I am lost.

I am so totally, utterly and completely lost.

I don’t know which parenting book to read first, which website to visit, which therapist to call. I am struggling with the heavy weight of despair closing around me like a cage. It’s not so much my own depression that I am battling – though that war wages on (and on and on), it’s the added weight of feeling lost in my own family.

My beautiful baby girl – Beanie – I don’t think I could feel further away from her than I do right now. I think I have spent more time crying in the last few weeks than I have in the previous few years. I’m sure not having the buffer of the antidepressants makes things that much rawer but I also feel that it is the cumulative weight of my mothering grief that is really pouring out of me right now. Every day there is a new row, a new argument, a new drama to negotiate. Beanie is not yet 6 and she behaves like a hormonal teenager right down to the ‘”I’m not listening!” and the slamming of her bedroom door.

The hubble and I are struggling to understand what happened to our happy, funny little girl. When did this angry, sullen, overly sensitive teenager slip into our home and take her over? When did she decide that the only way to get our attention was to defy, challenge, ignore, scream, shout and push against us continually? Is this what being 5 is normally like? I keep hoping that it is a phase but I don’t think that it is. I had hoped that starting school would help her settle into a rhythm, help her to learn to listen and act as part of a little team. It has not. Her teacher, a lovely woman very experienced in teaching, has told us that Beanie is very ‘challenging’. Tell me about it. But where does that leave us? If a woman who has over 20 years of teaching calls our daughter challenging and finds her difficult to deal with, then what hope have we? We have a grand total of nearly 6 years experience of having children and most of those have been fraught. At least they have for me.

I can honestly say with my hand over my heart that I do not enjoy parenting. It’s not that I don’t love my children. Of course I do. With my whole conditional, demented heart but I do not enjoy the endlessness of this ‘difficult’ phase in my mothering journey. I have been on this road too long and no matter what help I seek, I am still here, still sitting in the shit and wishing it smelled differently. I cannot seem to move away from the sadness and the grief and the enormous guilt that I am forever saying and doing the wrong thing. I say things in anger that make my cheeks sting with shame afterwards. I try to reason with her like an adult, even though I know that she is still so very little. I lack the ability and the tools to know how to manage my angry child and not make it all worse. Not make my own anger and sadness worse. I’m sitting here, sobbing over my keyboard and trying to empty it all onto a page, so that i can at least find some space inside of me to figure out what to do next. Where to go now with my precious, rebellious, angry daughter.

Discipline doesn’t work, time-outs don’t work, consequences don’t work, taking things away from her doesn’t work. We have tried time-in’s but they are not working. I am desperately trying to master active listening, so that she feels heard – God knows with me for a mother and my own rage evident much of the time, she probably feels completely unheard – but I am trying so hard. I truly am.  Nothing changes her behaviour. She is rude and disobedient to us in particular, but it has started spreading to other adults too – her grandparents, her aunty, whom she absolutely adores, and to people she barely knows. I’m only surprised that it hasn’t been more evident at school. She isn’t rude there, just disobedient. And she doesn’t listen to anyone. Not ever. And then we will have a week where very little behaviour is evident, where we seem to have turned a corner and then BANG! for no apparent reason, she overflows with brattishness all over again and we are left standing in the debris wondering what the fuck happened. And I sit there feeling like it is ALL my fault. That my anger, my difficulties with mothering, my impossibly high standards for myself (and therefore probably others too), have just fucked up my bright beautiful little girl and I deserve everything I get. And I’m sure everyone feels like this from time to time but I know how bad it gets here when I am way out of control with frustration and resentment and every little thing sets me off. I am on simmer all the time with this PND and yes, I decided to come off the medication anyway. Mainly because it was simply detaching me even more than I do myself, every time things got tough – which is EVERY DAY. I don’t want to be emotionally disconnected from my children. I don’t want to not feel anything or feel through cotton wool. I thought that it would help, but it didn’t and the withdrawal from even the low dose of SSRI’s that I was on, was phenomenally bad. I will not ever take that kind of drug again. Not ever.

She is struggling and I don’t know how to help her because I am struggling too. I can work through some of my difficulties with my therapist, but what can she do? The only person she really has to talk to is me, or the hubble, and obviously we are the last people she wants to talk to right now. So we have made the decision to take her to see a child psychologist/family therapist. This is a major step for me because I feel so horribly responsible for the whole situation. I am terrified that when I explain honestly to the therapist what has been happening, that he will recommend that Lily be immediately taken away from me. Thus realising my absolute worst nightmare – that I am such a shitty excuse for a mother that I am not safe to be around my babies.

What the fuck do I do? How do I turn this horrible heartbreaking situation around and make it into something good before she hits her teens and we find ourselves in every parent’s worst teen nightmare. I am scared for our family and I am scared for her. This much wilfulness needs to find an outlet that is positive and self nourishing or it will destroy her and everything around her. I know. I’m jumping ahead wildly, she is only 5, but I can see it coming the way a rabbit can see the headlights of an oncoming truck and can’t seem to move out of its way. I am a staring down a semi with ‘out of control Wild Child’ written on its grille. And it terrifies me.

Wildling in the Forest

Wildling in the Forest

If you could see her – you would immediately know how wonderful she is. She is so smart, and so capable and she has such perseverance – she will try something over and over again until she masters it. That’s not to say that she does it with any kind of patience – we have many, many tantrums over her inability to do something initially, but she keeps going back. I know that feeling. I am the same. I don’t want her to be like me. I don’t want her to carry my issues as her own. I want her Spirit to remain intact. I just also want her to understand that in finding some way to express herself that is not defiance or downright rudeness, she is giving herself tools to manage her own volatile emotions and that can only be a good thing.



But if you did meet her, you might be amazed at how often we have to ask her to do something before it gets done. Or you might notice how cheeky she can be, how inappropriately she often behaves – like flashing her bottom at people for no apparent reason, or at us because she knows it incenses us. Or you might notice that she has seemingly boundless energy, which she more often than not uses to get into mischief or to just push buttons until something snaps and we go spiralling into another argument, another weepy tantrum, another round of screaming and door slamming. Even my patient, kind, playful hubble is losing the plot.

Dancing Queen (from the 1980's!)

Dancing Queen (from the 1980’s!)

When she sleeps, I go and sit by her bed and tuck her into her blankets. I kiss her softly on the cheek and stroke her head or hand and I tell her how much I love her. I tell it to her as she sleeps because I keep praying that in that open unconscious state, she will hear me as she can’t seem to when she is awake. My heart is breaking for our relationship. I don’t know how to move forward with her. I don’t know how to mend all that is broken between us and it is torture and pain and so much sadness I can’t contain it all. I think that I have spent most of the time between school drop off and this entry, crying. I am not someone who cries much. But these last few weeks I have made up for that in spades. I have never felt so ineffectual and there is only so much gentle discipline I can try with my exasperating child before I revert back to the disciplinarian and get angry again.

