My mum is wise and funny and – despite what I may have thought as a teenager – often right about most things.
A little while ago, she started sending me postcards with little life lessons on the back. The theme is “Bringing Home The Bacon”, so each note focuses on something work / life balance orientated. It’s her way of sitting down for a cup of tea with me at the end of a long day, even though she now lives four hours away.
When I was little, Mum worked full-time. She’d strap me onto the back of her bike, cycle across Bristol and teach a full day at school, before collecting me and cycling home. This was pretty much the case until my sister came along when I was four. Then Mum worked part-time for a while before returning to full-time work a couple of years later.
She has always worked incredibly hard and it’s only just in the last year or so – since retiring – that she’s enjoyed a proper break. She’ll cringe when she reads this, but she’s an example to me. When I feel dead on my feet, exhausted with the working mum juggle, I imagine her cycling up a steep hill in the pouring rain, with me wrapped up warm on the back – and I grit my teeth. If she can do it, so can I.
The thing is, being a teacher, my mum had lots of holidays. School holidays were our time together as a family to totally relax and enjoy each other’s company. Dad was a teacher too, so we’d go away for the entire summer and forget about normal life. Many memories were made on these trips. That was Mum’s way of keeping her work / life balance in check. Plus, she refused to do emails post-8pm.
Now, as I attempt to juggle the role of mum, wife, presenter, journalist, writer, blogger, general dogsbody, my mum is on hand to help with these little pearls of wisdom in her regular postcards.
There was this one, reminding me to be careful driving to work on icy roads…
“Avoid focusing on the negative; the colours are grey and depressing. Try to keep positive and find colour and humour in the little every day things.”
Like I said, my mum is wise.