Why it is good to spend time with your bum in the air

Snoopy

Snoopy needs inspiration too

I spent most of the week upside down.

No, I’m not referring to some severely disturbed emotional state, although that probably also applies, I mean physically bottoms up.

This entailed bending over and looking through my legs, in-between school runs, checking Facebook and dusting the skirting boards. You’d be relieved to know I only assumed this position in my own home with the blinds drawn. (So far, anyway)

Why, you may well ask. Have I gone mad? Did I forget to take my tablets? Have I put my back out?

Nope. The answer is simple: I needed a fresh perspective – new horizons, a different way of looking at things.

Inverted tea pot

I also tried balancing on my head in the inverted teapot or whatever that yoga stand is called – as that’s meant to let the blood rush to your head infusing your brain with fresh ideas.  I quickly realised a flurry of new ideas would not be of much use if I broke my neck.

Actually, what inspired me to imitate a supersized bat was an instruction from the lecturer on my creative writing course: Describe an upside down scene in 500 words.

How hard can it be, you’d think. Well, it’s damn hard, nigh impossible. I felt like a dried out prune with every last bit of creative juice squeezed out of me.  I didn’t know where to start. My rational brain refused to flip my world, probably rightly thinking that things were hard enough the right way up.  So, I took to drastic measures, physically inverting myself in search of creativity.

Creative writing course

“Let’s get this straight,” my husband had said when I first informed him that I was finally going to do the creative writing course I’d always wanted to do but never got round to.

“You’re going to spend a fortune on a course that has no guarantee of ever bringing in any money.”

The voice of reason, the rational, responsible one… my lord and master.

Needless to say – I ignored him.

And at first it went really well. I loved being out in London, thrived on discussions about characterisation and finding your voice over free coffee and biscuits.

Until I had to actually write something…

And read it out to the class.

Carnage

The bunch of sweet and innocent looking young people – apart from one other fellow journalist and jaded soul – turned into a pack of bloodthirsty wolves, setting upon my carefully crafted words with sharpened teeth and drawn-out nails, tearing my work apart sentence by sentence, chewing and spitting, shredding my hopes of ever being on the bestseller list.

That was a week ago. Meanwhile, I’ve band-aided my ego with yoga sessions, lots of chocolate and pep talks from girl friends, who relate to the crossroads faced by a 43-year-old mother trying to find her way back to herself.

I have also purposefully avoided the kind of people – men and women – who will sell their souls as long as they got a good price for it.  The kind of people who measure self-fulfillment by the number of zeros on their pay cheque or John Lewis labels in their living room.

Needless to say, I didn’t mention my little setback to my husband – and I didn’t think he’d take too kindly to me spending half the day upside down (unless of course there was money in it)

So what have I learned from spending time with my bum in the air?  And more importantly what can you learn from this – as apparently the whole point of blogging is to “give” people something.

Why YOU should spend time upside down:

Herewith my insights – for what they’re worth:

  • It’s never too late to pursue your dreams
  • It may not be easy at first – but persevere
  • Don’t feel guilty about going for something you want – you deserve it
  • Surround yourself with positive, nurturing friends
  • Avoid people who make you feel bad
  • Spend some time upside down – it really does give you a fresh perspective and if nothing else, you’ll be inspired to clean the skirting boards.

PS. If you enjoy my writing, please spare me a few pence… no, seriously please VOTE  for me as  I’m a semi-finalist in the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Writer and Commentary categories, If you like what you read, I’d be so very happy if you voted for me.

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Spring cleaning? I’d rather pick my nose

Spring cleaning

Tots100 Best Blog Posts by Parent Blogs

The other day I dropped an earring and it rolled under the bed. When I kneeled down to look for it, I wished I hadn’t.

Unbeknown to me, the forgotten no-mans-land under our bed had turned into a wilderness of dust mites, lost socks, chocolate wrappers, abandoned Happy Meal trinkets and what I suspect was an apple in an advanced state of decomposition.

You would think that this kind of discovery would fulfil any self-respecting housekeeper with enough self-hate and disgust to send her into a frantic fit of hoovering.  In my case you’d be wrong.

The problem with this type of discovery is that I have every reason to suspect it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Once I move the bed to hoover under it, I’d be forced to take a closer look at the life forms in other occupied domestic territories in our home, such as the hinterland behind the sofa, the desert on top of my wardrobe, murky corners of kitchen cabinets and the science project that is the bottom drawer of the fridge.

And if I’m not careful, this kind of unprecedented cleaning could spark a full-scale war against grime or so-called spring clean, which would have devastating consequences for my already dwindling social life and frazzled state-of-mind,

It’s not that I’m lazy – I do the odd spot of cleaning, usually after midnight on a Wednesday or just before the cleaners come on a Friday. Yes, I do have cleaners – and I love them almost as much as my husband, but they’re not stupid – they also know better than to actually move any furniture or go where no self-respecting woman has gone before.

Trying to keep a house with three children and a 40-something male dirt-free is like fighting an out-of-control fire with a water pistol.

Some weeks ago, during a weak moment, I mopped the kitchen floor. Exactly four and a half minutes later, Max, 4, helped himself to a jam tart, spilling half a pack of sugar all over the floor in the process.

Not long after I cleaned that up, his sister poured herself juice and promptly dropped the cup, clearly illustrating once and for all the futility of mopping the floor. It would amount to an act of conscience, at best.

The same logic would apply to wiping grubby finger prints off the walls or windows, fighting the rebel armies of assorted crumbs under the kitchen table, dust balls behind the curtains or venturing into the sticky swamp between the sofa cushions.

There is no point. It would be about as effective as trying to persuade Greek citizens to pay their taxes.

I do admire women who fight on fearlessly, finding time not only for a weekly deep-cleanse, but also to iron and fold kitchen towels, dust off lampshades, wipe skirting boards, install military order in a cutlery drawer or label the spice rack alphabetically.

I admire them, but I pity them. Some even say they find cleaning therapeutic.

Call me superficial, but plucking your eyebrows or picking your nose is more therapeutic and rewarding and there’s more of a sense of achievement too.

My kitchen floor will remain in a state of semi-permanent stickiness and the ecologically sensitive habitats behind our furniture will stay undisturbed for some years to come.

But at least, I get to read the odd few pages of a book, watch the news most nights and manage to squeeze a bit of quality time with my children into the maddening schedule of a (sort of) working mum.

Next time I drop an earring, I will write it off without a second thought and go out to buy a new pair.