You Drive you, I’ll Drive Me…

“Drive for yourself and let other drivers worry about themselves…” 

Words of wisdom from my much missed Granda Pops.  

He said these words to my Mum many times and he said them to me when I drove my first car up to his sitting room window many years ago. 

He looked out from his throne, cast his eyes over it, nodded that it was a “good big safe car” and then added these words. 

 I’d heard them before of course. It was one of his lines that my Mum had taken with her when she left home, repeating it at many opportunities, much like the one or two clangers that I constantly repeat from my Dad.

And like Daddy’s “Remember who has the problem” line, this one has stood the test of time and lingered on in our memories, not just because of who used to say it, but because it’s so so true. 

Mum still likes to remind us of, especially when one of us comes home giving out about someone who pulled out in front of us, or didn’t use an indicator, or almost caused a three car pile up at the roundabout. 

But this past week I’ve thought about it and said it more than once…and yet, I haven’t even been driving. I haven’t left the house.

In a few different conversations and phonecalls, and in the current climate of the JudgyMcJudgerson and AngryMcAngryson, I have found myself comforting people by using Granda’s line.  

Let’s get metaphorical, shall we? Buckle up… (see what I did there?)

Car, Pink Car, Thunderbird, Drive

We all drive our own car. ( We all live our own lives). 

We’re all responsible for our own vehicle. (You worry about you, I’ll worry about me.)

We all have our own passengers. (My family is my responsibility.)

We shouldn’t drive too fast. (Calm yourself woman!)

We can’t drive with an empty tank. (Fuel that body up!)

The car needs regular services. (Self care is important… Let your imagination go where it will there Jacinta!)

If you’re on the wrong route, you can always turn around or change lanes.  (You’re NOT stuck in that job/rut/relationship. Do what you need to make yourself happy.)

Make sure the tyres are fit for purpose. (Shoes are also important…)

We should all stay in our own lane (Mind your business Polly…)

Actually, this one is pretty important.  Drive to get yourself where you need to go, but try not to bump into anyone else on your journey eh? Don’t be a roadhog and remember you’re not the only car on the road.

Traffic, Highway, Lights, Night, Speed

But joking aside, there’s a reason cars and driving are so frequently used for analyses of life.  It makes sense.  Life is a journey and we are all travelling through, trying to navigate potholes and flat tyres and other cars.

You can’t control how other drivers drive their cars or react on the road.  And you can’t control how other people live their lives or react to things. 

You can disapprove of a person’s driving style or behaviour on the road, but there’s very little you can DO about it. Same goes for life and other people’s decisions/business/choices.

You can watch in horror as someone overtakes on a corner, aghast at what might happen, but there is nothing you can do about their decision. People have to make their own decisions.

You can disagree on the style or colour or size of someone else’s car choice.  Guess what, it’s not YOUR car and really, what they drive is nothing to do with you.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  You’re not them.

If people are reacting or behaving a certain way towards you.  If people are commenting and disapproving of what you do.  If people are unhappy with how you are driving YOUR car… whatever.   

Are they your passengers?  

Are they in danger because of how “drive your car”?  

Do they pay for your car?

Well if not, does it really matter what they think?

No. 

And if someone decided to flash their lights at you, or give you the one fingered salute as they pass, or shout out the window at you…or even if they sit in their car bitching about yours, once again, you can’t control that. 

And actually now that I think of it, my Granda’s words of wisdom AND my Daddy’s words of wisdom go quite well together. 

“You drive for yourself and let other drivers drive for themselves”.  Oh and if someone doesn’t like your “driving”, “remember who has the problem”.

Vintage 1950S, Pretty Woman, Vintage Car

How Many Hats are YOU Wearing?

Recently, a ‘challenge’ circulated Instagram where everyone posted four different images; How they look on Faceook, Instagram, LinkIn and Tinder.

It was fun and harmless and I happily posted my own. It was one of those silly, fun, giggle-inducing challenges and most of us enjoyed watching the collages popping up.

