Onwards and Upwards

This post was inspired by the Groovymums blog hop on KateOnThinIce which is for mums who want to rediscover the woman they used to be or to reinvent themselves altogether. It’s inspiring to read about what other people do to make themselves feel better and engineer a little time in the day just for themselves amongst the other responsibilities that we all have. Each week there are challenges or prompts to make us think about different areas of our lives, all entirely optional. I’ve linked up again with Kate to post my progress in forging a completely new groove for myself.

I was very interested to read Kate’s challenges this week. Some of us may be using reward charts to help our little ones learn and she asks how we reward ourselves. Funny you should mention that, Kate, but last year I bought myself a reward chart and some stickers and gave myself a sticker for every day that I ate healthily. At the end of every week I gave myself a reward just for trying, even if the healthy eating hadn’t resulted in weight loss. In this way, I acquired a whole new set of Denby breakfast ware of which I am very proud. Unfortunately I lost my way round about March and stopped doing it. Maybe I should start again; I’m clearly motivated by little pieces of sticky, shiny paper with smiley faces in primary colours. Which leads me to another of the challenges – is the spirit willing? Kate has left this open to interpretation. For me, I have to say the spirit is very willing but I am constantly dismayed by the level at which I self sabotage. Take the reward chart as an example. By March I’d started to sneak in little extras and not take things as seriously as I had. Nothing wrong with my motivation, just a little voice in my head telling me I couldn’t do it so I might as well stop now. Got to silence the evil so-and-so, or at least squash it, if I am ever to make progress. There’s a personal admission for you.

Here’s another! Asks Kate, if I were a Winnie the Pooh character, which would I be? I think I would be the owl. I’ve always loved owls, they are my favourite bird, rarely seen, hardly heard, but ever present, ethereal and mysterious. I’d love to be ethereal and mysterious. We often have tawny owls in the woods behind where we live. I love to hear their ghostly, warbling hoot to one another in the night. All of which brings me to the question of sleep. The little man sleeps all through the night, it’s a rare occasion that he’s disturbed, so the only thing which keeps me awake is hubby’s snoring. He does it only at about 4am, just one or two snorts, but its enough to wake me at a time when I find it way too difficult to go back to sleep. This probably explains why I am so sleepy in the evenings. Hubby’s snoring goes through phases and happily he’s currently coming out of one, so I’m looking forward to undisturbed sleep for a few weeks until the cycle comes round again. I recently saw on an American website pillows designed as Scrabble letters. I would love to get some of those, if only to throw at hubby when he snores at 4am.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, what about plans for the future? Firstly, I want to get my hands on a copy of the New Yorker, just one issue, but it’s proving impossible to get here in the UK. I have friends who work in the City of London, which has a large population of Americans, and yet none of the local outlets stock it, which surprises me. I haven’t given up yet and one of my friends has emailed the New Yorker on my behalf to see who the stockists are in London. Subscription is for a year at well over $100, but I want only one issue, just to see. Secondly, Kate asks, would I like to meet other bloggers? Yes, in a heartbeat. We are such a diverse bunch and yet all warm hearted, quirky, funny and inspirational. It would be fun.

Finally, there is one piece of really great news to share. I entered a Flash Fiction competition here and my piece was selected from over 350 entries to be one of 100 stories for a book for the charity One in Four. Chuffed does not even begin to cover it.

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17 Responses to Onwards and Upwards

  1. The Rambling Pages says:

    I love this idea of the sticker chart and might just do one for myself! Huge congratulations on your winning writing, I would be over the moon if I were you and you should be singing it from the roof tops!

  2. It is not a little thing. It is a huge and wonderful thing. I already knew you were a great writer but pleased for you that it is confirmed in such a public and successful way.
    The reward chart ideas seems to be striking a chord. There is a business opportunity there for somebody.
    I have had a week where the healthy eating is not really getting back on track. I will blog on this later today. There will be steps back, we are human after all.
    The owl is so right for you as you are right up there as one of the wisest #groovymums. You have really helped me and I quote at people now.
    Lovely post and well done on responding to the challenges. Although they are optional, I do like it when people have a go.
    Have a lovely week.

