You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep others warm

Quote unknown

When I saw this quote my heart sung a little with laughter.

From work to play I see humans setting themselves on fire on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking of course. So often we put others ahead of ourselves and at the end of a busy week when we have little for ourselves we still continue to serve others from empty cups.

On Friday evening I had nothing to give. Trimester one is exhausting and as I walked in the door I knew an early night was essential and that dinner would have to sort itself out. A laptop and a scroll meant that pizza would be delivered. Not my personal choice but I was past caring. We selected a film from Netflix and the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ had never been more correct. Next stop bed…

The house looks like a bombs gone off and the my laundry basket might erupt at anytime. In the light of a new day these things can be challenged but last night sleep was my only need and my only

As a parent of the messy kind that leave trails of crumbs wherever they go, are allergic to picking up toys and make unreasonable demands at unreasonable hours…we feel the need to set ourselves on fire to keep them warm, or to lie there with them until they fall asleep, to provide all they desire and make every moment count. In my experience as a teacher of teens this isn’t the solution. Giving them clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do allows them to mimic this into their relationships. Perhaps instead of going to the extreme of setting ourselves on fire we could suggest they put on a jumper?

Many parents often feel that they ‘let the kids down’ because they shouted, lost their sh*t or wasn’t there for the event they were performing in. I think if you take the time to explain why you can’t be there, they learn life skills about resilience and boundaries. I think you can unburden the chains of parental guilt by talking to your child about the reasons why and also by taking time out for you, perhaps the emotional outpours would be less frequent. We need to be brave enough to say no, listen enough to when we need to say yes and put the box of matches back in a secure cupboard on a high shelf. You are enough, you always have been and you always will be.

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Sometimes happy memories hurt the most

Very soon we will of breathed for 3650 days without our first born, our daughter Gracie Alice Rose.

As I’ve written previously she was too precious for this earth and so was given her wings early. We were blessed with several days with her and in that small amount of time created enough memories to get us through a life time without her…just. I remember every moment and each stage before we left the hospital with her car seat empty and our hearts in pieces.

At the time we were cocooned by the love of our family and friends, but also the ripples of love that travelled into our communities, work places and beyond. This experience has given me a masters in grief. It wasn’t a qualification that I was planning on taking, but I hope that my knowledge might make things a little easier when you find yourself in the shadows of grief.

People lie

Much like a pregnancy, in death people like to give advice. “It’ll be ok” “when my mum died..” it goes on. However, one wise Nanny told me “people will tell you it gets easier with time – they’re liars”. At the time it felt like Nanny had bluntly slapped me across the face, a different tone shall we say from the sympathy cards we’d received in their dozens. Alas, she was right and with this blunt truth and sudden adjustment to my thoughts, it somehow made it easier? I wasn’t waiting for the day I’d feel ‘me’ again, because ‘I’ was changed forever. With this comes several added delights, people are lying to you because they love you enough to want to make it better. to ease the brutal process. You are loved. Also, I don’t want to forget anything about that 5lb9 bundle of joy, so why would losing her get easier? Another truth is you do smile again, breathing gets a little easier and appreciation for what you had, even if like in our case it was only for days…becomes a blessing.

Break all the rules

If grief was a fairy, she would be naughty, mischievous and unpredictable – she would turn up when she liked, how she liked and make you feel how you didn’t expect to feel. Some people believe that there are steps to grief (google tells me there are seven), in reality there are actually as many as your grief fairy decides. You may think you’re through guilt and in to anger and then fairy grief side sweeps you back to stage one ‘shock’. It’s your journey and just because I’ve got my masters in grief doesn’t mean I know how you feel, what you need or how best to support you. My best advice would be to reach out to someone you trust and tell them. If they are a good friend, they’ll already know you’re crazy and love you for it, so to hear that one day your fine, the next your on top of the world and the third you’ve been wearing the same Pyjamas for a month and don’t remember where the shower is will come as no surprise. Talk to your tribe, be as honest as you can about your feelings and if you can’t put it into words, silence is best served with a friend by your side.

If none of the above resonates with you, remember ‘what do I know?’ and people are liars. However, if it made things a little easier then in our family we call that a ‘Gracie steps’, tiny steps to progress.

If you’ve been affected by any of the content in this post, please speak to a loved one, your GP or perhaps speak to the wonderful people at The Samaritans (UK) 116123.

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.

Don’t count the days, make the days count

Quote from Muhammad Ali

My son has completed his school year and has jumped into summer, sadly I have two more days of standing on the precipice before we can both wallow in the delights of the summer holidays.

We have completed our clouds (See our previous post for more details) as I think it’s important to take in to consideration what he would like to do and yet again I was blown away with how simple his requests are.

