It’s the little things

This is a bit of a ramble.  I’ve been staving off the downcycle for a little while now, reminding myself that holidays start tomorrow and my husband will be around, I’m having fun with my science blog and things are generally OK.  I got quite sick this week, but still managed to remain positive.

Then last night hit.  My littlest one doesn’t sleep, and at 2am everything is so much harder.  The world suddenly went from being an OK place to being monotone guilt.  And pointless guilt – everyone else’s kids seem to be doing about the same as mine (or better!), so why am I putting myself through this?  Why don’t I just stick a dummy in her mouth and shut the door?

This morning was playgroup day, which is generally good.  It added to the pointlessness, because everyone else seemed to be coping better than I do (I know, it’s just my perception, but when you’re in the downcycle everything piles on top), but several people thanked me for cutting up the fruit.   It’s just one of the normal jobs, but it was nice to be thanked.  Unfortunately this afternoon I was plunging deeper.  I knew it, but couldn’t do anything about it because everything I do is/has been worthless, so how could anything I tried now be any help?  My husband bought chocolate and listened, my toddler was worried in her own goldfish way, but by that point I just wanted to wallow. 

I couldn’t even look at writing a post because they were all so unrelentingly negative, which added to the guilt – one post a week is a tiny commitment and I can’t even do that.

What turned it around, unexpectedly, was Twitter.  There is a tradition called Follow Friday, where you put up the names of people whose updates you enjoy reading.  The idea is that your followers see these names, and think well if she thinks they’re worth following, maybe I’ll have a look at them too, and you might pick up some more followers.  A couple of people I don’t know other than through Twitter put my name up.  Even better, one of them has recently been voted as one of the top 100 science Tweets to follow, which is pretty important to me (given that I’m ScienceMum and all).  I was flattered enough that he started following me, but being put up for Follow Friday I took as a great honour.  He may not mean it that way, but it certainly boosted me. 

It makes you think.  My husband’s support did nothing – he’s my husband, he has to support me and worry about me (at least he’d better!).  I know several people who will worry when reading this, and while I appreciate it, they’re my friends so that’s sort of their job.  The playgroup Mums are another step removed, and I really did appreciate being thanked.  But when complete strangers say something nice it is so much more important.  I think because we know they have no ulterior motive – they’re definitely not saying it just to cheer you up, so you can trust that they are being honest.  So how much of an impact do we have on the people around us?  How many times have we said something that meant nothing to us but has been really important to somone we hardly even know? 

And more importantly, how often have we thought something but not said it?

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by plahski on June 19, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I love your updates and happen to only have 4 people on Twitter and three of them ye’ fellow bloggers here (and all of them are from the breastfeeding forum)…

    sad sad me!

    You never know what is going to pick you up on a downward spiral and sometimes you are hoping for something (ANYTHING) to come along! And praise from someone who isn’t obliged is always a good one!


  2. Posted by Coran on June 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Well, I must admit it did feel nice when you put my name out there on followfriday. 🙂 I’m not sure I follow enough ppl/am followed enough yet to make it worthwhile.


  3. Deb your post reminds me of how important what we say to our own children really is (or any child really). Our words have a tremendous and long-reaching impact that we often underestimate. I bet that every single one of us can remember some of the positive and negative comments that were said to us when we were children – the names we were called, something our parents said to us when they were angry or upset, the teacher who told us that we’d never amount to anything (yep, it still happens unfortunately)…

    Being thanked for one’s efforts or recognised in even a small way can make such a difference can’t it? The reverse is also true. I’ve recently started part-time work in the evenings and for the month I’ve been there, all I’ve heard is criticism and finger-pointing from the management. Last night the boss stood there with a fag in one hand and a beer in the other and gave us all a bollocking. My mind boggles at the fact that people in management STILL haven’t got it – if you praise, encourage and support your staff, they will rise to the occasion, go the extra mile, be loyal and work hard. Being negative only ever has negative results. I left at the end of the night wondering how long I would last…


  4. HI Deb,

    It definately is about the little things hey? A little thing can pick us up a feel good, but its sometimes the little things that get you down. Hang in there, your a great mummy and a great person with wonderful inspiring ideas. I totally relate about trying to run a business when non sleeper children sleep. up hill battle at times. but gotta keep the passion.


    p.s i have sent out 4 buzz bags with fusion parenting/science flyers i hope to send them all out and get everyone onboard the fusion/sience ride xoxo


  5. Posted by MummyTiff on June 21, 2009 at 2:56 am

    I’m still not a twitterer (is that a word?) – I know it’s just something else I would get addicted to!

    I know what you mean about strangers paying us a compliment or supporting us. People who know us and love us, it’s almost like they HAVE to do that whereas a stranger MUST be telling the truth. All too often though my DP assumes that I know that he appreciates me whereas I have to hear it. Words of Affirmation are my Love Language (I don’t know how to get hyperlinks to things I mention to work!) but DP thinks it’s all a bit of who-ha and thinks I should just “know” how great he thinks I am without him telling me! Maybe one day………… *sigh*


  6. Posted by Kathy on June 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Ooh – thanks for the link to your science blog. I’ll check it out when I’m not pretending to still be on my (increasingly long) lunch break!

    You are right though, I often wonder why it matters more what feedback I get from work or random peolpe than my family who I love and respect. But it does. I guess I am lucky I don’t work for perfectmum’s beer swilling smoking fool of a manager – a dangerous situation to be in if since I am overly reliant on my manager’s approval!


  7. Update – since writing this I’ve been making a big effort to give compliments and tell people things. We even tracked down a parent at a museum and told him his son was being polite lol. I find that people don’t know how to take a compliment, but it makes me feel better to give them.


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