Thursday, 23 April 2015

Dealing with disappointment

Disappointment has a bitter taste.  Most of us will have experienced it - perhaps combined with an unwanted shot of rejection and a side order of despair.

Disappointment can be crushing. It encourages a rash of negative feelings - shame, hurt, anger, despondency.  When you've gone all out for something, the disappointment of not getting it can hurt as much as a physical blow to the stomach.

Given that disappointment is part of life, how do you deal with it?

I certainly don't have a definitive answer. Instead, here's what I'm slowly learning from the life knocks I've encountered along the way...

Time  Don't expect to get over it immediately.  If it meant a lot, it will hurt a lot. Slowly but surely the sting of the smack will subside.  At the very least, you'll get better at living with it.

Perspective  If you're anything like me, you'll have experienced other such hurts.  Being told that you'll bounce back is an oversimplification.  But you will survive to tell the tale.

You're not alone While your particular disappointment is personal to you, bear in mind that almost everyone suffers setbacks in life.  Avoid the temptation to fall into the role of victim.

Experience Something can be learned from each life experience. However deep the disappointment. However painful. However stomach-churning.

In the words of the Dalai Lama: "When you lose, don't lose the lesson."

And if you feel your disappointment represents failure, remember this quote from writer and novelist Michael Korda:

"The freedom to fail is vital if you're going to succeed. Most successful people fail from time to time, and it is a measure of their strength that failure propels them into some new attempt at succcess."

So give yourself time. Acknowledge the disappointment. Remember that others have suffered similarly.  Learn the painful lessons. Regroup, move on and start afresh. You can, and will, find the strength.

How do you deal with disappointment? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Housework hacks for family homes

Everything changes when you have children.  

Even the most mundane of procedures. Take housework, for example.

Pre-kids, it's something you tolerate.  A necessary evil. When the mood strikes (or when visitors are due), you knuckle down, get through it and get on with your life.

Post-kids, it doesn't work that way.  Not only do you have less time for it, the results of your efforts last but a fleeting nanosecond.  After which, all that hard work is undone.  Job satisfaction = zero.

As for the process itself, it becomes considerably more - ahem - fraught.

Let's start with hoovering. Pre-kids, your trusty Dyson blithely services your floors on a regular and uncomplaining basis. 

Post-kids, it contends with all manner of outrages - discarded loom bands, stray Hama beads and the dreaded Lego brick.  (The noise on contact can make a grown woman cry.) 

Our last appliance was killed by a more subtle intruder. All respect to the new destructive force on the block.  People, I give you the kirby grip.

As for dusting (yes, you're meant to do that too), simply accessing the surfaces is a challenge in itself. By the time you've shifted all the detritus of family life, you're ready for a wee lie down. Forget flying into a frenzy with the feather duster.  

As one chum confided: "I'd love to get a cleaner but I'd have to tidy up first." We hear ya sister.

So what's a hard-pressed parent to do? Assuming you'd like company within the next decade, consider some housework hacks...

Provided you can contain your guests downstairs, restrict your efforts to the ground floor.

Focus on hoovering only as far as the turn in the stairs. Ensure the downstairs cloakroom is gleaming like a pin. Shamelessly ignore the sorry state of affairs that is your en suite.

Stagger upstairs with all two hundred of your family members' assorted jackets. Lob said outerwear in a bedroom.   Revel smugly as guests admire your minimalist coat rack.

One cautionary note:   Beware the sociable pre-schooler who likes to invite people to *come up and see my bedroom*. Inquisitive guests won't be able to resist. 

And you, my friend, will be rumbled.  

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