Being ourselves

Being your own close friend

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It has been a mad last few weeks. Work is squeezing every last drop out of me. I have various exam groups and my students are feeling the pressure. There is much talk in teaching about looking after your ‘well-being’ but in practice little practical help is offered! My mum is increasingly more and more needy. Her behaviour is at times like a toddler. The pressures of caring can take its toll by leaving a general film of anxiety over life. In addition, two of my own children are getting ready for big exams. They are being amazing though and seem to be approaching all this with drive and determination. But I need to be vigilant: teenagers can be so good at hiding their stresses and not sharing them with parents. Perhaps it is because we as parents often try to give a ‘solution’ rather than just listen?

I think that has been the way I have treated myself though…always looking for the solution. I am beginning to realise that often the main solution is acceptance. I must accept that work is hard at the moment; I have to accept that mum is doing her best but needs me. This doesn’t mean I roll over in some sort of passive defeat. Rather I am being kind to myself by acknowledging this is part of my life and accepting what can’t be changed. Life is often uncomfortable and a bit messy but that is also its joy: this is what we all experience and by being honest with each other and finding humour in it all we become closer.

So, to the flowers. It is Easter holidays now. And I am not going to be having a holiday, it will be more like working from home. But I want to bring some colour and scent in. So today I am going to buy some freesias, my favourite flower. Its scent is light and uplifting and so too its colour palate. I am also going to make sure I sit in my garden when I can, to absorb the colours of the new flowers appearing after a very dull and grey winter.

Vanessa, thank for this wake up. Without caring and nurturing ourselves how can we care for others? We do it out of duty but we are full of resentment, not love. Also without being kind to ourselves, how can we set boundaries needed to make sure others realise we need care and support too? A timely challenge!


Mother, wife, daughter, teacher...

Firmly stuck in the 'sandwich generation' category, I am 46 years old and looking to shake things up a bit! I am a teacher, which I love - but it takes over your life! A mother of three - two daughters, 16 and 15, a son aged 11. Wife to Simon for 19 years. Carer for rather eccentric mum, aged 89.


Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 5 years ago
Unfortunately I don't have experience in the things you are going through but send you my best wishes for your mum, work, family and hope the flowers bring you some cheer. Take care.
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
almost 5 years ago
I know how hard you work and how you put everyone else first. I'm glad that you see you have to be kind to yourself too. There's not always time but anything which nourishes you is worth it. I hope the sun shines so you can enjoy the garden and your working from home Easter will help ease a little of the burden of being a good teacher.