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The Barefoot family live an easy, relaxed life together playing, pottering and doing whatever feels right at the time!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Time to look back on 2012's goddess workbook

The first year I bought the Goddess Guidebook was in 2010. I didn't complete much of it, I loved reading it, looking at it and thinking about it but was weirdly precious about actually writing in it! Keeping it all shiny and organised but effectively empty.
I found this quite striking when it came to starting to complete the next years one, 2012. In essence it illustrated a lot of what wasn't right for me. Saving stuff for the right time, waiting for the optimal conditions and perfect moment.

So last year I approached it differently. I found two friends who had also Joined the Goddess Circle the year before and we arranged a day that we would meet up, each month for the rest of the year and called it our goddess gathering. We started by meeting and talking about what we had completed so far , drew oracle cards for the year together and started a group chat between the three of us on 'What's app' where we showed our pictures, discussed entries and ideas.
A year later and we have met up about half of the times we planned....not bad for three busy mamas! One of us helped the other two complete a goal for the year when we created a piece of art together and generally we have shared, supported and stayed connected.


At the end of this year I have decided to continue with my membership and have begun my workbook for next year and one of us have moved to a different online tribe, with Tara Wagner, the other has found the peace she searched for and left all of the online communities, sold the possessions no longer holding their weight in her new balanced life (mostly to me hehe!) and moved on though, it goes without saying our virtual private circle on 'What's app' has stayed strong and we stay in touch daily, usually off and on for most of it. I like to think of it as our virtual garden fence.

Nowhere in my guidebook for last year did I list 'create a strong supportive friendship with two wonderful women' but if I had it would definitely have been ticked off! It has shown me the importance of having deep connections with a few select people and looking back over the year I can see how positively that has influenced me. Looking ahead a strong theme of this years book is already coming through and that is less is more. Less people in my life but all meaning more. I want to put more energy into less things. My husband and children, our home and daily life together, my fantastic mum and sisters, then the select but strong little group of friends that are growing around us.


Friday, 21 December 2012

The one where she cancels everything

I know Friends is naff. I never wanted to like it but after an accidental viewing way back in series one I actually cried laughing and fell in love with its horrible fake thin view of the world and their summary of six character types existing in it. I see it as quite strong minded of me actually to openly admit I like it and find it funny as its just not the cool thing to do!
Anyway. For those of you who share my shameless love of the sitcom you will get why I named this week to myself 'the one where Shona cancels everything'.
After realising and accepting that the Mancub is poorly, that I am subsequently exhausted and that it would be next to worthless to try and continue as planned this week I cancelled all my Appointments, my visits and meet ups. It was powerful to let go like this. To let go of what I should do. To let go of the notion I was letting anyone down. And to commit entirely rather than just verbally to being here for my son when he needed me not just physically but emotionally.
Not everyone understood. The dentist receptionist was unconvinced and a little uppity about my rescheduling, one of the people I was scheduled to meet didn't even reply to my message to acknowledge its receipt. But the majority, some in a much suckier position than me, just wholly agreed and wished me best. Even the professional bod awaiting a response from me found the time to send me get well soon thoughts and festive wishes.
Maybe I could do this more. Not in a let people down don't turn up at last minute way but in a nope I can't do that so I'm not going to kind of way.
This year was the year I began learning how to let go. It's taken a year to get this far and I can see there is still so much yet to learn too. I can see how much lighter I will feel when I have actually released all of these expectations and obligations. When I was a teenager I pretty much never did anything I didn't want to. Not in an intentionally selfish way just in a breathing in and out what feel right now way. I always felt quite true to myself and had that beautiful quality of zero care for others thoughts of me. I never expect to regress to tho sweetly naive state again, realistically not would I want to really either but I would like to have that sense of lightness and realness to my life and person again. It's like waving to a familiar but forgotten friend.
New year resolution one - get to know her again, she was fun!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Day four. Selective memories.

