Lesson #2 Finding a fresh perspective… when I’m in a funk!

Driving in the rainThe day just started out miserable. As I looked out of the window I was greeted with thick cloud, howling wind and pouring rain. To top it off I had also woken up full of my son’s cold/cough.

It was last week Half Term holiday, and we were visiting my husband’s parents in the picturesque Lake District for a few days. The four of us had driven for five hours two days before, and it had rained constantly since we had arrived. Waking up to the knowledge we had a five to six hour car journey back to London suburbia in the rain filled me with dread, causing my mood to be as heavy as the clouds. To top it off I had to go on an hour round trip to a ‘Steam Train Museum’. Could my day get worse?

I admit, my attitude was poor. I huffed and puffed as Peter drove up into the mountains towards the museum – in torrential rain. The children oblivious to my mood, wriggled and giggled in their back seats, excited to be able to see real trains like Thomas the Tank Engine. With tension filling in the front seats I put some music on.

“Why should we bother in this rain? Why can’t we just turn around and go home? What is the point? We’ll only get stuck in rush hour traffic later, on our way back home.” I muttered to myself.

I was never sure Peter heard my whiny comments, but to deepen my self-righteous mood, Peter, not listening to the sat nav directions took a wrong turn, which then added another twenty minutes to the journey.

IMG_4010Finally we pulled in to the old railway station and met up with my in-laws who had come separately in their car. First impressions were bad; an empty puddle filled car park with an old carriage and single large shed, which we presumed were filled with train engines. Rain pelting down, we headed for shelter in the cold damp-smelling shed.

Seeing the children’s excitement as they saw the old steam trains, I thought. ‘How can I turn my mood round? What can I get from being here?’

As the children ran around with glee, I took out my iPhone to take photos of the them with the train carriages. It was then I began to see how interesting the train carriages looked on camera. The colours and patterns of the trains looked great. My mood instantly changed. Suddenly everything seemed more vibrant interesting and positive, and before long I was as inspired by steam trains as the children were.

After seeing the old steam trains we noticed crowds of people starting to fill the platform. There was great excitement as the old steam train pulled in full of tourists.  As the whistle blew the train slowly departed with more people on board. With the noise of the engine, the glowing coal fire, and the smoke and steam, the atmosphere was electric.

I asked myself; ‘How could you ‘not’ fall in love with steam trains?’.

Lesson # 2 Finding a fresh perspective and inspiration when I’m in a funk!

We all know part of being a parent is being selfless and putting the children’s needs above our own. Often we turn off our childlike curiosity and see things in black and white, and as something to just get through, to grin and bear.

iphoneography on this day was my saviour, creating a distraction and a project to see everything in a more positive and creative light. So now, when my old eyes get tired and worn down with day-to-day grind, the iPhone can give them a fresh colourful new perspective.

School morning marathon

IMG_3963I’ve just got home from the school/nursery run. I never questioned prior to now why it was called the ‘school run’ but today as I flopped on the sofa, with my boots still on I feel that I’ve literally run a marathon.

After Izzy’s first exhausting and stressful year at school; my vision during the summer holidays had been to do a bedside yoga session in the morning. I also thought, like my Mum used to do I could start to get everything ready, arranged, and in place the night before … including breakfast. I imagined it would be possible for us to have a calm and enjoyable morning routine this term. These intentions are great, but in reality I just need those extra few minutes to sleep! When will I be able to live this mindful / zen life that I imagined could be possible?  All I really want to do after the school run is switch off and de-stress from this intense workout by switching on the TV to some mind numbing reality show, or girly drama.

I have to change this way of being – this is only the beginning of the second school year! I still have many, many more years of this. I can’t believe am so exhausted by 9am. The rush of adrenaline starts to stream through my body from the moment my alarm wakes me at 6.45. I hear myself shouting instructions, nagging, coaxing them as I try and get my five year old Izzy and three year old Jake up, ready, fed and out of the door. I pile them both into the car, feeling guilty as we could be, should be, walking.

At nursery today Jake runs off, I catch him, take him into his class, where his teachers and I encourage him to let go of my leg. I am impatient, watching the clock, but also not wanting to leave him; he usually bounces in happily. The Nursery teacher reassures me he will be fine once I leave, so with a quick kiss I grab Izzy’s hand, head for the exit, bumping into other stressed mums on their way to work. I’m now thinking; ‘How easy I have it’, and there goes that guilt feeling again. Now Izzy and I need to make it to school before the bell. We speed walk round the corner where we battle the opposite flow of mum’s, buggies, and toddlers leaving the school from their earlier drop off.  I arrive outside Izzy’s classroom handing over her backpack and with a peck on the cheek I watch proudly as she walks in calmly with confidence to her class. Standing there sweating and out of breath, I let out a big sigh, my body relaxes with ‘job done’ as Izzy’s teacher looks at me with compassion. Yes she has seen this all before, and she will again.

I started with such good intentions this morning. I woke up feeling positive and listened to my mindfulness app Stop, Breathe & Think. The three words, resonate as a mantra to life. I’m not sure why, but my life as it is now seems to be running full steam ahead and leaving me behind exhausted.

How can it be this hard to incorporate the mindful practices that I truly need and believe in? Today, the last day of term, I vow that this has to change. There has to be a better way.