Dear Mama – an excerpt from my June Newsletter

I send out an occasional newsletters to my lovely subscribers list and they often seem to come out of me like a letter to a friend.  I thought it’d be nice to share excerpts of these here sometimes.  To get the full version at the time I send them, with info about retreats and offerings as well, you’re really welcome sign up via the home page.


Mother, Nurture & Wild

 

Dear Mama,

I’m finding these days of lockdown / post-lockdown (I’m not entirely sure what this time even is) that how I answer this question depends on the very moment of the day I’m asked it.  It changes moment to moment some days.  Is it the same for you?  If I’m out on a long walk in the sunshine with my boys or watching them play or invent things in the garden or the schoolwork went well it’s one answer.  At other times it can be the complete opposite.  Like you, I’m just having to roll with it day to day and moment to moment.

Yesterday I was thinking how the constants right now are that I’m tired, time-poor and I don’t get to finish many thoughts.  This is motherhood in general, yes?  But very much heightened right now.  The other constant is that I’m incredibly grateful for our health, the time I’m getting with my loves and the opportunity to slow down and take stock.  It’s ‘both’, ‘and’.

The swing between emotions seemingly at different ends of a scale – between frustration and joy, struggle and gratitude, overwhelm and happy moments – can itself be exhausting, giving us that dizzy-making rollercoaster feeling.  For me, it presents as a brainfog that somedays I can’t shake.  Do you ever have that?

What helps me is to ground myself and check in with my feelings; acknowledge what the heady mix is formed of and separate it all out to make better sense of it. 

Some ways that I go about re-grounding are: literally going and standing on the grass in the garden with bare feet and taking a few slow, deep breaths; taking the dog for a walk on my own to just be with my tangle of thoughts; sitting mindfully for a few minutes and letting everything begin to settle – breathing, thoughts, emotions, energy.

My check-ins will sometimes be the unravelling of thoughts and feelings while taking that walk.  An extra-long shower sometimes helps (not always possible when you have little ones at the door though, hey).  Journalling – writing down how I’m feeling and what I need – has been really helpful recently.

The June date of the Mother Wild retreat has just gone by.  The group that would’ve been in the woods together were, of course, all at home without the break they’d been anticipating and we were all sorely missing the magic of the woods and of that that time away.  I made them a couple of virtual gifts to help support them to ground, nourish and connect with some elements of the retreat while still at home – one of which were some simple journaling sheets.  If you’d find them a helpful way to check in with yourself, watch this space – I’m going to make them available as a free download soon.

These are stretching and confusing times and we’re all experiencing them in the unique way that our own situation presents to us.  As Mothers we can have a tendency to expect ourselves to be ‘fine’ when it’s entirely normal in times of change or stress to be not fine.  I think the key is to check in with your self (the self-inquiry of: how are am I really?), to allow whatever comes out to come out, to soften towards yourself and lean towards a few simple things that help you feel a little more grounded and able to breathe a little slower.

What are the simple things that don’t take up a huge amount of time, but help ground you and slow your breathing?  Could you weave any of that into the next few days perhaps?

Sending solidarity hugs to you x

Summer Solstice Ideas for Mothers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice falls on Saturday (20th June 2020) and while looking for inspiration I found a list from a Summer Solstice gone by I’d shared on my old blog.  It was lovely to revisit and remember the Solstices when my two were really little and had no idea what we were celebrating but loving it anyway.  Now they run with the celebrations and have plenty of suggestions of their own.  In case it’s useful for you Mamas, I thought I’d revamp that list to share here.  I’ve added suggestions for how you could combine marking the solstice with doing something lovely for yourself.  The cycles of the year can provide a lovely opportunity to check in with yourself and tend to your own needs and nature connection, as well as marking it with your children.

 

Lovely Solstice Activities for Children

  • Eat outside – some summer veg for dinner, a bowl of strawberries and a jug of elderflower cordial with a few summer flowers in a jam jar on the table – lovely!
  • Light a candle and sing a summery song or read a poem – we love the National Trust book ‘The Seed that Grew the Tree’ for it’s simple and seasonal daily poems.
  • Make paper suns together to hang in your windows.
  • Light a solstice fire in your garden, toast marshmallows, sing, tell your children happy stories from campfires of your childhood.
  • Take a short walk after dinner in the evening light – make it different somehow so it stands out in your memories – a pyjama walk or all wear something sun-coloured!
  • Do something you wouldn’t usually do outside – bath the kids in a warm paddling pool or baby bath on the grass – make it fun.
  • Task your children with making a sun mandala on the grass – grab building blocks, crystals, play cloths, yellow and orange toys, or petals and arrange them into a sun – they’ll love it.
  • Glue torn strips of summery shades of tissue paper around a jam jar and take it in turns to write down something simple you’d like to do together this summer and pop it into the jar, for inspiration over the holidays.  Or make it a gratitude jar – write down some of the light-filled things around you.

