Oh. My. Gaaaaaaawd. I wish I had sat down to write this post yesterday, it would have been a whole lot easier! Yesterday was a Good Day. It began with a lovely friend coming to visit armed with chocolate profiteroles and blueberry custard danishes from the local artisan bakery (not just any old bakery, ya know!). What day wouldn’t go well with a start like that? Fabulous!
Today, however, is another story. Poo on the floor . Wee on the booster seat. The usual baby sick. Those things I can handle, yadda yadda. But throw in the HEAT!! The HUMIDITY!! And a very fractious toddler (arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *silent mummy scream*) and I am struggling a little to be all bright and grateful for my lot right now. We should have tidied up the toys last night, folded a bit more washing. I hate waking up to chaos and try hard for that not to happen, it just sets me up all wrong. I didn’t manage to juice until late morning either, and I think that had an impact. Body craving good stuff and not happy with just a cup of hot water with lemon and a slice of marmite on toast until 11am. Silly.
So. About all I can do at this moment is sit in the moment and try to be Mindful through gritted teeth. In this very moment, nobody is screaming. I feel a nice breeze at last. And, breeeeeeeathe….
I am thinking back to my first grateful post of this year and counting a few of the thousands of things that have actually gone right today…OK, could be worse!
I am grateful for Tractor Ted and to my Auntie in Aberdeen, Scotland, for sending it to Miss M, who is (I hope not suspiciously) quietly watching it as I type. We are still TV free (as in, it’s not plugged into the aerial). It’s been months now and I don’t miss it at all, although I do still get my fix of occasional docos and British crime dramas on ABC iView. But show me a mum that wouldn’t collapse in a hopeless, sobbing heap now and then if it wasn’t for the existence of some nice DVDs or In the Night Garden on the iViewer…if you are She, please tell me how!!
I’m grateful that my husband is finishing work 45 minutes early this evening. Those 45 minutes may be the difference between this mama’s thread snapping and (relative) sanity.
And that’s about all I can manage for gratefuls this afternoon!
I have always loved to read, and since ditching the television I am of course finding the time to read more, which is wonderful. I’ve found that my tastes have changed a great deal in recent years, a natural progression I am sure, given that I am now in my late 30s, and at a different stage of life, as a relatively new mum. Gone are the days of being sucked into a Jane Green or a Marian Keyes for relaxation – for some reason the old style chick lit just doesn’t hold my attention the way it used to. I’ve always mixed the chick lit with the more highbrow stuff, both have their time and place. Nowadays, however, my “chick lit” seems to be a good Joanna Trollope, which is a bit worrying – can I really have reached that stage?!
Whilst backpacking in Southeast Asia a couple of years ago I discovered many new authors in the book exchange stores and guesthouse swap shelves over the seven months or so we spent wandering around over there. Choice can be quite limited so you’re forced to try books you might otherwise not consider or even come across, which is a great thing. For example, I read all Wally Lamb’s novels and loved them. I also read George Orwell’s Burmese Days, while in Burma. It was incredible to go up into the hill station outside Mandalay and actually see all the colonial houses, the clubhouse, places Orwell probably visited during his time as a police officer in Burma. During that trip I also read J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, reread A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, and worked my way through several other novels set in colonial times in places such as Singapore and Malaysia.
On many occasions during that trip and during a previous extended stay in Southeast Asia, and particularly when visiting Burma, I felt ashamed and embarrassed to be British. I am no great expert on all the historical details of the time, but it seems clear that the British took everything they wanted and more, and left broken countries in their wake when they departed. Not to mention the abhorent, inherent arrogance and racism of Empire. However, I have always had a fascination for Merchant Ivory type films and novels about the British Empire and there was something so special about reading about those times in their proper settings.
I haven’t read anything of this nature for a couple of years now – motherhood does tend to limit one’s concentration span and free time I have found! – but last week in the library I happened upon Bone China by Roma Tearne, which is set in Sri Lanka (where I have not yet been) in the early 1940s, as the British are preparing to depart. I find I can really disappear into this novel, which is wonderful, escapist relief, and much appreciated particularly at the moment when I am having some issues sleeping and relaxing. It is also a thousand times better than watching mindless nonsense on the telly to wind down! So, I am now compiling a list of similar titles to get from the library and I plan to escape into the days of Empire as much as possible in the few short weeks left until my daughter is born. If you have any suggestions, please share!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 29/31
I came across this quote by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in my newsfeed this morning (thank you, Writing Our Way Home). Wise words that gave me a very welcome focus when I woke up wondering how I was going to get through the day. I’m tired. But today is our family’s Friday, so come 5.30pm our weekend will begin when my husband gets home from work. He’ll share the load, we’ll chill, and come Tuesday (our Monday) I hope to be back on top.
I couldn’t help but smile when my daughter ran into the bedroom chattering away this morning after she had breakfast with her Papa. She is talking more every single day, it wonderful to see her grow. I’m finding it a little more difficult to breathe at present because Miss M’s little sister is also growing, and not leaving much space at 35 weeks for my internal organs! So yeah, I need to go slowly, and that’s ok.
