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Oh how we sang!

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What happens when 7 Mummas get together on a Sunday afternoon for the first ever Zim Zum Motherhood Creativity Workshop?

Good Stuff.

We talked about Motherhood. This journey of twists and turns. Of the loneliness. Of the connections. Of the unexpected. Of the importance of hearing what each other has to say, because it is so often not what we thought it would be.

We talked about Creativity. That we often say “I’m just a Mum” but that Rob Bell reminds us we Mummas are the ultimate creators. That this act of ultimate creation so often cracks us open, and brings forth a new sense of ourselves. That creativity seems to be a magical force – a momentum, a positive force, a place of communion with our children.

We talked about Singing. And song. Of this very ancient tradition. Of the connection to our Mothers, and Grandmothers and people across time and lands as we sing lullabies to our teething bubbas, as we croon to the delight of our toddlers, as we introduce our Littles to our old favourite tunes and enjoy learning theirs, as we go about our daily work whether in a tent or hut or house.

We meditated on the patchwork quilt of Motherhood which we are weaved into.

We were reminded that we are each so unique and special but never, ever alone.

And we spoke about poo. Because, you know, it makes us Mums giggle too.

Margaret Plummer (International Opera Super Star, home from Vienna for a holiday) led us in reflecting on the place song plays in our lives and warm up exercises (which is where the brilliant quote about hoo-haa’s was heard!).

And then we sang. OH DID WE SING!

We were bloody brilliant I have to tell you. And Margaret will tell you. And she Knows. She sings for a living.

We sang You Are My Sunshine, and it was the pure joy.

Who knew 7 voices could be so tangible? So present. So strong and supportive of each other. It was like a hammock emerged in the space between us and we were all held in that net of sound and love.

It was addictive – we sang the song again and again. Reluctant to break the spell.

Eventually we wound down. The tune was over but the air around us continued to vibrate and glow.

As the afternoon turned to evening we wrapped things up and left lighter, expanded, connected and rejuvenated having experienced and bathed in the power of singing, the power of Motherhood, the power of topping up those proverbial cups.

And poo jokes – yes, the power of poo jokes too.

 

Photography Workshop – just launched!

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Sometimes I take great photos. Sometimes I take really really crap photos. Like this. And this. And that.
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You’re the same, right?
 
We take photos every day: our kids, our meals, our holidays, our lives.
 
We have thousands saved on our phones … hundreds on Instagram … we see, like and comment on dozens each day.
 
How can we harness this act to bring more creativity into our awareness? And bring more mindfulness to our experience of Motherhood?
 
We’re going to tackle these big questions and learn to take magnificent photos with the gorgeous Bree Hulme and Clare Foale at The Zim Zum Motherhood’s next Creativity event.
 
When? Sunday, 18 September, 2-5.30pm
 
Tickets are now available:
 
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The Zim Zum Motherhood presents The Creativity Series – Event 1: Singing With Margaret Plummer

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It has become apparent to me that there is a Trinity which is vital to my living well: Curiosity, Creativity, Courage.

These concepts just keep showing up again and again in my life. And when I follow them Things Go Well.

I love the idea of a Trinity – that there is no one right answer, that life is not black and white, right and wrong; that it is not Us vs The Rest as so much of life tells us at the moment. But that there are options, that we all have differences, and that we can find similarities too, and work out what works for us by mixing and matching.

I love as well that these 3 ideas all start with C – the first letter of my name, which somehow feels meaningful and important.

And also that they help me to C … see … really See.

Courage means to live from the heart, to drop out of my head, to let go of “shoulds” and responsibility, to turn down the volume on ego’s voice.

Creativity is doing things which light me up; which take me into that vortex where joy exists and time flies, where you look at the clock and 3 hours has passed and you could have sworn it was 10 minutes. It is the stuff of Big Magic.

Curiosity is … this magical, subtle means of exploring life. For a couple of years I was fixated on Finding My Passion. Which is quite a big ask. I would bang my head against the wall because I didn’t know where to start. And so I got a sore head but not much else. Then I came across a brilliants idea: Elizabeth Gilbert writes of following your curious: just letting your mind wander, of allowing an adventure unfold, in pursuing something which intrigues you. It might go nowhere, or it might be … amazing.