 

Lovely Solstice Activities for You

  • A Solstice Bath

I know a bath is a cliché but I find it’s rare that I give myself the time to have a good long soak and by making it a really nourishing bath it feels like a real gift to myself.  You could use some summery floral essential oils like lavender and geranium diluted in a carrier oil, adding orange essential oil as well can be really uplifting.  Wild dog rose is abundant in the hedgerows at the moment and you may have calendula (marigold) or chamomile in your garden.  These flowers are all used medicinally as bathing herbs since they’re wonderfully nourishing for the skin and the spirit.  Scatter some in the bath (or dried version if you have them in the cupboard work just as well) and delight in bathing with the flowers.  I often add to cup of Epsom Salts to my bath for the magnesium. I find I sleep really well afterwards, if children allow.  Tip: have a sieve ready to scoop out the petals afterwards!

  • An evening ‘alone time’ walk

If you crave some alone time, an early evening walk around a nearby nature spot is a lovely thing to gift yourself.  Go somewhere you feel comfortable and inspired.  Take it slow or power walk if it feels good to walk at adult pace for a change.  If you love taking pictures, making it a photo walk can be lovely and help you really notice the beauty that surrounds you.  Up the nourishing stakes with a flask of your favourite tea and a snack and take a pit stop.

  • Journal

The markers of the year can be lovely times to check in with yourself.  How are you feeling this Summer Solstice?  What do you need?  This is a time of long days and plenty of light, how would you like to invite that into your world right now?

  • Create

Making time to create something just for the pure joy of it can be the hard to manage but such a gift when we do.  Is there something you love making?  What could you create just for the joy of it?  Draw or paint something?  Make a nature mandala?  Blends some oils or tea? Try out that thing on your pinterest board you’ve been longing to try?

  • Watch the sun go down

It used to be my tradition pre-children to watch the sun go down on the longest day.  I ditched it when I wasn’t getting much sleep (and it might not be for you if you have wakeful babies or toddlers right now) but this year if it’s dry I think I’ll set myself up in the garden with a book, a drink and a blanket and soak up the evening.

  • Dream the rest of the year

I fully subscribe to Summer daydreaming.  With the light as it is now, the possibilities usually seem broad.  Coming out of lockdown, I admit, it all feels a bit different, but nevertheless.  It’s sometimes nice to take a wander around our imagination and dream our way through the second half of the year.  Come the Winter Solstice what’s one thing you’d like to have done, seen, manifested or experienced?

 

 

My advice always with this kind of thing is to keep it simple.  While lots of the suggestions might appeal, perhaps picking one thing to do with your children and one thing for you is the kindest approach.  I’ve fallen foul of trying to squeeze too much in and not being as present as a result.  And I freely spread these things over the days around the Solstice.  That way it’s a relaxed and easygoing thing rather than a slightly time-pressured tick in the box.

Ideas for Celebrating Summer Solstice with Children from Mother, Nurture & Wild

 

 

 

I’d love to hear if you’ve used any of these suggestions, in the comments here or over on Instagram or facebook.  Enjoy dear Mamas!

A blog for nature-inspired Mamas

 

 

Welcome to my new blogging home – dedicated to all the things that inspire my work supporting Mums to use nature and self care practices to feel more fully themselves.

My previous (slightly sporadic) journey with blogging can still be found over at my personal blog – www.darlingbudsofmeblog.wordpress.com – and likely this space here will be a continuation of some of that content, but with a strong focus on supportive articles, musings, tutorials and self care invitations that you can use to inspire you to take a little bit of time to nourish all the parts of you.

I firmly believe that taking care of ourselves as Mums and working on our sense of wholeness, leads to a more joyful and grounded journey through motherhood.  I hope some of what I share here can in some way support you in that.

Thank you for reading, dear Mama x