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?
It’s a love, hate relationship. I veer from the thought of studying filling me with dread, to actually doing the studying and loving every minute.
As I come to the end of each unit I have got into the habit of looking ahead. Initially this was to motivate me but now I am halfway through the course I feel a little bit like I am treading water. I am always excited by what’s coming up next, but my impatience means that by the time I have browsed through the study outcomes I am starting to feel the pressure of learning all these new skills looming over me.
I am now studying Unit 18 of Level 3 Web Design and Development. Just four more to go after this. It’s a long way to have come in a relatively short space of time. I only started the course in March. It’s a dry unit. I can’t say I am much inspired by learning about networking topologies or the benefits of shielded twisted pair cabling. Learn Direct emailed me the other day to say I had missed an assignment deadline. I had to reply and point out that my next deadline will in fact by October 31, 2018, not 2017. I get it. They probably don’t have students using frantic mummy energy to log in and learn during every spare (and sometimes not so spare) moment they have.
Waving not drowning
I feel like I am riding a wave much of the time. I start out just floating happily along, taking notes. The physicality of a folder full of writing reassures me I am learning something. The water rises as I reach the assignment and I realise I must now prove that I have actually taken something in between the cups of tea, nappy changes and late dinners.
As I wade through the various questions there are certainly points at which I feel like I am bobbing around in the water. Gasping for air. Trying to reassure myself that I am waving not drowning.
Owing to my need to see what’s coming next, I start to read through the next unit before the previous assignment is complete – and so the process begins again. Initially this fuelled my adrenaline. It gave me the energy I needed to keep going.
The need for sleeping
But recently the thought of taking on the next wave is starting to whip up a storm in my mind. I am getting more and more exhausted. Not helped by the 90 minute bursts of sleep I exist on between night feeds. I learnt this week that someone getting between 4 and 5 hours sleep a night, operates at the same level as someone with 0.1% blood alcohol. Where does that leave me? In a state not dissimilar to a daily piss up in a brewery it would seem.
The need for studying
And how do I deal with this state of virtual inebriation? I study. I once again dive in and start making the next set of notes. Somehow I find myself in calm waters once again.
I was never a very strong swimmer but I knew which stroke would see me finish the race first. Maybe that’s the skill. Finding the right stroke and riding each wave. Or perhaps I should just try and ride one wave at a time instead of tackling each one with a different stroke… now there’s a thought 😉
*Please note that as an Amazon Affiliate I benefit from any sales made through the use of these links. This relates to any purchases made after clicking through from this link – it doesn’t have to be the item shown here.
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?
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.
thismumstudies is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk