Nailed it: counting the good stuff

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The whole point of this blog is that I try to be as honest as possible. I know that sounds a bit cliched, but then, who would admit to kind of ... image-managing their lives? Not many people. I do try to get a balance. I don't want to moan constantly, and I like capturing happy little family moments on Instagram. (I'm also quite careful in what I feel is appropriate to post about, but that could be a whole post in itself). But I like to keep it all in balance. The thought of selling my life as a kind of brand makes me feel a bit sick.

I'm also a bit hyperbolic and I like to poke fun at my weaknesses because for years, I couldn't do that. I've kind of gone the opposite way now. This combination means that sometimes people think I feel really rubbish about myself all the time. I don't. I feel rubbish about myself for a normal amount of time.

I had to have a little check though when a friend approached me, all gently and seriously (in the manner of someone approaching a startled deer) to tell me that she thought I was doing really well and I shouldn't put myself down so much.

I mean ... I think it was a case of crossed wires. And maybe a bit of exaggeration on my part. Most of the time I actually think I'm doing alright with life in general. 

Which brings me onto the point: 

Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are, in fact, capable.

***

I remember a clear and shining moment in my pregnancy: my daughter was running around my feet demanding that I make up a story for her. Meanwhile, the baby was somersaulting around in a way that made me feel like a human washing machine, I was walking with an extreme limp due to PGP, and I was cooking a quite complex dinner involving a) vegetables and b) lentils that my daughter actually ate and enjoyed afterwards.

In that brief moment, I thought, 'I'm nailing this! I can do it!'

It's very important to appreciate these moments and do a quiet, probably inward celebration about them. Because life demands a lot of you, and it makes you feel like you can't keep up, and that everyone else is doing way better than you are at being an adult. We live in a world where people celebrate their successes quite publicly, which is fine, but it means that we forget that, most days, people are just quietly getting on with their lives - sometimes doing well, sometimes not so much.

We forget that we can just be normal, and boring, and that is good.

Normal and boring is what most people are when they're not posting on the internet.

But we can be good at normal and boring. We are good at normal and boring. So if you've gone off to your job again wondering what the point of it all is, or you're at home washing the third load of laundry for the day and feel a bit like banging your head against a wall at the never-ending-ness of Clothes Maintenance, here is my tip: just think about all the things you did well today.

I did it a lot while I was pregnant and feeling totally useless. Like:

Remember when you prepared dinner even though your leg felt like it was going to fall off? That was good.

Remember when you got your daughter ready for bed in between throwing up everything you ate in the last twenty four hours? That was quite impressive.

Remember that time you went to the hospital on short notice and had to get a taxi there and back, and therefore had to juggle your toddler, your unwieldy bump, the car seat, your maternity notes, a tube of wee, and a bag full of drinks and snacks and sticker books? That was good. (A bit manic, but good.)

Remember that one time you got to the bottom of the washing basket?

Remember when you were a good friend today even though it wasn't the most convenient moment for you?


So it is. Today's bad things include the fact that the house is a mess, I haven't got round to a) applying make-up b) doing my hair or c) shaving my legs (despite the fact that I have my legs out). I haven't put on any washing. I haven't hoovered in ages. I haven't finished tidying my daughter's bedroom (a frankly stupid and pointless task). I haven't phoned up about that important appointment (yet). My daughter is currently eating plain crackers for lunch and watching Peppa Pig on our portable DVD player as opposed to eating vegetables and doing some kind of educational task.

However ...

I did do a little bit of tidying.

I did manage to shower (!) and put on clothes that don't smell of baby drool.

I did sort out the old laptop to pass onto my Dad which made him very happy.

We may eat a healthy meal involving salmon for dinner.

So really, not bad.

Not bad at all!

Another thing I didn't get round to doing was taking a decent photo for this blog post ...

Linking up with:



Mummascribbles

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com


Mummuddlingthrough

diaryofanimperfectmum


Running on empty

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Hello! Today is kind of a life update post:

It is 6.21am and I've been awake for an hour as the baby decided he was so awake that he wanted to wake the rest of the house with him. He is now snoring on me and I am too awake to go back to bed.

I've got the guilt again.

The 'I'm-not-doing-enough' guilt.

I went to bed last night completely done in. It's been a long week with different issues cropping up, and the result is exhaustion (and mouth ulcers. Lovely lovely stress-induced mouth ulcers). I felt like my bones ached when I attempted to put the kids to bed.

And then somehow this happened:


That is me, hair scraped back, make-up-free, chapped-lipped, and far too tired to ensure the kids were asleep in their actual beds.

