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In case I hadn’t already noticed it there are often plenty of people keen to point out to me the fact that, at 32, I haven’t yet had children so am not a mother.

The first part of that is absolutely true of course; at this point in time I have no children of my own having so far not found the right person to bring children into the world with. The second part, however, I would disagree with…

You see, at 4.30am I was on my hands and knees clearing up sick and other things I won’t mention after a bout of extreme poorliness from the most important little lady in my life. Feeling very sorry for herself she wasn’t exactly in the mood to go back to sleep meaning no bed for me either, so we took out a blanket and the two of us snuggled up on the sofa where she slept while I stroked her head, Reiki’d her tummy and tried not to worry while watched TV.

We’ve spent most of the rest of the day in that same position; a couple of times she’s decided to make the most of our holiday in the most beautiful place on Earth, but each of those has lasted only a short time before the patient realised that the sofa was the only place she wanted to be today so we’ve headed home where I’ve boiled and cooled water and cooked copious amounts of scrambled egg to try and settle her stomach.

All in all, today has felt a lot like being a mother. However the little girl I’m referring to isn’t my daughter, or even a friend or family member’s daughter for that matter, she is my dog.

Yes I know Kali isn’t human, but she is my baby. And as I’ve said before, while I may not have a human child to look after, that doesn’t stop me being a mother.

Mothers come in all sorts of shapes and forms; some have biological children of their own to take care of, others have children who may not share their DNA but are no less their children – human or otherwise, and some aren’t even female.

Yes a biological mother and her child share something special that I can’t claim to have experienced yet from the older aspect of that partnership, but what truly makes a mother is the ability to care, to love, to nurture and to keep safe.

Over the years many people have tried to make me feel that I am somehow lacking because I’m yet to have children of my own. And that hurts, because I would love to experience the miracle of growing new life and of giving birth to my own child. But the one thing I will never allow those people to suggest is that I’m not a mother.

So before you judge someone as not knowing or understanding what it means to be a mother consider their wider relationships; look at the way they care for those around them, and ponder whether actually they could teach you a little something about mothering too.

Tags:

#motherhood #love #divinefeminine


A few years ago now I, never one to do things by halves, signed up for a day of bungee jumping. About halfway through the day I met a girl a little older than me at the top of the tower, just before the jumping platform. She was all wrapped up in her harness and three times while I was waiting had stepped forward to make the jump, but every time she got there she'd collapse into a blubbering heap, crippled by a fear, and have to be walked back to the waiting area again.

This went on for at least 20 minutes (she was still there when I went back up for my next jump). At one point even I tried to help coax her out; reminding her that these guys really knew their stuff and wouldn't let her get hurt, and that she just needed 30 seconds of bravery and then it was done. Four or five hours later the centre closed and I saw the girl again, boarding a mini bus in tears because she still hadn't managed the jump.

I barely spoke to that girl; I don't even know her name, but she taught me a very important lesson. You can think about and plan for things all you want; but when it comes to the big scary crunch time there are only ever two choices – go back or make the jump.

For me, in that moment, I chose to jump. I remember standing at the top of the platform absolutely flipping terrified realising that I'd put my whole life in the hands of two men I'd never met before, wondering what my mum would say if she knew what I was doing, and thinking of all of the things that could possibly go wrong. And then for whatever reason (probably to prove a point to the guy behind me who was telling me I could go back any time!), I jumped.

Oh. My. God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's almost difficult to describe, but even six years on bungee jumping remains one of the best things I've ever done. The pure terror was replaced after a couple of seconds by the realisation that I was flying – wind streaming through my hair, no pressure at all on any part of my body; I had never felt freer. And I won't lie, as the water below hurtled rapidly towards me and the elastic snapped back at precisely the right moment, I've never felt more alive either!

I should say at this point that I'm no fearless adrenaline junkie myself. In fact, that day was one of the first times I'd ever done anything quite so scary. Until that day bungy jumping was something I'd seen people do on TV and wondered if I'd be able to do, so when the opportunity arose I decided to go for it.

There's an old saying that it's better to regret what you've done that what you haven't. I've never for one second regretted my bungy day (not even the next morning when I woke up with mild whiplash and my first ever adrenaline hangover; yes, it is a real thing). In general I'm not big on regrets at all, but the only thing I do regret is my decision to not do something many years ago, largely because I was too scared.

