10 May 2015

The look of love

photo by : ad-passion
I find myself talking a lot about love lately. Maybe because I feel we could all use more of it.
A touch, a hug, caresses, tactile love. Verbal love, "how was your day?", " you are my little kiddo", "would you like some juice?". Caring love, warming their towels while they are having a bath, or getting a little something especially for them from the supermarket. Fun love, a story, laughing at their jokes and playing around with a blanket. There are million ways to love your child but they can all be summarised, concentrated like dense molecules packed tightly together in a single.... glance. Or a prolonged longing stare.
Love bordering on passion. Love as admiration of this special little human being that came from your body but is not yours. "You are mine", "you are my child" I often say, allowing myself to feel this intense almost symbiotic closeness one can only feel with one's child or one's mother. The sweet smell, a body connection that has to lose momentum everyday transforming the relationship to that of two different yet still connected human beings.

As mothers we can never forget the closeness we have felt with our babies. They can and they do. In reality forgetting is not remembering, as the mother's gaze, our gaze, our touch is permanently stored, imprinted if you like, on our baby's body and most importantly on our baby's mind, his or her internal world.
The relationship with our children will change many times: we can be mean, even abusive sometimes, misunderstand them, frustrate them, fail them, be absent when they might need us and impose on them our deepest darkest anxieties and wishes. Even if we try and keep all the above in check, making as fewer mistakes as we can, the relationship will still change. We grow as they grow. We change and they change, and that is life. The way we see ourselves, the way we see them, the way we approach, connect, console or encourage them is a continuous ebb and flow.

What will never change is this original look of love from us to them. The look that says : welcome, i love you, i am your mother, you are special to me, you are accepted as a new part of my world, i have space for you,  i want to connect with you in love, i care, you are important and most importantly you are unique - another, not me. The look of love, of admiration at the wonder of giving life, actual and emotional to another human being.
Let's always remember this look of love and pass it down. In this way, they will have been seen and they will in turn be able to "see" and love. It is Mother's day today and the best gift we can get is the ability to give this look, this gaze of love. Enjoy your day.

27 Apr 2015

The Ultimate Breaking point

Here I am browsing on facebook at a rare moment of quiet time.I come across this image.

I stop and stare looking at the little foot that so resembles my son's.
I read "a father gives his last embrace to his son in Syria - do not press like, just share so the world sees what happens in Syria". I look at the father, I look at the image. I am thinking whether I should share or not. I don't share just for the sake of it. Especially when an image is so harsh, so painful so inhuman. This to me represents the ultimate breaking point as a parent. More than that, it represents the ultimate breaking point in humanity.
I wake up, and do my work which I love. I am safe and despite the life stresses each of us goes through, my life is good. I do feel mildly guilty for this although I shouldn't.
But the moment images like this or stories about immigrants drowning in the open sea, our fellow humans in desperation, then, anger, disgust and a deep seated pain violently enters my heart and my home. My safe, sound right to a home.
I come from a family that was thrown out from their home in Asia Minor. I never experienced this, it was the life story of my paternal grandparents. Traumas like this are passed down, and cruelty, unfairness, every repugnant loss turns me into a force to be reckoned with. Not this time. Not with this image - this just turned me into a powerless collapsing heap of tears. I cry as a mother and as a citizen of this world.
We have landed in the moon, "tamed" nature and advanced in technology.
One thing we have not learned yet: Respect and love for the other.
I have shared this as a personal reaction. But this is not about me. This is about all of us, our children and their children. It is about conceiving the inconceivable and doing something about it - teaching love and not losing hope. At times like this, all one can do is not lose hope.

18 Jun 2014


These days I am very much "world charmed", taking a course on global trends, and thinking about locality and globalisation. Why, you might ask, do I talk about globalisation in an essentially "mummy blog"?
One of "Deconstructing Mummy"'s central mantra is that a mother is more than just a mother. She is a person, above and beyond her motherly role. Still motherhood is a very potent lense to view the world.
Today I attended my 5 year old son's assembly. The theme was based on the song "Hello to all the children of the World". It was about diversity, inclusion, globality, respect and teamwork. 