These ideas are now central to how I am living my life, to how I am exploring Motherhood, and so I am delighted that The Zim Zum Motherhood presents The Creativity Series.

This will be a number of workshops for us Mummas to take a couple of hours to ourselves, to share our journey of Motherhood and to also explore the ideas of courage, creativity and curiosity through singing, through photography, through dance, sewing, floristry and other wonders over the coming months.

Bookings are now live for our first event in the series:

I will be lead the group through meditations, discussions and ideas around Motherhood before Margaret Plummer (Mum, Opera Singer extraordinaire – home from Vienna for a holiday, and kindly taking time to be creative and courageous and curious with us) will then lead us in song.

You don’t have to be able to sing. You won’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You do need to be ready to laugh and to open up, be prepared to the feel joy and to delight in the time together.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

2pm – 5.30pm

Queenscliff (near Manly, on the Northern Beaches)

$75 early bird – before 25 July / $90 after this date

Book your ticket at

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-zim-zum-motherhood-presents-the-creativity-series-event-1-singing-with-margaret-corcoran-tickets-26050190822?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing

 

 

 

 

 

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Trembling hands and Kate Mulvany

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The curtains open to a crowded scene in a bar.

The men are bearded. The women wear bright lipstick. Dresses are vintage, flowing, bright. Jeans are tight and rolled once or twice.

Many faces are familiar from … oh, what was that one called? You know? With the … oh, I’ll remember.

Conversation buzzes, kisses are exchanged, the banter is jovial, supportive.

The mood is united, energised.

Something great has just happened.

That Something Great was Kate Mulvany’s Philip Parsons Lecture last night at The Belvoir Theatre as part of The Sydney Writer’s Festival.

“A Lecture” does not do justice to the brilliance, the emotive magnificence, the story-telling divineness, the grand-but-pared-back hour which unfolded.

I went in to the Theatre with high hopes and was moved to tears, to laughter, to applause and standing ovation. I came out and my hands were trembling; I was so blown away by hearing one of my heroes speak.

I can’t tell you what Kate said because it was an hour dense with brilliance – so I implore you to head to The Belvoir’s website and read the transcript of the speech.

What I can tell you is another story about Kate Mulvany.

About how she became a hero to me.

It’s a story which starts almost 18 months ago and which I started writing shortly after, but which I didn’t quite know how to weave. Until last night. But first the story …

 

JACK stands before the SUN. The SUN looms tall and majestic above him. JACK can hardly look at the SUN’s face as he glows so radiantly.

JACK: I did it!

SUN: Well? Why have you come here?

JACK: Oh, Majestic Mr Sun. It’s so lovely to finally meet you. My name is Jack Hare and I have – my goodness, you’re big – I have travelled through earth, air, fire and water to face you. Well, not face you, so to speak, because … Well …

SUN: I’m ugly.

JACK: No! No, you’re not ugly!

SUN: Then why are you squinting at me?

JACK: Why, because you’re radiant sir. You’re absolutely glowing and my eyes aren’t equipped to take in the spectacle. You’re certainly not ugly, sir.

SUN: Really? I always thought I was.

– Masquerade by Kate Mulvany, based on the book by Kit Williams

 

I don’t really like theatre – plays … I find actors tend to talk in really loud, overly masculinely-deep voices with a funny kind of English accent thrown in there too. This observation has been formed across many productions, companies and continents, and is not a ridiculous generalisation.

So it was unexpected to find me at a play as part of the Festival of Sydney in January 2015. More unexpected still to find Simon there – he makes me look like a theatre-lover in comparison to his disdain for the stage. And to find us both enthralled by what we saw.

I think the best way to tell this story is to share with you the letter I sent to Kate Mulvany – the Playwright responsible for the play we saw that night:

16 January 2015

Dear Kate

Amazing, amazing, amazing! My husband and I just spent a precious child-free night at the Sydney Opera House and it was …

Well, the stars aligned – my Mum gave me the article from the SMH to read shortly after Christmas and I said “yes Mum” and popped it into next year’s diary … where I found it on Sunday as I waited for a retreat to start (seriously, kid-free time is a rare commodity!) and was so so very moved by your story and Kit’s story and the poetic, wonderful weaving of the two that I went online instantly to book tickets for me and my theatre-hating husband.

