Thursday, 27 May 2010

Good times, bad times....

Actually, the times aren't bad, it's just that some days it feels like my pelvis is being crushed like a steam roller, or the neighbours' cat jumps in through our window scaring me awake at 4am for the day, when it's been a hot night and I've already struggled to get any sleep.

Still, a few things are making me take stock and realise that although at the most manic times of day (getting cleared up after breakfast to get to school, doing 2 girls' hair, assisting with teeth brushing, etc, then the same on the way back, unpacking bags and trying to get the dinner prepped after ballet class) it is inevitable that I'll lose it given the amount of hormones coursing through my body, actually everything is OKAY and I need to SLOW DOWN, really slow down into slow motion whenever I can and start preparing for this baby, instead of focusing on the rushing around aspect of our lives.

I went to my singing group tonight (did you know I sang? Not fantastically, but well enough to do part singing in a group) and at first I found it a huge bind that I had to sit down because of pelvic problems, but then just settled into it and let the sound of the other singers resonate around me. I can still do a lot of things while sitting. I also need to do them more slowly.

So. Nothing particularly meaningful there. I just want to make myself listen to myself a bit more, if you know what I mean. I'm constantly striving for times and targets, and now I'm coming up for 30 weeks pregnant, it's time to realise that such things don't matter one jot in comparison to bringing new life into the world. It's time to pack up and head away into nature for a few days, without worrying about doing things right. It's time to start serving cheese and crackers for dinner if necessary, without being bothered that it's not a culinary masterpiece.

I hope I heed my own this space.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

All that is, seen and unseen...

I cleaned the removable plug in our bathroom sink yesterday.

It's like a mirror for my soul....

However much I keep on top of ensuring the bathroom is presentable, I can guarantee that by some point, the grout on the bathroom tiles will be stained and the ceiling will be a bit mildewy. These are lesser challenges that I don't mind being on display.

But the sink plug? *Shudder*

Armed with bleach, anti-bacterial spray, rubber gloves, hot water and a toothbrush, I scrubbed the little blighter free of (most) of the build up of yakky black grime from the muck and spittle that travels down there.

And now the build-up begins again. And I'll ignore it, because it can't be seen, and visitors to my house will only see the exterior presentation of cleanliness. Just like I try to hide others from the real 'me' at times, especially the part that snaps at the children, can just be in a bad mood for no reason at all and the one that feels detached from the world in which we live.

A few weeks ago, we had our loft boarded and a ladder installed. Hooray! It's amazing to have more storage space. But somehow, one of the workmen had a little trouble with the bathroom sink plug. It ended up being pulled out, on display, germ-ridden and filthy, with no disguise. Like God sees me. I knew then it had to be tackled as a priority (and believe me, doing things within a 3-week window for me means they are a priority at the moment!)

It's not that I want to be the sort of person who brings out their halo for the occasional polish, and whose house seems to tidy itself. My house is definitely more 'lived-in' than 'show-home'. And that's probably where I want to get me, too. Because believe me, I was devastated that a visitor to my house viewed that sink plug in all its honesty. But, that's the way things are in our house. So, although I do have roles and responsibilities that preclude putting all of my/self on show, I think I need to let some of me out there more. The human side - which is striving to do better, and gets the occasional clean up, but is still there, in all its impatient, critical, shouty, destructive being. The other day I wrote about mothers discipling their kids in public in a way that upset me - but I'll have done the same in private, even though I think such behaviours are abhorrent.

So, I'm off to prepare tomorrow's spaghetti bolognese, a big batch which will get turned into chilli con carne over the weekend. Idyllic, huh? But while I'm in the kitchen, I'll have to remember to discard the baked beans which have been sitting in the microwave since last night, when I forgot to serve them with dinner; and I'll sit and eat some of the box of chocolates that is currently atop my big cooking pot. I'm generally a little messy, outside and inside. Come and meet me, as I am.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Kum Ba Yah....

I haven't blogged for a while, as I haven't had much to say. UK politics has kept me entertained post-General Election, & I have been studying theology & 'doing' ministry on a daily basis. I feel grounded, the family feels fine, and aside from the fact that there is a sink to tweak, wallpaper borders to affix, & a huge amount of decluttering, sorting and tidying to accomplish, I was managing.

But today, I'm just a walking hormone. Not the stressed, is-my-blood-pressure-going-through-the-roof of last week. More like, the 'I will cry at anything' situation. I took my 4 year old to a pre-school group this afternoon, the type where mothers sit around in cliques while their kids take pieces of lego to one another. Actually, the kids were fairly well behaved, sometimes annoying other children, refusing to say sorry and climbing on tables, but that was, to me, just the behaviour of children. And not that I've got it sussed as a parent, but if I was so unhappy with my child's behaviour at that point I would just get the heck out of there.

Which is what I felt compelled to do today, not because of the toddlers, but because of the behaviour of the mothers. I know I'm sensitive, but I was extremely upset by how they were disciplining their kids. I get shouty, but I try not to bellow across a room until my kid is in tears. If I'm unhappy that they are climbing or running off, they'll get stopped, but they won't get hit. And I know that some people find these methods of discipline effective, and don't believe they harm children, but they just had me in tears. No, wait - that wasn't what had me in tears. What had me in tears was the complicity of the other parents. They weren't even turning a blind eye, or trying to look the other way (mixed metaphors, I know!), but they were just acting as if it were regular, accepted behaviour that happens every week.

Imogen took it in her stride (I think the Barbie scooter won her over straight away) but was perplexed by the shouty mums. I had to explain to her that her Mummy was too upset by the hitty & shouty mummys to stay for a drink and a biscuit, so we popped back home for one (I needed tea and chocolate!) On the way home, via a peek into the newly refurbished library, and a discussion in the churchyard about burial, death & grief (as you do), she started humming Kum Ba Yah. And I happened to have it on CD in the car, so we listened. Someone's crying, Lord, Kum Ba Yah. And that's all I can do on this one, ask God to stop by and take action, because I feel all at sea. Yes, I can avoid the places that upset me and try not to replicate the behaviours I see. I can strive to do my best to serve my family, and set an example to others. But what about the other families, whose kids see and hear this violence as standard? How can I possibly reach them, when what they do is so firmly entrenched?

Hear my prayer, oh Lord, hear my prayer.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude

I know, I know, most other UK residents are blogging about the General Election. I've got other priorities at the moment. I don't find any of the 3 blokes standing to be Prime Minister, their constituency representatives and indeed their policies to be anywhere near how I think the world should be, so I'm putting them to one side (sorry, Suffragette Movement).

Instead I wanted to just mention what has been in my head this morning, thanks to the Flylady radio show, but also thanks to the new stuff taking place in my kitchen. It's time to develop an Attitude of Gratitude. I give thanks for running water;
A plumbed in sink;
Hot water and detergent to clear greasy dishes;
A plumbed in washing machine;
Thanks for patient husbands (well, mine, really);
and the simple things in life, like baking cakes with a small chef who is so excited about her 4th birthday party she sings 'happy birthday' to herself and wants to light 4 candles NOW.