Changing Times, Changing Identity

blog women and idenitytThe Elusive ‘Writer’s Voice’

When I started my blog here at mummy2mum in November 2014 I wrote for the sheer pleasure of it! Blogging carved out a space and place for me to reflect meaningfully on my experiences and share those with others.

I had read that successful bloggers found this elusive thing called their ‘voice’.

Where do you find your voice? Can you fast-track it like an express delivery service?

The answer to that is No!

Your voice as writer evolves slowly over time, but it is dependent on one key factor – personal growth.

I have been writing for many years, but mostly erratically.

I would write a poem for a 50th birthday, a speech for a wedding and eulogies for funerals. I would sporadically keep a journal, usually at times of personal upheaval when my brain was overloaded and chaotic.  But blogging changed all that.

The Beauty of Blogging

Blogging brought routine, commitment and awareness of the writing process. I made time to write.

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I became aware of the creative process, the feeling of being inflow from brain to fingertips, as the words sped onto the page. I learned to let my heart speak uninterrupted  before letting my head edit, critique and rationalise. I gave myself freedom to write about whatever inspired me, whether that was PMT, bikini bodies or motherhood.

And slowly a small community of loyal readers expressed their emotional connection with my writing through comments, shares and likes.

Comments like this one from Growing Up KaterTot  have helped shape my writing journey:

I am so deeply moved by this post. I have a long way to go before my daughter reaches her teen years, but I often wonder if I’m even going to know who I am at that time. Right now, my identity is “P’s mom,” and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m pinning this on my own personal board today. Hoping that I’ll remember to look at this down the road when my little one has grown.

I realised that when I wrote with passion, vulnerability and explored those areas of conflict within myself it evoked either laugher, tears or sometimes both, and readers connected with me. Now I didn’t set out to have this effect, but I understand that my best writing, my most intuitive creative posts are exactly those pieces.

The pieces that are written from the heart and speak to the soul.

My Voice, My Place

As a writer I have found a place where I want to stay a while, to linger, exhale and explore.

That place is where I write most fluently from the heart, where I am authentic and allow my mind to expand, create and connect with everything that I am.

That place is an exploration of identity, motherhood and the creation of  an abundant self.

And it’s redefining my blog here at mummy2mum.

So What’s Changing?

In defining my voice I’m carving out a new place and space for my writing.

Mummy2mum will have a new direction, purpose and vision.

Many of you who know me personally have heard me talk about wanting to help women ‘find themselves’. This is my core mission here at mummy2mum.

I want to explore the challenge of creating an independent identity as a woman whilst giving so much of yourself to others; the challenge of an abundant self!

I have made small changes to my website to reflect this focus, so that new readers will understand my mission, vision and values.

What does this mean for my current readers?

More of the passionate, heart-felt posts that you all respond to with such enthusiasm! And less of the recipe posts, less of the ‘how to’ parenting posts and more about your journey as woman & a mother!

I hope you’ll enjoy the new feel to mummy2mum. She’s found her identity at last.

Bikini Body v Bikini Mind

free your mind At 43 years old I’m wearing a bikini for the first time in 15 years! Let me just say that again –

I’m wearing a bikini in public!

It’s summer here in Australia and that means one thing – swimwear season! This year I made a commitment to myself – that I would wear a bikini. For the last 6 months I have been working hard to achieve mind and body transformation; my challenge was to be bikini ready for Christmas – it’s a goal I visualised myself  achieving.

But the reality is a little different…can you ever really feel bikini ready?

Can You Ever Feel Bikini Ready?

Like so many women I have felt ashamed of my body, embarrassed by the lumps and bumps that document my pregnancies and the wobbly bits that used to be firm. I certainly won’t blame pregnancy for the gradual gain in weight, I’ve proved to myself that it’s a convenient excuse .  In truth it’s been a love of the good times, of drinking, eating and socialising that has added the extra kilograms over the last ten years.

I’ve been saying for a long time ‘I’m not ready to wear a bikini’, ‘I just need to lose another (enter any number here)’ and ‘Maybe 40 is too old for a bikini’.

But this myth is washed away every time I go to the beach.  How is it that some women exude confidence, sex appeal and empowerment in a bikini, whatever their size?

It’s clear that it’s got nothing to do with having a bikini body, but a bikini mind.

