It’s not you, it’s me.

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I heard myself defensively saying “we go to lots of playgroups, classes and play dates” before I could stop myself. It was only afterwards that I reflected and realised that the “preschool is good for them socially” wasn’t about my choices, it was about her’s. That a smile was enough. That she was nice. That just like me, she has worries in the back of her head about whether she has done / is doing the right thing.

I’m yet to meet a mum who doesn’t want to feel good about her choices or who doesn’t try to make them for all the right reasons.

I haven’t sent T to preschool because I wanted him to have what I had and because I am lucky enough to be in a position where it is possible. Because I feel I have been able to offer him everything he needs with what is on offer for preschoolers in my area. Because it felt like the right thing for him. Because it fits my skills set (most of the time…) and I enjoy it. And that’s fine.

And the lady I chatted too would have made her choice for different reasons; social reasons obviously and probably a whole host of other good reasons too. And that’s fine too.

And the relative/friend/neighbour who tells you how she got her children to sleep/behave/eat probably aren’t judging you either. Even if it feels like it. And even if they are, the overriding thing they’ll be doing is reassuring themselves. They need to feel that what they did/are doing was the right thing for their children. Because nothing is closer to their hearts than their children. Because they have never done anything before or since that matters as much.

So next time I will try and just smile…

 

 

 

 

Fraudster

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I felt like such a fraud at our music class this morning.  The feeling nagged at me, even though the boys were lovely and less clingy than usual.  We all enjoyed it but I still felt like a fraud.  I felt like I wasn’t the nice mummy that people perhaps thought I was.

I shouted “You idiot” at my eldest this morning when he dropped a heavy box on my foot and hurt me. It wasn’t deliberate on his part but it was reckless.  But shouting “Idiot” isn’t up there in my “strategies”.  And he cried 😦  I felt like I could and should have stopped myself, but for some reason I didn’t.
So I felt like a fraud for the entire class.  I reasoned that it is an experience that he will have in life – someone verbally lashing out when they’re hurt or upset.  I told myself that it was better that it was with me, someone who he trusted, someone who would ‘fess up and tell him it is not acceptable and that I was sorry.  He will know not to regularly take rubbish in the future.  Won’t he?  I added into that that children need to see how people say sorry.  He said sorry too for hurting my foot; his little brother (who was just a spectator) even managed to find something to say sorry for.
Finally (in a further attempt to make myself feel a little bit better) I decided that it is good that I don’t try to practice perfection.  Whilst it’s not a deliberate lifestyle choice, children probably need to see that people aren’t perfect.  Don’t they?  That being human means slipping up sometimes.  Being perfect isn’t realistic after all and it can’t be healthy to try.  After the physical and emotional safety of your children, the most important thing is surely that you’re good at trying and ready to hold your hands up and say “I’m so sorry, I love you” after making a mistake.  Isn’t it?
I think I worry that they will be as soft as my husband (whose girlfriends used to nick his lunch money at school!).  I want them to be kind and caring but with a strong sense of self-worth.  Maybe I think too much….
Anyway, I still felt like a fraud.  And I felt really bad.  Maybe because I would have kept my cool if he had dropped the box on my foot at the music class.
I felt like a fraud until later this afternoon when we made a mess of the kitchen together and made a couple of chocolate quinoa cakes to ‘practice’ for his birthday hedgehog cake.  Then I felt like a good mum again.  I felt a bit smug actually.  I think the fraudster mummy is probably a lot less annoying.
I still feel bad though and said sorry again at bedtime.  Tomorrow’s another day and I won’t let myself be defined by a slip up.  I’ll turn them on their head and get better from them (sorry, smug mum – and the wine – are taking over).  I am a good mum, I just make mistakes.

Be Kind to Yourself

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I can still remember the first time I got it back.

