Our last playgroup session before Easter will be Tuesday 24th March10:30-12:30.
We will have an Easter Treasure Hunt in the garden (weather permitting). The ‘treasure’ will be little bunnies, chicks and packs of raisins! I’m sure they will all be getting enough chocolate over the holidays!
We will have two weeks off over Easter and playgroup will re-start on Tuesday 14th April.
Tuesday 21st April will be a Spring trip to the Gincase Farm Park, more details to follow.
To celebrate Mother’s Day I would like to share my reflections on the strength we nurture and grow as mothers.
The Strength of a Mother
The strength of a mother is like the swaying willow. You flow and weave too and fro. Adapting, accommodating, supporting, sharing; spreading your energy where needed, here, there, your love is felt everywhere.
Your strength is your flexibility, going with the flow. It is within your kindness and strength your babes learn and grow.
Your strength as a mother is as vast as the rich deep earth. The depth of your heart holds the space from which you nurture tiny young seedlings, holding, stroking, encouraging to grow.
It is from deep within you create, love and flow.
Nurture yourself also, then all of you grow.
Your strength as a mother is when you do nothing. When you hold the space, holding back the tide of pressures and influences, creating the space for your children to explore, to learn and to unfold in their own unique way.
Like the furls of a fern uncurling. Like flowers towards the sun. All different. All perfect. All beautiful in their own way.
Your love is their sun, you bring out their brightness, their beauty, their fun. As they do for you, when they smile into your eyes. Thankful, loving, free.
Your strength as a mother is when you say yes. Yes to yourself, to your child, to your body, to life. Embracing, enhancing. Striving, thriving. Creating the shared memories of your future.
Your strength as a mother is when you say no. Your discernment, from deep within, you hold your ground, strong as the earth. No, thank you. That is not for me, for you, for us.
By following your heart, you know what is right, what is wrong.
The strength of a mother is when you replace a judgement with a blessing. A judgement of yourself, your child, or another. All criticism, all comparison, letting this go.
Realise ultimately we are one; no one better no one lesser. Each of us a being of love, living life in the best way we know.
The strength of a mother is in what you know. Not in your mind, or from others, but those things you just know. In depths of your heart, no need to ask why. You just know.
Your strength as a mother is within who you are, not just what you do. Your strength as a mother flows through the love you share; and with that fierce beauty, gentle mothers, nothing can compare.
This piece first appeared in the e-book The Strength of a Mother Edited by Starr Meneely www.themothermagazine.co.uk
In our garden, tiny snowdrops herald the beginning of Springtime and their emergence from the still cold earth is perfectly timed with the publication of my article New Beginnings ~ Creating Change in Issue 68 of The Mother.
Sowing the Seed ~ Beginnings of Change
The first thing we may see of the spring flowers is their tiny green shoots easing through the frozen ground. Yet they did not spring up from nowhere, although it may seem this way to us, noticing them for the first time this year. No they have been there all the time, quietly beneath the earth, their latent bulbs filled with potential. And when the frost retreats and the earth gradually warms,when the conditions are right, their time comes to awaken, to blossom and to shine.
Yet they had to be planted, they had to be put there, into the earth, by someone who had the desire to see colourful spring flowers each year. The intention had to be set and acted upon.
And so with us. Situations may alter around us, yet change within does not just spring up from nowhere, but from the intentions we set, and the seeds we sow deep within ourselves. Change, real and lasting change, begins from inside, deep within our being.
Laying the seeds of change within can be likened to the conception of a baby. Indeed change is conception. It is the inner forming of our potential, with the intention of creating something new in our lives. The potential is always there, latent as bulbs are in a garden centre shelf, yet it is our conscious action to create change which causes us to take stock of our latent potentials and catalyse them into action through our intention. Just like a baby’s conception; even though inner changes have taken place, it is a subtle inner sift, change is not immediately visible in our external life.
Once we have decided upon what we would like to change, to let go of, or invite into our lives, we may plant the seed. We may do this in the form of a resolve or affirmation, a commitment to our decision to change. In Yoga this is known as a sankalpa which translates as resolve. It is similar to an affirmation, a positive change we would like to create, said in the present tense, usually before and after meditation. We are, in effect, planting the new seed in the fertile ground of our receptive mind….
You can read the rest of my article in Issue 68 of The Mother available from www.themothermagazine.co.uk
As the harshness and darkness of Winter has passed, Spring is a wonderful time to take a fresh look at our lives and begin to make the changes we so desire. If you have planted your own seeds of change within your heart and mind, I hope you are beginning to see these manifest in your outer world.
