Sunday, 27 July 2014

Country Kids - Sand Between our Toes

On Friday we had fun on the beach, sand between our toes and just enough ocean breeze to keep us cool.  We put away our devices (except to take the odd snap) and we played bare foot in the shallow waters.

As much as I try to make the most of the time little man and I have together with the teen it's becoming harder.  There is of course school, then there's homework, cheer leading, dads days, friends days and the dreaded gadgets.  I have to admit I'm as guilty as her most of the time when it comes to our gadgets but I'm trying harder to be better, to be present, to wait until night when there is nobody up to pay attention to. 

This evening, only two days later, I realised that as great as our day at the beach was I'm struggling to keep hold of my Princess.  As much as I want her to experience life for herself I would hate for her to go off the rails.  People are quick to comfort me and say, "Gail, you do a great job with them, they will always remember what you taught them."  However I know that remembering and doing are two different things.  

My wish right now is that my princess remains present and honest.  I wish we could be on the beach every day.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Silent Sunday

Friday, 25 July 2014

It's a mans world

The theme this week for the prompt is, "It's a man's world."  A fantastic prompt because it prompts all sorts of emotions in a woman, especially if one happens to be a feminist.  I would perhaps take this statement even further to say not only is it a man's world but it is a white middle class man's world.

If you are born female, you may as well give up now.  If you are born black and male, you may as well give up now.  Or at least that's what some of our children grow up thinking.  

My daughter and I love listening to LBC on the way to school in the mornings, we often have heated debates with the presenter (usually Nick Ferrari), if only he could hear us!  A few weeks ago we heard him announce that In a survey carried out on some 8-14 year olds, 1 in 5 (20%) of the black children believed that their skin colour may damage their job prospects, this was in comparison to only 2% of their white counterparts and (13% of children of Asian origin) feeling the same.  It was questioned whether the parents were to blame for teaching their children this.

I responded to the radio by saying if they were to ask my daughter this question would she have the same response, the answer would be yes.  I am to blame and frankly I don't care.  I want to teach my daughter the unfortunate realities of the society she is to become a contributing part of, a society in which as the economy stabilizes and unemployment among white Britons falls, unemployment among black Britons continues to rise.  There are so many reasons for this, too many for me to list here but what I also teach my daughter is this, when you are the best form of yourself that you can be people cannot help but take notice.  When you push yourself to achieve to the highest standards, people cannot help but take notice.  When you shine and be the star that you were born to be, people cannot help but take notice.  The path may be harder, there may be boulders to climb, you may even trip and fall on your journey but if you climb them with passion and get up with dignity, people cannot help but take notice.

Princess and her team mates holding their first place trophy 

My children know that they are champions and as such are never to give up on their dreams.  They are to fight to be victorious in all they desire and they are to be resourceful and not let anything get in their way, especially not the colour of their skin.  What we need in our schools and in the media is to show that black people are more than purely athletes, singers, TV personalities and actors.  Black people also own businesses, are scientists, lawyers, doctors, astronauts, soldiers, writers and journalists.  Our children (all of our children no matter what ethnicity) need wider aspirations and we as a society need to be the ones to give them that.

Little Man doing his "I am a Champion pose."


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Good enough is best

Sat in a small room full of mothers from different backgrounds one could easily be mistaken and take it for a PTA meeting at the local school however this meeting was in the pub, cups of tea replaced by Pimms cocktails and the focus of the meeting was not to talk about what we could do better for our children but instead to watch a performance that would reassure us that as mothers we are good enough, and good enough is best.

The set

The small cast of actresses highlight the importance of speaking out when you feel you can't cope and not judging others for their parenting 'mistakes' because if we are honest we all make them in some shape or form.  Above all else what I took from the performance was that we should place great importance on not judging ourselves nor trying to measure up to the picture we've created of a perfect mother.  There are NO PERFECT mothers.

Not only was the show very entertaining but it provided information I had not known before such as the fact that PND can effect you at any point up to the time your youngest child is aged 4, a fact that may yet prove very important to my own life.  I am unfortunately part of a club to which I would gladly hand back my membership.  I have suffered from depression since the age of 16 and in the last few months have been having a tough time.  

Some people think that something in your life has to be awful to in a sense validate the state of depression, which for some is true, but for me at this present time there is no reason.  The tears are unexplained, the sleepless nights are without reason and the irrational anxiety without clear cause.  Writing that down was difficult, but keeping it in has been harder.  So I for one am very glad that I went to see the show because alongside the encouraging words from kind-hearted people either face to face or via email, this show has made me able to talk a little more about the feelings I have behind the mask I wear to protect others, my children included.

Sometimes the people that write plays such as 'The Good Enough Mums Club' and another fantastic play that I saw a snipped of this week, 'So You Think I'm Crazy?' ( written by Ekanem Hines) set out just to talk about their personal experiences, such was the case with Emily Beecher (who suffered from post natal depression and psychosis) or to bring awareness and make an impact but the writers are not always privy to the good they are doing by not only bringing awareness to the illnesses they cover in their scripts but also encouraging people to seek support, know that they are not alone or know that they are good enough.  I purposely took my friend along with me because I knew part of her story and this morning she wrote this:

"I am proud to say that I have become an honorary member of the Good enough Mums club. This means I will no longer feel guilty that I cannot be 12 places at once. I will no longer allow criticisms of my mediocre attempts at motherhood to dampen my spirits. I will celebrate my achievements and my children rather than focus on what I haven't done. And I will pat myself on the back every time I manage to do the school run after 2 hours of convincing children to eat breakfast, wash, brush teeth, get dressed and we all manage to get out the house fully dressed, a pair of the same shoes and ironed clothes is a bonus. #motherhoodishardbutworthit"

One of the things I always say is if I make a difference to one person, be that a child when I'm teaching, a women when I'm doing a workshop, a friend, a partner or my children, then I have done my job.  The writers and cast can walk proudly knowing that they have done their jobs and good enough is best.

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Nature's magic

"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Roald Dahl

Sadness itself was chasing me,
without reason, excuse or design,
it's been trying to take my hope
and erase any peace I could find.

But I believe in magic,
much greater than any can see.
The magic of God in nature,
the healing that comes from a seed.

I planned out a grand destination,
where the magic of nature resides.
I softened my sadness with lavender,
laughing with love by my side.


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall