Are you mother enough?

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Sometimes you wonder.

After the hard days.

When you were not at your best.

You wonder, in secret, where no one will hear.

Am I mother enough?

Because you see them around you. Those other mothers. In your town and on your screen.

Gentle.

Peaceful.

Patient.

Kind.

They parent with grace and with joy.

Always.

In the flow, harmonious. Children smiling and holding hands, while your kids whine and fight.

And your baby cries.

Again.

And you question if you even know what you’re doing.

Because if you did, the children wouldn’t argue. And the baby wouldn’t cry.

Constantly.

So you must be doing it wrong.

Of course you’re doing it wrong.

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And so you wonder. And you doubt.

Am I wearing her enough? Am I breastfeeding enough? Should we co-sleep more?

But sometimes you’re all touched out.

Am I patient enough? Present enough? Nurturing enough?

But sometimes you just need a damn break from it all.

Am I good enough? Am I strong enough?

Am I enough?

And then, probably, you decide that you are not.

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Because sometimes you yell. You say words you regret. Because you didn’t babywear or breastfeed or co-sleep at all. Because sometimes dinner comes from the drive-thru, and they watch too much TV.

Because sometimes the thoughts in your head are dark and shameful.

Because every day ends with regret.

And all around you are those mamas who make you feel inadequate without even trying. Those mothers with stardust in their eyes. And when you look at them you measure yourself and you know what you suspected all along.

You are not enough.

Sometimes you curse this life you made and all the smallness that surrounds you.

But mostly you curse yourself for your shortcomings.

And then the baby cries.

Again.

Or your children set to arguing.

Again.

And you know you’re right.

Of course you’re right.

You’re not enough.

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Oh, but sister. Hear me when I say:

You are so much more than enough.

You are good enough.

You are loving enough.

You are mother enough.

 

You are brilliantly, beautifully – yes! – the mama your children came here to find.

No, you aren’t perfect. But none of us are.

No one has it all dialed in. We have all made mistakes. Even the “Dali Mamas” around you. This I know is true.

And every day you are learning and growing and evolving. You are becoming.

And you are their mama.

The one they came here for.

And for all of your flaws, they are sheltered by you.

They know love because your love is fierce.

And they learn to get up when they fall and try again by watching you.

And best of all, they know they don’t have to be perfect to be enough.

What a gift that is.

And also know this:

As that mama who seems to have it together, I have never been more humbled in my mothering than when I see you keep your head just above water as the rapids around you churn.

 

Yes, mama. I see you.

And I’m humbled.

Now it’s time to see yourself.

So are you enough?

Heck yes you are.

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: : :

More inspiration…

There is no label for what you do.

Stop comparing.

What I need.

Ten ways to rock your parenting, where ever you are.

What I did not know: reflections on motherhood.

: : :

Originally published on my personal blog, Rachel Wolf Clean, in 2013

Triage

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Public service announcement: you can’t do it all. Ever. It simply isn’t possible.

(*Cue collective exhale.)

On the days I’m in my garden, I am most certainly not replying to emails. When I’m homeschooling I’m not running my business. When I am at my desk i am not in the woods.

So if you go superwoman and head to school for your master’s degree, you probably won’t find as much time for canning tomatoes. If you read that extra bedtime story, you may have neglected to balance your checkbook. And—god forbid—if you made some space for self-care, you run the risk of missing dinner with your kids, a lunch date with your sweetie, or that laundry that requests your undivided, unending attention. 

And I’m here to tell you that all of the these are a-ok. You decide if they feel worth it to you.

I’ve gotten a lot of emails through the years, marveling at how I “do it all”. Homesteading, homeschooling, small business, book! It’s like I’m a unicorn! Except that I’m not. Because you haven’t seen the state of my bedroom, nor the clutter in my barn, or know how long it’s been since I’ve balanced my checkbook (spoiler: decades may be involved).

No, life isn’t all glitter and rainbows over here, and anyone you perceive as “doing it all” isn’t. Because: humans.


It’s triage, baby. Everyday it’s triage, for all of us. And if you’re fortunate, the one who decides what rises to the top—what is worthy of your precious energy—is you.

So the upshot is, we all shine here and suck there. All of us do. We’re imperfect, often overwhelmed, and with laundry on the floor.

Because as humans, we can’t do it all. Not you, not me, not anyone. So don’t hold yourself to impossible standards, mama. You’re doing it right already, and you’re worthy of all the self love you can muster. Because you, my dear, are already a unicorn. 🦄

Welcoming puberty

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As my children move from childhood into young adulthood, I’m reminded of how these transitions felt so heavy when I was a teen. Puberty, menstruation, the slow unstoppable motion from childhood into adulthood.

And I wasn’t sure where to go for good, solid, no frills information.

I hear similar stories from my friends, many of whom felt their parents didn’t adequately prepare them for the day-to-day reality of puberty, except perhaps to buy them a box of pads.

We all wanted to know that puberty–in its plethora of physical and emotional changes–was normal. That we were normal.

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Today, as parents or other care-givers, we want to do more. We want to provide our kids with resources that will help them develop a positive, healthy relationship with their changing bodies.

