October has been a funny old month in our house. I always feel like as soon as September ends, October just seems to race past. It’s scary that after Halloween & bonfire night, the next big countdown is Christmas. We had so many plans for October, and so many plans were cancelled because of car trouble, sickness bugs, autumn weather and just plain exhaustion.
Our challenge in October was to live a little more intentionally, and at a slower pace so we could focus on the things that are important. I think a big part of that is learning to say no and to stop trying to fit everything in. I think its part of the British culture to say yes. When we are invited to something, we feel compelled to say yes unless we already have plans. Then ‘wants’ become ‘needs’ and before we know it we are swept away and have a long self-complied to-do list, that adds a lot of pressure in an already busy life.
We did manage that slower pace, but mostly because of all the unexpected, rather than from planning! We spent a lot of time outside enjoying the autumn leaves, puddles and exploring new places. I photographed my nephew’s christening and captured some beautiful photos (I was very nervous about taking photos for someone else!) and we spent lots of time together playing games, relaxing and recovering.
Having to change so many plans this month did send my anxiety into overdrive. We haven’t completed any Halloween crafts or visited a pumpkin patch. We haven’t baked or tried many new recipes. Instead, I raised my voice when the children were being children, and I was a little too quick to step in to sort things out. I am usually quite a gentle parent, but I’ve felt nothing like gentle recently. I felt like a failure.
When the anxiety creeps in, so does the negative self-talk, the guilt; when the unattainably high standards aren’t met and the feeling of failure. Its hard put things in perspective in the moment. But…. The children are happy and healthy. They have clean clothes, comfortable beds and they know they are loved. They have explored, talked, sang, played games and loved each day. They didn’t really notice that we did pick our own pumpkin this year, they were happy with the one from the supermarket.
My challenge for November is to welcome the good. The compassion, positive affirmations, thoughts, gratitude and kindness. And to find a way of sharing these with the children.
This is our October.