In typical British fashion, let’s begin by talking about the weather.
It’s been hot. Really hot, and although that’s been lovely, I’m rather relieved to be getting back to what I deem to be ‘proper Spring weather’ - i.e. briskly chilly, with the kind of sunshine you turn your face up at; the kind of warmth that, as long as you are wrapped up suitably warmly, you can bask in.
This is the time of year when my list-making runs away with itself as fast as a whippet on a deserted beach. There is SO MUCHLY MUCH I want to achieve, and yet I am mindful that none of it, once accomplished, will mean a single thing to me if the foundations of my life aren’t firm. Sounds like serious stuff, and you know what? It IS. I’m a working mother in the enviable position of not being the main breadwinner. I am a white, middle class person who has basically won the life lottery: I have a support system; loving family, good friends, help at home, and access to all the emotional and physical comforts that make life less worrisome - money in the bank, a roof over my head, children who don’t suffer from disabilities, mental or physical. And even with all this, I struggle daily to achieve my goals.
Parental guilt is a constant interloper - the idea…the FACT that I am not giving my absolute ALL. The conflicting wish that I want to model a working, earning mother for them, and that if I don’t then I will let down not only myself, but my children into the bargain.
Yes, my head is home to the original push-me-pull-you, and it’s a messy place to be. The only thing that sweeps it all away is exercise, gardening, and the very rare occasions when I go to bed feeling like I’ve been the best mother I could possibly have been that day. So every day; every hour in every day, like a busy A&E triage nurse, I am prioritising the things I want to get done in the following order:
Family stuff (including talking about mermaids, long division, music practice, story reading, meal planning and prep, school admin, wiping bottoms and literally everything in-between).
Me stuff (including gardening, exercise, staring into space and literally nothing else)
Work stuff (including my journalism and book-writing work, this blog, my social media channels and anything other opportunities that present themselves)
Yes, it’s taken me a stupidly long time to realise that the third thing will never bring me anything of value unless the first two things get my attention. It’s been a long, slow awakening this, but I’m finally realising that I only have one chance to bring up resilient, growth-oriented children with great self-esteem. And, as Hamilton puts it, I am NOT throwing away my shot.
All this long preamble is just to underline how risible the following list is to me…I mean, I may achieve one or two, or if I’m lucky, three of the things on this list and I’ll be SO happy with that!
My Garden: The list 2019
Paint my bench (YELLOW)
New, weather-proof upholstery, like EVERYWHERE
New table and chairs for the terrace…perhaps diy, made out of old palettes?
Wisteria, or wisteria alternative out front
Argyranthemum EVERYWHERE on the terrace
Followed by gladiolus callianthus
Followed by spring bulbs
Clear out pool and create cover once frogs have hopped off
Get pump working properly (it’s never worked properly) or remove
Salad all season, from pots
Pergola (already ordered but not yet made) put up and jasmine and campsis planted
Make my darling hotbin work (it’s still not really working and that’s mostly - but not all - my fault)
New bench beneath pittosporum
Clematis all over south-facing trellis, whilst hydrangea takes its own sweet time
Runner beans in the border (god knows where)
Other edibles in the border
Chillies in pots
New seating at bottom of garden
Grow cobaea over my glass roof
Two enormous containers at end of garden filled with summer squash
Two more enormous containers filled with sweet peas
More salvia in borders
Awning or similar outside shed
Throw a party in the garden In May or June or July for all my garden friends, real and virtual
So if you’ve read this far (THANKS!) and please contact me to tell me which three things you’d do first?
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