I was looking for a house to pick up an eBay purchase from – a baby paraphernalia bargain.  I couldn’t find the property and kept driving round the same loop.  A bit frustrated I said “I am so rubbish with directions, it is ridiculous.”  Up pipes a little voice in the back “Don’t worry Mummy, sometimes I can’t do everything first time.  Sometimes you just have to try again.” Tears filled my eyes, he was only three and a half.
I can still remember the first time I consciously tried it.
We had pretty much just pulled up outside playgroup.  Me, my two year old and six month old.  Without my baby bjorn it would have been impossible.  My number one rule for the first four years, with two children 18 months apart has been at least one must be restrained when out and about.  I had forgotten the baby bjorn; I had to go home and get it.  I had recently read about the importance of being kind to yourself, as mirroring is one of the many (I reckon biggest?) ways that little people learn.  So on the drive home I said to myself out loud, on a bit of a loop, “Don’t worry Mummy, everyone forgets things sometimes, it’s no big deal, you can pop back and get it.”
There have been many more times in between.  I have many opportunities to practice being kind to myself – broken jars, forgotten wallets, lost keys, the list goes on…..and on…….
So he has got the be kind to me bit, he has copied it and is (sometimes) kind to me.  It just needs to be ingrained so that he is automatically kind to himself as he learns and faces the inevitable challenges life brings.
And being kind to myself works for me too.  Although I need some strategies as constantly rooting around in my bag / looking for my keys etc is a bit draining!

Motherhood Challenge*

Firstly, it is not a dare.  A dare involves a degree of self-inflicted embarrassment  (e.g.) dressing as Aunt Polly Tumble** for a day or speaking only in CBeebies theme tune lyrics for an entire playdate without ever explaining yourself.  Or completing a whole transaction in a shop in the style of a Mister Maker “minute make”.  Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a dare.  Or at least not a very good one.

Secondly, it is not a challenge. Motherhood poses a lot of challenges but posting a picture of your beautiful children is not one of them.  Day to day life with little children certainly provides challenge enough sometimes; but posting a picture of your beautiful children is not up there.

Women who have to battle with depression have a challenge.  Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a challenge. Women who do a lot or all of the parenting alone have a challenge.  Women who can’t or who have trouble joining the “motherhood” club have a challenge.  Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a challenge.

I guess the latter is why I personally take issue with the whole “motherhood” dare/challenge thing.  A picture of beautiful children with the words “Motherhood Challenge” would have left me so upset and annoyed five years ago.  It would have felt like the poster didn’t appreciate what they’d got.  I would have been so frustrated that they didn’t realise (or care?) how much it hurt to not be part of the “motherhood” club. I felt so left behind as the pictures of parties were slowly replaced with baby after baby picture.

I have been very lucky as I have two children, but it took nearly four years, miscarriages, an ectopic and ivf to get there and the whole dare and challenge thing quite frankly grates.  I can still remember the pain and feel sad for the people feeling it now.  I know there will be people facing infertility who may be happy to see these pictures with the words “Motherhood Challenge”, that are able to share in others’ barefaced joy when they’re hurting.  I genuinely admire these people and have come across a few.  I hold my hands up high and proud – I wasn’t one of them.  I would have hidden the lot of you from my newsfeed with tears in my eyes.

Essentially I am working on the logic that if you think, experience or do something, there are probably a fair few others in the same boat, even if it is one of the least talked about things. (Unless you are seriously considering the “minute make” dare, in which case you are just weird.)  With one in eight couples affected by infertility there must be a fair few people out there feeling how I did and feeling it right now.

So a facebook without baby pictures?  Is that the vision?  A ridiculous idea and not what I’m suggesting; life moves on and Facebook is about sharing and celebrating amongst other things.  But a bit of sensitivity would be lovely, a bit of thinking before you “speak”.  For me trying IVF was my moving on, deciding that we were having a family one way or another and accepting we just didn’t know which way yet was moving on.  But it was a tough challenge and this would have rubbed so much salt in the wounds.  Posting a picture of your beautiful children is not a challenge.

If you do post a “Motherhood Challenge” photo lets be honest with ourselves and others.  Let’s call a spade a spade – it is a baby brag and an insensitive one at that.  It is not a (decent) dare and it is not a challenge.  And please remember infertility really hurts so think about the others in the room.  Motherhood is a challenge many are desperate for and scared they’ll never have.

 

 

*I wrote this as its been flaring up in my newsfeed lately.  Since writing I have googled to see when it all started, seems there was a bit of an uproar back in February!  What can I say?  I was never the cool kid on the latest trend.  This rant is however all from my own hip/heart.

**I lack as much imagination as I do coolness and couldn’t think past CBeebies for dares.  If you are not in the UK or don’t rely on the CBeebies babysitting service I apologise.

Cuddles

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This is a post celebrating the power of the cuddle in terms of improving behaviour. It is so hard to find the time to cuddle up with a book / TV show and your little one(s) (until they’re bored) but so worth it for me this weekend. I would advocate trying this when behaviour seems to be going downhill. Here is how it worked for me…

Saturday offered a pretty poor start to the weekend with moods and behaviour in our house. We wanted to take the boys out in the buggy to a big play area for a picnic; we were loading their little bikes up on it so they could cycle along a nice off-road path when we got nearer. They were really up for this trip out but could we move them along and do the sorting that needs doing first – sandwiches, Friday night’s dishes, basic hygiene, etc….(nope we couldn’t).

