Category: Thoughts

November 24th, 2017 by Suze

Posted in Poetry, Thoughts

Bear doodle
November 24th, 2017 by Suze

I don’t want this post to all self-pity and woe is me. The fact of the matter is that 11 years ago today my mum died.

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

I want to honour her here in my little space on the internet, without writing a post woven with the sadness and grief that I feel every year, not just on this date, but at this time of year. Ironically, Autumn was mum’s favourite season and she would often be heard drawing our attention to the beauty of the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. But in 2006 as the leaves changed from green, to golden, red and brown and the bare branches made their annual appearance, my mum and her beautiful heart left us forever.

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

We were planning our wedding. We ended up planning a funeral first. Anyway, before I dive headlong into the reminiscences of moments that shatter my heart like they happened five minutes ago, I want to stop myself. I want to remember the good things, the funny things, the little things. Because they are the things I miss the most…

– Sitting on the worktop by the boiler as you made the Sunday roast/Steven’s dinner/a pot of tea.

–  The way you said ‘OOOoooooo oooooo’ from afar to get someone’s attention.

– Your silent screams into the cupboard above the chopping board. As I parent I now totally get it.

– Waving a tea towel out the front door in the heat of summer and proclaiming it “too ‘ot” while cooking the obligatory Sunday roast.

– Being fed mashed up Mars bar when I had chicken pox.A photograph of me and my mum

– Needing to wake you in the night, but fearful of the Mum Rage (I have inherited this) so standing by the bed and mouthing ‘MUM’ with no sound as ‘loudly’ as I could.

– Birthdays. All of them. Every one. The last one you would share with me just weeks before you fell ill, I arrived at home to find pink crepe paper bows and balloons all over the front door and living room. We had a teddy bears picnic. I was 26.

– You coming in to school to run knitting club when I was at primary school. Everyone made mice out of squares, or cavemen out of squares or dinosaurs… out of squares.

– Watching you create – cake decorating, drawing, knitting, sewing… thank you x

– Always saying ‘love you’ before bed. Even if we weren’t talking.

– The one time I lied to you. You knew I was lying. You let me lie. I knew I was lying. A bit of me died.

– When I was 20 and the life I thought I had planned out took an unexpected turn. I couldn’t let you in because I couldn’t find the words. I went outside and washed my prized silver Mini Cooper in the street. I didn’t know what else to do with myself and the tears streamed down my face in anger, hurt and frustration as I scrubbed at the car. You opened the front door and played “Crash and Burn” by Savage Garden full blast.A photograph of my sister, my mum and me

– Seeing your face in the crowd at every school event willing me on. I can not remember a time you weren’t there.

– Doing the ‘Dove from Above’ (think Shooting Stars) at inappropriate moments.

– Baking – rock cakes, scones, sponge, Christmas cake. We had our faves.
– Your inability to leave any teddy that ‘looked at you that way’ on the shelf. Totally inherited.

– Your guidance and support as I struggled with anxiety even though you didn’t fully understand it… neither did I.

– Your love of Christmas; from crap crackers to the annual search for the dud lightbulb (those were the days!), from foil ceiling decorations to Christmas Eve ‘shows’, you loved it all and we loved your love of it all.

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

And while I could go on for a lot longer that is where I will leave it for now. Christmas. It isn’t so far off. Mum’s birthday was December 10 so we have always put the tree up the weekend that follows the 10th. We will do that again this year and as we do we tell the children why that weekend is special. While I can not ever bring their nanny fully into their lives, I like to think they get a sense of her essence through the things I do and say.

 

Posted in Thoughts Tagged with: ,

November 16th, 2017 by Suze

How big is your Brave?

Is it big enough to overcome a dent in your Good Enough?

This week, my Good Enough has taken a battering. I don’t say that because I want pity or lots of ‘woohoo you’re great, don’t be down’ comments. I say that because that is what I have learnt this week. This mum studies and this recent bout of studying has opened my eyes to a subject I have left untouched for a while. Me.

Learning about life

I am learning more about myself every day and I am finding you have to be pretty brave to go on a journey of self discovery. I have really been trying to notice my own thoughts and explore my reactions. Some of the time it brings things to the fore I would rather not think about or acknowledge, but hey, it’s all learning.

