Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.


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Identity and At-Home Motherhood

As an at-home parent I have experienced an incredible process in terms of identity that no other life experience could offer.

Being at home can leave you feeling identityless in the beginning and that can tear your confidence apart. You begin to doubt your opinions or just give them up altogether because you don’t have the space left in your brain. Or you find yourself repeating the same story to the same people because you thought you told that story to someone else the other day.

The fruits of your labour are so abstract that you can’t even measure the results of your parenting choices.

Many times I have had people switch off to me when they ask me what I do and I tell them I am at home with my children. In the early days this was upsetting but no longer do I feel upset by it because I have firmly allowed myself to form an identity as a sahm. Anyway,  it says more about a person who validates people only on circumstances that they deem worthy.

Consciously choosing this route despite society telling you how unimportant you are, when ‘science’ and politicians say your children are better off away from you and to continue on this path despite all the hostility is powerful and damn fucking feminist.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer a V sign to all the opinions and ‘studies’ that do not see my children as individual people but as something herd-like to be ‘studied’.

I choose to relinquish my identity as an earner and vulnerably place my trust in my husband. That is empowering- to relinquish financial identity.

I choose to exchange my identity as a passionate current affairs debater to one that offers recommendations of tried and tested laundry detergent. I relinquish the identity of importance.

According to what I read in Irish newspapers and through political statements, there is no job more invalid than that of a sahp, so yes, I now relinquish validity.

It was only a farce anyway- society has a tragic blind-spot when it defines a person’s validity as it still lives in a system of hierarchy.

As I have said, I have found myself processing a life experience like no other. Becoming faceless, invalid, unimportant, unfeminist, lazy, incompetent-

identityless.

And it

feels

wonderful

There is nothing more empowering than having yourself and society strip you bare, beat your brow, invalidate you, make you disappear, ignore you, make war on you. It is this that has left me free to define myself.

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photo credit: shenamt Trollstigen via photopin (license)

As Mother.

The most powerful being on Earth.

And you can throw all your studies at me and judge my choice. I can beat myself. I can doubt myself. I can fail and try harder. I can be a great incredible mother and I can be a shit exhausted mother.

But I am MY mother and she raised me, a woman who does not fear her facelessness but evokes it and remains a blank space for my children to mould.

For they are the true teachers.

And just as they mould me, they will mould their society.

They will teach respect for all kinds of people because they were raised by a women whom society laid no respect upon.

They will honour effort over result because their mother will have walked through hell to be the best person she can be for them, and she will still be a flawed human being.

They will teach their society to move beyond the scope of their identity. To push themselves to the point of facelessness. For it is here that they will find their true selves and when we find that authenticity we no longer have to pin ourselves against our peers.

In that state maybe society can appreciate everyone’s uniqueness. Imagine that kind of world?

 

 


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On being slow

When I was a child

I was slow.

Slow to process

slow to learn

slow to grow.

 

In those days there was

no such thing

as a person who learned

outside of the ring.

They yelled and they screamed

I could not do

anything.

 

So I became fast.

 

I acted instead of thought,

so fast.

I escaped instead of felt,

too fast.

I stopped thinking.

I stopped feeling.

I stopped being.

I stopped breathing,

at last;

they stopped shouting.

 

In the quiet of the night,

when no one was around.

I stopped stopping.

Dwelling inside

the rhythmic nothingness

of sound.

 

And I was slow.

 

I was me.

 

I comprehend slow, but deep.

I act slow, but wisely.

I am so slow,

I can hear your heart break.

And as a witness, you are held in my slowness.

 

I see you

I see everything

I process the elephant in the room

I store a few ounces of your anger, fear or pain

I am slow enough to see your light bloom,

or fade.

 

And although I am slow in living this life,

in learning or counting or holding

a knife,

I see all that is magic and all that is there.

I see you, Great Spirit,

I feel your soft hair.

 

Caressing.


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I tried it your way

I tried it your way.

Because I was not enough,

so you said.

Or I was wrong,

was what you meant.

But really, I was just a reflection.

Of everything you were not.

So I tried it your way,

as I am out to learn,

not to rot.

I became your reflection,

I became

your anger,

your frustration,

your disappointment,

your insecurity,

your jealousy.

You told me you were better,

so I became the worst.

You told me you were more beautiful,

so I became ugly.

You told me you knew everything,

so I became stupid.

 

I tried it your way.

That did not work so well for me.

So, here is my way.

 

I love you,

despite yourself.


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My heart, uninterrupted.

You know those old skeletons in your closet that you forgot about and just when you are ready to move on a bony hand grabs hold of your ankle and tries to take you down with it.

That was 2016.

Regardless, I rose again, dusted myself off and was more determined than ever to get out of this figurative shithole I have been bathing in for far too long now.

I’ve been hiding healing in a chrysalis for what feels like an age and I’m overcooked.

I’ve stood on this edge many times looking down, urging myself to jump but now I am looking up and out at the horizon.

I know that once I leap, I will say goodbye.

