Roll with it

Quote from my Instagram page @fridgesays

It’s 1:20am and I can’t sleep, the unknown has taken over. I’m not panicked, I’m not particularly fearful but I’ve no idea what being a Teacher means. Just after 5pm today I like most of the nation expected Mr Johnson to shut the shop up on schools and was ready to bed down with my family and wait for the storm to pass, which if you read the headlines you may perceive as truth… to me he said much more.

He said “exams in May and June won’t be happening” that’s two years of mine and my students life that were made practically obsolete in seconds… of course they’ve learnt things that will stay with them, but I somehow feel robbed for them so close to the finish line. I truly adore my yr 11 classes and I’m not even sure if I’ll see them again? I doubt they will have a prom, perhaps in these times that seems superfluous but to those that have bought ‘the dress’ and dreamed of that evening they were robbed by a virus.

He said “schools will stay open for those that are vulnerable “ and my heart bled for every head teacher and headship team across the country…what does that even look like? How will that be staffed? What will we teach? How will we know who to prepare for…rolling with it seems vague and uneasy.

He said “we will baby sit the nations key workers children” and my profession and career goals became a blur. On one hand proud to serve my country in some kind of capacity (many thanks to the NHS and emergency services teams for all you do and will continue to do)… on the other hand that’s not why I teach secondary? Selfishly questioning why I should leave my child to help out another’s, worrying that by sending my son to school that I might expose him…where did the plan to wrap him up go?

I also know that this can alter again in the next few days, the dynamics of what was asked are so complex and a national lock down is coming our way but I wanted to write in this moment and capture these thoughts that have separated me from my pillow because I think it will be a huge shift in how we move forward, in my sense of purpose, in what Education is and looks like after this moment.

And then I laugh at the image that I honest created prior to the demand in toilet rolls and as I smile. I know it will all work out. It will be okay. I know it will be an honour to look after each and every child that comes through our school gates and I’m glad that the government is thinking about free school meals and the impacts on financially vulnerable families. I know that our priority across the world is our health. We will thrive and in my classroom we will learn what really matters and perhaps until now that was never on the curriculum.

#kindnessiscontagious

And like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to be full again.

Anon

Ive always like the solar system, science never really appealed to me at school but how can you ignore the beauty of the nights sky? The constellations, the history of how various stages of humanity used the stars and planets as guides, the heat of the sun, the planets lined up like Russian dolls hanging off of my sons ceiling…and the moon. By far my personal favourite, that smiling face of glow and delight that’s force pulls and pushes of tides and if i’m honest my heart strings.

Over the last few months I’ve been tracking the moons phases and can see patterns in my life where the moon is waxing and waning. Whilst I refuse to discuss the chaotic and perpetual negative cycle of fear we are currently being fed by mainstream media, social media and the miserable lady at the bus stop, this quote fed my soul in a way that those outlets haven’t and so I had to use it.

Amongst the depths of the dark we can appreciate the light of day. If we chose to discard the negative surface of fear, underneath we can see glimmers of hope, love and happiness. Stories of human compassion, pure kindness and this is what I’ve decided to put into my bubble. Where people see confinement and lack, I can decide to see the opportunity to be at home, surrounded by my loved ones. I can be thankful for the health of my loved ones and can offer help to those who I’m able to. Like the lady who had a four month old baby screaming and couldn’t find Calpol in any of our local stores…I offered ours, we don’t need it. She does.

Perspective is a difficult thing to see in the dark, but look to the moon for guidance. It allows us to appreciate what we do have, what experiences we have had rather than what we are yet to do. Contrast is a bitter sweet gift, but perhaps we are more like the moon that we realise? The darker times often inform the lighter moments of life and much like the cycle of the moon, it will pass and we will be grateful and full again.

Look after loved ones and do all you can for those at risk, above all be kind even in the loo roll aisle.

It takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations

Anon

We named our first daughter Gracie. It came from my partners love of Jiujitsu, the Gracie family (a surname) are inspirational in the sport and I wanted her to know she is fierce and strong. Grace in the dictionary means ‘effortless beauty, charm of movement’ and this part of her name evokes a softer and nurturing side, a flow of calm. The balance within this name seemed perfect for our first born.

