An Honest Conversation with: Lucy Rycroft

Lucy and I connected with each other on Twitter recently and realised we had a few things in common like a heart for adoption and writing! Lucy is a stay-at-home mum to four kids, she blogs over at Desertmum and is exploring a call to write – you can read more on here journey here.

Thanks Lucy for being my second ‘honest conversation with’ and for taking the time to answer so many questions!

What does your week look like?

My week is made up of writing (my blog, freelance work, and a couple of books) as well as caring for our twins when they’re not at nursery, and our older two when they’re home from school. I lead a weekly parents’ house group and help with our church toddler group, and I also help teach early years Suzuki music once a week – so quite a varied working pattern.

What thing do you love most about parenthood?

I love seeing the characters of our children emerge as they grow and develop. I love it that they’re not just mini versions of me or my husband (thank goodness), but have their own gifts and talents, their own strengths, their own unique way of looking at the world.

What thing do you find hardest about parenthood?

When they talk for hours on end about football transfers or unicorn names. I want to say, “Listen, I love you, but I don’t really care about whether Paul Pogba is going to Juventus or not”. Of course you can’t say that, so you have to work out how you can get interested in the things that light up your kids, but that’s slow work for me.

How do you connect with God in the midst of a busy day? 

I do a lot of one-liner prayers – ‘please’ this or ‘thank you’ that. It’s pretty one-sided prayer on busy days, and it wouldn’t be great if this was the sum of my prayer life, but on busy days it helps keep me focused on my ‘audience of one’. 

Early parenthood is such a busy time that our connection with God could easily be put on the back-burner, and yet the potential is there for some serious discipleship too. I started my blog (Desertmum) because I wanted to know God more deeply in this ‘spiritual desert’ of early parenthood, and I hoped to encourage others in this too.

What are you most passionate about?

Too much! Great quality education; raising aspirations for all; reducing poverty and inequality; adoption; hospitality; helping people to unlock the Bible practically; sharing my faith through actions first; worship; good food; chocolate – always chocolate. I think one of the things I struggle with is that I love so much about life, that I always want to get involved in each thing that my church/community/family is doing. There’s very little I don’t feel passionate about. I’m learning to say ‘no’, or just not to get involved in the first place, which is much better for my sanity.

What’s your biggest fear? 

Losing one of my kids.

What do you love to talk about most? 

Anything and everything – I’m a real chatterbox. In fact, this story illustrates it well: The school my kids attend used to be in special measures (the story of why we decided to send them there can be read here if you’re interested). It’s now doing really well, but reputations are hard to shift. I’ve always been 110% passionate about the place, and take absolutely every opportunity to sing its praises and tell all and sundry why they should send their kids there. I’ve done my spiel on almost everyone at our church toddler group when they’ve been looking round schools – fortunately we’re all friends, so it’s become a bit of a standing joke, rather than an eye-rolling “Here she goes again” moment (although I’m sure there’s a bit of that too). So yeah, I guess I love to talk about schools and education and the potential for social integration. A lot.

What is one of the most useful things you’ve learned in adulthood that you wish you knew before? 

That coconut oil is the best (and cheapest) make up remover. Honest.

What makes you feel the most nervous? 

Confrontations. Luckily, they don’t happen very often, but I always get a sinking feeling when I know there’s a conversation I have to have, or an email to be sent, that just isn’t that easy. Honesty is always best, but sometimes communicating sensitively is hard work.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My husband and kids. They truly are an incredibly generous gift from God. I never take them for granted. The hubs and I got married young, but I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend when I met him – in fact, I was on a self-imposed relationship ban. Isn’t God good at screwing up our plans?

What do you value most in a friendship?

Honesty. The person who can not only feel comfortable to share their innermost thoughts and fears with me, but who can also tell me when I’m being an idiot. I have two close friends who are like this, and I value them so much.

When did you last cry?

By myself was when watching this short but moving video about looked-after children at school. Everyone should watch it, as it opens up a lot of understanding for us all – but keep the tissues handy, that’s my advice.

In front of another person was at church last week when we watched a short video by Home for Good about fostering teenagers. (Do you see a theme here? God has definitely broken my heart for vulnerable children.)

What is something that is guaranteed to make you cry?

Watching my kids do something – anything – at school. They can be collecting a certificate, singing a Spanish song about a hippo balancing on a spider’s web, or even just reading out a line of the Nativity in a really wooden voice, and I’m an absolute wreck. I think it’s because I still can’t quite believe I’ve kept these small beings alive for so long, and they’re actually able to do all this stuff by themselves. I bet the staff all have a good giggle about how emotional I am: it’s just ridiculous.

What one thing do you wish people would talk about more?

Sex, if I’m honest. In Christian circles, I mean. It’s like the only time we talk about it is in the youth group. “Don’t have sex before you’re married, draw the line here, don’t do this, don’t do that”, and then people grow up and get married and sex doesn’t always work well, and suddenly there’s no one to talk to about it anymore. Or they don’t wait till marriage but feel like they’ve failed and can’t tell anyone. Or the marriage doesn’t work out, and they’re pursuing other relationships, but where is the teaching on sex after marriage?

The world talks about sex a lot: far too much. So if Christians don’t get better at talking about it, then our children will grow up being more influenced by the world than God. I’m a big fan of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog: she’s doing a great job of sharing a Biblical view of sex with those who have been hurt or abused.

Thank you Lucy!

If you want to connect with Lucy you can find her over at Desertmum, (you’ll even find me over there on a recent blog post), and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She has also created a free ebook, called ’15 Spiritual Practices Every Tired Parent Needs To Know’, which you can get here.


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