Proactive V Reactive – The ‘Contrast’ prompt…

So, today I thought I’d try getting two jobs done at once.  I thought my proactive V reactive challenge would work nicely for the ‘Contrast’ prompt from writing 101.  Will try to get some dialogue in here too!

Day 2

Today is going to be an emotional day for me.  MLS’ s first day at nursery.  Unfortunately I am unable to be there and I worry how he will get on.  MLS has quite a big speech and language delay.  He seems so much littler than the other kids!  I know I’m just worrying over nothing and he will probably be fine.

Daddy has a hangover this morning!  He completely forgot the kids were back to school and left the car at the pub (there is a silver lining in their somewhere).  So not only is it MLS’s first day, he is now going to have a half hour walk to get there – poor lad will be completely shattered.  I am very cross about this.

My usual reactive reaction to this would of gone something like this:

‘Are you joking?  Did you leave the car at the pub?  You knew the kids were back at school today’ she said angrily.

‘I didn’t know’ he said, with a confused look on his face.

‘It’s MLS’s first day – he’s going to be shattered.  She screamed.

(Blank look)

‘Do you ever think of anybody but yourself?  She questioned, accusingly.

(Storms out door)

Not good, right?  So this is how I dealt with it today.  I decided to choose my response.  I realised that there was actually nothing I could do.  So I chose to keep quiet.  I said goodbye to the kids, wished MLS luck and went to work. I felt that him having to get the kids ready for school much quicker than usual (due to having to walk) with a hangover was punishment enough.  Other positives I thought of on the way to work were that he wouldn’t of been driving our kids to school under the influence of alcohol.

Very little to report at work today.  I was office bound and didn’t see a lot of people.  A bit sad though as my best friend at work told me she may be leaving in a couple of months.  Again, I chose my response and kept positive.  She is moving on to brighter and better things – and will do very well for herself.  Unfortunately she is moving away so I don’t think I will get to see her very often.

Day 3

Today is my day off.  I hadn’t really been looking forward to it as I messed up the childcare arrangements and Daddy is also off today (which never happens).  That’s bad, right?  I hate that I feel this way, but I rarely get a day to myself and it’s like he’s encroaching on my time (I realise how bad that sounds).  What usually happens when we have the day off together is that I do everything while he has a lie in, sits on the couch all morning then disappears off to the pub for the afternoon, and possibly evening!  But I realise I am being negative so I will stop.

This is what actually happened.  He had a bit of a lie in and then got up to help with the kids!  We took them to school together!  I am now dreading going home because I know what he’ll be after when we get there – with there being no kids home and all.  Again I know making excuses will cause an argument so I decide to go with the flow.  Anyways, I’m glad I did.  We connected!  I think we needed to actually.  I sometimes forget how much I love him.  I forget how much I like him when he’s sober.  He’s just a normal, fun guy to be around and it reminds me of the person I fell in love with.  It reminds me that this is the man I want back one day – on a full time basis.

We watched a funny movie and then picked up MLS from nursery (he’s getting on great by the way!).  We chilled out in the afternoon and then picked up DLP from school together.  He did then go to the pub – but only for an hour and a half and he was back in plenty of time for bath time, bedtime stories and bed.  He also stayed in all evening.  So today has been a good day.  I’m actually still in shock!

Proactive V Reactive

I decided to set myself the challenge of listening to my language and the language of others for seven days.  I wanted to see how much people use reactive language or proactive language and what the result of this was.

Stephen Covey gives us the following examples of reactive languge:

  • There’s nothing I can do.
  • That’s just the way I am.
  • He makes me so mad.
  • They won’t allow that.
  • I have to do that.
  • I can’t.
  • I must.
  • If only.

He gives us the following examples of proactive language:

  • Let’s look at our alternatives.
  • I can choose a different approach.
  • I control my own feelings.
  • I can create an effective presentation.
  • I will choose an appropriate response.
  • I choose.
  • I prefer.
  • I will.

Day 1

A little background.  Daddy as been at the pub all day watching football and drinking so I will be sleeping on the sofa tonight – just so I get a decent sleep.  MLS is currently sleeping in Mummy and Daddy’s bed as he says he is a big boy now and is refusing to sleep in his cot bed (as it’s for babies)!  The sofa is very comfy by the way!

