Friday, August 30, 2013

Teachings from the Buddha Boy

My boy, only just eight, has been sharing incredible wisdom and insight with me the last couple of weeks. I keep being completely in awe of what comes out of his mouth. Words that have brought pricks of proud tears to my eyes.

I'd  love to write something inspiring and eloquent about it - but I am busy on a lot of other things at the mo, and also don't want to overshadow his voice - I shall share his insight with you in his words.

The first instance we were driving down the road and the teenage lads were hanging out in the middle of the road. I rolled my eyes and muttered under my breath about what a stupid place it was to hang out and he says: "They just haven't found their path yet". Boom!

Another day we were talking about his feelings about going back to school. He's grown his hair, and we told him he needed some way to keep it off his face for games and reading etc. He decided on a bandanna, but was concerned the other kids would laugh. We talked a little about what he could say to them if they did. And I told him that if he was going to choose to be a bit different in life, he was going to come across this feeling many times hence forth. And he says: "But we're all different. It's important that we're different. If we were all the same there wouldn't be enough things for us all to do." I paraphrase - he was much more eloquent.

And three, I was talking about how I'd met a nice mum at the school gates, and how often I felt quite uncomfortable talking to the other mums cos they were looking at me, making judgements about my differentness and he said, I kid you not: "But you should ask them: "Do you know who I am?" And who am I? I asked, thinking he was going to say "Stephen Pearce's daughter". But no, you know what my boy said? "Lucy H Pearce, the writer." (With a special emphasis on the H). Oh yes. I am Lucy H Pearce the writer, so don't give me no shit school mamas!

And finally, you may remember me last week asking for your recommendations for books for my boy's spiritual education at school, whilst his classmates were preparing for their holy communion. I sent him in with something Ok-ish and said I was on the case, just hadn't found anything great yet. And you know what my wise, clever, inspired boy said. Something that had never occurred to me. Just so matter of fact: "But you can write me a book, mum". Just like that.

So I am!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Changing Gear

We are changing gears.

School is back tomorrow. And our littlest starts pre-school.

Five mornings a week. Three hours a day. Can you believe it? I can't!

I genuinely never thought this day would come. I see the mornings opening up for me. I will get to work every day. Every day, people!!!! I cannot tell you how thrilled my creative self is. (Though I'm being realistic and not counting on this actually happening for the first month as she settles in!)

And then the mama bit of me feels it's the beginning of the end. How can my baby be big enough to head off? I keep holding her tight - that sparky, funny, cute, clever little monkey child. She's off on her little way into LIFE without me!

My mind keeps jumping ahead to next year, when we'll be sending all THREE of them off to big school. I can hardly breathe at the thought... but part of that is the expense - nothing... nothing prepared me for how expensive it is to send children to a supposedly "free" school in Ireland - we're looking at about a grand next year - and that includes one child in handmedowns! Scary!

So having spent nine weeks getting used to having them round all day, every day, we'll be back to packed lunches and early mornings and uniforms, and remembering which day to send them in with their sports kits, and hassling over homework.

And quiet days and a tidy house. Time to think, and be still and not race and rush... until I'm late for picking them up... again.

So there we have it, less mama-ing and more creating - eeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkk!

More time to be doing stuff like this...

This is part of the Irish Parenting Bloggers Back to School blog march. If you’re interested in how much it costs to go back to school in Ireland you can read this excellent infographic from Barnardos which is based on a survey they carried out earlier this Summer. You can also read from the selection of Irish Parenting Bloggers over the next couple of days:
Sunday, 25th August: The Clothesline – It All Adds Up
Monday, 26th August: The Mama’s Hip – Homeschooling haul and chatter
Monday, 26th August: Awfully Chipper – Back to school in America
Tuesday, 27th August: Learner Mama – Back to school – A costly business
Tuesday, 27th August: Office Mum – School Costs & The Double Income Contradicton

Tuesday, 27th August: Musings And Chatterings – Crests and costs – starting big school part 1

