Midway through the excitement of flipping my zillionth pancake this past Shrove Tuesday, I had a revelation and I dramatically declared to my children that I would give up moaning for Lent! My daughter actually cried out “yes Mum!” Ouch, I felt slightly hurt; Am I that bad? I pride myself on being nice, kind, cheery, easy-going Mum. The verdict was unanimous, a kitchen full of happy children. I should have stuck to my original plan of denying myself the pleasure of builder’s tea with sugar or white wine for forty days and nights. In truth, they are probably my worse vices (yes I’m boring!) and I do neither to excess. I am all about moderation and having a little of what you fancy and gets you through the week. To give up something non-physical just seemed a little more challenging and interesting. I’m all about the self-study these days. Must be all the Yoga!
My obsession with knowing myself and being the best me that I can be, often spills into my parenting. My eldest asked just the other day if we could have a conversation, not a life master class. Ouch again! I am aware I’m not Oprah Winfrey, admittedly I do love Oprah. And after a minute of deep wounding and an initial reaction of sod you then, I composed myself, apologised and tried to share my thoughts and advice in a gentler manner. After an interesting debate about our inner voice, you know the one that messes with your head. I got a thank you and hug.
On reflection, I’ve been babbling on to the kids from the minute they popped out. Babies don’t come with a set of instructions, a manual of how to grow happy good people. So you wing it, it starts slowly. You teach them to count as you put arms and legs into baby grows, teach them up and down as you climb the stairs, sing songs about clapping hands and wheels on the bus. You bombard them with instructions and words and opinions. You teach them to be polite to adults and kind to their friends, not to judge people that are different to us. And my personal favourite that secondary school teachers are human (give them a break). We find things that we think they might like to do and see. We send them off to school for more lessons. The burden of this extremely responsible job makes you ever so slightly crazy at times. They drain and zap you. It’s hard because there is so much at stake. Ultimately you want them to be happy.
Sometimes, you want them to be happier than you. We’ve all learnt things the hard way, got the T-shirt, the fingers burnt. We don’t want that for them. With age comes the realisation that life is so fleeting and precious. Especially that magical era of youth which drags its feet whilst you are dreaming of doing things that you aren’t ready for, but is gone in a blink. I want them to love that special time and not waste a second. But it’s important to remember that as much as our offspring might feel like an extension of ourselves, they are their own unique person with their own unique path.
So my words of love can sound like a moan or a lecture to their young ears. I’m Capricorn with the moon in Scorpio; apparently, this is a lethal combination. (It’s a good job that I meditate) My passion for living a calm and peaceful life and my addiction to buying self-help books on Amazon makes me want to share my extensive knowledge with the people I love most. Weirdly they are the ones least interested in what I have to say. Funny, it’s all going into their subconscious anyway!
My results on abstaining from moaning were overall very positive. I felt much happier. I did slip up; like last year when I gave up bread and found myself eating naan by accident!(yes I know it’s bread). What I discovered was………….. Moaning is a bad habit, it’s negative. It spoils the atmosphere, creates tension and bad feeling that escalates and grows. It’s contagious. It’s harmful. Where does it come from? I believe it stems from feelings of fear and unhappiness. When I am overwhelmed with too much to do or worried about something. I can bitch, I can complain, pick and find fault. Or with effort, I can choose not to. As a massive believer in how our mental health and internal chatter can eventually play havoc with our physical body long term; I’m glad I experimented with this little study. So are the kids.
Question “Mum are you going to start moaning again after Easter?” answer “no darling”.