Posts Tagged ‘relationships

nuttakit /

One of the things I’m supposed to do as part of my training is become more self-aware by learning to reflect back on various experiences.  There are various models you can use to steer you in the right direction, such as Johns or Gibbs, though just writing down your thoughts is immensely beneficial.  After each learning experience it is recommended that you have a reflective journal to (a) help the learning sink in more easily, (b) be in a better position to accept and deal with any issues that have arisen and (c) work out what you would do differently next time.

Sound boring?  Well, it’s a bit of a hassle, but there are times when it’s extremely worthwhile.  I use it less often than I intend to, but when I do it can have a major impact on my attitude to the subject.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to cover this base, yet because I’ve been on time out till two weeks ago, I haven’t really had the opportunity to use it in that way…until now.  Teachers may find this more interesting than the rest of you, but from now till I complete I’m planning on using my Monday blog entries as my regular reflective journal.

I had a tutorial on Saturday, my first since September last year, and gave a presentation in the process, so I’m going to reflect on the presentation for now.

What happened?

I gave a presentation on relationships after becoming a family.  It started with looking at a typical day in the life of a new dad and a new mum, where they had both had a rotten day (teachers among you will know the one!).  It then looked at ways in which relationships can suffer and people sectioned off into groups to discuss possible solutions, as couples might in a class environment.  Finally, we looked at how to get balance in a relationship.

What were you thinking and feeling?

I was surprised how nervous I felt.  But then it has been over a year since I last taught a real class.  I felt very thrown by the odd number in the group, because ideally I wanted the middle exercise to be in couples.  In a real class situation I would (and have in the past) partner myself off with the odd person, but that did make me feel like I couldn’t keep an eye on the others.  Also the person I was partnered off with was the least experienced there and took longer than the others did.  I also found my voice wouldn’t behave itself. My normal voice kept trying to turn itself into a whisper, which loses points.  Also, the situation felt very false.  In a normal class I suspect I’d have been in my element, but here I felt like it wasn’t working so well.   Having said that, I very much enjoyed teaching the last activity.

What was good and bad about the experience?

The good thing was, I enjoyed the first and last activity and will happily repeat them in a class setting.  The middle activity was not so good, and- might be better left to a handout, or read out and discussed in a large group setting rather than going off into couples.  My nerves meant that I was more concerned about saying the right thing than I was listening to the group; hopefully that would not be an issue in a real class.  I would have liked a little more visual stuff, but the subject didn’t lend itself very well to pictures, and it would have been almost impossible to find anything kinaesthetic.  Finally, my handout was ace, and I’ll be using that properly unless my tutor slates it in her marking.

What sense can you make of the situation?

I love this question!  It always makes things sound twice as bad as they really are.  Ultimately, unless I get such a bad mark that I have to re-do it, it’s another piece of work under my belt and a bit of practice for when I’m back teaching properly in a few weeks’ time.  It affirmed my confidence in the first and last activities if not the middle one.

What else could you have done?

I could have found a way to incorporate more visual stuff into it, but I can’t work out how.  I think if I hadn’t had to incorporate small group work into the presentation, I would have kept the middle activity as a large-group discussion, which would work just fine.  I can certainly teach that way happily, even if I couldn’t do that originally.

If it arose again, what would you do?

Well, the only way it is likely to arise again is during teaching.  So I would keep everything the same but change the middle activity to a group discussion rather than couples work.  And I might try and find a way to put more pictures in – I won’t lose points teaching without pictures, but it does help stave off boredom if there’s something pictorial to look at every once in a while..  And hooray! I never need to present again!!  Only proper teaching from now on  🙂


Loved one and I have come to an agreement.  We both like camping, under certain circumstances.  And we both hate camping, under certain circumstances.

foto76 /

So…we have been discussing how to have a camping experience that comes under the ‘like’ category. For both of us. And that’s the tricky bit.

I like camping when you can go for ages and not have to turn around and go home the minute you got there.  I like it when it’s warm and sunny weather.  I also like having mod cons to be able to relax a little and not feel like it’s all hard work.  I love camp fires, especially when someone else does the cooking.

Loved one likes not spending too long camping because it’s not quite as easy as, say, being at home, or spending time in a self-catering cottage. He’s particularly keen on camp fires, and an ‘authentic’ experience, having spent time in the Sealed Knot and knowing exactly how authentic you can be.

There is some overlap here, but there are also some fundamental differences. Especially regarding the length of time.  I would prefer to go south, ideally abroad, to improve chances of good weather, and I would like to go for long enough to make the drive worthwhile.  Loved one, very much aware that ‘real’ camping is not the most comfortable option out there, would like to keep the experience short and sweet, so driving abroad and spending two weeks doing so is not a viable option for him.

The discussion became a little heated last night, when I pointed out that no matter how long you go camping for, the packing is still substantial, since you need a whole load more equipment than you ever would if you were staying in a self-catering cottage, and that generally speaking, I do the packing for all our holidays.  He works hard at the office, I run the home and don’t like it when he mucks up my household routines, so me doing the packing is a given. I wasn’t so keen on monstrous packing for only two to three nights.

Simon Howden /

Loved one then managed to overcome the impasse by promising a non-camping two-week holiday in 2012.  (He would have offered it for this year, but for our attempts to move house scuppering any plans for this summer.)  By doing this, he gets to indulge in his camping fantasies the way he likes, I get to enjoy his campfire cooking, and can cope with not being very comfortable if it’s not for too long, and I still get a decent length holiday.

