Mama Tribe...

A mum on one of my Facebook groups joked about packing it all in and living in a commune. It sparked a wonderful day dreamy conversation where everyone was saying what they'd bring to this commune and how we could support each other. I couldn't stand the idea that after this conversation we'd all just go back to our separate lives, still craving more support and more mama connections... So I started a Facebook group 'Mama Tribe' and invited them all! This is the description -

'A tribe of mamas looking to connect, share and support each other in REAL life. This page is to make connections plan meal swaps, childcare swaps, skill shares and meet ups. A little bit of the 'hippy commune dream' right here and now! 

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined" - Henery David Thoreau
Lets make our mama tribe!!!'

The first thing that was shared made pretty much all of us cry;

I miss the village I never had: it's what's missing from modern parenting - by Bunmi Laditan

Every day I go about my life: drive my children to and fro, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and change my baby's nappies in my four-walled house while the world buzzes around me busy and fast. My little one plays on the floor and I watch him pluck toy after toy out of the large box in the corner of the room and, although my life is rich with many things, I think about you because I miss the village.
I miss the village I never had. The one with mothers doing the washing side by side, clucking and laughing hysterically, tired in body but quick in spirit. We'd know each other so well: annoying one another from time to time, but never staying mad long because the truth is, we need each other.
The children would wake early, as they tend to, and run outside, finding each other amongst the tall trees. They'd disappear into the field and forest for a day of play as we'd start our sacred work. We'd knead bread side by side, the littlies at our feet, breasts, on our backs and in our arms. It would be impossible to tell whose children belonged to whom -- we'd all attend to the group of toddling wee ones, check on the deeply breathing babies, wave little hands off of our floured table, pinch cheeks and kiss boo-boos.
The days would be full of conversation as we expertly flexed a muscle that has since gone weak: the art of listening. Quiet empathy in lieu of passive judgement, and when called for, gentle, sincere advice. In our village, our members are our estate and we build them up.
We'd laugh -- too much and never enough at the same time. Whether it be stifled giggles overflowing out of covered mouths like a pot of water bubbling over or donkey brays loud enough to wake the children, we'd be skilled at finding the joy in the mundane.
We'd cry -- never alone, but shoulder to shoulder over unborn children gone too soon or men who changed their minds. We'd stitch back the frayed edges of each other's lives the best we could, wiping the tears off of each other's cheeks. If any of us became lost in the darkness, we'd journey into the depths of her heart and pull her body back to shore.
When mealtime came we'd set the food out on long tables and the children would eat happily and hungrily, as they tend to when in the company of other small people. They'd talk about their adventures and, to their exaggerated disappointment, we'd make them take the younger children this time to teach them what we already know: we exist for each other.
When one of us was feeling sick or needed extra rest from a long night up with a child, we'd swoop in and tend to your children as we would our own for as long as necessary -- no need to even ask. You would drift off to a healing sleep with full confidence. We'd want you to be well because we'd know that we're only as strong as our weakest member -- and not only that, we'd love you, not with the sappy love of greeting cards, but with an appreciative love that has full knowledge of how your colours add to our patchwork.
You'd know me and I'd know you. I'd know your children, and you'd know mine. Not just on a surface level -- favorite foods, games and such -- but real, true knowledge of the soul that flickers behind their eyes. I'd trust them in your arms just as much as I'd trust them in mine. They'd respect you and heed your "no."
And as our children grew up and out and our skin went paper thin, we'd keep making bread, sharing it with tea, stories of beautiful grandchildren, and how things used to be.
I miss that village of mothers that I've never had. The one we traded for homes that, despite being a stone's throw, feel miles apart from each other. The one we traded for locked front doors, blinking devices and afternoons alone on the floor playing one-on-one with our little ones.
What gives me hope is that as I look at you from across the park with your own child in tow playing in her own corner of the sandbox, I can tell from your curious glance and shy smile that you miss it, too.
Maybe we'll have it again. But for today, I'll invite you and your little one over for tea. And maybe bread.

Are you teary? Its crazy how much an article can really hit you, right in the heart... There are 36 members in our little mama tribe, which has been going 3 days or so and the change already is amazing! we have all figured out who is near us geographically and arranged to meet up and connect in real life, we know who has which skills and businesses and we can use the tribe for whatever we need, we just have to ask. Mamas have asked for help babysitting - got sorted. Help to de clutter a house - happening next sunday. Clear a garden for veg planting in the spring - we're pretty much all in and are going to do a big seed swap there too. Offers of cooking meals and baking for each other... And so much more its just been amazing to witness... 