The whinging noise was awful and probably something that could only be achieved by two under 4. (Please don’t correct me on this. I need to believe we are nearly out of the high octane whinging.) What made it more upsetting was that they weren’t being kind to each other; T in particular was picking on M. Anyway we got out a lot later than planned but we did at least have a lovely day. But why the painful start?

T has seemed a bit meaner towards M lately; winding him up verbally as well as pushing him and pinching him when he gets the opportunity. He is loving with him too but seems to feel the need to upset him more often than normal. I don’t know if its anxiety about starting school (wherever we go people seem to be asking and talking about it) and/or a bit of jealously – M is 18 months younger but will start school two years later.   I think being the eldest brings with it a few pressures and he had to give up being the baby so much younger than M (T still calls him his ‘baby brother’ but he is now 2.5).

Anyway, I moved him away, I asked him how he would feel, I threatened to cancel his birthday party (I know, not a great thing to say – you know when you just hear the words come out??). T is super sensitive and would have no doubt felt strongly that I was annoyed and frustrated with him. Whenever he is told off he asks if I still love him, obviously I always reassure him and explain its what he is doing that is the problem but at three I’m not sure he understands the distinction.

Sunday morning came and started to go the same way. Luckily something made me think of something that I have previously read, about how children very rarely get to end cuddles or chats as its the parents that normally go off to do jobs, etc*. The suggestion being that they might not get the reassurance and feeling of safety that they’re after. Without thinking much more I picked T up and told him I thought that he needed some cuddles and I plonked us both down on the sofa.  T is a very cuddly boy and was happy with this, obviously it wouldn’t work if he wasn’t, although love bombing is a technique worth exploring and appears in the first book listed below. I bet with some children just being there and sharing the television programme or book is enough. So we sat and watched television together for about an hour and a half then he got up to play. He seemed so refreshed, happy and content. And so much kinder to M.

Sometimes it feels like you haven’t got the time. And sometimes you simply haven’t. We did actually get out the house about two hours earlier on Sunday as it turned out; the boys were happy and we could sort ourselves out for the day without sorting out the commotion every two minutes. I guess I will never know the reason – sore throat, growth spurt, needing more sleep, anxiety about school – but it seems the cuddles helped all round.

*Divas and Dictators by Charlie Taylor; Siblings no Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Meltdown mindset

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I’ve got a new mindset to try and jump into when I’m having a tough five minutes (or so….) whilst in the company of my kids.  It could do with a catchier name but for now it is my “Let me show you” meltdown mindset.

This is how it went today when I found myself in a Post Office at 12pm (what idiot does that pre lunch?).  Anyway…..M starts having a complete meltdown; let me show you how to be compassionate, kind and patient.  He wants two toy magazines; let me show you how to be gently assertive, quietly persistent and patient.  He is really asserting himself back now; let me show you how to give him space.  People can’t get in the Post Office to post their letters; let me show you how to deal with embarrassment and bum shuffle with a two year old under your arm.  He is really losing his rag (insert your own); let me show you real patience.  He is getting quite animated (again please do insert your own); let me show you how long you have to be &£;!&£@ patient for sometimes.  He says he’ll be happy if we go to a playarea; let me show you what relief looks like and how to admit defeat (we will call it compromise).  And so we ate our lunch in a cold playarea because I said we would (let me show you how to keep your word).  Let me £&@£@@£ show you.  I don’t say the “Let me show you” bit btw.

Joking apart it did help and it does help me regularly.  I think I go a bit out of body, maybe even a bit professional.  I don’t feel professional but you know what I mean.  They get me back when they calm down.  And I guess they want me back because the let me show you woman is alright, but she doesn’t half grate after a while.

To help our children deal with the world I have come to accept a bit of adversity is needed.  They need to see you working hard at being patient; they need to know that it is hard and it feels hard, but that there are benefits.  That it is worth it. That things recover quicker and people may never say thank you but do appreciate and benefit from it.  That its the right thing.  That it can make you calmer and happier.  The firmness that goes with the patience can be quiet, kind and almost hiding.

