Left my purse at home, I am at work.

Poverty Panic Pangs occurred. It wasn’t pretty.

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It’s a lovely, blue sky, crisp air winters day out today, the kind of day which is likely to put a spring in one’s step.

The only problem with this is that I went to work without my jacket.

You know, my green one, buttons up, mid length… that one.

My purse is in my jacket pocket, with my ID card for work and all my money and access to money, such as my bank cards and such.

This isn’t just a minor inconvenience.

It produces within me an attack of “poverty panic pangs”.

Poverty panic is when my mind races and my heart gallops and I start to over-plan contingency strategies and emergency escape routes and re-map my day to accommodate the new event. Continue reading “Left my purse at home, I am at work.”

The Joy Of Budgeting.

For the first time ever, I have a fiscal surplus, a little money left over from last months pay packet and I don’t quite know what to do with it…

This month I get to put a couple of feathers in my nest.

A couple of quid, set aside for rainy days, although we tend to get through the money faster on sunny days in our house, ever ready to make hay while the sun shines and head to the beach at a moments notice.

  1. Why is this noteworthy?
  2. Because it has never happened before.

It is a first.  An inaugural nest feathering.

It’s a testament to waiting long enough for the blessings to roll in, to have most of what we need and some of what we want.

Now, who knows how long these particular feathers will last?

Not me, that’s for sure.

Cars break, shoes are grown out of, anything could happen.

I have a budget running out another 3 years hence to match the 3 years prior but you never quite know what is around the corner.

How did we get here?

  • Priorities: knowing what to pay first and doing exactly that.  Ecclesiastical responsibilities aside, I am thankful to my former manager, Samantha N, for telling us quite forcefully one time about when she had some challenges…. In her East London accent she told us with force and gesture “First priority, keep a roof over your head, you can do without electricity if you have to, use all them candles laying around the place!!!, you can sleep on the floor, you can eat cereal for a year but keep a bloody roof over your heads, I’m tellin’ ya now …”
  • Blessings and the generosity of hand me down items from friends and acquaintances.
  • Selling every single superfluous item that wasn’t nailed down.
  • Cutting our coat to match the cloth.  Apart from real emergencies, we tried really hard to use what we have.
  • Make do and mend.  I became proficient at fixing things rather than replacing where possible.  YouTube tutorials coupled with the internet for downloading manuals have been invaluable and I highly recommend this as a money saving approach to staying on budget.
  • Never pay retail.
  • Eating cornflakes, breakfast, dinner and tea, on the really tight months.  Sometimes adding milk!  <Joke>  <not really joking!>
  • Budgeting.  There is not a regular bill comes in to this house without me having had the time to fret over it for months on the spreadsheet.  Who knew worrying ahead of time would be a blessing?  We budget for groceries, utilities, birthdays, Bar Mitzvah’s, Christmas, services such as breakdown cover for the car, tax, insurances and so forth.
  • We make the “running money” count: a day at the beach, do we get hotdogs or visit the aquarium?  There’s often only budget for one or the other and generally I find packing up a lunch means we can still get ice cream and do the activity.

We lost several groups of friends during this period because we couldn’t keep up with the Jones’ or go to “Somewhere nice” and good folks got tired of asking, so to them, sorry, we had to do what we had to do.

When your calculator key most frequently used is the Minus button, it makes you pay attention.

We’ve never been frivolous, and the feathers in the nest I spoke of are calling my name and burning a hole in my pocket for a completely irrational purchase but I’m going to try and be strong and try and add to it next month.

Knock on wood and wish me luck.

 

Creating a beautiful haven.

Sometimes life is overwhelming but we can create an emotional haven that we take with us everywhere.

Sometimes there are big decisions to make which keep us up at night.

Sometimes we have to work through big feelings or obstacles.

Sometimes things are ok and bob along nicely.

This whole “endure to the end” thing is a total swizz.

Sometimes it’s quite an ask.

 

But using some form of mindfulness you carve some peace out of the chaos.

You create a haven in your soul.

Do you know what you find in that haven?

 

All the kindnesses you’ve received.

All the times you made it. Continue reading “Creating a beautiful haven.”