So Day 1 I find myself awake at 2 am!  MLS has woken up and is full of beans.  He climbs under the blanket with me and proceeds to fidget for the next three hours, finally falling asleep at 5am.  So, lucky me gets approximately half hour sleep before my alarm goes off at 5.30!  During the three hours DLP woke up also so I sent her in with her Daddy (it really is ‘musical beds’ in our house).  So, not the best start to the day, but I try to remember that the kids were probably wakeful due to me letting them play on their Leap pads before bed and being over-stimulated, so I can’t blame anyone but myself!

Everyone else in the house is up by about 6.  I try to remain mindful that I am tired and not to snap at anyone.  Then, of course the kids start arguing – I admit, I could of handled it better!  But, I realise and apologise to them for shouting and explain that I didn’t get much sleep, and all is well again.  Daddy managed to go unscathed and I left for work.

It is my first day back at work after a week off so I’m feeling a little ‘meh’ anyway.  On my way to work I decide to think positively about going back and all the good things it entails such as seeing the people I support, my colleagues who are also friends, and all the cake which might be left over from last week as there were four birthdays going on!  I try to remember that I am tired and to pace myself today.

I buy fruit and a healthy lunch on the way (this will make me feel better about eating cake).  I arrive at work on time with a smile on my face and pleased to see everyone (which I am).  We sit around the table for (green) tea and breakfast.  My friend asks about my week off and if I’m glad to be back, I tell her about my week and say that I am.  She then goes on to talk about what’s going on with her.  She has had a fall out with a friend (a work colleague), and it is causing tension for her at work.  I hear slot of ‘she did this’ and ‘she did that’.  I try to offer helpful comments but realise I’m just getting sucked into the negativity.  So I decide to keep quiet and just listen.  And as people always do (given half the chance), she came round to her own solution while my integrity remained intact.

Anyway, so much for pacing myself today.  It turns out to be very busy!  I support my residents to get out of bed, have breakfast etc.  I check on their finances and realise no one did their banking while I was off last week, so none of the residents have any money.  I huff about it a bit to myself and then use it as an opportunity to take one of the residents out to town in the lovely sunshine!  I remember to put my problems in perspective and think about what the people I support have been through.  It really is humbling.

I arrive back at the house after some fresh air and sunshine and have lunch (and cake). After lunch I sort out the rest of the finances.  My boss is in today and requests to see me in the office.  I know already what he wants – he knows that I am on  an office day tomorrow so he will give me some of his work load to complete!  Currently he has me writing staff appraisals (really should be his job – how would you feel if your colleague wrote your appraisal and not your boss?)!  I remember that his job involves crazy amounts of work which he just hasn’t got time to do and that he thinks highly of me and spent the last seven years fighting to get me a pay rise and promotion (achieved last month!).  He also knows I spend far more time with the staff team and know them better than he does so will probably do a better job.  He also knows I’m a paperwork geek and I like to have some days when I do office work.  So he talks me round again.  Which is fine!

I arrive home shattered.  I get the washing done, make the beds and finish the paperwork needed for MLS to start nursery tomorrow.  The grocery order arrives and then the children arrive home from nannies.

MLS is shattered and asleep by 6.15, DLP by 7.30.  Daddy calls to say he’s working late so to eat without him.I eat, write this post and am now off for an early night!  Sorry Writing 101 prompt, you will have to wait!

Considering how tired I was today I think I did pretty well!

12/4/15 – Building Rome…

Over the last week I challenged myself to complete the following goals:

Planning meeting and bonding activities with the children

Today we had our second planning meeting.  The children are really enjoying sitting down and having a ‘special time’ together.  Today we reviewed our planning from last week to see how many of the activities we managed to do whilst I was on annual leave.  I am pleased to say we managed them all! Our first activity was to go on our Spring walk.  Luckily we have had the best week weather wise.  The sun has been shining and it has actually been lovely and warm.  DLP got out her nature spotting books and off we went.  We also managed to sneak in a trip to the park whilst we were at it.  This is my favourite photo from our trip.

IMG_20140330_150803

We also went for a trip to Nanny and Grandads on the train so yet again got two activities done for the price of one!  We did Easter baking, sorted new school shoes out and spent their saved up money in the toy shop.  It has been hectic to say the least.

20150408_165716

We also sat down today and made a list of all the helpful things we could do for each other in our household.

