Keeping calm, carrying on

Life seems to have stepped up a gear recently and I have been struggling to fit all of the tasks demanded of me into my day. Exam season is drawing to a close and those special, end of term activities are becoming more frequent. Although my boys welcome the break from the school day routine they rarely seem to gain much from Fun Runs or Art Days. My elder son needs extra time to finish coursework and would welcome more autonomy to enable him to make better use of his school day. He rails against the hours he considers wasted when he has so many important tasks that he wishes to complete.

At the end of last week we celebrated my youngest son’s birthday on the same day that my daughter sat her final GCSE paper. The sun shone and we had a very enjoyable evening out followed by a weekend of freedom from the demands of studying. For me the weekend seemed to consist of over indulgence so I am now attempting to compensate with sensible consumption and increased exercise. It is too easy to develop a habit of little personal rewards at the end of a busy and demanding day. With three teenagers in the house I need to work hard just to keep the peace; an evening sit down with a treat is so tempting.

With the summer holiday season approaching I am aware that I will see even less of my local, adult friends than is usual. Having voluntarily removed myself from so many sociable get togethers I am now trying to arrange walks to enable me to catch up with those I have neglected. My social health requires maintenance as much as my physical well being. My natural inclination is to ignore the one and overindulge the other, neither of which will benefit me long term.

I had a very enjoyable walk with a lady friend from the village yesterday. The weather has picked up and we had an interesting conversation that I have been considering in my head ever since. There are points that I wish I had made, arguments that could have been better expressed, opinions that we did not consider. I wonder why I always carry out this mental post mortem and regret missing an opportunity to elicit a response that would have interested me. Such conversations are rare in my life these days and so welcome, yet I am rarely satisfied with my contribution.

I have a week filled with activity ahead and several trips away booked over the coming months; there is so much to look forward to. I am feeling more positive than of late but also a little anxious. My role in the family has changed subtly and it seems more important than ever that I assert my right to live as an individual. My day to day job may require that I serve but I am not a servant. It will do us all good if I step back a little and force the other members of my family to cope. They are capable but unused to not having me there in the background at all times; many of the tasks that I complete for them are not so much unappreciated as unseen.

My mood is calmer and clearer; I am trying to maintain a self awareness that will allow me to negotiate my way around the potential pitfalls that bring me down. In recognising that I could not expect support I have started to build up my strength to cope alone. As with any challenge that I have encountered, I will manage because I have no other choice. This is the life that I lead and, with a little effort on my part, I can make it good.

For today then, the sun is out and my children have emerged from their slumber with no histrionics or unforeseen concerns. Once again I am aware of the privileges that I enjoy and determine to appreciate and enjoy them. I will do my best to make this a good day; to face whatever challenges I encounter with grace; to keep calm and carry on.

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