Most of the day I’m worrying about getting everything done: keeping up with the washing – well so it doesn’t topple over onto one of the children, stopping the twins from biting anything toxic or each other and not losing my keys for the fifth time that day. I thought it would be good to take a moment to reflect on the overarching values I wanted my children to grow up with.
1) It’s better to regret something you’ve done than something you haven’t done
If you make a huge mistake in life you usually find that you don’t regret it. You always learn from mistakes and they make you who you are. It’s the things you haven’t done that you remember and which torment you. For me my biggest regrets are that I didn’t visit Niagra Falls when I did Camp America because I was so tired and wanted to stay in bed. I definitely regret that one because I woke up to find a chipmunk scampering across my face. I think it was trying to get to my secret stash of Hershey’s kisses. Other regrets are that I didn’t do creative writing at university, we never travelled enough before we had children, I didn’t finish my Duke of Edinburgh award, I didn’t make it to a good friend’s wedding last year.
These things nag at me and there’s nothing you can do to change it. Of course I’m not saying if I’d done these things I would be happier. But you only get one chance and you can never get it back.
|Nope – never been there|
2) To have confidence and self belief
It’s worrying having girls. So much of our confidence is tied up in how we look. I remember listening to Dawn French saying she had so much confidence because her Dad told her every day she was beautiful, it didn’t matter to her what anyone else thought. Confidence gets you everywhere in life. You might be talented, but if you don’t believe in yourself you won’t put yourself forward for things.
While I was working as an Assistant Head of a primary school a few years ago, a colleague asked if I could see myself as a Headteacher. I said no as I was under 30 at the time and felt I was much too young. She told me that if I was a man I wouldn’t think that way. A lot of men will go for jobs even if they’re not sure they’re ready for it. Perhaps they have more bravado. I want the girls to be unafraid, to try new things, to not be held back by self doubt or negative thoughts.
3) To have a healthy attitude to food.
I don’t want my children to have a battle with food. I want them to enjoy eating healthily, to have occasional treats, to enjoy everything in moderation. Most of all I don’t want them to eat because they are bored or lonely or emotional.
4) To know that nothing ends up being as bad as you think it will be
I think worry is pointless. You worry about things which might go wrong but it never turns out how you think it will. Things are never as bad as you imagine. Sometimes they go better. Sometimes things go wrong – but it’s usually something you weren’t expecting.
I’m not really a worrier, although there are a lot in the family. The only time I have been filled with worry was when I was pregnant with my twins. I read lots of books about twin pregnancy and they were full of all the risks associated with carrying two babies. I was convinced the twins would be born early, would be tiny and have to spend time in special care. I even worried something would go wrong and I would leave my daughter to grow up without a mother. Very melodramatic. Well I’m still here. The babies were born at 38 weeks, happy and healthy and nearly 7 pounds each. All that fretting and worry was pointless.
5) That you’re not going to look back on your life and wish you’d done more housework
Do the things you love, love the things you do. Life is too short to have ironed undies or spotless windows. Well that’s what I keep telling myself as I write this, leaving the ironing pile spilling over and the plates still to wash.