Monday, 30 August 2010

Finding a new faith for a new season

Ever since Ella was born I have been trying to work out how to do faith and my walk with God as a Mum. I haven't blogged about spirituality for a long time. I guess I have felt self-conscious about it and also like it was all just too hard. I have often found faith tough before but since becoming a Mum it has felt almost impossible. I guess in my mind I have a picture of what a healthy relationship with God looks like - quiet time reading the Bible regularly, praying, attending church, talking about faith, serving others. But I seem to have no time to read my Bible. Okay, I also don't find time cause I would rather read other things. How's that for honesty?

I do pray, quite a lot, but not in a focussed way. Recent struggles have led me to have a lot more faith in prayer though so I am relieved that I actually want to pray again and that I truly believe God acts, maybe not in the ways I want, but He is involved. I see that in his faithfulness towards me through everything I have been through and the way He works in the lives of those around me. I still have no answers about why people suffer despite prayer, but I do know this world is not perfect and God is still active in it. I guess I am waiting to ask about that in person.

Church has been difficult. I often go by myself cause hubby is studying. It is hard to feel like I want to go when I end up out in the creche looking after Ella and not actually hearing the sermon. I could be doing that home! I am doing something about that though. I have found a church with a wonderful kids programme and I have been really rejuvenated by the teaching the meeting some other Mums and sharing our journey. I think some people probably think I am a terrible church hopper, but to be honest it is really just a survival decision. If my faith was going to survive I needed to get some spiritual input. And I think it gets pretty pragmatic when it comes to faith and having a family.

One thing which has been so amazing since becoming a Mum is how many inspiring and wonderful women I have met from all walks of life. They have been my biggest spiritual and practical support other than my family and very close friends. It is always miraculous to me how a conversation can resonate so deeply and give me new hope and a new perspective on something I am struggling with or thinking about.

So I guess at the moment I feel like God is meeting me in the every day moments and meetings of my life rather than in orchestrated events of spiritual disciplines. I do need to find time for His word. But I also know that it will happen and it is not something I am going to wrestle with so hard I get blisters. Instead I am focussing more on the joy I have found in my life and being grateful to God that after so many years of seeing the world in grey, the colour is back. Now that is a God to believe in, who can do that in my life!

Famine or feast

I have been so AWOL with blogging recently. My life feels so full with the absolute basics plus work that I never seem able to fit in the next layer of things I would like to do. I am constantly thinking of ideas for writing, or making, or doing but I am either asleep before I can do them or just cannot find a moment to do them.

Apparently Mum blogs are huge and there was even a big conference in the U.S recently for Mums who blog. But honestly, I don't know how they find the time.

My priorities for my day are pretty simple and pared back at present. Having a shower and getting dressed, looking after Ella and having food in the fridge is basically a successful day. Add laundry done and dinner cooked as a pretty impressive day. And if I manage any other housework or to get on the computer it is pretty much a miracle. So as you can see life is simple, well the simple things are complicated enough without adding anything else.

Work is manageable, just, because I do it all there. I have so much respect for Mum's who manage to work from home. I just don't know how it is possible.

A few months ago I was really wrestling with how much a wanted to achieve in a day or week and felt constantly frustrated by it. But I seem to be reaching a more peaceful place. As long as there are no essentials hanging over my head - like the tax return I hadn't done! - I seem to cope. A big help is when hubby and I do the power clean at the weekend. Vacumn, tidy, clean bathroom and life seems manageable again.

Today when I was with a group of Mums and they were sharing their moments of joy I noticed that most of them were simple things like going for a walk, or something cute or funny a child had done, or doing something they enjoy. No-one said they had renovated, saved the world, cooked a four course meal. In fact, the theme was really the joys in our every day lives. It helped to hear that other mother's lives are stretched and full and reminded me that most of the time the problem is my expectations and all it takes is lowering them to bring a bit more joy and peace into my life.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Making tea from our little patch

I am just making or organising tea. And I am very excited cause lots of the ingredients are from our patch. It is kedgeree. So the fish is the left over kahawai which hubby baked on Friday. The rice is obviously exotic in origin. But the eggs, parsley, leek and spring onion were all sourced from about 2-10 metres from my stove top. It is the first meal in ages which is so home grown but I have to celebrate the little successes in the midst of this wet winter! So hopefully it will taste yummy as it is the first time I have made it.

Friday, 6 August 2010

My many selves

This week I have been thinking a lot about the different selves I seem to have or inhabit in a week. There is the Mum self who looks after Ella and the teacher self who can almost forget she is a mother, and the woman full of all the these ideas and dreams but no time or space to do them in.

The way motherhood is presented or at least described is often very black and white about identity. You are either a homemaker or a career superwoman juggling work and family. There only ever seems to be the extremes of the continuum. But my experience is more like I completely switch from one to the other. When I am at home I act like I never have to go to work. I make plans and almost commit to things without thinking that I have to work two days a week. I am often really disappointed that I have to go to work and will miss out an activity that Ella and I could go to because of it. But when I am at work I almost forget about Ella - shocking isn't it! And I just want to keep working and when professional development and extra curricular opportunities come up I even agree to them before I remember that I can't do them and that Ella needs me.

I am stunned at how my mind is able to just focus on what I am doing right now and everything else seems to disappear. But it is also wonderful. In the past I have found it so hard to be present in the moment in what I am doing and have often felt torn and stretched. I wonder whether sleep deprivation and breastfeeding hormones have something to do with it. I can only really cope with what is happening right now rather than having the energy or brain space to think about anything else. There is a real joy in that.

However, I wish I could be home more, and I wish I could work more. I love both. It is a marvelous dilemma to have. And it shows me that being a Mum is not about black and white decisions such as "I will stay home with my kids' or choosing or having to work. Instead it is a mash up of the life I had before Ella arrived and the new life which is unravelling and developing as she and I grow and our family circumstances change. It would be awful to feel as if I have made some sort of decision or rules about how things had to be such as "Good mothers stay home" which could limit what life can be even when new opportunities present themselves. If feminism has done anything for women it should mean that we can change our minds and live our lives as they evolve rather than by rules or expectations society or we set for ourselves.

I know that is a bit of a ramble. I am tired. Ella has been sick and I am exhausted. And I had to work today. Ahhh living the dream...