Who knew that my coaching skills would be called upon to manage my way through this fraught festive period?
Well, Christmas is almost upon us, and I am frantically trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to cram the ‘essentials’ Christmas food shop in, just in case there’s a food shortage during the ONE FULL DAY the shops are actually shut for, wrap all the presents (that look nothing like the ones in the ‘How to Create Your Very Own Christmas Eutopia’ magazine, but more like the ones from the ‘Twenty One ways to Wrap Fish and Chips Badly’ magazine, get through the Work’s do without causing great personal embarrassment to myself (too late), let alone create a garland from bits of foliage gathered from the visit to the local wood, where I will fell my own free, with my bare hands, hand-make Christmas cards using only recycled materials (& then pretend the children made them a) because people will think I’m ‘perfect parent personified’ and b) they’re a little bit sh*t. then bake a Christmas Pudding (using Great Aunt Freda’s recipe, who, incidentally died (of Christmas Pudding food poisoning years ago) and not forgetting attending the Christingle service, because it’s ‘family tradition’, a tradition I now wish I’d NEVER BLOODY STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE…I’m just grateful that sodding Elf thing hadn’t been created when my kids were little!
Every year I swear Christmas isn’t going to leave me feeling like I’m not quite good enough, but every year I feel a little bit inadequate as the plethora of ‘isn’t life perfect’ adverts, permeate into my consciousness, convincing me that unless my table decorations coordinate perfectly with my Christmas Day outfit, I may as well not bother getting up (and I don’t think they make lycra table cloths!)
So, in between making home-made mince pies, singing Evangelical Christian carols around our non-existent piano (tambourine in hand, obvs), felling trees and writing letters to my (now grown-up) children pretending to be Father Christmas, I’m going to cut myself a bit of slack and say, it’s OK to be a little bit rubbish at wrapping presents; the paper all ends up in the same place (unless my mother’s in the room and then it’s carefully ironed and re-folded ready for next year obvs!). That it’s OK that the Christmas tree decorations are the same ones we’ve been using for the past 40 years; it’s called re-cycling and anyway, multi-coloured flashing lights and tinsel are soo in now don’t you know; it’s OK that some of the food we’ll be eating won’t have been sourced from the southern slopes of the Tuscan Hills, that yes, it is ok to admit you went to Aldi and it was a BLOODY bargain (although parking was a nightmare with all the Range Rovers and Audis taking up double spaces!) It really is OK, because a) none of the above actually matters and b) non-one else gives a stuff as they’re too busy having their own meltdowns…
And as I rambled on above, I thought about the coaching I have done this year and the number of conversations I’ve had with people about their running journey and how it’s made them feel. The common theme has been along the lines of the above ‘feeling like they’ve not achieved because of external expectations’. There have been some fabulous highs for many of the group during 2017 but with these highs, the somewhat inevitable lows have at times followed and with them, a period of challenge and at times this challenge has threatened to de-rail them from their journey. Sometimes they’ve felt demotivated because of the comparison with the progress of others they train with. When these conversations have arisen, we have talked about this being their journey, trying not to compare one’s progress to that of another, to keep focused on the reasons it is that they embarked on their running journey, to remind themselves of how far they’ve come and to listen to the support that those around them do give. This support is not only genuine, it’s free and priceless
And so, I shall heed my very own advice and remind myself that this is ‘our family Christmas’ no one else’s, that WE will get out of it what WE put into it, that it matters not one jot what others think of our multi-coloured light for they bring great joy to us! That I must not measure myself against Nigella, or The John Lewis Advert and that not coordinating with the table decorations is absolutely fine, not least as we’ll be off to do Parkrun on Christmas morning, where running in a glittery frock wouldn’t really work and if I’m the slowest family member, then THAT’S OK TOO!