This week has reinforced to me that I do need recognition and it does matter to me what other people think.

This isn’t new to me. It is something I have known my entire life and something I have already written about (Blog post: Getting the bit of paper (or studying with the OU). I have always been eager to please. Why does that feel like such a bad thing to admit? Anyway, this year I have been exploring why I have this need and whether I am able to find a way to improve my self belief and be satisfied with my own approval. I’m not sure I’m there yet.

I get knocked down…

As if to prove the point a situation this week tested me. Without warning my self-belief crumbled and my Good Enough smashed into pieces on the floor and I stood there with my mouth open and tears streaming down my face.

I thought I had the situation. I thought I knew where it was going. I thought my self-belief was about to be rewarded. Instead it was shaken and my whole being defaulted to the ‘not good enough’ state. I am glad I was able to recognise it.

…and I get up again

But more than that, I was able to think about what I needed to do to get myself back in a good place before the real low hit. I needed to take control and I did. I took action. I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a bold move. And then, with the help of some bright yellow tights, a new green scarf bought from a favourite charity shop, a touch-up of my pink hair, some red lippy (and my sister), I stepped out and faced the world with more strength than I knew I had. The tear-stained echoes of the night before lost in the noise of my rainbow splashed nails.

And I reminded myself…

 

Meme with brave quote "You are enough. You are so unbelievably enough, it's hard to believe how enough you are"

 

So, what am I studying at the moment? I am studying computer networks. I am studying Google Analytics. Most importantly I am studying me.

I am a woman who seeks others approval.

I am a woman who is working on her self-belief.

I am a woman who works fiercely towards a goal.

I am a woman who needs others to recognise my work.

I am a woman who is reliable, loyal and honest.

I am a woman who feels deeply.

I am a woman who takes criticism badly.

I am a woman who reflects what I am feeling to others; both good and bad.

I am a woman who is finding her creativity at a depth she didn’t realise was possible and loving it.

I am a woman who likes to be in control.

I am a woman who is determined.

I am a woman with more resilience than I know or understand.

I am a woman who will keep trying.

I am a woman who perfectly imperfect.

 

We are all different. This is me. I am no longer a woman who will apologise for that.

 

***

Show me how big your Brave is…

This has been one of my favourite songs for years. I can only listen to it really, REALLY loud. Often I end up shouting it and more than once it has moved me to tears. I have needed my Brave for a long time and I have really been testing it this last year or so. Changing long-held beliefs is hard and takes courage. How big is your Brave?

Posted in Studying, Thoughts, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

When coding and kids collide graphic
October 27th, 2017 by Suze

The further I delve into the world of web design and development, the more I realise that coding really has a lot in common with parenting.

Technological tantrums

  • For starters, the tantrum the console throws up if you miss off a semi-colon is tantamount to the four-year-old’s melt-down over the wrong juice in the wrong-coloured cup.

Coding capitals

  • Who would have thought a simple capital letter could throw hours of work into disarray. It is cannily similar to the mess made by the children in their bedroom in the two minutes you have your back to them as you sort the wardrobe.

Order, order

  • And while we are on the subject of tidying and order, the mere-ist hint of code popped in the wrong place renders your project useless. Not unlike the loss of a favourite toy, that was definitely put on the kitchen table and nowhere else, with an added refusal for the day to remain on hold until it is found.

Issued instructions

  • Then there’s the database that refuses to log the data. You have been through that code with a fine-toothed comb. Even your tutor can’t find a error. But it refuses to listen to you and will not do as it is told. Strikingly similar to the small child who refuses to hear, that’s if he listens at all.

Little Mr Matching

  • Meanwhile, trying to choose the correct shade of blue for a header and match it with the right font, for just the right look, is reminiscent of Mini Cooper 2’s inability to leave the house without his hat matching his shoes.

Art is in the detail

I love coding for its detail. I love how powerful a simple line of code can be. But in the same breath the frustration and relentless refreshing gets repetitive and tiresome pretty quickly. I love every bit of every child. I love the way they each see the world in a different way. But in the same thought I could sometimes do with 10 minutes where I am not answering a question, listening to a whiny complaint and, dare I say, a couple of hours uninterrupted sleep.

