Home schooling, lockdown vol.2 – the winter edition

Four days in to January 2021 in the UK, any hope was slashed by the Prime Minister’s announcement to return to life in March 2020, you have every right to feel the emotions you do; whether you are fearful, angry, bored, or nonplus *or perhaps like me fly between them all like a Meerkat on look out. It’s perfectly normal to not feel normal, that’s the new normal.

However, hope is on the horizon and that’s why I have popped this midweek post together. This time we have several super powers within us and we should unleash them…well it could make all the difference to us and our families thriving in 2021. Although I write as both a parent and teacher, I would also like to highlight that everyone is in their own personal battle at present and hopefully non parents can take some joy from this post too.

Super power one: knowledge: Volume two means there was a volume one. I know you know that, I know things aren’t exactly the same BUT we lived through volume one! Knowledge is power, something I never had last time. This time I can see an end, volume 1 was six months of ‘maybe next week’ a blur, a really long Sunday…this time I know it will end because it did before. Maybe we didn’t all thrive, but it’s well worth taking time to reflect on the things that did work, adapting them where necessary and making them work for the winter edition, hindsight is a beautiful thing – use it. For example, a paddling pool in January probably isn’t going to go down well, but we as a family in vol.1 took the time each day to come together and watch a film, it was a calming time (it was always Disney) and it added a drop of structure to an otherwise chaotic day.

I took the time to ask my son what he wanted to do, sure home schooling was usually part of the day but actually with no commutes we did have time to bake or build some Lego. We went for walks, okay if I’m honest I’m a little walked out but I also know that nature always makes me feel better…do the things that served you last time.

Superpower two: Know your child isn’t behind: You are giving them an experience. Like most adventures in life it comes with highs (we uploaded work to the school site) and lows (no work was achieved and my son claimed corona stole all of the pencils in the house) but it’s how we look at them that counts. My child is where he is academically; I can’t rewind 2020, I can’t push knowledge into his brain, but I can make sure that no matter what he is safe and healthy. Today the juggle was real. My full time job, our home, my sons education, our families sanity, our mental health all rolled into one and it was messy…but it was also good too….

Super power three: Hold on to the gratitude: Being thankful, for whatever small glimmer of hope, joy, love, appreciation you see or feel…it matters. I’m eternally indebted to frontline workers, I’m pleased my family is healthy, that today we are ok, that the internet connection works, that I have the skill set to break down tasks set for my child and can make them applicable to him, that the dog didn’t bark when the postman came and I was on a Teams call for work, that we did our best.

Super power four: Small steps are mighty: This may be part of your existing super power one, but I know that small steps, low expectations and being kind to myself is the only way I can manage at present. I didn’t do all the work tasks I had the intention of completing, by 10am I prioritised them and spread them out over the next few days. I can only do what I can. I did take a few minutes to do a facial this evening so that tomorrow I wake feeling topped up with self love, I also treated myself to a hot chocolate because this life is precious. Small steps with treats along the way make unstructured time’s a little easier. Also, a technique that works well for most children and age groups is Now, Next and then. It works like this: Now we are doing maths, next we will read and then you can play. Forget the rest of the day for a few small steps, when they are heading off to play, remind them that now they are having play time, next they can read and then we will have lunch. Those three small words can give enough knowledge to make your child feel safer. If you have multiple children it might be that time is divided and your ‘Now i’m helping Bethan, next we will go and play and then we will revisit your history work together’ feeling heard is so important and often grounds us far more than Mummy spending 5 hours the night before creating a complex rota that due to a tantrum and a high temp from the baby has all gone out of the window before 7:30am

I hope by reading this you maybe remembered how awesome you already are, that you’ve got this and that with a few super powers under your belt you can achieve anything.

Do something your future self will thank you for

Quote Anon

Hey lovelies.

Last night we had an amazing full blue moon, which means we were blessed with two full moons in October. Plus Halloween showed up lockdown style and in the UK Boris killed the party with news lockdown the sequel will be released later this week. *nobody likes sequels

Emotions are high, energy patterns seem confused and I’m sat here on a Sunday morning snuggled in a warm towel. This may not seem something necessary for me to share but for those that know me – things have changed.

You see I believe in creating pockets of joy in everyday. Self care is my shadow and I often make negotiable (dependant on the days demands) moments of self love everyday. With my cup full I’m in a great position to serve those I love. Sunday evenings however are non negotiable – a luxurious, child free pampered bath is my ritual. It helps me prepare for the week ahead and involves exfoliating, hair masks, nails, candles, fancy drinks in fancy glasses – the full spa package. Except it’s 10am and I’ve just got out of the bath….

I never understood day bath people. Draped in my fluffy white towel I’ve now become one. I told you things had changed.