We all wear multiple hats. As parents, we have eleventy billion hats to wear in a single day; fun Mammy, strict Mammy, cross Mammy, huggy Mammy…the list is endless.

We have so many different sides to us; so many different qualities that we reserve for different versions of ourselves.

This USED to simply be our personalities, our “Identity” and we only showed each identity to the people who needed to see them. Now however, with social media and the necessity of online profiles, we are ALL of our identities at once, to whoever wants to see us.

Once upon a time, we changed our hats as we changed situations throughout the day.

We were ‘Mammy-Me’ at home, ‘Professional-me’ at work, ‘sassy-me’ with partner or when out, ‘fun-me‘ with friends etc.

As the day progressed, we put on whichever hat suited each situation and while most of us wore many many hats throughout the day, we were usually able to wear one at a time.

We still do this in our “real lives” each day.

But now, online, we often wear lots at the same time. It depends which platform you are using. There is an awareness of how you are viewed.

On LinkIn, it’s ‘Business-Me‘ all the way; Trying to come across as professional, approachable, reliable, intelligent and to stand out without shouting too loudly. Aware that any eyes are watching and that possibilities are constantly coming and going.

On Twitter, it’s socially and morally ‘Vocal-me‘… Trying to make a point without inviting every troll from Trollville for tea, trying hard to be heard in a wave of wit and controversy. Trying not to tag the wrong person or use the wrong hashtag. Most of us aren’t quite sure which “me” to put on Twitter.

On Instagram, it’s usually more ‘Fun-Me‘ for most people. To share or not to share? To filter or not to filter? To care or not to care? It depends on why you use it.

Thankfully, I don’t DO Tinder… I don’t think I’d have the energy for that craic anyway!

For me, I have my blog, so on that, I’m wearing my Mammy-hat, my wife-hat, my writer-hat, my friendly-hat, my honest-hat, my sensible-hat, my opinionated-hat and sometimes my Fancy-hat. 🙂

Then on my business page, it’s my pro-hat, my motivational-hat, my fitness-hat, my marketing-hat…

Add on Facebook, where again, many of us have personal pages as well as blog or business pages, not to mention all the groups we might be in for business or hobbies or kids’ activities.

And yet, once again, popping onto one little app for 20 minutes can be exhausting as we switch our hats over and over again depending on who we are interacting with. Often, we flick from app to app, navigating a few different platforms and therefore many different hats at once.

… and suddenly we can see why we can find ourselves wearing so many hats that our neck begins to crane under the weight and sometimes, it all gets too much.

There’s a lot of falsity on the internet. Lots of “Just Be YOURSELF” and “You do YOU!” (I’m all for these by the way), but hang on a second. We are MORE than just one version of ourselves. It’s completely natural. Someone who is only ever ONE way online, is probably the one who is false.

Being different versions of yourself is not false. We have ALWAYS done it. We always will. We ALL put on the phone voice, or speak in different voices depending on who we talk to. (Who’s a cutey witto baby gurl? Where’s a Mammy’s bestest wittle beebee?”)

We’ve all got different personas that we adopt depending on our physical audience; Boss, friends, clients, students, customers, relatives, neighbours, colleagues, family… everyone who knows you in real life, knows a different version of you.

Online is no different, and it’s not fake to show all of your different sides. It’s a must, especially if you have a business. The difference is however that it’s constant and it can be all at once.

In real life, it’s a bit more simple.

At home, I’m Mum and wife.

At work, I’m colleague/friend.

In my classroom, I’m teacher. (and even that depends on the age of the class in front of me.)

In the gym, I’m motivating Maria, trainer and smiler.

In my classes, I’m strong and invincible and Duracell Bunny.

In my rehearsals, I’m loud and bossy and creative, and all the things a Director must be to mould 60 talented adults into a show.

With friends, I’m… well it depends who I’m with I suppose. We have different friends who bring out different sides of us too, don’t we?