I had a huge circuit of errands to run today. I felt like Bear about Town with my visits to the Post Office, the bank, the library, the fabric shop, the bakers, the chemist and finally the music shop! Whilst walking along I was musing the pros and cons to moving. That's all thrown out now with our new news. I still love the community here. I feel part of something and am freaked out and reassured in equal measures by the familiarity of where I live. It's a new one to me really. I've moved lots and lots. Lots of houses, schools, jobs and friends. Rarely with any sentimentality. In fact I love moving, starting afresh in a new place, finding the short cuts, and getting to know the places to go and not to go. I miss it as its always been a big part of my life.
The other pros and cons that bubbled around my confused little hormone submerged mind was the cool things I'd forgotten about being pregnant. How lucky I am to get my sickness just before 9am and just before 9pm allowing me chance to eat and either get kids up or get them back down! Then there is the nice thick hair, that's always good.
I seem to have completely forgotten though how immobilised I was by headaches and heartburn. How my already ruined teeth suffer even more and then the mood swings. Hmm. Having had a beautiful birth with my second child I had no need to block out certain bits of the birth this time...it would appear I left that for what I thought had been my perfect pregnancy.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Day three. A rabbity mush.

Newt loves watching 'The curse of the were-rabbit' (fortunately we are all Wallace and gromit fans in this house otherwise it might have worn thin by now).
There's a scene where Wallace, who is by now half man half rabbit, is trying to repair an invention that will restore his human form...but the wires all look random to him and the cable connectors like giant carrots. He exclaims to Gromit that 'its no use...my mind is just a rabbity mush' before bursting into exasperated tears.
Well. That's pretty much how I feel trying to get anything done at the moment.
Fortunate to not have horrific sickness or many of the other pregnancy downsides experienced by so many the curse for me is losing my brain!
In a one woman business, unschooling family and at what will be one of our busiest times of the year family wise with Christmas and Birthdays to consider I really can't be waving goodbye to my dear friends logic and rationality right now. I regularly ignore and overrule them but I still enjoy their company. Think an evening getting reacquainted with a good list is in order to try and manage the damage control now before things start to go wrong.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day two. People in shock x2

After not quite knowing how to raise the surprise subject of the new baby with my lovely, unsuspecting husband a subject arose over dinner last night that offered the perfect opportunity.
We started discussing the folk festival, our annual holiday away together camping in nearby, Cambridge.
I nervously said 'we probably won't be able to go after all this year anyway'. Hippy looked up from his plate in horror at the suggestion and responded instantly with a why??!
I opened and closed my mouth a few times before I managed to say because we will be expecting a baby any day by then! By the look on his face this wasn't clear enough as he just looked very confused! Once I had told him I was pregnant though then what his face became a mirror of mine earlier that day. One of shock and happiness. He kissed me and said how great it was meanwhile I still knew he was just like me....completely blown away.
Over the course of today though, day two, I had two nice little revelations that both helped me feel a bit more with it about the whole thing. The first was whilst I was out shopping in the morning. Surrounded by Christmas lights, piles of gifts and merch as far as the eye could see I suddenly felt all emotional and moved to think of the beautiful little secret gift I had with me. How amazing it was and how grateful I was for it. I distracted myself with the Mancub who was happily collecting arm fulls of bubble mixtures and striding off to the till just to stop myself getting all over emotional and teary eyed in the toy department.
The second little moment was when both me and hippy realised just how excited newt will be when we tell her the news. A new baby and playmate all in one. She will talk about it to everyone she meets and I know she will expect to be there when the baby is ready to be born (she was most put out that she couldn't be there when either of our good friends had babies recently...she genuinely couldn't get why she couldn't go to see it!).
Things are so different this time. She is so much older yet despite the almost identical age differences Mancub seems so much younger than she did when we began this journey last time.

Now for the next challenge - keeping it secret for two weeks...should be interesting!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Day one. A surprise.

