'Good for her, not for me'

Thursday, 30 April 2015

I recently have become slightly enamoured with Amy Poehler (as a late-to-the-party convert to Parks and Recreation) and I read her book, Yes Please. Amy is as funny and witty and sharp as I imagined her to be.

And do you know what?

I really love the part where she says this:

"Good for her! Not for me." That is the motto that women should constantly repeat over and over again. "Good for her! Not for me."

Good for her, not for me.

Yes, yes, yes to this. Why do I make myself believe that I have to be all things to all people? Sometimes I let this get to me and I want to be smart, snappy, ambitious woman around my friends, down-to-earth-keepin'-it-real-Mum around other mothers, beautiful-composed-sexy-feminine constantly around my husband, and Martha Stewart around my mother (and mother-in-law). I end up being a weird sort of mismatched bits-of-everything person instead (which is, you know, like real life).

I'm happy with who I am right now. (Well, kind of). And you know, I might do things in the future that will surprise me, but right at this moment, here is a list of things I can boldly say are not for me:

  • I find loud noisy parties intensely stressful (unless 95% of the people there are people I've met before)
  • I am terrible at maths and get stressed if I need to add things up quickly
  • I can't speak any languages except English (unless 90's Sitcom Quotes is a language)
  • I don't speak loudly and I don't sound assertive when I speak
  • I can't wear heels without also wearing the expression of a woman about to fall to her death
  • I never look smart even when I try really hard
  • I don't know how to apply make-up properly. Or how to do hair (this may have something to do with the never-looking-smart thing)
  • I can't be bothered plucking my eyebrows until it gets to an emergency situation (ditto)
  • I'm not a career-climbing woman
  • I am rubbish at gardening
  • I don't know the names of plants or flowers
  • I can't sew
  • I have no sense of direction
  • I don't seem to find the time to paint my nails, ever
  • I don't have a degree and don't feel the need to get one at this stage in my life
  • I don't wake up in the mornings feeling ready to Conquer the World
  • I don't really get interior design (except 'this cushion is the same sort of colour as this cushion! That'll do!')
  • I'm not very adventurous (most of the time)
  • I don't, and have never, felt that I've missed out by not travelling around the world (although I do quite like holidays)

... and that's okay.

It's okay to have those things, or be good at those things. The trick is not thinking I am inferior or superior than anyone else. Differences are just differences, not set benchmarks that we have to reach.

The next time I see a glamorous Mum with a perfectly just-the-right-amount-of-casual outfit and painted nails and beautiful make-up I will smile and think 'good for her, not for me'.

The next time I speak to a friend about to embark upon an amazing round-the-world trip I will think 'good for her, not for me'.

The next time I am sitting amongst my ambitious, talented, goal-driven friends achieving job success and planning their next career move, I will thank God for them and think 'good for her, not for me'.

Take it. Use it. Apply it to your life.

'Good for her, not for me.'

It really frees up some head space, I tell ya.

Anyway, GTG, I've got some important TV viewing to do.

Embrace the sunshine

Sunday, 12 April 2015

So, it's been ridiculously warm these past few days. It seems to have come on so suddenly - one day I was wearing my winter coat, the next, there's blazing sunshine and I'm having to dig out my summer clothes from the wardrobe and go to the effort of shaving my legs. (TMI?!)

Anyway, it's weather like this that makes me so glad we live within walking distance of a park, and it makes my heart happy to see it full of families playing and people walking their dogs. Although sometimes, Jellybean and I go really early in the morning and there is literally no-one there, which is nice in a different way.

Yesterday we skipped the playpark and went for the grassy area instead.

I was thinking, whilst walking to the shops after we had played in the park, that the sunshine makes everything seem a bit brighter and happier, in the same way that snow makes everything look pretty. I just feel brighter. I notice the beauty in things when they're bathed in sunlight. 

Sometimes, I make the mistake of thinking that other people's lives are that bright, sunshiney and perfect.

The thing is, you could walk past me with my beautiful toddler in her floppy hat, both of us sprawled on the grass and sharing a banana, and think that my life is utterly perfect, and in that moment, I suppose it is. However, you didn't see the moment before, when Jellybean threw a tantrum because her ball was a few steps in front of her, but she didn't want to walk over to get it (her reasons for tantrums are becoming more and more ridiculous). Or any of the other less-than-shiny moments we had that day.

I was walking along, deep in thought about this, when I spotted a woman jogging with three beautifully dressed children riding their bikes in a line behind her. It looked perfect: a gorgeous family, exercising together, the children following their mother obediently. I was walking past them when suddenly the eldest child refused to go any further and had a strop because she didn't want to go any further.

It made me smile, because I felt a kind of unspoken camaraderie with the parent. Obviously, I don't want other parents to have to deal with tantrums and attitudes all the time, because it's hard work, but that's what kids do. All of them. As a parent, you can strive all you want for a perfect life, but you'll never get it, because kids are unpredictable little beings that sometimes behave badly, and they often change both your mood and your plans. No matter what Supernanny style techniques you have up your sleeve.

But that's okay. It teaches you to be patient. Sometimes I am patient through gritted teeth, but still, patient. It teaches you to be flexible and accommodating and to practice giving grace and forgiveness.