During the summer I like to have a balance of planned events and lazy days, prioritising experience over objects. Our holidays have been planned to take our sons interests into account but also I’ve booked an adult only escape in order to keep everyone balanced.

Making the days count is important to me and so I’ve set myself a ‘me goal’ and a ‘Mum goal’. I’m sharing these to make myself accountable and to hopefully inspire you to also set yourself small challenges. I’ve also thought of a word to sum up my intentions for summer – flow.

Me goal:

  • Yoga everyday or a run.

I have been doing mini sessions of yoga when I wake but know that with a little more time I can increase my flow and practise.

Mum goals:

  • Teach little dude to tell the time

This unexpected target is nearly reached by the end of day two. He has really taken to the new watch his Nanny and Grandad bought him and is keen to tell everyone we meet what the time is. Having him with me means the learning can be quick, frequent and once again success can flow

  • Write every day

At the grand age of six, writing is not a joy for my little man, so again I’ve cunningly hidden daily tasks in and around the adventures we’ll be having to help the pen to flow. Last night we sent Daddy messages on post-it’s whilst he was upstairs and I’ve asked a friend of mine who doesn’t live locally if her son would like to be my sons pen pal, an old school idea but he really enjoyed the idea of his friend receiving it. He is also writing a book which was his idea and enjoyed reading the first instalment to his godmother over FaceTime yesterday.

I realise a lot of parents might read this and think that the summer is a time to escape the pen and pencil of the classroom but I personally know my little dude and know that little steps will help him to thrive in the new academic year…as long as he doesn’t realise we’re doing ‘writing’.

Being accountable for each day can feel empowering, I know that we will all enjoy camping under the stars, making memories and visiting some wonderful places. I know that my camera will overflow and my instagram squares will increase with unexpected moments of joy too. However, like Muhammad suggested, time is limited and summers with my boys by my side won’t be forever, so I plan to enjoy each and every day…two more days to go.

Shoshin

Not a quote, just a magical word.

Welcome to another fix of inspiration from the fridge. It will be no surprises that I really like words. A cluster of letters squished together can produce the most emotive sentiment or allow others to empathise with how you may be feeling.

Today, if you haven’t come across the word previously I’m sharing a new favourite with you. ‘Shoshin’ (firstly how lovely is it to say) means…

The practise of seeing life in wonder

One of the greatest things about being a parent is seeing the world through little eyes. I remember walking with my son when he was about two years old to our local park. He picked up the every stone, touched every leaf and the two minute walk became an exploration of discovery and wonder. I followed behind and observed the wonder, whilst reminding myself that time was our friend and I didn’t need to hurry him on. Sadly as we grow older our priorities change and we forgot the joy that surrounds us. Often happiness is found in the most basic of flavours (for me boiled egg and soldiers), smells (the roses in my garden) and experiences (an empty beach in winter with my boys watching the sunset on a clear day).

This post doesn’t come with a long lecture but instead a reminder to pause and live a life full of Shoshin. One of the ways I do this is my keeping a gratitude journal, another is myself and a friend are currently using WhatsApp to send each other a daily gratitude and photo. Today’s was having breakfast outside in the sun

The messages will last for 100 days and it’s really nice to look back over when life seems a little less bleak and Shoshin has been hidden behind a load of washing and an endless to do list.

However, like I stated previously this post isn’t a deep metaphorical ramble, it’s just a reminder to leave a Shoshin awesome life and appreciate each moment of wonder as it passes.

Try to be like the turtle, at ease in it’s own shell

Abandoned the quotes this week and gone into the depths of an old proverb.

If you’ve dropped into this little corner of the internet previously you’ll know that ‘The Fridge’ is all about self love. How could we not discuss how awesome these wise words are.

The gorgeous Alicia Keys has been the Spotify choice of go-to music lately; her vibe is cool, calm and many of her tracks are already iconic. Before this becomes the unofficial AK fan page, I need to let you know one more awesome fact about her. She wears very little makeup and chooses to wear her hair in a natural state…did I mention she’s absolutely stunning and a successful singer songwriter? Inspired by her empowerment for everything human and real, I gave up makeup cold turkey about a month ago.

I didn’t tell anyone, I just didn’t slap it on. Nobody asked or questioned my decision, in fact at school a lovely work colleague gave me a thoughtful compliment about how beautiful my skin is (even more grateful to hear that because I also was a paranoid about a spot that appeared over night and looks like it’s squatting and here to stay for sometime) I do plan to wear make up again but not daily and certainly only when I feel like it. I save around twenty minutes in the morning and I use that to get chores done or sometimes I just sit down and day dream with a cup of tea. Bliss.