Me & My Girl

Me & My Girl

I am crying for myself and for her – that she feels so wounded that all we have is this fractured connection. I am crying for my wee Bear who is already picking up on her behaviour and copying it – as he does everything else she does. I am crying for the strain it is putting on my relationship with my beautiful, compassionate husband – and though I know he loves me and trusts me and understands how hard I’m trying, I also know that in his heart, he blames me a little too. I am crying for the nurturing mamma in me who can’t seem to catch a break and who would tear herself in half if she thought it would make everyone happier. I am crying for her because I so want to step into the role of mother and I cannot.  I just don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to travel this path with any kind of grace or understanding. I feel as if I am just swinging wildly from one problem to another with no way of making the pendulum stop.

I keep asking the Great Mystery to reach out a hand to help me. I need some guidance to figure out how to do this right. I don’t expect a life filled with roses and sunsets on the beach but it would be nice to know that there is even a chance I can spend one whole day with my child where we love each other and enjoy each other’s company. One day in which there is no drama, no tears, no anger, no pulling away or withdrawing. One day in which I can hold her hand and see the child she is inside and make her laugh again.

For her and for myself I am asking The Powers That Be – please, please help me. Please show me a way to make this right before it gets stuck in wrong, forever.


Don’t Make Me Angry…

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

And I’m angry a lot.

You can call it frustration, irritation, having ‘the shits’ (Australian vernacular), being pissed off but it all amounts to the same thing. Anger. And if that anger is not positively expressed, then it becomes depression, guilt, resentment and self-loathing. I think I’ve experienced them all in varying amounts but the fact remains that I have ridden this frightening roller-coaster of exhausting and self-defeating emotional turmoil for far too long. I’d love to say that I’m coming out of it now. I’d love to say that I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel but honestly, being in a tunnel suggests forward movement. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a very, very deep pit. And that’s where I’m stuck.

I made the decision to come off my PND medication a couple of months ago. I have gradually been reducing the dosage and it’s been bumpy but bearable. However, I have noticed that the anger is amping up again. Certainly the anger was there even with the anti-depressants, but I guess I wasn’t as connected to it. I wasn’t as connected to anything actually – hence my decision to come off. But I am concerned about what it is happening to me right now.  I am yelling so much. I am swearing so much more. I plunge into irritation and frustration at the slightest provocation and, today, the cherry on the cake, my anxiety started to resurface. I had that fear, for the first time in ages, that something was going to happen to my child and that our last exchange was an angry one. I had to fight hard to not give in to the wave of panic that rose. I had to remind myself fiercely that, as Beanie is in school, it is unlikely that anything bad will happen to her and that I am simply feeling much of what has been dampened down by the medication. Honestly? I was quite happy to have this particular feeling dampened. It gives rise to this sense of hopelessness and guilt that is horrible to sit with. Because there is always a chance, isn’t there? Always a chance that this horrible ‘un-wish’ could come true. And then where would I be? How do you live with something like that? I hope that I never have to find out because just scanning that scenario is enough to send me limping for the Nutella and Gin.

It’s funny but nobody ever tells you how very scary your own mind can be. I have had times in my life, though thankfully they were short, where I truly wondered if I was losing my mind. Or if our family is just genetically more pre-disposed to mental, what shall we call it, disturbances? That sounds a little bit too ‘Psycho’. This is more of a mental gloominess. Understandable on many levels and yet, the spirit is strong in almost all of us. These stressful wonderings are made worse by the presence of real mental illness in the form of my older brother. The childhood thing was just too much for this sensitive boy and he turned inwards and became inaccessible with cataonia, and then unreachable with schizophrenia. Suddenly there were just too many ‘other’ voices in his head for him to hear ours and he changed from being a handsome young man with his whole life ahead of him, to a reclusive and increasingly paranoid late middle aged man who looks much older. A visibly shrunken, wizened version of himself, prematurely grey and with his troubles written all over his beautiful face. And there he stays. Taunted by voices from the past who berate him and keep him pinned in such a dark, dark place, very little light or love can reach him. So you can imagine how the thought that I might end up like him crosses my mind from time to time. Because I was there too. Not for as long and thank all the Gods for that sweet mercy, but long enough for just a little of that darkness to stick to my insides and cause these glitches in my otherwise happy existence.

It’s amusing because before I had children, I never thought of myself as a depressive personality. Sure I had been sad before, even experienced some real grief, but I always knew that it was fleeting and that it would pass. Even the depression I suspect I experienced after my relationship with Adam fell apart had an end. But our family don’t get depressed. At least I didn’t think so. Until, that is, I look hard at what feelings where experienced during difficult times. Understandable levels of grief at loss, and sadness where it was appropriate but when my mum’s sister died, she grieved alone and not for anywhere near long enough. She didn’t want to upset anyone else even though she was completely devastated. Our family has this toxic history of never truly expressing our emotions. Of never truly connecting with that big wall of ‘ack!’ that lives inside of each of us and that stems from all of the horrible psychic, emotional and physical beatings we have endured. And why would you want to? Because healing cannot come through such high walls, such well guarded fortresses. And so, with each tiny prick of sadness, each small niggle of grief, each small spark of rage – another brick is added until we are convinced that we are coping beautifully, while everything smokes and slowly burns away at our happiness unnoticed by our brisk, busy and cheerful air.

It’s all so deeply ingrained that we don’t even know it’s there most of the time. We just ‘get on with it’ or, my personal favourite, we ‘grin and bear it,’ as so many people do. As so many people of my mamma’s generation had drummed into them and indeed, there is most definitely a place for that. I don’t want to wallow in a big pool of self-pity, or at least not long enough for my skin to get all pruney. I want to ‘do’ and keep moving, even if I’m going around in circles at the bottom of this fucking pit. At least I’m doing something. I’m not waiting to be rescued, though clearly I would need someone to at least chuck down a ladder in order for me to climb out. Unless depression gives you wings anyway. And I hate feeling lethargic and useless. I am someone used to doing, achieving, action. So when the depression is at its worst and I can see no point in doing anything because it will only be there to tackle again tomorrow, it’s demoralising to my accustomed gusto too. I have been here for far too long now. I am missing so much of my children’s lives, bogged down in regret and self-loathing. I know that I am not a wholly bad mother. I realise that I am simply a loving mamma who has anger issues, but that’s not what I live with daily. I live with the outbursts, the foot-stomping, tantrum throwing, unreasonable, resentful mamma, who just wants everyone to fuck the hell off and let her alone to sew, for fucks sake! And that is who my children live with too. And that is what I find hard to forgive. I am so far from who I imagined I would be that I’m not sure who I am any more, and that’s more worrying than most things right now. I am, once more, in this process of unravelling, or revealing all the scarred and wounded places I would really rather not look at. Thankfully, I have a good woman by my side who can be stern and soft in equal measure (and believe me, I do need both, for I am an artful dodger when it comes to uncomfortable emotions) and who offers me a place to empty out. It’s slow going and I admit I find it frustrating sometimes. WHY do I need to go back to these pockets of darkness in order to feel the sunlight on my face again and be reminded of who I am? Why? Why? Why? (A question i get asked a lot by my nearly two year old!). Surely the past is exactly, exasperatingly that? THE PAST. But know, delve we must. Blah blah fucketty blah.

