Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sound of Silence....and changes at the office!

Brew of the day: Elderflower and Lemon…

This past week my girls spent each day at an outdoor community activity camp in a beautiful field surrounded by purple Heather, a few miles from here, with a sleep over in a yurt on the Thursday night.

*ECO* included river rafting, nature trails, mountain climbing, woodturning and making dream weavers and so on. Weather was utterly miserable and crap, but hey, it is England!

What struck me most was how quiet the house was while they were away. I spend so much time wishing for ‘peace’ to descend that when it actually arrived I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I walked into their bedroom several times just taking in all their things ~ books, toys, bed covers, drawings, hand-made dolls. The old saying about “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” really struck home. Their laughter and their sibling bickering fill the space between these walls. My children make this cottage a ‘home’.

I said to Paul that I actually even missed the kids squabbling! The sleep-over night was their first ever away from us. For my part, it was kinda nice not having to think about feeding anyone that morning…and to just be a bit selfish. As a one off it was ok, but I can’t comprehend the decision to put kids in Boarding School.
I’ve often found it sad to hear mums moaning at this time of the year about how desperate they are to get their kids back to school. Somehow their words feel even worse this year. A week apart from my children has reinforced more than ever how much of their day to day lives we wouldn’t be sharing if they were in school every day.

Yesterday I picked them up during a torrential downpour a few hours earlier than finishing time because they’d had enough. I had a phone call that they were ready for home. I was so looking forward to their company and chatting with them. They were barely in the door before each hitting their pillow and falling into the deepest sleep of their lives for five hours! The snoring did sound kinda cute! Bethany woke for a glass of water then slept through till about 9 this morning.

The office… well, well, the strangest things start happening in a girl’s life when she clears things out big time. I mentioned before about really wanting to simplify my life and de-cluttering in a major way. I’ve cleared a lot of things out to charity…and it feels great!

It never occurred to me when I decided to start a magazine that it came with all sorts of attachments like doing annual accounts to Mr. Inland Revenue or how painful some admin jobs were! Or that I’d constantly have paper ‘stuff’ under my feet. Despite a chunky filing cabinet, sorting trays, shelves and wicker baskets, paper grows around here like trees.

As a girl who likes change and variety, (hence the reason I do a magazine rather than write books!) there are some jobs connected to getting The Mother magazine out each quarter that are not in alignment with my true spirit. I’ve often been aware that I’m doing the job of about six people and those jobs would be done far more effectively if they WERE done by six people, rather than one or two.

Someone Upstairs rather ingeniously came up with a rather amusing situation (in hindsight I see it that way) to relieve me of all those jobs! After the next issue goes out for Autumn, there will be some big changes here at the office.
Instead of it being where everything happens, it will ‘just’ be my creative little laboratory ~ ie, the editorial office.

I’ll be able to focus 100% on putting each issue together without being side tracked by mailouts, chasing up late paying wholesalers or doing accounts. No more being surrounded by paperwork everywhere I turn. I think I picked up the ‘escape from jail’ card. I didn’t truly honour how strongly I felt about that aspect until I saw in black and white what it would be like to just focus on what I love doing.

The publishing side of the business is now owned by the Art of Change and will run from the other end of the country. After the next issue goes out, I’ll never have to pack another envelope or curse at the address labels when they’ve not printed properly, or spend half a day remembering how to get my database into another programme so I can label it the way I want it. Gosh, it might bring an end to my swearing… I’ll never have to think about advertising or promotion again. Someone else is going to ‘enjoy’ all the things I’ve simply not wanted to think about. How groovy is that?!

I remember reading a friend’s online journal about how adamant she is that we should pass on the jobs we don’t like to someone else who does enjoy them, so we can flourish in the areas we do well. I used to secretly feel a bit envious and think this would only happen when I’d won lotto. Well, I can tell you, I FEEL like I’ve won lotto! A huge weight has lifted off my shoulders.

The content of the magazine will continue to evolve and my creative editorial CONTROL (doncha love that word?) is the same as ever. The great news is that from January we’ll be publishing every two months! So, if you already subscribe, expect to see us pop through your door more often.

