TFI Friday?!

Working in an office, I would love a penny for every time I hear “It’s Friday!”, “At least it’s hump-day” (erm, that’s office speak for Wednesday, not ya birthday, just sayin’),  or “Ugh, Monday” in descending pitches of excitement.
Although I have learned the right things to say, usually just echo or nod, I don’t really agree.
Here’s a secret: I don’t get that “Friday feeling” and haven’t done ever since, let’s see… I had kids.

Pretty much how I feel about Fridays: "not bovvered"
Pretty much how I feel about Fridays: “not bovvered”

When I was a stay at home mum, I really enjoyed what I did, and tbh sometimes dad around at the weekend would throw a spanner in my works and it wouldn’t flow as much. The weekend was just another state with different rules, no better no worse.
Since starting work full-time again just over a year ago I work hard all week and it is challenging to fit it all in: school runs, pick ups, appointments, playdates, after school stuff, shopping and sorting house in the evening. But, I still don’t feel the weekend is a rest or a break or tbh that much different from the week. I still have what I would consider more than a full time job: taking care of a house and minding 3 children.

Also, although my renumareted job isn’t at all high flying or hugely exciting right now, I’m content. I have my desk, my stuff, I know what to do, I have nice colleagues, I drink my little coffees and have my little chats and I just get on with it. I would like to think that if I was literally ticking off the days backwards from Monday, I would know it was time to move on.

I’m not sure if my non-plussed attitude to Friday is a depressing fact, basically that my weekends are devoid of the fun or rest&relaxation that others look forward to, or that I’m actually more or less content with my life so don’t have to live solely for the weekend.

What I do know is that just as I don’t have TFI Friday syndrome, I also don’t have the dread of Monday. Which ain’t no bad thing, especially on a Sunday.

TFI Friday?!

Note to self: make time for you

Time, elusive for most parents. I have some time today because I’m in bed recovering from a nasty fever, but usually I have no such luxury.

In a life with no perceived time, we can easily fall into traps of bitterness. We can feel as if our lives are an endless circle of facilitating others’ needs: our kids, partners, friends and bosses.

They say “have some me time”. But how many people actually do it?

In my case, I have always taken the me time when it has almost been too late. When I’ve got to the point of hating my life, my partner, my kids, my friends and my job.

Why?

They say “take some me time”. Yet how many actually do it before the breakdown, before the happy pills, before the divorce?

If people did actually look after themselves so many other (harder) things would be avoided. This is why all this new stuff about radical self care and self love us really worth noting.

It is not selfish to look after your self first: it is the best gift you can give to you, and if you can’t stomach giving a gift to you (yet) it’s the best gift ever to those around you 😉

At the moment I’m making time for myself by taking Wednesday afternoons/evenings “off”. I’ve realised that my partner can absolutely handle the kids alone all evening (just as I do every other evening when he works). I plan to read, write, chant and see friends.

And fill my cup so I can start to be cheerful again. 

Note to self: make time for you

Funk-y

So, yes, it’s been a long time since I last posted. Life is hectic: 2 jobs, 3 kids and no family help just means constant (CONSTANT) activity.

Working for money at work takes up around 75 hours per week between us, then there’s picking up/dropping off various kids, food related activities (shopping for, prepping, serving, clearing), house stuff: the endless clearing, let alone actual cleaning (the daily laundry loads, folding clothes, toys everywhere, shoes everywhere, everything a constant mess), and lastly personal care which I will not give up although last night I did wipe my face with a babywipe and skip flossing. My legs are sooo hairy: damn summer and the need to bare skin, hair removal is just one more thing to do.

Anyway. This post wasn’t going to be about that. That is something most families experience to one degree or another. We are all busy. Many of us work outside the home and if not are damn busy inside it (I have done both and looking after young kids at home ain’t no walk in the park). Homes need care, children and adults need care, these thing take time and energy.

The question really is about that energy, where does it come from, how do we sustain it?

