Archives for posts with tag: compassion

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It was almost a year ago that I embarked on a huge rebalancing of my life and finally gave up the fight and accepted part of the reason I was unhappy was being in a marriage without love that wasn’t working and it was time we called it quits. i took myself by surprise at the decisiveness that I took this step and how right it felt to start out again just me and my daughter. As the months went on I decided I wanted to go out and find someone to enjoy what I’d been missing for so long.

So it began, time to make adult conversation and release my inner wit and practise flirting again… Someone to go out to dinner with or see a film, try new things, finally a social life of my own. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the mum social scene that comes with children but it has its limitations! Fundamentally dating hasn’t really changed from too many years ago when I last took part but now with a few added bits.. An online profile or life cv, mobile numbers, what’s app, smiley faces etc?? After messages with a few people and having a good giggle I realised there is no substitute for meeting in person and finding if the all important attraction is there? So off I went on an actual date!… Or now a coffee date first to see if you want to go on a real date, its surprising though how many people don’t actually drink coffee when you meet.

“Each dating experience provides you with in-the-moment information about your preferences, weaknesses and strengths. If you continue to think and do the same things that you have always thought and experienced, you will remain stuck. Your brain has an extraordinary ability to adapt and grow—if you allow it. For the brain to grow you have to give it new stimulation and new experiences that challenge you on some level. Perhaps there are things that you like or have wanted to try but have been afraid to do so. As long as they reflect your genuine interest, work through the anxiety and put yourself in novel situations where you may meet different kinds of people and experience other aspects of your personality.”

Jill P. Weber, Ph.D.  a clinical psychologist

When I went on one particular date in May this year I wasn’t expecting anything other than more practise. Oh how wrong I was something in his look, I knew within the first hour this time was very different, I wanted to stay here I liked it, a lot and I confess fancied the pants off my new date! I wanted to know more and I wasn’t leaving without a cheeky kiss, and I got it! Albeit a very polite and gentlemanly one, we were keen to hold hands together and smiling a lot, this showed real promise and excitement.

We weren’t wrong, six months on and a lovely surprise bunch of pink roses this week we’re well on our way, it seems we both felt the same on that day. We know so much more about each other now and our feelings have grown into love and care for each other. He has brought me back into a life I want to enjoy every minute of. Trying to remember good places to go, choosing a film for the cinema, thinking of holidays you would like to go on. Discovering each others differences, what flavour crisps you like, what TV you like to watch, what alcohol you drink. With time has come the ability to enjoy being relaxed in each others company, cooking dinner, falling asleep on the sofa, not wearing make up or your best clothes.  Combining two lives, both our families and our ex families too, its no easy task and takes time to create something new and different.

Something’s don’t change though… “It’s your turn, no I did it last night, but I cooked dinner, but I’ve been working all day!” Yes the washing up a test of any relationship! Its funny now how those little niggles start to show, even down to what dishcloth you use, when your older you have your set ways, you bring these to your relationship in equal measure. I find this amusing, which ones you think ok I’ll try your way and others you take no notice of, grin and carry on as always. Christmas is our next milestone, the tree, the dinner, combining even more families into 2 days and getting the presents right, the hardest bit of all.

Miles from where we started the last six months has been exciting, dramatic and also a valuable lesson in how a relationship should be. We are not perfect, I am still working on not receiving comments negatively as I would of done in the past, when I had good reason to and trusting now that I don’t, in the beginning the ghosts of both our pasts still affected our reactions to a situation. Luckily this time round differences resolve themselves easily and quickly and just add to the process of getting to know each other. The main thing I have learn’t this year is to do what makes you happy and be with who makes you happy, don’t settle or do something just because you feel you are expected to, trust your instincts.

A counsellor told me a year ago all good relationships are built on compassion and compromise, you need someone who makes you feel special, which is where I am today! I am looking forward to what the next six months will bring.