Goodbye to many things, and even people. Goodbye to unrequited love, to mind games and power plays. Goodbye to people pleasing and to imbalanced relationships. Goodbye to food, shopping and other such distracting ‘rewards’. Goodbye to being wasteful, goodbye to plastic and goodbye to hoarding. Goodbye to meat eating, to anger, to aggression. Goodbye to ‘checking in’ and lurking. Goodbye to parenting specialists, social research ‘evidence’, generalised guidelines. Goodbye to pressure and seriously, I mean it,

good riddance busyness.

If I do one thing from now on, I will be less busy.

I will rest. I will read. I will nap. I will free range parent. I will step back. I will take more baths. I will pray. I will stand in the grass, walk with the trees and I will whisper back to them. I will eat avocado and raw carrots and by the power of all creation I will find fresh Italian olives right here in Ireland and I will eat the bejaysus out of them. I will groom my dog and look into her beautiful eyes and feel my heart open. I will thank my girl cat for coming home and not leaving me. I will tolerate my boy cat. (It’s okay he has a sense of humour).

I will accept that some people will just never accept me. I will accept that I am an easy scapegoat and it’s a compliment because scapegoats are actually very strong people.

I will feel a field of energy surround my being, it will allow me to tread upon this planet with a glowing heart full of rose quartz-like crystal love, so open, so beaming like the over-enthusiastic lover that I am, and the Great Spirit will flow through me and touch everyone around me and they’ll glow when it touches them and they’ll feel so loved and so accepted that they’ll connect with their potential and it will spread. A wellness will spread and everyone will stop buying shit and start recycling things and going without, and eat only what they need so there’ll be no food shortage and they’ll feed the birds in the Winter and governments will supplement farmers to breed less and encourage people to eat less meat and they’ll feel the better for it as will our air and we’ll all come together and create a movement called “Reforestation” where we’ll all buy a field and fill it with trees and wildlife and return the Earth to the Earth.

Call me idealist, or rose tinted, nevertheless, that is what my heart sings when it is left uninterrupted.

That is my word for 2017. Uninterrupted.


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Wowed by Alflorex

I have had IBS my whole life.

Sadly, my youngest little Elf struggles in that department too.

I’ve tried everything and nowadays the emphasis is more on management rather than cure.

My youngest started suffering a few weeks after we weaned her on to solids.

She is very sensitive to certain foods and when she avoids them the (severe) bloating is gone and, thankfully, no pain. Despite this her bowel movements would still be a bit off, or ‘not quite right’.

Until we tried Alflorex.

I didn’t expect huge changes. We’ve both taken different strains of bacteria before. I’ve never noticed much difference in my little one when taking other brands but I still dosed us both based on a recommendation by the doctor. As you can imagine, I had no expectations when taking Alflorex because I have never been ‘wowed’ before. I was more veering toward trusting that they were doing something good on the inside.

Within a few days of taking the pre-filled straws, my little one’s stools started to change. Without the need for vivid descriptions, they went from being ‘not quite right’ to…well, normal. I couldn’t believe that after just a few days taking Alflorex that for the first time in her life (she’s 2.5 years old now) she had a normal looking poo.

This became consistent, the norm, over the last few weeks. It was only until last week where she had been given something from her avoid list, and she had terrible pain and diarrhoea , that I realised just how good things had gotten for her. I can only describe is as having been ‘wowed’.

For myself, I would say I have noticed a significant difference in the bloating and tenderness I get. It gets worse for me at certain times of the month (hormones effect the IBS flare ups) and it really effects my ability to do core or strength types of exercise because my gut is so inflamed. I noticed a huge difference. I found myself without pain during my exercise classes at the stage of the month where I would usually be crippled.

I received eight weeks worth of Alflorex to try in exchange for a review and was so pleased with the results that I’ll be buying it from now on. Yes that’s right. It works so well that I am now a purchasing convert.

I’ve had such great results to share with you that I’ve been offered one of my readers a chance to WIN a three months supply. I just love it when brands are generous to readers too.

For your chance to win tell me which product you’d prefer- the straws or the capsules. You can comment on the Facebook link for this post on my Facebook page.

Mini Elf will randomly draw a name on the 1st of December and I will post a video of it on my Facebook page.

alflorex

For more information go to http://www.alimentaryhealth.ie/products/Alflorex


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Animal documentaries on Netflix

We love documentaries here and I often find alot of Elf’s questions are answered while watching them. I try to watch them first though, to make sure they are suitable for younglings.

Here is what is streaming on Netflix for World Animal Day today – an international day to mark the importance of animal rights and welfare.

 Blackfish

This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum, who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity

blackfish

 

Tyke Elephant Outlaw

A rogue elephant. A city paralyzed by fear. And a gruesome ending that’s forcing humans to ask some tough questions

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Netflix Original Virunga

Rebels. Poachers. Oil companies. The endangered mountain gorilla has many enemies, and one friend: local park rangers

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Terra

We’ve pushed nature out of our lives, eradicating entire species. But it’s not too late to turn back. 

terra-2

 

Netflix Original Mission Blue

This documentary follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s campaign to save the world’s oceans from threats such as overfishing and toxic waste.

mission-blue

 

All streaming NOW on Netflix.


