Monthly Archives: November 2015

What to do when they’re just like you….

Oh dear.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

My girl is turning into her mother. In reality she has always been very like me. She (so I’m told) looks like me. (I can’t see it myself as she’s beautiful and I’m quite at peace with the fact that I am very average.) She is very self-contained and happy in her own company. She loves books. She loves singing, and listening to music that has proper lyrics, the sort of music that gives you the same feeling as reading a good book. She loves colouring. She loves baking. She loves to make people laugh and happily makes fun of herself in the process.

But, I’m telling you all the nice ways that she is like me.

The other side of the coin has her getting my prickliness – she doesn’t like to give cuddles unless she wants to (fair enough – but this can be construed as being prickly and can be a bit sad for poor old K when he wants to snuggle up with her and read a book); my control freakery; my stubbornness; my flat-out refusal to co-operate when the mood takes me; my over-riding desire to ALWAYS have the last word; and she doesn’t like being made fun of. She used to stamp her feet in temper when she was very little and I always swore that “I have no idea where she gets that from”, until one day I found myself stamping my foot and hurting it quite badly on an errant scooter that was lying on the lawn at the time.

The worst of all these has to be the control-freakery. It would be fine if only one of us wanted control. But when we both want to call the shots, heaven help us. I’m not in the habit of getting cross in public, if I can absolutely help it. And she knows that. So, she will ask me things that she suspects I will say no to whilst we are in company, because she thinks that I am more likely to say yes if I am shamed into it. But I won’t be bulldozed (see “stubbornness” point above) and when I get a whiff of being manipulated I shut down (see “flat out refusal to co-operate” point above). Hence, today I had to say very loudly, no less than four times, “I’m not discussing this until we get home” whilst leaving the playground, in response to pleadings and “very important reasons” for not doing her homework this evening as planned. Not good. She huffed and puffed, grabbed my arm (red rag to a bull but I kept my horns down), blew a raspberry (very Amelia Jane), and said “poo” (must check what she is currently reading as this is all a bit too Enid Blyton).

Luckily, unlike me, she doesn’t bear grudges.

She’s very like her father in that respect and moves on very quickly from any sort of minor altercation. So by the time we had reached the end of the road from school she was happily wittering on about this and that. She apologised when we got near the house and when we came in I explained (calmly) my reasons for not backing down. We compromised and set a time for slightly later than planned to start the dreaded homework. Bloody homework. Poo.



A different perspective

As you know we’ve had a wall built between our lounge and dining room. K has been decorating the dining room and we’ve also had a bit of a change around. The dining table and sideboard are in a different place and we have taken out my desk, with the plan to add in a couple of slim bookcases (when we can find some that we like).

Consequently, I no longer have a desk to work at. As I only WFH twice a week it’s no great loss and the room looks much better without it. So, I am now parking myself at the dining table with my laptop and other gear around me. My desk used to face the wall and I used to be sat with my back to the room and the window. I didn’t realise until now just how miserable this was. Now, I am in the middle of the room and have the window in front of me with the sun shining in; I can see straight out into the garden and the colours are gorgeous. We have a bush on the left hand side of the lawn that has stunning purple berries on at this time of year, and another at the end of the garden that has shed it’s leaves to reveal stunning red branches; my little pots of winter pansies are so pretty on the decking in front of me. Yes, we are surrounded by houses and our garden is not the longest in the world by a very long chalk but it’s so lovely to look up and not see a blank wall. In fact, it’s making my working days a lot easier to bear. Dare I say?…..happier!

In other news(feeds)

As well as the 6 week healthy eating blah blah blah, I have not logged on to Facebook for over three weeks. I still have access to my groups via an app (so I can sell or buy stuff, and see my lovely bookclub ladies posts) but other than that I have been “newsfeed” free.

Have I missed it? No. Have I felt like I am out of the loop? No. Do I still have contact with people? Yes, real people who I like talking to. In real life.

