Thursday, 3 June 2010

Moods, Foods And Giving Up.

Grrrrrr. I have been like a bear with a sore head this morning. Since getting out of bed I have been in a foul mood. It was a stupid thing which triggered this angry mood.

I  stopped working five years ago. I got out 'early' after thirty years of climbing the career ladder in schools and education management. This is my time, but as I am still fairly young and active I don't mind still playing the "Mum" role to my two (young) adult sons. My young adult daughter now has her own home, not too far away. I have more or less brought my kids up alone... Their father wasn't around much (he had better fish to fry elsewhere - who needs the tedium of family life and young children after all, sigh) so they have been my project and I have worked damned hard to keep a roof over our heads, to pay the bills, to make money. I'd get up very early every day, prepare breakfast, get them ready for school, take them to the child-minder, do a full day's work, often with meetings at the end of it, then go and pick them up, do the grocery shopping on the way home and get in to cook and see to the children, with their homework, their evening meal, their bedtime routine..and then I'd do the laundry and prepare lessons and mark books...and clean up the house as I went along. It was exhausting..given two of my children have chronic illnesses too and often needed emergency ambulances and stays in hospital. I have never claimed welfare benefits...although I could have thrown the towel in when they were young, given up work and claimed money from the state for this, that and the other, as many do. (There is a dreadful 'benefits culture' in the UK that seems to have almost gotten out of hand. Whole generations are being brought up to think the state will provide - which it does - so there is no need to make any personal effort. Some able-bodied people go from cradle to grave not earning a penny..Anyway..that is by the by and for another day..)

All I am saying is, I worked so hard to raise my family and now that I am not working I am sure my two young men have forgotten all my efforts and think I have it easy. I was miffed last night when, feeling thirsty and wanting a drink to go with my evening meal I put ice in a tall glass, topped it up with cold fizzy water, and then looked for my sugar-free lime cordial so I could add a splash. (That bottle has lasted me almost three months..) No mid-week wine for me any more. My fizzy water with a tiny, tiny splash of lime is sharp and refreshing. It's also an appetite suppressant. I never want anything sweet to follow my main meal if I drink fizzy, watery, very weak sugar-free diluted lime cordial. I don't need the empty calories of wine. I hunted high and low, in every cupboard, and even under the sink and couldn't find it. I discovered the bottle in my youngest son's bedroom, where he was playing on his X Box games machine. He'd finished it lime cordial for me. I buy him lots of squashes, fruit drinks etc etc when I do the family shopping but his had run out. He KNOWS that is mine, and of course he is welcome to use it if he wants a drink, but to finish it off? There was a quarter of a bottle (to dilute) left when I last used it. So I muttered something about asking me, knowing it was mine and feeling upset....although I am sure he didn't take his eyes from the screen. He pulled a cross face as though I was distubing him and the usual young-person thing - the eye-rolling because the parent is 'nagging'. Anyway..I went and had my meal, and he did say 'Sorry I didn't realise..." when he came down later. A small but annoying incident.

There was another one of those this morning. I drive my older son in to work every morning. I get up early every single week day to do this for him given  he works in the back of beyond (right in the middle of the country) and the only bus that goes that way involves a trip into the next town to the bus station and then a trip out on a slow-moving rural service through country lanes. He'd be travelling for two and a half hours and then be late for work if he had to do that. (he tried it, several times and just couldn't get to work on time no matter how early he set off.)  From our house I can drive directly and get him there in 30 minutes. (Then I have a thirty minute return journey of course, but he gives me petrol money.) He gets the slow-moving two buses back at night when he has no time deadlines. I also iron his shirts, take his suits to the dry-cleaners and I make both boys a healthy packed lunch for the day. They're lucky young men I think. I love both dearly. Despite their occasional thoughtlessness, they are good, polite lads, who have done well at school and College/University and never been in trouble with the police..never done drugs etc. I am proud of them. They work hard.

However..I need tea in the mornings. I am NOT a morning person. I always get up early but don't hassle me first thing. I can't cope. I NEED my lovely mug of tea first thing, a sit-down in silence to enjoy it and then I am raring to go. That tea kick-starts me and is much needed, as is the pleasant, slow start to the day. I don't drink coffee often. Son makes the first brew of the day. This morning though he popped his head around my bedroom door to inform me thered be NO tea...because we had run out of milk. I knew supplies were low, but there was enough left last night for my morning tea and/or to go on a bowl of cereal. Why was there no milk? Well, last night before bed, son decided to go to the fridge, take out the milk and empty the bottle. He had a big glass of milk with a couple of biscuits for supper.

I couldn't believe it! How bloody thoughtless! He KNOWS my morning tea is needed. I don't function without a mug of tea first thing. All I need is a small amount of semi-skimmed milk...for the wake-up cuppa of the day. Call me a creature of habit but my early tea is just wonderful. That was it...I exploded. (NO idea where I found so much energy first thing!) Is there anyone in the house who thinks about MY needs I wondered? Given I do so much for them you'd think they'd stop and think about what it means to use the last of everything. They could have at least warned me. There is an all night petrol station not far away with shop attached and rather than go without my morning tea I could have nipped out and bought another carton of milk. Son tried to convince me (in vain) that having my morning tea wasn't THAT important. How dare he! That made me even angrier.