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Trauma, depression and children.

Thinking back, in conversation with others, about the phases my eldest has gone through, has spurred on a serious whirlwind style re-cap of the last five years since I became a mother.

At first, I was seeing it all in a self-centred way. Phrasing it like I was a victim (although sometimes it did feel that way, I fully admit it was/is a self absorbed, immature kind of way). How I labelled her third year the traumatising threes. Then I’d go on and think about how I did not even have those fantastic fours which was the pep talk to get me through those threes.

You’d swear she was a tyrant. Which she wasn’t. She was normal.

These days, I see snippets of who she is becoming and she is just so wholly beautiful my heart swells. She is nearly 5.5 now. Still whinge-y and wild but I’m so proud of her. She has come a long way, through social anxiety, intense shyness and of course, this tiny little person has lived through her mothers depression. A trauma of its own.

And it is this sudden realisation where I stop in my tracks. A big dead heavy STOP and my breath sucks in deep and I hold it for a long moment; only for it to slowly stutter out of my lungs as if there were clumps of earth in my trachea. The kitchen tears away from my psyche and suddenly I’m standing out on a dirt road in a bland desert. The twisted crunch of dry hard stones under my boots has a grating echo vibrating through my body. The air is hot and dry, suffocating. There is no wind. No sound. No leaves rustling. An empty void giving me the space for this realisation to take hold.

 

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She is here five years and I was severely depressed for the first 2 years of her life and then (milder, thankfully) again after I had her sister.

There I was. So deeply stuck in my own crippling, heavy, world of depression that I never even took stock to measure how this little one was suffering too. I was so focused on my own surviving that I disassociated from hers.

Imagine coming into this world to a mother who fights daily, those thoughts that are trying to take her out of it.

I only heard it there recently, for the first time, a new narrator in my head.

It said ‘I want to be alive’.

What a smack that was. To hear, for the first time in… as long as I can remember, a new inner voice. One that actually wants to be alive.

That is intense, I know. In recent months I’ve been working to find the root of this and it seems to all fall back on the car accident I was in when I was ten. I had what some might call a near death experience. Or, well, a death experience. I just remember being sucked back into my mind and waking up, instantly alert, to give people my home phone number.

A fearful memory that subsequently has led me to teach my eldest my phone number, back when she was just aged three.

It’s since then that I’ve had this overriding feeling. Was it fear? Is that what suffocated my will to live? By live I mean to live, not just be alive. I’ve mastered staying alive through depression. I have never shared this aspect of depression with you before. That way of thinking lives on the shameful side of the depressive spectrum.

Really though, what I really came back with, was premature self consciousness. Self consciousness and an immature mind do not live well together; and I think that is what they mean when they say, ‘let kids be kids’. Leave them in their ignorance, for that is peace. I lost that peace, violently, when I was ten.

There are worse traumas; war, abuse, grief. So in one way I struck it lucky. On the other side of that coin, though, it was left for a long time because it was easy to dismiss once the physical healing took place. I never looked at it as a trauma. It was just something that happened. Once my physical body recovered and I started, as a coping mechanism, living as if a chameleon, it was easy to forget the psychological, emotional and spiritual trauma of the experience. It didn’t help that I never verbalised it. How could I? I came back into my body in survival mode. I didn’t trust life. I didn’t trust myself. I had lost faith. Everyone around me was clueless because my coping method is silence. Pretend everything is under control. Blend in.

***************

The voice that says “I want to be alive” does not mean that I have been saying that I want to die all this time (although there have been times, during my darkest hours). I’ve just never wanted to live. It was like, staying alive was a battle enough, a burden. To actually LIVE always seemed out of reach and much of my living has revolved around the quest to be healed.

Finding the originating factor of the depression has been a blessing. I’ve been able to see that before that time, the accident, my hazy memories are happy, content and easy going. That who I was before the accident was a settled, secure child; well protected, loved and supported.

It is easy to blend in through childhood and adolescence because you’re busy. You’re busy being directed into adulthood by guiding hands. It is only when you become an adult that the shit hits the fan because, well, you are alone. No matter how much support you have, you are alone when navigating your inner world. Until then, you’ve been told what to think, what to feel or, more aptly, what not to feel; and what to be.

So there I was, lost in my inner world while this little one went on about her traumatising threes, ferocious fours and so on. Being born onto a depressive is a trauma. It is not war, or abuse or grief. Although, maybe grief lives there at times, especially in more severe lifelong cases.

They have a right to be angry, or insecure. Or both. It’s a good thing. When they stand up and fight. When they moan, scream and whine. It means they’re safe. They know they are loved. Coming from my perspective, it is the silence that is worrisome. Silence comes from fear.

 It is a natural process, those terrible twos, threes, fours, fives and beyond.

There is a whole person evolving inside this tiny being, trauma or not.

It is precious.

I am truly grateful for the honour to bear witness to it,

and to live for it too.