The stars further aligned: I got tickets, had money on the credit card to pay for them and could find a babysitter.

Only – with two minutes until the curtain rose (or rather, the Moon rose), my husband pointed out that the tickets were for tomorrow night .

Fark.

And yet the stars continued to align: there were seats, we got them and then … the Show. 

And that brings us back to … amazing, amazing, amazing! 

The story, your weaving, the characters, the music, the humour, the sadness … it was inspiring, it drew the audience closer together – we clapped, we cried – as the final lights came on, the lady next to me checked me for streaky mascara! It was uplifting, it started conversations and thoughts. 

My theatre-hating husband loved it – he joined in my elated chatter and reflection as we left the Opera House on a buzzingly hot January night.

And I gave thanks for the stars aligning a thousand times over to bring me here tonight – a step and a support as I travel a long and winding journey to achieving my first publication – a children’s book called “Magnificant Me”.

And I wanted you to know that tonight you made hundreds laugh and cry and come together – because as a writer I can think of no greater achievement or accolade – surely that is an amulet in itself.

With enormous gratitude and blessings,

Clare Foale

 

So, I hand wrote this letter because I HEART hand written letters, and I sent it off to Kate, and I thought that is where the story would end.

But then … one day I flicked on to FB and a new message alert popped up.

And it was from her. Kate Mulvany!!

Clare! How totally totally totally weird! I just sat down to send you a message and you popped up! I received your beautiful letter a few days ago, and I can’t tell you how much I needed it right at that moment – right in the middle of a shitty week. It made my heart swell and I have to say I even cried a little. I’m so thrilled Masquerade resonated with you. It truly means the world to hear that, and that your ‘theatre-hating hubby’ loved it too! Phew! I can’t wait to hear more about your own adventures as a writer – please share! Good luck with it all. Sending all my best wishes. And thank you, again, infinitely for taking the time to write. Your letter now sits on a shelf of Masquerade memorabilia, next to a small hare and a big silver heart given to me by the Black Sea Gentlemen! XXX

Holy fringoli!

Cue hands trembling – Kate Mulvany seems to have that affect on me!

To think that my letter made a difference and made it on to the Playwright’s shelf of memorabilia … hands trembling, heart fluttering stuff.

And since then? We have exchanged a few messages, Kate has always been interested and encouraging of everything I am doing; generous beyond belief.

And then last night as part of her Lecture-so-much-more-than-a-Lecture, she mentioned in passing that established Actors and Writers and Directors had a part to play in supporting those entering the arena, those getting started. And I wanted to stand up and shout, “She actually does that! She is That Person to me!”.

But it was a Lecture so I kept my composure.

Instead, at the end of the evening, as we were down having a drink, Kate walked past and I tried to catch her eye to say hi, but it didn’t happen and I thought that I was being a little silly to think I could talk to her on a night like this.

But.

Then.

Well …

A dozen people wait around the bar, chatting and trying to catch the barman’s eye.

The Star of the Show carries a bunch of flowers almost as big as she.

She is greeted and congratulated by everyone she passes.

She takes time to stop, to kiss, to chat to everyone.

As she turns to walk, the over-sized flowers bop a woman in the back. Apologies are exchanged.

The woman asks if she can buy her a drink.

The Star graciously declines.

The woman takes a chance, takes a deep breath and whispers in The Star’s ear: You need to meet my daughter-in-law, Clare Foale.

The Star’s eyes light up with recognition of the name as Clare Foale rushes forward, stumbling over her boots and words.

Clare: Kate, hi. I’m Clare Foale. My hands are shaking – that was so so so wonderful. I loved it.

Kate: Clare! It’s so wonderful to meet you.

They hug. Yep, hug!

K: How are you? How is your writing going?

C: Oh my! My writing? It’s going brilliantly – I’m still blogging and hoping to do more. I’ve just started a group for Mums to get together and talk about the grittiness of life.