Shedding The Emotional Kilos

It seems to me that external change doesn’t  equate with internal change.  Losing those extra kilos will change your body shape, but if it doesn’t change your mental shape then it’s as if it hasn’t happened. Marc Manson tells of a guy who lost over 100lb but never really lost that weight emotionally:

His perception of himself was like the Titanic: he had…put the pistons in reverse, but the thing was hardly turning. And emotionally, he was still hitting the iceberg. …[I]n his head he was still that same fat guy. He still had shame attached to his body…despite his ripped biceps and his shiny new abs.

Marc Manson’s  ‘Shut Up And Be Patient’.

This year, for the first time I have lost the emotional kilos as well as the physical kilos and my mental picture has shifted.

I don’t have the bikini body that I imagined. That mental image was created after years of media saturation with thin, toned women who have that elusive thigh gap!

Shape Shifting

The desire to measure myself against the perfect bikini body has receded (not gone completely, but it’s fading out).  I have strength I never had, muscles in places that used to be soft and a growing feeling of ownership over my physical form.

The notion of ownership may seem strange, but reflect on this – 

During your teenage years you are at the mercy of your hormones, developing a size and shape that is beyond your control, there’s only a few years respite before pregnancy imposes a new shape, reconstructed again in the post-partum years, compounded with further pregnancies and before you realise it your shape has been morphing beyond your control for long time.

Shape shifting in this way left me vulnerable to measuring myself against the ‘ideal body’ and always feeling inadequate. Now I own the changes in my body, I’m defining my own shape for the first time in many years.

Bikini Mind

I’m wearing a bikini not because I have a bikini body, but because I have a bikini mind.

I perceive myself with strength, health and vitality, and I’m not afraid to show that to the world. That doesn’t mean to say that I don’t have my moments of doubt, years of conditioning can’t be undone in 6 months.  But 6 months of positive body attitude has given me the confidence to accept my imperfect self.

tranquil acceptance

 

 

 

Floating Without An Anchor To Identity

lose yourself to find yourself

The feeling of losing myself has been a pivotal experience of motherhood. I have lost myself in the love, the wonder and the daily grind of bringing children into the world and making a family.

So consuming is the experience of motherhood that I didn’t even know I had lost myself. It wasn’t until my children found their sense of self outside of me, that I knew I was floating without an anchor to my identity.

I knew that I was the not the same person that had started out on this journey 15 years ago. She is a memory, an echo of me.

As I float in the space between knowing who I was, and finding out who I am, I feel a great sense of anticipation.

 

 

Lisa is participating in the Advanced Fitness Mind and Body Transformation program, and finding herself to be stronger and more determined than she knew.

Quote sourced from tiny buddha

candid cuddlesThis post is linked to Candid Cuddles Quotes

The Narrative Of Motherhood; Letting Go Whilst Holding On

letting go while holding on to teensI’m living a contradiction as a Mother of teens; I’m letting go whilst holding on!

I know that I’m not getting the balance right because there are times when I’m holding on so tight that my children feel like a life line.

How do I even begin to let go?

Holding On

I’m holding on to the threads that I wove during my years as a Mummy. The long cuddles, the kissed fingers, the laughter and tears that have created a blanket of mothering spun from threads unique to me and my children.

As they enter the teenage years that fabric is worn thin; it’s been wrapped around their shoulders as they tossed and turned with fever, it’s cushioned them from hurtful words in the school yard and comforted them in the dark of a sleepless night.

These last few months have found me patching and repairing it, but the blanket is unravelling.  I’m desperately trying to hold it together, while my children are throwing it off, emerging from my maternal cloak of protection. Independent. Separate. Grown.

And in the silence that surrounds me, a question forms.

When did mothering become smothering?

My approach to mothering is fulfilling my need to nurture, hold and protect, but is it still serving the needs of my children?

Letting Go

My boys are becoming young men and their needs are changing.

This change was the prompt that began my blogging journey 12 months ago.

A year on and this journey has led to a defining moment.

The moment when my narrative of motherhood had to change, adapt and grow.

I need to write a new story.

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor E. Frankl

Time is relentless, and the boys are growing up. I cannot change this.

What I can change is my myself.

Transformation

The ultimate culmination of growing up is the move from dependence to independence; the transition from relying on others to relying on yourself.

As a Mother I also need to make that transition.

I can’t continue to create a sense of self based on my children.

I want to grow with my children, in love, connection and independence.  This means discovering and re-forging my own identity outside of Mum, in much the same way that they need to find their identity outside of being my child.

