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All You Can Ever Do Is Your Best

All You Can Ever Do Is Your Best

I was trolling through my LinkedIn newsfeed this morning and I stumbled across something that stopped me in my tracts by The Female Lead. This caption caught my eye. “Someone needs to see this today.

Talk about a slap upside the head! This resonated viscerally for me.

I’m home-schooling a hormonal monster today that has lost her homework due to a ‘saving’ issue with a word document.

There’s been a frustration tantrum, and everyone is exhausted. It’s just ticked over 9 o’clock, and frankly, I’m ready to exorcise demons from the house or go back to bed.

Today feels like I’m participating in a Tough Mudder race, but I didn’t sign up for the competition!

This article I stumbled across resonated because there is just so much societal pressure these days to get it right. To be the perfect woman or man, wife/husband, and mother/father. I am finding this is especially so during the lockdown. And like so many working parents like myself, who have added home-schooling to their already full task list, there has to be a breaking point somewhere.

Just like this post, there are times when I am happy to admit I have piled various leftovers from multiple previous meals, onto the plate and called it dinner.

Or I’ve cooked up some noodles and padded out leftovers.

Or I’ve made a gravy, mixed it with the leftover roast, dished the new invention into macaroon dishes with puff pastry on top and called it ‘pot pie’.

Tada!

There is one exception between myself and the quoted mother above. I choose not to feel guilt for the picnic or dishing up leftovers. I just don’t have the energy for that bullshit.

I’ll admit, our family has pretended we are at a fancy restaurant and had little dishes of what is left in the fridge. We all got a taste but it wasn’t enough for a meal. So what do you do? You pad it out with whatever else you have! You make do. You have to otherwise food goes to waste or you end up purchasing takeout which does you no real favours.

In my household, we are also known for using the picnic tray a lot. We grab little serving dishes (picked just for the occasion) and organise slithers of this and slices of that with some GF crackers and call it a meal. This is actually a favourite lazy Sunday afternoon when it’s raining outside and we come together to watch a movie.

At the end of the day, I am ok with this. Everyone gets fed. End of story.

This incessant pressure applied through our evolved society sets a false expectation that you have to be the perfect parent and dish up cordon bleu every time. This is utter bollicks and I call BS on it all.

On a good week, when I have scheduled the time, I tend to meal plan out the future week. I also do the majority of cooking and food prep then. This system works.

But there are times it doesn’t for whatever reason, and those weeks are stressful and hurried at mealtime. So you do the best you can. I place the priority on food in mouths rather than not eating.

Given I tend to only purchase healthy food options, my family members can get as creative as they want on those days that I have run out of steam. I have learnt, and I’m getting better at the implementation of waving the white flag of surrender to the mother role and telling my family — today I’m not 100%.

Those are the days that I shelf the guilt and exile myself to the couch to rest. This is probably one of the best things which have happened to me during breast cancer treatment and lockdown — voicing externally to those around me that my batteries are in need of a recharge. I give myself permission to stop.

I no longer see this pause as a failure, or that I’m not good enough. I no longer perceive the act of stopping as not meeting the position description of ‘mother’. I now choose to see this as a gift to self.

Don’t ever think you have to compete with the external image of the ‘perfect plate’ for every single meal – it’s just not real and never will be. It is simply a marketing illusion designed to make you feel bad unless you’re purchasing a certain product.

Just do your best.

And when those picnic moments come along to enjoy your kids’ faces who think they are getting a treat and pat yourself on the back that you got them fed.

Its time to slow down and get out of our heads — you know that space where we overthink and over analyse. Give yourself a treat and step into our heart space where all the feels are. Kick back and charge the battery up.

You can only do your best today and continue to strive to stretch your best tomorrow (if you have the energy to do so)!

Dine In Your Sunshine

Dine In Your Sunshine

The other day I left the house at dawn for my usual wake up walk. Immersion into nature for me is the best way to ground and illuminate my senses and activate my intuition. It’s my way to get ready for the day and how I set my intention for happiness.

With each footstep forward, my inner voice was calling me for something very specific. I had a need which was not met during the lockdown. I was craving connection and not just electronic! I needed to see, touch and listen to friends in person (rather than online). I needed a mate date.

I have fantastic friends, and spending time with them is like sunshine therapy. I always leave their presence as a full vessel.

So the very minute restrictions were lifted for social distancing this week, we began the appointment tennis match of when we were all available. Sometimes this can drag as we wade through diary clashes. This time it merely amped the excitement of our imminent gathering.

Excitement is really an injustice, and the word divine comes to mind as we all gathered at a friend’s house. We had previously agreed to walk and take advantage of the current glorious autumn weather, and grab a bite to eat from a local cafe.

We love supporting our favourite local businesses. Being biz owners ourselves, it’s vital to honour and respect the effort that your locals are making to continue providing you with a beautiful heartfelt service during these unprecedented times.

Making note of the constant jibber-jabber and snoopy singers (because we were in public and raucous laughter always attract undue attention), we collected our food order and found a nearby picnic table. And this is where the magic happened.

We were bathed in sunshine as we sat and ate a simple meal.

We had beautiful fresh food in front of us, and yet it felt like a meal fit for royalty.

The smell of perfectly brewed beans combined with fresh air and freedom. And instead of rushing into conversation bursts, we all collectively sighed with smiles on our faces.

Together at last. The gathering had formed, and the reconnection had been made. Sometimes words are not required, and the pause is just as enjoyable as the noise.

It was almost post-orgasmic in pleasure, just sitting in the same physical space as my girls, bathed in sunbeams from above, and love beams amongst us.

Bliss is the word that comes to mind. How is it that a simple picnic can uplift one’s spirits so greatly? It wasn’t the chew or the brew, but it was definitely the crew I was with!

And then the usual round the table routine commenced, taking it in turns to update the others began. Love was shared with words. Loved was shared with heartfelt eye contact. Love was shared with smiles and raucous laughter, and more snoopy sniggers when the conversation turned to something naughty.

It could have been pouring rain outside that day, but the love shared amongst friends, in simple connection over a takeaway sandwich and coffee was better than watching a sunrise. That day we made our own sunshine and for that I am grateful.