I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

It's not me

It's not me. It's not me. It's not me. It's not me. It's not me!!

It's the society we live in. It's this insular mainstream, disconnect as soon as possible from your children, messed up yet still doesn't see the damage it's doing to each generation society. IT'S NOT ME!

Camp. Was. Amazing.

Ellie relaxing round fire
It couldn't have come at a more crucial time.  This last year and a bit has been a bit of a mental physical emotional metaphysical biological monetary(al) astronomical mindfuck. Adjusting and growing into life with another needboid  wonderfully gorgeous exceptionally super, new person and with all the financial stress has been.....weeeelll you all know how's it's been!!  We've been living off fish fingers, porridge and mayhem!!!

Anyway, we went to a La Leche League Family camp this year. It was a camp for families who all parent in a similar way. A camp for people who believe in breastfeeding past the meagre 4-6month norm. People who cosleep and are familiar with gentle discipline and loving guidance. Who had no difficulties in sharing their time, love and energy with my three girls and who were happy to connect, communicate, and love my girls exactly as they are. To hold them on their knees, walk with them through the woods, play any manner of crazy games at any given moment. Didn't care that their faces were dirty, that their hair was full of the outdoors, that their clothes stank of smoke - oh. No. Wait a minute, they weren't really wearing clothes half the time. And that didn't matter either!!  It was just completely brilliant. My girls used the words 'my friends' and I felt happy inside knowing that they were experiencing that real meaning. 

There was a fire on the go 24/7 to warm cook, dry, and laugh around. There was someone to talk to whenever you wanted or there were secluded enclaves if you needed some space. There was camp fire singing, silly games, abominable jokes, confusing riddles, arts and crafts, organised outings and a loving vibe from each and every person. Teens interacted with Tweens and babies as smoothly and effortlessly as Tweens with adults and adults with teens. Everyone was involved in the welfare of everyone and it was all so beautiful to watch.  We were so welcomed as newcomers. At times, It was beyond my capacity to actually believe it was really happening!! I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I worried a lot less and  practically *never* lost the plot!! It's only me a tiny bit in this environment.

Even little Millster was left to explore her environment without helicopter hovering freaking out judgy people. She was watched with a gentle eye and a loving hand if needed. She was carried by children of all ages to where she needed to be, usually brought back to me but not always!  There wasn't an eyelid batted or a sharp intake of breathe (well maybe once or twice!!) as she toddled about the camp, moved around the fire and wandered about the woods.

I may be idealising it a bit but seriously it was pretty great. My kids needed the full on non stop nurturing and I needed the space and acceptance. I felt so much relief to hear people being positive about our girls instead of feeling paranoid and fear over their behaviour and appearance and exuberance. 

I have to admit, I was nostalgically whisked back to my camping days as a kid in Habonim Dror, the popular Jewish (Socialist) Youth movement in my day. So many similarities but the one massive difference which I think is really the crux of the matter, it didn't include my own parents.  It was a camp of like minded folks in its way, similar gentle values but without the boob philosophy!! Yet my own folks weren't there to experience and connect and build our familial relationship, year after year. 

I am completely fascinated and excited that this camp has been running for over 14 years. That these kids have come back, year after year *with* their parents and effectively simulated tribal living for that brief moment of their lives. What an amazing opportunity these families have had and still have. I kept imagining their next generation of babies being breastfed and held and gently guided through those woods and through their lives.

I so want this where I live and I so totally want to see our fledgling NIN camping trips evolving and growing year after year in this way. It's given me some great ideas and I now have this whole fantasy and vision of our NIN camps turning out similarly!!! Maybe...

Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm stuck in a fantasy. Maybe I'm too old and stuck in my ways for it to EVER really work but that ethos of sharing and community and helping and understanding and communicating and connecting and supporting is something I am always searching for and always seems just. out. of. my. reach. 

So, if I can have it regularly from now on, for about one month of my life, this could be the turning point I've been looking for. 

In the Happy Valley there *ARE* 
 b( . )( . )bs but no rules. 

Well just that small one about burning sticks!!!

Meltdowns - mainly due to extreme tiredness from being non stop on the go in the woods
Losing the plot - I actually don't think so. May need hubby verification. 
Breastfeeding - you better believe it!!


  1. I think you said it all. We felt pretty much the same the first time we went to this camp and have continued to go for seven years now. Hope to see you again next year.
    Oh no, is that my daughter in her pyjamas? I don't think she wore anything else the entire camp.

  2. Says it all - says it SO well - and even with ten years of insight into camp's "family politics", the feel and value of camp don't fade. :)

  3. Looks like you had a great time :-) x