With that in mind, I’m delighted to announce the LüSa Organics New Moon Collection, a welcome kit to the transition into puberty.

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The New Moon Collection is a healthy, relaxed introduction to hormones, puberty, and the normal changes our bodies go through when menstruation begins. This delightful gift can open the door to meaningful conversations, or simply serve as a quiet way to acknowledge this important transition toward adulthood.

The collection contains several products that help support a healthy, happy menstrual cycle, plus a down-to-earth guide to taking care of your body naturally–during your cycle and all month long. The included 26 page New Moon Booklet includes common sense health tips, tools to manage discomfort during your cycle, and a couple of easy to make DIY recipes.

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All menstruating teens are welcome here! With this in mind, inclusive language is used throughout. Discreetly (and sustainably) packaged; it makes a thoughtful gift.

Reserve one for your teen or preteen here.

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Did you feel adequately prepared for puberty? What message or information would you like to offer your own preteen or teen that you didn’t experience during your own youth?

 

Simplify: Five tips for a joyful, simple spring celebration

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Remember in Little House on the Prairie when Laura and Mary opened their stockings on Christmas morning?

They got a single peppermint and a pair of red mittens.

AND THEY WERE OVER THE MOON WITH JOY.

The first time I read that all that I could think was, “If my kids got a peppermint and red mittens for Christmas they would be crushed.”

Yet the further along in my parenting journey I travel, the more I realize how little it takes to bring joy and magic into my children’s lives. No, I’m not talking about single peppermint simplicity, but still reigning it in considerably from what is normal in our society.

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When my children were small I made and gave much more than I do today.

But I noticed along the way that few things hold meaning for long, and the less “stuff” I gave them more they appreciated, treasured, and loved what they had. 

So for the past several years we’ve kept our Spring baskets (along with all other celebrations) very simple.

And indeed, my kids have enjoyed our holidays more – not less – than they did before.

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What follows are a few ideas I think you will enjoy if you’re on a path toward more simplicity as well, yet worry that a simple celebration might fall flat with your children. (A few regular links follow, and couple of those are afflinks. That said, I always encourage you to shop locally whenever possible to support your local economy! Our communities depend upon it.)

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FIVE TIPS FOR A SIMPLE, JOYFUL SPRING CELEBRATION

1. LESS IS MORE

You don’t have to go overboard to have a wonderful holiday! Excess is overwhelming to children and adults alike. Cut back a little (or cut back a lot!) and see how it goes.

The photo below was from the first year I simplified spring baskets. The two of them received the items pictured above plus a few treats like dried fruit and organic jelly beans (so half of what is shown this per child).

Since then I’ve cut back even more. But the first year we simplified a candle, a crystal, a packet of seeds, and a small homemade toy was downright thrilling for my children.

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You’ll be surprised at how little it takes to bring joy.

2. CHOOSE CONSUMABLES

Consumables are anything that will be used up in a reasonable amount of time, leaving little or no clutter or waste behind. Some of our favorites include:

  • packets of herbal tea
  • healthy gum or mints (this option offers plastic-free packaging)
  • seed packets for the garden
  • lip balm
  • something for bath-time
  • colored pencils (we love these)
  • a candle

3. HEALTHY TREATS ARE JUST AS FUN!

Your baskets need not be stuffed with food coloring and corn syrup! Having a child with food sensitivities helped us find some great alternatives that benefit us all. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Organic gummy bunnies or jelly beans (we buy them at our coop but more mainstream stores carry some, too, like Annie’s brand).
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail mix
  • homemade date balls or purchased Lara Bars
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Single serving coconut water or almond milk
  • Lemon poppyseed paleo cookies

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4. GIVE EXPERIENCES

And if something non-consumable feels like a must, how about giving a thing that is really an experience in disguise?

  • A notebook or journal and pencil or pen
  • Herbal Adventures Book (our children’s herbal book, written just for kids and their families)
  • Quality garden tools or supplies – trowel, pots, and gloves
  • A wooden tree swing (we received this one from the maker nearly a decade ago and it’s still our #1 outdoor play thing!)
  • Bird feeder and birdseed and a field guide to local birds
  • Simple, seasonal toy with a long useful life (think wooden boat, kite, sidewalk chalk)
  • Craft supplies (fabric, embroidery floss and hoop; sketchbook and paints or pencils, etc.)
  • Nature exploration kit (compass, bug boxmagnifying glass, water bottle)
  • Silk dying supplies (white silks and a few packets of Kool-Aid) I share a how-to here.

5. ADD A NEW TRADITION

If you are worried that less getting might equal less joy, add a new tradition to your spring celebration.

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I described our spring traditions in this post years ago, and share with you our egg hunt custom and our beloved Wish Bunny (shown below). Find a tradition that fits your family’s beliefs, personalities, and likes. Perhaps you’ll add a special kitchen or craft project, a fancy meal, or an outdoor adventure with friends.

Less really is more when it comes to celebrations. Cut back slowly, and then enjoy as you watch simple magic unfold for your family.

More thoughts on simplifying with kids are found through the links below:

The toys are gone

What I need

10 simple ways to rock your parenting

101 toy-free gift ideas

 

What’s your favorite, simple holiday tradition?

 

Love,

Rachel

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