Life is full of mistakes, learn from them

Mistakes can be so annoying. It’s usually straight after you’ve made it that it becomes obvious how you could have avoided it. Some have greater consequences than others and as adults we often berate ourselves over and over again for it. If you’re a perfectionist, like me, then the smallest mistake, a typo, spilling something etc, can leave you feeling rubbish for hours or even days after the event.

When I look at mistake making with the kids, it’s just a natural part of learning for them. They spill a drink and they learn they need to move it further away from their arm. They don’t berate themselves, they just get on with life.

Last week I published Five Minutes With Sarah Cantrill. Sarah started Story Storks in 2011, a childrens phonics workshops company which has progressed into Early Years Theatre. during her interview Sarah said: ‘There was nothing I learnt without making a mistake first’. Hearing her say it was so freeing. She recognised all the mistakes she has made, didn’t berate herself, and learned from them, using the experience to build better things for her company.

I’ve always been one to throw my hands up, admit a mistake then move on. I’m not sure I always get much learning from it though, feeling that admitting it is enough. From now on, I’m going to learn from mistakes and use the experience to build better things from the experience.

Kindness is the most important skill

National Kindness Day was earlier this week and it got me thinking about a blog post I wrote 2 years ago on the subject. This was inspired by seeing Liz Gilbert talk at an event in London and throughout her entertaining, compassionate time on stage, she stressed the value of kindness. Anyone can be nice. Kindness has depth, has meaning.

This really tapped into my values as in my adult life I have always strived to be kind, to take the time to see something from someone else’s perspective and meet them with kindness, no matter how difficult their behaviour can be at times. It is a well known saying that everyone is fighting a battle that no-one else knows about and as my minister, Lesley told me recently, when I was moaning about someone’s behaviour ‘remember Holly, everyone is doing the best that they can’.

Don’t buy edible birthday presents in advance

I have a feeling that by aged 37 I should know this already but it was too tempting (in all respects) when I was in Aldi on Monday, to grab a box of champagne truffles for my bestie’s birthday the following Sunday.

I’m usually pretty good about resisting temptation; a lack of funds to replace the gift and reluctance to go back out to the shop also helps. There’s only one memorable time that I gave in and cracked open the chocolates which were a gift for my son’s teacher and that was with the encouragement of my sister, who had done the same thing.

This time I was determined. Aldi is a 30 minute round trip. It would probably cost more in petrol than it does that box of chocolates and I am grown up for goodness sake! I can handle temptation.

Given that I’m 14 weeks into ‘One year, no beer’ I thought my willpower was resolute and I’d have no problem with the box sitting on the counter for the next 6 days. I was wrong. I managed fine on Monday night and even all day on Tuesday then Wednesday morning the chocolate cravings kicked in and under encouragement from the bestie, whom the chocolates are for, I cracked. She probably didn’t think I would crack, otherwise wouldn’t have encouraged me, but she also doesn’t read my 5 Things each week so will never know. Unless I tell her.

I tried to be controlled, just one for quality testing. You don’t need to know the rest, other than on Thursday night my eldest son and I finished the lot and put the box in the recycling. Now to head out and get another box before Sunday. Perhaps I should leave this one until Sunday morning, just to be extra sure and hope I have the willpower to hand it over.

Slime is the worst fad

I’ve had a step-daughter for a few months past a year now and it’s still a novelty to see all the things she’s into that boys just aren’t. It’s also a pleasure to have at least one child in the family who is not covered in mud/muck 80% of the time and who doesn’t laugh hysterically at farts. The other benefit of having a girl around is all the pretty things that come with her and while I’ll never really get the purpose of squishies, the rest of the paraphernalia is great. What is not so great is slime which, until a slime party at the weekend, the boys only had a passing interest in.

It’s a Sunday afternoon and the 3 kids went to a slime party where they made pots of the stuff, glitter slime, polystyrene ball slime, slimey slime, you name it, they made it. Everything they made, they brought home with them. As a party I can completely recommend it. It was lovely to see the kids so engaged and comparing different colours and textures. It made a change not to see the boys charging about, taking each other out with made up karate or parkour moves and was a lovely way to finish off the weekend.

I hadn’t really anticipated the amount of vigilance needed once the slime was back in our house. Having previously only seen my step-daughter play with it, sitting down, at the table and not getting it on her clothes, I stupidly assumed the boys would do the same. Of course not. We’ve had slime on their school uniform, on the new sofa, on the rug and in one instance, on the dog. It’s not enough for me to ban slime completely as it’s great to see the kids playing with something that doesn’t give them access to Fortnite and they’re still happily chatting about the party nearly a week later. I will however put my partner on patrol duty when the kids are playing with it so I don’t find it on my clothes having innocently sat on what I assumed to be a slime-free sofa.

Take time, even when you don’t have it

Last Sunday was my Nana and Poppa’s (67th) wedding anniversary. Handy that they married on Remembrance Sunday as it means I never forget the date. Ever since my Poppa died I’ve always spent the day with my Nana, doing something nice and discussing old memories. As the years have gone on and I’ve had the boys it’s been harder to schedule in the same sort of time with my Nana, especially as she’s got older and been in and out of hospital.

Last week I didn’t really have the time, I was on a tight schedule of picking up and dropping off the boys, childrens’ parties, my step-daughter was spending the weekend with us and my partner and I had a load of errands to run. Realising the date I knew I wanted to squeeze in the time with my Nana so I picked her up and took her to the Remembrance Day service at our church. I’m so glad I did, as she doesn’t get there much anymore, she was treated like a celebrity, with everyone queueing to see her and we got to spend an hour of quiet stillness during the service and light a candle in remembrance for my Poppa and my Auntie. I’m so glad I pushed away the demands of everyday life for a couple of hours as, at aged 88, I’m not sure how many more wedding anniversary days we’ll get to spend together. I’m going to work on making them all count and spend more time together, even when life gets busy.