The kindness is so important but make sure that it includes you; they’re modelling themselves on you afterall and you want their future self to be kind to themselves and happy.  And you want to be happy!  I think they benefit from hearing you say something kind to yourself outloud – sounds strange I know.  Let them hear you going easy on yourself when you make a questionable choice or forget something.  And just as importantly be kind to yourself when patience escapes you – like it does us all.  At least I assume it does.

Your children will probably find their own way of dealing with the sunshine and happy side of things quite easily.  Although having said that, it is perhaps not instinctive to share, be graceful and grateful.  I can do sharing but am only just growing out of my competitive streak, so I am not sure where they’ll get the grace from.  Dad I expect.  (Although he does run by them at ‘park run’ shouting “Yes I’m winning” when he is not even winning.  Never mind gracefully winning.  We may have to outsource grace.)

I’m touching wood as I write this, as we all do I guess when we are feeling lucky.  I feel very very lucky that tough today was literally spilt milk, not having enough layers on at the park (me that is – brrrrrr) and a meltdown in the post office (that was M the two year old, meanwhile T the three year old – and me – enjoyed being all reasonable).  I also feel lucky that my mind although tired, is today a happy and upbeat one.

I am grateful for having an easy “Let me show you” day but hopeful that it helped the boys learn some hard to master skills.  Skills I am still working on.  I mean really. Ffs.

If it makes you happy…

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The pictures of the books are there to show that I really care about doing the right thing by my kids. I am not saying that you need to read books to care and/or do right by your kids. I guess my thinking is that most people who read parenting books are trying to do right by their kids, but obviously not all people that are trying to do right by their kids read parenting books. Phew.

This isn’t even what I’m trying to blog about today. Bear with me. Basically I think I might sound trivial so I want you to ‘get me’ a bit first. Essentially – despite what my two year old says – I am not a “doker”.

Aaaarggh. I digress, I digress, I digress. What I want to blog about is the importance of metaphorically throwing out the books and finding you and your connection to your kids.

I am lucky to have worked and to work with some awesome teachers. One quite recently said how he made sure that every lesson had something that he was looking forward to in it. Selfish? Maybe. Beneficial? Definitely. He is a Chemistry teacher so the something can be pretty cool and literally explosive. But more importantly it means the students get to see him happy, engaged, enthusiastic and relaxed; doing something that he loves. I don’t want to go down the teacher blog route and you can probably see where I am heading with this. Stopping parenting and doing something you love with them (ignoring the extra mess, noise and chaos essential) can let them know you that bit better, make everyone happier and help some of the day to day stresses melt away.

The thing ‘you love’ can be a big day out or a quick dance to a favourite song. Small things can have big effects. My two boys trash the place prove this every day in an amazingly small space of time.

I have read some amazing books* and taken something from each one but I can’t believe the authors are/were rigid parents. Surely they couldn’t have written such great books if they were?? You need to freestyle a bit to discover right? More importantly you need to freestyle for your sanity. I think we should be brave and not worry that everything will turn into a dreadful habit. I spent my early parenting months worrying that everything would become a habit. Now I just think sod it, I’ll adapt this solution when it stops working.

I would argue that it is okay to have ice cream for breakfast once in a while (we’ve only done this once…so far), abandon tea and let them have toast (it was minging experimental) or let them safely run amok. Indulging every now and then in an ‘end of term’ spirit is sometimes the best thing to do. Letting the bus go rather than chasing after it can give you an amazing feeling of calm control.

If something makes you happy (and stops you tearing your hair out) it has to be a good thing all round surely??

I just want to check the following with you as I think I’m being a bit naughty….

My two year old has this great thing at the moment where he asks me to “put his bogies back” when I wipe his nose. Its brilliant. Basically I get to have another go and another go and another while “putting them back”.   Meanwhile my three year old will only apologise if “someone else says sorry first” which means I get to air my frustrations with phrases like “I am sorry we have to go through this facade every time you need to apologise”. He looks as pleased as punch and my irritation regarding whatever he has just done to his brother evaporates so much quicker.

Basically I’m quite confident up to the bogies and apologies bit. This is okay isn’t it? I genuinely worry (a bit) that they may somehow be scarred if they work out (on some level) that I’m laughing at them. Is this bonkers or is there no place for infantile behaviour when you’re a parent?

What I tell myself is that a happy mum is so important and rightly or wrongly I thrive on this low level humour. Its born out of love and me wanting to keep my patience. But is low level humour ever an acceptable activity for the thing ‘I love’ for the day??