What I love about the Art of Change is that it is truly an authentic business. I couldn’t have asked for a more aligned energy for The Mother to be nurtured by. Definitely something for my gratitude journal. It’s so easy, when you’ve made a baby, to hold it close and feel so responsible for it and to think that no-one could possibly love it as much as you do or hold it as sacred as yourself.

*Sharing* The Mother with the Art of Change, is like sharing my baby and the sense of relief is huge. The burden of responsibility has eased. Although clearly my husband Paul is completely supportive and helps enormously with TM through proof reading/writing a column and helping at mail-out time, this co-ownership with the Art of Change is like going from being a single parent to having two parents completely nurturing their offspring. In actual fact, there’ll be about 5 or 6 of us now nurturing The Mother in all her expressions.

In my own parenting journey, there have been some jobs I’ve been crap at from day one…like cutting tiny finger nails when the kids were babies (that was Paul’s job); crap at easing them through painful bouts of colic (that was Paul’s job ~ he had a special little colic dance); crap at cleaning child vomit off every item of bed clothing and the twenty steps from bed to bathroom; (saintly Paul takes that on as his job [er, he’s NOT for sale!]); crap at reading fairy tales out loud for more than two minutes ~ I always fell asleep! (that was Paul’s job); crap at taking the girls shopping for clothes or shoes ~ it is almost as bad as doing taxation accounts! (I’m desperate for it to be Paul’s job); crap at diffusing a situation with laughter (that’s Paul’s job); I’m crap at being patient and understanding when I’m exhausted (that’s when Paul takes over). Before you start thinking he does everything, I was pretty good at breastfeeding, and am still good at preparing nutritious meals and going for long walks with the children to have girly chat time. I can read out loud now for hours without falling asleep. Our special mother and daughter treats include popping a DVD of Little House on the Prairie (my fave tv show from childhood) into the computer and snuggling up together to have a good laugh or weep and discussing morals and ethics.

I can easily acknowledge all the parenting skills I lack. In parenting The Mother magazine I simply didn’t have the energy for the admin side. It was draining in more ways than one. Now I’m blessed to have a parenting partner who does have the energy, wisdom, passion, dedication, vision and most importantly, LOVE, to do what I can’t do. Exciting changes ahead….

Watch this baby grow! As someone at the Art of Change would say, "Have the BEST day ever!" ~ Veronika ~


flowerpot said...

I know exactly what you mean i am completely lost without my children and can only cope if one goes to a sleepover, i don't allow both at the same time. But i have to say when one is gone the whole dynamics change in our house, and i get to have some special time with the remaining children.
As for your office sounds like you have done the right thing and i was excited to hear about extra issues, i do hope it will be the same for New Zealand subscribers.
Have a great week.

Andrew said...

We're spoiled. The kids have an unmarried aunt who just loves to have them for sleepovers, and you are right, the quiet can be deafening!

To Love, Honor and Dismay

barrydh said...

With Anna & Sophie at 16 and 13 now, we've started to experience the occasional (no more than that yet) silent house. When it happens it is so bizarre. Part of it feels great - the calmness and the peace - but another part seems 'weird'. Not wrong. Just weird.

The whole point of unconditional parenting is of course to help our children achieve their Highest Potentials and to set them free - but that's not to say that you're not going to 'grieve' for their absence once they leave the nest.

This summer Anna went off with some friends to Holland for 5 days. We felt a) dead chuffed that she had the confidence to do it AND love it, b) really sensed how her younger sister was excited for her but also really sad that Anna wasn't around for company and c) weird at having 3 sitting round the table for meals and going for walks etc.

But then the extra magic that it brought to the family is worth remembering. The Story-telling! Anna regaled us with the most fantastic tales of Dutch adventures that the family became even richer for her experience.

I gues like everything else that happens in parenting for the first time - nothing can prepare us for it until it happens!

Is this a case of "Can live with them, Can live without them (but right now it's so much fun living with them!).

Oh yeah, and have the best sunday ever...

mamadillo said...

Well done for letting go a little of your baby, it takes a village to raise The Mother?!?! Personally I *like* doing everything relating to my business but some things come more naturally than others and some things I have more confidence with than others. It would be great to find a partner with complementary skills.