I was queuing at the till this afternoon to pay for my shopping. I decided that as it's my first full week in my new job I was going to be well prepared so I bought all the food I needed for lunches, breakfasts and any snacks. The boys were at home lounging in the sunny garden having returned from cricket and we had all been for a fun swim earlier in the morning. In the queue I noticed a man behind me who had only two items to pay for. I asked it he wanted to go ahead of me and he looked a bit surprised, but thanked me and moved forward. The woman in front of me was frantically packing her shopping, she had already rolled her eyes and castigated her husband (who had disappeared now) and was clearly not in a good mood. The man in front of me stood next to her waiting his turn to pay and she looked at him and sharply asked him to move away so she could put in her pin number. He was quite elderly and didn't really understand so I gently took his elbow and explained that she wanted some privacy to put in her number and he mumbled something. She swore at him and he looked baffled. It brought me up short, because I can remember days when I have been like that. I've not been patient or especially nice and it's embarassing to see in another person the rotten behaviour I've probably displayed myself.
This was on my mind because we just had a half term holiday in Cornwall where we spent time relaxing, eating outside, being active and generally doing things as a family. I have tried to manage the worst of my moods and temper, which is much easier when it is sunny and now the boys are older they even sleep in sometimes !! I noticed Blue Bear has more energy, he asserts himself more (well he shouts a lot), he is funny and engaging and lots of fun. Brown Bear blew my mind when we all went on a long cycle ride by being brave and sensible and working as a team with me and hubbie. I have wanted to ride the Camel Trail since I first visited Cornwall about 18 years ago. Now that Brown Bear can ride a bike confidently we hired bikes - and a buggy for Blue Bear to sit in behind Daddy's bike. We took to the trail and it was just fantastic to be able to cycle as a family and to see my son pedalling away and taking the lead. Even when he came off his bike and scraped his arm - quite painfully - he got back on and kept going. I recalled how when I fell off my bike my dad would tell me off rather than comfort me. It showed me that some of my worst traits are learned behaviours and it is entirely my choice to take them on. I didn't tell him off, I reassured him that falling off is part of cycling and he had done nothing wrong to make it happen. Then we sang as we cycled along to take his mind off his injury.
I noticed that I'm letting go more and giving the boys more space. It's been on my mind that the shift from full time parent to full time work is something I just wasn't prepared for. The boys are great, they love creche and hopefully Blue Bear will eat supper at school this week instead of expecting me to feed him when I'm home from work. Brown Bear often asks me, "How was your day Mummy ?" and made me a certificate to signify how well I'd done for going back to work. They are fine with it. Hubbie provides the encouragement and practical support to enable me to do this at all. On my first day as I was leaving for work he gave me a massive hug and whispered in my ear, "I'm so proud of you." That carried me practically all the way there.
It's taken what seems like forever, but now I am here and I have put things in place to help me feel calmer. I disclosed to work that I experience anxiety and stress. This is the first time I've ever done that. I decided it was best to just be open and I'm glad I did. They need to know that if I am being asked to stay late and it means I can't pick up my kids that is going to cause me anxiety. Being late for my children makes me stressed. Over the years I realise that people have thought I'm being unreasonable or picky when actually I'm anxious. It's not logical or directed at anyone in particular and to a certain extent it is out of my control. If I am on a train that is delayed I will be getting anxious - even though there's nothing I can do about it. If I have an hour for lunch and the food is late I will be anxious. I'd rather just leave it, but I don't want to be rude.
So when I saw the woman today I kind of sympathised with her. I have no idea why her day was going that way or why she was upset with her husband or why him changing the orangeade for lemonade caused her to react as she did. I have no clue why the man standing close to her caused her to get so upset. In fact, I blamed myself for letting him in front of me and putting him in that situation. Still, I hope she felt better later.
I came home and put out four outfits for this week. I organised the things I need to take to work and put the food in the fridge that I am going to eat tomorrow. I am managing my potential anxiety in the only way I know how - by organising the hell out of it. Now I'm going to bed so that I at least have a fighting chance of getting enough sleep.