Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Different minds

My husband and I were playing a fun game the other day. He would point to random objects in the house and I had to say where they came from. For example, he picked up the juice squeezer and I responded, "Engagement present from Cathy and John." 

Testing times:
Who gave us the juicer?
This went on for a while, eliciting gasps of admiration from him every time I nailed the answer. He eventually caught me out on the toaster (I couldn't recall where we got it or what the old one looked like). "I can't believe you can remember all this stuff," he said. This is from a man who spends on average five minutes a day looking for his keys/phone/work pass. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Watch the step-change

My life is about to change. As of September, I will have two kids at secondary school. I will no longer be a mum of young children. Yikes! Where did those years go? Cue midlife crisis.

Garden statue with her arms raised in jubilation
Freedom at last?
But before I plummet into mourning, I am trying to convince myself that a new, exciting era is about to dawn... Yes! More freedom! I will no longer be wholly defined by my relationship with my children. As they become more autonomous, so will I.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The history teacher

Hermaphrodite Mum 
Three kids and a single mum

It's a sight to make every mother's heart sink: your child, curled up with her headphones on, watching YouTube on a mobile phone. It gets worse. Your child has already spent most of the afternoon hooked up to Netflix and has evidently forgotten about her school exams next week. 

Quiet One: lost in blah-blah land
©  Dreamstime.com
I direct my most penetrating gaze at Quiet One, but she's lost in some virtual place, halfway between denial and blah-blah land.

Finally, I raise my voice. "Shouldn't you be doing some revision?" I shout. 

The earphones are pushed back a smidgeon and she looks up at me with an indignant frown. Then she humphs and slides off the chair. 

Monday, 5 February 2018

The little things

My 10-year old son and I are playing a game at the moment: the 30-day Happiness Challenge*. I bought it after he finished his entrance exams for secondary school. A bit of light relief. So each day he plucks a 'happiness challenge' from a little box covered in smiley faces. Two weeks in, he's been smiling at strangers, looking back on old photos and walking barefoot in some rather soggy grass.

List of 'happiness' challenges
My main objective is to keep him on a positive track after the stress of all the exams. Like many of us, he can get lost in the more negative aspects of his day. Apparently, this is a common human trait. "Our view of the world has a fundamental tendency to tilt to the negative," says social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood in a TEDx talk. 

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Dream on...

Dream, believe, achieve is emblazoned on my teenager's sweatshirt when she surfaces late morning. Not that there is any rule about squeezing achievements into the early part of the day - the placement of dirty cereal bowls in the dishwasher is generally good enough for me. "That's a nice thought for the new year," I tell her in my cheery voice (she can be a little temperamental before her first slice of toast so I have to tread gently). If only it was that easy, I think quietly to myself.

Sweatshirt with the words, Dream, Believe, Achieve
Maxims for the new year
Life is about striving in one way or another, no more so than at the start of a new year. The slate has been wiped clean, the days are growing longer and we are buoyed up by the belief that a few new numbers on the calendar will make all the difference. If Theresa May can feel chipper about making progress with her Brexit deal (assuming she believes her own rhetoric), then my own small-scale goals should be relatively achievable.