Tomorrow I am going to meet 2 mamas from the tribe - not at a cafe or park, at her home, and she won't feel the need to clean up before we get there, or bring us tea and biscuits and sandwiches because we are a tribe, we'll all chat in the kitchen whilst we make tea and lunch together and if theres laundry on the table we'll fold it, and make sure we leave her house with dinner on and the play mess tidied. I hope we'll talk about how we can continue to support each other with things we each really need. 

On wednesday I'm meeting 3 tribe mamas who live very close to me and I'm hoping we can plan meal swaps weekly and maybe a shared chore day each week at a different house or something similar? I am so excited about these new connections. If this isn't the best use of Facebook I don't know what is! 

The end of a year... The very best year :)

So it's only 3 hours to go until 2015! Wow! Al and I have been talking so much about next year, we have so many plans and exciting things planned I could burst! But first a look back at our most amazing year ever... In totally random order (sorry about that!)

'the grumpy angel' as he's affectionately known when he sleeps... decorated with the standard
scrapes and bruises of the summer 2014

helping in the office

exploring with daddy

outside all year come rain or shine

watching him experience something new has to be my very favourite this in this world...

Santa at our market stall

dropping daddy at the train, fun for the 5 weeks of the market but the boy and I are sure glad we have him with us every day the rest of the year :)

This years continental market, which was amazing, again. Busy, exhausting, long hours, hard work but we appreciated every second and met so so many awesome new people who are helping to promote a bit of positivity with our products :)

Al and I left Ché Phoenix for the first time in october and stayed at a spa overnight - bliss

one from the summer

happy me :)

the day we met the duke at St.Georges market

wild and free spirited - trying to let him stay that way ;)

spring time family wedding

peeka boo

one from last month :)

summer time strawberries from our local farm stall :)

how our year started - a trip to South Africa, he loved the ocean

possibly the cutest pic of 2014?

just too cool...

my man and me, couldn't be happier than when I'm with him... and thats basically 24-7 ;)

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my beautiful sister (in-law) who i just just couldn't imagine my life without, her and her hubby james have become our best friends, our never failing support and the most incredible auntie and uncle you could ever imagine. This year would have been very different without them...

So thats a random mix of pictures from the last 12 months... 

Looking back I'm really proud of what we have done, Ché Phoenix's 1st birthday was wonderful time for us as parents, we were able to look back and see that for the entire first year of his life we parented exactly how we believed we should, we didn't make any compromises, and that was an incredible feeling, its not often in life you do something exactly how you hope to... We felt so proud :) As he's approaching his second birthday i can say i still feel that pride when i look at him, he is so healthy, so happy and secure in himself, has close bonds with other wonderful people in his life and he is far far to smart, i tell you its incredible! this boy was telling us all the colours at 18 months "blue reea brow yeaow green black paa puuul" lol being his mummy has just been the most incredible privilege this year....

Our business is expanding and still fulfilling us creatively and challenging us to keep learning more, this year we took on a volunteer who ended up being to perfect we're employing her full time come the summer when she finishes uni! 2015 is going to be huge for itty bitty book co and i think we've learned enough this last year and a half to enable that to happen whilst not take over all our time... Delegating and letting go will be key focuses for us i think :)

The last week or so We have been talking more of our dream home, our land and it feels close, almost within reach... tonight we are going to do a online search for land and start putting feelers out... today we lacked about all the awesome alternative housing options people come up with - shipping containers etc and it got us all excited and buzzing... being self employed does cause some problems in the mortgage department but we know where theres a will theres a way and we are psyched to start looking into it properly... who knows, next new year we may be living on our own piece of earth! :)

a few extra points for you guys who've been following my blog for a while...

- i still maintain that its a load of crap how much kids cost lol
- Breast feeding does kick ass for getting back to pre baby shape but it does not work if relied on solely for nearly 2 years *but hey thats what new years resolutions are for lol*
- we still use SFT's sealed pot and have no idea whats in it! will open it next time we're off down south as i know theres euros it it
- my 101 list is very much incomplete but I'm not worried, if i replaced each thing i didn't do with something amazing that i did do it'd be one hell of a fun, varied and exciting list :)

Please excuse the typos and such I'm on my second Jameson and am not gonna proof read tonight, so  signing off for 2014, what a year :) see you all in 2015!!!! Lots of love and wishes for happiness xxxx

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