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?)