Words have power, they signal clear intentions. However you may want to act or be, other people’s intentions and actions aren’t always in alignment with ours. This often can build hostile and cruel environments, where everybody thinks their way is the best. I’ve noticed it’s a common theme in the school playground and also most work places. Perhaps management or career focused individuals are pushing an agenda that isn’t concurrent with how you view the world. Perhaps your child comes homes with stories from the playground that makes ‘little Alfie’ who seemed lovely when he came for tea that time portrayed as a monster of meanness.

These events are frequent, we are all travelling on our own paths, overlapped by many people on there very different paths. You have two options – roll up your sleeves and show up on the mat of life (much like the Gracie family do), defend your beliefs and take any action necessary. Or you can step back, breath and proceed with Grace.

Much like a Swan, elegant on top of the water, floating with ease but paddling like crazy under the water I think this might be the solution. The Swan knows it’s a Swan, it seems to know it large and often holds its head up high, but the bow in the head shows it’s also humble. When needed it expands its huge wingspan and shows it’s physical power, but mostly it glides with grace knowing it’s self worth. Most importantly, a Swan never tries to be anything other that itself.

If you find yourself in a cruel situation, perhaps led by other people’s agendas. Take a step back and be you. Know your truth, glide and speak with grace…but be prepared to flap your wings only when it truly matters.

Happy swimming

Take notice of what the light does – to everything

Quote by Tess Guinery

My Christian name is Lucy and it translates from Latin to mean ‘light’ , when I was a child I had a key ring that said something corny like “you light up the room with your spirit and bring joy to all those you meet” whilst I’m not sure everyone I’ve met would agree it’s certainly something I think about when I’m in the company of new people. I try to sparkle, but it’s human nature to sometimes stick the dimmer switch on.

For me light goes hand in hand with life. In my mind I see biology lessons on photosynthesis and and the joy of brighter evenings in spring. I think of hope. Light also reminds me of truth; shining a light on the darker mysteries life can bring.

However, we all need contrast. Even this ray of sunshine Lucy needs her moments of dark. Too much of anything isn’t great. Paintings fade and plants dry out. Skin burns, life withers… that’s why I love this quote, taking notice of what the light does can mean truth, hope and love but it can also fade and kill.

Perhaps this quote isn’t about light at all. Perhaps it’s about recognising balance; when too much of a good thing becomes toxic or when too less is just as traumatic.

Life is about walking the fine line of contrast and experiencing the emotions that the good and bad bring, the light and the dark , it’s about playing in the shadows and please don’t forget all the many pigments in between. Diversity is rich when it is accepted and not divided.

This week take notice of what makes you light up, what friends make you feel lighter and also when you need the sanctuary of the moonlight, perhaps by watching the various spectrum that life offers you may need to whack on some factor fifty around individuals that burn like the midday sun. Whatever you do notice, Tess is right – act on what it tells you and you may just see a rainbow.

Cling to what is good

Quote Anon

According to the power of google an adult makes 35,000 decisions a day, a child around 3,000. That’s everything from what to have for dinner tonight to what to wear and where to go. Most choices fall in to three categories: positive, negative and those we feel obliged to do, feeling like we don’t really have a choice.

As an adult I do feel that at times I need to make negative decisions for overall good, an example being telling my son off and setting consequences – in hope that he learns and grows into an adult with clear morals and boundaries. At the time of sanctioning him he would tell you it was a negative decision I’d made.

Not all choices are transparent and many come with a wealth of other choices, at times resulting in others taking control or contributing to the end result.

Many of us suffer from decision fatigue and with the stats so high, I’m not surprised. If you find yourself overwhelmed then the experts encourage you to pull back; have a duvet day, a social media detox and even better a week away from WiFi. Don’t answer the phone, relax and live in the moment where possible.

Except that is a short term issue. At the moment my son who is six years old is sneaky when I ask him to make one of his 3,000 choices for the day. He will say things like “I don’t mind” or “‘ask Daddy what he wants” in order to avoid conflict or people disliking his ideas. As a result, as parents we are now throwing him even more options…and not letting him wiggle out of them. It’s a tough love choice in hope that it will help him grow in resilience and assertiveness. More importantly we are asking him to ‘feel’ the decision, to reflect on what feels good, to reconnect with his instincts and to not be put off by other people’s reactions. Making choices in the moment that feel good are meant to be the best way to promote positive wellbeing and overall happiness in the long term. Without guides, I wonder how many adults are out of sync with their own sense of good? Making time to rest and play has never been so crucial for a blossoming and positive planet.