There are times when I feel I can take on the world. I am woman, I am strong, and all that. I feel zippy and capable, and fabulous. I make it look a breeze, they all wonder how does she do that? I revel in my children, laugh and play. I feel proud of myself: I’m coping! way to go!

Other times I just feel drained. I wake up tired after a crap nights’ sleep, I’m pissed off when my kids wake up and demand me, the day in front of me stretches out into eternity, I work and while I’m there I use up any of the niceness energy I have because I have to put on a good face, when I get home I have no niceness left and the kids piss me off immediately by fighting, I feel hard done by and drag the dinner on, heave the clothes into the machine, tidy up and bark at anyone who isn’t, I lie in the dark getting my kids to sleep, biting my nails and thinking of all the other things I could be doing. I’m totally not in the moment. Each day and each task becomes something ticked off an eternal to-do list. Another day done, another day closer to…to what exactly?

Lately I’ve been feeling number 2. I’m just constantly in a funk. I’m aware of it, which is good and painful. I’m aware that I’m not being my best self with my kids or my partner. I know that each day “ticked off” is also a day of their childhood, which is so fleeting and precious. I know that they are building a horrible image of mummy being moody and irritable.

I know all this yet the feeling persists. The not right feeling. There is every and no reason to feel like this. To say it’s down to choice is too simplistic, as if we can turn off and on joy at will. I think joy is more like a cultivation or practice but right now I’m not even sure where to start with that. In other times I’ve turned to books and spiritual practice, and I must say I’ve totally let that go again. Being present and grateful really help but I feel awash with a mixture of tiredness and urgency which make it hard.

There’s no solution, no conclusion, no answer. It’s just put one foot in front of the other, as my mum always says, and possibly put the old oxygen mask on, and hope that joy comes back sometimes soon.

Funk-y

A little slice of heaven

The good times are here.

G and I are both in full time employment for the first time in 5 years. We are about to receive 2 full pay checks, which means paying bills on time this month, means no need for family to top up our income, means long overdue visits to the dentist, means buying some glasses and knick knacks for the house, a few spring clothes for the bairns, and going out for a celebratory lunch. Life is good.

Boychild has been away for the last 3 weeks in Cancun, and now in London doing all sorts of fun stuff like a parkour course for kids. We are incredibly lucky to have parents young enough, wealthy enough and willing enough to take him (and eventually girlchild and babyking) for amazing holidays. He is back in 3 days, and we have missed him.

Spring is here in all its glorious frivolity. The eggshell blue of the sky is brought into full contrast behind the sprays of tender green that have shot out in a matter of weeks, giving the city its leafy outdoor roof back. This living cover is one of the things I love about Barcelona.

I have spent the last week being a SAHM again, it’s Easter hols, and loved it. We have been to the beach, the zoo, the park, seen friends (mine and girlchild’s), baked (twice!), painted Easter themed stuff, watched The Neverending Story cuddled up together on the couch (and, oh, how I felt the solemn right of passage as we did so!), talked, laughed, connected.

And last but not least I have invented a new habit for myself. As G works most evenings now, and I don’t have boychild here, after I put the babyking and girlchild to bed and then tidied up, I set myself up in bed with tea, book, iPad, phone, food, nail kit or whatever else I think i might need and I CHILL, baby. OK, so some nights it doesn’t work out (i.e I fall asleep with them, or have a load of housework to do, or someone calls me and it just gets too late), but when it does, it looks something like this photo I whatsapped to my girls the other night….

In my books, it doesn’t get much better than this…

Image

 

 

 

A little slice of heaven

Enemies, all around…

Tiredness and working, working, working. Scanty, bad quality sleep. Revolving housework. The relentless corporate world. NEVER HAVING ENOUGH TIME. Time to talk to my partner, time to play with my kids, hang out with friends, time to do my hair or pluck my eyebrows, time to rest. It’s worn me down over the last 6 months.

