Sarcasm is a funny thing. And I don’t necessarily mean funny hah-hah. The difference in meanings used when we make a sarcastic remark often conveys disapproval or scorn which some people find hurtful or a bit below the belt. No doubt, in certain instances, sarcasm can be quite cutting but it can also have impact. For instance, if I said to my husband, “Thanks so much for all your help with cleaning the house,” whilst he was sitting watching TV, he would probably take more notice of my sarcastic tone than if I was to say “Can you help with the cleaning please?” which would no doubt fall on deaf ears.
I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness. Like many mums, I suffer with a nagging guilt that I don’t pay enough attention to the present, that I spend too much time on my phone whilst my children are growing up fast in front of me. I also liked the idea that mindfulness might help with my lack of patience and that it might help me to calm my brain from the constant thinking, planning and worrying; to enjoy more of the here and now.
After a taster session in July, I got hold of the book that was recommended by the tutor, and was immediately put off by the fact that you had to follow mediation exercises every day whilst reading the book. I was sceptical. I came up with a load of reasons this would be impossible to do, mostly revolving around having 2 young noisy children in the house. But in January with my resolutions for books to read this year, I decided to give this book another shot and MAKE time to do the meditations mostly whilst the youngest was at pre-school.
You might think that the trick of getting your child out the door and into school should be a relatively easy one right?
On the good days it can seem effortless to get everyone fed and dressed without too much whinging, out the door on time and deposited into school without any clinginess or crying. Then there are the more hellish weeks where everything goes wrong.
Memories are a funny thing. Triggers like songs, films, people and even smells can transport you to another time, another place from years ago. It’s amazing to think how strongly memories and emotions are re-called over something so fleeting.
Music is a powerful reminder. We all have certain songs which instantly spark a memory of what we were doing or where we were and who with.
Here’s just a few songs which bring back instant memories for me:
- Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite and Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap – These songs always makes me think of driving around in a battered car with my school friends after we had passed our driving test.
- The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield – Was the first dance at our wedding and always makes me smile.
- Time to Say Goodbye from The Phantom of The Opera – I always found this song emotional but will never be able to hear it again without shedding a tear as it was played at my father in-law’s funeral.
- That’s Not My Name by The Ting Tings – This reminds me of the summer before I got married and how it was played constantly at the festivals I went to as well as on my hen weekend in Bath.
- Anything by Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man album – This CD was played continuously on family holidays to Devon and Cornwall. They bring back happy memories of us on holiday as well as fighting in the back seat of the car with my sisters!
Let me start by saying that generally I am impatient about most things. Impatient to get the kids out to school, impatient to hear back from a client about work, impatient to get the kids to bed, impatient to get the sodding decorating finished!
I may or may not have inherited this particular trait from my dad who is not the most patient person I know either. But this week has seen my levels of impatience reach a new high (or should that be low?!).
Refusing to Get Dressed
For some reason the youngest, who has always been chatty, over confident and loves pre-school, has now decided that she doesn’t want to go. Her avoidance tactics this week has ranged from refusing to get dressed, to hiding around the house when it’s time to leave the house. I’ve tried to deal with this calmly. I wish I was one of those jolly mums who laughs at such behaviour and joins in the game of hide and seek, but I inevitably end up losing my temper and insist on her getting dressed and going to pre-school because “I’ve got shed loads to do today!”
I love reading but in between managing two small children, trying to keep on top of my freelance writing business and keeping up to date with the latest boxset viewing (currently catching up with House of Cards Series 3), there’s precious little time left. I often collapse into bed too tired to read at the end of each night.
Before you all think I’m a complete Ebenezer, let me start by saying that I adore Christmas. I love spending time with family, seeing the kids faces as they get excited by the tree, the presents, the advent calendars and what not. I love the fact that it’s an excuse for more drinking, eating and partying with friends. BUT there is no doubt about it, this season is, quite frankly stressful! So here’s my list as to why this season sends me slightly crackers:
The last blog post I wrote 2 weeks ago was about changing schools for our daughter. We knew that if we were going to move schools for Alice we would have to it before we applied for a primary school for our youngest daughter Eva in January 2017. So when the chance came up 2 weeks ago to move her to a lovely little village school a couple of miles away, we didn’t hesitate.
We thought that would be the end of it and we’d all be hugely relieved that there would be no more blog posts mentioning any issues with schools again.
Just 8 days after moving Alice into her new school, just 8 days after stressing myself out about the transition to the point where I couldn’t eat or sleep, the unthinkable happened. We got the phone call from our local primary school down the road to say that a place had become available. This was our original first choice of school. The one I’d fought hard for a place for, the one I’d written countless letters and emails to MPs, councillors, school admission team members and even the Department of Education about. The school that all my local neighbours and friends go to. The one we were seemingly excluded from. The one I’d given up ever getting a place at before the all important January deadline.