I have neither the time not the crayons to explain this to you

Quote Anon and it doesn’t disappoint

Welcome to the home of positivity, this quote may seem negative but today I’m going to ask you to pour your crayons out in front of you and colour your life.

For those who have never had the pleasure of owning a box of new crayons they are joyful, pointed tips ready to create whatever your imagination can explore, the further you explore the need to peel the paper around the edge will be necessary. *almost as satisfying as peeling dry PVA glue

Sharing crayons can be fun, as long as those around you respect the rules of colour, mine go something like this; don’t hoard all the colours, no snapping, colouring over the lines isn’t the end of the world – this is fun, put them back in the box tips upwards after you’ve completed your masterpiece, don’t squish the box.

Where am I going with this? Diversity is amazing, but surround yourself with kindred spirits, people (or crayons) who help you to grow and complete your work of art, people who make you feel good and except your boundaries, who share their crayons too, or add new perspectives.

Jim Rohn postulated that ‘we are the 5 people we spend the most time with’, newer research suggests it’s far larger than that. We become what we are surrounded by, and can even be shaped by friends of friends. How do you get the best out of your crayon box of life? By reviewing your network regularly, from family to work colleagues – many of these we can’t change but we can often limit interactions, create space and be aware that we are eternally growing. Just as I wouldn’t expect my son to fit in the clothes he wore when he was a toddler, why would all of the people I worked with ten years ago still be as relevant in my life now? Every now and then life throws you a precious metallic crayon and I urge you to hold that crayon dearly, but often the crayon box of life is full of ‘raw sienna’ and that’s useful and pleasant for short periods of time (when drawing tree trunks) but unless like my son you enjoy drawing turds the crayon has its limits.

Crayons have a life expectancy too, much like us, don’t spend your time with people who snap your crayons and leave you with a bunch of stubby ends. Instead once the crayons of life have been used, be able to look up and admire your work of art in all its finery for many years to come.

Happy colouring all.

Never forget who you are

Quote from The Lion King

I felt like I hadn’t popped a Disney quote/ post together for a while so went with a Lion King pinch of wisdom, although it’s one I’ve contradicted many times.

At university I lost who I was. Several dodgy boyfriends meant I forgot who I was but the worst by far was motherhood. It took MY body away from me and left me with something that didn’t fit. It took me a while to pick up the broken pieces and to discover a dash of self love, to stop numbing negative thoughts with junk food, and wine. Lack of sleep in the early days also meant that exercise wasn’t a priority. I was in a war zone and I was surviving.

I escaped and did find me. I found an older version of my body that I’m ok with, I made time to exercise and I stopped filling my head with negative thoughts. It’s a process I think we are all in and one I need to continually reaffirm and rebalance daily.

Once I hit my thirties I cared less what others thought and knew who my tribe were, this support unit enables me to evolve but without loosing ‘me’

I don’t usually pop in suggestions but if you need a Netflix recommendation for finding yourself then ‘Unicorn Store’ is a must. A bonus if you like glitter and swag suits.

As a teacher holidays mean I actually transfer into my other full time job – Mum. It’s a job I adore but this Easter I’ve also made time to step away from my boys and have some me time. I’ve been for afternoon tea with a lovely friend and a hen do proved the ultimate overnight escape, the Mr and I even squeezed in a date afternoon to the cinema. You see to be you, you need time to do what you enjoy, as well as support those around you.

Over the next week as I grab my teacher cape out of the launderette I’ll enjoy being in my classroom – it’s part of who I am. It isnt the whole me, so I will also plan time with family, loved ones and me time because forgetting who I am is now and forever more a nonnegotiable.

Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve so much

Quote from Helen Keller

Perhaps it best to begin where I am now. Sat on the side at the swimming pool whilst the Mr guides the little dude to improve his swimming technique. This allows me to type away and have some therapy time. Where we are now, getting more done.

Last week was a catastrophe of disasters; from work, complexities in childcare, getting back to a routine, the Mr having to be away for longer than I’d like – thanks Pakistan air space, little dude having a school trip…put it this way as a tribe we dropped plates this week and the juggle reached a climax and strain that was unrelenting. However, now out of the dark and into the light, we made it. We achieved so much thanks to the support of our extended tribe. A combination of friends reaching out, wise words, a Tunnocks tea cake left on my desk, the Mr’s Mum extending childcare beyond anyone’s expectations…that’s a wealth you can’t put a price on.