UPDATE** At tea tonight my two year old wanted me to pick out ALL the YUCKY BITS (basil) from his pasta sauce. Instead I covered it with cheese and told him it had gone. To quote my three year old again “I just can’t stop being naughty”.

 

 

Small Print

*I’ve not read them all yet!

**In my defence I was at work today so I am very zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

me, Me, ME!!!

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This was M’s most used phrase aged 18 months. It’s been usurped a bit by “me now” and “me want that” but you get the drift.  No different to most toddlers I know (hope).

Recently my three year old T has been pioneering the phrase “You do it; it’s your job” when asked to tidy toys etc.  It’s bound to catch on – it’s so catchy.  My shock and horror doesn’t seem to have the desired effect.  Shock and horror rarely do I guess.

Well this morning I had what I hope it is an epiphany.  They learn most from copying but perhaps the copying isn’t always as you’d hope or expect.

Maybe they’re learning as much from my second class approach to my needs as they are from my kindness and consideration towards them.  Maybe I am in danger of martyr motherhood?  Am I carving out a niche I don’t want?  What’s cute aged 3 may really hack me off at 13???

As I pondered this I sat down and enjoyed my breakfast slowly.  Despite the mess. Despite the jobs. On the way back from playgroup I got myself some new makeup (rather than some different shaped pasta for them – for them to cry and scream at when I cook it obviously).  I told them I was having a treat.  Apparently they were too but there wasn’t one.  To be fair they didn’t push.  They were too gobsmacked.  What did Mummy need with a treat? I thought she was a machine?

And this afternoon I will try and use the phrase “Hang on a minute I am just enjoying talking to Jo” at least three times. Assuming Jo brings her little boy round as planned, otherwise it’ll just be weird.

T was really confused by the chilling with my breakfast thing.  So much so I thought I must do this every Thursday.  Every Thursday?!?  Get a grip.  We make sure our little ones’ needs are met every day and quite right too (as I type mine are munching their sandwiches / napping while I push them home post playgroup with their friends) but we must make time for us as well.  They need to see your needs are important and looking after yourself is probably the best way of showing them.

They’ll always be more mess, more noise…and of course more smiles and laughs.  So while it’s all going on make some time for you.  Don’t wait until they’re all in bed.  I’m a bit slow to catch on, sensible people probably already do this?  How many times a day I wonder?…is three the magic number?  Or should it be more…ooooh exciting and it is all for their emotional development and of course ME!

As long as you do your best

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Who was told this as a kid? Isn’t this something all motivated children aspire to at school? But should it be what we want for our children? Or is doing “your best” getting all skewed? It certainly seems to be getting more and more tunnel visioned. More and more intense. Doing your best as a child seems to now mean getting the best exam results you can, possibly at the expense of happiness. It seems to be without context. Without boundaries.

It might seem strange to challenge such a seemingly wholesome mantra, but how do we really want our kids to approach their future exams and assessments; that will start aged six or seven (seriously?). Do we really want a four/five year old stressing about exams; such is the pressure on schools that the preparation starts long before the exams.

As a parent I now completely get why some of my students used to say “these exams are testing you not us” as we prepared them for the year 9 SAT exams. Those students had wise parents! Sure we want our children to try, and try hard, but their ‘best’? Is ‘best’ a bit too intense, especially when aged six or seven? What does ‘best’ mean? ‘Best’ seems to be a word that can carry too much weight by itself, as it’s a word open to implied pressure and an individual’s interpretation. We naturally want to prove that our best is worthy of respect, here enters the worst sort of pressure – the kind we put on ourselves.

So the questions we might want to ask include “What is best for my child?” and “Does this conflict with them doing their best?”. If you do want to promote them doing their ‘best’ on exams from the outset “How do you want to define their best?”. Would their best involve revision and past paper practice aged six?

Obviously we all want our children in happy, fulfilled jobs and careers; not sat on the sofa not being stressed, but eventually and inevitably getting stressed by their situation. Some stress is good after all. Isn’t it? Stress gets us out of bed and makes us do stuff. Doesn’t it? Couldn’t something else do this though? Conscience? Commitment? Enjoyment? Obviously every good parent wants their children to be happy, hopefully from the inside out. Happiness tends to include fulfilment and success to some degree, hence an inevitable quandary for us all.