Primary School Gods
Holy Crap! You literally couldn’t make this sh!t up. I could not believe my ears. Some primary school God was literally looking down on me from his playground of alcohol and debauchery and pi$$ing himself laughing. At us.
The timing absolutely stank. Just a week earlier I would have moved Alice to this local school like a shot. I would have been jumping for joy and over the moon. But now that we’d already gone through one transition, as a family we came to a fairly difficult decision to not move her again because a) she had settled in so quickly and brilliantly seemingly loving her new school and b) we couldn’t face the upheaval of going through it all again. It just didn’t seem right to unsettle our 5 year old for a second time and risk the fact that this move may not be so good second time round.
I THINK we have made the right decision.I certainly hope we don’t live to regret it like some people have suggested.
Since this phone call last Tuesday I seem to have had Alanis Morrisette’s Ironic’s lyrics going round in my head. You know the one that goes.
“It’s like raaiiin on your wedding day. It’s the free advice you just didn’t take.”
With me adding the line in “It’s the local primary school you’ve always wanted, get offered just days after you’ve already switched.”
Or something like that.
A few people have since said to me “That’s sod’s law.”
Which got me thinking. What exactly is this term and where does it come from?
Wikipedia defines it as being “If something can go wrong, it will.” And the British culture have added “that it will happen at the worst possible time.”
Well yes, that sounds about right to me. The timing on this couldn’t have been any worse.
I’ve also been pondering what other notable (if less stressful) circumstances of Sod’s Law I have experienced recently? Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Spending an afternoon making a lovely home cooked dinner for the kids only for most of it to go nowhere near their lips and a huge proportion end up on the floor.
2.Trying to get the kids to bed early because of having loads of work to do in the evening only to have one or both of them up and down the stairs refusing to sleep.
3. Meeting up in London with some friends who I hardly ever see only for them to get lost and be very late so that we had far less time to catch up.
4. Queuing for a taxi to get home on a night out to find out that our cab driver was going on a break.
5.Thinking your child is potty trained so removing the last pair of spare knickers from the handbag only for her to have an accident that same very day.
So there you have it. The classic case of Sod’s Law! Always lurking around threatening to bite you on the bum when you least expect it.
Have you got any tales to add? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
On Monday the eldest daughter will be back to school and the following week the youngest will be back at pre-school. September signals the end of summer and getting everyone back into some sort of routine.
There’s something that lurches in my stomach at the thought of going back to school and it’s not even me going! As a kid I used to dread the end of the summer holidays and I used to get holiday blues as an adult going back to work so maybe it’s just the thought of the summer being over. Maybe it’s the thought of losing my kids back to school and pre-school when we’ve (mostly) had a great summer together, or maybe it’s the changing of the seasons and I know that the nights are drawing in and autumn is almost upon us.
So here’s a list of things that are going to keep me going once the old routine of September kicks in over the next couple of weeks:
1. Crack on With The Day Job. I’ve had a fair amount of copywriting work to do over the summer which has meant a bit of juggling with childcare and more late nights. So with the kids back in their routine, it will give me a chance to follow up some important leads, plough on with getting some work done and growing the freelance business.
2. Get Back into Blogging. What with the summer holidays and juggling work, the blog has been a bit neglected. I want to get on with writing more blogs and updating the site too.
3. House Projects. Now that we’ve made the decision to stay put rather than move house, there’s a lot of projects going on ranging from buying new furniture and decorating to plans for extensions.
4. Photos. This one seems to permanently be on my list of things to do. I snap away all the time with my phone and camera, but I never sort them out. I need to get on with the backlog and put some photos into frames and finish my year books.
5. Clothes Sort Out. The change in seasons call for a clear out of the wardrobe! I need to see what I can salvage and what I need to buy for the coming cooler months.
6. Get back into Running. December last year, I did something I never thought I’d do: I started running. For various reasons and many excuses, this has totally gone to pot over the summer. I hope to put my trainers on and get running again in September.
7. Book in Some Treats. Having something to look forward to always cheers me up! We’re already concocting plans for October half term and have some days out pencilled in the diary for a couple of weekends too.
Do you mourn the end of summer or are you glad to see the start of a new season? Do you dread that “Back to School” feeling or are you glad to be back in some sort of routine? What are you up to when the kids head back to school? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
This week I turn 41. It sounds old when you write it down, but I’m still a youngster at heart! I’m no wise woman, but I thought I’d write a list of the things I’ve learnt or think I’ve learnt so far in my near on 41 years.
1) You need to be able to laugh at yourself. My dear old Nan will always be remembered for her many sayings and this is one of them. I completely agree. No one likes a person who can’t laugh at themselves, so it’s better to laugh along with others.
2) You care a lot less about what other people think as you get older.
3) All Mums suffer with guilt. Whether it’s working too much, not working enough, being too strict or not strict enough, I don’t know of a mum that doesn’t suffer with mum guilt. I doubt it will ever change, but we need to be kinder to ourselves.
