Monday, 17 February 2014

I'm Not Perfect (and That's Ok)

While being a part time working mother has it's perks, it definitely has it's drawbacks too. Child care can still be an issue, and if (like me) you work fewer hours than are needed to qualify for help with expenses, it can become prohibitively expensive. I, for one, rely heavily on family, a very understanding manager, and my annual leave days - rarely are they kept for anything 'fun', 9 times out of 10, they're used to cover a child-care emergency.

Then there's the issue of attitude, I know many women can slip seamlessly into their various roles, but I struggle with that. If one of the kids' shoes has mysteriously disappeared, or I'm worried about getting home at a certain time, or the bus gets stuck in traffic, then it has a knock on effect on my entire day. Maybe (probably) I'm not organised enough. Same goes for home life - it would be wonderful to slip effortlessly into the role of witty, engaging companion, wonderful cook-housekeeper, and all round sex kitten the minute my husband comes home, or the kids go to bed - but, lets face it, it usually doesn't happen. More likely, I'll be pairing socks, declaring I have no idea what the grown-ups are eating for dinner, and putting on my pyjamas at 7.30pm in a vain attempt to preserve my clothes for another day, and reduce my laundry pile.

Anyway, my point isn't to moan. It's to say that no-one (husband, kids, family, work, friends) is going to get perfection from me. We will never live in a show home, matching socks will cause me to give a whoop of triumph, and the laundry bag will never be empty. I'll make frenetic trips to the supermarket when my husband gets home, because we need something, and I just couldn't summon up the gumption through the day to load the twins up and take them. Sometimes I'll be rushing into work, with no chance to start the working day in a relaxed and organised fashion, and I'll be distracted by thoughts of coffee, and lunch, and whether I have any snacks in my desk.

I'm not perfect, and I never will be. But in each role I have I can do my best, I can focus on who I'm serving at that time. I can live my life, and perform my tasks with focus, and intention, and drive. Most importantly, I can act, and think, and live with a positive attitude. I can do my best, but accept that sometimes, regardless of that, not everything will get done, and what is done might not be perfect.

Doing our best is an act of love and service to others, accepting the limits of our best is an act of love to ourselves. Sometimes the former is much easier to grasp than the latter, but I for one know I'm much happier when I understand this.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Gratitude When Feeling Ghastly

The whole family has been laid low by illness. Both my husband and I have taken time off sick from work, and us and the kids haven't really done much of anything. The illness started with vomiting and diarrhoea, progressed to blinding headaches and extreme fatigue, and is now at the stage of The Worst Cold Ever - Nasty cough, I sound like Donald Duck when I talk, and I'm pretty sure with the congestion I have a nose like a prize fighter. My husband has gone into work today, the kids are whiny, I'm not much better, and the house is a total mess. The kids have been sick since last Sunday (grown-ups since Tuesday), and frankly, I'm over it. I'd just like us all to be well, and I'd like a good dose of get-up-and-go.

In the midst of this, though, there is still much to be cheerful about. There's been lots of time for snuggling. The snowdrops are out in the garden. I've realised anew what comfort a clean bed, well-aired room, a bath, and freshly laundered pyjamas can bring. I've realised what a kind boy Gareth is, as he brings his sister grapes to cheer her up when she's teary, or tries to give her a kiss, or brings a blanket each for his daddy and I when asked. Molly might not be as boisterous as Gareth, but she has a big sense of fun, and right now, one of her favourite things is to say 'Bare Scuddy!' and giggle herself silly. The almost enforced rest (honestly, I've needed a lie down after putting on a load of laundry), has been a chance to slow down, and really see how much they're learning every day, and how much they love each other.

There is so much to be grateful for. The 1st of February marked one year in our house - Yay for space, and for the grown ups having a room to themselves. :) We are warm, and have plenty to eat. I have books, and more importantly the ability to read them (ever stopped to think what a blessing that is?). A husband who works hard for us all, and who tells me I'm cute, even when I'm snuffling, my nose is running, and I'm up to my eyes in cold medicine. Family who call to check how we are, and ask if we need anything. Friends, both in real life, and online, who can offer sympathy or the healing power of a good laugh. And best of all, a daddy-God who loves us.