After a small collection of little things that happen when I'm either overdue my period or pregnant happened today I purchased a pack of two tests whilst out and about on our travels.
It was the same shop I purchased the test from that told me the last big surprise we had, that I was pregnant with my son. It might well have even been the same shop assistant who put it through the till into a little bag for me so no one might see it, all whilst expertly avoiding eye contact and seeming like it was all very normal and not a massively life changing purchase at all.
I thought it was all cool and unfussy and that I would probably wait until this evening or maybe even tomorrow to open it, if needed. When this has happened before sometimes purchasing the test is enough to make that late period turn up. A bit embarrassed at its tardiness but there all the same.
Imagine my surprise when in fact the first chance I got I dashed into the toilet to get it out the way. I think I just didn't want my already mushy mind space getting any more clogged up with the 'am I - aren't I' rollercoaster of emotions that follows a late period.
Then there it was. The red line in the square window! Woah. Wasn't expecting that. I hadn't taken the test to find out I was pregnant I took it to confirm that I wasn't.
Shock and surprise..(.and the heavy tiredness!) set in and stayed until later that day when I retook the test just in case. Nope. It changed even faster than before this time. Wow. Baby number three it is then.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Finding the rhythm of our week.

One of the ways that we try to manage our family life/business balance is by making sure we spend at least one day a week doing certain tasks. It's taken us nearly a year to find our rhythm but finally one seems to have found us and each week we usually just about keep to it.
We often roll like this:
Monday is our pj day. We chill out the three of us whilst the hippy faces the start of another week at work. Newt has now started swimming lessons on this day which has meant we cant mooch all day as we have in the past! Tuesday hubby works from home & we clean pools. Wednesday Newt goes to her grandmas and Has teddy bear picnics & trips to the park on her bike, I have some time together with the Mancub, do house stuff and if there's time a bit of office work. Thursdays is my day off from the business. The office is closed and I either run The Natural Parenting or Natural Learning Club in the morning with fellow attachment parenting, home ed-ing families and often continue this with trips out together or play dates around a friends. Then on a Friday I work on the business, usually doing office based work, whilst the children have Haylie, our nanny/play mate come around and do fun stuff with them for the day. Fridays are my night off. We always make sure we watch a movie together, have something yummy for tea without the kids like Mexican and chill out. No work talk allowed! This leaves the weekends. These are much looser and fit more around the weather and whatever is happening in our worlds that week. We usually divvy it up with one doing practical sometimes boring stuff and one day out. Actually out. This usually falls on a Sunday, and can vary from trips to woods, the coast or just a day in the garden or local park.
I'd love to get to the stage where this all went that extra step further and we had a meal planner that fits in with this but I've pretty much accepted that its just too much for me yet. I might get there one day. I can see how cool this would be, how much easier day to day, how much food we'd save and naturally the pennies along with this. But I'll keep working on it, and try to stop my mind resisting this slight rigidity. Maybe three out of seven days will be enough for now.
I guess the most important thing to remember though is just as things seem to slump into their place something will always happen to give it all a big jump up in the air and all change. For now I will just try to enjoy the peace and not start getting itchy feet at the apparent sameness of the weeks. I'm happy knowing that in life, nothing lasts!

Free play and organic veg

We are staying overnight at my mums house, a little treat that happens every few months when nanny visits my sister. As far as the children know its because we need 'to look after the bunnies' but the reality is both that the pool workshop is at my mums and staying there gives us a whole day catching up on cleaning and maintenance AND that we get to enjoy little luxuries like an evening watching TV on a sofa & lovely hot showers!!
The only occasional downside to this though is a slight over exposure to Nickelodeon Junior, Cheerios for breakfast and all of the noisy, merchy toys that the kids love but for our own sanity we have diverted to nannies house.
Whilst here this morning we've chosen to watch Muppet Treasure island, which if you've never seen it actually makes a good effort to keep to the story and has the bonus of Tim Curry).
Newt is happily playing with her favourite toy here, my nieces old Polly Pocket dolls. It's lovely quietly sitting with but not involved with her whilst she discovers the new games she can play with them. She is oblivious to the expectations of girly toys, and is blissfully unaware of any imperfections, like one missing a head, and even that one is a boy, he gets dressed up in the same glorious gowns like all the others. For me though, the highlight was where she turned to me to ask to make them a little computer. I hesitantly asked why? Apprehensive that technology had so deeply permeated her life so soon, I did chuckle when she told me it was because otherwise they couldn't order their veg box and they'd all be hungry without any food to eat! Go Polly

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A taster week..