There they were, little beautiful sprouts from all around the world, sitting next to each other, getting up one by one, declaring their "special country": Greece, Australia, India, Ghana, Liberia, Japan, Bangladesh, Bolivia,Colombia, Turkey, England. 
They sang holding hands, looking at each other as classmates and not as beings defined by their country of origin, status, class, colour. 
They were all equally eager to catch a glimpse of their parents, to show off with pride how well they sang the song. They sang also in sign language, using their little hands to express unknowingly a much deeper truth: that of relating no matter what.
I was sitting there in awe of this lesson in life, thinking not only what a great job this school does, but also how important it is to be taught how to relate to others humbly, respectfully and equally.
How well this lesson will be taken on board, depends in the end on us. The mothers and fathers at home. Our attitudes, fears and stereotypes. Are we going to support what the school teaches, or fill these young souls with fear of the"other"? 
I come from Greece. A country that is currently having a very hard time financially, but most importantly societally, and very soon I believe politically. Without wanting to go into too much detail here, I will say that though in Greece the far right atrocity-committing party of Golden Dawn did not match France or Uk results in the European Elections, it is alive and kicking. For me even the 3 MEPs is a dark warning sign. 
In Psychoanalysis, we say that when the EGO(our core being in lay terms) is strong, it is well protected from threat and can relate freely with others. It does not need to resort to paranoid modes of being where other people/situations are perceived as dangerous, persecutory and harmful. The flip side of the coin is when the Ego is chaotic, with no boundaries to preserve our individuality. The Ego goes into these modes when it feels weak, unable to put right boundaries, full of doubt about our abilities, our standing in the world, our self worth. 
Seeing these children today, offers a visual example to exactly that: they were all together, sharing naturally an experience of togetherness without losing their individuality (their "Special countries"). 
It is up to us, as mothers (and fathers) to bring them up, allowing for the preservation of their individuality, while teaching them the rules of life. Will we teach them to fear? to hide behind their "unique" class, colour, culture, gender? Or will we teach them ways to relate and bring in this magical mix with others, their own strong, loving shelves? Will we teach them to reach out, or to stay put? Will we teach them the essence of humanity, or as the song says: 
Though some things might be different, 
we’re children just the same....
If we could meet each other, to run and sing and play,
Then what good friends we all could be...........

11 Jun 2014

Yes Mess

Don't get me wrong - I hate mess.
It drives me crazy and makes me drop many other things to deal with it. It is a deep irony given my two children and my professional attraction to mess, being a psychologist and all....
Motherhood is, I just realised a synonym to mess. There is no motherhood without mess. Let me "free associate" here for a moment - Mess... diapers, vomit, toys scattered all over the floor, tiny bits of toilet paper in the bathroom,  egg yolk on the carpet, rice and bread crumbs on my feet, messy hair, "I am a mess", and the grandest of all: I messed up...

Show me a mother who is o.k with mess. Even the most relaxed ones amongst us fall for the last one (The "I messed up" bit... guilt - another synonym of motherhood..).
External mess meets internal mess. We walk as if enveloped in a big fluffy cloud, multi-tasking and list making, an overworked brain trying to manage the unmanageable: direct an overworked body into organising the mess. "Let it be" by the Beatles springs to mind (hey, I love free association- remember?), but that is too idealistic as a resolution to the inherent problem of Mother-Mess.
Why do I make a fuss over mess today? I'll tell you why. A patient of mine was talking about his mother today. About how he was never given the key to her "world" - the feeling that it's o.k to mess with her - play with her, trick her, be allowed to enter her private psychological territory and test it. Test her patience, her love, drive her crazy, angry, passionate, see how she rebounds, how she blindly searches for a way out of a mutual mess of feelings, of intermingling with each other, being one and separating, being one again.
So mess is important. It drives us up the wall, teaches us to cope with the most intense feelings of boundaries being broken and re-established, of where we begin and where we end, of what we can allow without gulping down LSD or antidepressants.
Mess is a means of communication. The child naturally believes that he/she can do as he/she pleases. Where do we draw the line? It is an art. To teach reality yet not shut them out. To teach them respect for the other (yes, you!) without abandoning them, and to let them know that they can make you mad without fearing the loss of your love (just the loss of their favourite tv show for today maybe?).
Mess is a big challenge for a mother. It teaches you resilience, a painful awareness of your limitations or even intense concentration (hey, I can write this while listening to LEGO sounds on the PS4)...
But mostly, it teaches you the hard lesson that now you are not on your own anymore. You have one (or more) little creatures who want in. They want a piece of this magical mummy place that is your most guarded and precious possession - your Self.
So mess? Yes please! (do I have a choice?)