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Up, up, up

The problem with knowing that I am bi polar, is the crippling self awareness.
I feel good.
I have energy.
I got lots done at work.
Alarm bells
I can't stop feeling delighted with myself...but I just sold 2 paintings unexpectedly and got a commission for another that is right up my street. All in the space of in 24 hours. 
And crossed a number of things off my list that I've been dreading for months. Website for new book? Tick! Contacted venue for launch? Tick. Write some materials for launch? Tick! Get positive sounding responses from all venues, including two I'd never dared consider?Tick!
Who wouldn't feel good, and want to tell everyone their success?
Not to mention that my Pinterest and Facebook stats have suddenly sky rocketed in the past week!
I am really feeling the love from so many people for the work I do and that fills me with deep joy and satisfaction.
I had a laugh and lewd jokes with a friend, but who wouldn't on a Friday night having had a gin and tonic whilst celebrating the friends birthday and having just seen the hottest nearly naked red Indian man either of us had ever seen.
My libido is high. But of course it is, it's that time of the month.
But more alarm bells... This is like a tick list of a hypo manic episode... But all these feelings are tied to real events....
I'm back painting... Who wouldn't be having had that boost of confidence from selling work, and the need to start on a commissioned piece?
I painted the backgrounds of 10 canvases this morning... They're fun and quick and I adore playing with colour.
Big alarm bells.
Writing ideas are coming once the painting is unblocked.
I need a little less sleep. But it's full moon and that time of the month....
I don't THINK this is a hypo mania. But it sounds like it. I know I need to keep myself in check.... But it feels so good after weeks of feeling low energy and cut off... I don't like doubting myself. Anyone else would be feeling good in these circumstances. I'm not high as a kite.... Not running down the street naked
Normal people don't have to feel worried about feeling good or being productive.... They can just let rip. I worry there might be a crash on the other side....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Your Recommendations Needed- Books of Soul and Spirit for Kids

So back to school is fast approaching. And for us this year it's a big year. The year I've been dreading since starting school.

Holy Communion Year.

Its the reason we helped start up a non-denominational school. (Which in the end we didn't send hem to. Long story.)

So our boy will be the only child in the class NOT doing his First Communion. Preparation for which totally takes over as the year progresses. For church visits I will take him out of school. But for other times I want him to have some books that will: 
1) Engage him ( he is 8 and a confident reader and very smart cookie, but does not enjoy reading too much, he is someone who loves more pictorial and information based texts). So some need to have activities that he can do by himself.
2) will nurture him spiritually 
3) Will open his eyes to the world.
4)   Are not Christian - he gets plenty of this at school.

So things I am thinking of include: earth based spiritual traditions, Steiner, Quaker, Buddhism, meditation for kids, world religions, sacred art including mandalas, mindfulness...

I really need your suggestions and quick, of books that I can get easily on line, I need to order them next week as school starts in two weeks! How have you shared spirit, love for the earth and mindfulness with your children through books?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not Normal (otherwise known as Mothering with Mental Illness)

I am Not Normal. That’s the truth I’ve been running from for years.

And it hurts.

If I’d known then, what I know now, I wouldn’t have had three children.

There, there’s the rub. Wouldn’t have had those three sweet creatures. Wouldn’t have imposed myself on them as their mother. If I had known that in fact I was Not Normal.

(Woah there, don’t even start with your anodyne “but who is normal?” comments… I am venting, so hear me out! It's kinda fun! No need to make me feel better or sprinkle fairy dust on me here.)

If I’d have known that what I thought were my grumpiness and moodiness and irrational ability to freak out at everything were actually the co-morbid triplets of bipolar, anxiety and migraines, and they were lifelong, I would not have chosen to be a mother.


Because motherhood for the normal is hard. It is long. Relentless. It requires energy and patience and the ability to at least try to love unconditionally.

But when you’re Not Normal… it’s one fuck load harder. Promise!

