How are you feeling?
What's shifting for you this month?
For me, September always brings a new consciousness of time passing.
After the packed beach busy-ness of Cornwall in August, there is an autumnal cooling in the air and a thinning on the sands.
With it, comes the awareness that summer is edging towards an end.
The month always starts with joyful time-marking celebrations, my birthday: a bittersweet reminder that I'm a year older and wiser.
This September, there are endings and new beginnings: my littlest is starting school today and I keep feeling the emotion of it rolling through me like waves I can’t control.
There will be no more school-day bumbling about with a joyful pre-school child. I will never have a pre-schooler again. I am sad that my smallest child is growing up. And that her brother is growing up too, moving into the juniors this year, wearing a tie.
And I find myself feeling frustrated for feeling sad about this milestone, for feeling the deep pull on my heart of this letting go so deeply. Raw from the horrors that we have been reminded of so powerfully this week, how can I cry at this transition when others elsewhere are suffering so much more?
But I am trying to be kind to myself. Accepting all of these feelings as they come.
They may not all be equal, but they are all felt.
And all we can really do is feel what we feel, act where we can act, and breathe through the moments where we can't.
I can't believe that more than 3 years have passed since I wrote this post after the Houla massacre.
This week, I have given more money, signed more petitions, written to my MP again, just as I did 3 years ago - and many more times between then and now - and it still isn't enough.
There will be much more we can do in the coming days, and I will do my best to believe that together we can make a difference this time. It does feel that finally there is a shifting of opinion, a greater sense of communal humanity, and this gives me hope.
If you're also feeling drawn to help and lost as how to do so, this is one of many useful posts. Something you could do right now would be to text SYRIA to 70008 to donate £5 to Save the Children to support their work.
Because what more can we hope for our children than that they have the chance to grow up?
It may ache to see them step away, little step by little step - off to school, soon tying their first tie, and into a life of their own beyond that - and yet it is the greatest gift and privilege.
This month's activity
Inspired by our last retreat, and by an activity that has helped me immensely when I feel sad or overwhelmed, this month we're making Mini Mama Journals.
A daily one-line journal can remind us to sit with ourselves for a moment, to take a minute to reflect on what we are feeling - instead of focusing all of our energy on the needs of everyone else.
And doing that for just a couple of minutes a day, regularly, can have a massive impact.
It's helped me find more joy in my days, encouraged me to take and enjoy more moments of rest, have more confidence in myself, and appreciate all that I have in my life. The more I write these things down, the more I notice them in the moment, the more I remember to find the rest or pride or appreciation I most need.
What is it that you wish you had more of in your life right now?
Make that the focus of your journal.
It's amazing how the action of consciously and regularly recording precious moments each day can make more of those moments and feelings happen.
So if you wish you had more moments of rest, use your journal to record three restful moments each day.
If you want more joy, note down three joyful moments, or three things that you were grateful for.
If you'd like more self-confidence, use your journal to capture three small things you did that you were proud of each day.
We're not looking for huge achievements or epic shifts each day, we're simply noticing the tiny moments, that over time, add up to something wonderful.
You can find out more and see more journals made by other mamas in our gallery. With all the sadness I've been feeling, I'm going to use my journal to focus on joy, and the moments where I feel I've had a positive impact on the world, in even a small way, each day this month.
What's up next?
Join us on Wednesday 9 September from 8.30 to 10pm UK time (find world times here) on twitter to make Mini Mama Journals together and chat at our next #somum Make Date - think of it as a free mini Mamas' Retreat with other lovely mums.
Knowing that we have a Sunday Morning Mamas’ Retreat on the horizon very soon is also holding me steady this month.
I know it will be a warm and lovely space where it will be OK to admit how hard this feels, to hear from other mothers about the shifts that they are experiencing right now, the challenges and the joys - because at every stage of motherhood, there is something new to feel and learn.
I am so grateful for this. There are a few spaces left on 13 September if you need this space too.
Sending you much love and gratitude for all that you do for others every day. You all remind us of how much we can achieve when we come together. We are so grateful for this community.
Remember to take those few moments for yourself each day. Those moments make us stronger. And together, we can change the world.
Pippa and Penny
PS We'd love you to join our next retreat in Cornwall on 13 September - find out more here.