So this is where I am. Sitting in a big pile of my own emotional shite at the bottom of a very deep well, wanting a ladder and ignoring it when it’s there, in equal measure and trying to negotiate this progressively more unmedicated state with some degree of grace. Most days, it’s broke and I feel like I’ll never fix it. As I think I said to my hubble just the other day, some days my life feels like a Mike Leigh film and he’s not known for his rainbow unicorns. Ho hum.

Anyway – as this has been largely a big pile of emotional doodoo to write and, I’m sure, to read, I will leave you (or is it just myself I’m talking to?), with something cheerier to think about. Just be grateful Mr Leigh never brought out a fabric line…

Stuff I have made (and look, it’s in cheery bright colours too, ooooh:

Nourish Me:: Week Eight – I Spy

Warmth, light and beauty
My writing focus this week has been about clear-seeing. I find it amusing that it is nearly the weeks end and that I am only now really reading the material I should have started on Monday. Only now am I giving myself the gift of some time to focus on myself and my journey.
It’s been a bit of a battle this week but then I think I’m still in the process of avoiding. It’s interesting to note my resistance to something I chose for myself, that I longed for, looked forward to and am now finding reasons not to engage in. Clear seeing – what is that? Seeing in the moment or seeing the moments truthfully? I think I see all the negatives very clearly. I can see where I go wrong on a minute by minute basis. And sometimes it feels as if that’s what I’m doing – judging myself by my failures minute after minute after minute. It’s no wonder I get to the end of the day and feel exhausted and demoralised. 

Photo  via http://lipglosnletdown.tumblr.com/page/10
As you know, I decided a few months ago, to spend this year focusing on nourishing myself. I chose the word ‘Nourish’ as my word for the year – the word by which I would try to live and to which I would try to pay attention.  I found the first few weeks easy and could barely wait to have the next post ready to go. Then, after five weeks, the nourishment came less readily, in small bites, yet these were just as delightful in their unexpectedness. My clear seeing seems to be following this same pattern. Little moments of nourishment and little moments of awareness go hand in hand. Yet, now I am in this place of ‘what do I write about?’ How do I know what I am not seeing? What am I missing? How can I see those moments of nourishment in areas that may not come so easily to me. The ones that I may not even know about because I have never looked towards them? How does one train the eye (inner and outer) on that which one does not ordinarily see? I guess by paying more attention. By incorporating more pauses into my daily life. By giving myself permission to slow down and let go.

I know that in order to move to a much healthier place emotionally, my mind needs to be able to focus more on these moments of goodness, of grace, of success in my every day life – where I meet my expectations or at least get a little closer to them. I need to stop punishing myself for every little mistake and remember to focus on the things that I do and say that are right, intuitive, funny, patient and kind. My fire often gets in the way of clear seeing. It causes the world to narrow, my vision to tunnel and my actions and therefore the outcomes to remain the same – the very definition of madness. I can see all my faults so clearly as if punishing myself for them, somehow makes the mistakes easier to bear. As if by punishing myself, I won’t be punished by others. By God.
Photo via http://silenceiswild.tumblr.com/ 
I have PND (post natal depression). I have talked about it many times. It’s hard to see anything clearly through that. It is a filter through which my life and my mothering are scorched. PND does not really mean ‘depressed’ it is more of an anxiety that fills you up and jangles every stretched nerve. It keeps me in a constant state of ‘simmer’ so that every little bump in the road pushes me into anger. It is not easy to live with and neither am I. Part of the PND that is difficult to live with is that I get separation anxiety sometimes. When I am not with my children, and especially if I have had a few difficult days with them, as I have this week, I worry that ‘God’ will take them away from me. I fear their loss. It can be terrifying. It’s interesting to me that I see God in this way. I was raised a catholic and I wonder if all that hellfire and brimstone has left this legacy behind? God as a judgmental, violent, jealous being who sees fit to punish those who falter, who lack sufficient faith. When I stop to really think about it, this is not how I see ‘God’. It is only in those moments of fear when I strive to avert some anticipated, feared disaster. When I am bargaining. 
I am not a religious person. I class myself as spiritual I suppose. And yet, I see myself slipping into the martyr role so easily in times of struggle, begging God to forgive me for my sins. I think this ties into my uncomfortable feelings about faith. When I try to see my relationship with the Divine clearly, I cannot. It’s as if I don’t really know what it is that’s ‘out there’. I want to believe there is some divinity guiding us, but I am uncomfortable with the uncertainty. Again, I don’t have that unshakeable faith that there is something, bigger and wiser than me, guiding and illuminating my path. It feels like falling to surrender to this not knowing. I am someone who needs certainty – control. Yet, in those moments I do surrender or am at peace with the not knowing, there is a sort of acceptance, a sense of peace that comes with it.
Photo from thenocturnalnest
I remember the surrender that birthed my boy into being just 10 short months ago. The day that he was born, I was 6 days overdue and had been feeling highly irritated and uncomfortable for months. That day I simply felt at peace with everything exactly as it was. I felt no stress despite my birthing assistant leaving the very next day for a three day retreat and my back-up assistant having bronchitis and not being available. It was all as it should be and I was totally comfortable with whatever happened. I didn’t want to find a way to push the labour to happen. I didn’t want to talk to the baby and convince it to come. I simply wanted to sit with everything, just as it was, and let it be. It was extraordinary, to say the least, for me (the giant stress-head) to be in this space and I savoured it. I truly did. I let the surrender wash over me and I was truly at peace. Just hours later I went into labour and birthed my boy into the world in a mere 8 hours, totally naturally. I remember just breathing my way through it all, trusting the process, my body, myself. Letting myself go into the waves of contractions until I could feel this power vibrating through my body. The birthing energy was so intense and so fierce and so concentrated. Yet still within it, I was surrendered to the process, breathing into it – journeying with it.  I was a proud birthing mamma – joined by some invisible thread to all the other birthing mammas that were with me on this journey, that had ever been and that ever would be.  I felt strong and indomitable and fearless. It was joyous and beautiful even in those moments of challenge that are a part of every birth. I relished every moment and still do. I have never been prouder of myself.
Photo via http://turnofthecentury.tumblr.com/
Now I find myself wondering if I could surrender to the rigours of an ordinary life in this way? To simply trust the journey to unfold without me trying to control, steer, interfere. Without standing in my own way and, most importantly, without beating myself up. Wouldn’t my entire life be as joyous and as beautiful? Wouldn’t I be present to the beauty of the world and even myself, if I simply allowed life to take me instead of me trying to take life and mould it into the shape I think it should be? Is it that easy to really let go? To surrender to the flow without knowing where it will take me? It was easy that day but can I surrender daily to the discomfort of not knowing and let it shape me, change me, bend me to it’s will? Can I begin again without all that I think I am and all that I want to be getting in the way? And, more importantly, if I begin to do this – can I find my way back to this intention when the days are tough, the tempers are frayed and I have merely dark indentations where (my oft pushed) buttons once lived?
These are certainly things to ponder. I shall keep my eyes (and heart) open and really try to ‘see’ what unfolds.
And now, because I like doing this so much, I will share some more of my small nourishy bites with you:
:: watching :: myself and the world around me. Very closely.
There are fairies at the bottom of my garden
:: loving :: exploring my psyche and finding some answers. Kinda. Capturing sweet moments.

