Mama's Unplugged...

IMG_0006I know it's been quite a while since I've posted anything. I'm not sure what started it. I think I began with a modest spring clean that just gathered momentum, spurred on by the desire to live differently. Somehow quieter.

I got rid of a lot of my stuff. Culled the embarrassing number of a 'certain kind' of black dress and gave my  high heels to charity so that others might suffer the way I have. I ditched the bloody wicker baskets all over my house and even thinned out my bookshelves. I tossed toys and tearfully gave away my children's tiny clothes.

Then, when the house finally felt spacious, I turned on the 'time wasters' in my life. I wanted my days to feel spacious too. I closed my Facebook account. Instead of writing here, I wrote poetry and recipes and plans for the garden.

I spent time in the vegetable patch. Desperately trying to tame the tomatoes that threaten to take over the entire garden. The vines hang heavy with fruit, we pick kilos, trying to save them from the mouth of my lovely girl. She wraps them in fresh mint leaves and devours handfuls.

The zucchinis have taken up the call and given up a bounty of fruit. What to do with ten thousand of these babies? Fritters, salads, muffins, cakes and slices. With lemon, mint, feta, and chocolate. They've forced my creative hand and yet they're still producing new growth everyday!

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With my days expanding I baked bread and made fresh pasta. I make meatballs with the kids and made sauce from the tomatoes grown outside the kitchen. No basil yet? That's ok, we'll add chilli and fennel seeds to the meat and pick some oregano from underneath the stairs. We find one with a love heart mark, my son squeezes me tight and he smells like fresh herbs. It's all about slow pleasure and anticipation as it bubbles away for the afternoon. By dinner the boys will defy their biology and consume mountains of fresh spaghetti slathered in the rich sauce. We talk about girls and ebola.

How strange it is to be a kid these days....

 

IMG_1475I read mountains of yoga books and meditate everyday. Suddenly there seems to be so much time for nothing. I feel still inside, like this moment is all that requires my attention. I walk around my house. The aquaponics is bubbling away, ready for new seed. By summer we will pick greens and golden beetroot for salads. I've planted heirloom tomatoes and cucumber.

I sit with the chooks. We have beautiful new hens but they're still learning the ways of our bossy Squirrel (weird name I know! She's the boss). She pecks and pushes them all around. The eggs are warm and chalky and fit beautifully into my palm. Nothing makes me happier than pushing through the rosemary and finding a half dozen for breakfast. I no longer watch the news so the only soldiers I see are smothered in butter, awaiting their delicious fate.

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I'm amazed at how this land I own can still surprise me. I take my shoes off and walk barefoot at dusk. I am aware of every step, the softness of the lawn compared to the rocky earth as I get closer to the bush behind our property. I check for snakes, none to keen on that kind of surprise! I find a bumper crop of tomatoes hiding down the hill. I threw old clippings here last summer and they've fought their way to fruition. I tuck handfuls of the little gems into my pockets and then fill my hat. This would cost a packet at the farmers market!

Sometimes I think about that young girl I used to be. All long hair and heels, heading off to this or that, champagne in hand. The latest clothes and seventy pairs of shoes in her wardrobe. I marvel at how I ended up in this quiet life. More amazing is how happy I am, elbow deep in dough or cleaning out the chooks. Curling up with three gorgeous children that I (somehow) haven't damaged.

I realise that it's all for them. That somehow they gave life to this new me along the way. I couldn't boil an egg at twenty! Their love has transformed me into this mama I've become. Not fodder for social media or gossip, but a full person, living a full creative life. Many thanks to my small people.

I am thoroughly saturated in simple joy.

(and I've no desire to post it on Facebook)

 

Raising Warriors

IMG_1954 He is simply magical.

Perceptible and kind, he is wise beyond his years. Although lately I sense a change in this child. He retreats to his cave, gets angry and righteous, he feels the pain of others keenly. He is emotional and sometimes withdrawn, a rocking-roller-coaster boy.

The term 'indigo child' was thrown around when he was younger. He saw the world differently and tethered himself to his mama, lest he lost his way. He was an old soul in a rapidly changing world. Now, he is becoming more of himself each day, no longer so tied to me. I pray he makes choices that honour his spirit.