K: How brilliant! What’s it called? How many Mums do you have?

C: The Zim Zum Motherhood … there are 10 of us so far.

K: Zim Zum?! That’s amazing!

C: Uhhhh – suddenly star struck by the enormity of the moment, words elude her. Uhhhh. It is so wonderful to meet you – I will leave you to your night. Thank you for everything.

K: Keep me posted. Bye!

C: Uhhh, ok, of course I will!

I think it went something like that. We may have also spoken about Quantum Physics, the Lecture or the (brilliant) colour of her lipstick. Or we may not have. Seriously it was such a rush that I can’t actually remember much of it.

Just that it was an amazingly affirming, energising, joyful moment. Kate seems to have that affect on all she touches.

Truly hand trembling stuff.

What could be better for Mother’s Day?

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Are you looking for a present for Mother’s Day which is thoughtful, creative and nourishing for the beautiful Mama in your life?

Or are you that beautiful Mama looking for something to suggest to your kids and partner?

The Zim Zum Motherhood is a chance to share and delve deeper into the journey of Motherhood in a small, supportive group of likeminded Mums over 4 weeks.

We will reflect on the beauty, the struggles, and the meaning of Motherhood through honest conversation, readings, meditations and exercises.

Where? Queenscliff – near Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches
When? Wednesday, 11 May for 4 weeks – 7.30 – 9pm
Cost? $150 introductory offer – with 5% of the course fee to be donated to Dalwood

Email clare@clarefoale.com to enrol

Not The World’s Best Mum

 

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I was walking around Target yesterday and it was like a comical-but-kind-of-sad scene from a movie:

Everywhere I looked there were mugs and jumpers and chocolate bars and slippers which screamed “Best Mum Ever”, “Best Mum In The World”.

While – in stark contrast – I just screamed at my kids to “leave the lipstick sample stand alone” and to “please get out of the underwear rack”, and felt somewhere very far from the Best Mum Ever.

It’s the end of our first school holidays. And I’m going to say something out loud that I didn’t know and which I feel like a traitor saying:

School holidays are hard work.

And I really didn’t enjoy some bits of it.

Let me rush to assure you – and assuage some of my guilt in admitting this to you – that there have been beautiful times: I have savoured not making lunches, I have muttered a prayer of gratitude for every morning that passes without me having to rush everyone out the door. We have had a glorious week away with family in the sun, and another week of reconnecting with friends and grandparents for hours of structureless play and pottering.

Those bits have been pure bliss.

But there has also been terrible listening, tantrums, whinging, tiredness and fighting. And that’s just from me. Don’t get me started on the kids …

By the end of this week I felt like I wasn’t doing anything very well.

I wasn’t doing anything for me, and felt resentful at all that I was doing for the kids.

I wasn’t getting any of my stuff done, wasn’t in touch with any of my friends including 2 of my best friends who were going through Big Stuff, and still the kids wanted more, more, more. Cue the guilt.

The house was a mess, and I was a bit of a mess. Cue more guilt.

I have come to realise how much I love the structure of term time and it’s predictability; the very things I was craving a break from just a couple of weeks ago.

I have also come to realise how I enjoy my time with my girls so much more when we have time apart. And that I am a far more available, patient, kind Mum when I get time to myself. Time to reflect, to write, to meditate, to talk (uninterrupted) with friends.

I have been garnering wisdom from Mummas who have more experience in school holidays – for I know this is the start of a couple of decades of them for our family, and I don’t want to dread them or to merely survive them, but want to make them a special time for us all.

Balance seems to be the answer.

Together, apart.

Us, me.

Busy, quiet.

Planned, no plans.

Yin, Yan.

Zim Zum.

I used to always say “I need to work on this” when I identified an area I needed more growth and my gorgeous kinesiologist, Emma, would wisely reply, “Clare, just notice it, nothing more”.

So, as we look to Term 2, I notice the need for balance.

Together, apart.

Us, me.

Busy, quiet.

Planned, no plans.

Yin, Yan.