: longing :: for a break. Some time in a different environment to recharge. Some time to sleep whenever I feel like it.
found on http://perfectionturnsmeon.blogspot.com/
:: looking forward to :: finding some rhythm in my days with Beanie and Bear, to ease the tension and give us some focus for our days. My friends being within hugging distance for a while. Chai and good conversation and maybe a little knitting.

:: heading towards :: the next leg of my journey, one uncertain step at a time.

:: enjoying :: nature walks, the cold misty mornings, rain on a cold tin roof, the sense of slowing down and breathing easier now autumn is so present.

::making:: a rainbow dress for Beanie with beautiful, colourful Noro wool. Ravelry pattern here. Lots of lovely soups and hearty warm wintery food including my very first ever batch of chicken stock! I feel like such a homesteader!

:: surprising myself with :: how easy it is to make fresh stock. I may never buy it again! 

:: feeling :: a bit stormy but with patches of sunshine.

:: hoping for :: a change of programming in me ‘ead, a chance to escape the rut I’m in with Beanie, a change of scene, some snow (fat chance!), someone to talk to.

found on http://weareinevitable.tumblr.com/

:: grateful for :: the beautiful photographs taken by my bestie Lausy of Warmth and Light photography. They all turned out so beautifully and she captured the essence of our family so well, it’s going to be mighty hard to pick out the ones we want on the wall. And as if that wasn’t enough, she gave me a back massage too. Oh that woman was sent by angels just for me.

Here’s hoping that you are getting the nourishment you need. If you post about it, let me know.

Nourish Me:: Week Seven – Moment by Moment

Natural Beauty

Ah, here I am again. There hasn’t been any one big thing nourishing this parched soul this week. It has again come in small yummy bites and I think it has been all the more delicious and absorbable (is that a word?) for that. 

I noticed that I kept thinking to myself that I should have something more, I dunno, weighty maybe, to write about and I kept searching for the big thunderclap of nourishment to appear. Yet there wasn’t one. Maybe there won’t always be. It’s funny, putting myself under pressure to produce something interesting to read and trying to find something important to write about, is so not what this whole series of posts is about. I think this is what these bite sized pieces of goodness have been teaching me. That it’s ok to find our pleasures in small things. A five minute knitting break, a ten minute sit down with a good cuppa, a few seconds of deep breathing and steadying. It all adds up to so much more.

And so, I will once more share my sweet nourishy bites with you.

:: watching :: The trees starting to change colour as Autumn takes delicate hold around me; hilarious new US TV series ‘The Modern Family’ – pure genius; fantastic new US TV series ‘Boardwalk Empire’ about prohibition – very engaging; and of course True Blood – Series Three – again – so good!

:: loving :: my daughters new school (and it’s not even Waldorf!) – can’t believe my little Beanie will be at school next February – how fast the time goes!; the decadent delights of Connoisseur caramel, honey and macadamia nut ice cream..uh oh.

Autumn Nature Table 

:: longing :: for a massage. Oh dear God let it be soon; enough hours in the day to read all the wonderful books piling up on my struggling bedside shelves – God bless our local library for it soeth rocketh; some quality sleep – you know, for more than an hour at a time; 

:: looking forward to :: I’ll say it again – Winter days at the beach; mulled wine; hot chocolate; open fires. Especially since I finally got my new order of organic hot chocolate mix. Best hot chocolate EVER! Oh and so excited about our forthcoming family photo shoot with the talented and lovely Lausie of Warmth and Light Photography. Any time with Laura is wonderful and I get the added bonus of some wall worthy photographs of our whole family at one time! 
:: heading towards :: Easter and some quality time with my man; the installing of our brand new, thrifted, $20 toilet; a little painting; my new online writing course (starts tomorrow!). It’s called ‘Writing Our Way Home’ and you can find out all about it here.
:: enjoying :: just looking at all the books on my shelves and dreaming about the wisdom they hold and some time to read them; the last of the summer strawberries and raspberries before the season finishes; evening walks with my hubble and the kidlets – one in a backpack and the other on a thrifted $2 scooter. I don’t know what I love more, the scooter or the fact that is was only $2!; the few moments in bed I get before the small and smaller squirmy people invade; finally sending off some of my craft swaps (very satisfying);

Easter Bunnies & The Bluebirds of Happiness

::making:: cute little peg people for my two Easter swaps. The little guys above are going to a new home through the Four Seasons craft exchange. The bluebirds were inspired by the lovely lady at We Bloom Here. Check out her gorgeous crafty blog. Whereas these little guys
Little Flower Children still sleeping in their leafy winter beds.

are going to someone lovely from the Bits of Goodness Easter Swap. This group does regular swaps on different themes, the last one was gardens. If you’re feeling crafty, I recommend this group because they swap often and they are so creative. These babies were inspired by the wonderful Twig and Toadstool. Another absolute gem of creativity.

Ready for her close up.
:: surprising myself with :: how much I don’t seem to care about what I eat. Bad Kitty, smack paws!; how much I enjoy handwork and all things crafty – still not bored with it even though I’m still not that good at it!

:: feeling :: up and down. Had some seriously ‘bad mommy’ moments this past week, followed by some much better, much happier days. But that guilt is a killer.