Lots of love

Angela

xx

 

 

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Cancer you have tried to hold me back but my Christmas spirit won’t let you. You have taught me what is important, who do I love, who loves me? I still have my ability to love life and those in it. This time of year my Christmas spirit is alive and well…

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”  Alexander Smith

Christmas is nearly here and like every year it takes over my life, I will put my heart and soul into it forgetting everything else that’s going on. I have booked the pantomime tickets, the first batch of tree chocolates are on the tree, the Strictly final is a few weeks away and I have ordered my turkey! Discussions have started about what drink and treats will be left Christmas eve for father christmas and his reindeer, definitely mince pies and carrots but the drink is yet to be confirmed, milk or alcohol? The cat will eventually get bored of climbing the Christmas tree, which i will restock with the hidden packet of tree chocolates on Christmas eve! How many turkey dinners out can I chance this year so as not to be fed up with turkey on the day??

Trying to arrange to see friends in December its surprising how little time there is to go out and I already have dates now booked in for January which now seems to be the new December. My daughter has written a very detailed list on the computer for father christmas with every year the presents getting smaller and the cost larger… no more plastic toys in big boxes she has now discovered brand names.

This is a time of year I have never grown out of, Christmas is quality time to spend with your family and loved ones relaxing, watching ‘Elf’ for the 17th time, forgetting to watch the queens speech, eating food at odd times of the day and reconnecting with the sofa. I do love the build up and anticipation, the opportunity to release my inner elf… Although this one will not be sitting on the shelf. Unlike my other elf who has become a huge fan of pinterest and Facebook for inspiring all her naughty antics.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear”           Elf (film) 2003

The Christmas John Lewis ad always serves as a good reminder Christmas is about giving your time, energy, thoughts, love and compassion. A happy picture of kids in Christmas jumpers, Grandad’s asleep in the chair with their cracker hats on, family games and searching the quality streets for the toffee pennies! There is so much emphasis on happy families this time of year that it is easy to forget that it will be hard for some, families come in all shapes and sizes, there are those who will no longer be with us and our thoughts will be with them, those who are here for the first time to spoil and enjoy, those we may disagree with but our love still goes out to them and there are those less fortunate than us who may need our compassion and help.

Every year we go to the children’s nativity service on Christmas eve which reminds us it is a time that is as much about giving as it is receiving and its the time we spend together that we will remember. This year things have changed in our house, the photos will be different, my daughter knows daddy won’t be at her home on Christmas morning she will see him separately this year, I suspect double the amount of presents will go down well but still its a change that is hard to deal with for a 10 year old. Christmas is a time for creating memories, and we can still enjoy our traditions at home together even though the people change, we will still put up our tree, hang our tree chocolates, put out our stocking, leave out our mince pies and carrot and enjoy our day, we may even take a Christmas selfie…

After the turkey sandwiches, turkey curry, turkey and chips we will then clean, de-clutter, exercise more, eat better, forget about our new year’s resolutions and every day life will resume as before, if only we could treat everyday like Christmas.

17 days and counting…

Have a Merry Christmas

Lots of Love

Angela xx

As a parent you want to bring up your children to the best that they can. They need the maths, english and computer skills, to enjoy sport, play an instrument, have lots of friends and so on. There are a long list of clubs and activities we sign them up for, and now we have the Ipad and mobile phones to contend with… new words such as emoji now in our everyday language, we now have protocols for playdates/family visits for the iPad!

It is very easy to get carried away in this very commercial world, trying to add as much into our lives as possible, somehow we are all more successful if we are busy. Then there is a power cut, rainy day or our plans for the day are cancelled, disaster what are we going to do all day? Then while I’m searching on my smartphone googling where to go when it rains I realise my daughter has tipped out the lego box and has started making a car with a swimming pool on the back and a house on wheels with a bunch of flowers on top… all the little lego people suddenly lined up to watch this perfect example of imagination and contentment.

Too often you feel the need to entertain and direct children with what they ‘should’ be doing but when given the chance they have a whole world of imagination and creativity inside them that comes to life. I love to see children given time off developing their own minds and exercising their ability to think, a life skill that will carry with them through every area of their life. Its healthy for children to have boundaries and good role models, to learn right from wrong, know that every action has a consequence, sit still and pay attention in class, get a good education. However Growing minds need the opportunity to be exercised, social and emotional skills developed, to learn to think for themselves and explore ideas.

