I am trying Olympic lifting (go me!) tomorrow night. I have got into weight-training much more in the last six months but the first powerlifting meeting I went to was a bit scary to say the least. This is Spartans gym from the outside; it kind of reminded me a little of the dodgy back street nightclubs we used to go to when I was younger (although, best not get into that here!). And inside, for goodness sake, there were spit buckets by the side of the boxing ring and buckets with chalk lumps for grip (I did half wonder if other complete newbies like me might ever have mixed them up?!).
So, long story short, I faced the fear and got inside and met the other women and everyone was very welcoming and lovely and even though I no longer get to that gym for that meeting (it was not especially local) it has had a huge influence upon my life and I am quite into lifting weights now. Olympic lifting – actually lifting the barbell over my head – is going to be an interesting one tomorrow. It fills me with fear. Which is why I have booked onto trying it. This is also the reason I ran a marathon when the children were much younger. That plus being able to say, ‘sorry dear husband, I do have to go out and jog now for a full three hours – in absolute blissful peace and solitude (although I didn’t say that bit aloud) – and leave you with the two children bouncing off the walls – it says so here on my training programme, see!?’. I am also planning on abseiling down the spinnaker tower with a Music with Mummy colleague of mine at the end of this year and, if you saw the original profile picture for this page, the mug shot was me pre-skydive a few years ago. 10,000 feet of falling through the sky? Hell, yeah! I’m in! Starting my own business was a scary step too. Singing in front of people? Me – actually SING and ask people to pay me for the pleasure of bringing their children along to my music classes? Terrifying. I am a bit crazy like that I guess – I like a good scary challenge (with the exception of anything involving spiders).
Anyway, whilst I have quite enjoyed indulging in writing a list of my (to me!) heroic achievements in the first paragraph of this post, I was also heading somewhere with it. Promise. Bear with me. This ‘face the fear’ philosophy I also aim to apply to my life as a Mother which is why this post is so named. I have two mantras. The first is that age old motherhood staple ‘this too shall pass’ – of course! It has to be said. Anyone else say it at least twenty times a day? And the second? ‘It will all be fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine’ (please see one of my favourite internet memes EVER – I AM that sheep). To be fair, most of the time it is fine, I am fine, everything turns out fine, but just occasionally my ridiculous over-confidence and optimism does mean the odd emergency happens; the time when my then five year old had a bit of a flip out and escaped from the Natural History Museum with all the security and first aid team chasing him down the steps of South Kensington tube station for example. That was a fun one (for ‘fun’ read: ‘not fun’). And then that time, another London disaster, that I got wedged between closing tube doors as I attempted to jump onto the train last minute because the boys had somehow escaped from my clutches and boarded before me. Must have been summer because when we had all recovered from the trauma (which, to be fair, took quite a while!) and were back above ground on the train returning to Winchester (both boys soundo, exhausted from the excitement), I recall my bare arms in a sleeveless top and having a long black grease stripe down from shoulder to elbow on each – almost like the seams on a sexy pair of stockings… ha. But just well… Not. Quite. Anyway, I wore my motherhood ‘stocking seams’ all the way home with a certain pride that day. Earning those grease marks was my badge of honour; I had felt the fear and brought both my ‘interesting’ children to the city on my own. (To be fair the lines wouldn’t really rub off easily anyway and I was also I think by then just too damn tired to care that I probably looked fairly silly – plus somewhat awash with sleepy gratitude that I hadn’t broken both arms or that my children had actually succeeded in travelling off down the tube tunnel without me.) So yes, I certainly do take the odd risk, especially when it comes to parenting and pushing my two boys, because if I was set on playing it safe I feel we’d never make progress.
My children have been challenging over the years. Very. The first time I considered writing a blog a few years ago it was to be named ‘a sprinkling of the spectrum and a dash of ADHD’ and this is firmly the background from which I write now too; with younger children back then I was just too busy living through the daily crises that these ‘ingredients’ brought to our family ‘recipe’ to get words succinctly on a page. Blogging was impossible. Even now it feels a heady luxury! Anyway I guess living with them on a daily basis I have had to face the fear quite regularly, even with the small things. And fudge it aplenty – not confined to just trips to London, I assure you! When they were younger sometimes even just waking up (ten years of 4:30am starts – quite an endurance test!) and getting on with the next day felt a massive undertaking. I am sure all parents have those days? That lovely quotation, ‘Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow’? Yes, Mary Anne Radmacher, yes.
I guess that is where my courage comes from in other things too – my children have taught me bravery. Thank you boys. I think.
Anyway, this blog post is dedicated to all those wonderful courageous mothers (and fathers!) out there ‘doing battle’ to raise their children as best as they can (because let’s face it, it does sometimes feel like that). I am with you in facing the fear and fudging it anyway. When it works out, we celebrate, and when it doesn’t, then hell, let’s just all remember that someone else has probably been there, done that too. Anyone else ever got wedged in the doors of the tube? Please someone tell me you have!!!
(Finishing photo sequence is to be followed clockwise from top left and shared with his permission. It shows my now fifteen year old facing a fear and fudging it delightfully – he was not that keen on the taste of Oyster but was pleased he had been brave enough to try. The photos also remind me of our first ever family holiday abroad a few years ago which for one reason and another was also a mammoth accomplishment – and definitely about facing the fear and knowing we might have some very sticky moments (fudgey moments if you will!) trying to pull it all off.)