:: hoping :: for my mums parcels to arrive from the UK; my new books to arrive; some time to rearrange the laundry and all of our craft stuff; that my course will help me to connect with myself more deeply.
Hoot and Little Red – for Beanie

:: grateful for :: moments of peace in my daily life; moments of grace in my emotional life; you guys.

Bugs & Dirty Little Fingers = Happiness

What you all been up to? Are you bounding into Spring or slowing into Autumn? What’s been nourishing you this week?

The Good Witch of the Green Woods


Nothing Compares To You

Wonderful (but just the tiniest bit tiring?)

Reading through other people’s blogs gives me inspiration. I love the colour, the thoughtfulness, the raw edges exposed. One of the reasons I trained to be an actor was because I wanted to live all those other lives. Lives that were not open to me, that I would not choose or that I would. Lives that I admired and despised. And so it is with blogging. I visit, I enjoy, I swoon, I covet, I crave, I am inspired. And yet. Sometimes the very blogs that give me the most pleasure are the ones that can make me feel the guiltiest. Strange really. How something that can give you joy can make you feel bad about yourself.

Paint my skin with the poetry of truth.

I realise that for me it is in comparison that the folly lies. I compare my life to the (seemingly ideal) lives of women who, to me at least, are doing it ‘right’. The women who grow their own veggies, make their own clothes, knit with love, clean their houses naturally, recycle, reuse, repurpose. All things I do or aspire to do, with varying degrees of success. Our veggie garden being one of my failures this year. Most of what we planted didn’t grow and I didn’t have the energy to give it sufficient attention. See, I WANT to be someone who loves gardening but I’m not. It’s just one more thing to do. One more responsibility in a life that already feels over full. I WANT to be a grounded, down to earth mamma with nothing more pressing in my life than raising beautiful, happy children. Sometimes I can feel myself getting closer to that ideal but then my Rooster self pops up with a ‘What about me?’ and I slip into resentment and yes, guilt. It seems I can never convince myself that I am enough. I know myself only in the failures of my mothering journey. Never in the successes. It is a slippery slope of wanting to be more than I am and never quite getting there.

Comparing myself to these wonderful women is not inspiring. It is depressing quite frankly. I love the lives they lead. The quiet purposefulness of their approach to living and loving. I love their brilliant creativity, their beautiful prose, their still souls. Yet. I am unlike them. My soul burns with this restless fire. I long to create but when I do get the time, I waste it with seemingly important tasks which do not feed this creative fire. I am permanently dissatisfied. I have so much gratitude for the life I live and the people in it, yet it never seems ‘enough’. I am part of the universal malaise that is a constant craving for ‘more’. More what exactly? In lives that seem simpler, more profound with less – what is there to want, to need, to buy? And yet, there it is. In all it’s shameful glory. This ache within me that wants more. More recognition, more time to myself, more time to create, more skill, more patience (oh yes please God – more of that), more wisdom, more stillness, more life, more passion, more money, more freedom, more space, more, more, more. I am never satisfied with what I have. Worse – with who I am.

I am an open book, in want of a reader.

I try. I do. I have come to this place time and again. I know myself to be a Rooster. A bossy, loud, disorganised, funny, colourful, lazy, impatient, sarcastic, know-it-all Rooster. But I want to be a swan. A glidy, quiet, silken, peaceful, compassionate, patient swan. Why? I crave peace. I crave silence. But when you go into the silence – hoo lordy – the noise that emerges could deafen you from 20 years away. And I ping pong back to reality and lose myself there with a million excuses so that I don’t have to truly sit with any of it. And so, instead of ‘doing’ well, anything actually, I lurk around other people’s blogs like some creepy cyber-stalker with one hand down my pants, and dream of being someone who home-schools their progeny, cans their own produce, eats well and takes fantastic photographs. Someone who exercises and loves it. Someone who loves their kids and never gets frustrated with them or swears bilingually at them. Someone who is splendid in her mothering and spectacular in herself.

Coming up for air.

But that’s not me.

This is me:

  1. Overweight but too feckin’ tired to do anything about it.
  2. Eats badly and craves too much salt, sugar and chocolate. And I’ll admit it. I LOVE McDonalds. I do. I hate the business but love the food. Please don’t hate me. 
  3. Is frequently impatient and grumpy with her beloved children and hubble. 
  4. Whinges frequently. (Well, I am British).
  5. Is never satisfied because the grass is always greener…
  6. Spends too much money (even though it’s on charity shop buys and books).
  7. Says ‘fuck’ a lot. A real lot. With ‘bollocks’ inexplicably making a reappearance recently. (I do like that word though. It’s satisfying in the mouth – if you’ll excuse the horrible double entendre).
  8. Is driven crazy by her willful, beautiful, funny but seriously stubborn and feisty daughter. She  make me want to tear my hear out, cry and laugh all at the same time. Every. Day.
  9. Has a terrible, unseemly obsession with books. Library books, second hand books and new books. It’s an addiction. Relentless Book Sluttery. I buy them and then they sit on my shelves unread. I currently have over 65 library checkouts (though some of them are for my girl). I think I have OCD.
  10. Am chronically sleep deprived yet often sit up until 1 or 2am being aforementioned online stalker of superior blogs.
  11. Hates cooking and is frequently found slumped in front of pantry bulging with ‘stuff’ unable to come up with any kind of creative combination that is edible. That hasn’t stopped me buying beautiful ‘wholefood’ cooking books obviously.
  12. Loves the cloth nappy idea (and my gorgeous colourful itti’s) but detests scraping retch inducing poop off nappies, before putting them in the washer, (over and over again), until the stains come off. The smell of ammonia is unbelievable and it is not water friendly in our drought ridden state.
  13. Loves plants. Loves the idea of homesteading. Hates gardening. 
  14. Loves to write but just doesn’t.
  15. Has grand dreams and ambitions (and is often jealous of other people’s successes even though she is glad for them) but does buggar all about them.
  16. Is a good friend most of the time but doesn’t seem to have that gene that disposes one to be really thoughtful. I wish I did. I think of things after the fact and then am sad that I didn’t do more.
  17. Is often creatively inspired and excited about some new idea or project, but then gets bored or discouraged if its too hard or if I can’t ‘get it’ immediately.
  18. Is lazy.
  19. Irreverent.
  20. Judgmental.
  21. Loves her bed more than her husband and children. Almost.
  22. Let’s her girl watch too many movies in an effort to have a moment to herself. (Or to sneak a nap with the wee bear).
  23. Is guilty of setting the bar way too high for herself in just about every area of life.
  24. Doesn’t know how to adjust bar.
  25. Hates reading manuals. To anything. But has more parenting books that Barnes & Noble, Angus & Robertson and Waterstones combined.

