Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Having Said That - The Light Version

To balance the commuter-fury post, here is where I force myself to flip the Having Said That rule:

I do wonder how this fragmented life affects my children...having said that when I watch them playing in their room, squeezing me on our hello and goodbye's each day, and knowing that they sleep soundly in their beds at night...I know that if I'm fine, then they are too.

I wonder what kind of effect this continual fire fighting or latent stress is having on me and my health...having said that, I trust that I will tune in and listen to my body in time to catch anything brewing.

I wonder if the various balances that feel lop-sided are ever going to level out...having said that I have to trust the day to day. I have to know that I can only try to do everything to the best that I can. And I'm pretty sure that I do.

I wonder if I am missing all the good stuff while I float and flap my way through this life...Having said that I know what's good, I can taste and feel all that is beautiful around me and I do live in the moment. So recall of those moments is not as important as feeling them as they happen.

Deep breath
Balance attempted and partly achieved
Have a great day

Having Said That - The Dark Version

Last week, running running through my head as I sat on the tube, swearing inwardly in a non-zen state at the shambles that was my journey home, was the phrase Having Said That.
Here's what I wrote to distract me from my journey:

Said to fellow passenger "I'm not going to complain"...having said that how the ** can they make me wait 15 minutes for a High Barnet train then change the destination at the last moment forcing me to squash and push just to get on a train that won't get me home to my kids.

Said to various people in response to how do you do it, "well you know, I tend to cope pretty well"... Having said that I have found myself increasingly less zen and relaxed recently, leg jiggling at a furious rate at all times of the day and night.

Said on former blog post " I'm clearing head space one drawer at a time"...having said that no sooner do I clear them than I seem to overfill them again and the trees go back to obscuring and obliterating the wood.

Said to myself "that I have perspective and don't sweat the small stuff"...having said that, today I seem to be filled with what feels like murderous rage at the inflexible money grabbing of Virgin Trains and the inefficient shitness of the Victoria and Northern lines at rush hour. I have become that frowning muttering commuter.

And said quietly in my head when it all feels too much, "I can cope, I CAN cope"...having said that sometimes, like now during these moaning tube-written, travel-fury propelled thoughts and words...I don't always feel that I can.

Having said that...this hastily typed blog, in the corner of a packed tube carriage, finally safely on the way to pick up my big boy in the nick of time, finally with a seat, a bit of air and a tube that's bound for home, gave me some much needed perspective...and I guess things are not as bad as they felt 15 minutes ago.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Fancy a Game of Au Pair Roulette?

I'm a thoughtful type, but most of the thinking gets stored on post-it pads that get turned into to do lists and disappear under scratched out lines, or they melt into my eyelids as I drift off into sleep each night, never to reach conscious fruition.
Three weeks on from my last post and I realise that I've been away from the computer not due to "can't cope, can't write" but "can cope and am too busy to write".
Busy controlling the barely concealed chaos I've been living in for the last few years.

As a full time working mum I've written before about living my life by remote control. In emotional terms that means putting a huge amount of faith in the girls that come to join my family and help me out by looking after my kids pre and post school each day. It's a lottery because you can trust your wonderful agency who provides the girls, and you can give them all they need, but you can't legislate for who they are, what they want and whether the chemistry is there.
I've been very lucky over the years and have put in a lot of time trying to integrate anyone who looks after my precious boys into our family. Just like Martine and other au pairs from my childhood, who held a very special place in my heart and still do.

This year for many reasons the game roulette seemed to symbolise this area of my life. My kids were happy, well fed and looked after, but I didn't realise (or wouldn't let myself see) until a change came, that that's where it ended.

Then a month ago a bright energy entered my house, and family, and through her enthusiasm, conscientious nature and essentially who she is, I'm drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard, room by room, sorting out the chaos I thought was just part of life.
Sorting the things that people don't see. The things that would help those friends who say "I don't know how you do it" that I make a hash of it just like we all do sometimes.

So as I head towards a ridiculously busy 6 weeks with visits from my darling sister and family, batmitzvahs, weddings, home alone time while D travels with work, appointments, work and life itself, I feel like I can do it without too many knots in my tummy.

Each morning I am getting great pleasure in getting things out of my very neat, very ordered, bathroom cupboard.
Each evening I am grinning as I open my computer in my new office/spare room, and look at the empty cupboards thinking what I can put where in this slow, calm, happy organisation of my life.

page by page
drawer by drawer
room by room
minute by minute

I'm trying to live and smile
I'm trying to enjoy small triumphs
I'm trying to grin and eat those little doughnuts along the path towards the big creamy cake of hope and ambition that I sometimes allow myself to dream of.