I am lucky to know a lot of lovely mamas who are full time mamas, and also work at things that they love, to support their families financially and nourish their souls. Far from the ‘having it all mums’ of the 80s and 90s, these mamas are striving to find the balance, to make it work for them, loving their children, sharing care amongst loving friends and relatives. They are re-negotiating the split between working mother and stay-at-home mum in their own unique ways, according to their own unique circumstances. Some are partnered, some are single. All are making sacrifices, big sacrifices: financial, emotional and creative for the good of their families. Their families are their priority, the reason that they must earn, or must stay home the majority of the time. But in the moments in between, late into the night, at weekends, they work at things that make their spirits sing, for love, for money, for sanity…
I am lucky to count amongst them:
An Avon lady and card maker
Two teachers, theatre producers and performers
A couple of writers
A childbirth educator
Many crafty mamas of all stripes and spots
A couple of home educating teachers
And lots, lots more besides who work as all sorts of wonderful, interesting or often mundane things…
They also give their time to friends, bake cakes, make welcoming homes, support causes close to their hearts, serve up wholesome meals, organise wonderful parties for adults and children. As well as mothering with integrity and dedication day after day after day after day.
All hail to you my dear friends, and to those of you I have never met. You wise women, you gentle loving souls. To you who have chosen to quietly put your dreams to one side, on go-slow, not completely or forever, just enough to serve those that you love as they need you.
And to you all, who have answered the invitation of your burgeoning creativity, which has developed and bloomed, as you have your bodies, through your childbearing and mothering. Your fertility blossoming in both mind and body. You are taking risks to bring forth what lies within you, to express what is most beautiful, precious, sacred, important to you. Birthing your creative babies out into the often cold, hard world.
I honour your acceptance of the changing nature of your bodies and surrender to your lives, which are almost unrecognisable from the freedoms you once knew.
I honour your doubts, your risks, and your challenges. I honour your feelings of barely keeping hold of sanity. I honour the fact that often you would sell your own soul for another six hours to every day, an extra pair of hands, five minutes peace…
I wish that I could give you all the money you needed, guarantee the safety and happiness of your children, a wonderful lover in your beds, and a warm meal on your table, and a house fairy to tidy up the mess. But I can’t – you do all that magic by yourselves.
And I do too…
Here’s to us!