The Naked Truth

However, this is also me:

  1. Funny.
  2. Excitable.
  3. Fun (at least, I used to be).
  4. Loves Nature and yes, that now includes camping. Who knew?
  5. Loves books.
  6. Loves poetry, literature and writing – even if she doesn’t have time for any of them.
  7. Loves her man and her babies. A lot. A very lot. An inescapably, frighteningly, overwhelmingly lot.
  8. Hates letting people down.
  9. Gives generously when the mood strikes.
  10. Loves op shops (thrifting) and would throw them down by the fire and make sweet love to them if they were people.
  11. Is eclectic and let’s face it, a wee bit eccentric.
  12. Is passionate about many things but mostly about being a good mamma.
  13. Is very creative. Even if what I make is shit by my own standards.
  14. Talks a lot but is learning to listen well.
  15. Occasionally takes great photos.
  16. Loves craft of any type.
  17. Is deeply spiritual but lazy.
  18. Always has the best of intentions but frequently falls short in their execution.
  19. Is soft hearted, kind natured and compassionate.
  20. Cries easily and often.
  21. Is dramatic.
  22. Is very adaptable and quick to pick up new things.
  23. Isn’t afraid to try new things.
  24. Is charismatic, charming and engaging.
  25. Is inspiring.
  26. Is brave. Often. Because life often scares me.
  27. Tries really, really, REALLY hard.

So – there you have it. The truth in all its gory or glory depending on your perspective. I know that there is a way to find the balance and to not be so hard on myself all the damn time. I am not saying I know what that answer is but at least I’m searching for it. I’m trying. Even if some schools of thought think that trying is wrong.

The Doors of Perception

I am calmed by the sea. The flow of the water reminds me to breathe in and breathe out. And that really, that’s all there is. Breathing, watching, walking, eating, loving, sharing, talking, listening, reading, hoping, wondering – it’s all just one long extension of the whole breathing thing. And so I lurk and I read and I compare and I feel sad and then I remind myself that this is not all that I am. I am also the second list and that I have parenting wins sometimes. I remind myself that no-one could ever say I didn’t try. I know that my roosterness will come in handy one day, I just don’t know how yet. And I promise myself to spend less time looking through rose tinted glasses at other people’s lives and spend more time living mine. Imperfect as it is.

So there.

Now that’s more like it.

All photos courtesy of Bohemian Shoebox 
Please go there to see where the originals came from. Thanks.

Medicating Mamma

I suppose it’s been coming for a long while. I resisted and resisted and resisted but finally the day came when I simply held up my hands and said “Ok. I’ll try it. I’ve tried everything else and nothing is changing. Maybe this will help.” And so here I am. One week into taking SSRI’s to control that nasty PND Fairy who has made another appearance. In some ways I’m honestly glad. The decision has been made and while it was agonising making it, it is less so in its execution. I get up, I take a tablet, I feel better. That’s it really. The hardest part was trying to figure out what was worse. Psychologically damaging my kids with the rampant anger that I can’t seem to figure out OR potentially psychologically (or physically) damaging my boy by taking the anti-depressants (a small amount of which comes through the breastmilk).  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the long term effects of this decision on my rapidly developing wee boy. It worries me. Truly. I just don’t think that the kind of mother I was rapidly becoming – one that lit up like a flare at the slightest irritation and shouted more than she talked – was going to do him any good – and I worry all the time about how much damage my emotional rollercoaster ride has cost Lily. So this was the only reasonable decision to make. When your naturopath tells you there is nothing else for it, then I suppose you have to sit up and listen. I was on the strongest natural remedies there were and it wasn’t even touching the sides. Besides, I don’t want to miss the day-to-day joys of life with my kids and I don’t want to put any more stress on my marriage. I need to give my kids and my all too understanding husband a break from ‘cranky mommy’ and find my softer, funnier side again. She’s been missing for far too long.

Can I tell you a secret though? I feel weak. I do. (And this is in no way a judgement on anyone who is, like me, seeking mediation to cope with life). But I look at the life my mother led (with four kids not just two) and I look at the life my sister leads with 6 kids (4 adopted, two natural – one of whom has ADHD, ADD, Aspergers and is a high functioning Autistic) and I wonder why, with all the love and support I have (that they did not) that I am not coping better. I know people say not to compare yourself to others but it’s hard not to. These are the women of my family and I feel like I am letting them down. That I a letting myself down. I mean, I should be able to do this without medication, right? It’s just raising two children. I am privileged enough to not have to work and can be with them every day. They are wonderful, beautiful, funny kids and I adore them. Yet. I struggle. Why? I don’t know. I can blame my childhood sure but isn’t it up to us how much we let the past affect our future? I’m sure there is some deep seated resentments about mothering and whatnot but again, I chose this life. I am blessed to have two healthy, gorgeous babies to love and cherish, so why is it often so hard. The reason I decided to take the medication was because I found myself thinking that Beanie would just be better off without me. I felt for the first time that I just wanted to run away. I have NEVER felt that way before. Never. Admittedly, that day was a bad one but I took Finn and I got in the car and I truly was not sure I was ever coming back. I drove around the hills in the dark for over two hours and when I got back my hubby and my girl were waiting for me. Beanie wouldn’t go to sleep until I came home. And I felt ashamed of myself for wanting to leave her.

The guilt that comes with motherhood is immense for some of us. The fear that our mistakes will make permanent marks on our children’s childhood and lead to terrible emotional and psychological problems later on, is truly terrifying. The shame that comes with each mistake. The pain of knowing that you have made yet another scar on a little life. These are the things I can’t live with. I don’t want this to be my mothering legacy. I want to do it better. I want to see their faces light up when we play. I want to see them reach out to me for help or a hug or just because I’m there. I want them to know that their mother loves them and I want to show them that love by being here, by being fully present in the moment with them. I want to at least start to find the joy again because four years is a long time for it to be gone.

So far so good (if you ignore the nausea and the slightly squirrely tummy). It seems to be helping a little bit every day. I find myself not so anxious, not so irritated. Believe me when I say that this is a big improvement. I got through a whole week last week and barely shouted at all. Again- big change. Lily’s behaviour has improved. I’m not sure if that’s in response to me relaxing or because she’s finally coming out of the stubborn, rude, oppositional place she’s been residing in for the last year and a bit. It’s hard to know but it isn’t hard to appreciate the changes. Maybe I should have done this sooner. No doubt there will be guilt around that if I think too hard about it. I tried so hard to do it any other way but here I am. At least there is the possibility of change here right now and I’m very grateful for that. Maybe the lesson here is learning when to ask for help and know which help to take. All I can do is wait and see.

