Chapter Eight-Bird and Beast

About two years ago, I had a handbag. Now I have a change bag with a purse in it.

About two years ago, I thought I was really busy. Now I know what busy means.

I suspect I am not alone in recognising that motherhood finds me in a state of perpetual motion, which is forever gaining momentum.

Running used to be something I did on a daily basis. I never pretended to like it but I did like the feeling I’d done it while tucking into guilt-free chocolate.

Now it’s running of a different kind. From digging the garden to cooking meals, and then wiping the results off the floor, curtains and high chair. And then washing it off mine and Raffie’s clothes before any more mysterious stains appear.

If housekeeping was an Olympic sport I wouldn’t be anywhere near the podium. In fact I’d have probably missed the bus to the Olympic Park trying to get Weetabix out of my jeans.

Raffie doesn't take meal times entirely seriously.

Raffie doesn’t take meal times entirely seriously.

I save myself a fortune at the gym by catching falling scooters, trying to prevent split lips, and averting table top disasters on a daily basis.
But even though I am only a mother of one, I have learnt many new skills in two short years. I can clean paint off cream curtains, abort a swan attack while feeding the ducks, and clean a small boy’s teeth without poking him in the eye.

However if I lived to be the old woman in the shoe, I would never find the time or the talent to remotely resemble some of the many mums who pursue their passions beautifully with one or more small children in tow.

Laura Fleming, for example, creates her beautiful blog, Bird and Beast, while looking after her little boy, who often accompanies her while she sketches and paints the natural world in the big city.

Millie the cocker spaniel, by Laura Fleming.

Millie the cocker spaniel, by Laura Fleming.

Getting on top of the washing, cleaning the kitchen, and putting many tiny toys to bed is enough to give me a sense of achievement. Sometimes in life I find it hard to see the bigger picture, so most of the time it never occurs to me to start my slow return to pounding the pavements. But people like Laura are able to manage a family, work, a home, and still create things of great beauty.

Hares by Laura Fleming.

Hares by Laura Fleming.

So as I notice the birds nibbling my vegetables in the garden while polishing tongue prints and pasta sauce off the French windows, I am reminded of, and inspired by her creations. And who knows, if I get organised enough I might follow in her footsteps and finally dust off my running shoes-but I’ll have to find them first.

Raffie yoghurt

You can find more examples of Laura’s work here


OK it’s not strictly a blog but we love the animal magic of Henri le Chat. Raffie said goodbye to our beloved cat Jasper in January. Raffie loved Jasper, bringing him bananas and books every morning. Unsurprisingly this affection was not reciprocated, but Jasper did eventually succumb to the occasional ear rub to a chorus of ‘gently Raffie!’ Jasper may no longer be with us, but I can’t help but feel that his utter contempt for the world around him lives on in Henri, and for that we are truly grateful.

Jasper. Trying stoically to ignore us.

Jasper. Trying stoically to ignore us.

Another busy mum, blogger, and creator of beautiful things is Victoria from As it Seams. She is running a competition at the moment so take a look and you could be the lucky winner of some vintage loveliness!

As It Seams

As It Seams

2 thoughts on “Chapter Eight-Bird and Beast

  1. Ooh, I know what you mean – it’s hard sometimes to look at other mums’ blogs and see into their lives and not feel a bit envious that they get so much done AND look after their children/housework/have a day job etc etc. I think as long as you feel you’re not just a slave to children’s needs and you get some time to do things just for yourself, then it doesn’t matter if it’s not as much as anyone else.

  2. Hello there! Thanks so much for your message, for some reason I have only just received it so apologies for not replying sooner. You are so right, it is very easy to make comparisons, rightly or wrongly! And I agree, we’re all different and I think if you can find what works for you then that’s a good thing. I also need to remember that the cleaning will always be there no matter what I do!

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