In my attempt to honest and true with ourselves we cancelled our holiday away this week.
Though there was nothing to really officially cancel as we had both been putting off actually booking anything on Sunday evening we actually verbally cancelled the idea of time away this week. It felt sad but a relief at the same time. Hubby had a week booked off and we had planned a week in the New Forest, then a few days, then an overnight stay at the coast instead... but the reality is right now we don't have the money to flutter on a few days away and we simply do not have the time. September lived up to what I had hoped would be my busiest month to date with the business, fully booked for the whole month. Just running the business had taken my whole focus and energy - well the focus and energy I section off for business that is, I try very hard to not allow it to escape this boundary and steal much more valuable energy stored up for my children and family!

Just like with any new job or career change having a trial week to check its what you really want to do is always a good idea. So instead, this week we renamed a holiday at home and looked at it our trial week at what life would really be like if all our wishes come true and my husband begins working for our family business. It wouldn't be an unrealistic, frivolous with money as its our holiday, fantastic fun packed things every day type week...just a normal week. We had some decorating to do, some mundane jobs like sorting out our stock room, utility room, tool store and kitchen store room (aka the two massive sheds in our garden) and then just stuff that needs doing.

Its now Saturday and I think it went ok. There were a few reality kicks along the way. Like even with two adults its still impossible to leave the house on schedule, with everything we were meant to take. And then just the truth of time, that it goes fast whether you are using it wisely or not. There were also a few reassuring moments along the way too though like when I realised that it wasn't just me my kids don't like getting dressed for..its anyone...nan, dad, grandma..whoever! And also that its just hard work being fresh fun and kind with two very spirited children all day. Watching my gentle, calm husband look like he might burst as my daughter declared an unexpected outpouring of tearful tiredness and anger was obviously not great but was somehow reassuring. A 'so sometimes it is just hard. Its not me that finds it hard' kind of moment.
BUT on the total plus we had a nice chilled real week together. We did decorate the hall and stairs,  and yes did the most boring and dullest of jobs ever...carpet shop (shop might be a bit of a strong term for walking into a carpet shop, asking a sales bod what he thought was the best carpet for stairs, nodding our heads before paying and leaving!), but we also went to a fab monthly home ed group together that I never get to go to normally because its too far away, we went to the beach (briefly...wow it was windy) and Sandringham woods for a picnic tea, we hung out, went to the library, to the soft play and had lazy mornings, with slow starts and big breakfasts. We had an evening out together (evening being 4.30-7.30pm for us) where we went...wait for it..shopping. New shoes, shirts and socks for hubby (not as easy as it sounds), a mooch around the clothes shops to reaffirm just how out of touch with the world we are, and a mooch around the john lewis home department (mmmmmm) before having a quick supper at Pizza Express (we attempted to eat in ASK but the horrible music forced us to leave before we were seated) in fact, it was practically a date!

We had some nice surprises thanks to the lovely law of attraction enjoying finding our peace - the carpet cost half what we had been quoted, we were gifted two free tickets & a voucher to Legoland for October which thanks to the carpet price we can now afford to go to for two nights and we continued our busy streak at work with yet more bookings leading us into what looks like an equally busy October. I manifested a final birth 1:1 workshop booking before my licence expires and a doula enquiry from a lovely sounding family! Good good.

I don't 'think' its put hubby off. I think its made us both realise that him being here with us isn't going to necessarily make everything easier, just different. It was real I guess. It has re-energised me into striving towards the goal again too, I'll settle for not easier but together anyday.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was
more painful than the risk it took to blossom'
Anais Nin

Today is the first day that I will officially be the owner of Gentle Water. There have been other exciting moments, key decisions and landmark events on the way but this should be the day that I drop my shoulders, lift my chin, exhale a deep breath and stride forwards.

I feel a bit rigid, a bit rusty, like the tin man might do after standing too long. I have been on a mental pause for months whilst my full and lovely life has continued. Today I will oil my joints with sunshine, and smile in anticipation both of all that awaits and all that already is. This is not about business, about work or even money, it is about life. Our life. All we want from it and we want to give back to it. I am ready.

I have thought of the words my sister spoke to me on the day I told her of how close I was to achieving everything
' What are you more afraid of, that you will fail, or that you might succeed'.

Well dear sister, finally I have an answer for you. Neither! I am not afraid...Bring it on baby!!

