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Tag: self improvement

My Babies

I am now the proud owner of 4 house plants! Well co-owner I suppose, as they I guess they are technically Jason’s as well. But I think I’m doing most of the watering and tending at the moment. My collection has quadrupled in size in the past couple months… but that doesn’t mean too much as I only had one to begin with. It all started with a spider plant which my mother-in-law bought me about a year ago. I managed to keep it alive, so thought I might safely obtain another one. That one extra plant has turned into three; we have a little cluster of bamboo in the bathroom as well as an English Ivy that I’m hoping will eventually drape itself down the side of the windowsill. We also have a lovely red-edged dracaena in the lounge, it’s about a meter tall (maybe, I’m horrible at eye-balling measurements) with long, thin dark green leaves edged with red. I may be a little bit in love with this one…

While this whole love of plants in my home thing may be a normal thing for some people, it is rather a strange thing for me. I’ve never liked gardening, never cared to spend time with plants and definitely didn’t have a natural ability to care for them! I just would never remember to water, weed or deadhead anything I was left in charge off. This may seem weird to say, but I guess I never really connected with any plants. I didn’t see them as a living, growing thing that needed tending, so remembering to do so just wouldn’t stick in my mind.

When I was almost 15, the mother of one of my closest friends gifted me with a plant at my baptism. I was thrilled, and thought it was such a lovely gift – something to look after and have as a reminder of that day through the coming years. I have no idea what type of plant it was, but it did not last long. My bedroom at that point was in the basement; I did place the plant under the window, but that still didn’t give it nearly enough light. I thoroughly neglected it, watering it maybe once a month, then finally realized it was not very happy down in the basement. The original full, dark foliage had been topped with a long spindly stem desperately trying to get closer to the light. I brought it upstairs, hoping that would revive it, ended up having to accept that I had killed my lovely gift. During the next few years I killed quite a few of my mum’s hanging baskets by forgetting to water them for a few weeks during the summer. I accepted that I was just not cut out for gardening or caring for plants and hardly thought about it again.

About a year ago we moved into a lovely little flat just out in the English countryside. We got unpacked and settled in, hung a few pictures, and it felt like home. And then I got a sudden desire for a house plant. The house felt like it needed something living, something green, to make it complete. Unfortunately a few months later we discovered there was already a living, green mould infestation that drove us out of the flat, but that is beside the point. I researched house plants, determined to find something that was easy to look after and hard to kill, and decided on a spider plant.

And it thrived! I remembered to water it once a week and feed it occasionally. I stroked it’s leaves (just to remove the dust, of course), and carefully pinched off any brown tips. It has responded wonderfully, rapidly growing and even giving me a few tiny flowers. Eventually it grew so much that it got a little panicked and started rapidly shooting out long stems to grow babies… and I realized I needed to do something to calm it down.

That something was way beyond my expertise, so my mother-in-law stepped in and rescued me. She split my poor spider plant into four separate pots, and gave one back to me to tend. At first it was a little droopy and unhappy looking, but after a week of careful watering (and more gentle stroking) it seems to be happy again. I’m planning on hanging it up in our bedroom, in a larger pot this time and with a little less sun, which will hopefully stave off the panic for quite some time!

This house-plant acquiring business is starting to become a wee bit of an addiction. It’s an addiction in all the good senses of the word! There are quite a few other plants that I’d love to bring home, the only problem I’m having is finding a place to put them. I know I need to slowly increase my collection, rather than doing an impulsive plant-haul (much as that idea sounds amazing), and I can’t quite see myself stopping completely any time soon. I find my plants are so calming, and add character, life and beauty to a room. They just make me happy. 🙂

I’m afraid it won’t be too long until I start naming my plants… any ideas?

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Change is actually possible for me!

I think we all have a picture in our mind of who and what we want to be. I know I have built an image of this ideal woman who is always happy and contented. She doesn’t let other people’s attitudes shake her own mood and always responds with love. She keeps her home perfectly clean and organized and works out at least three times a week. I could go on and on and on…

This perfect woman is constantly in my head, usually pointing out the ways I’ve failed to live up to her standards each day. At times she inspires me to do better, but most of the time I just feel depressed and incapable of change. However, a few days ago my husband said something to me that made me realize that I’m not as useless as I generally feel and I am actually capable of improvement!

It was Sunday afternoon and Jason was watching me start cleaning the bathroom while he was lying on out bed (he wasn’t feeling well at all, not just being lazy!). This was shortly after I’d been griping about how I really did not want to housework and just felt like chilling. He just said “I don’t know how you do it.” When I asked what he was referring to he explained that I just push on and do whatever needs to be done regardless of how I’m feeling.

Now this may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was huge; not only because he isn’t always overflowing with compliments, but because I have viewed myself as a very lazy procrastinator. I’ve always been a very messy person, my room at my parent’s house was usually about a foot deep in clothes and various other of my possessions. Before we got married I had no idea how I would cope with housework and keeping things tidy and just all the things that need to be done around the house on a daily or weekly basis. And to be honest I was pretty awful for the first while… dishes wouldn’t be done for days, my clothes were still left all over the floor and it would take most of the week to finally get the weekend’s clean laundry put away. The state of our house usually made me feel depressed and rather like a failure as an adult and a wife. I think it irritated Jason a fair bit as well… with good reason!

I realize that being tidy and organized is not the be all and end all in life. I know that you don’t have to have the perfect home and wash and dry each dish immediately after use to be considered mature and responsible. But I also knew that I really needed to improve (and still do)! And as I said at the beginning, my natural tendency is to look at my weaknesses as evidence of my general worthlessness rather than simply areas that I need to work on improving.

Having Jason point out how I’d started automatically tidying up and having him impressed with me really meant so much to me! It made me realize that I actually have changed over the past few months; something has somehow clicked in my brain that as the dishes need to be washed I just need to get on and do them! In no way do I keep an immaculate house, but now my clothes are always put away, the dishes are almost always washed and the rooms are usually tidy overall. I hadn’t noticed this change; it happened so gradually that it became my new normal. I still viewed myself as messy and lazy because I hadn’t recognized that had actually (mostly) left that part of myself behind! It took Jason reminding me to stop and compare myself 6 months ago to who I am now to realize that I am actually capable of improvement. I really can’t say just how good this made me feel!

The point of this post isn’t to point out how amazing I am for cleaning my bathroom and washing my dishes. Please don’t take it this way! I have just realized how helpful (and necessary) it is to look back at where we were some time ago and recognize what changes and improvements have been made. Many times it is near impossible to see how you could ever make even a small change when in the moment; just take a step back and think about who you were a year ago. I’m sure you can find a least one area where you’ve grown closer to your ideal.

And on that note… I need to go wash the dishes before heading to bed!

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