We’ve been TV free for 3 weeks now and it’s going just fine. Yesterday my husband had to take Miss M to work for a few hours though so that I could rest, and that couldn’t happen again today, so I must confess that I succumbed to the wonders of ABC iView and allowed Miss M to watch Sesame Street on the computer so I could have a little much-needed down time. First screen time in 3 weeks, she was transfixed and thus…quiet! Given the last few very rough days, emotionally and physically, I’m not going to beat myself up about a lil bit of Elmo on a Saturday morning to keep me and this baby inside healthy and calm. Tomorrow is another day!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 27/31
This week I’m taking the grateful “prompt” directly from Maxabella. Little moments are so important not only in themselves but because when we focus on them, the bigger, harder stuff doesn’t seem so overwhelming or difficult. I feel so fortunate in that I get a lot of one on one time with my daughter – well, ok, by the time her Papa gets home from work I am quite happy not to be having any more one on one with her but all SAHMs will know that feeling I am sure! And sometimes I might get
a little bit very bored of playing trains or tea parties, most certainly. But we go out a lot too and I get enough adult conversation most days, and I get so many precious little moments with her, just watching her grow and blossom as we meander through our daily stuff. I am so very grateful for those.
It’s been almost two weeks since we ditched the telly. I feel like I’m spending so much more time really focussing on Miss M, and I’m enjoying it. It’s nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be, in fact it’s not hard at all now I’ve adjusted to it. I feel so much more relaxed because my down time or cooking time or chore time isn’t restricted by how long her focus will last on Playschool or Sesame Street; and I don’t have that nagging guilt bugging me any more. Plus I don’t know if it’s coincidence and just the developmental stage she’s at, or the effect of no TV, but she’s talking much more all of a sudden and her concentration span for independent play has increased substantially. I’m still able to get chores and cooking done, and even sit down and read a book for 20-30 minutes a couple of times a day! The timing seems great too as in just five weeks her little sister will be here, so I get to make the very most of the days Miss M and I have left just the two of us, while at the same time she’s learning ways to occupy herself for longer stretches – which we’ll all need her to do when the new baby arrives and rocks our little world!
So yes, I’m making the most of all the little moments and being grateful for them. And when things aren’t going so well, I’m tired and grumpy, or she is…I try and be Mindful, and bring it back to the small stuff of the moment, because it is so often the case that these little moments really are the most precious ones.
Blogtoberfest 2012, 19/31
A friend shared this quote today and it really resonated with me. In the few days since we ditched the telly I am already relishing the extra one on one time I’m spending with my daughter. Living without Sesame Street, Playschool et al is actually nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. Late afternoons are a little tough but really no tougher than when we had the TV as both of us seem to be a lot more well-disposed throughout the whole day in general, so by the time it gets to late afternoon I’m not as frazzled. We are doing our usual activities and when we’re home, we’re just pottering about together – drawing, play doh, puzzles, reading, make believe…Plus I’m still getting a few chores done and I’m even getting the odd 15 minutes to sit down with a book while she plays by herself?! Still early days of course, but so far, so good. In all honesty, I’m quite shocked!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 11/31
Yesterday morning my husband and I made a rather shocking spur of the moment decision to box up the telly and put it away. I say shocking because I am still rather shocked! I’ve been suffering a constant nagging guilt about the creeping increase in the amount of TV my 25 month old daughter has been allowed on weekdays (she doesn’t watch on weekends except half an hour Sunday mornings) since I became pregnant. There were some long hours when I had morning sickness and struggled to get off the lounge in the first trimester and while it was only age appropriate ABC for Kids or DVDs, it kind of set a precedent and one I wasn’t every very comfortable with. Now almost 8 months on and I have to admit it has become a real babysitter, especially in these last weeks of pregnancy, allowing me to get some chores done, cook dinner or just have 30 minutes down time for myself. I am not beating myself up about it but I do think it has become too fast an option for me, and the guiltly feelings are getting me down. I don’t believe it’s good for her.
I recently started subscribing to a great blog which just a couple of days ago posted here about TV and the fact that this family doesn’t have one at all. Shocker! So I guess that little seed was in the back of my mind on Sunday morning. I was explaining my concerns about our daughter watching too much TV and suddenly I blurted out, “why don’t we get rid of it altogether??” We rarely watch it ourselves and often find it’s on of an evening for the sake of it, and we’re falling asleep in front of some depressing documentary or other for no particular reason. But I was kind of half joking, and therefore rather taken aback when my husband immediately said “ok, let’s do it!”. Ten minutes later and it was gone. Oh my!!! We have said we will do a one week trial and see how we go.
24 hours in and no issues but we have a Sunday / Monday weekend so I’ve yet to experience the end of a 12 hour day solo with my beloved Miss M. I am to be honest more than a little trepiditious!! I’m not focussing on the negatives of TV to get me through, though. I’m aware that there are many studies and advocates for both sides of this often contentious topic. Rather I want to take a positive approach and look at the good things it may potentially bring to our family life. I’ve done a bit of research and I’m hopeful that this decision might actually make daily life easier, not harder. I’m reading about toddlers Miss M’s age who have a much longer attention span for independent play than those who watch a lot of TV, and mums who are no longer having to deal with screaming demands for The Wiggles. No nagging guilt and worry about the potentially harmful effects of the mighty google box is an added bonus. Sounds good to me!
If you have any tips about learning to live TV free with a toddler (and pretty soon a newborn), please share!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 8/31