OK, so two, stupid small events but I got up, washed, dressed, made sandwiches for lunch, packed fruit etc, etc.and drove him to work in rush-hour traffic in such a grumpy (half awake) mood. I stopped to replenish supplies on the way home. In the great scheme of things, these were two small events..but both affected me adversely. I think I felt taken for granted...that my needs just didn't count. Both boys thought I was over-reacting when they got the "You are so selfish" lecture this morning. They tried to counter it, (foolishly!) which made my mood even worse! It wasn't a massive deal...but I felt quite let down.

Anyway, sorry for the preamble, but this morning, in the supermarket I was tea-less, grumpy and feeling sorry for myself. I really wanted to throw in the towel. Does it matter to anyone if I am thin or fat? Does anyone care that I am making efforts to look after myself? Why do I bother? (OK, so I know I do it for me but I was in no mood to be rational.) This morning I could have suffocated my sorrows with the three-pack of Danish pastries on special offer. Easily. I hung around that counter contemplating their soft flakiness, their warm jam, their toasted pecan nuts for far too long. The whole bakery section smelt SO good. Let me drown in cakes! Sod it! I was going to eat them!

Now, isn't that strange? Something goes wrong, I get in a mood, and to punish my boys and the world for my tea-less morning I want to stuff my face with THREE large Danish pastries. Who'd have cared if I'd succumbed? Did it matter? Those babies would have done a great job of comforting me when I felt so angry/miserable/unloved.

I am really happy to say that I wheeled round, promptly left the bakery section and headed over to the fruit and veg area. There I chose mushrooms for my lunchtime omelette, and a punnet of ripe raspberries and a small pack of plump blueberries for a breakfast treat. Yay me! Good thinking, or what? OK, so neither of the packs of fruit were cheap - they were quite expensive, but instead of the Danish splurge I had a berries splurge instead. I am worth it. I picked up the milk, paid for my goods and came home.

Having had two large mugs or tea, (bliss) order is restored to my little world. I am calm. Fuss over nothing? May be, but we have to make a stand. I told my boys in no uncertain terms that they'd been selfish...but I also made a stand for me. My mood could have lead me to an over-eating frenzy...a  breakfast binge, and I'd have been even madder as the day progressed. Instead I am quite proud of my decision to carry look after myself. I have learned a lesson. (I hope my boys have too.) I shall own my moods (eeek, that sounds a bit New Age) and not use food to self-soothe. I can do this!

“Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout on my treadmill. It never fails. To me, exercise is nothing short of a miracle.” ~ Cher.

Believe me, I have my middle digit raised. Go away Cher.  Chandler's "Round foods for bad moods - bagels and doughnuts" makes more sense to me right now :)

Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy your caffeine-fix today without too much hassle ;-)


  1. Grumpy: I can relate to said kid issues. I am raising my 4th teenager and have had plenty of similar less-than-grateful teen scenarios.

    Since Husband is a saboteur, albeit far less than he was, and Teen Daughter will eat anything she finds, I have designated one of my dresser drawers as my snack drawer. I hide fat free pudding, fiber bars, rice cakes and other necessary items to make my life plan successful. That said, it doesn't help with the milk issue unless you put a refrigerator in your bedroom.

    I also need exactly three large cups of coffee every morning with fat-free vanilla creamer and non-fat milk. If ANY of those ingredients are missing I am an ugly, ugly person in the morning.

    One way to instill some gratefulness is to stop "doing" for your boys.

    I raise my coffee mug to you this morning! Carry on.

  2. Yup - you know what it's like Jo! Ugly is a good word. 'Ugly and mean without caffeine.' Oh I am a poet! LOL

    Wouldn't it be nice if all we had to think about was ourselves and our needs? I too have started secreting thisng around the house. (Oooh. That sounds nasty!) I hide some of MY foods in big empty pots which I keep on the cooker. My lime cordial is going to have it's own hiding place from now on.

    Yes, I DO go on strike some days. I don't think my boys would notice anything different though, as long as the fridge and freezer were well stocked. They can cook...but I don't suppose it would occur to them to cook anything for me unless I asked. When do they take off the blinkers and pull out the ear plugs? When they have family and a home of their own I suspect...

  3. Hmmm, sounds like you are rather being taken advantage of. Almost inevitably though, that seems to come with the whole 'Mum' package. I'm not surprised that the boys counterarguments only made you madder - the only sensible response would have been grovelling apologies and clearing off swiftly until the blood had been restored to your tea-stream!

    Good on you for your 'stand up for me' and even better on the supermarket victory of berries over pastries! Bet they tasted beautiful.

    Know what you mean about mornings and tea. A day isn't going to stand a hope in hell without a cuppa ;-) Maybe Cher ought to try it sometime.

  4. I love your description of the temptation by Danishes with their soft flakiness and warm jam. I think I'd have succumbed instantly. Well done for going to get the fruit. I love your reason though, that you are worth it. I'm going to try to remember that next time I'm tempted.
    I have a 22 yr old son (left home in Feb this year) and the juice guzzling & milk finishing sound very familiar.