I woke up and went downstairs and somehow between my cosy duvet and the reality of another rainy day in the UK I got cold. When I get cold, unlike Elsa everybody hears about it but not in an empowering Disney song kind of way but in a possessed protagonist demon way. It ruins my day and everyone I come into contact with. I sat back on the bed and decided to do something that would make me happy…I’d just had breakfast so didn’t have space for another cup of tea…then the answer came. Why wait until evening for my bath, why delay the delight? Having a bath is something my future self would thank me for, I’d be warm, happy and then align with more joy throughout the day. I turned the taps on to the bath and began an internal argument with myself…‘I never had a bath in the morning unless I’m ill. Who am I? Is this a lazy / waste of day thing to do? The negative doubt continued but the aroma of the bath oils and bubbles (yes I mix both together) called me in.

In the tub with no rubber ducky in sight (rule one of Mum bath club – no kids, no toys, no plastic) I realigned with the joy that the bath gave me and knew instantly I’d made the right choice.

Now as my future self sat on the edge of my bed, fully moisturised and waiting for the my skin to turn back to a normal shade (I love my baths ridiculously hot) I knew I’d made a positive difference and I’d turned a dreary Sunday into a blissful day of hope. I’d also reminded myself that I’m in charge of my own happiness and that sometimes we don’t do things just because we ‘don’t do things’ like morning baths and that’s stupid. Sure, next Sunday normality will be resumed with my evening ritual but for now my happiness is topped up and that’s good enough for me.

My bathing example may seem ridiculous and it probably is, but however small or large the changes in our life need to be to make our future self happy – do them without hesitation. Lose the weight, buy the car, save the money, eat the cake, marry him/her, go on the journey, take a pay drop to do the career you always dreamed about, prioritise you’re happiness in the future. ‘You’ may just thank you in the future, also don’t be surprised at how small somethings that make us happy are.

Sometimes the tiniest things shine brightest in our lives.

Quote Anon.

I’m a fan of the small twinkles of joy that I find in my life. I’m hardwired to see them, breath them and appreciate them. It’s true I’m one of the happy, cheerful sorts that you don’t want to meet on a bad day, but you’d be wrong in thinking that this outward joy comes naturally to me. So what keeps me on the sunny side of life?

My thoughts:

I consciously make positive choices asking my internal self ‘Does this feel good?’ or ‘Do I need to let go of this?’

I also read positive literature and online only follow accounts that make me feel good as I scroll, the exception are topics I feel passionately about; like teen mental health, anxiety or sometimes adoption stories – however, again I select accounts that are giving solutions, tools or sharing positive intentions around those issues. We don’t have the TV on in our home, instead we sit down to stream specific films or series – the news is never on. If I need to know, social media has a way of letting me know the big stuff, without the TV on we also don’t have adverts blaring through our home or the constant chatter of day time TV and negative energy.

I do meditate but I admit this is something I’m currently struggling to keep in my routine. Mornings can be manic and evenings I just end up dozing off, however this week I’m going to trial lunch time meditations now the little dude has returned to school. There are many articles on why we should all meditate and so many different ways; guided or not, with or without music, with actions or still….it’s worth exploring what works for you.

Magnetised by positive people:

We can’t always avoid people that have low energy or perhaps drain us, in the work place you may not get to decide who you work with and its unlikely that you’re already thinking of a certain someone that drains you faster than the bathroom plug can be emptied. However, in your personal life you can, or you can minimise interactions with people who dont raise you up.

Another way around this, is balancing your time with personalities who both drain and radiate for you at the same time or near each other. I also sometimes will make sure I have time to myself to ‘fill up my cup’ before I enter a situation that I know may be highly stressful, although I realise that this isn’t always possible.

Actively search for the tiny moments of sparkle in your day:

Don’t just notice them, highlight them. Keep track of them in a gratitude diary, or a note in your phone, share them with others or just relish them a little longer than you might normally.

To get you started here are a few of mine from where I’m seated in this moment:

  • The sun is shining through the windows and its hitting my prisms that hang and casting rainbows everywhere.
  • My cup is over half full…no seriously, I just filled glass with water (hydrations lifts moods too)
  • My dog is laying across my feet – bonus that she’s keeping them warm
  • I hoovered this morning so my carpet looks clear (no toys in site!)

Once you begin this Polly-Anna approach to looking for the light in life, much like any habit you’ll magnetise to more of the joy life offers. Whilst its not always easy to see, I promise you there is always something good to appreciate. Basic maths tells us that we can’t get a negative number from two or more positive numbers. I suggest that you can lead a more hopeful, sparkly and joyful existence if you choose to focus on the tiny moments life offers us.

It’s all lies darling

Quote Anon

I often write about perspective and how vital it is for a contented life. So often we fall in to a trap of false accusations and the main stream media twisting lies and pushing dramatic headlines that are often false, fake or unfair on the person who’s life is under the spot light.