Yes learn the skills you need but also write your own, develop new ones, create your own life, lead don’t follow. Turn of the TV and how about ask questions they need to think about to get to know each other, to make us all think? To reawaken our sense of curiosity? So often gadgets, media and life distracts us from developing good conversation with our children, good communication is an essential part of life.

Smart parents give their children a million answers. Wise parents ask their children a million questions. And so smart parents might know, but wise parents understand.

I strife to be the perfect mother and inspire my daughter to be the best she can be but life can have a habit of taking over and this theory doesn’t always go strictly to plan, so when it was way past bedtime last night and I’m asked ‘Why’ for the tenth time and I say: Because mummy said so that’s why… Looks like I still need some practise. I hear another comment in my head from my own mother: Do as I say not as I do…

So for these days I love this idea I saw on mumsnet today to get things back on track :

Conversation Jar

There we are, looking at each other over a table with nothing between us but open space and time and love . . .  and I cannot think of a single interesting thing to ask them. I got nothing. I’m a mother, so I’m tired. It’s just impossible to be creative when you’re tired. And so here’s what I end up saying: “So – how was your day?” Every parent knows that this rusty “how was your day” key doesn’t work but we keep trying it because it’s the only one we can find. 

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A few months ago – Tish’s teacher sent home a “Conversation Jar” filled with interesting questions that the students in Tish’s class created.  I put this jar on the kitchen table and a few times a week, we take turns pulling out a question during dinner. THIS JAR HAS MAGICAL POWERS. It’s been months now and still, every time we open it – everyone at the table wakes up a little bit. Little eyes flicker back to life, folks sit up straight in their seats, the arguing stops, and it’s all “me firsts! Can I answer first, mom??”

And so I reach in and pull out a key: “If you were an inventor – what would you invent, and why?” And then it’s quiet for a moment. Everyone makes her thinking face. They are searching themselves. They are looking inside to see what they’ll find and as soon as they find it: there it is – their hands fly up and they say: “I know I know!!” And then they pull something out of themselves that they didn’t even know was there. Look! Look what I found inside of me! And the family laughs or nods and either way we are saying: wow, that is so cool. I didn’t even know that about you! I didn’t even know that room inside of you existed. There are a billion little rooms inside each of your children that remain locked up, unexplored, and a good question can lead you right inside.

I love this jar because it livens up our evenings and helps me know my babies better – but it doesn’t end there. HERE IS AN IMPORTANT PART: Kids who learn to be self aware tend to become others aware and world aware. We want our children to understand themselves, the people in their lives, and the world they live in. This kind of awareness is what makes a good citizen. So we’ve written questions that unlock awareness on all three levels. You will notice that some of these questions ask a child to look within (What was your first thought when you woke up today?), others ask her to consider her peers (Who in your class seems lonely?) and others ask her to look at the world (What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our world today?). Kids must become explorers of themselves first, and then their eyes open to other people in their lives. It’s a process, teaching curiosity, awareness and compassion. This jar is a start.

I love it when someone asks me a thoughtful question for three reasons. First, it shows that the other person cares enough to try to get to know me. Second, it shows curiosity – which is one of my favorite traits. Third, a thoughtful question offers me the opportunity to unlock rooms inside myself I’ve never explored before.

Getting to know ourselves and others is the greatest adventure. We are explorers of ourselves and the people we love. Love is the ongoing process of unlocking each other and keeping safe whatever we find. Thoughtful questions are the keys we use to do the unlocking and safekeeping.

Glennon Doyle Melton author of ‘Carry on Warrior’

Help! I'm a stay-at-home mum

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ovaryandout

Great highs, the depths of the lows and why at age 7 do I still have to remind my daughter to say please!

Great highs, the depths of the lows and why at age 7 do I still have to remind my daughter to say please!

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