When your child becomes your teacher don't expect the lesson to be an easy one.
We were halfway through the spring school holidays when I decided it was probably best to clean the table - I was getting tired of shifting books, paper and pencils to one end come meal time (every meal time). To be honest, I'm not overly bothered with this kind of tidying; it often bares reward in the form of funny pictures, phonetically spelt words and small insights into big imaginations. I could see that Che had been working on a rough sketch of a family tree and as I scanned the page and recognised the faces I noticed that everyone was smiling except me.
Straight to the heart.
So I asked him: "Why am I sad in the family tree?" Never one to want to upset me, he fumbled and made excuses before I stopped him and told him that I wanted to hear his truth. "Oh mum, it's just that often you are thinking and frowning."
And there it was, laid out in front of me, impossible to ignore: I'm thinking and frowning instead of talking and smiling.
I admit that these past few months have been full to the brim; juggling work with three children was never going to be easy. And more often than not I'm so caught up with the to-do list that runs through my mind that I'm not nearly as present and aware as I need to be. I'm not unhappy but I'm definitely not happy-go-lucky. But for goodness sake, I don't want to be the frowning mum in our family tree, do I?! Regardless of my reasons and excuses, I don't want my resting face to be a miserable one.
So over the past week I've been practising a little more self-awareness. I've been rubbing lavender oil on my jawline at night to prevent clenching in my sleep; I'm stopping myself mid-list and exhaling loudly (fulfilling the hippy cliche) and I'm raising and relaxing my eyebrows when I notice I'm furrowing my brow. And in true Justine Clarke style, I'm making a dancing face. Because what's the point of yoga if it isn't fun?