Welcome to my BuddhaMama blog. The idea, like everything else I have ever written, is to have a conversation. Arm yourself with a cup of tea, sit somewhere comfortable, have a browse and a read ( and hopefully at times a laugh) and then let me know what you think. I would genuinely love to hear it.
A Little Bit About Me…..
My name is Nicole Croft and I am an Australian in-exile in England, and have been for twenty years and counting. It is now longer than I have lived anywhere else. My relationship to my adopted home is like geographical marmite. For the most part I love this green and pleasant land; its beauty, its eccentricity, its creativity, it mass of multi-layered people, some of whom have become friends I would take to the ends of the earth and back again. But come February, and without fail, I would give up a body part in order to be back in Sydney, soaking in the glare and the vivid blue, with feet on seeringly hot sand. I know Clive James understands…..
I live in the countryside outside of Oxford in a wonderfully charming and completely freezing house, surrounded by my slightly mad, unbelievably creative and incredibly lovely husband and my three children, who at times lead such a feral existence that it is easy to confuse them with the menagerie of animals that we have collected over the years. My husband regularly laments that when he met me at university he had no idea I would come with so much baggage…..
My main job is being a mum to my three children, who like all the others on this planet are an amazing kaleidoscope of brilliance, humour, kindess, irrationality and irritation. Like other families, we get the whole spectrum, and often all at the same time. And like every other mother out there I am muddling through as best I can, some days so on top of it that I feel like I should be on stage taking a bow, and other days so hopelessly out of control that it is a miracle that me or anyone else in this family survives. But we are definitely surviving- my oldest, Skye is thirteen and one magic little lady. Marcus, with his contagious calm, is now nine. And Cosmo, the youngest and the fireball, is now six. That is twenty four combined years of chid-rearing. That is mega.
My other focus has long been the world of birth. I have been teaching Yoga for Pregnancy and Postnatal classes for ten years, been doula-ing for five and have written many an article and a even a whole book on birth, the latter of which was published by Vermillion in May 2011. More recently, I have started to include motherhood in my musings, and hence this blog ( and the beginning of Book 2, watch this space- but dont hold your breath). Being a mother is the single most important thing that most women will ever do ( a whopping 94% of us have kids). Its testing, chaotic, challenging beyond belief and fills you with love and awe ( and more than its fair share of insanity) on a daily basis. It is without doubt the toughest undertaking; there are no working hours, no obvious rewards, no rights or wrongs or training and YET, and its a big ‘and yet’, no one in the world will ever make your heart feel it really might burst in the way that your children will.
I have no doubt though, that the modern mum has it especially hard. Women who apparently ‘have it all’ ( that slightly sick making holy grail) abound across our one dimensional media. The combination of the nuclear family and an office culture means we are lonely, over burdened and even, dare-I-say-it, bored a lot of the time. And the fiercely raging debate between the stay-at-home mums vs the working girls- that seems to show no signs of abating- means that each camp ends up guilty-ridden and unhappy. To a degree the whole set up sucks. But I am convinced we can make the whole thing easier on ourselves, if we slow down, manage our expectations, go easy on ourselves, talk honestly with each other and learn- in some small way- to take the rough with the smooth.
Below is my manifesto-
WHAT AM I TRYING TO SAY…….
That there is huge hidden value in what we do as mothers; it needs acknowledged by society at large but most especially by ourselves as it will give us the motivation to keep going on the hard days.
That the sooner we accept how hard it is, the easier it will be. There is an irony to it, but if it works for the great spiritual seekers with regard to life then it will work for us as mothers.
That we are not designed to mother alone. Everything is easier when you do things in company. Even the most banal drudgery can be turned into a delight if you can talk – or better still laugh- your way through it. Women need each other most when they are mothers.
That real happiness is to be found in the simple things; craft, nature, endeavour, creativity, adventure and play. However much we already have, we all need more of this in our lives.
That very often the things we most resist are the ones that make us the most happy. It is a strange quality of human nature and almost universal. We need to recognize this in ourselves and fight it. As a sign stuck on my fridge says ‘ say no to no’.
That the spirit of competition in the West is unequivocally harmful for mothers and women. We need to live and let live and banish the tendency to judge others. If we are really honest, our criticisms are really often just envy or self-doubt masquerading as something else.
That at all costs we must ignore the allure of the perfect ‘postable’ existence. Its just bullshit, exhausting and alienating.
That in every single regard, our children need quality rather than quantity.
That happiness will never come from being parsimonious. Every now and then give up trying. Everyone will still be alive tomorrow.