I’ve just got back from a trip to the homeland. It was short and very sweet, full of family celebration and dear friends, and I loved it. But I’m glad I’m back.
There must be a word for this feeling, because I’m sure it’s not just me. Here were the streets I’ve walked, the roads I’ve driven and the homes whose hearths have sustained me. I’ve lounged on these sofas, eaten at these tables, drunk from these glasses. That’s as it’s always been, but there’s something else now, a sense of displacement. Much as I love it, and as often as I return, there is no slot in that world for me to fit into. When, eventually, I move on from here, this will happen again.
I imagine that this is how ghosts feel, when they come to haunt us.
Ha! Who knew that cycling, yoga and parenting could be such an interlocking gift?
Picture the scene (if you look after kids, it won’t be a stretch), you are taking the kids out for a bike ride, but the littler one has hit his leg off his bike, has a huge meltdown and refuses to go.
Instead of using the normal things (threats or bribes, of course!), this day I found myself doing some yogic breathing.
And it worked!
I didn’t mind that he seemed very upset, I was pretty sure he was OK and just required some fresh air and exercise.
We got out for our cycle. He did 5k. I didn’t scream at him, or take away SCREEN TIME, or offer to buy him something I couldn’t afford.
And sometimes, as a parent, so do I.
I feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expert on self-care. What I used to think of as ‘laziness.’ Here are some of my favourite things to do to help myself through a difficult week. I’d love to hear yours!
- Go to bed at 9pm.
- Go to bed at 8pm with Netflix.
- Put my pyjamas on at 4pm on weekends.
- Drink less overall, but have one night a week getting pleasantly sozzled, having completed steps 2 and 3.
- Have a bath.
- Cancel an engagement.
- Say ‘no’ to things.
- Buy stationery.
- Visit the GP if necessary.
- Take the tablets when necessary.
- Eat delicious, healthy food.
- Eat delicious, unhealthy food.
- Do a Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.
- Read a book from my childhood.
- Doodle while listening to a CD (remember them?).
- Phone/Skype/write to a friend.
- Find where the cat is. Sit with him.
As we know, I’m not a huge fan of the binary, so you’ll forgive me when I say …
… there are two types of parents …
the ones who, when their kids say ‘I want pink hair,’ say ‘tough bananas.’
and the ones who say: ‘great! Candy pink, or hot pink?’
I’m not proud to say I’m the first kind. I would say it’s because of the potential damage in dying it so young.
But I would be lying.
It’s because I worry about being judged by other parents. Teachers. Folk at church. Complete strangers in the street.
So here’s to the parents of the pink-haired kids. They are more child-centred than I could ever hope to be. It takes a lot to say ‘yes,’ when you know some people might say ‘what was she* thinking?’
*(and yes, it is always ‘she!’)
‘When I have children, I will NEVER…’
Hands up who said this when they were young? We were so innocent, weren’t we?
My (latest) infraction has been screen. As children, we were never allowed to watch breakfast TV on a school morning, and I had maintained this rule with my kids.
That is, until they both got Gmail.
And stopped getting out of their beds and getting ready for school.
I realised that, if I offered computer as a reward, jobs would be completed, pianos practised, clothes applied, teeth brushed, and snacks would be packed into school bags. It was a mini-miracle.
My no-screen rule is gone. I won’t hold onto rules to be stubborn, or prove to myself I stick to my word. I might be embarrassed with myself but life will be easier: why wouldn’t I change?