Zim Zum**

 

** which is a gorgeously convenient segue to remind you that bookings are now open for The Zim Zum Motherhood – a 4 week course for Mums of young kids starting on Wednesday 11 May (7.30 – 9pm) in Queenscliff (near Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches).

This is a chance to share and delve deeper into the journey of Motherhood in a small, supportive group of likeminded Mums.

We will reflect on the beauty, the struggles, and the meaning of Motherhood through honest conversation, readings, meditations and exercises.

I would love you to join us – email clare@clarefoale.com to book, C xoxo

Introducing The Zim Zum Motherhood

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The idea of going back to talk to myself at the beginning of my Motherhood journey is something I find both tempting and terrifying. If I had the chance, this is what I may say:

Dear Clare

You know me and I know you, and yet I am not sure that we would recognise each other if it were possible for us to pass on the street.

I have important things to say to you:

Life is about to change.

It is about to get hard and wonderful.

It is about to pummel you, stretch you and trip you.

It is about to disorientate you and leave you gasping for breath and begging for respite, like being dumped by the waves over and over and over again.

It is about to open your eyes to new ways, to magical, whimsical, wonderful ways of being.

It is about to get complicated and yet much simpler.

You will meet new tribes, connect deeply with old friends, and learn how to lean into the love of your family in a way you have not yet thought possible.

You will sometimes feel so lost and such pain that you cry, and at other times feel so supported and connected that you cry.

You will wish for an answer, a path, for this all to make sense, and to know that you are not alone.

As so, I have dedicated and written a course for you. It is the course that you would have loved over these past years of Motherhood – though you didn’t know that is what you were wishing for.

This is my gift to you.

This is The Zim Zum Motherhood.

A chance to share and delve deeper into the journey of Motherhood in a small, supportive group of likeminded Mums over 4 weeks.

We will reflect on the beauty, the struggles, and the meaning of Motherhood through honest conversation, readings, meditations and exercises.

Some of the areas we will cover:

* our stories of Motherhood – knowing that we are all unique, but never alone

* ways of staying connected with ourselves and the world around us

* the ideas of vulnerability, courage and bravery – how these can be so powerful in helping us to understand ourselves and our world

* the magic of curiosity and creativity in our lives

* gratitude and the way it can change us and how we experience the world

No experience is required in any of the above – this is a chance for us to gather and learn from each other.

Love Clare xo

PS. For more information and to join http://www.clarefoale.com/the-zim-zum-motherhood/ 

 

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A letter to Liz about curiosity’s uncool cousin

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Hi Liz – if I may call you Liz? Because, we are, like, besties, right?

I’m sure you get that a lot, but I was there with you as you journeyed through Eat, Pray, Love and since then have been a constant companion as you’ve blogged, podcasted, written more, spoken in Sydney a couple of times.

Your words have altered the path of my life in so many ways – you were my introduction to a different way of living, to living from the heart, to breaking the mould when I didn’t know that this is what I wanted.

Your thoughts on muses and creativity and Big Magic drew me out of my shell and allowed me to get over myself and get on with being a creator.

You’ve introduced me to some of your favourite people: Rob Bell, Brene Brown, Rumi, who are now part of my vernacular and my heart.

I know we’ve not gotten to spend as much time together as we would have liked, but we are the kind of friends who can only see each other face-to-face every few months or years and not have to warm up, just be right back in the thick of our wise and witty DnM’s (Deep and Meaningfuls) from the get-go. Well, you talk, I listen, but … that’s our thing, right?

It’s awkward – I’m not sure you are as into us as I am, but I’m sure that’s just my old friends fear and ego shouting from the backseat. I’m sure we’ve locked eyes across the crowded theatres at the Opera House and Seymour Centre and had A Moment. Maybe? Too much? …. Let me submit this reference for myself: I did not ask a question at any of your talks!!

Which is a long spiel to say that I love your idea of following your curious. It has become central to my life, and today saw me scrambling up an 8 foot jungle gym at the park to climb across the top of the monkey bars and down the other side in order to follow my curious. Let me tell you, curious may not be pretty (I’m a 34 year old Mum of 3, wearing a skirt who got a bit stuck up there!!) but it sure feels dang good.