I’m still not keen on all the packing, though. Erk.

Bon voyage?

Posted on: 10/04/2011

By the time you read this, I’ll be in France.

I’m slightly dreading the drive.  I get hip issues after a couple of hours’ driving. Our journey planning would indicate that I’m going to spend the best part of three days behind the wheel… So, even though I’ve got the Harry Potter audiobook in place, I suspect it will be more of a chore than a pleasure.

graur codrin /

Partly because I am sharing the journey with my mum.

My mum is actually a really great person.   She is warm, has a great sense of humour, and is very generous-hearted.  She also has all sorts of insights you only realise after your temper has calmed down and you realise she’s right. And, to be fair, she doesn’t make such insights in a way that is meant to hurt you – in fact she’s very sensitive as to how she phrases her observations.  It’s just that I know her a bit too well, and I have learned to perfection how to grab the wrong end of the stick every time.  It tends to be weeks later before I grudgingly admit that she’s right. Yet again.

In a car, if you have an uncomfortable atmosphere, there is nowhere to go. Especially on the autoroute at 130 kph.  That and the fact that this is the longest journey the kids have been on.  I anticipate whining.  Lots of whining.

Time to play the Harry Potter, then.  Either that or learn to Apparate.

Road trip

Posted on: 04/04/2011

In a few days’ time I will be taking myself and all bar the salary-earning member of the family down to my parents’ place in the south of France.  By car.

federico stevanin /

While we are down there, we will celebrate my mum’s seventieth birthday, Easter, and Smallest One’s first birthday, in a three-day festival of much eating, before we head back home.

Part of me is anticipating a fabulous time (Much Beloved will join us briefly too – yay).

(There’s another part of me that’s trying really hard not to think about what will happen spending such a long period of time in the company of my parents. Who, whilst well-meaning, like all parents of adults I know bar very few, have this amazing capacity to drive me insane.  But I’m straying off the point)

For now, I am trying to fathom how to prepare, during the busiest week of the school term, for such an expedition. I’ve been dreading it.  However, now I’m actually thinking about it, apart from winning the battle of the laundry and ensuring the children don’t pack totally unsuitable clothing, it’s no longer so daunting.  I’ve prepared all the documentation (insurance, cross-channel tickets, passport applications, etc.), and that was really the tricky and time-consuming bit.

So now the prospect seems quite appealing, all in all.  I think what I’m really dreading is the last week of term.  I really wish the school’s events diary was not confined almost solely to this one week when we’re all exhausted…but at least it’ll allow me to really look forward to the trip.

vegadsl /

It’s taken me years to really get this.

When I say, ‘Darling, would you mind doing the dishwasher?’, my lovely man happily obliges.  He empties the dishwasher.

If I’m really lucky, he’ll fill it again.  Might even press the start button.

What he does not do, because I did not say it out loud, is, clear the counters, wipe the surfaces, rinse out the sink and sweep the floor.  Though he does occasionally empty the bin without my asking.

Why do we say one thing and mean a whole lot more?  Is it because asking him to do all those things – even though I do them myself five days out of seven – is too much of an imposition?

There’s the whole division of labour thing going on here for starters.  I’m the stay-at-home mum; he’s the breadwinner.  On the face of it, it should be me doing the chores every evening.  He’s working frighteningly hard, and though my ‘job’ starts at seven in the morning and doesn’t stop till bedtime, I do at least get to slow down a little in the daytime.

So should I even be asking him to help at all?  Where does my role as housewife end?  And where does the studying fit in?

When I started this post, I was thinking that the problem was in the communication.  I don’t say what I mean. I should articulate more.  I should clarify that when I say ‘please would you do the dishwasher’, what I mean is ‘please can you clean the kitchen’…

But then if you look at it from his perspective, he’s knackered and just wants to go to bed.  So do I, of course, but when is my day more tiring than his?

When we argue about it, which can happen often when we’re tired (it’s almost like we pull the same old argument out of the drawer and go through the motions, then go to bed with it still unresolved), it’s very much a point-scoring exercise.  After all, who is more tired?  Who is more deserving of going straight to bed and leaving the clearing up to the other one?

Seriously.  I don’t have an answer.  This is why we keep arguing about it.

I read somewhere that arguments between married/long-term couples are usually about one of three things:

  1. Money. There’s only so much in the pot.  How to spend it is always going to be a tricky issue. I remember my own parents arguing about this constantly.
  2. Sex and/or intimacy.  It’s so personal, it can be hard not to take offence if something isn’t working, or you’re not on the same wavelength.
  3. Division of labour. We’re all working so hard ourselves, we don’t see the other person working hard too, and what we don’t see we are more likely not to acknowledge.  (I’ve actually done an activity for this in my antenatal classes, it’s that common an issue in parenting)

Number three is the biggest problem for us.  Not that it’s terrible, you understand.  I know of so many people who don’t lift a finger with the housework but play with the children all the time, and vice versa.   My lovely man is most definitely a participant on all fronts.

It’s just a question of who peels themselves off the sofa when we’re both dog tired.  And just how much can we be expected to do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.   With any luck, and with any clever tips from you, the next time we get this argument out of the drawer, we’ll actually resolve it.

And with any luck I’ll get better about articulating what I want and not expecting him to mind read.

Well, maybe.

Smallest one in the early days

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