With a grateful heart & determination for life

As we move into December, there’s the usual sense of winding down, pressing pause and signing off another year.

Yet this year has been a rollercoaster of pausing and winding down… with not much of the life we know in sight. 2020 has been defined by… well you know, I don’t even have to say whatever you’re reading this from.

It’s all sort of shaken up my perspective of the way I’m approaching my time and the things I do with it. There is a common view that the start of the year is where we place our annual goals and the end of the year is where we start thinking about the whole process again.

With a year of so much negative potential, we may feel like not much has been achieved. The new normal is definitely made itself at home but there is a sense of determination to push through, back to the normality we knew way before 2020 began.

In this season when workplaces would be on Christmas outings, schools performing live Nativities and families gathering to eat, drink, laugh and celebrate together… we have the prospect of a slow end of the year. For someone who is an introvert; I can deal with a quiet season but even for me… I’m craving the frantic buzz of last minute shopping, busy restaurants and the comedy of the school play. In the back of my mind, I’m aware that in a year of so much suffering for many many people, we are prompted by our own good human nature to be grateful for each day as it comes.

With a grateful heart for life and breath and thoughts of “I wish we could…” we have an opportunity to view next year, next month, next week, tomorrow in this new normal that I believe many of us are experiencing. Whether we like it or not, we’ve all been exposed to the reality that we are not invincible and have had real moments of fearing for our lives this year whether that be physically or mentally. Being grateful doesn’t have to lessen our goals, there’s no need to undermine our dreams just because our conscience is more aware of the value of life. Instead, we can use this understanding of value to enrich our short and long term goals.

We also can’t ignore the sense of community that has occurred from this year. In everything we do, we are encouraged to respect each other and be safe. Although this may differ from country to country, we can grasp this idea of looking up and recognising that we’re not the only ones going through this. What can we give back into our communities? Whether this is county wide, in the school yard, in work or even when we’re out and about. What difference do you want to stay or design into tomorrow?

With a grateful heart and determination for life, what is your tomorrow going to look like?

Integrity is key

During the moments of life when we feel our opportunities are being stripped away by our responsibilities, we create an opening for negativity to dwell.

Imagine being in work and a patient, client, customer or system has a complaint… we’ve all thrown a mental tantrum wanting to tell that complaint where to go. But imagine if we lived out that “mental tantrum”, a grown adult kicking and screaming because that complaint messed up their plan for the day. Well, you’d probably get sent home, probably embarrass a fair few people and probably would result in a disciplinary meeting.

When responsibility and integrity stand in our way, we sometimes feel hard done by. As if we deserve to do what we want, we deserve that promotion, we deserve that day off, we deserve that cup of coffee! When we carry this deserving belief around with us, we give ourselves a complex that is damaging to our life experiences and to those around us.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be motivated in reaching our goals but by taking aspects of being selfish and selfless, we may just get the right balance. One of the challenges I have faced since having children is finding time for myself… but rather it’s more about finding a way to accept that there will be times when I will be disrupted, I won’t get to complete tasks and overall have little control over my “break time”. And do you know what, that’s ok with me! It took time and developing maturity to get to this point. I no longer freak out if the kids don’t go to sleep on time, I care more for being a patient Mum who engages in conversations my 4 year old (even if I don’t know what’s going on!) It has taught me to value the everyday moments and I am learning more and more about myself and what I am capable of. It’s cliche to say this, but by living for the now… we don’t just get to value the experiences but we nuture our character to be patient, in control and focused on the needs of others.

Integrity is key.

Fussy eater or not

When my son was two, he would only eat rice cakes and apples and bananas and grapes and carrots and oranges and mangoes and the list could go on. He was pretty much Peter Rabbit.

From the outside I was proud of his preferences but after a while I had this fear that something was wrong (saying that now makes me giggle). My eldest daughter definitely ate more meals, she definitely had snacks, she definitely drank lots of water…

And there is the problem.

Have you ever tried one of these diets that “will suit your lifestyle”, are easy to follow and accessible for all. Well I certainly have. They really work wonders once you’ve studied the diet, understood the rules and been inspired by other customer experiences. This may be different for individuals but for me, I can only follow a diet for so long and then I become an unruly member who wants to cook fried chicken and rice and peas from scratch. For me, I struggle to pull back from my need to cook creatively or satisfy my craving for certain foods!

This is in no way an anti diet post but it’s a call to analyse and understand our own perspective on eating habits, especially when it comes to our children. It’s taken me seven years to figure out that actually children don’t like rules. They are born as an unique individual who develop their own taste by trial and error… but eventually they become three-nangers who know who they are, what they like and what they want. As a Mum it’s part of our make up to want our children to be nourished – after all that’s how they grow physically and mentally. For us, this stage can be challenging and often cause a phase of anxiety that is unpredictable and can inevitably reflect onto our children.

In hope of releasing some of this anxiety that I know many Mamas deal with. I want to ask, do the recipe books for babies really help or do they create a barrier between your eating and your child’s. It’s essential that we educate ourselves with what babies can and can’t eat and at what age, for safety purposes. But if we step back and recognise the anxieties related to our childrens eating, we begin the process of trusting our own instinct and put the books away for a rainy day. Most importantly we cease trying make our children walk the same path as their siblings.

Preferences are always going to change, so let’s not get too attached to those go-to’s but also let’s maintain a discipline by limiting the amount of options we offer. After all “Mummy’s house is not a restaurant”