It requires hormonal upheaval which triggers episodes. It causes massive sleep deprivation which trigger episodes. It requires consistency. It requires that you put the care of another at or above the care you give yourself. And when there are three others, and you have a lot of your own needs….

It sucks. And you fuck up a lot.

You know what, I feel angry. And let down. That no doctor, despite me mentioning every time I was asked about family histories, ever picked up on it. Never. That the midwife, when I tried admitting, which took great courage, how shaken I was feeling during pregnancy and after birth, despite knowing my history, told me to pull my golden cloak round me.

MY FUCKING GOLDEN CLOAK WOMAN?! There’s something seriously wrong with me, this is Not Normal and you’re talking about golden fucking cloaks. It took me over a year to get up the courage to tell another medical professional that I really wasn’t coping. A year of serious, serious struggling. And the medicine he gave me took me to a whole other wacky level of Not Normal – so once again I was alone with it. Story. Of. My. Life.

I don’t feel like sharing events. But there were events during pregnancy and post partum that should have been red flags to the medical establishment. Episodes which were Not Normal. They would have been flags to anyone who knows about these things. But I didn’t, and my husband and family didn’t. And so we muddled on. Me, and him in our own secret world. Well my secret world of normal make believe – I’m a trained actress, you know. Occasionally I had to let him into quite how Not Normal things were. I’m sure at times he thought I was nuts… and I was! Its just no one else fucking realised.

I always thought I just needed to cop myself on. To pull myself together. BE NORMAL is my mantra. I study normal people. Do what they do around the edges of my life as a subterfuge. All the time beating myself up internally for not being able to do this Normal thing well enough to make it real for myself, the way everyone else can. I beat myself up for being over-emotional, over-dramatic, feeling too much, being hormonal. In short being overwhelmed, and not coping a lot of the time.

Normal = being able to cope with reality.

Most of the time I can’t….

Though someone fucking clever, and NOT Normal, once said, let me mangle it nicely for you, that “It’s a sign of mental illness, not mental health to be well-adjusted to a sick world.” I agree. But the Men in White Coats and School Teachers and Tax Inspectors do not. They are the Arbiters of Normal – they are not my folk! I hang with the artists, hippies, dreamers, poets, dancers, mad ones and earth mothers. We dig Not Normal in all sorts of funky ways.

Not coping with Normal does my nut. I really want to cope. I want to be stable and Normal and reliable to the rest of the world, but really for my kids. I REALLY hate that I’m not. REALLY. It cuts me up so bad.

And please don’t give me the “but you’re such a good mum, your kids are lucky to have you” bollocks. Yes, I’m better than someone who’s struggling with addiction, someone who’s sexually or physically abusing their kids. But that’s quite a low bar really for a perfectionist. I am irritable, regularly too tired to do anything, get anxious doing the weekly shop, struggle having their friends over for playdates, struggle socialising with all but my immediate close circle, our house is in chaos, I tend to freak out at birthdays and Christmas, I’m always sick, I can shout and scream, am always distracted.  Sure I can be fun, do creative stuff together and am affectionate. But really, they have quite a bum deal. And so do I. It’s hard enough being like this, feeling like this, but then feeling guilty about the impact that this has on others. That triples sucks. Specially when you super love those people. I have experienced this from both sides now. I know how it sucks both ways. Yup, woo-hoo I’d like to receive my Buddha certification, I’ve passed my test in General Compassion and can bugger off to hippie heaven.

But instead I’m still here, making amends for recent crappy behaviour, pulling myself through cups of tea that I’ve been avoiding, trying to focus on school uniforms, and brushing teeth, and stacking dishwashers.
When really I don’t give a flying fuck about any of it and would much prefer to be in my own little bubble with a book, Pinterest, a pen and some paper. All the time.