Complete the ‘Love in Ten Sentences Challenge

I was asked to do this by the lovely Edwina at http://edwinasepisodes.com/

Here is what I came up with:

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/love-in-10-sentences-the-challenge/

Make a start on ‘Writing 101’

I am really enjoying this course so far.  I have so far managed to keep up with the tasks omitting only one which I didn’t feel was suitable for my blog.  I have been off work this week though so it has been easier to find the time, so I’m not so sure I will be keeping up as well from now on.  I will do my best.  Although this course has been fun this week it has also been quite emotional with one particular piece of writing being particularly difficult for me.  However it was also very healing.  I have met some wonderful supportive people this week also.

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/spring/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/room-with-a-view/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/three-important-songs/

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/losing-myself/

Write two posts on the first habit – Be Proactive

I managed to get one of these done, but it has been a very busy week.  The second one I had planned needed a little more research so will have a go at it next week.

https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/stimulus-response/

My goals for next week are:

  • Doing my best with Writing 101
  • Writing a post about my experiences with reactive and proactive language (a seven day challenge)
  • Completing my Liebster Award questions from the lovely Jim at https://healthwealthlife101.wordpress.com/
  • Planning meeting and bonding activities with the children.

It’s going to be a busy week.  DLP is back to school on Tuesday and MLS is also starting nursery.  He is a late starter as he has quite a big speech and language delay so I am very worried about how he will get on.  I suspect he will surprise us all!  Will let you know.

Losing myself…

Please be aware that some may find this post upsetting.  It is about postnatal depression.  Please don’t read if you are sensitive to such issues.  Please feel free to comment.  I just needed to get these feelings out.

I did that thing… the thing I promised myself that I would never do…I had a baby to save my relationship.  Well, not quite.  I thought my chances of having children were extremely slim – or so I had been told.  Coming off the pill just seemed a natural thing to do… I wanted to give myself a chance to at least try.  We discussed what would happen if I did get pregnant – he said it would be great!  I’m not so sure that he truly meant it, I think he really thought that it would never happen.  He was just trying to make me happy.  Nine days later I am pregnant.

Our situation is not the best.  He has an alcohol addiction and has only just got a job after nine months unemployment.  We are skint and he has thousands of pounds worth of debt, twenty-seven to be exact.  I am not coping with his drinking at all.  I am depressed.  What on Earth was I thinking?  Did I actually think having a baby would stop him drinking?  Maybe I just didn’t think it would happen either…maybe I just didn’t think.  Depression does strange things to you.

The pregnancy is going well.  I’m feeling and looking great.  Everyone around us is so excited and pleased as they knew that this baby was my little miracle.  Pregnancy is suiting me – everyone says so.  I feel great.  My hopes are raised, maybe everything is going to be okay after all.  I am eating healthily.  I follow all the advice written in books.  I read so many books!  I feel knowledgeable and capable.  Everyone tells me I’m going to be a great Mum.  I believe them.  I feel great.  Even he is excited.

I’m eight months now, I’m on maternity leave. I’m home alone – too much time to think… that feeling deep inside, a sinking feeling.  Something not quite right.  I don’t tell anyone – I can cope.  He’s never home – working or at the pub.  Feeling isolated.  I’m anxious, I can’t sleep – just the baby moving around a lot.  I can cope.

I wake early morning.  Contractions…horrendous pain.  Something not quite right.  I tell him I’m fine as he seems concerned.  He goes back to sleep.  I run a bath and try to relax.  The pain comes and goes.  I notice that I’m bleeding a little – I don’t say anything, I’m scared.  A few hours later I wake him – the pain is much worse, the bleeding increased.  He calls the hospital – they tell me to come in immediately.

They tell me baby is fine and on its way.  The bleeding caused by an infection.  Baby is two weeks overdue.  The pain is like nothing I’ve experienced.  I’m told there are complications, I’m not pushing effectively.  They have to help her out – but the cord is around the neck.  They have to be quick.  I’m using too much gas and air – they take it away.  I feel calm.  Weird feeling.  Baby Is out and fine, I hold her for a second – I don’t feel anything… I should feel something.  I’m rushed straight into surgery.

I’m on the labour ward, Daddy is already there.  He has dressed the baby – they are bonding.  I hold the baby – she looks deep into my eyes – she is beautiful – we name her.  I don’t feel anything yet, I cry.  Daddy looks at the nurse – she tells him it’s normal – I’ve been through a lot.  I feel like I’m not in the room.