Learning as you go along

No one said learning would be easy. No one said parenting would be easy. Joining the two together seems like craziness. Welcome to my mad, Mad world.

A photograph of the Cooper family

 

Read my earlier post about learning to code – Studying Javascript: Well, how did I get here?

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in Studying, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Web Design Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Points Facebook photo
October 20th, 2017 by Suze

What does going to school have in common with Leysdown seafront? The idea that points win prizes it would seem. I say this as the mum of a child with 1130 house points accumulated in just five weeks. No, I am not proud. I am angry.

mum with quote about house points being like seaside tokensLet me take you back to the 80s when I attended primary school. There were four houses; York, Balmoral, Richmond and Gloucester. I was in York. I was proud to be in York. I might get one house point every couple of weeks. Maybe I had opened a door for a teacher without being asked or had really excelled in a piece of work. There were extra opportunities for earning house points on occasions such as sports day or by being a teacher’s helper at lunchtime. Getting a house point felt like owning a piece of gold and I would colour in the square on the sheet in the classroom with pride as I watched my house points accumulate alongside others.

At the end of the term the house with the most points throughout the school was awarded four points, the third, three, the second, two and those in last place, one house point. These were added to the main chart in the hall for all to see. At the end of the year the house with the most points won the house point trophy and the house captain went up to receive it in assembly on behalf of their house. I am hoping this sounds familiar to some of you.

21st Century house points

Scoot back to 2017 and now it’s all about how many house points you need in exchange for a building set, cinema ticket or afternoon tea with the head teacher. And we are talking big numbers. Hundreds and hundreds of house points needed. But that’s ok, because just doing your homework will earn you 20 points. Putting your hand up in class, five points.

It makes me wonder where the time is to teach the children if the teachers are dishing out house points every time a pupil breathes in or out successfully.

Beyond the points, there seem to be countless other motivational incentives. In a world where we can’t have winners or losers at sports day, it is beyond me why we can dish out pupil of the week, top table, stars in their eyes, spelling star and a prize for the kid at the top of maths mountain. Don’t even get me started on 100% attendance (No don’t, I tried to include that here…it has taken on a life of its own for another post!).

Scream time

Then there’s carrots on sticks. And this is where the materialistic nature of these incentives has taken an astounding turn. Currently, my son informs me, if he gets all his spellings right this term, he will be put into a prize draw with other children from local schools to win…. a digital reading device akin to a Kindle. That’s right people. A couple of hundred pounds worth of tech that to be quite honest I would rather my son didn’t own. This is wrong for several reasons…

  1. The odds of Mini Cooper 1 winning are slim considering how many kids will be in the ballot.
  2. He doesn’t understand this.
  3. He believes he will win.
  4. When he doesn’t win – he still wants a tablet.
  5. We aren’t going to buy him one.

Meme asking the question 'what happens if parents decline high-tech prize' from school incentive schemeIf he has a tablet at the tender age of 7, the four year old is going to start on about when does he get one and slowly but surely the screen-free buffer zone becomes less. I may as well buy 10 month old Mini Cooper 3 her own iPhone now.

Pointless

While I am on the subject of screens, these house points have to be banked. Not by picking up the nearest half decent yellow felt tipped pen as in my day, oh no. This is the era of online reward points. There is a website dedicated to storing the house points.

The kids log in, they tap in the 16 digit code on the house point voucher that has been screwed up in their pocket all day and it adds the points to their total. They are supposed to put in the reason why they were given the points. Mini Cooper 1 can never remember (so clearly there’s an incentive working right there yeah?!) They can check how many they have against their classmates. There are class leaderboards, year leaderboards, school leaderboards (no gold medals at sports day remember). It’s a joke.

My son sits for 20 minutes trying to remember his password, then I sit for 20 minutes reading out digits on slips of paper for points he doesn’t even remember why he was given. Meanwhile Mini Cooper 2 could do with some help with his reading book (an actual book) and Mini Cooper 3 has given up learning to clap and gone to sleep

Flawed rewards

I will admit I have been of the parenting camp against reward charts. I did not want the children to do something just because they would get a reward. I will also admit that when it came to trying to get a decent night’s sleep, we relented and created our own sleep charts complete with stickers chosen by the boys. I will also say, they worked… for a while. I say that, because after a few nights of getting stickers for staying in bed Mini Cooper 1 decided he would fill the chart with stickers for just about any reason he could think of. Suffice to say, the reward/response link didn’t really work for him there.

