Change. There's a lot of it about... Sometimes that's exciting. And sometimes that can feel destabilising and scary. Sometimes both. How are you feeling right now?
I sighed when I found the quote on the right from Nejma by Nayyirah Waheed this week.
Somehow it captured a familiar feeling of exhaustion - a tiredness I've felt when faced with changes in many areas of my life at once. When the next steps were unclear. When everyone needed me. When the world around me felt unstable and unsafe.
How many of the women in you are tired right now?
What's in flux - in your home life, your relationships, work and parenting?
What are the changes you feel around you - in your communities, country, the world at large?
I know that when more than a couple of big changes show up in my answers to those questions, my 'coping' can start to look less like coping and more like extra wine and chocolate...
Those are the days when I struggle to stay focused, calm and strong. When everything feels too much to cope with.
When I forget that actually, parenting has schooled me in change.
So today, I wondered if maybe you needed that reminder too. A reminder that you have learnt everything you need to get through this. And you will.
As parents, we're always responding to change of some kind. Just when we think we've got something sorted - feeding, sleeping, behaviour, routines, school, friendships - a new challenge comes along.
We're experts. (Yup, you too!) who work at the coalface of change every day.
We know how to quickly change the mood of a room with an imaginary game, rethink a meal from scratch, magic up clean uniform from the dirty washing basket, and remove tattoos (the temporary ones anyway...).
We've transitioned from Spot the Dog to Octonauts to Power Rangers to Ninjago; from loom bands to fidget spinners; from first day at home to first day at playschool to first day at school.
Through all of that, we've practiced how to keep smiling when we really want to scream (and, yes, sometimes we do scream, and that's OK too...). We've learnt how to get up, wipe off the grime, and start all over again. Daily. Sometimes, hourly.
Every day, we deal with whatever's in front of us, however much of a mess that might be. We face the reality of how little we know; and how little we can control, in spite of our best attempts.
Nonetheless, we get on, make the best of it, and help each other as we go. Because we've also learnt that our mama hearts are big. That doesn't change.
When I remember that about myself, I breathe more easily, even as the world shifts around me. I'm an expert at helping others through change. And so are you.
But, (yes, there's a but, sorry...) this comes with a caveat. That applies to most of the mothers I meet. We're not yet expert in looking after ourselves through that process.
We don't care for ourselves every day. We haven't practised that in the same way as we've practiced caring for others.
In the eye of the storm, our own needs are all too easy to forget. And sometimes, we're the mess in front of us that we don't deal with.
Maybe the most important lesson we can learn in the face of all this change - is to care for ourselves.
So when you feel overwhelm rise, when too much feels in flux, when you're stuck in that uncomfortable feeling of in between limbo, do just that: accept that your needs matter; and that meeting them is in fact the key to everything else.
Ask yourself today - what do those many tired women inside me need to feel safe and loved? What would remind them of their amazing strength and knowledge?
Would it help to pause and notice the massive changes you've already faced? The skills you've developed?
Would it help to ask them - what supports me to stay grounded as the world swirls around me? What should I do to care for me today?
Because breathing helps, yes. But what else? What more? Make time for more of that more today.
And ask them again tomorrow. And the next day...
Because that's a small change you can make. A small change that will help you to cope with all the big ones.
What's happening this month?
Our next Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat will take place on Sunday 16 July - there are only a couple of tickets left, but you can snaffle those last spots over here if you act fast!
We're having our next #somum monthly get together this Wednesday 14 June from 8.30 - 9.30pm.
Pop along and find us in Mamas' Everyday Retreat to chat with other mums.
Some final inspiration
"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." (Mother Teresa)
As mothers, we're building the world that we want to see, one child at a time, one change at a time. Your role is vitally important. Please don't forget that.
And if that still doesn't seem enough...
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. For indeed, that's all who ever have" (Margaret Mead).
You have all the skills you need to change the world - within your family, and beyond. And all of that starts with how you look after you.
Looking after you is looking after everything else - the two things are inseparable.
Seeing your strength, every day. And sending you love,
Pippa and Penny
PS Join us to chat this Wednesday!
PPS If you're still feeling unsettled amongst the chaos... how about, instead of scrolling through more emails right now, you take a moment to breathe into that feeling. Where do you feel it in your body? Do you want to feel that way? If not, take a few more minutes to breathe. And each time you breathe out, release that feeling, and that part of your body, a little bit more with each breath...
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