Saturday, 12 February 2011
What makes something ok?
Continuing with my creative soul journey here on Kefalonia whilst enjoying the new grandma role, I had a realization as Mr M would say, and thought I would blog about it.
I had my lovely daughter round for a coffee earlier this week and as I watched her struggle with the new and strange emotions she was experiencing as a new mum, I thought about how I felt as a new Gran. We have all sorts of fabulous books to help us do the 'right' things with babies, cots, food anything you want. But there's very little out there about emotions and how they play havoc with your 'normal' self.
An old friend of mine from the Island also joined us and a good friend of my daughters too. As we sat there chatting, laughing, sharing and getting rid of angst as only a close group of women can do in a light hearted way, I realized just how much women need this gathering.
I was brought up in the last throws of the coffee morning and secret sherry afternoons. If I wrangled a day off school I was treated to the gathering of my mums friends at her house, playpen in the corner, toddlers plopped down together, babies settled in prams - usually well wrapped up and outside - and friends settling down with lots of tea, coffee or sherry if it was afternoon gathering, ready for a really good off-load. These women instinctively formed their space, naturally gathered to share, took the soothing balm on offer from others, the sympathy, empathy and dished out their own in equal measures.
I realize now that these gatherings were more than just an opportunity to gossip. There was real nurturing going on. This was motivational and inspirational stuff - it just wasn't packaged like that. These women had found their rhythm, they were in their stride and dealing with whatever life had to throw at them. They didn't have money for therapists, treatments or the latest new age gizmo - all they had were each other and it seemed to do the trick very well.
I never had this when I became a mum. I was determined to carry on with my business which was a cafe/restaurant at the time. I wanted to have it all, be it all and slightly scorned my mum's stay at home lifestyle. I wanted to give my kids everything, drama lessons, singing lessons and all the stuff I never had. I did with my husband give them all of those things. My son is now a fine actor/dancer and my daughter a confident young mum who has successfully run her own restaurant for several years. But as I sat watching my daughter struggle with 'doing the right thing' for her baby, I wondered about the cost we pay for being modern mums without a safe circle to air our worries, concerns and grievances. I know there are groups and networks but I'm talking about a place where women can just be their natural selves, warts and all. Motherhood is full of previously unknown concerns. I didn't know just how concerned I would feel about my daughter, she couldn't know how scared/concerned/worried she would feel about her role as a mum. I now know my mum's friends all had the same concerns, the difference being they were able, through their little afternoon sherry sipping or morning coffee meetings, to keep their worries to a minimum - they nipped them in the bud.
Having a coffee on the terrace this day was an eyeopener for me. I unexpectedly was given some soothing balm by my old friend. She reassured me that she had felt exactly the same when her daughter had her first baby. She went through much of what I had and still am feeling. The emotional tears, hormonal outpourings and uncertain feelings. I cant say how much better I felt just having heard that. I was trying to be the super strong mum, grandma and all things to all people and my friend in her empathy made it very easy for me to feel ok with it all. I am deeply grateful. I am not alone with any of it. I belong again.
As I look over the calm blue ocean, I am grateful to an old friend for soothing my perplexed soul and helping me to go forward in my quest to help, nurture, inspire and share hope with other women. So today I remind myself to honour my womanhood, listen to the whispers of my heart and to know my rhythm. And to say thank you to a friend for helping me to feel OK.
What makes you feel OK? What do you need to hear? What would you like to see? What do you need to know? Are you in your rhythm or out of it? What do you love and what would would help you love it more?