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The Unexpected Year of 2013

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I came into 2013 thinking I knew where I was going. The flush of optimism following our successful December and Mr Kat’s first year in business buoyed me up as we drove through the night in the final hours of 2012. Turns out the road ahead was as undefined as my view through the windscreen.

The night before, holed up in Kat’s study writing about fireworks, I had declared 2013 to be a year of Joyful Abundance. It was my greatest hope that the scarcity and frustration we had both experienced at times in 2012 would give way to a new rhythm.

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My big plans were to work on Capturing Childhood and implement all of the ideas we had been discussing through the Autumn. We had our first workshop booked in for May and beyond that I had a list of ideas I wanted to put into practice.

Capturing Childhood Workshop

I made some of my favourite videos in early 2013, my profile of Jennie Maizels, the Jimmy Coates: Blackout Book Trailer and Kat’s Crochet at Play Book Trailer (embedded below). The creativity of making short films is something I relish. I am making time for this again in 2014, I have one interview to edit (from July – the shame!) and another creative studio to visit later this month. Why yes, I think this will become a creative project for me.

In the Spring I gave up my day job which was a massive step forward and a big tightening of the belt at the same time. In truth I didn’t know what was coming next, I just knew that we had to change our daily lives if either Mr Kat or I were to grow our businesses.

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It’s only in retrospect that I realise what quitting the day job gave me. It freed great chunks of time but also mental energy that I didn’t realise I was missing. In short it gave my mind the space it needed to relax and explore.

And with that space came unexpected paths to follow. Surprisingly a growing irritation about a lack of events for creative bloggers in the UK turned into my biggest project to date: Blogtacular.

Channelling the spirit of Tina Roth Eisenberg I decided I should either stop complaining or do something about it. I went for the latter.

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The great thing about being in a creative partnership is having someone say yes when you come up with a big idea. Within hours of deciding to take the leap we had costings and were brainstorming ideas.

It may have been unexpected but from the moment the intention leapt out of my thoughts it lit me up. This was what I was unconsciously making space in my life to do. This is what I have wanted to create for so many years and finally I have the courage to make it happen.

I keep seeing a quote that says:

If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”

– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Well this scares me plenty! The last seven months have been a fierce mix of dreaming, daring and working our socks off.

In that time I’ve experienced such boundless positivity. Not one of our friends told me I was crazy. Every single person I told was enthusiastic and offered their help from putting us in contact with potential sponsors, speakers and even saying they have booked the weekend to lend a hand. The reception from the blogging community has exceeded our hopes and  I know this is the joyful abundance I was sensing in 2013.

Working on Blogtacular has pushed me in so many personal ways. Despite my full diary I’ve been adjusting to life without children at home. Monty started school and I brought forward Betsy’s start at pre-school by a full term. It’s a funny one because it was always going to happen but the change is so big. On the plus side is time to work during the day, on the downside I miss those crazy faces.

Crazy faces in Tootsa MacGinty jumpers

I’ve been feeling incredibly retrospective this last month. It is probably prompted by a significant anniversary of my Father’s death. No more significant than any other year but it’s a milestone figure and so the media dredge up stories to fill their pages which are incredibly triggering.

The thing with grief is it’s like a meteor strike; the flowers may grow back and life returns but there is a bloody great crater where a piece of your heart used to be. No matter how long or how far you feel you have come, there is always a chance you’ll fall down inside it again.

Despite myself I did something I thought I’d never do: I got on a train to London. It might seem like nothing but it means going through the place my father died all those years before. Doing it on the anniversary took strength I never wanted to have before. But this year there was a purpose to my trip and I was rewarded at the other end. I came back to Winchester with the motivation and direction I needed to hit 2014 running.

Lonely Road

The year ends in a hurry and a stand still all at once. The tumble of plays, open classes, fairs, photo editing and wrapping (not to mention meeting an astronaut) left me exhausted. Come Solstice I fell asleep after the stockings had been opened and didn’t wake again until lunchtime.

