I turn on my phone and I read about Charlottesville, about atrocities around the world… I feel helpless. What can this person that I am do to ignite change and inspire love? What difference can I make to the world? I’ve not got substantial amounts of money to donate, or time to give or even much of a sphere of influence. I read, I cry and I pray but as a person of faith I believe I am also called to action. As a builder of community and kingdom, I believe that whatever it is I can do, I need to do. Thus, I need to take stock of what I can do, and at first, it doesn’t seem like much. As Arthur Ashe’s well known quote is drummed into my memory, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”, I go ahead and make a list.
Mum guilt is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced.
When I use the term ‘mum guilt’, I don’t mean the idea of being shamed by another mum. That’s simply ‘mum-shaming’ and I refuse to even touch on that today because I can’t believe it exists. (We’re literally a giant collection of women all doing the same, hard, life-changing job. Can we just stop with the keyboard bashing and the quick tongues? Okay, noooow I’m not going to touch it on it.)
**Trigger Warning: This post contains content on miscarriage and infant loss, which some readers may find distressing. Please be aware of your triggers and don’t read on if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.**
“You must be sooo over it by now!”
My protruding belly is the subject of all mindless supermarket and bump-into chit-chats.
“Oh you know, this is the easiest part!” Truly. It is. If you’re a mom, you get my drift.
Right now baby does not need to be changed, carried, fed, changed, dressed, undressed, changed, bathed, changed, rocked to sleep while I lose my mind.
I don’t have to figure out why she is crying, wear dodgy nursing bras or wake up for feeds and function on half a brain the rest of the day.
There are few things in life that are as precious to a child as their Dad. The appeal is effortless – one tickle fight and they’re in for life. When I was a kid, all my Dad had to do to make my day was get home from work and play duplo with me and my sisters, or tell us a story that started with “When I was a little boy.” When we got our first jobs, Dad was the one who helped us get tax file numbers and open superannuation accounts. When we got our learners permits, Dad was the one who took us car shopping and arranged our insurance. For as long as we lived under his roof, we were looked after.
There is something really precious and sweet, lost on our way from childhood to adulthood, isn’t there?
Something big, invisible, beautiful and powerful, something along the lines of innocence and boldness and joy.
Maybe it’s the reason we think of childhood as such a magical time, the reason we look at children with envy, and melancholy and tears in our eyes.
And I wonder… I wonder how we get a glimpse of this fleeting gold in our souls again.
Almost 13 years ago, my husband and I sat at the end of our hotel bed, looking over the jungles of Borneo, soaking up the last few moments of what had been the most amazing 10 days. It was the eve of our return home after our honeymoon, and we had been talking about our new lives together and what it all meant. We pondered what the future would bring, the adventures we would go on, the opportunities we would seize. We decided to write a letter to our future selves, to be opened on our 10th wedding anniversary wherever we might be. A time capsule one might say. There were questions about where we planned to travel, if we would move overseas, if we would build or renovate….exploring the million possibilities our new path could give us. Our eyes were wide and our dreams even wider. Coming up to the last question, we were unanimous in our answer.
I have seen mothers at their best, and I have seen mothers at their worst.
At our best, mothers unite. We fight for each others’ rights, each others’ kids, each others’ protection, each others’ security. When a fellow mother is worried, we soothe. When a fellow mother is uncertain, we guide. When a fellow mother is about to break from the pressure of it all, we support.
Our little family is moving house in the near future. There are pros and cons to this, most of which I’ll not be aware of until moving time comes. I don’t know where we’ll be next, but the change in itself is inevitable. And because things will change I’ve been trying to be intentionally mindful and appreciative of the things I enjoy about where we are now – friends and family that live close; great local parks; a bath tub; our most excellent housemate and his most excellent dog; a lovely kitchen with a dishwasher and a matching cutlery set owned by said excellent housemate; and did I mention the bath?
I am currently sitting in my almost one-year old son’s room, curled up on his rocking chair, with his heater powering through the cold chill in the air. His breathing gently breaks into a weirdly adorable child-snore every six or seven breaths; he mumbles gibberish in his dreaming, while reaching out a sleeping hand to fumble for his dummy in the dark. The same piano gospel lullabies he’s listened to every night since birth are chiming gently through the spluttering of the warm vaporiser, while traffic rumbles around on one of the main roads in what seems like a million miles from the stillness here.