And when you combine all of the real life hat wearing with the online hat wearing, it’s exhausting.

Sometimes, when the hats all pile up, we get tired.

Sometimes, all of the hats topple us over.

For most of us, we have to pick up all the hats and keep them on our heads; all are valuable and necessary. Very few of the hats can be removed completely, (not without HUGE life decisions!)

But what we can do to lessen the weight, is to sometimes switch off our online selves and focus on the real life Me.

Remember that you can switch off. That you don’t have to answer every message immediately. That you can pause platforms for a few hours, or days, or weeks… the internet police are not going to hunt you down.

Keep wearing all of your hats. Wear your favourite hats most and often.

But when the hats get too heavy to wear so many at once, take them off for a while, and just be you.

And remember, every one has their own style and we all wear different sizes. 😉

M x

You are Now Approaching Station Baby Brain

You are now approaching Station Baby Brain…

Imagine a train network.  (Yeah I know that this is an alien concept to us up here in Donegal, but hey!)

Your brain is like this: a series of tracks, each with a destination and with all sorts of trains on them.  On any given day, millions of thoughts and signals travel through this network.

You are the Mammy Train.

trainpink.jpg

Most days, we have so many things to do and stations to visit that we wonder if we’ll have enough steam to get it all done!

We recall information and remember things by reversing back to a station we’ve already been in.

We learn how to do things by going to a new station and continuing on and on.

Sometimes, we turn onto a new track and realise we should have been on it all along.

Sometimes, we need to get off a track asap.

We keep going everyday, sometimes not having a clue where this particular track is going to take us. But always chugging on.

Some days are like rush hour.  Every track is moving, it’s fast and furious and how all of the trains manage to NOT crash, is a miracle.  (Most days if we’re honest!)

 

Other days are slow and quiet with just a functional service running.

But there’s a magical station that is known only to Mums.

It’s the station called Baby Brain.

It sometimes appears on the track during pregnancy and appears more and more frequently in the early months of exhaustion fog.

You start a sentence and can’t remember what you were going to say.

You forget people’s names.

You go into the shop to get…something.  You just can’t remember what that something is.

You forget words.  Yes, actual words that you have used your whole life, evade you when you are at Baby Brain station.

trainstationold.jpg

Baby Brain station is derelict.  It’s grey and brown and draughty and cold. Tumbleweed blows by on the platform which is full of Mums staring into cupboards, trying to remember why they opened it, or of the Mum who is looking for the phone she has in her hand.

Thankfully, it’s only a temporary stop and often, your Mammy train is back on track and functioning after only seconds there.

But the station ever goes away.  I thought that Baby Brain was a temporary thing.  Turns out, many years into Motherhood, my train pulls up at Baby Brain Station more frequently than I care to.

I forget names.  All the names.  Always have, but it’s worse since I had the girls.

My “Somewhere safe” has become synonymous with “Never to be seen again”.  If I tell The Him that I put something “somewhere safe”, he rolls his eyes, knowing that I may as well have emailed it to fecking Narnia.  It shall never grace daylight again.

I often walk into a room and genuinely have to wonder why I came in in the first place.

I remember doing things, but doubt if I am remembering planning to do them or actually doing them.  Have you ever replied to a message or email in your head, but never actually typed the reply?

I’ve put the beige food in the oven but not turned it on more times than enough.

I could list all of the silly things that Baby Brain has made me do, but I’d be here all day.  I’d be parked up at that station trying to find my keys for the the train and trying to remember where I was going in the first place.

The station never goes away.  And really, we should rename it shouldn’t we.  Because it’s not “Baby Brain” really.  It lasts way beyond the Baby phase.

Let’s call it what it is and stop blaming the poor kids!

It’s Mammy Brain and whether you like it or not, your Mammy train will continue to pass through it until you are no longer chugging.

Now, what was I saying?

tumbleweed.jpg