There’s something about September that makes me want to go gung-ho with a new batch of fresh and frisky resolutions.
In a way, September has more meaning to it than the cold, headachey misery of the first of January when you’re supposed to do something inspired with beef off-cuts and start to reduce your alcohol intake. Immediately.
I remember the heady days when a new school term meant the unmitigated joy of new exercise books and textbooks you got to cover in that sticky backed plastic stuff – which always created bubbles no matter how much you smoothed it out.
Gleaming new tins of mathematical ‘instruments’ – a protractor, a compass and one of those strange half-circles of plastic for doing something with angles. Lovely sharp pencils, a new bottle of ink (ink!!!) or some cartridges for your pen. It all sounds positively Dickensian now, doesn’t it?
Now I’m a grown-up (cough), I like to meet the onset of autumn with yet another list of ways in which I will finally improve, dammit.
* not wearing my blue dressing gown at every given opportunity (the Husband says I look like a blue polar bear in it)
* being patient with the kids and not shouting so much. Often difficult.
Whilst ‘glamping’ recently I regaled the campsite one morning with one of those phrases only parents get to use, viz “I hope you’re not torturing those ruddy chickens”.
This is decidedly not the level of saccharine plastic parenthood I feel compelled to reach for having read one of the ‘green parenting’ magazines where there is much floral-ness and all the men have beards. Heck, even the chickens have beards.
The latest medical advice, at least in the UK, is that we should have at least two alcohol free days a week to let our livers recover. Please note I have not yet decided which week.
This is one the Husband has added and it’s not easy when your natural tendency is to cocoon yourself in Damart and indulge your inner wookee. I blame the French.
On a good day I’ve brushed my teeth and had a wash but there’s always that one mum who is obviously studying for a diploma in Beauty Therapy and looks groomed and glossy.
Despite the fact I am well aware that I am now some sort of dimly lit figure wafting about interrupting my little darlings from Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite, the fact that lots of us spend less than one hour a day of quality time with our kids is a sad comment on the state of modern parenting.
I do try, I really do. Our attempt to play Junior Monopoly ended up in much huffing and door slamming to the point at which I don’t know if I am emotionally ready for Cluedo.
Hands-up this one’s a bit infrequent because by the time we’ve rounded them up, wrestled with them, timed their tooth cleaning and hugged them 72 times it’s way past lights out.
In reality, this will probably mean pasta with tomato sauce and bacon twice, rather than one a week. But I may well go ‘mad’ and bake another cake. Failing that, there’s always HelloFresh.
Oh alright, I made that one up.
Hmm. My days are generally filled as it is with much wiping down of tables, shouting about towels and bare toilet rolls and moaning that the butter has been left out of the fridge again.
It’s funny, isn’t it, that we have a whole list of resolutions that we feel we ought to do rather than want to.
Now if I were to write my real resolutions they’d be
* book a babysitter and go out with the husband more
*write a novel
*visit Venice, Vienna, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona
*have unorganised, spontaneous fun with the kids
*bloody well learn to relax
You know what? I have a strange suspicion that if I did those everything else might just fall into place. We need to remember that self-care is essential for taking care of everyone else. You need the oxygen mask first if you are to save anyone else, as they helpfully remind you on in-flight security talks.
As parents, we become so used to prioritising everyone else first that, when we do come to think about ourselves, we become over-run with guilt. And then what’s the point of it all? We didn’t start our families to live in misery and self-judgement, surely?
Why don’t you write your real resolutions list – you might be surprised what’s on it!
And the chickens were fine by the way.