And I have neglected my spiritual practices, basic as they are. Neglected to live in the moment and look up at the sky. Neglected to bring myself back to the now when things feel like they are spiralling out of control. When the to-do list feels neverending and yesterday feels like one long “why did I/didn’t I say/do that?”. When each moment is just another moment to get things done…or not manage to get things done.

Even supposedly enjoyable events have felt like something to “do” and then “tick off” when they are done. What’s the point?

I talk the talk. I have read the books and I have seen them work miracles in my life. But it’s called spiritual practice for a reason…you need to practice! Every day, every moment, because the mind/ego is strong and will just creep on in there if you don’t.

Lately, feeling down, I have felt like everyone is against me, that no one understands me or cares about my needs. That I am alone, isolated, overworked, underappreciated. That other people just don’t care, don’t love me. I’ve seen enemies in everyone from my kids to my colleagues.

Yesterday I found an alone moment and listened to a brilliant metta meditation (loving kindness) by Tara Brach. It was so reassuring and beautiful to re-connect with the idea that there is no separateness between us, that separateness in itself is a concept created by fear, stress, anger. An illusion.

I reflected in loving kindness on various people, including myself, and brought myself back to the middle again, and to the realisation that there is no enemy except that of our own making.

 

 

Enemies, all around…

WTF moment Royale

In my head (and in emails to friends) I class some moments in my family life as “WTF moments”. They are like those events (that seem to happen on a bi-weekly basis around here, at least) that you just step outside of the situation for a moment and think “Wtf, this can’t be happening, this is just so ridiculous”.

For example, a while back I had some escapades involving feral gerbils and chewed up speakers: WTF.

Then there was the time more recently when my daughter got worms (for the 3rd time, for the love of God) and I was hunting in her bum for one of them that wasn’t letting her sleep with a torch and a cotton bud at 12:30 at night: WTF. (I did find it though, and she did sleep well after that and some medicine)

There are the spectacular breakages (1x1m mirror shattered in slivers all over the bedroom, anyone?) or the midnight madness (smashed mayonnaise jar on the kitchen floor at 3am when all you wanted was a glass of water?) or the home falling apart (broken boiler for 3 weeks with 3 young children? Smoking light switches? Leaking pipes?).

This week I had a definite wtf moment, caused entirely by me. Going out for my work dinner on Tuesday, I got way too drunk (drank a load of red wine on an empty stomach, no water and ending with a shot of who-knows-what, and I rarely drink) and after a rowdy singing session accompanied by loud thumping of the tables in time to the “music” (picture the dwarves in The Hobbit) decided that the long banquet table we had just been eating off looked just like a catwalk, climbed up, sashayed down from one end to the other, jumped off and fucked my right heel up. Big time.

Silver linings: after visiting A&E for an x-ray it is not broken or torn and will heal within the wee; my bosses didn’t actually see (though they know why I’m off sick, as I can’t walk); I didn’t insult/hurt/be rude/deface anything or anyone, I was just very merry. And a bit wild.

The day after I had to deal with a big time shame/vulnerability hangover (luckily I had been reading Brene Brown and identified the feelings immediately as such) and since then have been thinking that I probably need to get out more.

You see, life has gotten sooooo serious. I feel like I work all day long, and come back to screaming/crying/arguing and housework. That no moment is for fun or play. I know this is probably a mindset, and that the trick is to feel each moment and approach life with a bit more joy and as sense of fun, but that is where I am at. Everything just seems so SERIOUS.

I also realised that that crazy girl, you know, the one I talk about here, definitely hasn’t gone away and perhaps needs to be let in a bit, not shut out. Logically I know I can be a good employee, mother, friend and partner and slightly wild, but emotionally I have separated these things and I guess I have squashed and suppressed the wild side, thinking that’s what I need to do to be “good”. But in the end it’s making me feel bad. And crazy.

Anyway, food for thought, which I have had the luxury of on the past 3 days. To tell the truth it has been nice at moments to be alone, here in the flat, no kids, no way of being busy, just sitting, pondering or listening to the radio. Apart from the painful foot, and needing crutches, that is.

‘Til next time!

WTF moment Royale