Winner of the December 2008 Best of the British Mummy Bloggers Carnival!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Run, baby, run!

My legs were aching all last weekend. The reason? I managed to get myself talked into running in the Mum's race at Eden's school sports day. It had been a week of highs and lows at work and I was having a tough time shaking a particularly difficult issue out of my mind. I wanted to be with Eden 100%, at her first school sports day, enjoying the moment. But the work problem wouldn't go away. Running as fast as I could along a 100m dash sounded like a good idea. It worked. For a few seconds I was ten years old again, free of all the crap, adult stuff that clogs up my mind most of the time, running through the sunshine and laughing and nearly wetting myself (the pelvic floor really isn't what it was - sorry, was that too much information?). And my mind was gloriously empty, just for those few seconds. I'd forgotten how much I used to *love* running. Something else interested me about the race. As we stood at the start line, I did wonder just for a second whether I could win it. And I quite liked the idea that I might! Some glimmer of the highly competitive ten year old me, the one who couldn't bear even second place, was resurfacing. I didn't win. But, unlike when I was ten, that really was OK. It's funny how your perspective changes as you grow older. Like, now, running 100m without falling over, getting cramp or actually wetting myself really felt like an achievement! However, this mature and somewhat wry sense of perspective was entirely lost to me watching Eden compete in her first 'serious' sports day race. I watched her jiggling about on the start line and willed her obvious nerves to dispel. As she shot off, her pigtails streaming, I found myself yelling, "Go, Eden! Ruuuuuuun! You can do it!" I wanted her to win, not because I wanted her to be the best, but because I knew how disappointed she would be if she didn't. She won her heat, and I was immeasurably proud. But when she came third in her final, and her tears began to flow, I wished I could take away her disappointment. I went to comfort her and she ran into my arms. And as I pulled away from our cuddle, she said to me in a slightly choked voice, "It doesn't matter that I didn't win, Mummy. Running that race has made me stronger for the next time. It's the taking part that counts, isn't it?" I knew she only half believed it, but I admired her assertion, her swift attempt to regain perspective in the face of disappointment, all the same.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Fabulous, darling!

At the end of last week, I went away on a 24 hour retreat for 'Women in Leadership'. At 6pm on Thursday night I found myself sitting on a hotel lawn, drinking white wine with eleven other women who all held senior positions across a range of industries. Basic introductions aside, we were all asked to explain a little bit about the reasons we had come on the course. Each of us had different challenges or issues that we wished to tackle in our working lives, quite a few of us were juggling kids, families with a busy working life, but there was one common thread: without exception, every single woman there said that she was really looking forward to just 24 hours to focus on herself, to take a break from the maelstrom of daily life, to think, to have some space to breathe and to reflect. It's a crazy old world we live in when 24 hours just for yourself is a rare luxury. Yet the energy and empathy that developed between this small group of women was phenomenal. We started off strangers but after 24 hours of extraordinary, open exchange and mutual encouragement, we all came away a little bit lighter and enormously energised, ready to tackle life, work, the universe! I say this a *lot* but I really do think women are simply the best (sorry, boys). So here's to the Twelve Fabulous Ladies!