I struggle with how much they need from me still, and can just see how many more years into the future it stretches. As I said… if I knew then, what I do now I would have made very different decisions. But that’s the thing about having kids. You can’t really make decisions afterwards, except ones that cut like a knife, and so you’re stuck struggling. Knowing you want better for them. Knowing you can’t deliver. Knowing that most of the time your crapness is better than nothing. Yes what a heartening thought – my crap presence is, 95% of the time better than my total absence. Cheering! But I love them and I wish them a perfectly Normal mother. I wish them the mother I wanted to be, I thought I was going to be when I started sprogging.

I feel angry, and sad. Sad for me, for my husband, and most of all for my kids, who really don’t deserve to have to differentiate what is really me and what is my illness. I have tried to explain it in simple terms, what this illness is, what my true feelings for them are. I try regularly. It tends to garner blank looks or be brushed off. My Not Normal is Normal for them! That makes me sad… and happy. But with the added awareness that Not Normal passes down families and a sneaking suspicion of the reality that it has, I try to model openness and honesty in the face of this hugeness within which I live. It comes out as a strange mix of apologies, snot and fake blasé matter-of-factness.

But now at least I know, when I see others enjoying motherhood, blooming during pregnancy, doing OK to keep house, that YES, actually there IS something wrong with me. I’m officially Not Normal. Any of the Arbiters of Normal could prove that to you. I just keep my head down and out of sight so they can’t. Arbiters of Normal can be malicious fuckers to the Not Normalers of this world.

It’s a kind of dance we do. We know we’re Not Normal, and so do they. But as long as our Not Normalness is still within the realms of Normalness they’ll leave us alone. So we learn to do a good show of Normal 101 to avoid detention, drugs, scalpels, shocks and separations.

And meanwhile daily life continues as it always does. Have kids, try to be Normal. Hate being normal. Can’t do Normal. Feel like you're a crap mum. Repeat ad infinitum. Have good day. Believe it is your new Normal. YOU can do... Oh, no. actually you can't.


See you in the introverted artist area in the red tent at the hippie festival of dreams, far from the unsuspecting eyes of the Arbiters! I’m the one with the flouncy skirt curled up with a book. Looking most definitely Not Normal – a fact which I’ve always secretly enjoyed about myself!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sibling Revelry

Welcome to the August 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Sibling Revelry

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about siblings — their own, their hopes for their kids, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I always look forward to the school summer holidays. Long lazy days. The kids hanging out and doing what kids should do...

And then one day into the holidays, I remember... What kids do is bicker!

A lot. And tease and fight. And bicker some more. And moan that they're bored. And all three demand at once that you have to do THIS for them NOW. And treat you as a short order chef from morning to night. And are around all day creating mess and chaos and dumping their clothes/ toys/ mud pies/ Lego models over every possible surface.

And then I look ahead, nine long weeks in the future and think how the FUCK are we all going to SURVIVE this, let alone enjoy it?

I always swore I wouldn't have kids that bickered. I'm not good at conflict, being the child of divorce, it sets all my anxieties into over drive and stress level through the roof.

And I start to threaten child minders, as I realise what a good idea my working full time would suddenly be.

And we spend every moment we can out of the house to assuage the bickering... and instead transport the bickering in the confines of a car with us...

I realise why home schooling would have been like the WORST idea ever. I would have been home in THIS all day, every day.

This is most definitely NOT fun!

And then... at some magical point, precisely two weeks into the holidays... a transformation occurs. Unbidden. One morning the children wake up, and get up and start playing. TOGETHER!

And they barely stop all day.

They dress up and play games together, and head out on their bikes, and make mud pies without murders being involved.

In short they realise that they like each other. That they can have more fun together, than killing each other. (Well they still bicker quite a bit, but it is not their MAIN activity!)

Every year the same.

And every year I kind of forget. And I don't trust that this shift will happen. Cos all I can see and feel is the endless bickering now. And it sets off my I-System which turns on anger and anxiety...(more of which next week - it's fascinating stuff!)

And I breathe a sigh of relief, and give myself... and them a break - we are no longer the most miserable and failed family in the world.