I’ve been thinking for a while now that curious may have a cousin who is not so whimsical, alluring or delightful, but equally powerful: jealousy.

Jealousy doesn’t have a good wrap – the green eyed monster is really one of those emotions which is well-avoided and not really admitted to in public. It’s a bit of a dirty word, right?

But just as following your curious can lead you on a journey of discovery, so too following your jealousy can be an uncoverer of cravings and wishes.

Hear me out.

You know sometimes you hear of someone getting a new job, or going on a holiday, or starting a blog, or moving to the country and you get a deep griping sensation in your stomach, followed by a spiteful or disdainful thought that ‘that was your thing’ or ‘that you could easily do that … if you wanted’ … which all is a poor mask for jealousy, and a surefire indication of something your soul desires.

I’ve seen it in others. Ok, myself.

And now try to use it for good by asking myself: “If someone told me they were going to , how would I react?”

So …

If someone told me they were going to hike around Tasmania for a year … I would think it was admirable madness and ask them to send me a postcard. Not my cup of flat white.

But, if someone told me they were going to the Byron Writer’s Festival? Or to send a letter to you, or to Glennon or to Kelle Hampton? Or were going to be in “Spaces” magazine? Or join a choir? … I would be as green as Kermit. Perhaps greener.

And while following my curious would probably get me to this same place at some stage, I thought it an interesting and worthwhile short-cut in some situations. And wanted to share it with you, Liz … just in case you’re planning a Big Magic Too?

With thanks, admiration, blessings and Big Magic always,

Clare xo

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What about the kids?

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for me, kids are the easy part of parenting.

Sorry – they’re not easy. They’re easier.

The hard parts are the bits to do with me – my changing identity and relationships, and a lifetime of emotional baggage. Even when your childhood is happy and weird, as I lovingly recall mine was, it still has a huge impact on you as an adult.

And that makes me a little paranoid about what I am doing to my kids.

On so many fronts.

I often have a flash-forward to them in therapy revealing how I would let them watch TV if they got dressed quickly. Or wouldn’t allow them to watch TV because I said so. Or had breakfast for dinner some nights. Many nights. And the permanent psychological scars this has left on them.

But what I deeply worry about is what effect me having Post Natal Depression will have on them.

I feel guilt and shame at having put them through the Bad Days.

And want them to know that it was never – not for 1 millisecond – about them. They were the easy part … easier part.

And as I speak out loud about My Journey and Truth, this is something I have been thinking about a lot.

So I spoke to Angela, my counsellor, about it; my voice of wisdom and reason. And she reminded me back to the Circle of Security course which I attended a couple of years ago.

Circle of Security is the only parenting course I have ever been to, apart from the one at the hospital where they try to scare the bejeebers out of you. It taught me to trust myself as a Mum. It didn’t give me specific strategies. Rather, the key concept is that as a parent you are called upon to be bigger, stronger, wiser and kind.

And everything else flows from there. It teaches that all emotions are ok, some are just big and uncomfortable, while others are more pleasant to experience, but none are to be feared or suppressed.

And that is the key teaching that I’m trying to draw on when dealing with my PND and my kids.

I want them to grow up knowing that Mum had PND but that it wasn’t a big deal. And for there not to be a time when we need to sit down when they’re Old Enough and Have A Chat to Reveal All; that it is a natural and normal-ish part of life which they have always known about.

You may say I’m a dreamer … but I’m not the only one.

From Circle Of Security and through various books (like “In My Heart” – that gorgeous French picture book), we try to talk to the girls about their feelings. Trying to help them to articulate when they are feeling an emotion and how it feels: “Aud, I can see you are feeling really frustrated right now, and it looks like that is really big and making you angry and like you need to shout.”

It is a bit weird at first to talk like this, but it seems to be working … Audie will come up to me and say, “Mum, I don’t feel happy … my toes don’t feel happy today”. And it’s not up to me to fix it, but to sit down and to hug her and say, “That is fantastic that you can say that Aud. Lets see how sad feels and take some deep breaths and I’ll be right here with you, and you will move through it too.”

