Our Deepest Fear

I went to Mass this morning. As this is my DD’s Holy Communion year, the Church has identified ten Sunday Masses that we should attend. I am ambivalent about Catholicism and why we are bringing DD to the sacrament of First Holy Communion but that’s really a post for another day.

Today’s post is about the Communion Reflection that one of the other parents read because it resounded so much with me and what I’m going through at work at the moment. I was almost in floods of tears.

A quick google search and I can bring it to you. It’s by Marianne Williamson from her book A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I am very keenly aware that “the powers that be” at my work-place are very insecure. We all have our insecurities but in their case they need to bring everyone down to their level. When I started working there, I allowed myself to be brilliant: to do my work well and efficiently gave me the greatest pleasure. In the past eighteen months, however, I have allowed myself to be worn down; to dim my light; to dull my wit. And I’m hating myself, my workplace, my work.

I need to have faith in myself again. I need to work towards keeping that inner spark kindled. I need to believe in my own ability and talent and stop wallowing in their lack of same.

It’s very tough but I think I might make portions of this empowering quote into mini-mantras to keep myself strong as I forge ahead, torch in hand/heart.

Over-educated; under-valued

The other day – 6th January – was The Epiphany and on that day, quite by co-incidence, I had an Epiphany. I made the realisation that when I deduct the cost of childcare from my take-home pay I’m left with €900 per month or €225/week. Apparently – according to my twitter-friends who know more about these things – if I stopped working I would get a PRSI payment of €200/week for the first 12 months. I don’t know if that figure is then taxed – researching un-employment benefit has never previously been on my agenda; but if it’s not it means that the difference between me sitting at my desk and sitting at home is €5/day.

This is a very sobering and demoralising thought. Why go out to work? Why not stay-at-home and care for my kids? That is the message my society seems to be sending me. So what if I’d like to use what I trained for five years at University to do; what I did my Professional Practice exams in; what I’ve gained 15 years experience in? So what if I am intelligent, diligent, conscientious, hard-working? So what if my three kids will contribute to this generation’s pension fund in the future? By having three kids I appear to have out-stayed my welcome in the workforce.

I realise this country’s economy is up the Suwannee and we’re in hock to the IMF, the ECB and anyone else we can wrangle a few shillings out of. Regardless, surely there is a case for tax-relief for childcare at source. Surely it is in this State’s interest to offer me more than €5/day to go out to work, pay taxes, pay PRSI and this new Universal Social Fund Levy, not to mention employ two local childcare businesses; than if I were to stay at home, take my kids out of childcare and claim benefit.

So if you’re reading this, and you’re of a political bent, advocate for tax-relief for childcare when the politicians come knocking on your door. Or we might as well bring back the marriage bar.

Sundry Items

This weekend alone has given me a whole week’s worth of blog-posts:

  • It all started last Friday evening with Fibre Fun Friday at the Tea Gardens (last Friday’s Blog-post).
  • Then yesterday I took a trip to The Yarn Room in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, for a class on Tunisian Crochet by Irene Lundgaarde – more about that in the next Tours on Thursday post. 
  • Among my purchases from The Yarn Room were two pairs of 3.5mm Addi Turbos, which means my Better Mousetrap Socks are back in the running and I have choices to make next Choosey Tuesday.
  • Terrible tease that I am, you’ll have to wait for my next Stash on Saturday blog-post for more details of the inevitable stash enhancement at The Yarn Room.

While I was off galavanting to Co. Wicklow, DH and the kids spent some quality-time together in the garden. Now we have potatoes, lettuce, onions, beetroot, radishes all growing away.

Kitchen Garden

My daughter, the property moghul

DD and I spent some quality-time together too. At her suggestion, we started a game of Monopoly. Our baby-sitter taught her the game a few weekends ago and she’s taken to the whole concept like a duck to water. Her first question, whenever she lands on an un-owned street is “How much rent will you have to pay me if you land here after I buy this?” She doesn’t waste her money on the cheap streets, let me tell you. She is making a killing – at my expense!

I’m back in to work tomorrow morning for the first time in two weeks. I had my second session with the Staff Welfare Officer and she’s agreed with my suggested plan of action for how to try to deal with the crappy work situation. I’m writing it down here so that it’s not just a nebulous plan, floating in my head.

  1. Regardless of what’s going on, take the time and trouble – first thing on Monday morning – to plan my work for the week
  2. Go into my boss and tell him my work-plan – alter it if neccessary – but get his agreement to it
  3. Make a note the conversation with him – either keep a journal or bang off an email to him out-lining the work plan as agreed
  4. Knuckle down and get on with my work and make a note of anytime I’m pulled off it to parachute in on some fire-fight for my boss

The Staff Welfare Officer has suggested that we meet again in a month to discuss how the plan has worked out. I’m bringing a new notebook in with me to work tomorrow so that I can record all goings-on and have something to show her when we meet again. There’s nothing like new stationery to make you feel like you’re making a new beginning. That’s the plan, at least. Fingers-crossed.

Choosing Temptation

I love making lists. I guess you might have noticed. Making up a list is my first step towards getting things done. My next step is similar to many people’s approach to getting exercise, especially if their first step was to buy an exercise bike. We all know what happens to exercise bikes, don’t we? Yes, they gather dust  in the garage / spare room / under the stairs. Similarly, with my lists. The effort of making one is so great and so self-satisfying I blithely assume that somehow the stuff is getting done – by someone, somewhere!