And to be fair to the girl on the platform she was obviously terrified too, so just going along to the centre, never mind climbing up the mountain of stairs and getting harnessed in for the jump she'd never take, must have taken an awful lot of courage. But I often think about her and wonder if she made it back there and ever did manage a jump.

Tags:

#fear #selflove #passion


Today is my mum's birthday. It's a special one, although I don't think I'm allowed to say which one. But on a blog where I regularly talk about the things that have inspired me, I thought that it was a good place to tell her – and the world – just how amazing she is.

To be honest my mum probably won't like this too much. She's not really a fan of being the centre of attention, to the point that after her last big birthday when I organised a surprise meal with all of the family, it was possibly the most angry I've ever known her be. So I'll try to draw as little attention to her as possible, despite the fact I'd love to share with you my favourite picture of the two of us – a selfie taken on the top deck of an open topped bus in New York City - and won't even mention her name. Sound fair mam?

What I will tell you though is that my mum is the kindest, most selfless woman I've ever met in my life. The last two years have been a tough time for my family – my dad's been poorly, but my mum has kept going with everything she needs to do regardless, taking on more work at home as well as attending hospital appointments, dishing out medication and doing all that she can to help my dad, and heading out to a day job that involves being on her feet and dealing with the public (many of whom, as anyone who's worked with the public will know, can make working life more than a little challenging from time to time).

Last year in the midst of it all, I had a car accident and was left pretty much incapable of looking after myself, or Kali, for over a month. And of course, my mum added caring for the pair of us, and attending even more hospital appointments than she already had been, to her increasingly lengthy to do list. And amidst all of this, she never complains, and hasn't taken so much as a day off on the sick from work, even though I know she could really do with a rest, because "the girls at work are already short staffed." In short, she's the most caring and hard working person I know. But that's what being a mother is about right? Well with my mum it's more than that.

My whole life, I've been lucky enough to enjoy some amazing things and experiences, simply because my mum gives THE BEST presents in the world. And that might sound like a small thing but it's really not, it's important because the reason these gifts are the best is because of the amazing amount of thought that she puts into each and everyone one of them.

One of my absolute favourite things in the world is Christmas and that's all down to my mum. From being tiny Christmas – and other things too, losing teeth being a particularly memorable one – has been the most special and magical two days of the year, and that's down to my mum. Mine and my brothers' whole lives she has put so much effort into helping us embrace the magic, beauty and loveliness of life, even long after we stop believing in the things that usually make them so magical for little kids, and giving us beautiful memories and wonderful traditions to pass on to own kids throughout.

A lot of people tell me that I'm like my mum and it's true; we're both unashamed geeks and fan girls with a soft spot for sci fi, fantasy, superheroes (Marvel movies are fast becoming a mother daughter date tradition!), the Royals, celebrity gossip and hot boys (sorry dad). But there's also the less shallow stuff… we're both interested in history and general knowledge and spent a lush few hours last week wandering around a museum in Newcastle where she first took my brother and I when we were very small. Last year the two of us spent five days in New York City, and although lots of my friends would be ready to kill their mothers after such a long time alone together we had a great time and it's a holiday I would happily do again and again without a second thought.

As with many mums mine has always been there when I (or anyone else in the family) has needed her, but where I'm especially lucky is that my mum is an amazing listener. It may be my dad and I who are academically qualified for that job but we both agree that my mum is the best counselor in the family.

And she's always been supportive, even when I know she's been terrified for me like when I took voluntary redundancy from a secure, long-term job to start working on a scary and uncertain career change; or when she's downright hated my decision like when I left home to go travelling around the world alone for four months.

Because of that support I've never been afraid to take those risks or follow my heart, because I've known that whatever the outcome she'd be there waiting for me with cuddles and assurances that somehow it would be OK.

Even during my biggest decisions or my most bratty teenage moments I've never for one moment doubted that support, or how much my mum loved me. And although I haven't quite gotten around to giving her grandchildren just yet, I know exactly how much Kali's grandma loves her too. Which is wonderful given that I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we love her just as much.

More and more nowadays I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, or catch something I've said and realise that I'm turning into my mother. For some people that's a cause for concern. But when you have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing and inspirational mother like mine, that's not the case at all, it's something to be proud of.

Happy birthday mam, love you xxx

#love #relationships #inspiration #divinefeminine #motherhood

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