So, who are all these incentives really for? Let’s face it the schools are going to a lot of effort to put these systems in place, build them up and sustain them. When we boil it down it’s all about educational targets. Getting the children to achieve so the school isn’t seen to be failing by the all-seeing eye of Ofsted. The children don’t care about Ofsted. The children care about which little toy they might get if their name is called for top table on Friday. The children care about why they weren’t Star of the Week when they tried so hard with their reading. The children care about what they will be given in return for doing something. Our target-driven educational system is promoting the 21st Century materialistic lifestyle. It isn’t promoting the idea that you might want to learn something purely for the love of learning.

Good enough?

memeAnd while these incentive schemes are building up schools and Ofsted, are they actually building up our little ones? If this is all being done to please The Powers That Be, where are our children learning to please themselves? How do they work out their own threshold for having done well? We live in a world of people who don’t feel ‘good enough’. It’s something to do with expectations and the bar we set for ourselves. Should the system really be motivating children to reach blanket-all targets or would realistic individualised goals be more beneficial? Rewarding achievements that mean something to that one child. Shouldn’t we be focussing on the rewards of self awareness, self motivation, self confidence and self esteem? The effect of any one of which on a young person is certain to last far beyond the plastic stationery set my son can get in exchange for 600 points.

Badge of honour

So, while I am giving these rewards a hard time, I realise there is a place for them in learning. As a student myself I am guilty of chasing the reward (Read more here: “Getting the Bit of Paper“). When I first logged on to the dashboard of the web design course I am currently studying with LearnDirect, I was met with an achievement pie chart and a league table. Further investigation revealed various digital award badges for different achievements; number of days you consecutively log in, number of hours you have studied, number of assignments in on time. Logging in three times in a row before 7am gets you the cutest little early bird icon on your profile, while logging in after 11pm three days on a row wins you the night owl (squeeee!).

Who needs those?

Dashboard screenshotAfter scoffing to DH ‘who do they think they’re kidding, we are adults, I don’t need these silly little games,’ I of course got totally and utterly sucked in and had to earn as many of these digital badges as I possibly could. I currently sit top of the leaderboard (although there’s no explanation as to what I am the leader of; students in the region, country, on my course, the last five people to log in….who knows). That’s not the point, the point is the motivational rewards here have helped me to scoot through the course at the pace I have wanted and, I will admit, have given me little confidence boosts along the way.

So what am I moaning about then? Well, the difference is, I am an adult. I know I am being persuaded and manipulated to get my work done. I understand what incentives are and I already had the self-motivation and the self-confidence needed to learn. My fear is that a child knows none of this and they are being lulled into a short-lived land of bribery and materialism that merely promotes a ‘what are going to give me for that then?’ attitude. It’s education not a seaside sideshow.

Right, I am off to check Mini Cooper 1’s pockets before popping his uniform in the wash. It is no longer the paper hankie that I fear. It is the house point. Those tatty slips of paper turn to reward confetti in the twinkle of an eye. I wonder how many I would need to get a new washing machine or tumble drier?

 

*Thanks to the mums I have quoted along the way here. Read more about what mums think about primary school reward schemes here.

Further reading?

LINKS

Believe me there’s a heap of stuff out there. Here is just a selection of the stuff I have read this week while preparing this blog post…

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/fryer/files/092011_incentives_fryer_allen_paper2.pdf

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6833871/School-reward-culture-is-harming-education.html

http://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/small-nudges-can-push-students-in-the.html

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in Mini Coopers, Studying, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

A gif of an artist drawing a realistic lightbulb
October 6th, 2017 by Suze

The silence is deafening here. We are in the middle of a power cut. The lightbulb popped as it went out. The pitch black is now only interrupted by the glow of two laptop screens as me and DH race against the battery power to get things done.

Yet, somehow it’s quite soothing sat here without the background buzz and whine of every electrical item in the house. Sometimes it takes outside forces to make you stop. It feels a bit like the world is on hold in the darkness, as though someone has pressed pause somewhere. It is a haven, a little pocket of breathing space.

