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Contouring & cuddles

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

'She had the weight of the patriarchy infused into her berry red lip gloss'.

Hello my darlings, 

Its been a while since I wrote as I have been in the depths of parenting Miss 11 through big transitions and I am just coming up for air to share some of the things I have been learning. There has been a LOT! 

In the last 3 months my biggest baby (11 years old) has started her periods and secondary school! Pretty poor design if you ask me that these two fairly enormous rites of passage should happen at the same time, but here we are! 

The move from small safe and nurturing primary school into big overwhelming disconnected secondary has been huge. So odd for us to have less contact with staff, and not to have met the many teachers who spend time with her every week. Secondary school is a huge leap away from us and what we have known and I was not prepared for it. 

Nor was I prepared for hearing about boys having sent threatening sexual texts to one of her friends.  

Nor was I prepared for the the fall out when she got threatened by a gobby bully and her mates got scared and stopped talking to her for a day.

Nor was I prepared for all the rows we would have about her phone.

I have felt like a police officer not a parent! 

And I was certainly not prepared for my reaction one morning when she decided to start contouring her face with make up before school, having decided her cheek bones were not sharp enough! 

I was livid. Really angry that all the boundaries we had put in place about what kind of make up she could wear (natural say the school, and we agree!) were ignored. Despite me buying her some fancy appropriate stuff.

But I realised, after I lost my cool that morning, that I was absolutely furious about the fact that a child feels pressure and expectation to look a certain way and try and change the appearance of their face shape to fit into a nonsense ideal of feminine beauty. My feminist was riled right up! And poor Miss 11 had the weight of the patriarchy infused in her berry red lip gloss! 

I was absolutely projecting my values onto her, which wasn’t helpful. She is only doing what we all have done, and still continue to do on the daily, try to fit in, to be accepted. 

I wasn’t prepared for feeling so triggered by parenting her into tweenhood! But ooof, that vulnerable, raw, maiden energy so reminds me of my transition, which like many of us, was bumpy! 

I have spoken to lots of people recently about the mirroring of the transition into peri-menopause and the transition into puberty and there is a lot of transitional energy around in our gaff.

The practice of holding the tension and trusting that I have done enough parenting work to ensure that she has the resilience to weather this phase, and to trust that I have done enough of my own work to weather my own transitions, is an ongoing one. 

A practice that has been helped by my menstrual cycle, as every month I am reminded what it is like to be in inner spring, the phase that mirrors our maiden years, and I grow this muscle. Aswell as being reminded what it is like to be in inner autumn which mirrors our peri-menopause, and so that muscle is growing too. How clever that we get to practice these transitional phases and reconnect with those parts of ourselves every cycle. 

My takeaway from the last 3 moths is that despite wanting to explore contouring she also needs cuddles. There is space for both! 

Throw back to the summer when I was frollicking around in the woods with the lovely @sarahhaillecommercial

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Thats all,

Lots of love to y'all,

p.s. I have something big to share with you soon. eek!

Han xxxx

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