The flowers are for her. I can’t work full time without support. The kids at school can’t thrive without my support…we as a family need our extended tribe, we need to raise others up and in turn are held up by others.

If you too have had a year, month, week or day of darkness and you can see a glimmer of light then however small the light is bask in it. Thank those around you, appreciation is lost if we don’t seize it in the moment. We achieve very little alone and isolated, life is fuller with others by your side.

No.

To quote Hamlet, act 3, scene 3, line 87

We are on the cusp of a consumer crazy season. Of crackers with plastic and wrappings that nobody wants, that are often abandoned on the table long after the plates have been clearer away. Perhaps of saying thank you for gifts that lack thoughts, need or joy.

I know this post isn’t my usual sparkly positive self. Don’t despair, I’m about to flip it around but before I do I want to empower you with the word No. (As a Teacher and a Mum I feel Hamlet needs to add the words ‘thank you’ after his quote). Balance in life is crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve written many posts about ‘yes’ – to opportunities, change and adventure that so many of us hide from in daily life. I’m a fan honestly.

However, December seems to bring excess and anxiety for things we don’t want to do.

If you feel at all doubtful, listen to your instinct and say No.

  • Say No to buying gifts for that awkward Aunt or Uncle that you feel obliged to because they buy for you. It only takes a quick awkward phone call to release everyone of this burden for many Christmas’s to come
  • You don’t need to eat everything you’re offered
  • you can say no to sprouts.
  • You don’t need to attend that party that makes you feel anxious.
  • You don’t have to wear anything you don’t want to. I am the proud owner of zero Christmas jumpers.
  • Christmas doesn’t mean ‘spend money you don’t have’ say No.

Make sure the traditions you and your family participate in bring joy, love and a sense of fun…not awkward social events. Don’t become one of the three kings that bought guilt, anxiety and fear. Many of the innkeepers said No and it led to a way cooler version of Christmas. Baby Jesus born in a stable gathered by animals is all the better for its simplicity.

Saying No doesn’t need to be negative, it’s in fact a tool that can bring a huge amount of joy and relief. Balance is where joy and happiness can be fully embraced. This holiday season say yes to things that make you warm and smile, politely decline things your instinct tells you will add stress, keep the holiday season simple and stay present in all you do. It’s a recipe for the perfect Christmas.

Perspective

This just made me chuckle.

If you had been watching me this morning and was wearing your judgement pants you may have concluded a different perspective to my current reality. You may of said this Mum wasn’t engaged in her son and consumed by her mobile device.

Little dude had Judo, Mr F and I sat on the sidelines and whilst Daddy looked on I marked thirty GCSE papers…well half marked (seriously marking takes FOREVER), then it was swimming time with Daddy. Little dude is now 75% fish and Daddy has been a pro at teaching him. They are currently working on a new stroke and having a blast…I’m typing this from the gallery. On my mobile phone. I glance up every now and then, but I am writing. For me. This is my time. Swimming is their time.

Judgement pants may conclude I’m disengaged and not interest. I’m one of ‘those’ Mums. It’s true and I’m going to tell you why.

This Mumma doesn’t care what anyone other than her tribe thinks of her. This parent works full time, blogs for her own sanity, lives life to the full…manages her time to the minute. This time isn’t mine to watch my son swim…it’s my writing time. It’s Daddy and little dudes time. It means that with my marking done (well more done) and my post is written, in twenty minutes I will help little dude to dress. My cup will be full and I’ll be able to give him my attention, full attention – not planning in my head, stressy Mum writing a mental list kind of attention. My phone will barely be seen and we will fill our day with cooking, visiting loved ones and a dog walk. We will create memories and giggle.

It’s clear to me that perspective is needed. On lookers don’t know me, don’t need to judge me and I don’t need to judge them. We all do, obviously – it’s human nature. Sometimes, like my image above, we need a new perspective to read it. We need to step back, to not attack, judge or be quick in response.

In friendships, with work colleague and with your tribe add a filter before you make a remark. Breath. Step back. You’ll be wiser for it. Much like the swimming pool my boys are currently in, a filter is essential to prevent them from swallowing pure wee. Don’t let your life be poisoned by other people misunderstood perceptions.