 Calm silence

The whirlwind of change is continuing at its usual pace. There is a new rhythm to our week as DH strides out each morning for a long day of learning, while I tackle the quite frankly raving mad school run, before debating whether I have the energy to do people or places while waiting for school pick-up.

Something has struck me powerfully this week and while it isn’t rocket science, it is yet an idea that has shifted my thinking. It is this…

'I choose what to do with my time' quote

How simple is that? I choose what to do with my time. The seconds, minutes and hours that I live, are mine. I am able to choose how I live them. I am able to decide where to put my energy in any given moment. It is a lightbulb moment for me. Particularly as I quite often do not have much energy to spare, owing to the 45 minute sleep cycle my children like to keep until they are at least 3 years old.

What time?

And if you are now sat there thinking ‘that’s all very well, but my time is not my own… I am governed by an over-demanding miniature version of me’ then I hear you. But there are still those golden moments. Maybe its 30 seconds while they are happy playing, maybe its half an hour as they nap; those moments are yours. Eat chocolate, read a book, have an uninterrupted wee. Claim that time. It is yours.

The world wakes

The doorbell is ringing, the printer has woken up and the monitors have kicked back in. The power is back. The world is awake again. Those precious darkened moments feel like stolen time. I am grateful for them and the choice I made to spend them mindfully, writing in the dark. I choose now to go into the light and inspire others as these women have inspired me.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Coloured lightbulbs hanging in the dark

SaveSave

Posted in Studying, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , ,

Clean Up The F-Word graphic from the Digital Mums campaign
September 29th, 2017 by Suze

Why all this studying? There is a very important reason why and we are hoping it will be the key to changing our lifestyle completely.

Here’s the vision; both me and DH working equally to support our family in jobs where we are still able to be there for the school run and whatever else parenting throws at us.

Some days I think about that statement and I think it is unrealistic. Isn’t that just asking for it all? We don’t live in a culture where work works around life. Instead life must fit around work and work must be done to finance life. It seems an ever-decreasing circle.

Making a change

It’s a year since DH decided he needed a change from Never Ending Work. The relentlessness of working a crazy number of hours, crawling into bed at 2am and living off junk food seemed like a one-way road stretching into the future. And while he was the one travelling to town every day and living on six hours broken sleep, it wasn’t exactly a bed of roses juggling school and nursery runs, dinner, bath and bedtime alone here either.

When it came to fears that DH may fall asleep at the wheel or actually drive himself mad working in an environment that drained him on a daily basis, we knew we needed to make a drastic change. While the salary he was on may have meant he could retire early in 10 years time, it seemed like a hard price to pay. After all, our children are 7, 4 and 8 months old. They want us here now. We aren’t sure they will want us hanging about quite so much when they are 17, 14 and 10.

Learning about yourself

So he handed his notice in and we decided we would both train in web design and see where it took us. It might not take us anywhere. It might lead to things we haven’t yet thought of. What we do know is that this is change. It may not be easy, but it will be different and certainly every stage will present opportunities and experiences we would not otherwise have had.

At the end of my LearnDirect course in web design,  I will start studying with Digital Mums to become a social media manager. I am hoping this will be my key to flexible working. Where my work will fit around our family and not the other way round. This is something Digital Mums is striving to make more commonplace. Flexible working. After all, us mums still have working brains you know!

#CleanUpTheFWord

The Digital Mums campaign around flexible working is making waves. It’s made the national papers and it’s causing a stir on social media. The Clean Up The F-Word campaign hopes to highlight the benefits of flexible working, both for employee and employer, to those that can make a difference; the government. To get a response from the government their petition needs 10,000 signatures. To get a debate in Parliament, it needs 100,000. This is a subject that should be brought to the fore.

Flexible working taboo

“Flexible working is a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, eg having flexible start and finish times, or working from home…. All employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers.”

(from the Government website www.gov.uk)

We have the right to, but how many of us would? I know I didn’t. There didn’t seem much point as I couldn’t see any way I could return to my job on a flexible basis; as a newsreader, you sorta have to be behind the microphone at the time the news is needed, and I knew that when I started thinking about having a family.

