I’m sorry to say that I was a grumpy, old baggage, and it was not from lack of attention or gifts. Mr B had brilliantly ‘assisted’ Miss B with buying Mummy three months subscription to Spotify Premium (I was down to my last few hours and was getting nervous). And then Mr B cooked a very delicious slow roast lamb for lunch. Oh yeah, and he also took the dog out for a walk twice, cooked breakfast, Miss B’s tea and our supper.
However, a grumpy Pootle like mist was following me around, finally forming into a cloud when Mr B, leaving for dog walk number one, found me standing by the front door, head stuck in The Sunday Times Style supplement. “Remember you have a child,” he called out. My response was rather extreme, as they tend to be when you press each other’s buttons. Thing is, I was engrossed in an article about mothering guilt and the lack of time and attention we devote to our children because we’re too busy doing, well… stuff like this. So there I was still in my pyjama’s, stranded on a day of maternal celebration, in a deluge of guilt and feeling like a complete fraud.
The squall passed. Mr B returned and he cooked an absolutely beautiful lunch, with the most spectacular roast potatoes. But the thing is, that’s what I do: bustle about the kitchen, glass of wine in hand, saying, “No thanks,” to help, but “Yes please,” to company. I don’t feel like I do much these days to gain a sense of achievement or earn public accolades, and basically my ego needs the attention of Sunday lunch. So not only a fraud but a redundant fraud. “Boo, hoo,” I hear you cry, “poor you!” Anyway, even I could see from the depths of my pityfest, that I was being ungrateful. But the cloud would not lift. So following a final, exhausting bedtime battle with Miss B, I thought I should seek professional help.
At stormy moments like these, Deepak Chopra never disappoints me. The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents is a sanctuary. It describes how you can bring the Seven Laws into everyday day life by attributing a day to each law. Hoping, as Scarlet O’Hara says, “Tomorrow is another day”, I turned to Monday:
“ Monday is the day of Giving – Today we tell our children,
‘If you want to get something, give it’ ”.
I urge you to read it.
After an absorbing few minutes, I began to realise the source of my cloud. Giving and receiving are part of the same process, it is about flow. When I act selfishly and try to hoard my time/attention, I stop the flow. Miss B then feels the lack and wants more attention and I want more time. We both end up grumpy and I feel guilty. Put simply if I want to get more time, I have to give more time, something which the article I was ‘trying’ to read discussed.
So much for the guilt, now to the ingratitude.
“If it is more blessed to give than receive, it is much harder
to receive than give. We receive ungraciously out of pride,
feeing that we don’t need anyone’s help, handouts, or charity,
or out of some sense of discomfort.”
I definitely felt that I didn’t deserve praise and my ego didn’t want to let go ‘my thing’. But if you want to go with the flow, you have to let go (don’t think that will catch on as a mantra but you now what I mean). So maybe Mr B, would like to do some more Sunday lunches? You’re very good at it and I promise I’ll be more gracious!
So Monday morning dawned frosty and bright and brand new. I sat on Miss B’s bed and listened to her patiently, as she hopped around her bedroom – not getting dressed, telling me about the “noise with big teeth” in her dream. When attempting to brush her hair, I did not respond to the shrieks and shouts with shrieks and shouts. I simply said I was giving her my patience today and could she be patient too – hair was brushed, in a ponytail and has a clip in it. And as we were walking to playgroup across the field, I didn’t once say, “Hurry up or we’ll be late.” Just, “Isn’t it a beautiful morning.” To which Miss B replied, “Yes, the birds are singing and Mummy isn’t grumpy”.