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…
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?
While I was sat on a tree stump squinting at the LearnDirect study pages on my phone, I had an image in my mind. A vision of a warm cup of tea, a clear kitchen table, my laptop, a napping baby and an hour of study time.
As it was I had to make do with a tree stump, a sleepy baby on my back and a website which isn’t really suitable for mobile consumption and allows you to read approximately 2.7 words per scroll.
Camp studying comes with its own challenges. Not least, ensuring my phone had enough charge and enough data to enable me to log in to my remote learning course. Thanks to my ickle pink power brick and an obsession with Airplane Mode, I managed to have enough of both to enable me to continue to study.
But studying in the sun’s rays, surrounded by the woods did have its perks. I found it very grounding to be studying surrounded by nature. By a world that just grows by itself. Greenery that just has the knowledge to flourish and survive.
With nature ringing in my ears I continued my reading and note-taking between games of Scrabble, toasted marshmellows and glo-stick revelry.
Camping is about enjoying freedom. The open fields, the space, the night sky, all o their best to remind us we are part of something much bigger, It’s these two ideas that have stuck with me over the last few days. As I get my head around being accepted as a #DigitalMum and get excited by the freedom that opportunity should offer and the idea that I could be a small part of the big digital age picture.
Usually a camping trip is about getting away from technology. Leaving the chargers at home and letting the digital world rage without me. This year I have needed to bend the rules – just a little.
Camp studying reminds me that grabbing the odd 15 minutes here and there makes learning possible. That anything I learn in 15 minutes is enough. It isn’t about sitting at the kitchen table for hours on end. It’s about making a positive effort to do a little every day and setting a realistic goal.
So I logged in with the intention of spending 15 minutes studying each day. Some days mini Cooper 3’s nap allowed me a bit more time. But it didn’t matter if she didn’t because I was only ever aiming for a quick win in a short amount of time.
If I managed to learn something new in just 15 minutes, then I achieved my goal.
Like nature I am slowly but surely growing. I may not notice it on a daily basis. I may not see a massive change in a week. But eventually the sum of all these 15 minute study sessions will be a big change in mine and my family’s life.
The Kitchen Table… somewhere under there (honest!)
And so we return home with three muddy children stinking of camp fire. To a house of empty cupboards, forgotten toys and a telly. I fire up the lap top, log in and venture towards the kitchen table.
Alas, my dream is not to be once more; mini Cooper 1 is making HMS Victory, the washing we didn’t take camping with us is folded and piled up along with The Piles of Doom which continue to grow and never seem to diminish (and never will all the while I spend my time writing blog posts and studying rather than sorting them).
What’s a mum student to do? I gaze out the window at the nature, pop the baby on the toy mat, return to Sofa HQ and log in.
I’m Suze and this is my blog charting the highs and lows of studying with children. There are three mini Coopers in our house and two students; me and my husband. This blog will follow our journey as we work towards changing careers and changing our lifestyle.
I am currently studying Level 3 (QCF) Web design and Development with LearnDirect. I am also studying a Google Analytics course online and will be working on the #DigitalMums Associate Programme in 2018 to learn how to become a social media manager.
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