But flexible working shouldn’t be a taboo. As mums returning to work we should not be afraid to put forward a flexible option. So why does it feel like we are asking for something that is wrong, a cop-out, an easy option? It’s not like we want to be paid for doing nothing. Rather that we get paid for being productive during the hours that we able to put in 100%.

A different world

For us Coopers, flexible working will mean we can support our family by working in a way that provides for the Mini Coopers in more than just monetary terms. We can be the ones that see them through the school gates and pick them up at the end of the day, but we’ll also be able to pay for the day trips to London and ice cream in the holidays.

 

Click here to read the Digital Mums blog post about the #CleanUpTheFWord campaign

 

To sign the Digital Mums petition at Change.org and show your support for more flexible working options, click here.

Posted in Digital Mums, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , , ,

Vintage steering wheel photograph
September 22nd, 2017 by Suze

Today I woke up and smelt the coffee… and then remembered I don’t like coffee.

My plan for this morning was to drop the Mini Coopers at school, then study until lunchtime. This Applied JavaScript unit is difficult. It needs brain power and focus and those appear to be the two things I just don’t have this week. The assignment requires some coding, some questions answered and the creation of a set of slides as a presentation. My brain wants to sleep and my focus is off doing 10 other things.

Anyway, I left my house at 8am this morning to drive my two children to school. Mini Cooper 2 attends a school that is a 7 minute walk from our house, yet he was late. Why? Because, Mini Cooper 1 attends a school that is a 20 minute drive away (in school run traffic traffic). I have a 10 minute window between dropping one child off and getting the other through the school gate.

The challenge

This morning was the first time I have tried it with all three Mini Coopers. DH starts his 12-week training next week and there will no longer be the luxury of 1:1 school runs. Instead I will take on the challenge of getting two children to two different schools while juggling a baby.

And this morning I ended up a snivelling heap on the wrong side of a locked gate and here’s why. It appears that no matter how positive you are about something, once you are doing it there will be a number of things you had not considered that WILL happen.

The dash

Firstly Mini Cooper 1 lost his tuck money, brief delay over that. Then he went into the tuck queue but not through the door as I had asked, I waved like a nutter in the playground, he couldn’t see me and stood glassy-eyed, seemingly staring through where I was stood. Mini Cooper 2 then had his arm pulled from his socket as I raced against the flow of parents back to the car. ‘I’m tired mummy, you’re walking too quickly, mummy wait’, I managed a smile and one quirky ‘I got this’ comment over the shoulder to people I usually stop to say hi to, and dashed to the car.

Baby in the car seat. Mini Cooper 2 in his seat. Dropped car key down the side of the seat. Brief panic. Clambered in the back seat. Pulled the car door shut. Deep breaths ‘mummy come on you said we were in a hurry’. Retrieve car key from side of chair. Realise child lock is on both back doors. Clamber through to the front seat. On the road again. Wait for bin lorry to pass and maniac school run driver to mount the kerb and speed past. Navigate past a bus that stops for no reason, spot the bin lorry up ahead and cut through a different route to avoid it. Feeling good, I’m on this.

Drama at the school gate

8.49am and I am in the road Mini Cooper’s school is in. Swerve into car park, reverse, forwards, reverse, forwards, reverse, oh sod it (my car is massive, I can not park it). Jump out, no time for baby in sling. Mini Cooper 2 falls over PE bag string into car park with me screaming at him to mind the cars. Mini Cooper 3 has done a poo. I can feel it seeping through my new grey cardigan. A nod to a fellow soon-to-be-late parent and a dash across the car park. The outer gate is open, we have made it.

The inner gate is shut.

We have not made it.

Mini Cooper 2 is late.

Failure

I don’t really do failure. I have failed to get my child to school on time, despite being able to see my house from the top of the road. I drop to the floor. The moment I do it I realise I am being dramatic. This isn’t Eastenders. He is just 30 seconds late for school.

I gather myself enough to go and fill in The Late Form and send Mini Cooper 2 off into his day. Then peel the baby from my sleeve and make my way back to the car. At home I stamp about. Swear a bit. Tidy in anger (this may be an upside of the situation) and then sit and cry into my cup of tea. Studying is far from my thoughts. If I couldn’t concentrate before I certainly can’t now.