I believe that humans are evolving. Our children are changing and having to find their own way in a world that is different to the one we entered. This doesn't mean however that we are raising a gentle generation of little buddhas. Quite the contrary. These children are warriors, agitators, tornadoes. It is our job to guide them on a peaceful path.

Children are not supposed to be easy. Certainly not the children born with vision and a fire in their belly. Many times I have sat with a heart-hurt mama while she wonders why her child is difficult or so determined. I've been that woman! I get it. I often ask if she was an easy  little girl? Were you not born with a head full of stars and a lit fuse??

.....uh? Oh yeah, I remember.

Raising warriors is a call to centre. It's a request for calm and steady and a will towards finding the mountain within. The Mama Mountain. Which is really just a big 'ol rock for those little ones to cling to in the storm of adolescence (or terrible twos, or threes, eights). For us, it's a whole lot of deep breathing and light loving and patience.

The kids will be ok. We'll be so much wiser when they're through with us. So much better for having been whipped into shape by the wind at their back. We will grow, while they are busy coming home to consciousness in order to change the whole world.

I will honour my children as my greatest teachers and be thankful for the learning.

 

Martyr to magician....mama needs a minute.

IMG_1784 My twelve year old son told me I was doing a good job yesterday. High praise indeed from one so poised to straddle the great conversational divide of his teen years. "You always put us first."

"What a load of rubbish!" says I, laughing as I kiss him on the cheek. "You wish."

I'm no martyr. I may be all about slow food goodness and taking good care of my flock, but I'm not chained to the sink or about to put any 'mums taxi' stickers on my car. I love my children, which is why I'm devoted to being the very best version of myself. I have become a magician of sorts. I can make time appear before my very eyes....

It's really very simple. Everyday, no matter how busy we are, I put the kettle on and conjure up 15 mins. Sometimes I do it twice a day. I will do what I have to do to make this happen. I've been known to silently handover an iPad or leave a plate of cookies outside. I use the TV, barbie dolls or books, every child has their price! Then, I walk away.

I shut the door.

I hide in the sunshine and put my bare feet on the grass.

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In yoga, we would call this observing brahmacharya, which broadly means to conserve oneself. To just take a little time and refill your cup. I need to remind myself, if you give it all away, you'll lose yourself in these gorgeous humans. So great is my love for them.

I am best when I've found a moment, to carry me through to my next moment. That way I can give to them with devotional grace, free from feeling like the sacrificial wellspring of constant giving. To repeat my favourite phrase, which has become my mantra of sorts...

"We must gather before we scatter."

Michelle xx

The beauty myth... Lunacy over loveliness.

IMG_1748 There's been a bit of a fuss in the media lately about telling young girls that they're beautiful.

The assumption seems to be that little ladies aren't smart enough to believe more than one thing at a time. Poor critters. If they are told they are beautiful, they don't have room in their tiny minds to believe they are strong and smart as well.

Umm? Forgive me, because as you know I hail from the fairer sexes camp, but did I miss something?

I have a daughter and everyday of her life I think I've told her she's beautiful. I can't help it. I find myself watching her tiny furrowed brow while she concentrates on a puzzle or the way she sticks her tongue out when she draws and I say it out loud. That she's gorgeous, that the world could turn on those lovely eyes, that she's perfectly Her.

I tell her other things too. I tell her she's clever when she gets her spelling right, I tell her she's kind when she helps her brother and I even tell her she's a monkey when she won't eat her lunch. I don't believe she thinks she is actually a monkey but perhaps I've been giving her too much credit?

Ok, I'm a little cross over this....Maybe if we told our young girls that they were beautiful and smart and kind they might grow up to have a high opinion of themselves. They might just value themselves enough to develop healthy self esteem and live huge lives. Nobody is suggesting we dress them up like little dolls and only value their loveliness. My girl is always disheveled with twigs in her hair and mud on her cheek. I'm not playing dress ups here people, I'm raising a titan.

 How about we all give ourselves a little more credit, mothers and their daughters. How about we subscribe to the idea that we are magnificent, complex, multifaceted creatures. That we don't need to have it all, but we can have what we want and that we are beautiful.

In my little opinion the word should be infinitely less exclusive and said to more women (and men) more often.

Michelle xx