And then I recall that a number of home schooling families report this transition time too when transitioning from a school-based, to a home-based life. As they adjust to being in multi-age groupings, having less structure to their days, to not being in constant competition and learning to be self-starters rather than organised by others. The sense of freedom is scary at first. There is a lot of energy and negativity that they have to get out of their systems before they find their own rhythm, pattern and modes of interaction again.

So suddenly last week, they started playing. Almost every day they head downstairs in mid dress up game - this week alone we've had pirates...

And superheroes ( Love that Ash is Timmy's mini me - she completely refuses to wear anything girly ever - which I just love. Whereas Meli is a no trousers girl! Dresses all the way for her, the prettier the better. This girl KNOWS about accessorising!)

Japanese tea parties - replete with fairy sandwiches, and the cherry blossom song and lots of mad bowing.

Dolls hair dressers and cuddly toy beauty salon.
Lots of Lego with ALL THREE involved.

And my favourite - Mary, Jospeh and the flipping donkey! This is particularly hilarious when you know that we are ... ummm how shall I say it.... the only heathens in the village! Baby Jesus seemed to have severe diarrhea in the game, but no worms thankfully (long time readers will understand this!) and he was expertly breastfed and sling-carried. Joseph was insistent that he was wearing a helmet. And the donkey had a properly floppy mane!

Ah happy days, with the children who remembered how to play. Bless them.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • The Damage of Comparing Siblings — Comparing siblings can lead to hurt feelings and poor relationships. What Jana Falls has learned and why she hopes for more for her son.
  • Connecting Through Sibling Rivalry — With four children who are spaced so that each child grows up in a pair, Destany at They are All of Me shares her method for minimizing the competition so her children can focus on bonding, rather than besting each other.
  • Sibling Revelry — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares the two-week transition that happens every summer as her kids transform from bickering to learning how to play.
  • Baby Brother born from an OceanAbby Jaramillo describes how her toddler connects in a possibly mystical way with her new baby brother and his birth at home, and Abby draws parallels with her own sister's new baby.
  • Hard, But Worth It — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl discusses how difficult having two children can be, but how it's definitely worth it.
  • Raising Attached Siblings — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy and her husband are making conscious choices about how they raise their children to foster sibling connection and attachment.
  • It's Complicated — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea reflects on how life's twists and turns have taken her from a childhood with no siblings to a constantly changing family life with five children, including one in spirit.
  • Supportsustainablemum reflects on how the differences between her relationship with her siblings and her husband's have affected their family and at a time of need.
  • Peas in a Pod — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys the special relationship her oldest two children share.
  • Lessening the competitive enviornment in the homeLisa at The Squishable Baby discusses how downplaying competition in the home has led to cooperation, not competition.
  • The complex and wonderful world of siblings — Lauren at Hobo Mamareflects on her choices to have not too many children, spaced far apart — and how that's maybe limited how close their sibling relationship can be.
  • 5 Ways to Help Young Siblings Have a Loving Relationship — Charise I Thought I Knew Mama shares the strategies that help her three year old and 14 month old have a somewhat beautiful relationship and aid in keeping peace in their home.
  • 4 Steps to Encourage Sibling Revelry, even in Hot Moments of Rivalry — Sheila Pai of A Living Family share 4 Steps she uses to shift hot moments of sibling rivalry towards connected moments of sibling revelry and human compassion.
  • Twins Are Fun — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot witnesses the development of her twins' sibling bond.
  • Growing Up Together- Sibling Revelry in Our House — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work realizes that there is great utility in raising siblings that are close in age, and is grateful to have been blessed with healthy siblings that both love and challenge one another every day.
  • Top 5 Ways to Reduce Sibling Rivalry — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares ideas that helped her two children be best friends along with Montessori resources for peace education and conflict resolution.
  • Sibling Uncertainty — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras wonders how her children's relationship will change now that the baby is mobile.
  • Living with the Longing — Rachael at The Variegated Life sees that she can live with her longing for another — without changing her plans.
  • For My One and Only DaughterPlaying for Peace mommy reflects on her choice to not have more children in order to focus on other dreams.
  • Siblings: A Crash Course in Relationship Training — How have your siblings prepared you for later relationships? One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's top priorities as mama of siblings is to help them learn how to navigate relationships.
  • The Joys of Siblings: An Inside Joke — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the a glimpse into the joys of having siblings through sharing a perplexing yet hilarious inside joke betwixt her and her own.
  • Sibling Support, even in the potty! — Even though Laura at Pug in the Kitchen's children didn't start out best friends, they are joined at the hip these days, including cheering each other on with potty successes!
  • Don't Seek What Isn't There - On Sibling Jealousy — Laura from Authentic Parenting analyzes the seeming desire people harbor for seeking out hints of sibling jealousy.
  • Sibling Love / Sibling Hate?Momma Jorje speculates whether her children will have a different sibling experience than her own. Did she make the right choices based on her own history?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Every day at the moment seems to be a momentous anniversary.

