My Achilles Heel…

“You need a nicer mum” “I hope one day you  get a nicer mum” “I raised four kids and never had to deal with that”…

The words echo through my mind, my stomach churns and my heart leaps towards my mouth.

These are the words of a stranger.  A by passer. An unknown human.  A member of the public.  And this is what he said to me and my children.  Witness to a moment of struggle, a moment of high stress.  These are the words that he chose to say, in a moment where kindness, support, or absence would have been much more helpful.

And here I am, left wondering, questioning, doubting, second guessing, sick with mama guilt about ‘what went wrong’…

Wondering what  it was that this stranger saw that led him to say what he said.

Wondering, why a strangers words, seem to mean so much.

Wondering why this interaction felt different.  Why his words didn’t bounce back like a strangers normally would.  Why my normally mama bear self didn’t respond in the moment as I normally would.

And then it dawned on me, this is my archives heel.

Second guessing, questioning, reflecting…constantly on ‘what could I be doing better’ in my role as a Mum is a constant theme.  And one that comes with acceptance (mostly) because I know that it comes from a place of love, care, commitment and determination to be the best mum I can for the little humans we bought into this world.  Gosh, its even part of my life vision to help other parents be their best parenting selves.  Rationally, when mistakes happen, when moments happen where ‘I wish I had done different’, I can meet these with compassion, kindness and movement forward.

But to hear from another, perceived evidence for the fear that lies deep within, is hard.  Really hard.  It left me feeling shocked, confused, defeated and sad.

But what this man doesn’t see, doesn’t know, is that outside of what he thinks he saw, was a Mum who did her best.  A mum who woke feeling tired.  A mum who chose to push through the tired and take her three children out for a morning of fun.  A roof top brunch, a treat from the toy shop, cupcakes, play and time together.

What this man didn’t see was that ten minutes before he stepped into our world as a witness, an observer, he would have seen a mum who was bent down, level with her children, calmly and intentionally giving comfort too two little people who were overwhelmed by big emotions.  All whilst offering thanks and reassurance to the bigger little person who was making attempts to help.

What this man didn’t see was the moment where this mum collected herself, braced herself to do what she needed to do to get her little people to their car and home to rest.

What this man didn’t see, was the moment where she hoisted more than a few shopping bags out of the stroller and over her shoulder, to enable her four year old to rest comfortably.  Bags filled with dinner that she would go home to prepare, all whilst balancing her two year old on her hip, and pushing the stroller with her second half free arm.

What he witnessed was not a mum who is unkind, mean, or ‘not nice’…but a mum who was doing her best.

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Mama Being Frank…to all the people standing by watching a parent in a moment of struggle.  DONT JUDGE.  For your judgement does not reflect poorly on the person you are judging.  What it does do, is reflect poorly on you.

And to all the mamas, and dads who had a moment of struggle today…know that its ok.

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Mental Vacation…

A Reminder To Myself…

Days, weeks, months awaiting a much-needed little break for our family. Time, together, as a family, away from routine, schedules, and time pressures.

And wonderful it was…no need to be anywhere. Space to be, space to play, space to be still, space to slow down.

We stayed in a beautiful house, on property, with minimal phone service. Simple and paired back. Our idea of paradise. The kids played, outside, chasing animals and doing what kids do best.

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It felt great. It also had been wondering (as my mind often does…). We aren’t being pampered, we aren’t having fancy dinners out, we aren’t in a luxury hotel on some tropical island having massage after massage and sipping on cocktails…so what feels so different…

I mean, the funny thing is, the kids needs are the same (if not more, being in a new place), the washing, cooking and general tidying and cleaning still needed to be done. So I was left wondering, what was it that felt so different???

Yes there was no work, no school, no schedules…and yes being in a new place is refreshing but surely it was about more than this.

And for me it was this, permission, to myself, to let go. Let go of urgency, let go of expectation and let go of pressure on self.

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Mama Being Frank…the results were the same, without the added anxiety, and without the added stress. The kids were fed and clean. The house stayed tidy and clean. The washing was done…eventually. And all the rest, happened. The only thing that didn’t arise, was the mental clutter of it all…the mental load of what next, what next, what next.

So, this is a reminder to me, to give myself permission, when I need it. Kind of like giving myself a mini vacation. To breathe deep through the mental exhaustion of ‘what if’ ‘I should’ and ‘should have’. To make an intentional stance to slow down, when my mind is telling me to move faster.

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And if not for me, than for my family. Because the roll on effects are pretty wonderful. Children are so sensitive to pressure and expectation, just as we are. To allow them the space to freely be, who they are, through unstructured, play, is amazing. Their imagination sparks, their attention and engagement is enhanced, and their emotional resilience is nurtured.

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