When I was a new mum, I had a blissful three hours to myself most days when my daughter napped between twelve and three. Usually, I chose to spend that time nursing a cup of tea in front of daytime television. I watched a lot of rubbish and I took a shine to Dr Phil.
Now, hang on. I know what you’re thinking. But back in the early 2000s his show was completely different. There was something about the real life stories that had me hooked. My writer’s brain has always been overly interested in other people’s conversations, mannerisms, the little things that make them them.
Over time, his catch phrases became a little cheesy and annoying – but one of them has remained with me.
How much fun are you to live with?
Which naturally brings me to the subject of this post – my worst habit.
Living with Rebecca:
WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?
- Will make you breakfast in bed
- Does most of the housework
- Remembers your work or school functions / day your fees/bills are due / all special events
- Organises paperwork and money
- Will surprise you on your birthday
WAIT A MINUTE…
- Can only sleep in complete silence and darkness. Will make you get out of bed to rearrange curtains in the event of “light spots”
- Leaves shoes all over the house
- Puts things in random places when feels the sudden urge to be clutter-free but can’t actually be bothered tidying up
- Never takes the rubbish out
- Opens a new packet of something before the last one is finished
But which is my worst?
On a more serious note, when I was thinking about this post at 3am this morning (that’s another one – insomnia and the desire to talk to my husband in the wee hours) I realised that my worst habit is one I am working hard on changing. It’s one that’s so ingrained in all of us that we do it without even realising.
It starts with an innocent little question:
Are you okay?
Oh, yes, yes, I’m fine.
I’m just tired.
Yes! I’m good. You?
But actually, I’m not feeling well. Or I’m angry at something you said to me earlier. Or frustrated that you weren’t listening to me before. Or any number of things.
I don’t think this habit is a good one to pass on to my daughter. She’s a child who is already very eager to please the people she loves.
So I’m trying to get honest with people, especially my kids. Obviously, I spare them the intimate details if they’re not appropriate, but there’s nothing wrong with this scenario:
“Mum, are you okay?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Why? What happened?”
“I’m feeling really frustrated. I have a lot to do this afternoon and I’ve asked for some help with getting these clothes folded and put away but no one has stopped what they’re doing. It makes me feel annoyed.”
My nana died recently. As you can imagine, I was sad, and being sad is sometimes hard to do in front of your children. I recognised it as an opportunity to be honest about how I was feeling but also about grieving and death, two subjects they’ve been (thankfully) unfamiliar with thus far. They saw me cry. They hugged me and checked on me when we knew she was on her way, and they were there to support me and love me when she went.
I want to be honest in everything I do, whether I’m following Hemingway’s advice and writing the ‘truest sentence that I know’ or in my private life.
I’m working on it.