Some days are just like this: you feel like a hamster on a wheel, running the same circles all day and never actually getting anywhere. You start to get wrapped up in our own little microbubble of stress. The big picture feels really unclear. And when you go online, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook while the kids both snore incredibly loudly next to you, instead of relief you find masses of people that seem to be achieving every goal and doing All The Impressive Things and checking off everything on their list and generally being a much more productive and useful human being than you are.

So here's what I'm going to do over the next couple of days: I'm going to step away from the internet (after posting this, obviously). Instead, in my spare moments, I'm going to catch up on some reading. I'm going to attempt to tackle the laundry bomb that has gone off upstairs. I'm going to make my daughter tidy up her bedroom. And then I'm going to play and be silly with the kids. And then when Jellybean is next out, I'm going to get the baby to go to flipping sleep and then write all day long because I want to, not because I have bloggers guilt.

Okay?!

Okay.

That's it really. Just keeping it real, in case there's people out there like me who are not currently achieving all the things they want to, and can therefore relate ;)

I'll see you in a few days, hopefully!

Linking up with:


Mummascribbles

Pursuing Peace - The Fine Art of Breathing

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

Like, this is too much. There's too much happening. I can't possibly do everything I need to do. I cant be everything I need to be. I can't cope with the bombardment of information and noise and ... stuff.

I get you. But before I start stripping back my own life, I thought it would be good to revisit the basic principle, of

stopping

and breathing.

***

Things aren't the way I want them to be in my house. There are a million jobs to be done. Upstairs usually looks like a bomb of stuff has gone off. The bedrooms need repainting. I keep tripping over things like the baby bath and piles of paperwork and toys. There's an inch-thick layer of dust on our bedroom windowsill and cobwebs on the ceiling. I can't remember the last time we actually made our bed in the mornings. We just kind of flop into it at the end of the day. I can never find things - like the nail clippers. Where the heck have they gone? Also I keep finding piles of random objects like coins and hair clips and play food in strange places (thanks, Jellybean).



The other night, it all got on top of me and I went to bed feeling defeated and exhausted.

***

I switch on my son's dream sheep (yes, that's a thing). A lullaby plays, along with the soft, muffled sound of a heartbeat. The baby feeds, eager from waiting a bit longer than he normally has to. The house has that quiet air of 'just before sleep' about it.


My daughter potters in holding a book entitled 'The Art of Hand Shadow Puppets.'

'Mum,' she says, 'Can I read you my exercise Bible?'

(Every book that contains information of some kind is, in Jellybean's mind, a Bible.)

(We'll get there.)

She clears her throat and makes a funny clicking noise with her tongue, as if she is about to impart Official Information. I think of what follows as her 'Hermione Granger' voice.

'Now, this book ...' (click) 'is about ... volcanoes. And Jesus.'

She takes me on a surreal and slightly disjointed journey through the properties of volcanoes.

The baby stops feeding, and pushes himself forward. I automatically stand him upright. (It's his favourite position. My arms hold him that way without thinking now. Is he going to become bow-legged? I hope not.) He looks around with such a wide-eyed look of happiness - and wakefulness - that I start laughing, and after a beat, he laughs as well.

I think, this is perfection. My messy room, my unmade bed, the piles of clothes on the floor waiting to be eBayed or donated, the dust settling on the surfaces. This is where perfection is. Our daughter with a smear of toothpaste on her cheek, wearing just her pyjama bottoms, book in hand. Our son in his babygrow, cackling with laughter, and Chris leaning against the wall looking at us, while I look back at him, and we communicate something without having to find words for it.

Sometimes the joy of it all takes us both by surprise.

Perfection in a messy bedroom in a terraced house on an ordinary street.

***

Bad times wait for all of us.

Bills will drop unexpectedly. Jobs might be lost. Our bodies start to break with time and circumstance and genetics. We hurt each other. We face grief in a multitude of ways. The world breaks around us. We continue the age-old struggle to relate to each other. We get tired. Life just ... piles up.

Everything in life tells us to protect ourselves. To hide ourselves in a bubble of possessions and insurance and image. To be distracted from injustice and the dark parts of the world. To stick our heads in the sand. 

And yet, bad things come. We cannot stop them.

The only thing we can do is use our lives wisely. To determine not to allow this overwhelming life noise to determine our choices. To stop and count our blessings. And love abundantly, not just people that look and behave like we do.

And once again, count our blessings. And breathe.



Print from the amazing Amanda Lewis aka Sketchy Muma. Go look at her beautiful work and have a little weep at the loveliness of it all.

***

I'll be talking a bit more practically next time about finding little moments of calm in a busy day ... and encouraging calm moments for children. Join me if you fancy the challenge!

Read more:



Linking up with:


Mummascribbles
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
diaryofanimperfectmum
Mummy Times Two
Mummuddlingthrough

Twin Mummy and Daddy



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