I hold the baby all night, she won’t sleep.  I had an epidural for surgery, I can’t get out of bed, my buzzer Isn’t working.  I tell the nurse doing rounds – she says she’ll fix it – nothing is done.  I cry all night – baby stares at me like she knows something’s wrong.  Such beautiful big blue eyes.  I cry all night – the nurses say nothing.  It must be normal to feel this way…

We bring baby home.  Everything is well.  I feel a bit better.  Friends and family are visiting a lot so I pretend everything’s great.  I cry a bit – everyone says that it’s baby blues.  The Health visitors come and go, I carry on pretending.  They don’t notice anything is wrong.  The visits die down.  Proud Daddy goes back to work. I’m alone with baby.  Baby stares at me with those big blue eyes – she knows.

Daddy throws himself back into work.  He does a lot of ‘wetting the babies head’.  I barely see him.  Some days I’m in tears when he gets home.  He looks worried but doesn’t know what to do.  I tell him I’m tired – baby doesn’t sleep.  Daddy takes baby from me, walks around a while, she falls straight to sleep.  I cry a bit more.  He doesn’t know what to do.

Daddy thinks baby is Mummy’s job.  Daddy’s life has returned to normal.  He doesn’t help much.  It’s my fault, I’ve alienated him, told him he wasn’t doing things properly.  Kept criticizing.  I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t cope.    I can’t blame him but I resent him anyway and blame everything on his drinking (which wasn’t helping).

Things are starting to get better, baby is easier now that she is older. I’m enjoying it.  Of course, it is time for me to return to work.  Sod’s law.  I tell everyone how great it was, how much I enjoyed it.  I lie.

I feel like I missed out on something special, something that should of been cherished.  I blamed him and his drinking – it didn’t help.   Maybe it wasn’t his fault.  I blame him anyway – I can’t help it.  I lost myself.

Stimulus – Response…

th-26When I decided to give up smoking, I set myself a date and organised all the things I needed to get off to a good start, e.g. patches, quitting info, downloading an app.  I was all set.  As the time drew nearer, I started to find myself beginning to make excuses, ‘I can’t do this, my life is too stressful right now’, ‘as soon as my partner upsets me, I’ll give up – what’s the point?’, ‘the kids are stressing me out’.  I seriously started to talk myself out of it.

When dealing with my children’s behaviour, I notice that sometimes I don’t deal with it particularly well, saying things like ‘you’re stressing me out’, ‘Don’t make me shout’, ‘you’re upsetting me’.

When I argue with my partner we end up rallying with each other over who is the least responsive. ‘You never talk to me’, ‘you never listen to me’, ‘you’re not interested in what I have to say’, ‘you never show any affection’.

All of these scenarios have one thing in common.  They all are reactive ways of behaving.  Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say – they believe they have no choice.  I used to be this way, and still can be on occasion.  Reactive people blame things on their circumstances, their conditions and there conditioning.  They blame other people for their situation, they blame the weather for their lack of motivation.  They do not realise that they have a choice about the way they react to things.

Every moment that we have in our lives provides us with a new choice.  We can choose to make it a positive one or we can choose to make it negative.  We determine what happens in our lives by the choices we make.  When circumstances are beyond our control, we choose how we react to them.

Everyone should take responsibility for their life and stop blaming others.  We all have the freedom to choose. Proactive people understand this.

“Between stimulus and response, you have the freedom to choose.”  Stephen Covey

As a human being we have four qualities which allow this- self awareness, imagination, conscience and independent Will.  Covey says this is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

 I did manage to give up smoking.  I told myself I could do it regardless of what my circumstances were.  I wrote a post about it, you can read it here. https://patchworkrainbows.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/habits/

I’m beginning to deal with my children much better too.  I lose my temper much less now.  I remind myself that I need to be a role model and their behaviours are a direct response to what is going on around them.  They are not at fault for our situation, so I remember to take it easier on them.  I learnt about child development stages and they are no longer reprimanded for what is ‘normal’ for their age.  I no longer sweat the small stuff.

As for our relationship, it is steadily getting there.  I admit there is a long way to go and much resentment that needs forgiveness.  I try to remember he can’t help the drinking – he has an addiction.  I need to read more about this to help me understand.  I need to be more supportive.  I need to remember that I can choose my response when things go wrong instead of flying off the handle.  I’m getting there slowly… but I will get there.

Room with a View…

th-32If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would choose to be home.  Home is where the heart is.  Home is where I am at my most comfortable.  Home is where I can be myself.  Home is definitely not wherever I leave my hat!  I am a home bird.