Media seems to suggest that students are getting more and more stressed about their exams and academic/professional futures. Teachers want the best for and out of their students, but not I would argue at the expense of them learning how to have a balanced, happy life. The best interests of the child is a phrase bandied around a lot. Really? Is this pressure really in their best interests? Best interests surely means happiest and healthiest now and in the future? Isn’t mental health at the centre of this? Closer to the core of us than career? It seems that it is better for the economy, society’s progress and our international competitiveness to keep trying to drive up results and standards, but for each individual child? Really? And the goalposts for some must seem to keep moving. Someone has to fail for others to succeed. Even if it works for some children; is this one size fits all exam factory in the best interests of everyone? How can it be?

We are all indebted to the superheroes of society – the doctors, pioneering scientists, men on the moon and other people at the ‘top of their game’ – all moving society forward, making discoveries, if not or as well as saving lives. If we don’t strive for the best in everyone, will we stop making so many heroes? Surely not. Surely we can still stretch and challenge within a healthier system. And surely we all need a balance? Clearly this balance is different for everyone and some people’s dedication is awe inspiring; but lets not forget one person’s happy balance could be another’s living nightmare. Furthermore dedication that grows and is balanced by an adult is very different to a pressure that is heaped on a child who hasn’t yet the skills to manage it.

Simply put with today’s pressures children need more help working out what their ‘best’ means. When you don’t know what pressure is being heaped on by themselves or by stressed teachers guidance from you such as “best with an hour/age appropriate/if appropriate amount of revision” or “best after we’ve gone for a walk and before we watch a comedy show together” could be crucial. Lets advocate trying – and trying hard. Lets help them look for their own happy balance, a skill which is so important in today’s pressurised world. (Can we also actively encourage a slight disdain for formal examinations at the age of six though? Please!) Lets not have our children feeling stressed, defined or limited by examination results.

If doing their best academically becomes something children want to pursue and dedicate more and more time to, lets talk to them about stress, happiness and all the different bits of the brain (I for one need to do some learning here first!) together. A best with nothing else to balance it out probably isn’t a best anyway, as its foundations will surely be too weak. Let them know that simply trying hard can be good enough and that it is okay for this trying to come with boundaries. These beliefs shouldn’t rule them out of being an amazing doctor (all doctors are amazing in my book!) or a pioneering scientist but it could make them a happier (and I’d argue more effective) one. Above all lets help them find the confidence and mindset needed to grow up to be happy and fulfilled adults, who can go on to add to the world as they are able to, in whichever way they choose.

Plodding along

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I’m having a plodding along kind of a day.  This morning I did not get my normal pleasure from catching up on last night’s dishes (I normally take way too much pleasure from this, especially if it is someone else who has done the catching up).  Today my smiles at my boys’ constant stream of hilarity is a bit painted on to be honest and the little challenges of the day seem that little bit daunting.

I’m trying to suck up some of the advice that I have dished out to some of the girls that I have taught over the years.  The occasional girl who might have come close to tears over something very little, especially if I’ve noticed that she seems to have had regular teary (and sometimes testy – or both!) times.   For every girl like this there are probably ten or more who are better at hiding it.   What I tend to say is “Write down how you feel and when you feel it, as you might see a pattern, and if you do you can plan for it and be extra kind to yourself.”  Obviously I check they are getting some decent help too if needed, my knowledge tends to get quite patchy once I leave Pythagoras and numbers.

Anyway I’m pushing forty, and plodding along days do (luckily I guess) follow a pattern for me and I don’t have the same fear of the feelings that you do aged fourteen or sixteen or even twenty.  I’ve gotten kind of good at piling on that kindness…today I’ve let myself play on my phone behind a cushion while the boys are watching TV for that little bit longer….I have managed to squeeze in a bath before my husband left for work..I’ve snuck a few extra bits of dark chocolate (dark chocolate doesn’t count right?)……I’ve basically focussed a bit more on me and a bit less on the little two (and I don’t think they’ve even noticed!) and I’m plodding along. One foot in front of the other at all times (nearly), just keeping the little things going….food, fresh air and now TV!

I think I’m probably lucky not to get many plodding days and touch wood not too bad a plodding day.  I can afterall still plod.  It seems to be a bit of a lottery – we are a bunch of hormones and chemicals and mine are pretty kind to me.  So I’ll embrace the plod, won’t pile on the pressure (for this read messy house, messy hair, freezer tea) and I’ll let stuff go.  But these two won’t put up with this for much longer so I best go and set up the trains!   Be kind to yourself and plod and as an old housemate used to say “let the bus go” (think I know what she meant).