For many of these reasons and also the negativity of it all, as a household we don’t use our TV, avoid the radio and decided what we consume via streaming. However, often in school I deal with incidents and listen to each side, sometimes with lies woven through to protect things they have done, usually with glimmers of truth and a dash of artistic licence.

This morning in bed I was rolled away from my partner and facing our wardrobe doors, he turned his side lamp on and cast a huge shadow across the ceiling. The shadow looked haunting and dangerous, it had sharp edges and two sides were coming together much like teeth. I turned back to see he was writing and the shadow was he’s fingers and pencil on the pad.

Perspective is essential, don’t believe everything you see, hear and even think at times. Don’t hold your perspective as the only one, there are often victims on each side and every now and then an innocent pad of paper and pencil.

It’s important to be cautious of what we tell ourselves, so often we feed ourselves lies. We aren’t good enough, intelligent enough, healthy enough. I always think if we spoke to our friends how our inner voice talks to us we’d be a very lonely planet. When I look back at photographs of my younger self I’m not always as horrified as I thought at the time. *Although the teen fringe phase and sun-in over use was a mistake.

If what we see around us is often lies and how we speak to ourselves is often overly negative…I choose denial. Talk to yourself like you do your best friend, paint your own truth and see the world through sparkly lenses. Socialise with people that make you feel good, work on goals that make you happy and celebrate the journey along the way.

Happy is the new rich

Great work from Anon.

Every now and then society enjoys a fad; minimalist living, various diets, exercise comes in an out of fashion – Zumba, HIIT workouts, hula hooping, unicorns and Pom-Pom’s, the list is endless. I’ve noticed that happiness is currently on the pedestal.

This is a fad that regular readers will know I completely adore. Every morning, whether I wake by the sunlight flowing through the window or my son pounces on my head like a meteorite – I choose happiness. It’s a decision that I continue to make throughout the day, most days. Sometimes I forget but then I look at my happiness bank account, I’m wealthy. A quick gratitude list of my assets helps to keep me flowing; abundant in good health for myself and family, a job that I adore (except on Monday mornings when I’m snuggled in bed and the alarm goes off) I am surrounded by a tribe of awesome people…and my dog, candles, books…

Being a millionaire of happiness is pretty awesome. My actual bank manager can’t touch it, I can spend it like confetti and the more I give out, the more I get back…win.

It takes effort and mindfulness, it takes self discipline to redirect my attention when the darkness creeps in – but I will always consciously decide to be happy.

If you live under darkness, then you too can be rich. It starts by doing one thing you enjoy for a few moments and allowing the light in. You’ll quickly find that a few pounds of happiness have been credited to your bank account. However, I fully appreciate that at times professional help is required and self care is needed. The great news is recognising your own needs also credits your happiness account.

I asked my five year old son why happiness was important?

“because it means you can do things that make you smile”

If I feel sad what should I do?

“Lots of things – get a drink, drinking water makes me and my tongue happy”

*warning being happy is highly addictive and is super annoying for anyone who isn’t happy.

** Five year olds are the epicentre of happiness and the true experts. However, ten seconds later they can explode in a ‘Hulk smash’ mentality and truly depict the fragility of being happy.

Be happy, it drives people crazy.

Anon

Despite the fact it’s still November consumerism seems to be taking hold of the nation/globe following Black Friday…the Friday sale that lasts a fortnight. Christmas chatter has taken over many blog posts and is the topic of conversation in our staffroom. Panic sweeps the nation. And I stay firm. I will not get swept into a frenzy on what I’m doing, got to do or who I haven’t bought for (the answer is nobody yet). There is plenty of time. However, I adore Christmas and refuse for it to become a burden. I stand firm in a smile. When asked how I feel about ‘all the catering’ I reply with a smile and say it’s an honour to have family to feed. I am not a saint but I know one thing to be true. Being happy really does drive other people  nuts. “Ohhh I don’t know how you can be so relaxed, I ordered the Turkey in June” hehe…yup and I was busy enjoying the start of summer.

It also means that for the people I dislike, hate and wish would disappear I increase my sparkle, smiles and graces – why? Because it pisses them off and reflects the stress and chaos back at them. I will not absorb negativity from them. It’s my super power and a skill that you should consider as a New Years resolution – forget weight loss, make 2018 the year you choose to be happy.

I choose happy because it makes me happy, it makes others happy and it’s contagious.

Christmas Day will come and go whether I stress or not. The dust will gather again from the moment I flick the duster, the bills will get paid and all those tasks on the ‘to do list’ will eventually be over taken with other tasks and thousands of other ‘to do lists’ but for now I am blissfully happy drinking a hot cup of tea after an intense yoga session, and for now and for always ‘I choose happy’ (and tea) (same thing)

Have you ever picked positivity as a power to piss others off?