I had dinner with my friend A on Wednesday night (social whirl or what? out two nights running!) and in the course of conversation there were a couple of “did you see on Facebook?”s and I just said, “no, I must have missed that”. No big deal. She filled me on the details and we moved on. I have just this evening had to log in to clear some “for sale” posts that I can only remove from the website rather than the group app, and I had more than 30 notifications. I scanned them briefly without looking at the Newsfeed and there was only one thing that vaguely interested me. But I didn’t feel in any way compelled to respond.

Hooray. Perhaps the conundrum was not much of one after all.

6 week challenge update

I have been doing the 6 week challenge for nearly 3 weeks. My third “weigh-in” will be on Monday but to date I have lost half a stone. I feel less bloated, less tight in my clothes and generally just less sluggish. It’s a great feeling.

I have not had an epiphany. I have always known what makes me put on weight and what I need to do to lose it, but I think (now I am truly in my forties, as opposed to pretending I am still in my thirties) I have realised that I need to just stop. Stop yo-yo’ing. Stop losing weight for an event and then putting it back on once that day or week has passed. Stop thinking that it doesn’t matter. I need to lose weight and keep it off for good. I don’t want to still be battling this little demon when I am in my fifties, sixties….

But let’s be realistic. I went on my first diet when I was 14. I am now 43. In the intervening 29 years I have lost, gained, lost gained some more, had 2 children, gained even more, lost some but never really lost it all.

I met my friend L last night for dinner. I have mentioned L before. She was my “big sister” figure when I started work and we have been friends ever since. She is the same height as me and we have always compared weight loss, gains, diets, since the beginning of our friendship. We do have other conversations but whenever we meet or talk on the phone her first question is always “what do you weigh?” Last night, we met for dinner as I said, and before I picked her up she texted to say “Joined weight watchers. It’s bad. I’m being really good”. I was relieved. We don’t meet often, and the last time was in the summer and we discussed how there are more important things in life than the size of your arse. True. But we do take things to the extreme and L won’t mind me saying that she has really gone to town with this mindset over the last 6 months and it has had a Big Impact. So, I was relieved that it wouldn’t be an evening of mutual encouragement to over-indulge. Instead, we got the show and tell over (she was right, it was bad) and discussed the good and bad options on the menu and chose sensibly and carefully. We had a lovely meal with tasty yet pretty virtuous food, and lots of laughs as usual. We talked about our weight loss goals and she was impressed with my ambition to try and return to my pre-T weight. She thought that where I am now is already pretty good going and said she would be happy with that. I reminded her that 20 years ago we would both have been horrified to be my current weight and she ruefully agreed.

But it got me thinking. Am I being unrealistic? I have never been skinny. I have never been totally happy with my size. I am never going to be a size 10 (I managed a 12 for a few months back in my early twenties) and have no desire to be thin – thin might age me too much! But I would like to try and be the healthiest weight I can be for my height and shape and age. (It would be quite nice to be able to wear a bikini on holiday next year…dream on…)

Three weeks to go for the challenge, and time will tell if my plans are overambitious. I won’t be stopping after the six weeks. I pledge now that I won’t go mad and blow it at Christmas. I am in this for the long haul and I hope that in six months time I won’t be starting all over again in a bid to be slim for our holiday (perhaps I should buy a bikini as incentive?).

Watch this space.

The good old days?

I had a week off last week (all bar Monday) and it was lovely.

I normally only take time off when the children are off school but I had some days left to take before the end of the year, so I have booked some random days.

In typical list-lover style I had a tick sheet of things I wanted to achieve and had pretty much planned each day out accordingly. There was nothing inspiring on my list – just lots of annoying tasks that have been piling up and never seem to get done in the normal course of a working week. Despite “the list” I was almost giddy with the excitement of being able to do what I wanted. No customers to respond to, no reports to submit, no spreadsheets to update. Just me and my list.

I love having time off with the children and K but I hadn’t realised how much I would relish some time to myself. Nothing on my list was particularly unpleasant so I happily got stuck in on Tuesday morning and by lunchtime I had ticked off quite a few. The rest were almost all done by school-pickup time. Result. Wednesday was a  day of ferrying around – T to the orthodontists (braces not ready to come off yet but getting close), me to my flu jab, collecting a parcel, etc etc. All quite easy and hassles free. I began to wonder why I am usually so wound up trying to get this sort of stuff done. And then I remembered the work thing. (How quickly I had forgotten all about that annoying interrupter of life!). I normally always have in the back of my mind that I will have a mountain of stuff to deal with when I get back from chauffeuring duties that any little hiccup can send me into a panic. It was so nice to just park up, stroll along to the clinic, drop him back at school with no sense of “oh hell”.

