100 Happy Days · Parenting

Is being busy all the time good for you?

I’m perpetually busy. Some of the things that keep me busy are routine things that have to be done – housework etc., my daughter’s appointments, others are more interesting – college, a small amount of teaching, community groups I am involved in (possibly too many of them) and still others are things I would love to spend more time on – my history research, my garden…. So my time is pretty full. It’s rare enough that I find myself with a half hour that I can take off and not feel guilty for not doing something else. I had one of those rare times today. After getting herself up and off on the bus at 8am, I got myself sorted out bag packed up and off to Navan for a new class (which went really well) then down to Blanchardstown to get swim gear for F and I for Monday (she’s starting swimming with school and I am going along to help out). Got home with 35 mins to spare before she arrived back after school. So instead of tackling the laundry or the myriad of other tasks that are on my never-ending to do list I made myself a cuppa, and sat down with a chocolate bar and a good book. For a whole half hour I just sat and relaxed. What’s seldom is wonderful!

But it made me wonder if being busy all the time is good for me? Its not a new thing, I’ve always been like this. It can cause problems in that I get a name for being busy – and then I get asked to do more things “load the willing donkey” and so I get busier with things that maybe I don’t want to devote so much of my time to and so end up with less time to do the things I really love or just to have time to stop for a while. And THAT cannot be good. So there’s the answer to my question I think. But how to change that? Well, maybe taking half an hour a day to just be rather than to do is a start. Watch this space!

Today’s #100HappyDays pic 30 minutes down time

100 Happy Days · Parenting · Special Needs

Every little thing she does is magic…..

So carrying on from yesterday’s post about the #100HappyDays project, the thing that made me happy today was reading my daughter’s communication book from school. We rely on this to find out what she did at school each day, what went well or not so well and what kind of mood she was in. Her teacher is great at sharing news with us. Fionnuala's communication book
Fionnuala is not able to tell us what happened at school each day, although she is coming out with new words all the time and her communication is really coming on well. Actually she is doing great overall. Her motor skills (both fine and gross), her mobility, her speech, her understanding, everything. We had no idea how her developmental journey would pan out and while she has global developmental delay (that means she is delayed in every area of her development) and is probably like a neurotypical 2 year old in a lot of ways, we often forget that. She is just our amazing Fionnuala, developing at her own little pace in her own little way.

At times its hard to focus on the good stuff, my experience of motherhood has been radically different from what I had expected and I’d be lying if I said I don’t find it hard sometimes when I see all the things children far younger than Fionnuala can do that she can’t. But I do try to learn from her everyday. She is a genuinely happy little girl, very loving, very affectionate and at times quite a wee monkey too! She is feisty and determined and never gives up. I could learn a lot from her, I just need to remember to do so.

100 Happy Days

Positive thinking and 100 happy days

I’ve never been great at the old positive thinking lark. A few years ago two people each separately gave me copies of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It was a few months after our daughter had been born with physical and intellectual disabilities and I was – to put it mildly – very low and stressed. I have always had a bit of a weakness for self-help type books (especially space-clearing and feng shui) so I figured I’d give this one a go. ‘Cos it had to be a good sign that two people who didn’t know each other both felt this might help me, right? Wrong! Couldn’t finish it. It is extremely rare for me not to finish a book even if I think its garbage, but I really couldn’t plough through that. The whole ‘think positive and you will get what you want in life’ never really sat well with me and even less so at a time when all I really wanted was for my beautiful baby girl not to have disabilities. It just seemed too simplistic somehow. I know it works for a lot of people, just not for me.

Anyway, a few days ago I spotted friends of mine posting up all kinds of pics on Facebook and tagging them #100HappyDays. Being the incurably inquisitive person that I am I asked what it was about, then googled it. (Should that have a capital G? Never sure.) And its all about encouraging people to see what is in their lives that makes them happy. Well that’s my understanding of it. Find out for yourself – 100 Happy Days. The idea is you take a photo of something that has made you happy each day and share it on social media and over the 100 days you become more aware of what makes you happy and how much there is already in your life that makes you happy. I think that’s the idea anyway.

Well I liked the sound of this so I’ve signed up. And my first photo was this one strawberry planter

Its a strawberry planter I bought years ago and used for one season. So today I planted it up with brand new strawberry plants and thought about the strawberry jam I’ll make later this year. (Even if its only one jar!) And you know what? That did make me happy. Life can be painful, cruel, unfair and immeasurably stressful at times. But if I can find one little thing each day that makes me feel genuinely happy, then that has to be a good thing.

Right now I’m sitting at my kitchen table mentally patting myself on the back for having grabbed the half-dry washing off the line before this downpour started. Happy? Hmmm, maybe. Happy that it’s now drying on the clothes horse and not getting steadily soggier on the line. Happy that there’s two less loads of laundry waiting to be done. Not jumping around the house shouting for joy happy you understand, but yes, a quiet kind of contentment. I’ll settle for that right now. (Oh and I’m happy that I’m back blogging after a few stressful months. Did you miss me?)