You may think that ‘home’ for me would be where I currently dwell, but this is not the case.  I still feel that my real home is the house  I grew up in.  My parents still live in that house and I am most grateful for that.  It holds so many memories – good and bad.  It is the place where I went from child to teenager to adult – my transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.

It is a very simple three bed council house.  My parents never could afford to buy even till this day.  We lived simply and always just had enough to get by, which in those days was enough.  We learnt about being grateful for what we had and never wished for more.

My sisters and i had a few toys each but we were happy making up our own games, playing outside and making stuff out of boxes!  We didn’t watch much Tv and never had such things as computer games – we couldn’t afford them.  We read books, wrote stories and used our imaginations!

My Mum worked as a cleaning lady in a local school and my Dad was a landscape gardener, so our house was always clean and our garden immaculate.  We were bought up with a strong work ethic and taught to help out others before ourselves.

We went through some very difficult times in this house.  My Mum has Bi Polar which was undiagnosed for many, many years, this was very difficult to deal with as a child and teenager.  It was like living with a ticking time bomb.  None of us knew what was wrong – mental health was not talked about much in those days.  No one ever thought to tell my Mum to see a doctor.  It was just a private incidence in our family.  To everyone else my Mum was just the ‘crazy’ lady who lived down the road.  My dad also couldn’t cope with all this and suffered terrible depression.  We would often find him at the bottom of a bottle of Whisky.

My sister’s moved out during this time as they found it hard to cope.  Both had there own relationships to pursue, they needed to get on with there lives.

I still love the house though.  It is the place that my parents healed and got better.  It symbolises strength and their unity, there ability to work things through.  I admire that so much and it is the main reason I am taking my family through the journey I’m currently going through.

I was the last of the three children to move out.  As we flew the nest one by one, my parents really began to struggle financially as we had all been contributing to the house keeping as soon as we became employed.  I stayed with my parents much longer than I needed just to help them out.  The last two years I was there I paid there rent for them.  I felt I needed to repay them for the period of time when they took care of me, despite their struggles.  Believe me, there were times when I hated living with them and I wanted to walk away but family is family and you support them no matter what.

They came through the bad times and my relationship with them is all the better for it.  They still struggle financially so I now pay my Mum to look after our children whilst I work.  My Mum is much better now but she still has off days, but it’s great that my children are growing up with an understanding of mental health issues which is spoken about openly in our family, (along with Daddy’s addiction and Mummy’s work with PMLD, they are going to be very worldly wise).  I am very proud of that!

So, at the moment I don’t feel like the place I have lived in for coming up seven years is ‘home’.  I actually don’t like it much at all.  I feel guilty about that as it is the place I am bringing up my children.  I then think back to my family home and all the hard times we had there and there is still a sense of nostalgia.  I hope my children will feel this about their home and I hope one day I will feel that way too.  At the moment there are so many bad memories, but I feel hope as I plan to replace them with good ones!  That is what my blog is all about!

Note:  I absolutely realise that I have gone off on a tangent.  The prompt was supposed to be a descriptive place, whereas I’ve gone on more of a nostalgic journey!  I hope you enjoyed anyway! X

Spring…

th-12Here is my 20 minute stream of consciousness for Writing 101.

Today is a beautiful Spring day.  The sun is shining and the sky is blue.  The weather is finally warmer…for now.  Today was also the day I chose to take the children for their Spring walk!  An Easter holiday tradition!

I love Spring, it is my second favourite season next to Autumn.  If I could have my way the New Year would be in Spring, it would make so much more sense with all the new stuff that is happening.  Who has ever managed to start anything new on January 1st?  Those New Year resolutions never seem to work out do they?  In my opinion this is down to the time of year, the cold weather and the fact that many of us may still be a little bit hungover from the night before!  Never a good start to anything except maybe spending the day under a duvet!

The start of Spring gives us all a little hope and motivation for the warmer weather to come and everything is just starting to look beautiful.  The trees are blossoming, the birds are chirping and the sun warms our faces and hearts.  We all feel brand new and rejuvenated!  We all get warm and fuzzy over baby animals!

We plan the Spring cleaning, we clear out, de-clutter and detox.  New beginnings are happening all around us.  The days are getting longer so that we have more daylight to do all these things in.  Whenever I’m planning a big change, I always start it in the Spring.  I started this blog in the Spring, and it is helping me step by step to transform my life and my family.

All the R’s are at work – rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and re-growth.

So with all my ramblings I bid you all a very happy New Year.