In reality, life moves along so unbelievably quickly and I don’t want to miss any more of it feeling bad. I mean look at them. Look at how much they have changed already. Blink and it’s gone. 

Lily’s fourth birthday party.

My gorgeous violet eyed Finn – 5 months (photo taken by Laura of Warmth and Light Photography). 

Me, tired but happy. As opposed to just tired.

So I guess this is where I am at right now. For better or worse this is the decision I have made. There is a lot of work ahead of me – inner as well as outer – but I ask only for a pause in my head between the spark and the flame – just long enough to blow it out before it consumes me.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

On Time To Myself

Time is a rare commodity in my life, as it is in the life of most women with children. I always seem to be time poor, rushing from one thing to another, often needlessly. I think that the rythm of my life, or perhaps my personality rhythm is just fast and rushy and I find myself foisting this particular habit onto my wee girl, as I did this morning. The reason for this unreasonable bustling and hassling was because today is my once weekly day off. I look forward to and long for my day off from being a mom, especially recently when we have been having a more challenging time with our beautiful girl. (Let’s just say 45 minute screaming tantrums in the middle of the night and an abject refusal to sleep in her own bed (with one of us – never alone) and leave it at that). This combined with the inevitable tiredness and cumbersome physicality that comes with pregnancy, puts a damper on my enthusiasm to do anything and makes me long for some peace. And don’t even get me started on the recent and absolutely unbearable heat. Anyway, I digress.

The problem with this much anticipated time to myself is that I can’t settle into it in any truly nourishing or satisfying way. When I’m with Beanie, I’m dreaming about all the things I’ll do with my bubbit free time. When she’s safely in the loving arms of her Nanna, I come home and do buggar all. Mostly I retire to the bedroom, watch movies, read and eat chocolate. I feel the need to achieve more with this short precious time slot and it irks me that I’m too tired and unmotivated to do more with it. I have all of these projects waiting for some attention. I have creative pursuits I want to get into. I have things that I want to at least give some thought to and yet…and yet. I do nothing. Now, one might argue that it’s nourishing to do nothing sometimes and I agree. Nothing is good when you are constantly busy and overstretched – which is how mothering often makes me feel – and it’s not a bad thing in and of itself. And last week I watched three movies back to back (extravagant I know) while I sewed a friend’s daughter a lovely green and white stripey sock monkey (it took me all day to do it – I’m so terribly slow!). It turned out great (I called him ‘Minty’) and her daughter loves it, but for some reason I feel like I should be achieving more. Today? Nuttin’.

I visit blogs like ‘Angry Chicken’ and ‘Soulemamma’ (not to mention a whole host of non professional crafty bloggers) and feel terribly slack. These women have all got children, often more than one, and yet they get stuff done. Stuff that must make them feel productive and creative and useful. And it’s not just crafty stuff (because I am somewhat new and therefore handicapped in this area as yet). It’s doing things that are good for body and soul like yoga and pilates and meditation. I want to do it. I dream about the benefits and how good I will feel if I do do it and yet, I don’t. I slob around in bed getting fatter and more pregnant and feeling more and more tired while a whole host of things I dream about, gather dust on shelves. Why is this? Is this just not the time for doing but for sitting? I know. I know. I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else, but then, where does inspiration come from? I am inspired by these women. I am in awe of their time management skills when I can barely muster up enough energy to eat an icy pole.

And yet, even with the sitting, there is no stillness in it. There is a constant feeling of restlessness in me that makes me irritable and frustrated with everything. I cannot drop into anything even slightly resembling a peaceful state. I would love to go to sleep but can’t. At the moment sleep is another rare commodity around here. Our nocturnally wakeful daughter sees to that. Plus bloody pregnancy hormones and the whole PND shennanigans make sleeping difficult. Bah!

And so. I am here. Trying to empty this itchy uncomfortable energy out of my body and onto the page. Seeking answers as always. Seeking, more than anything, comfort. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I want peace. I want to feel comfortable with where I am at. With who I am. With what is yet to come. And I want to feel like I have a purpose in this life. I know raising a healthy, well adjusted child is a purpose but, I’m sorry to say, this does not fulfill the heart and soul of me. It is, on it’s own, not enough. It is a good purpose and a heartfelt one and I am doing my very best to mother her well and find the journey in it all, but I need something that is just for me. Something that gives ME a sense of purpose and development. Something that feeds the creative in me and let’s me know that I won’t die with my music still in me. Because right now, I am stagnating.

Oh happy, happy post.

Sorry about that.

There are things to be grateful for. I know. I am aware of them too. It’s not a question of not being grateful. It’s a question of knowing that I am fulfilling my innate potential and I have always felt that I had/have great potential, if I only knew what for. I guess that the journey isn’t it.

Well, would you look at that. Time for bed already.

And just for a moment, I am fully present…

I feel the soft sweet warmth of my daughters’ breath, the slow swell of her breathing, her thumb slipping out of her tiny mouth as she soothes herself to sleep. I feel her tiny perfect fingers with mine – they are warm and long and tapered, like mine. I kiss her clammy brow and her hair and cuddle her small, hot body against my cooler, heavier one and I breathe. I breathe her in.

I ask myself to really be here – to be fully present to this moment, resting in the big family bed with my sleeping daughter curled in tightly to me. I ask myself – no thinking – what do you feel? And at once I feel both a staggering passionate love for my child and a huge sadness. I feel a terrifying fear of loss. And a realisation comes to me. Could I fear bringing another child into this world because I fear I would not survive the loss of them?
And from a deep, dark well inside of me, a small, frantic voice says ‘Yes!’ And I weep.

I weep for the child within me that was abandoned – is still abandoned and alone, down there in the deep dark. I weep that my anger is caused by a fear so sharp that I refuse to be present in case it is realised. A fear that my love for my child is so fierce, so all consuming that I would not survive if I were to lose her. I weep because that very fear prevents me from fully feeling the immensity of that love I have for her. And it is a colossal, fiery, passionate, angry, joyful, heart-breaking love that, when fully held within me, threatens to split me open like a ripe bruised fruit and spill the seeds of my very soul onto the ground. I am only present for a moment and I am undone.

I know that with great love comes the possibility of great loss and if we are not willing to lose it all, we are not able to love it all. We do not really hold love as much as we are held by it – love as much as love loves through us. I do not know if I can surrender myself to such a possibility but I know that I will stop trying to create safety in this primal love I have for my child because there is none. She is a gift to me for as long as she chooses to stay and I am not the one in control of that. She is.

