My girls in March, 2017

As the sunnier days roll in, this has been our March…

“Living in the moment”

Last week, Mia had an assembly at school about “living in the moment”, where she explored the idea of taking videos and selfies rather than putting your device down and enjoying what was happening around you.  She was shown selfies at occasions where you’d imagine people wouldn’t want a momento of (one was at an open casket funeral of a grandparent… apparently #chillingatgrandmasfuneral is a thing) and talked about why people spend so much time taking the perfect selfie.

I applaud the school for directly addressing the changing world we live in and getting students to evaluate the positives and not so positives this brings.  If only us adults had the occasional reminder too!!

At home, this has prompted us all to remind each other to “live in the moment” a little more.  It can be hard to find the balance between capturing the precious moments, and missing others while you find the right Instagram filter.  I love being able to look back on memories so easily thanks to technology, but don’t want to miss what’s happening either.  We are going on holiday in April, and I’m going to attempt to both enjoy and capture the memories.  This may mean less photos overall, but that’s OK right – how many do we need really??

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Wins and fails

While we had some fantastic wins in February, in March we’ve all had some epic fails.  Mia’s Netball Team were thrashed in their last game of the season, Hannah’s swimming gala wasn’t a great win for her or her school, and I had a work-related setback.

We all love the feeling we get when there’s a great success – or win – to celebrate, while that feeling isn’t so great when you’ve not quite made the medal mark (or missed it by a long way!)  However, I’m grateful for the lessons that come when you don’t immediately succeed.  I’m grateful that we can talk about how we feel, and share the burden of disappointment together.  I’m grateful for the chance to reflect on what we did and what we can do to improve.  I’m grateful for the chance to build resilience and learn healthy coping strategies.  I’m grateful that my girls know the feeling of both walking away with a medal, and walking away without.

Life is a mixture of wins and fails, and achieving your ambitions doesn’t happen when you win at everything, it happens when you’re able to pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and keep on going, learning from your mistakes, until you achieve your goals.  It makes success so much sweeter when you know how it feels to fail.  Failing at times knocks the edges off to make a more empathetic and kinder person.  I want to raise hard-working, resilient and determined young ladies who just keep going, no matter the setback.  Life’s fails – however much they suck at the time – build all of these skills in a way that always winning can’t.  So we won’t hide from them… bring on next time!

Academic pressure and what “success” looks like when you’re 8 & 11

This month we’ve had parent’s evenings for both of the girls.  Hannah is still in Primary School, while for Mia, this was her first for Secondary school.

When I think back to my own schooldays, I never felt any pressure really until we got to Year 10, and it was time for GCSE’s.  SAT’s either weren’t around or not made a big deal of, and while my Mum always helped with reading and made sure I’d done my homework, what I did at school was largely my own business and fell over very little into my own free time.  I was still very academic, took school seriously and did well in my exams.

Today, it’s a very different story.  Both my girls have taken SAT’s, and recent changes to government targets in schools means that in the last few years, lessons have gotten harder, homework has increased, and I see a lot of pressure on my little ones.

The good news is that both of them are ticking the boxes.  They’re meeting or exceeding their target levels.  They are turning up to school every day.  I’m told they are polite, well-mannered, have good friends and are eager to learn.

I’m proud of their hard work, but I see behind the scenes and I wonder how they’ll be in the long run.  I want them to do well, but I also want them not to have trouble sleeping the night before assessments because they’re worried.  I don’t want them having their confidence knocked because they are being pushed further and further to find their limit.  I don’t want 2 days of their school holidays being filled purely with homework.  In a way, part of me wants their teachers to be telling me that they aren’t conforming quite so much.

They are successful on paper, but success for me isn’t ticking the boxes.  It’s being able to live without worry.  It’s having confidence in what you can do.  When you’re still a kid, it’s about being silly, having fun.  And as someone who was academic to the point of being not much else when I was younger, I push this on them way more than I do the school books!   I left both parents evening with so much pride, and even more determination to push my own agenda of my girls enjoying this last bit of childhood as much as possible.  Once it’s gone, you never get those years back, so we will make the most of it.

This up and coming generation are anything but “Snowflakes”.   Hearing that term bandied about makes by blood boil!

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Sisters at last??

My girls have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship.  For many years, they have been either best of friends or worst of enemies.  It took Mia a long time to come to terms with having a sister (probably a good 4/5 years), by which time Hannah had built up a lot of what I’d call coping mechanisms (i.e. giving back as good as she got).

As well as beautiful moments of playing nicely, helping each other and being best buddies, I’ve also refereed countless squabbles, arguments and physical fights.  I’ve lectured and punished.  I’ve reminded them that they only have each other.  Eventually, I’ve stood back and let them figure it out.

It’s taken a long time, but over the last few months I’ve noticed how much less frequent the squabbles are.  They spend more time together amicably.  I sometimes hear them in their room chatting late at night, just like my sister and I used to.  They have in-jokes.  They are overall more happy and relaxed being with each other.

I do hope this is a new chapter for them, and they really embrace how fantastic it is to have a sister.  A sister will always understand you best, because they’ve grown up in the same house, they know you inside out, they’ve seen everything you’ve lived through, they know what you’re like, what you’re thinking.  You can have the best time with them even through the worst times.  I so want them to be best friends for life, and I have a good feeling that now, they will be.

S ♥

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