The weather has been wet and stormy over the last couple of weeks and tomorrow we’ll be calling the builder to talk about the leak that has bloomed in the rain. After all our work in the garden the fence is currently down on both sides. We know we got off lightly but Project Garden is swinging back into action sooner than planned.

There is a feeling of being cooped up and this last week I have been itching to get back to work. We’ve had brief forays into the world between storms to drink hot chocolate at the beach or run in the woods but they feel few and far between.

Kat Molesworth Housewife Confidential

It might not be the first day of the year but tomorrow is the fresh page in the diary. Our time between years is over and we’re ready to be embraced by 2014.

My favourite January ritual of new students to greet at Capturing Childhood awaits in a week. I have a plan of action, trainers by the door and my favourite planner ready on my desk. This year is going to be a voyage into the unknown for sure!

So thank you 2013, you were not what I was expecting but just what I needed.

 

 

The Doldrums

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I don’t know if it’s the change in season or coming to the end of b/feeding* after nearly six and a half years but something is kicking my arse right now.

I could stay in bed all day given half the chance. I’m unbearably miserable and I just don’t know how to end it.

There’s part of me that expects socks to be pulled up and normal service to resume but the other part just cries which isn’t much help.

What’s inexplicable is that I’m actually happy. I’m purposeful and so excited by my work which I finally have time to do during the day. Big difference and yet, meh.

What’s a girl to do? Write about it, go to sleep, hope that tomorrow is different.

*abbreviated to keep the creeps from finding my site.

What I See

Kat Molesworth

I have a very strong memory of lying on my bathroom floor, consumed by how much I hated the way I looked. I didn’t look right and people didn’t like me because of this. My body was wrong, my hair wasn’t long and blond, I was ugly, I was fat, I was repulsive. I was six.

I felt like that for as long as I can remember. I can still hear the words people, children, teachers, family used about me. Those words dictated my self-image for most of my life.

I don’t quite know when that changed. It was some point in my early twenties, when I had moved away from these people and started to live a life of my own. I was able to love myself and people were drawn to that rather than the lonely, broken girl who didn’t know how to be in a healthy friendship or relationship.

Accepting and loving myself was a huge step in my life.

When I was asked to contribute to the What I See project my first thought was of my early life. Of looking into the mirror with narrowed eyes repeating the insults that were handed to me daily. There is so much difference in what I see now to what I saw then.

I feel no shame about my body, I see past what it means to other people to the person who lives inside it.

If you’ve not heard of the project yet please take a look at the video below to find out about it.

 

What I See Project Campaign Trailer from whatiseeproject on Vimeo. Email and RSS readers might need to click through to view.

My story stands alongside those of other women who have shared their thoughts on what they see in the mirror. You can head over there, give me a thumbs up if you identify with what I’m saying, browse the other videos and even upload your own take on the question.

Following my film it falls to me to introduce Kate Russell who speaks about being hyper-critical, being a role model and taking on the boys in her video.

Mama Mermaid

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There are special places in the world which call to you year round to return to them. Studland is one of those places for me. I’ve been a mere handful of times yet each trip gives me a deep feeling of calm.

Last week I took the children over to Studland. We left too late, queued for too long to catch the chain ferry, parked at a different part of the beach than planned and yet, somehow, arrived in good spirits.

It is so easy to make excuses to not take a day out like this with three young children. You think of all the things that will go wrong or how difficult it will be but if you just take the plunge you might just surprise yourself.

The small space on South Beach is perfect for a solo trip with children. I could easily swim in the sea while watching the children dig on the beach.

And it is such a perfect place to swim! The sea was like a mill pond. It was cool underneath and deliciously warm on the surface. I could have stayed in the emerald waters for hours.

Something about swimming in the sea is so liberating. No tickets, no lanes, no time limits; just the same feeling of never wanting to get out you felt when you were a child.

I was so inspired by the light, the sensation and the colours that I couldn’t resist taking a few shots. Although, I nearly fell in the water taking the shadow picture – I’m now thinking I should get a waterproof casing for my phone!

Dear Studland, thank you, we’ll be back soon x

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