Why is keeping calm one of the hardest things to do? If only there was a special vitamin pill we could pop each morning to (non-synthetically) adopt our brains to think of open fields, pools of still water and perfect sunsets. Just think how much more effective (not to say happier and more pleasant) we would all be.
And, of course, the knock-on effect would be dramatic on those around us. Having recently spent a very calm go-slow weekend with some ridiculously calm friends, I decided to try a little experiment at home. NO screaming on the stairs to encourage the Smalls to hurry up. NO manic multi-tasking. NO rushing. NO stress. Just for one day.
I won't lie. It really did take some incredible self-control and most definitely didn't feel very me. But... the results were dramatic. At first my fellow housemates looked at me curiously, as if I had been embodied by a half-absent soul. Before long though they too picked up on my calmness.
A psychotherapist might suggest that I was 'deconstructing the ritual'. Personally, I'd just say I was less of mad woman.
Are you a rules person? It's a bit like Marmite. Either you love a good rulebook, those double yellow lines and that naughty step or ... well, you simply can't look a police man in the eye.
Our Smalls have been raised for the last decade on RULES. Coats are hung by the door, shoes in the shoe basket, bed time rarely wavers and we certainly don't entertain any fugitives after lights out. But – as they enter their second decade – I'm wondering if we need to shift into the back seat... just a little.
Because breaking rules and escaping that proverbial box is what gives us the freedom to be. (Besides, I know how much I personally need to break any rules to turn a fun evening into a proper dancing-on-the-table session). And if these Smalls can't 'be', how will they grow up to think for themselves, risk for a thrill and feel that all important dubious doubt?
So that's my parenting rulebook utterly broken. In fact, I might even go as far as developing a blind eye. But - if you happen to see some (small) people who look a bit like me on Oxford Street swinging from a bottle of gin, please send them home immediately.
For the past two years my husband has been funding his mistress in a stunning apartment near to where he works. He constantly lavishes gifts on her, and pays for them to go on expensive holidays abroad. When I found out last year, I was devastated, but have gradually had to accept I either put up with it, or lose him completely. He makes no secret of his infidelity. In fact he's glad it's out in the open. He insists he doesn't want me, but would be set to lose an awful lot of money if we were to divorce, and refuses to give up his mistress. I am still sleeping with him and try to do everything I can to make my husband happy, in the hope that he will finish with this other woman. I feel empty, weak and worthless. Please help me.
Patricia Marie says.....
Why on earth would your husband give up his mistress, if at the same time he has you submitting to his every whim? He is clearly having his cake and eating it, demonstrating a total lack of respect and being completely uncaring about your feelings. It seems he is only interested in his own pleasure, and is happy to walk all over you.
It's no wonder you are feeling so bad about yourself, but you must accept some responsibility for allowing your husband to treat you in such an appalling manner.
You say your husband is funding his mistress, yet surely this is your money too.
He is totally manipulating you, and I urge you to stand up for yourself before you end up not just lonely, but penniless too.
Instead of focussing on his needs, try to concentrate all your energy on yourself. Go and see a counsellor who will help with your low self-esteem and lack of confidence. At this moment, having your husband to love seems the most important thing in your life. However, when you feel stronger within yourself, hopefully you will begin to see things more clearly, and seriously consider ending this dysfunctional marriage, so you can begin to live the life you deserve.
I feel you would benefit from reading 'Women Who Love Too Much' by Robin Norwood.
Oh... HELLO sunshine. We're very pleased to meet you but did have just a couple of quick questions: Are you here to stay? Or just flirting a little warmth and brightness in our direction. You see, your big, bold entrance needs a little planning. And, if you are in fact here to stay, our winter toes and hibernation legs (ditto working upwards) need to know.
But if you're going to be gone tomorrow, we can simply relax. Bundled up in lots of layers is the only way we really know how to dress. A hot sun only confuses British fashion and – let's face – sandals are a minefield to negotiate.
Picnics, BBQs and a freezer full of ice-cream need planning too. Are lunchtime soups already VERY last month? What about sunglasses, umbrellas and that extended scarf?
So while we're very happy to hear the birds chirping, to walk home in evening light and to feel the presence of a yellow ball of glow in the sky, it's just that we need to know if you're teasing. Are you part of some big joke?
Do let us know before there's a hosepipe ban.