Calm mum wannabe

I'm just a calm mum wannabe, muddling on through from tantrum to tantrum, one big deep breath at a time. Ommmm....

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Little moments

Mums can't get sick. And people who work for themselves can't either. Looks like I broke both of those rules this week, picking up a dodgy virus that my youngest brought home from playgroup. No cause for alarm, people! I'm soldiering on, as you do...

At the breakfast table this morning, I'm picking pathetically at yet another bowl of plain white rice washed down with rehydration solution when my eldest comes up to me, flings his arms around my neck and says "Mummy, I'm really worried about you being so poorly". Awwwww.

My youngest, never one to miss a cuddle opportunity, follows suit: "Mummy, I'm weally wuwwied about you being so poorly".

So here I am, with two adorable little guys hanging off my neck, feeling like crap but knowing I'll somehow meet the 5 or 6 deadlines I've got this week. Because it's the little moments like this that get you through.

OK, now cue a whole stream of sympathy comments... Mum? Mum? Hello?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A simple new year's resolution

My new year’s resolution is to keep things simple. 

Does this mean the end of the lengthy, meandering blog post for Om in Mom? Possibly. We shall see.

The other day I did this fabulous exercise by Barrie Davenport, which is a kind of all-round audit of every area of your life. I came up with the same few things that I want to focus on this year. I want more calm in my life, more time outdoors with the people I love and more present-moment focus (whether I’m working, writing or just hanging out).

Following Leo Babauta’s advice on changing habits, I will work on one area at a time and I’ll start small. So, for the month of January I’m going to try and meditate every day for 5 minutes. The great thing about meditation is that it has huge knock-on effects in other areas of your life. It’s the law of least effort. All you do is sit. And watch. And things really start to take off. I’ll be back at the end of the month to let you know how it goes. 

I’ll sign off with a picture of our New Year’s Day hike, on this misty morning here in Palencia. The New Year's Day hike is a tradition I've tried to keep up every year since my teenage days with the venture scouts. Not the coolest thing to admit to, I know, but believe me it’s a great way to start the year. Happy 2012 everyone!

Born on Christmas Day

My brother Marcus was born forty years ago on Christmas Day. Special birthday, right? Well, not really. I’m sure the first couple of birthday-Christmases were all very special, but I made my entrance into the world 19 months later and our other brother a couple of years after that, and pretty soon Marcus’s birthday became a bit of a half-hour job, somewhere between opening Santa’s presents first thing in the morning and the under-the-tree family presents later on. Awwwww.

Before you get the violins out, I should point out that my mum made sure that Marcus had a half-birthday party every year on the 25th June. My protests that I wanted a half-birthday party fell on deaf ears, by the way. (Possibly something to do with being born in July, but I put it down to favouritism, myself.)

Birthdays have always been a bit hit-and-miss in our family since we all flew the nest. We’ve all lived in different parts of the country (continent/world), so depending on when we got together you either got a present or you didn’t. Sometimes we’d play catch up, sometimes not. No big deal. I have a suspicion that our slapdash approach meant that the same people were always getting diddled each year. A few years ago we decided to stop the presents completely, other than for the kids. My mum, however, still gives presents, my sis-in-law always sends cards and I might phone if you’re lucky. Oops. So it looks like there’s still some diddling going on. Sorry about that, folks.

Anyway, I digress. After forty years of interrupting our Christmas celebrations to rush through Marcus’s birthday presents (“Hurry uuuup!”), we decided to do something different this year, proving it’s never too late to change.

We clubbed together to get the present, and bought a beautiful Canadian canoe. My younger bro Piers, who’s a bit of a Bear Grylls (although I don’t think he’s ever drunk his own you-know-what) came up with a brilliant plan: a day trip canoeing on Christmas Eve. He picked a route not too far from my parents’ house, where we could paddle down the canal, hop across a field and cruise back down the river. Lovely.

Here are the more interested members pouring over the map, while others show a more laissez-faire attitude to the planning process.

We have a hot drink and a bite to eat by the water's edge before we set off. 

Here’s Marcus and his family about to have their first paddle. 

And this is my mum showing us all that being not-quite-70 does not make you too old to get in a canoe.

Much "row, row,  row-ing your boat" later, here are the two canoes (Piers has one too) going under the canal bridge.

We all agreed it was a fantastic day out and it’s a new birthday-Christmas tradition we hope to keep up for many years to come. Beats stuffing your face and falling asleep on the sofa -although no doubt there'll be some of that more traditional activity going on too. Happy birthday-Christmas, big bro! 

And now it’s on to the turkey…

(The observant reader will notice my blog is approximately one week behind for most posts. This is something I aim to improve on in the New Year!)