Parenting Aspie Kids; hints and tips for a positive experience.

For nearly 16 years, we have had the privillage of watching a child with Asperger’s learn, grow and develop into an amazing person who I love hanging out with…. here’s a couple of the things we did to get here so far.

In respecting the privacy of people around me, I am frequently not specific about the origin of a whimsical thought but often the people around me are the source new ideas and ways of thinking.

I am not a big part of the Autism community, I don’t have Autism, I am not Autistic in any way, although there are quirky moments that are not too dissimilar to those nearest and dearest to me – the apple never falls far from the tree, eh.

However, I am blessed to frequently be in the company of many people who find their perception of the world to be on what NeuroTypicals (NT’s) call “The Autism Spectrum”.  I am so frequently in their company that being around NT Kids sometimes is what strikes me as strange, with their quirky NT Ways. (Joke).

For those who may be new to the wonderful world of Autism (particularly HFA and Asperger’s in my personal experience), here are a couple of thoughts.

The kids are wonderful, and annoying at times in very typical kid ways, and funny and bright and interested and intriguing and loving and did I mention funny, and smart as anything.  They are a delight.

To watch someone discover the Universe on a timetable with different priorities to you, perhaps in a less linear fashion, and then describe that universe back to you is so Continue reading “Parenting Aspie Kids; hints and tips for a positive experience.”

How resilience blesses our life.

I was taught to bob and weave (a family joke) to survive and thrive in London but learning resilience to ride out a storm is a hugely beneficial blessing in my life.

I am English. Stereotypically we are a reserved bunch of people with a stiff upper lip.

Since the late 1950’s things started to change and we were more expressive in seeking our wants and fulfilling our needs in order to carve out our own path in life. As the rights of the individual were championed in the courts, there were some casualties along the way.

No longer could a man expect his wife to be a substitute mother to him and for a few years the divorce courts had a booming trade while those who could not adapt to a more equal life were set aside in favour of those that could.

It was a bumpy few decades but things are calming down now and fewer people are divorcing, the majority of children in this country are being raised in stable two parent families. Perhaps not the original two parents, but stability and love abound.

Families can provide a nurturing environment. What starts in the family ought to be love, boundaries, affection, belonging, aspiration. These help a person learn to deal with life’s knocks along the way. They teach emotional self regulation and how to overcome hurdles and obstacles.

When a healthy environment is less available, the effect may not be experienced for decades.

When life hits us with unexpected outcomes it can be a shock but we bounce back.

This bouncing back is called resilience and it is very important. Continue reading “How resilience blesses our life.”

I wish I had known; life after childhood abuse.

I am happy now, the road has been bumpy and could have been made easier. Here’s what I wish I’d known during those times.

As a survivor of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, what would I tell my teenage self?

  • You are smart, never put yourself down again.
  • Stop hiding.
  • Bullies will stagnate, you will flourish.  Stuff ’em.  Not in 20 years and after counselling, but right then and there, tell them to go stuff themselves and never look back. You are magnificent. 
  • Other peoples troubles are their own.  Empathy, yes.  Giving up your freedom for their happiness, no.
  • Don’t give people your money because you believe their story.  They believe their story.  It’s still a story.
  • The best way out will be education.
  • Nobody’s told you this yet, but if you are not good at something straight away, practice makes things easier and you improve.  If you find maths hard, practice it a little more.  Don’t just do the homework to receive the mark and move on.  Learn how to master the principle.
  • That kid you’re playfully teasing for being a swot, you’ll wish you were him on exam day.
  • Go to University – even if your teacher pulls that ummmh face to derail you, no matter what it takes and no matter who opposes it.  Find a way.  Again, other peoples troubles are their own.
  • Spend less than you earn.
  • Have fun where you are.
  • Take the taxi.
  • Curfews are for idiots.
  • Let them worry, you are fine.
  • Shake it off and move on.
  • Buy that house you wanted.
  • Buy the second house you wanted too.
  • Buy those other houses you could afford but were talked out of because you thought other people must know better.
  • Move abroad when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Buy the VW Golf, not the Ford.
  • It works out magnificently because you demand it to be thus.