If not, why not become inspired by the turn of the season and begin to plant some seeds of change in your own life. Even small changes, such as deciding to value yourself more, or resolving to bring a new routine, or set aside a little time for creativity, study or more time in nature can bring with them significant changes in your life, and the rhythm of your family.
Many BB mums are either fledgling knitters or would like to learn, and I suspect we have a couple of experts among you too.
We are having an intro to knitting session this Tuesday 10th March where my lovely friend, knitter and potter Marylin Ross will be coming along to show us the basics and teach us how to make a pair of fingerless gloves!
If you would like to be involved bring along a pair of knitting needles (size 8 or 9) and a ball or two of colourful wool. You can often find lots of needles and wool in charity shops. I think the idea is to make he gloves stripey so we can all share colours and have some creative fun.
Marylin will also give help to anyone struggling with their own knitting projects, so bring these along too if you like. Some of you may remember her from the pottery session.
I love these cute babies and wonder if we could aspire to making some for the group soon… I love being ambitious!
How has being a mother changed you?
That is the question at the center of Milestones of Motherhood which featured in a lovely article in the Workington Times& Star this week, inviting local mums to get involved.
As mothers our attention is so often focused on the present moment with our children, especially when they are little. There is so much for us to focus on, and so much to think about as a mother. And there is also so much to do!
The early years of parenting can feel so busy, yet it is only when we step back for a moment we can see just how much our children have grown and changed. This morning my eldest daughter put on some pyjamas that had been packed away in our campervan for a few months. They used to be her favourites, but today they were barely below her knees!
I hadn’t noticed that she had grown much at all, but these pyjamas opened my eyes to the fact that she had grown so much in the past couple of months. Growth sneaks up on us like this, for when we are so focused in the day to day, the activities, the learning, the tears and the laughter we can overlook the ways we ourselves and our children grow and change.
Milestones of Motherhood sets out to create some space to explore, recognise and celebrate the ways in which women grow and change through being mothers. If you would like to share your stories as a mother and bring comfort and inspiration to others I would love to hear from you.
Please contact me, Clare, on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a Milestones Questionnaire.
As many of you know, at the moment I am writing the book Milestones of Motherhood which sets out to explore the ways in which women change and grow through being mothers.
The original idea for this book came about through a piece of writing I entered into the 2013 Mother’s Milk Writing Prize.
I had been looking through some old photos of when my first daughter was a baby, and the thing that struck me the most was not how much she had changed, because of course that is what we expect babies to do, but how different I was then, and how much I had changed.
Of course physically pregnancy, birth and caring for a baby are very demanding, and we feel and see the effects of this huge outlay of energy in and on our bodies.
Yet I began to reflect upon how much I had changed in other ways too. We may read many books and plan what we hope to be like as mothers, but as every new mum knows, there is no way to really know how you will feel and what you will do until the time comes and you are there, with your baby in your arms, depending on you night and day, every night and every day.
So I took the opportunity of my little ones sleeping to write a piece of prose called Milestones where I explored the ways in which I had changed through learning to care for my little ones.
I reflected upon how I had learned so much about love through loving my tiny daughter. Through loving her, I had really opened my heart and learned so much about myself. Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding especially had taught me much about trust. A trust in myself, my babies, and the ways in which trusting, loving relationships are formed.
Here is a little excerpt from the original Milestones:
Looking back, at myself as a new mum, I was happy and hopeful, yet completely unprepared and unaware of what it really meant to love and nurture a baby. Less still was I prepared for the challenges and joys of toddlers and children. Yet each and every day I got to know my baby. I held her close, watched as she snuggled and found my breast … I felt as though I was in some kind of alternate universe, not quite woken up yet. However, through these hazy days, a vast transformation was taking place inside.
Looking back I smile as I imagine our fledgling family, like a butterfly, in a cocoon of our very own, letting go of everything we previously know and thought we knew. Letting go, yet learning so much more. As we emerged from our cocoon, fledgling wings feeling their way, gradually bringing ourselves out to feel the warmth of the sun, I realise our learning has been vast.
Taken from ‘Milestones‘, The Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize 2013 Anthology, Edited by Teika Bellamy, Mother’s Milk Books
My piece was commended by the judges and I felt so happy to see my writing appear in the Writing Prize Anthology amongst many other unique and touching insights into parenting.
Shortly after Teika Bellamy from Mother’s Milk Books asked if I would be interested in developing this idea into a book which explored the many ways in which motherhood changes women.
I feel very blessed to have this opportunity and to be able to write about issues which are very close to my heart.