Making lists is one thing. Sticking to them is quite another. Ignoring all the shiny distractions that have nothing to do with the list  – such as… oh… joining Sock-a-Month KAL 9 – takes much determination. I mean, you’d have to be bloody-minded and stubborn – to always stick to your guns like that.  Does that sound like me? Don’t answer that!

Should I stick to the list? Do I have the will-power to resist temptations? Such was the little debate I started with myself when I read Zonda’s blog and realised that invites were open for Sock-a-Month KAL 9, which runs from January until June 2010. And then I realised: what if the shiny distractions and the list can meld in some way? After all, I’m planning to complete my Adirondack Socks in February during Ravelympics. Plus I’ve a pair of socks that just need the legs done – they could be my January socks without impacting on my plan to complete GlenvarAgin. My planned projects in March, April and May are all small – for my kids or a cropped cardi for me. I might have a problem with June, though. It may not be feasible to knit a present each for two teachers in four weeks as well as a pair of socks.

Then Diane (a.k.a. Chicwithstix) posted on Ravelry that she’s setting up a Sock Club for the Dublin Knit Collective. You set your own goals for the year. That sounds more like my cup of tea. Let’s not forget, I want to knit DH two pairs of socks before his birthday in August. I’ve decided to aim for literally a sock a month i.e. 6 pairs. That’s do-able.

Of course, I’ve also sent an email to Zonda to see if I’m not too late to sign up for SAM9. Shiny-shiny!

I do not like the SAHM I am

I registered to run the Mini-marathon this year. Ever since my nephew was born with a heart-defect and needed emergency care and surgery in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin four years ago my sister has run the Mini-marathon to raise funds for Crumlin. In fact, she has vowed to do this for the next twenty years – such is the debt of gratitude she feels she owes to the fantastic staff at the Hospital. My plan was to accompany her and help to contribute to her undertaking. However, as she’s run it a few times before, this year she was actually going to run it i.e. at speed, so I wasn’t exactly going to be keeping her company during the run.

I managed to get out training for it once. My sister encouraged me that I could still walk it. I was sceptical. I also had difficulties trying to get my registration letter printed. To get my race number I had to bring it to the RDS on Friday, Saturday or Sunday . However, between DD’s birthday party on Saturday (and getting ready for it all week beforehand) and my MIL’s birthday party on Sunday, getting to the RDS wasn’t possible. Again, my sister offered to get my number for me if I emailed her my letter. In the end, my heart (or my mind or my body) wasn’t in it and I opted out. My sister ran the 10k in one hour and three minutes and said finishing was a great feeling. I’m jealous of that great feeling and more than a little disappointed in myself.  

It’s not the only thing I’m disappointed in myself for. During a recent check-up with the dentist it’s evident my addiction to chocolate, which started during my last pregnancy, has taken its toll on my teeth. I’ve gone from having no fillings to six in as many years. I met my 20-weeks-pregnant-SIL on Sunday and I look more pregnant than she is. I’m also thoroughly fed-up with myself and my “relationship” with housework. I obsess about housework in the same way as many women I know obsess about calories or their weight. I seem to think about it constantly: “when am I going to do it”, “how much do I need to do”, “how little can I get away with”, “how can I avoid it by pretending I’m doing something more important”. If I spent even a fraction of the time doing it as I spend thinking about doing it there wouldn’t be any housework to obsess over. 

I’m due to go back to work on 1st August – two months time. Time is upon me to get mind and body back in shape and get some focus / toning for both. As usual I’ve got books to consult and to help collate a plan, a strategy for what I should be doing and how to get it all done.  

So, here it is – what I want to achieve:

  • Exercising my tummy muscles – I want to get back into using Jorge Cruise’s Exercise & diet Plan. It involves getting up early in the morning and exercising – not really 8 minutes, the whole thing is more like 20 but I really enjoyed it before. I also like the structure it gives to the day: I have to make sure to eat every 3 hours. Plus, I have to get to bed by 10p.m. My problem to date has been that The Earl also likes to wake up early, sometimes at five. However, I realised the other day, maybe he’d enjoy lying on the floor beside me watching my do my contortions – it’s worth a try.
  • Expressing milk – I underestimated how much the twice-daily school run would eat into my personal time. I have found it impossible to date to sit down and express milk for The Earl. Consequently, he doesn’t use bottles at all but, worse still, I haven’t been able to donate to the Human Milk Bank, as I did last time around. However, if I want to keep The Earl off formula for his first year (as I did with DD & DS) I need to build up some stock. Plus, if I want to be able to express at work I need to increase supply and get into the habit now!
  • Spending quality time with The Earl – half an hour of one-on-one attention each day, according to Dr. Sally Ward in Baby Talk. Easier said than done and my main problem is not so much finding time as getting bored long before half an hour is up. This is where the Baby Play book by Gymboree comes in. Now that the weather has made a turn for the better, I’d like to get down to the beach in the afternoons with the three of them.
  • More focused use of time in general –  I’d especially like to put housework into the background by just doing it, not thinking about it. I think if I make myself so busy and focussed in general I’ll be more inclined to just “get-on-with-it”. In part, I’m worried about when I return to work – will I have the right mental attitude to get on with the projects I’m assigned even if it’s something I’m not interested in? I need to get more disciplined with myself. The key to this, and all of the above, is my fav book “Time Management for Manic Mums”. I have to re-read it: I got stuck before on the chapter about procrastination – no kidding! And I still wonder about when I’m going to get to the next chapter about living in the present – ha ha ha!

So now I’ve made my revalation to myself and the world – I’ve written it down, tried to come out of denial. This is the first day of the rest of my life. Here goes…