4) Life is too short to read crap books. I recently got sent a free Kindle book from Amazon. There was a reason it was free. I continued to plough on with it even though it took me an age to finish it. I’ll never get that time back, so won’t be making that mistake again!
5) Marriage is hard work. Enough said.
6) Be grateful for everything you DO have, and worry less about the stuff you don’t have.
7) Stay away from people who make you feel bad. Toxic, negative people only bring you down.
8) Love yourself. If you don’t like you, how can you expect anyone else to?
9) Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who has more money, a better job, a nicer house etc. But you need to concentrate on you.
10) Social media lies. OK maybe not lies, but it doesn’t give the entire picture. You only get to hear about the good stuff on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, very rarely do you get to hear about the bad side of people’s lives.
11) Get outside every single day. Fresh air and a bit of a walk can clear your head and do wonders for your soul. (It also quietens down arguing kids).
12) Smile! Everyone is attracted to someone who is smiles, it makes you look friendly and more approachable. Failing that, it makes them wonder what you’re up to.
13) Let kids be kids. Some structure is good for children, but too many classes, groups and schedules can cause stress. Kids need some down time to just play.
14) Only you can change your life. You want something? You have to be the one to make it happen.
15) Your husband will always be your other child.
16) Friendships come and go. There’s not enough time to stay in touch properly with everyone. It’s just the way it is that some people will come into your life as others move out. But some true good friends will remain forever.
17) Your initial instincts are normally right.
18) It’s best not to discuss politics or religion with most people unless you want to end up in a fairly heated debate or have a few hours in which to stick around for the ensuing discussion. I’ve found this one out with a few different groups of people recently over Brexit.
19) Never judge another person’s circumstances or lifestyle because you just don’t know what might happen to you in the future. A friend of mine recently told me how another girl was quite judgemental about her situation when her marriage broke down but then went through exactly the same thing a few months later.
20) Do what makes you happy and what you’re passionate about. If something makes you happy it shouldn’t be a chore to do it; you’ll always find time.
21) A lot of problems can be solved over a cup of tea, a biscuit and a chat with a good friend.
22) Failing that, there’s always wine …… or gin.
23) Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. Most things seem a lot better in the morning!
24) Everything in moderation. That goes for booze, exercise, work, rich food, late nights, pretty much everything!
25) Whether it’s work, parenting, social life or dating, most people are WINGING it. The most successful people are those that have an abundance of confidence. They look like they know what they’re doing (but probably don’t).
26) Make time and save for holidays. They’re not only good for re-charging your batteries and spending quality time with those you care about, but holidays are essential memory makers.
27) Your close friends are your saviours, your sounding boards, your secret keepers.
28) Put your phone down occasionally and enjoy what’s in front of you.
29) Children, even very young children can hear and understand what’s going on around them, far more than you care to think. I totally underestimated the negative impact last year on my eldest daughter of losing my father-in-law as well as the problem with schools. Watch what you say and when you say it.
30) Try to always see the good in people. If you only see the worst, that is what you’re likely to get.
31) The days are long but the years are short. Whoever wrote that was totally spot on. It’s very cliche, but kids grow up too fast, they might drive you mad on a daily basis, but they’ll be 18 before you know it. Cherish them.
32) A good cry is very cathartic. As is writing things down either in a notebook or blog post!
33) A new outfit and some make up will always give you confidence to go out and knock ’em dead.
34) Mindfulness has some very good tips. I’ve just had an introductory session in mindfulness and really enjoyed it. The basic premise is that we need to spend more time in the present and less time worrying about the future or the past. Whatever is going to happen will happen anyway and worrying about it will only waste more of our energy.
35) There’s ALWAYS someone worse off than you. Another great saying from my lovely Nan, but it’s so true and often gives me a bit of a wake up call if I’m anxious about something.
36) Some truly painful things never really ever go away. But you can learn to deal with them and cope a bit better with the support of those around you.
37) Be nice to people! As well as being generally a decent thing to do, you never know who might end up being your boss or in your social circles in the future.
38) What’s the worst that can happen?! This is one my mum used to ask me a lot when I was younger and a big worrier.
39) Everyone needs to go out and let their hair down once in a while. Drink, dance and be stupid. It’s a necessity to appreciate life!
40) Don’t feel bad about saying no to people. It’s impossible to do everything. Sometimes you need to say no and to not feel bad about it.
41) Some time spent alone is good for you. If like me, you spend a lot of time with the little people and very rarely get any time for yourself, you know how heavenly half an hour can be just to spend time alone reading, listening to music or just to savour the silence! It not only does you some good, but helps to improve your relationships with others when you’ve had a break!
So there you have it my 41 things in 41 years. That took some thinking, let me tell you! Is there anything you’d add to this list? I’d love to know.