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Why should I bother?- it’s for the children!

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I woke Saturday morning feeling a little sorry for myself, a bit low and ba humbug.

Before going to bed last night I read Gerry Duffy’s article “Do the write thing” in the April/May edition of the Irish Runner. It’s all about setting goals, writing them down and making them targeted, all good advice I’ve heard before.

What has got me feeling low is that I don’t have any real goals that I’m currently working towards. I have my daily objectives that I want to get done… mop the floors, get the ironing finished, get the wash hung up, get something for dinner… the stuff that every body has to get done. I’ll maybe include going for a run or write a blog post, but not aspirational goals to strive for.

I have nominal aims, unspecific achievements that I am slowly working towards. I’d like to be able to run 5k in under 25 min (27:17 is current cross-country PB) but other than a notional this would be nice there is no driver for me to meet this target. I would also like to be able to run 10k in under 60 min, I’ve signed up to do the Boyne 10k in May to try and do it, but it still feels a bit of a nice to do.

Oldbridge Sept

I’ve made progress on going back to work, but its difficult to plan and set targets for myself, before I start or even talk to any future boss about what those targets might look like.

Perhaps this is what happens when you decide to focus your time on family and kids. Your life becomes a mix of  child minding, cleaning and cooking. I have to give a stage 10 speech to complete my Toastmasters Competent Communicator Award, but I’m struggling a bit to find something that I am passionate about.

That’s part of the reason I’ve never went into business for myself successfully,  I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing to really make it work, rightfully I compromised my ambitions for my family. My family has always been my main concern,  despite some of my stranger decisions in life (I am after all almost the living embodiment of a character in a Bazz Lurman/Mary Schmich song).

So as I was lying in bed Saturday morning, thinking I should really have got up at 7.30 and went for my run so that I’d skip the Parkrun and let my wife have a lie on in bed. Instead I lay on until after 8.30 thinking about how I don’t have any great passions in life at the moment.

But then something changed,  I got up to wash, and my daughter woke my wife, so when I returned to get dressed, I was told to go for the run, which I did and a nice easy run it was this morning. It kept me just focused on taking my time, working on form and breathing.

I didn’t solve any world or even personal problems, but I did lift myself out of the doldrums. But when I got back from my run I heard news that proved to me that I am passionate about something- family. I believe that it is important to be honest with your family, yes I know there are always some small secrets but you shouldn’t needlessly worry your family, to deliberately exclude them from the important things in life, especially when they try to be there for you and to support you.

I also believe that it’s important to try to set good example, which is probably one of the hardest things to do on a consistent basis. But that’s OK because no-one is perfect.

I quit sugar in my tea to set an example for my kids, but I still need to improve in cutting sugar out of my snacks, I suppose that should be one of my new aims. I also want my kids go grow up with a strong sense of family, to be there for their siblings and to support them when they need it and when they don’t.

And I seem to remember vaguely that that was the same reason for me starting running and looking after myself better. I want them to have good health habits, like taking exercise and be involved in organisations or clubs. It will help them when they are older to have a healthy body and mind. I have the chance now to give them the skills and habits which will give them the strength when they are older to hopefully face the stresses and hurdles that life will throw at them when they are older. I also want them to have the confidence to seek help and to know that they can get it, and expect it form a kind and loving family and good friends.

So I think I need to go now and find some new goals with targets and to include my children in setting these goals, because if they see me setting my own goals and working hard to achieve them then hopefully they will learn to do the same, wither I am successful in achieving them the first time, the second time, or the one hundredth time they can learn the value in putting in the effort, develop resilience and persistence in achieving their goals.

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Should I stop the baby playing with his siblings?

2 Comments

Any of us with kids know that they are all different. I’ve one academic at the moment and another who gets bored writing their name. They know who they are.

My daughter while adventurous is a bit nervous and not inclined to take big risks, but she’ll stick at something and work her way up to it, content to take her own time and do it herself. My big lad is different, much more adventurous and inclined to take risks but rushes to do stuff. He can work out how he can get what he wants. If he can’t get what he’s looking for he’ll cry and complain and say that he can’t do it… but only when you’re watching. Left alone he’ll work at things till he gets there. I fear for when I have to do his homework with him. He doesn’t like being watched as he does things as if performance anxiety somehow eliminates all his capabilities.

I always have tried to encourage my kids to explore and push their limits, as David Lesser wrote in Time online I do keep the play and exploration reasonably safe. My kids will get the odd bump or scrape but that’s how they learn for themselves rather than me instilling a fear in them of unknown consequences.

The kids being adventurous in the garden

What could possibly go wrong?


The youngest, he’s loveable, everyone he meets is so amazed at how smiley he is and how independent and content he appears. One did notice the devil in him thankfully so we share a rye smile when someone comments on how lovely he is. We know the truth.

Where my daughter is knows her limitations and fears consequences but generally gives things a go and likes showing off what she can do, my older son hides his capabilities but knows no fear of the consequences. The youngest has no concept of consequences, no understanding of limitations and just wants to do what his older siblings are doing. If they are in the back garden he wants out there with them; if they are on their bikes, he wants his; if they are playing on the climbing frame…

"I will get up there"

“I will get up there”

Not the safest but at least if he slips he’ll slide back down (which he does, repeatedly, to his immense amusement.) But then this morning he did this..

I know I shouldn’t laugh.

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