13 May 2014

Forgetting to dream

"I dream of mummies and butterflies, and cakes and beaches and ice-creams and daddies. Close your eyes - nooo peeking" ( I close my eyes- he kisses me on the cheek). "I love you sooo very much".....
This was my "payment" for being there in his bed, reading to him while hugging him. He shared his dreams. All the things he likes. He dares to dream. He is almost 5.
My dreams are lists of chores and pin numbers, and schedules, career development ideas, losing my recent pregnancy weight. Questions of "middle" age, how the hell did I get there so fast?
I am shattered from working and breastfeeding and being a mum and wanting to be all that and more. Study more, travel more, write more, walk more.
And then I stop comparing his world and mine and I look at him marvelling in the moment. Taking in this amazing and delicious moment in time where I allow myself to be his honoured guest in this innocent and light hearted world where mummies and daddies and ice creams and butterflies live in abundance. I want to stay there and forget my lists, de-construct myself and let go of all the musts and shoulds and oughts that mums carry with them in order to run their place.
We forget ourselves and we forget to dream. We worry and plan and try to control the universe that surrounds them, that surrounds us.
The other day, he "showed" me an ad where a mum was dancing while serving ( i think it was some kind of sweet spread) her children and they were laughing - ""Mum look" he said and pointed out the dancing mum.
What a blow! I had been but the dancing mum lately with a newborn in my arms. And although I am too old and yes, too wise to fall for the trap of the happy, perfect dancing mum of the ad, I listened to what he was actually telling me by pointing this out - "you are not fun like she is, I want you to be fun, I need you to be fun".
Yes he is only 5, and he doesn't get my struggle, but doesn't he deserve a fun mum every once in a while? Don't we deserve to be this mum (actually be, not pretend to be) and drop everything that we "ought to" in order to dance and dream?
So my advice in this quick and short post (because this is my "dance" for the day) is that next time you are about to explode from taking on too much responsibility, step back and remember that these unique children we are bringing up, are sometimes like wise old men/women, just showing us the way....

17 Apr 2013

Are you a Deconstructed Mummy?

Come find out!

What are the Deconstructing Mummy groups?
What does it mean to be a "deconstructed mummy"?
What do we talk about in the groups and how will this help you mother?
What is the relationship of the "emerging mother self" to your changing body, the "imagined child" and the intergenerational passing down of mothering ways?

Looks like a presentation of the groups is in order.

After talking to expectant and new mums, I decided to organise a presentation of the Deconstructing Mummy groups with free entry, on Monday the 13/5/13 , 11:00 am at "That place on the Corner" , N16 (follow link for address).

An attendance email at deconstructingmummy@gmail.com would be appreciated, but last minute walk-ins are very welcome too.
Come have a cup of coffee, bring a friend and find out if you are on your way of being a "deconstructed mummy!"

P.s The coffee shop is extremely child friendly!

4 Feb 2013

New Mummy Groups starting!

To all deconstructed mums who are interested:

The new Deconstructing Mummy groups are starting on
Tuesday 26/2/13 at 7.30-9.00pm @ the "That Place on the Corner Cafe" and every Tuesday  for 8 weeks
Friday 1/3/13 at 10.00-11.30 am @ Hornsey Vale Community Centre and every Friday for 8 weeks.
Places are limited to 8 people so early booking is advised!
Kindly note that mothers need to arrange babysitting as the group encourages thinking on oneself and time away from the baby.

Email deconstructingmummy@gmail.com  for enquiries or to book your place.