Milestones of Mothering will include the stories of many women, all at different places along their parenting journey. If you would like to get involved and share your own journey of transformation as a mother, please get in touch and I will send you a Milestones Questionnaire. I look forward to hearing your story.
You can contact me on email@example.com
We also have a new facebook page Milestones of Motherhood where you can keep up to date with the progress of the book.
On Tuesday 27th January we will welcome Dianne Standen to Beautiful Beginnings to talk about the Campaign Cumbrians Against Fluoride.
As you may or may not know, the water supply along the Cumbrian coast is fluoridated. This means that Hexafluorosilicic Acid is added to our water supply.
The mainstream thinking behind this is that fluoride helps to reduce tooth decay.
Yet there are many reports which question this science, and many more research papers which flag up very worrying long term side effects from the continued exposure to fluoride, especially when fluoride is consumed regularly by babies and children.
This is not something I, until recently, knew much about, and as a health-conscious parent I, like many others, am keen to avoid exposing myself and my children to large and unregulated doses of chemicals. Especially as I, like the rest of the West Cumbrian population have not consented to receive this medication through my water supply and am concerned about the side effects of the regular consumption of fluoride.
Dianne will talk about the decision to fluoridate the West Cumbrian water supply, the CATFISH research study which compares the dental records of 5 year old children in West and North Cumbria, and the work of the campaign so far.
I hope this will be an informative session where we as parents can become more informed about the water supply which we and our families rely on each and every day.
To find out more visit http://www.cumbriansagainstfluoride.com/
Interactive harp and fun music session at Beautiful Beginnings Tuesday 13th Jan!
The first session of the year will see Beautiful Beginnings welcoming harpist and music therapist Clare Bakewell to the group.
Clare’s fun music sessions introduce children to the beautiful music of the harp, there is plenty of singing, playing instruments, dancing and the opportunity for everyone to have a go on the harp.
The group begins at 10:30 and the music session will start at 11:00. Donations towards Clare’s travel welcome.
Do come along if you can and enjoy the session.
Peace is an issue close to my heart.
Like millions of others I pray for peace on Earth each day.
Yet with so many media messages of conflict, aggression, fear and destruction, it sometimes feels as though peace is far off, somehow unreachable, perhaps an ideal but not a reality.
What can we do? How can we change things? Such questions can often lead to apathy and defeat, yet as parents I believe we all have an active and vital role to play in the contribution to peace on earth. We can use our privileged position as parents to contribute to peace each and every day.
We can choose how we react and respond to our children, how we talk to them and what examples we set for them. We can chose how we relate to others, how we respond to conflicts and the atmosphere we create in our homes and families.
How do you use your role as a parent?
I wrote about this in my article Parenting for Peace which appeared in Issue 67 of The Mother Magazine.
How do you use your role as a parent?
Do you realise the enormity of the potential you have for being an ambassador for peace in this world?
By parenting our children consciously, and relating to others with respect, we have the opportunity to become a beacon of light. To inspire others, not through our words or advice, but through our own peaceful actions and interactions.
How do you use this precious opportunity?
Each and every day we make a difference to the lives of our children and to the world. Every single person makes a difference simply by being in the world and contributing their energy. Imagine baking a cake or cooking a meal; every ingredient has a job to do, and so do we. There are no ‘spare parts’ in life, we all count, and we all make a difference. What is up to us is the quality of the difference we make. Smiling and showing kindness and respect where we don’t necessarily need to can make untold difference in the lives of others.
We all count and all make a difference in the lives of our children and countless others. What kind of difference do you make?
Peaceful Days, Peaceful Ways
By relating to our children peacefully we create an inner expectation of peaceful as normal. Similarly, if we are often behaving in an aggressive or stressed out manor, this too will be understood and internalised as normal by our children who grow up in our energy field. We know that children learn through imitation at most stages of their development, and how often have you heard your own words or tones of voice being spoken by your children? Never underestimate the influence of your parenting, and the way you live your life on your children.
To read the full article and many others visit www.themothermagazine.co.uk
You can receive a 20% discount on your subscription by quoting the code Clare Cooper at the checkout.
Mother’s Milk Books is a small, independent press which publishes high quality, beautiful books for adults and children which aim to normalise breastfeeding and empower parents.
This inspiring publisher hosts an annual writing competition which is a great opportunity to take some time to explore your creativity and put into words some of your emotions, memories and experiences of parenting.
This year the theme of the competition is The Story of Us in a family context.
I love this idea as it is really a springboard to explore so many aspects of the parent ~ child relationship.
Poetry and prose are welcomed and there is even a children’s poetry category.
The closing date of the competition is 18th January 2015.