Been a little quiet on the old socials this week. It has been intentional. To be honest I have done extended periods of unplugged time this year more than most. I am finding the 'noise' of social media pretty loud and and often unhelpful to my mental space. Hard when it is also a big part of my business and literally how I meet and interact with you. It is the challenge of our generation though. If you have not yet seen the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix I highly recommend it - it certainly gets you thinking.
Last Sunday it was Mothers Day on Sunday and this was why I was intentionally offline. I just did not want to do Mothers Day this year. A few years back I wrote a blog called 'Motherhood Without my Mother'. This was before Ray was born which has bought a fresh set of emotions. Last year we were in lockdown so the day just passed (I think), but this year the mountain just seemed to big too climb. I am not ready yet.
So I opted out.
I said no thanks not for me.
I didn't do any giveaways, or specials.
I did not even do any posts.
I kept off social media to avoid seeing posts.....ok I tried my hardest to keep off social media as much as possible so I did see some sneaky posts.
No matter how inclusive posts are or try to be we can't truly know the path others have walked and this year. Even of the posts that did sneak into my view that were inclusive but still showed happy smiling photos there was a part of my brain that wanted to scream "you have NO IDEA". I know you are not meant to and potentially some of you will have the same view of me in a different flavour. But those thoughts are there and I wanted to protect those as much as possible which shielding my view helped.
I also didn't want to unknowing contribute to someone else's pain and grief. Even if in writing this I have done so, please know I am deeply, deeply sorry.
Self care comes in different forms, and one of those is boundaries - personal boundaries that are your own even if no one else understands those boundaries they are yours and that is ok.
It is ok to opt out.
It is ok to say no.
No is a very powerful word.
Toddlers have no problem saying no. They have zero cares what people think or do not think.
If they do not want to wear pants...they do not want to wear pants. End of story. It does not matter if literally everyone else in their world wears pants or if it is freezing cold!
I simply applied the same logic to Mothers Day this year.
In the absolute divine way the universe works her magic my working mums retreat happened to be last weekend - literally on Mothers Day.
I did not plan that at all. The date for the retreat was scheduled last year. I certainly did not Google what weekend Mothers Day was on.
So without meaning I was delivered exactly what I truly wanted. Four days at one of the most stunning beaches, creative space to write and work, sleep and best of all was surrounded by other amazing, supportive, understanding mums. This photo was sunrise on Sunday. I had enjoyed a coffee in bed, doing some work on a future book and then ran on the beach followed by a swim in the waves (chest height as I cannot get my ear wet).
It was quite possible the best retreat ever.
One more little offering from the universe came on Monday. I had told the boys I didn't need or want anything gift wise for Mothers Day (they still gave me hand made cards which I loved). I was in a bookstore yesterday as I needed to get a new bookbag for Sahan and this book was sitting on the shelf. I have been meaning to get it as it has received raving reviews - it could not have called to me more right there and am looking forward to sinking my teeth into it - my own present for myself.
So often as women and mothers we say yes to things that we don't truly want to do. How many of you reading this honestly, deep down did what you would have liked on Mothers Day?
Are there things you say yes to because it is the right thing to do, or it is expected of you?
I know it's not easy but just start somewhere. Try opting out of something that is not for you. Practice saying no - you don't even need to give a reason!. I promise you the world will not fall over.
But what you will gain in return is so much.
When we say no to something we don't want we are actually saying yes to ourselves.
I don't know what my plan will be for future Mothers Day. I am sure it will change year to year. It also does not mean I am not insanely grateful for my own family or the work I get to do with mothers. That is not the point! This is not even about Mothers Day but rather the power of boundaries and that lifelong journey of self discovery.
With love, as always,
Dr Julie x