Here are some of my thoughts in the run up to Mothering Sunday. A day that fills me with so many conflicting emotions, but mainly gratitude that I can be both a daughter and a mother and so gain insight from both sides.
Having a child changed me so profoundly I can barely recognise the person I was before my daughter came along. That first year was so intense. The moments of deep joy, such profound love and connection and simple delight, looking afresh at everyday things. And much less expected, the bone-shaking loneliness and isolation; the relentless mundanity, crushing frustration, and the guilt and shame at feeling such boredom.
Fresh from the workplace, I was still in a paradigm where my worth was dictated by my productivity (a thought pattern I am still extricating myself from! Work in progress!) and days, weeks and months of having nothing tangible to show for each day’s struggle, highs and lows, except mess, shook me to my core.
It was the unseen mental load, the physical labour and discomfort and daily sacrifices that struck me most. I now realise that I was learning to recognise and affirm my own worth the hard way- after a life-time of looking for external validation.
I would see other mothers, like me, sit for hours in discomfort to let their children feed peacefully, walk outside to soothe their children to sleep, when they really needed to take a nap themselves, overcome huge hurdles to get out of the door in time to make a baby group, change a nappy skilfully and efficiently in woeful or no facilities, with a wriggling eel of a baby. And I began to think, these women are heroes. We are mastering challenging skills in extreme conditions and nobody seems to notice.
That’s when I made my Mummy Merits. 8 badges for the everyday situations that show remarkable skill and tenacity. It felt good to show myself and others exactly what I was doing all day and try to find a lighter side. Some of what we overcome in early parenthood, is part of the SAS training: sleep deprivation, functioning safely with a soundtrack of crying, responding immediately and selflessly in crisis. This list goes on...
I’m not changing nappies anymore and thankfully I don’t have to drive with screaming children (that often!) but I realise now that giving myself that high-five to affirm my own worth and validation has become an element of self-care that has been profound for me. A sort of re-parenting of myself. The challenges of family life continue and seem to morph with each new year. My self-care postcards are really an updated version of the Mummy Merits, although they aren’t specific to mothers. They are an invitation to take a moment to see yourself with awareness, from a fresh perspective and affirm your own worth.
I won’ t be making Mummy Merits anymore. I was fresh from drawing cartoons for the Sunday Times Magazine when I made these and now my style has moved on. I still have just a handful of these sets in stock and in recognition of Mother’s Day upcoming I would like to offer you an incredible discount on these. Think of it as my way of saying: "I see you, your hard work and I thank you." Because turning up with love and compassion for the daily grind is how we change and shape future generations. Mothers (and fathers too) literally have the power to overcome their own limitations and improve the world with the love and care of their children and no work you will ever do, will be that impactful or important again.
To claim your 50% (YES 50% I know!) discount type in the code MAMA at check out, while stocks last.