After all I have been lecturing myself over this situation for weeks: “It’s OK if he is late. It is just reception. You can’t change the situation. You are doing this for long-term gain. One day someone at the council might see sense. Just keep smiling and telling everyone it will be ok and… it will be ok”

So while waiting for the Rant and Rave to leave me I have written this post. It hasn’t got me anywhere in terms of my study; there are still Hama beads all over the kitchen floor and I need another cup of tea, the baby is asleep on my lap and I could have been doing those 10 other things but I do feel a bit better and I am now able to see some humour in the whole debacle. My mum’s words echo in my head:

‘You can only do your best’.

But today my best wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t like it.

Posted in Mini Coopers, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , ,

Photograph of the three Mini Cooper's feet
September 15th, 2017 by Suze

So the schools are back in full force this week and I am trying to find a little more structure to my studying/parenting day. As I tackle the books once more it strikes me that I may not have been the only person to have thought the following things over the last week.

Here are five things that have run through my mind this week about studying.

1. I love this

I can take on the world. This is amazing. I have successfully made information leap from a database onto a web page. I pressed the buttons and now it works. I can do this. I can do anything. I love learning. Every part of the process is experience, even if it isn’t successful.

2. I hate this

The world hates me. I can’t bear this. Will it ever end. Why won’t my html file talk to my php file and do lovely things on the web page. I have spent hours reading about it. I have made notes on it. I have Googled it. I am highly likely to chuck my laptop at the wall if I render this page and it doesn’t work for the 4 millionth time. Learning is too hard. Why am I doing this? When can I stop?

3. The oven needs cleaning

The garden needs weeding, small pieces of dirt need removing with a cocktail stick and toothbrush from somewhere no-one will ever see. You get the idea. Suddenly anything and everything is way more interesting and important than studying. While usually the thought of cutting all three Mini Cooper’s toenails would be the stuff of nightmares, I suddenly find myself lining them up, giving them the drill and hoping it will take longer than necessary just so that I don’t have to sit back down in front of a list of assignment questions. With blank answers. With word counts. That need diagrams. With writer’s block.

4. He thinks I’m on Facebook again

Or Twitter (@minicoopersmum). When you are studying remotely, the lure of social media is ever present. Particularly now I am blogging too and linking my posts here and there. That said, I do spend a lot of time staring at my screen and actually doing my work (while thinking that DH is thinking that I am just sat there fiddling on Facebook.) I do a lot of projecting. It’s something I am trying to stop. DH is actually incredibly supportive and without him I would probably have already thrown the lap top at the wall.

5. What happens if I get to the end?

After the initial ‘will this ever end’ phase, comes the fears of what happens when it does. Is all of this time, effort and energy worth it? Will I really see the rewards? Are we dreaming too big? After all, this time round I am hoping my studying will lead to something and it has to be something that will pay the bills. While getting the bit of paper (or studying with the OU) was difficult, it was also a pleasure. I chose to study as a hobby. This time around it is about re-training and while I have picked a subject I absolutely love, the what-ifs are ever present.

So there you have it. A journey through the mind of this study addict over the last week, and a glimpse into how I am quite likely to feel in the coming week. I am basically rolling through these thoughts and feelings on a daily basis at the moment. Right, now do I continue with Unit 16 or clean the oven?

 

You Baby Me Mummy

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Posted in Studying, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , ,

A .gif of Sadness from the film Inside Out crying
September 9th, 2017 by Suze

We interrupt this Saturday morning because I need a hug.

I have just spent a snatched hour between Wake Up and Breakfast completing the next assignment question. (I would like to thank Ninjago, Mr Biscuits and DH for this brief study period)

Having completed 250 words of the 300 target, Mini Cooper 3 gave me a yell. I picked her up and popped her on my lap, guiltily returning my attention to the screen. But not, it would seem, to what I was doing.

In need of further research, I googled the topic I was writing about. As soon as I did it I knew I had lost everything. Sure enough the back arrow confirmed my worst fears. My extra hour of work was gone. Lost in that place where unsaved work disappears to.

It’s not always easy.

I hugged Mini Cooper 3, put my head in my hands and cried. Then spent the next hour re-doing the work (with thanks to Shimmer and Shine, DH’s toast and cuddles and Mini Cooper 1’s swimming lesson)

Now on with the day
x

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Posted in Studying, Thoughts Tagged with: , , ,