I need to become independent of my children.

Who am I when I’m not Mum?

I’m really not sure yet, but I know I want to find out.

 

Plunge into Change

Follow my journey to discover an identity independent of Mum by opting-in below.

 

 

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Words Of Wisdom For Your 16 Year Old Self

teenage  girl mums wisdomDear 16 Year Old Self,

You are beautiful, slim and amazing.

I know you don’t believe this yet, but I want to show you why you should.

Body Talk

That body you constantly criticise, and think hateful thoughts about, looks pretty damn amazing to me! I’d swap my lumps and bumps for yours any day of the week!

If I could share a single piece of advice it would be this;

Stop comparing yourself to other women.

Your body is yours to love, cherish and nurture.

It has the power to bring two amazing people into this world; and they will change your world forever!

Be present in the moment of your 16 year old form and relish all that it can do for you!

Now Lets Talk Boyfriends

I know you’re having fun with your new boyfriend, but he’s got to go!

Those harmless requests that he makes will become a series of toxic controls that will seep into your psyche.

It cannot be a happy relationship if you have to;

  • Ask his permission to see your friends
  • Report back on who you spoke to after a night out
  • Justify why you were speaking to other men
  • Apologise for wearing sexy clothes when he’s not there

If you would only believe that you are worth more than this, you will blossom.

Begin to love yourself more, and you will stop settling for less.

Do you remember that boy you met on the boat? Well, he may have broken your heart last Easter, but he’ll mend it again in a couple of years.

He’ll be back and he’s a keeper!

 Own Your Own Choices

You have 2 fantastic parents, and before you say it, I know they annoy you!

But you’re the first teenager they’ve ever had, that makes you the test subject! Believe me, parents are making it up as they go along!

Do you remember when you were arguing with Mum about sleeping at your boyfriends house? When she said;

Where did I go wrong?

You took that so personally, thinking that she thought you were a disappointment. But she wasn’t seeing you as her failed child. She was blaming your short-comings on herself.

That’s what Mothers do. They love, nurture and hope for the best for their child, but sometimes that child seems to deliberately obstruct that process.

I wish you’d listened to Mum, she had news for you;

Don’t base your self worth of your ability to be desirable to men.

She knew it then, and I know it now.

You’re worth more.

So my lovely 16 year old self, let me leave you with these words of encouragement;

Love wilfully, pursue truth stubbornly and dream wildly but,

know your own heart before giving it to someone else.

With love,

L.

 

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This post was created in response to a prompt from the Friday Reflections link-up, hosted by Janine Ripper at Reflections from a Redhead and Mackenzie Glanville from Reflections from Me.

FRIDAY-REFLECTIONS-250-x-250

Finding the Me in Mum-me!

quote-mother-kids-independenceEveryone says that blogging is addictive, but this is going too far! On Friday I was so absorbed in writing the post The Kiss Goodbye that time stood still – well at least for me it did!

Cyber Kids v Real Kids

When I did look at the clock to my horror it said 3.25pm, and I should leave for school at 3pm!! So I was like a crazy thing tearing around the place and charging off to school. Biscuit and Berry were happily kicking a football around with their friends, unfazed by my lack of punctuality.

However the irony of the situation does make me smile. I was so busy thinking about my cyber kids ‘Biscuit’ and ‘Berry’ that I forgot to attend the real life versions of them!

Something Missing?

So having learned my lesson, the next day Berry was at a friend’s place and Biscuit was at sailing. With tough conditions on the ocean he was cold and tired when I collected him at 6pm, and looking forward to the promise of a warming dinner and a movie.

But…while he was out I had been absorbed in completing my About Me page in the blog and guess what…I remembered to collect him (Yay!) but forgot to cook dinner (Boo!).

So what can I take away from all this? Set a phone alarm!!

What’s so addictive about blogging? When I write I find a place that I haven’t visited for many years.  A place within me.

A Place Within Me

Writing is like taking a new lover; absorbing, enthralling and consuming. I long for it when I’m not able to get away from other things, I anticipate it while doing those things and I feel it’s pulse in my body all the time.

Although the dinners and the school runs may have been missed recently, I think something deeper has been missing for longer. Me. And my connection to self.

Strange really, that by reflecting on my role as mum, I have started to discover me! But I guess that’s a symptom of the children getting more independent, they’ve left a space where mummy used to be. Now they only need mum and so that leaves more time for me!