just as you are - whether you've brushed your hair or exercised or eaten a cake or not - because you are enough, either way.
And you are beautiful, either way.
And we can be happy, either way.
And each time you notice one of those everyday moments of joy, you're adding to a vital and precious mosaic: a hope-filled life. A much-loved life. Your life.
Because that's what you deserve. That's what we are all worth. And we wish it for you, with both our hearts.
Happy New Year. No New You required.
What happened last month?
What are we doing this month?
Well surprise surprise, we're reminding you to look after yourself this year! To connect with what you really truly deeply hope for, and to think about what you most want to feel...
Can you join us in making a collage this month to capture how you most want to feel, and what deeply nurtures you?
We all have different ways of nurturing ourselves. But when you're out of practice (and most of us mums are...) the hardest thing can often be knowing what it is that you need in the first place.
So we'll let our unconscious do the thinking for us. And a simple creative activity like collage can be incredibly insightful. Ask yourself the questions: 'what do I most want to feel this year?' and 'what helps me to feel that way?' and see what images you are drawn to. Find out more over here.
When you’re done, step back. How was it?
Is there a quality that shines through for you from the images you've chosen? Something that you'd like to focus on more in the coming year - adventure, vitality, purpose, rest, joy, space or something else...?
Because for some of us, it can be helpful to have a word of the year - something to hold on to when the going gets tough; something to breathe into and remember when you aren't sure which choice to make. A word to guide you.
Or if you're more practically inclined, you could use your collage to identify a specific action (or lots of actions!) that you can take this year.
To start with, what could you do in just 5-10 minutes every day that would capture the feel of some of the images on your page?
We would love you to share your collage with us - and then put it somewhere where it will remind you to feel what you most want to feel this year, and nurture and support yourself. Because that's the most important bit.
Come and join us for #somum on twitter on Wednesday 13 January from 8.30 - 10pm (UK time) to collage together and look forward towards a year that nurtures us. All welcome!
Need some more inspiration?
The other big me-treat on my list for this month will be sitting down with Leonie Dawson's workbook to plan the year ahead.
I've already started introducing little parts of these books to my kids - in fact, we had a lovely morning in bed in our PJs yesterday imagining our 'Dreamiest Days' together under the duvet.
And in truth, that kind of morning is pretty much how I would choose to start my dreamiest day, so that was a happy start to the year, in amongst the shouting and fighting and jumping on the bed!
Their dreamiest days involved waking up in a princess bed, and adventuring through a lego jungle. What would happen on your perfect day...? Where would you wake up? Who would you see and what would you do?
If you'd like to find out more or get your own, visit Leonie's website. And know that if you do treat yourself to a yearly workbook via this link, you'll also be supporting Story of Mum as we'll get a little affiliate fee - yay! (And be reassured that we only ever promote things that we really love and use ourselves - so these come very highly recommended.)
Our next retreat!
We hope lots of you got Mamas' Retreat gift vouchers in your stockings!
As of right now, you're the first to know that early bird tickets are now available for our next Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat.
We'll be collaging and writing and eating heart-warming food together, as well as stretching our tired bodies with some delicious Leif Olsen yoga. There's nothing quite like it.
You deserve time to look after yourself - so join us and begin your year with a vital reminder. You'll return to those you love happier, calmer, and ready to make everyone's lives brighter in 2016.
We'd love to see you. Find out more and book over here.
Remember, you are awesome already. I know it can be hard to believe, but you are. And you're a good mother. Most important job in the world.
Wishing you a year full of joy, nurturing, and faith in the knowledge that you, flaws and all, are enough.
Pippa and Penny
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