They have been playing on my mind a lot, as this cycle of the year comes full turn once more. As the season turns, my awareness returns, of where we were at this time last year, or many years back, how far our paths have taken us, though we seem, on the outside to be just the same. How a trip round the sun can mark transformation. And yet, this being a spiral path, anniversaries bring us back, remembering who we were, what we lost, and gained, what we are grateful for and how we choose to continue on.

I don't feel like going into details. But just want to note the anniversaries here, mindfully, in love and gratitude. And then if you feel called you can click back and read the posts connected to those times, as I have over the past few days.

That was quite a rollercoaster week last year, one of the most challenging of my life. It started with our wedding anniversary, which was the only unchallenging bit.

Then hopped and skipped on through setting up for my first professional painting exhibition and all my attendant anxieties, whilst Mr DA had flu.

Followed the next morning by an emergency call from the Universe to rescue a soul sister and her children from a serious situation.

Followed by our boy's birthday party - never much good at them, we have another today - Happy Birthday Timmy!...

Which marks another anniversary - 8 years as parents! Thinking back a decade to pre-kids and marriage is mind-boggling - what a flipping decade we've had, we've ridden this wild donkey hard!

And then, two days later, the biggest anniversary, of them all. The day of almost. Yes, it is one year since Aisling's fall. A year. It is as though I can feel the tension rising, as though it were more possible to happen again, near the anniversary. Each phone call at work holds a little more menace than at other times of year. I cannot tell you how closely I hold her, or how many times the angels, on whose wings she fell, have been thanked. Never as long as she, and we live and breathe will we forget that miracle.

And then, a little anti climactically, as we can smell school around the corner, I enter my fourth year as a blogger, and, in just over three weeks ALL of our kiddies will be in school or pre school five days a week. Can you believe it?!

What anniversaries are you marking at the mo? Happy? Sad? How do you mark them?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Looking in the wrong places

For years we have been looking in the wrong places.
Clever scientists in white coats with pens in their top pockets
Promised to save us from our madness if they could just
Hoe our heads, weed our white matter. They’ve been
Looking for the place where all the dark things go
The terrors, the fears, the memories, the madness.
Where does it hide, reside, inside?
Man says the brain, the brain is a pain,
Logico rules so it must be there.
Fix the machine, oil it well,
Stick it back together, the nuts and bolts.
But woman she knows in her blood, in her flow
In the pulses of the womb and her stomach turned to stone
In the clench of a fist and the callousing of a heart
In the terror of a tumour…
The body is her unconscious.
This soft and supple tapestry of miracles
That is where we store our shit
The landfill, dump of our lives
No temple this,  we use our bodies as a dump
No one taught us to empty the trash.
And so it builds up
The shadows, the dark stuff
In our veins and clogging our pores.
When we cross our legs and bite our tongues like we were told
When we turn a cheek and choke back tears
When we swallow the poison spewed by a lover
When we fake an orgasm and our body screams No
But our throat is silent.
And the good girl goes mad.
The body holds the unconscious and nobody knew.
Except us… but they couldn’t hear us.
They just called us mad.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...