Monday, 13 February 2012

A test of my commitment

We spent January working on our plans for 2012 together. This may sound a long time but together with finishing off the unfinished business from 2011, completing my Goddess Guidebook workbook for the year and starting the Simply Abundance daybook a month is about right really. I call it my transition month. I was so determined not to carry certain things over into the new year but was as usual being a tad unrealistic about how long some things take and how much time I actually have in my day to do 'stuff'.

One of the little things we had both said we wanted to do this year was to only buy handmade presents for people. Be it a birthday or celebration, for a child or grown up, after a third slightly unfulfilled Christmas behind us we both felt that if we were to feel joyous in giving gifts that the value and brand would be less important than the time spent thinking, planning, picking or even...possibly..making it. For two un-talented un-crafty people this is no small task!

This week was our first real test. Two of Newt's friends sent us invites to come to their birthdays this week (er...ok probably shouldn't have been a surprise but Im still not that organised yet). Faced with the short notice of finding & ordering something suitable in time we had to think about....gulp...making something and then a slight bit of rule bending with purchasing something that was for them to make something with. Surely that works right?

I'm most pleased that Newt's patience held out (and mine too) to create a little strawberry handbag we made together from one of those kits for the first of her special little friends. Tomorrow we are going to get a little something from town to put in it or with it. It might not seem much in the big scheme of the whirling world but to both of us it was a little achievement and we all know its the little things that make the big world whirl isn't it?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Babies, business and analogies

I’m tired and ranty. This is similar to being grumpy only ranty is what I become when there is no one to be grumpy with! One might argue that there isn’t anyone here to be ranty at either but you can’t be grumpy with a blog post but you can be ranty. Think of it as a short disclaimer!  
Having your own business is like having your own children. Turns out all those people who I’ve heard say it before and have directed this seemingly unproductive advice at me are correct. I always assumed it was something to do with the analogy of nurturing it and watching it grow, loving it and wanting to protect it and so on blah blah but it is so much deeper and truer than that. I never imagined I would be overly sentimental about our businesses, they were the portkey to our future, but I would be one of those professional and realistic business owners who is honest and practical in my outlook.  Just as if you described parenting as a simple sentence of events it would not do it justice it is not enough to describe having your own businesses like that either.
I was out with a friend who I then only knew in a professional context. We were having a working lunch with my husband and my then six month old son. The waiter was wonderful, funny and friendly. He clearly adored babies and asked if he could play with our son (who was not interested in eating the feast laid out before us)...naturally we were all too happy for him to entertain him! We ate our meal together and enjoyed watching our son being shown off to the entire restaurant, he played his part beautifully and loved every second of having an adoring audience. When he brought him back to us he excitedly exclaimed how wonderful babies were and how much he misses his children at that age. We both smiled gratefully in agreement assuming this was in some way a compliment on how lovely our boy was. I was completely taken aback with the tone of absolute seriousness that my friend rebuked ‘you forget that they are incredibly hard work’. We all smiled waiting for the softness to follow but there was none. She meant it completely.
I have often reflected on this moment. It was a tiny fast rollercoaster in my mind for the minutes that followed. The initial natural motherly reaction of ‘are you implying my son is hard work?’ passed and then went on to the next swooping bend with the slightly less instinctive ‘but I am grateful for every moment of it’ phrase but ended the ride at ‘do you know what your bloody right. No one ever says that to me and no one ever really appreciates what hard work it really is’. I instantly respected her more than ever after that moment. It was honest and real and in no way as harsh as it initially felt, it was simply true. This business associate also turned out to be the woman we went on to buy a business from. Her baby. It was a pinnacle moment in my life, not just the purchase of the business and everything that has followed but this moment of recognition and respect of motherhood. I should have realised then that we were not just buying a business. We were adopting a new member of the family. Someone with its own needs that needs attention, love and time and that will require these all the time. Just as motherhood has helped me grow so did the business.  
I am intensely grateful for all of my ‘children’  though on this grumpy tired day when no amount of writing in a gratitude journal will take away the exhaustion at the relentless list of things to do and washing and tidying and cooking and birthdays to remember and calls to make and and and.... I am just allowing myself a little space to say you know what, it is great but it is bloody hard work.