A woman struts down the street. She’s dressed in high heels, jeans, low cut top, rubber gloves and a whistle hangs around her neck. She walks heavily. Her head is weighed down by an assortment of interesting hats: policeman cap, chef’s toque, baseball cap, nurse’s cap, hard hat, Mortarboard, Pith helmet, Santa hat, Slouch hat, Trucker cap. She holds her head aloft, proudly holding up the weight of all these headdresses. Her feet never stop moving, she is constantly in motion. There’s always something to do or somewhere to be.
This woman is a mother. Ta da! Surprised? A mother is one who is expected to be all things to all people: a daughter, wife, friend, mother, aunty, in-law, acquaintance, customer, driver, school parent, volunteer, employee. If she isn’t doing things for her kids, she is doing the basics for herself. When was the last time a mum had time or money for a good, old fashioned wax!? Or time to scramble over rocks at the beach on her own? Or time and permission just to sit in a hammock and doing zippo?
If a mother isn’t doing, then she’s feeling… guilty! Why do we do this to ourselves? We don’t give ourselves a moment’s peace! It’s true. How many conversations have you had with a mum who has admitted to feeling guilty over something. And we role our eyes when they say it because it is quite often petty. It is almost like we look for things to feel bad about so that we feel like we’re what we should be. The rush of life is enough without the added guilt in the down times because we need these moments of nothingness.
Birds still sing whether we hear them or not. They still fly in ‘V’ formations whether we see them or not. I find the more I rush, the more I just look down or ahead, not up! Up is a revelation. Up there is blue sky, sometimes angry black clouds, birds, planes, helicopters, wires, clouds that have shapes and stories and thoughts to give us! Up is simple.
Simple is not rushing here, there and everywhere, even though it is often necessary to do such things. We do it to give our kids opportunities: sport, art, tutoring, socialising, parties, outside play adventures! It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time! It’s life, baby, and we’re living it but sometimes the busyness of living gets in the way of deep living. Those magical, arty moments when the simple things become important again.
You’re not a bad mum if you don’t feel guilty. If you’re free and happy and simple, then you’re free to be a great mum. So on behalf of all mums everywhere and without a smidgen of authority, I give all mothers everywhere the permission to stop, to look up and enjoy!

Image by Mila Zinkova