And its not 100% of the time that I do this; my neighbours will vouch for the screaming banshee routine as we rush for school, along with general bribery, hushing and “because I’m your Mum and I told you so”.

But when I do, it helps them know that feelings don’t need to be feared or avoided, they are all safe, and they all come and go.

Ha! If only I could remember that sage advice in moments of my emotional freefall!

So, what I am doing is talking to the girls – particularly Nina at this stage, that I have big feelings too and sometimes they get too much for me to handle, and I have people who help me with that: Dad, our families, my friends, our GP, Angela … and that it can be really hard because it makes me not be very patient or fun sometimes. And that I am sorry for taking it out on her.

And in the way of kids, she is beautifully gracious and accepts my apology with a hug and “Oh good, well if you’re feeling better, can you please play School Girls with me now?”

Help me! Not bloody School Girls again!

I already talk to them about the blog – that I write about my thoughts and feelings to get them out and ordered, and to share My Truth.

In time, we will talk about anti-depressants and actually use the words “Post Natal Depression”. As Angela said: “It’s just a label we use on a set of big, sometimes out-of-control, feelings”.

And of course Glennon Doyle Melton has wisdom to share:

Then I remember what my most important parenting job is, and that is to teach my children how to deal with being human. Because most likely, that’s where they’re headed. No matter what I do, they’re headed toward being messed-up humans faster than three brakeless railroad cars.

There is really only one way to deal gracefully with being human, and that is this:

Forgive yourself.”

(“Carry On Warrior”, Scribner, 2013).

Amazing! Isn’t she just the bee’s knees?! We are all human – wonderfully imperfect humans; and if we can show that to our kids and teach them how to deal with it, then it seems to me that it is much better than trying to uphold yourself as a shiny, perfect illusion. And a lot less hard work too.

And that got me thinking that what I want to teach my girls is to be courageous, and that we can do hard things (another Glennon Gem), and that speaking Your Truth is scary and amazing and the way forward. And PND has been the catalyst for learning these lessons and for living this way. And so, in a twisted way, it has been a blessing for us all.

The PND hasn’t been the easy bit. But then nothing good ever was.

I will finish with this beautiful paragraph from Jessica Rudd’s short story “What to expect when you’re someone’s favourite colour”  which so exquisitely expresses something I didn’t even realise I felt until I read it. Just now re-reading it I have goose bumps at this deeply reassuring sentiment:

One day, my girl’s heart might forget how to sing when it should be at its most songful, and I need her to know mine did too and that, through it all, she thrived and flourished and knew – just as she does now, and always will – that she is my favourite colour, too.”

(from “Mothers and Others”, Macmillan by Pan Macmillan, 2015)

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The Weaving of Women – International Women’s Day 2016

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I have a clear visual of each of our lives intertwined with all who have been, are now, and will be.

Our lives, our stories and experiences intertwined to create a patchwork quilt which spans millennial and galaxies.

A patchwork quilt which allows us to draw on the wisdom of those who have gone before us, to know that what we do is of importance and part of a bigger picture, and to really trust that we are all connected and never alone.

I read a fact the other day which was new to me and which seems fitting to share on this International Women’s Day.

On her Facebook page on 2 March 2016, Kiana Amara, energy healer and shamanic practitioner, wrote:

The first sound we hear is the pulse of our mother’s blood.

We vibrate to this primordial pulse even before we have ears to hear.

All the eggs a woman will ever have form in her ovaries when she is a four-month-old fetus.

This means that the sacred egg that developed into the person you are now, formed in your mother’s ovary when she was growing in the womb of her mother.

Each of us, male and female, spent five months in the womb of our grandmother, rocking to the beat of her blood. And our mother spent five months rocking to the pulse of her grandmother’s blood.”

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I find this quite mind blowing (Exhibit A: photo of Aud and I), and magnificently touching; such a beautiful expression of our connectedness, of the inter-weaving of our lives, of the knowing of our ancestors.

While the idea of International Women’s Day is about all facets of Womanhood, to me at the moment being a Mother is such a large part of being this.

I send my love and thanks and blessings to Women everywhere and throughout time for this continual weaving, for all that connects us. May we never feel alone.

Clare xo