~

Single Moms are AMAZING.

As a single mom, I have this covered (fingers crossed knock on wood). We’re doing great, thriving like we’ve never thrived before. Here’s how.

I am a mum, a mom, a single mum, I am single mumming it.

I am the adult.  I am the adultiest adult in our house.

If look for an adultier adult, it dawns on me that I need look no further than the person standing in my shoes.

I work for a living outside the home.  It is how I stay sane with adult conversation and company, and how I keep the lights on and the tummies fed.

It is a humble job, it’s long hours, it’s not paid particularly well, but well enough that we have most of what we need and some of what we want.

We are doing great, knock on wood, fingers crossed.

Although it is tiring, with a big knock on wood, it is sometimes easy peasy.

There are some things I would like to point out at this juncture.

  1. It is a happy life.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything mediocre.
  2. I am busier than you if you are in a 2 adult family.  I don’t care how hard you work, how poorly you feel, how many kids you have or don’t have, how large the corporation is that you head up as the CEO, how hard it was to broker that Peace Treaty ratified by the UN which brought about world peace, I am busier than you.
  3. There is no wiggle time to goof off.  Everything, even the fun times, must have a purpose.  Every car ride is an opportunity to check in with my teen or sing with her.  Every dinner at the table is an opportunity to listen to the music and watch the YouTube she’s listening to and hear about how school was. Every visit with family in another city is to foster bonds between my teen and them in case I died. Every visit to the theatre is to encourage art appreciation and creativity. Every church activity is to help her recognise the things she needs to recognise so that she can forge through life with courage.
  4. I have an enormous responsibility to drive safely and get home every evening; it is at the fore of my mind daily.
  5. The list of things to do to keep the house and us ticking with a roof, power, water, heat, wi-fi, clean clothes, homework done, the place tidy enough and enough interaction with others that we stay sane is almost endless.  If I sit down, I know there is something else I could or should be doing.
  6. If I am leaving my kiddo with someone so I can go to a function, we need to get it done and I need to get home.
  7. Friends are cherished.  Good friends are people for whom I would jump through a hoop of fire. Just the one, though!
  8. I love hearing your triumphs and problems.  If we can be laughing hard at life, that is a joyful moment for me.
  9. I like helping out with your kids if I can fit it in and I’ll do all in my power to fit it in.  As a firm believer in “it takes a village to raise a child” I am happy to put in the love and the time to be there for your kids as you have been there for mine.
  10. My resources, physically and financially, are very finite.  They run out quickly.  If I am taking your child to an event when there are two of you adults in your house, I judge you, harshly.
  11. There are a few things which pique my interest but nothing about which I am obsessed. I like seeing you folks go nuts over stuff but I just don’t get it.
  12. My favourite thing is seeing anything done well.  Anything.  Reversing that truck around a corner first time, erecting scaffolding, thatching a cottage roof, surfing with panache, stitching that dress, a great presentation to a room full of strangers, making food that looks like art, even making food that’s not burned, I stand in awe.

It’s not a competition, but if it were then I’d no doubt win!

I have all my stuff together (knock on wood – we do a lot of that around here) and I might make this look less hard than it actually is because you become accustomed to your lot in life and knock on wood things are going ok right now.

I actually find life quite absurd and funny.

I appreciate that your life is taxing too, I can empathise.

However, don’t tell me you know how I feel because your husband went on a boy’s weekend last year and it was hell, don’t get in the way of me getting back to my family, and if I’m looking worn out don’t tell me I look like hell because chances are I lost precious sleep trying to raise my kiddo or help another person raise their kids too.

I’ve got this covered.  We are totally rocking this life we chose, or which chose us, whatever!  If there is hope on the horizon for you, a little partnering up with a  spouse, even if you have to wait to the weekend, it is not the same, it will never be the same, there is no sameness, don’t pretend it is the same.  There is nobody coming my way to take any of the load off, even for 10 minutes.  I am the line, the buck stops here, I am the only one who’s got this in my life.

In the mean time, I’ll continue to tell awful pun based jokes and continue to wrestle the kid to the sofa to get the remote control… There’s a lot of fun to be had.