Saturday. The first day in five where we didn’t have to be at work for 8am. We slept in, waking up naturally when we were ready, rather than being disrupted by the sharp sound of the alarm, it was lovely, and so very needed. Life is yet to settle back into some kind of flow, post christmas, and with a change of work situation on the horizon things are just a bit out of kilter at the moment, in a good way, mostly.
The first half of the day was great, quality time together, amongst getting a few jobs done. We had a good level of unrushed productivity going on. But at some point, I dropped the ball. Probably around late afternoon, when my coffee had worn off and the fact that we’ve forgotten to go out for a walk means a fog collects in my head. It’s not until after dinner that I realise my mistake. Little S is literally climbing all over the furniture, restless and in a bit of a daze and I’m sitting like a zombie scrolling through feeds on my phone. In different ways we are both trying to fulfill something that needs filling, but without success. S keeps falling down where she’s not paying full attention, and for me scrolling pointlessly through my phone has a 100% success rate at leading me to feeling unhappy. I look at our situation, a show we usually enjoy is playing purely as background noise and neither of us are okay. On top of that, it’s 7pm. Too late in the day to turn the situation around.
Or am I wrong? I’ve had to untrain a lot of habits and ways of thinking out of myself over the years. I used to be the kind of person who sees the cup half empty and gives up. But thankfuly, I’ve worked hard to flip my way of thiking, I’ve learnt to see the positives and the the possibilities. Obviously I’m human, so sometimes I still slip up and resort to old outdated and outgrown attitudes. I hear myself say ‘it’s too late, I’ve ruined our evening, I’ve let us down’. But the new way of thinking that I’ve developed pulls the old way of thinking up and questions it into silence. Why is it too late? We slept in today and S is unlikely to want to go to bed for another couple of hours yet, plus she doesn’t go to sleep easily when she’s this kind of discontent anyway. It’s not too late, and we can stop what we’re doing and change the picture.
So I turn to S, ‘you seem restless and I’m not feeling happy right now. Do you want to watch this still? Or shall we turn it off and do something else?’ The words snap her out of the daze she’s faded into and she lights up, excitedly tells me she wants to turn the show off right away and do something else. So we put the screens away and chat about what we could do to make our evening better, and agree on putting music on, playing some games and doing some arts and crafts.
Three hours of fun later, we end the day happy and content, plus and I feel like a decent parent instead of someone who’s let themselves and their kid down. Sure S wasn’t in bed until 10pm, but we saved our evening, we had quality time together, which to me is worth being tired for. The me from five plus years ago wouldn’t have turned things around, discontent and failure would have followed us into the next day. Giving up is the easier option to be fair, but it’s not the one that leads to a happy fulfilled person. And changing ourselves, our attitudes, our ways of doing things requires conscious effort, but it can be done, if we want to change the picture.
‘They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourselves.’