Am I boring you?

I don’t know if any of you guessed this, but I very rarely plan my posts. I sit down on a Monday (or whenever I’m able at the moment) and wait to be inspired. I may process a few things in my head the night before and occasionally, when I’ve unexpectedly found myself with a few quiet minutes I might jot some lines down by hand, but I honest to goodness never write like we were taught at school – rough draft, revise, revise again, final draft, check, hand in. But then I never wrote anything like that at school either. Just ask my English teachers!

Its not always easy to know what to write about. I can have a list of things I think might make good posts in my head, or scribbled in my notebook, but sometimes when I sit down to write, none of them feels right. I originally wanted to use this as a space to discover more about me as a parent by reflecting on things I’ve learnt as I’ve gone along. And I really love writing my parenting posts. I’ve had so much positive feedback about them. But some weeks, I just don’t feel I’ve learnt anything “new” or different enough to write about. Some weeks life just confirms what I already thought. Or a subject that I’ve dealt with before comes up again. And I think that’s always going to be the case. Some weeks I’ll learn massive life lessons, other weeks we’ll bimble along, just doing what we do.

This week has been one of those weeks. We went back to our Toddler Groups. My main buggy went mouldy so I got a new one. We played with playdoh and cars and books. Friends came to visit. He was snotty. Then he was sick for a day. It was just a fairly average week. Nothing to get too excited about. I remember having weeks like that at work. Not boring as such – just normal.

So for those who think those who parent in place of paid work have so much more fun – yeah sometimes you’re right! But then sometimes you’re wrong. Sure I get to watch Despicable Me with lunch. But I get to watch it every day. Yes I get to go to the park and the leisure centre with him. But I get to stand around in the cold, pushing the swings for hours or wiping snot and dirt off him and me. Our lives can be just as mundane as they can be exciting.

But then I think this is OK. Its OK to be a bit boring as long as you’re happy and I know I am much happier than I was a year ago. I don’t feel like I’m missing out so much if I’m not doing something. A couple of weeks ago various things conspired to keep us at home for four days in a row. And it was fine. I wasn’t climbing the walls and shouting for help through the letterbox at passersby like I would have been a year ago. I was glad to go out when I did, but until then, it was all good.

The other day a friend asked me how I dealt with the particularly stressful (for us) transition from weaning to feeding. I told her, but said (without thinking) that I was a very different person then. I had to mentally stop and check myself. Was I? Am I so different? And I think I am. And I think that’s to do with contentment. I spent the first year of Oscar life thinking everything should be all singing all dancing and getting disappointed when it wasn’t. I’m much happier with the ordinary, the everyday than I can ever remember being in my life.

So yeah, sometimes I might struggle to know what to write and it wont just come to me every week. That’s OK. It might mean nothing exciting or truly life changing has happened recently. But it also means nothing awful has happened this week either. And for that I’m grateful.

Me & him. Every day.

Me & him. Every day.

Inspiration

The other day I was writing and listening to music. Music for me has always been a particularly emotional medium. I have songs that will always fill my heart with happiness and others I simply cannot listen to for the pain they cause me. Anyway I was listening to music that makes me think of a very specific time in my life, one when I felt particularly inspired. I started thinking about why I’d felt so inspired at that time, which in turn made me ask the question; what is inspiration? What is it that inspires you, me, anybody? I’m sure Inspiration is a concept I am seeing bandied about more and more recently. Its not something I remember hearing about so much five years ago.

Its nothing new, people have been

“mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”

for as long as there have been people. But is it just me or has the amount people refer to it increased?

I personally love (and sometimes hate – but mostly love) social media. It’s part of my life now – a big part and one I wouldn’t be without. It enables me to keep in contact with friends and family around the world, make new friends, research, ask for help, organise. On the whole social media rocks. But one thing about social media that’s starting to grind my gears is this:

once-you-choose-hope-anything-is-possible-inspirational-quote

age-wrinkles-the-body-quitting-wrinkles-the-soul-inspirational-quote

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for encouraging others, whilst working on your own motivation, but I am starting to tire somewhat of random pictures overlaid with cliched words.

I don’t find them inspirational. I might have done when it was just one or two, now and then, but I now see these things constantly. They’re all over the news feeds of the various platforms I use, in my twitter feed. Thank God people have stopped sending them to me in emails!

Bloody hell I sound miserable! I’m not, believe me. I am more positive at the moment than at most other times in my life. I have been inspired and continue to be inspired. But cheesy words on an even cheesier picture are not the cause. People inspire me. Their acts, and deeds, and attitude and creativity inspire me. When I lived in Swansea I had the most creative friend I’ve ever known. Hanging out with him inspired me to also be creative. Does anyone remember receiving a Christmas gift from me in 2010? I printed my own wrapping paper and designed my own gift tags for god sake! I mean come on people. I’ve never done that before or since! He didn’t do that and he didn’t suggest I did. He just inspired me.

Being a mother inspires me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had times when I’m so tired and drained that I don’t even know my own name. But other times I’ve felt so inspired by what I see in Oscar and his achievements that I’ve been known to spend an entire afternoon, alone with my son, singing songs with actions just to see him put his left arm in or turn around. Other mothers inspire me too. Mothers I know personally or mothers whose blogs I read. I think it can be easy to compare yourself to others and question whether what you’re doing is as good or the right thing etc. But when I can get past that ( 😉 ) I have been totally inspired by these women. By their courage, their drive, their ability to cope, their creativity, their willingness to share with me! Sometimes they inspire me to want to be like them, but often they just inspire me to do things differently.

So OK I’ll admit I have occasionally been touched by these “quotes”. When I was going through a very sad time in my life, a friend said to me “Lisa, it’ll be OK in the end and if its not OK, its not the end”. At the time it blew my mind and really helped the situation. And yes recently I saw the same soundbite on a cheesy picture, popping up in my news feed. But the impact it had on me when someone took me aside and and said it to me was completely different to the impact it had on me when I casually glanced at it in my news feed.

I think that’s the difference for me. People inspire me every day, but I think these quotes are just a poor substitute for human contact. For someone learning from another. For someone putting an arm around you and telling you its going to be OK. Even if that’s a virtual arm on a social platform. Just sharing a cheesy motivational quote with everyone on your friend list doesn’t feel inspirational – it’s becoming white noise.

Maybe that’s my problem with them. I don’t want to lose the personal touch. And I hope I’ve inspired you not to want to either.