Being a parent is bloody hard work, actually being an adult is. There are so many demands and constraints and it can all get too much. Now I should mention that this is not a gardening nor an allotment blog. Not really, but read on…
I love carrots and we have had hit a hit and miss success with them. With a large pet rabbit and a shy guinea pig carrots are in high demand in our garden. But what I actually want to talk about is the figurative carrot. The carrot at the end of a stick with a donkey chasing it…. for now let’s forget about the stick!
The carrot encourages the donkey to continue running, that there is a reward at the end.
This is my key advice on life! You are the donkey and you need to have your carrot dangling! You need your reward for dealing with all the shit life throws at you, just ahead, in front of you, encouraging you to carry on.
Now your reward (your carrot) could be something big like a holiday or something small like a coffee with a friend. We are not all rich enough to afford brand new cars for example but we can all take an hour out to watch a favourite programme or do whatever floats your boat!
For me this idea came about when the kids were very little, I had three under 4 and it was a whirl wind of nappies, bottles, boobs and cold cups of tea. Finally after my youngest was about 6 months I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or several lights, several carrots/rewards.
We booked a cheap get a way to Devon and that was a huge thing to look forward to. My mum who lives 300 miles away booked to come down more often, more rewards and my eldest was due to start reception and my middle child nursery. FINALLY I could perhaps have a bit of time to myself. My carrot! As she was my third I was happy to leave her sleeping while I had a hot (uninterrupted) shower! another carrot! Suddenly the first thought in my head when I woke up was not how would I cope with the monotony of my blessed day but more what ‘rewards’ I could fit in or was working towards.
Of course it goes without saying that children are a huge reward but I doubt there is a parent alive who would not agree that you need your other ‘rewards’ too!
Now as they are 11, 10 and 7 it is ‘slightly’ less labour intensive although still the idea of a hot mug of tea, unitterupted in my own home is still a big reward I can tell you.
This idea of rewards also obviously applies to allotments. For example we know as gardeners that the beds which can be such hardwork to dig will become the perfect growing areas for our plants and that in spring the seeds we sew will (Quite litrally in the case of carrots) become the vegetables we will enjoy in Summer. Not to mention the well deserved flask of coffee or glass of wine after a productive day on the plot.
When you think of it we use the analogy with kids. Eat your food then you can have desert. Do your homework then you can play etc and yet we are so crap at doing it with ourselves. Its almost like we don’t feel like we deserve it! Like as adults life itself is enough of a reward and it is but it is also bloody hard work and we deserve our carrots.
My own carrots might be a cup of tea and ten minutes on pintrest after writing this, a new hair do, a new camping accessory, a night out with the girls or simply an extra 10 minutes in bed!
Obviously everyone’s carrots are different but I honestly believe that you have to have your next reward to keep you going through the stresses and strains. Like the seasons themselves we know that after a long hard winter the spring will arrive and after that the summer and hopefully an actual bed of carrots!