In a world that is becoming increasingly complex, filtered, altered and at times overly negative about people’s physical appearances i’d like to stay as authentically me as possible.

My shell is not perfect and neither is yours, I don’t always get things right and I often feel anxious about what people might think of me…then I remember this is my shell, my blessed shell – many would give anything to have a sparkly shell of joy like mine. Its fully functioning and any dents remind me of the previous battles I’ve survived or thrived from. My shell is me, it’s where I’m truly at home, it travels with me wherever I go. Just as you can’t criticise a Dolphin for its lack of shell, you are wasting your time analysing your own body with lacks and let down thoughts. You’ve grown in to your shell and at times altered it or made minor improvements *note to self: do yoga this evening

…but ultimately you will always have you. So shine that shell with a few positive comments a day, or at-least stop yourself from vomiting negative thoughts all over it. Allow your body to rest, work and play and provide it with the best care you can give it. Today that might be a small step in just realising that you need to be kinder to yourself.

Happy shell shining.

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.

I love the privacy of rain

Quote by Helen Dunmore

Have you ever read six words and felt like you’ve read a poem? I adore the simplicity and arrangement of this quote, each time I read it my mind goes on a little detour into my imagination and each time it’s different.

For that reason I don’t plan on writing too much in this post. I’d rather you too evoke your own story; two of my favourites included a girl in the rain dealing lost in sadness with the walls of rain isolating her from the buzzing city around her, where perhaps the sunshine’s? My second is a enjoyable cosy image of watching the rain fall outside whilst sat snuggly inside (with a cup of tea obviously) enjoying the tranquility and rhythm of the rain falling…add a blazing fire for a picturesque scene.

What I would like to share is my love of words, more specifically quotes and how they resonate with us. Aren’t we blessed to live in a world with so many diverse languages, translations and meanings. How wonderful is it that these six words may take you on a completely different journey to my versions.

Feel free to share your versions below or next time you’re at a loss on a long journey and perhaps it’s even raining, let your mind wonder on this little gem of a quote.

Morals are a luxury. Stand by them

Quote by me.

This Valentine’s Day I asked the Mr to book it off (sometime around Christmas) so that I could book tickets to see Stacey Dooley at the Brighton dome, my friend from work and I went and frankly I needed child care, who said romance was dead.

We had a wonderful evening and Stacey shared clips from her ten year career and some of the horrific people she had met, wild places around the globe she had explored amongst a gentle sprinkle of hope and inspiration.

As we walked back to the car I thought about what I had taken from the experience, once again I was reminded how vile humans can be.

However, what I took from the show was a single comment Stacey had made.

She referred to how living in a western society we live in a place where we can have morals. What a luxury, that I’d never considered? We do have freedom and we can share our opinions. That’s serious privilege that I had taken for granted. It made me realise that in my fortunate position I need to love even harder, that my dreams are achievable and that with compassion there is hope.

I’m not saying life is perfect but I don’t have the worries that come with raising my child in a war zone, equality is achievable and I really do believe tomorrow will be better. If you too have morals, stand by them and wear them like gold cloaks of love. Share those morals on social media, it’s a platform that can be used to uplift and inspire.

Most importantly live each day as a role model of those morals, show them off like a fun, humoured and uplifting t-shirt. Tonight I will go to bed, a little more humble, appreciative of all I have and tomorrow I will wake ready to pursue another step in the direction of my dreams.

I hope you feel beautiful today

Quote Anon

No advice today, no words of motivation, just a sprinkle of kindness in a grey and overwhelming world.

Perhaps you have used so much dry shampoo for so many days that your actual shampoo has now also dried, may be your nail varnish is chipped and you haven’t been brave enough to look in a full length mirror since Britney sang ‘hit me baby one more time’ … if your children haven’t let you sleep for seven years, if you aren’t even sure whether sleep is an actual thing anymore and it’s a legend that occurred in the late nineties…

If all of these things are true, or perhaps you just feel shit:

    Put the sparkly shoes on even if you aren’t leaving the house today
    Wear the piece of jewellery that doesn’t go with your outfit but makes you feel amazing, who cares if it’s a glittering tiara and you’re popping to the supermarket.
    Grab the item from your wardrobe (or floor) that makes you feel amazing irrelevant of the climate – thong sandles look fabulous in snow.

Because even if the skies are grey I promise every time you catch a glimpse of that wardrobe item you will smile.

Davina McCall swears by sexy underwear. It doesn’t matter that nobody is going to see it, you will and you will know.

Just finding that one thing that makes you beam will remind you that you’re beautiful, now excuse me whilst I add some lipstick and remember if nobody else tells you today – you are beautiful.