I started to realise that this was how I always felt before I started working again. I could go to school meetings, doctors appointments, dentists with no sense of dread. I didn’t have to rush anywhere and I didn’t have to compromise on what I could or couldn’t be available for. I could keep on top of the housework and other chores, as that was all I really had to do. I could read books and watch TV. I could bake. I could pop to the shops.I could go for coffee. Sounds bliss.

But, we were struggling financially. So the pops to the shops were invariably very frugal and carefully planned. The coffees with friends were not as enjoyable as they are now as I would have worried about the expense. I can still read books and watch TV – just in the evenings rather than the daytime. Housework isn’t the be all and end all of home-life. If it’s hygienic then its clean as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t have to be spotless and tidy. (Unless I’m in a “god this place is a tip” kind of mood and then it does.) My girl bakes – a lot – and it’s so much nicer eating something someone else has made. I don’t have to go to every single meeting at school any more. And I am not just mum. I am also Jane-that-is-great-at-her-job.

So, yes, I have thoroughly enjoyed my days off and I will make sure that I have more “just me and my list” days next year rather than only taking my annual leave “en famille”. But do I want go back to the “good old days”. Not just yet. So long as I can still see friends and have days off with my mum (Friday special days) then that’s all right with me. I just need to remember this the next time I can’t find a parking space at the orthodontists.

Yet more guilt

After nearly ten years of doing the school run and going to meetings and parents evenings and assemblies, I am still astonished that I feel guilty when I can’t attend an event.

A has an assembly on Wednesday to showcase photos and videos from their residential trip. I signed up straight away – of course I want to see what she did and see her get her certificate. The day after I signed up, another email arrived detailing a Maths Fun Session. (The irony of this title was not lost on me – two words that do not belong in the same sentence). I was advised that I would be receiving a personal invite to the session from my child that they had hand-drawn. The date? Thursday. Not next Thursday. The Thursday after the assembly on Wednesday. Really? Yes, A came home and very excitedly presented her invite – all secret squirrel “what can it be?”. Oh the guilt. I explained it was the day after the Aylmerton trip assembly and that I really wanted to attend that one but couldn’t really attend both. Her reply was typical A – that’s fine, it sounds a bit weird anyway mum.

But it’s still in the back of my mind. She’s struggling with maths and having additional group sessions with her teacher to help bring her up to the level she should be. Will me not going to this “fun” session hinder that process? Should I make the time to go to the school 2 days running to ensure that I know what she needs me to help her with? I suspect that this session is going to be very similar to one I attended a few years back with T and will consist of a few tables with some games on for me to do with my child. It was excruciating. I would rather scrape my nails down a blackboard (chalkboard? interactive white board?).

My over-riding feeling about this is that I shouldn’t have to feel guilty. Surely the assembly was on the schedule when the maths session was planned? Surely the powers that be realised that some parents would be invited to both? Do they not know that some parents have jobs? Yes, I know I say it all the time that I am lucky I work from home a lot and can be around for these things nine times out of ten and blah blah blah, but two days running!? Really?


Big pat on the back for me. Friday was mum and me day and, as I mentioned in my Habits post, I was worried that I would not be able to resist the usual food-fest. We went straight for coffee when we got to the shops and I ordered a green tea. No scone. No biscuit. I even gave mum the free mini shortbread biscuit that came with my tea. Bit of a mooch and then lunchtime beckoned. John Lewis cafe. Normally a big fat sandwich followed by a scone (if we hadn’t succumbed already – we’re not that greedy that we would have two, I hasten to add). No, no no. They had some lovely looking salads so I went for a roasted beetroot, squash, rocket and goats cheese number WITHOUT the dressing. And it was yummy. Felt v proud. This has proven that I CAN break habits and I CAN make the right choices. For now.