I realise, strangely, that I am afraid of love more than I am afraid of being alone. I have been sitting with little fears that I will lose my husband to another woman, or death. I fear serious illness in my child and whisper, ‘Please don’t take her away from me. Take me but not her. Never her.” And mean it. I bargain for the healthy baby I have so that I may never have to experience the excruciating pain of losing her. Yet I use my fear as a shield to prevent that love from ever overwhelming me, which prevents me from fully feeling it, which prevents me from loving her the way I long to. Loving my husband the way I long to. With passion and ardour and complete submission to the Divine Mystery of each other and that breathes through us into one another when we open the doorway of love even a little. Instead, I prefer to live down in the deep dark well of sadness that exists inside of me, where loss cannot touch me because I am not near enough to be seen by it. Or love.

She moves heavily in her sleep – little dreaming grunts and tiny snores – an arm flung above her head, which ducks in towards her mother’s warm lap. She nestles and sighs, snoring into the safety she finds there. I am present again, for a few seconds at least.

There is no mother I know that does not understand that fierce, primal love for her children. That certain knowledge that you would lay down your life for them. That they are precious in a way that nothing else on earth is precious. I wonder if there are any who, like me, fear to love because they live in fear of a greater pain and loss than they could possibly bear. Where does that fear come from? Is it born in us before we are ever mothers? Does it arrive with the ovum when we are mere cells being knitted together by our own mother’s love? Or is the result of the fear DNA felt by my mother when I was a little bunch of cells marking the very surprise arrival of an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. A pregnancy in a marriage that was volatile and violent and a pregnancy that did not belong to that marriage or to the man that made that marriage such a living hell.

When I look back, fear is there from the very beginning. I see it land in me and I see it play out in my life in a million different ways. Even in my pregnancy with Beanie and then the huge, uncontrollable fear based pain of my labour and birth. Followed by the utter fear that this tiny child, who was now my responsibility – for the rest of my life, would wake up and need something I was completely sure I did not know how to give. And so, this wild, animal love I have for my child and which overwhelms me with it’s ferocity and strength – is stuffed down, at no small cost to my emotional wellbeing ironically, by the fear that if I let it take over, if I surrender to it entirely, it will be the end of me. The ‘me’ that I am entirely in control of at least. The ‘me’ that I know and feel safe being.

Then I am here, in this moment, and the love rises again like a tidal wave and threatens to drown me and so mind kicks in reducing the impact, increasing the distance, keeping me ‘safe’. Safe from love? Safe in fear? Safe in the deep, deep dark? No. I am not safe there. Have never been safe there. There is only one safety and that is in unconditional surrender. To stop this fighting with myself that causes my own mind to drown within me. I cannot mother her well if I am not letting myself feel all of what this mothering journey brings. I am not being true to myself if I do not let this sweet fire of love spread through me and come bursting out of me like a bushfire. I will not be renewed and made whole until I have let it consume me and am reborn from the smouldering ashes. I need to let go and that is the one thing I have not, until now, been truly willing or able to do.

And so. I surrender to you, my precious Lily-Bean and all that love that you bring. May the Divine Mystery burn the fear right out of me until I am only love and can see and hear and give only that. Split me open and let the seeds fall where they may. I am not afraid any more.

(And to think, I was going to write about trees. I took pictures and everything.

Maybe next time).

Confetti Heart

“Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh – Gift From The Sea

I read these words and recognise within them my own self, as it is perpetually dribbled away into a million different needs and deeds. I feel sharply the sliver of resentment belonging to my wild gypsy self, who longs to give herself fully to the dance, to the work of art, to the concerto, to life. And is instead taught to be happy with creating only small wonders who may go on to become great masters in time. Is this all a mother is? A spinner of the threads of a future miracle? If so, that’s not a bad thing to be. And yet, surely beyond the sculpting and tender nurturance of these warm and splendid mini-selves, there must be something that belongs only to us? Something deeper and more profound than spilling ourselves away, droplet by droplet into others?

As I ponder my hubble’s suggestion to take a sabbatical, to retreat in the face of current difficulties in order to find my equilibrium again, I wonder if I know what peace is. Would I know peace if it came up and greeted me with flowers? Hell would I know it if it bit me on the ass? Probably not. I know what peace is not. It is not waking up with a tight jaw and aching eyes after a night of restless sleep. It is not this knot in my stomach or the nausea that comes from living with my shoulders as ear- muffs. It is not hearing myself laugh and being shocked at how alien it sounds. No. That is not peace. Peace slips in under the coat of solitude, holding quiet by the hand.

The Attraction of Distraction
Many of us spend a good deal of our time disappearing into different distractions so as not to find ourselves alone in a room with silence. Or worse – ourselves. There is tv, movies, books and music and all of these are noble and enjoyable distractions. We can pick up the phone, get online, text or message each other in an instant. If we don’t have someone actually with us, we have something in our ears or our hands or our mouths. We are contactable at every moment and we are available to each other instantly. And therein lies the problem. There are so many opportunities to be busy, to be distracted, to be involved but there are few opportunities to be quiet. Few opportunities for stillness. In fact, given half an hour of quiet we will fill it with a hundred necessary and important things and never even notice the glass of ourselves slowly emptying until it reaches the bottom and we are still required to give.

I love a good distraction as much as the next girl. I can easily lose myself in books or movies or even music. And yet, despite the almost constant thread of resentment at the level of sacrifice required of me as a mother, I spend my time looking at yet more ways that I can give to this little being. It’s as if I am searching for any hole in my psyche through which the ‘perfect mother’ can slip out. Surely, if I can bake the bread, or offer the milk or cookies, or make the doll, then I am one step closer to digging out this recalcitrant mother within. If only I can become the nurturer, the creative playmate, the laughing, relaxed mamma I know I can be, this depleted, worn out soul will be renewed. And so I continue to seek avenues of nourishment for this little soul I love so much. Is it martyrdom? It certainly can be. But it can also be simply what mothering requires. A slow disintegration of the self in order to have room to birth and hold and shelter these precious little beings. No wonder many new mothers are shell shocked in those first few months. Or, if you are me, few years.

I realise that I am not a natural nurturer. I have resisted domestication like a feral cat. I have chaffed at the bit of commitment until my mouth is bloody. Yet all the answers I seek, all the avenues I am currently exploring to find wellness again, are not for myself primarily. They are for her. For my beautiful, golden-haired Beanie girl. So that I may give freely and not feel poorer for it. So that I may lose myself and not care so very much about what is gone. So that I will stop trying to find and stick together all the little coloured pieces of my beautiful confetti heart.

I know she will be a masterpiece. I know, on all the levels that truly matter, she is my greatest work.

Yet I still hold dark dreams of a self that lives only for itself. That creates purely for the joy of creation. That follows the wind with a glad heart and a radiant smile. And who knows peace as a good friend.

Who’s with me?

*Photos from here
and here.