    • Thanks for your encouragement Kate, it’s really great to get comments like yours. Very kind of you but I wouldn’t say I’m a wise #groovymum at all, I just have very definite ideas about some things! Not a clue about most things of course. Have a lovely week yourself.

  3. mammasaver says:

    I read your post with a big smile, as ‘Onwards and Upwards’ is me and my dear mum’s motto, when things are going well after a rough patch (which we call ‘along!’).

    I can’t congratulate you enough on your writing success – what great, great news. You put the ‘hard yards’ in, so it’s great to see you recognised for your talent.

    As for the inner evil so and so, hmm. He’s a tricky one to squash. I look forward to reading about how you’re getting on with it. Wise owl needs to help me, you see!

    • I did wonder whether to put myself up as owl, purely because I don’t think I am wise, but I do want to be mysterious and ethereal, so hopefully some of those qualities will rub off on me. The writing thing is such a small thing, I haven’t made my first million yet, but I’m really encouraged and hope it could lead to more things. If you know a way to squash the negative voice permanently, do let me know, won’t you!

      • mammasaver says:

        Hi Polly,

        I’ve been thinking (gasp), and I think I may have come up with a strategy of squashing the inner demon that says ‘thou shalt fail (or at least make a crappy attempt and then hate yourself for it).’

        I was pondering the purpose of this voice in our heads. I think a lot of people have it, so it must be there for some sort of evolutionary purpose or other.

        How about this:

        As humans, we’re constantly assessing whether actions are worth our energy output – we’ll look for efficient shortcuts the tiniest of actions, from crossing the road to taking of our makeup. All so that we can focus our energy on the stuff that really gets us through the day.

        I think that this voice is just a loud manifestation of that energy output assessment thing.

        Instead of ‘you’ll fail, you’re rubbish,’ your brain might just be saying ‘there’s a good possibility that whatever goal you’ve set isn’t worth the energy output.’

        I suppose therefore the challenge would be to assess whether the output of energy IS worth the effort or not.

        I have no idea at all if that has made the slightest bit of sense.

        • Ooh, interesting! I like that! I read something similar a week or so ago about things being a habit and it takes more energy to change a bad habit than it does to just carry on with it. Will give that more thought. Thanks!

  4. Zazzy says:

    I am the queen of self-sabotage. I recognize that little voice that says I can’t do it anyway, or I can’t do it long-term, or even that’s it’s so unfair I have to try to do it. So why try? I hate that voice. I get rid of it for a while then it comes back when I’m not paying attention.

    As for Pooh Bear, I think there is a piece of all the characters in me but perhaps Piglet fits best. I worry too much and over-think things and have trouble standing up for myself. I’d like to be Pooh, I think. He really experiences life.

    • Zazzy I think as women we are all so good at self sabotage and standing up for ourselves, and I think we learn it when we are knee-high, whether that was the intention or not. I think all the Pooh bear characters are great, even the pot of honey. Piglet is so loveable. If you figure out a way to get rid of that voice permanently, let me know. x

  5. I love the fact your reward chart earned you some Denby breakfast ware. I would rather like some of that myself…will take myself off to get stickers immediately!
    Many congratulations on the Flash Fiction – you deserve it. We have a few Americans kicking around this neck of the woods so if I see a copy of the New Yorker, I’ll tweet or DM you. x

  6. Older Mum says:

    I love the fact that you rewarded yourself with a sticker chart – genius! Also I totally empathise with on the snoring front – I have a terrible time with my OH and he always seems to wake me between 3 and 4 am and it then takes me ages to return to sleep – most nights I have to take myself off to the silence of the lounge where I fall asleep on the sofa!

  7. What a great idea with the reward chart, and to get some Denby to boot! May have to try that myself as my healthy eating is fast dissapering. Congratulations on your writing piece that is excellent news, maybe you should have a treat for that!

    Its great to read how everyone is trying to get their groove back. X

  8. Love the fact you rewarded yourself with Denby! Brilliant.

    Well done on your writing, that’s super news.