Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Miserable Cow Metamorphosis - Introduction

On Thursday September the 12th on a road in the grim North, in a house in Leeds you would have seen a woman, aged 31, blonde, slightly heavy, slither out of her bed, very early, seconds after her baby monitor showed signs of life (a few perturbed squeals ... "I am up! What are you doing about it?").

On this date she clumsily placed herself into a onesie whilst mentally listing her jobs for the day: Change the horrendous night nappy, place son in Jumperoo, wash bottles, sterilise bottles, make up bottles, try him on some baby porridge, wash up, vacuum, clean bathroom, clean kitchen, put a wash on, do an Internet shop. At some point she thought she might have a cup of tea. She, and it pains me to write this, "looked forward to" Jeremy kyle at 9.25am (yes I know the exact time). She had her schedule down to a T; Daybreak, Jeremy Kyle, This Morning, Home and Away, Neighbours, Jeremy Kyle, The Real Housewives of (insert place), Come Dine With Me, The News, Emmerdale - bed. All the while distracting her baby boy and engaging in a conveyer belt process of nappies, feeds, play, nappies, feeds, play etc.

Her soul was devoid of joy.

A day later, on Friday the 13th you would have seen the exact same woman practically floating down her road - a broad smile on her made up face, stimulated by a good coffee and satisfied by a cinnamon bagel, in Autumn boots and a wooly jumper lifting her face to the sky, embracing the nature surrounding her, grinning at her six month old son and him gummily grinning back.

What had brought on this transformation?

A chance enquiry on Mumsnet.

That morning, on Thursday the 12th I had opened my laptop and looked at the chat on Mumsnet. I regularly did this ... sometimes just for the questions in the food and recipes section that always sounded like filth! "When should I crumb my goujons? What can I do with this Marrow? My jam is too thick" etc. But that morning I went on searching for... something. Something to help. I chose a chat name "Eatprayloveoreateateat" and, in desperation, wrote my question -

How do you inject JOY into your day?

I explained that I was currently a stay at home mum and that I woke up everyday feeling 'bleurgh!' and said that I regularly thought about bashing my head (to death) repeatedly on the kitchen sink. Happiness, "joy" is not something that comes naturally to a girl like me. I needed a bit of help.

By the same time the next day my question had received over 150 answers / suggestions and had been added to Mumsnet Classics. It would seem a small injection of 'joy' was something we all needed.

You see, in my adult life I have been quite obsessed with finding joy/ happiness and I have tried numerous things to get me there: Getting married, holidays, a fat camp, diets, books, different jobs, Oprah, Dr Phil, Eat Pray Love, The Alchemist etc... and I can tell you none of these things have worked. If anything - they have made things worse.

It is all very well and good trying to find your authentic self or meditating or balancing your inner Chi... until you realise you're a British woman/ new mum miserable cow living in Leeds on a budget in the very real world.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am very unlikely to win the lottery, have a sordid affair with Tom Hardy, move to Sicily, lose four stone or become Holly Willoughby. I know with certainty that I will live my life (very nice) with my partner and my son and I will work a stressful job and we will continue our bog standard life until fruition but what I can help/ change is my day to day life - what I can do is try to inject a tiny bit of joy in to my every day.  

I only took three of the suggestions and my life seemed to improve ten fold overnight - but I didn't want it to stop there - I didn't want it to be like a Monday gym visit - long forgotten by Wednesday - I wanted this to carry on.

Hereto, I pledge that this blog will record my investigation of the 150 plus answers and will show the common man how to practically achieve 'joy' on a daily basis in a completely non-flim flammy, non airy fairy, non twatty way.

I am not talking about grand expensive adventurous schemes - I am not talking about swimming with dolphins or moving to an Ashram in India or eating all the food in Rome (I tried that one in 08). I am talking about the tiny things, free things, or at least under a fiver - that we can all try... everyday.

I am talking about good coffee.

I am talking about Cinnamon Bagels.

I am talking about the good butter.

And that is just a start.

(They are not all food based).

If a tubby misery guts from T'up North can do it - then so can you!

So let's start with one of the most intriguing suggestions for joy so far  - "Parisian Jazz... or the next best thing"...

If you have any suggestions of how to inject joy in to my day leave a comment below or join the discussion at mumsnet