And those perfect, sharing-a-banana-in-a-beautiful-landscape moments? They're still perfect. They're still worth embracing and capturing and keeping in your heart. 

They're still worth chasing.

I hope that everybody has a chance to get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts, and I pray for beautiful sunshiney-perfect moments for all of you this weekend :)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

where we are right now.

Friday, 10 April 2015

I kind of miss doing 7 Quick Takes. Although I'm learning (slowly) that sticking to a regular posting schedule just doesn't seem to work out most weeks, I do miss the opportunity to just waffle about random things.

So I'm doing it today.

I've been determined this year to stop living in fear. To be fair, God has brought me a long way over the past year or so in that respect, but there's still so much that I am afraid of.

Which is a shame, obviously.

I don't like to admit I am afraid of things because I like to pretend that I am iron woman and I can cope with everything but honestly, right now, I need to be able to say that I'm not that perfect person that I try to pretend I am.

I'm on a journey.

Right now, this is where I am. Imperfect and a little unconfident and sometimes doubting and a lot of times questioning.

I guess I'm coming to terms with not being able to perfect-circumstance your way into being constantly joyful and happy.

Sometimes you just have to accept that this is how you feel and hope that something good eventually comes out of it.

I will be back to blogging normality soon. I have a few posts already written and a few more in my head ready to go. In just over a week, we are off on holiday, leaving our parents to do various jobs around our house (cleaning carpets, recovering sofas) which I am extremely grateful for. Again and again, I realise how lucky we are to have such wonderful family surrounding us.

Especially when I feel a bit 'meh'.

So the holiday is like Big Event in my mind, because afterwards I am going to have to try and find a job, amongst other things that have to be sorted out. Things that I need to do to take care of myself properly.

In the meantime, here are some pictures that sum up what goes on in my house right now:

(she thought I wasn't looking here. I was spying on her and suppressing giggles as she quietly, carefully opened the door and reached for things before she got caught).

(Jellybean likes to pull up her chair right next to mine if I'm writing, which is quite cute.)

And some pics from my phone from the last few days ...

(Walking is hard work).

(Jellybean does this crouching-to-inspect thing that makes me laugh.)

'A star!'

Many things to be thankful for, so many I can't count them.

Much work to be done.

I will be back tomorrow (hopefully!) with a Country Kids post and then next week I will be (hopefully) talking about creativity and motherhood, so stay tuned!

Hope you are all enjoying the wonderful sunshine!

Pastel colours and fluffy bunny rabbits! It's an Easter crafts post!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

It's the Easter holidays! As a stay at home Mum of an eighteen month old, this doesn't make a huge difference to me, practically. Except the fact that all groups/activities are off for two weeks. So we've had to find more things to do around the house.

Enter Easter crafts!

I've been meaning to make rainbow rice for Jellybean for ages but haven't got round to it. It's really easy - food colouring + rice + ziplock bag. Put them together, shake until the colour has dyed all of the rice, and then lay them out overnight on a plate or a baking tray to dry. 

Then because I am a sucker for last-minute supermarket purchases (and they were cheap and adorable) I bought these little plastic eggs and tiny bunnies and chicks. The way I justified this is that we aren't getting her an Easter egg, as she'll get some chocolate from her grandparents anyway and I am trying desperately not to get her addicted to it like her father.

Anyway, I laid it all out as in the picture above. And of course she didn't notice that the eggs opened or that anything was inside so I had to open them for her, but the look on her face was totally adorable. She said 'WOW' in this hushed voice of awe. Currently, as I write this, she is scooping them all up into her arms and holding them close to her face, saying 'Ahhhh.'

Totally worth it!

Plus rainbow rice looks really cool when the colours get mixed up, as they are now while she's scooping and pouring it:

A super quick activity that is keeping my daughter occupied long enough for me to write a blog post. Yay!

I've also been considering the fact that I don't really decorate our home for Easter, even though really, it should be just as important (well, probably moreso) to me than Christmas is, as a Christian. I'm hoping over time I can start building up some Easter decorations for our house. In the meantime, we made this:

We picked up some twigs from the park, popped them in my Mum's vase which I forgot to give back even though I borrowed it three months ago, and attached little Easter eggs to it, which Jellybean painted. I was even brave enough to introduce her to glitter. (Heavily supervised)

It looks a bit bare and homemade but I still kind of like it. ;)

Last but not least, I broke out the glue for the first time ever to make a cross to display in our house for Easter (and which will probably end up on Jellybean's wall after that). 

I used recycled materials (in the style of Blue Peter) - bits of cardboard and cut up squares from magazines. And glue. Plus a layer of glue over the whole thing afterwards to protect it a bit.

I was surprised at how much Jellybean enjoyed this activity. Now I keep looking at things that we were previously going to put in the recycling in a different light in case I can cut things out of them for later use.

Hope this is somewhat inspiring for anyone with a small child around the house that they have to keep occupied (doubly tricky with not much money and terrible weather). I'm trying to get a bit more creative with Jellybean and I've realised maybe I underestimate her ability to hold things and not a) destroy them or b) eat them. So there might be a few more crafty posts coming up soon.

For more Easter/springtime craft ideas, you can have a look at my Pinterest board here!

So - that's what we've been up to. Now I am on panic-prep-for-holiday mode. Hope you're all having a good Easter break :)
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