Another short but poignant #wednesdaywords today. I am loving all of the wonderful things that have been happening since I self-published, but promoting yourself is hard work! This quote, seen on Facebook earlier in the week, just summed it all up!
Another short but poignant #wednesdaywords today. I am loving all of the wonderful things that have been happening since I self-published, but promoting yourself is hard work! This quote, seen on Facebook earlier in the week, just summed it all up!
Holiday: A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law in which normal activities, especially business or work, are to be suspended or reduced.
Having just arrived home after an eventful few days ‘holidaying’ in Wales, I am currently sat with a much needed hot cup of tea and a large mountain of chocolate beside me, looking at the photos of our few days away. After the success of our last family holiday in France I was looking forward to another break away, and another chance to build more memories. Which technically, we did…but not in quite the same way, as the weekend was more of a comedy of errors than a restful break away. I shall start at the very beginning, and I apologise for what is rather a long, and possibly at times, rather rambling post…but I needed to get it all out! (skip to the end for my profound response to it all if you choose! ;-))
So…my husband was supposed to have the whole week off work before we were due to got I Wales onThursday, but as always in his line of business, there was some sort of ‘deal’ happening and he annoyingly needed to go into work on both Monday and Wednesday. Now I have to admit to not being too amused by this, however as there wasn’t really anything I could do I (mostly) kept my mouth shut. It did mean however, that as I had all three children to myself my brain wasn’t completely focused on the packing and by Wednesday night it still wasn’t done and we were due to leave by Thursday lunchtime. I don’t know what it’s like in your household, but generally here…I do ALL of the packing, partly because I’m a total control freak, and partly because my husband wouldn’t have a clue what to pack even if I asked him. Normally I’m very organised and in control of the packing (I do love a list!)…..however this time, I did it very quickly and I didn’t do it very well. (not a list in sight)
It quickly became apparent that I’d forgotten quite a few things. Never has the phrase I uttered as we were driving down the M4 and across the bridge ‘I’m sure I’ve forgotten something’ been more apt, for I had forgotten some quite vital things as you will discover as you read on…
We arrived at the cottage and let ourselves in as we’d been told it was unlocked. Small and quaint, but perfect for what we needed we were quite pleased! There was as strong smell of air freshners which turned out to be those stick things you put in a jar of smelling liquid, it took about five minutes for us all to start sneezing so I hid the offending freshener in the downstairs toilet. The smell stopped, but the sneezing didn’t….all sodding weekend. Fresh air was in order and we were just around the corner from the ‘Mountain Cafe,’ where there were apparently amazing views of the Brecon Beacons. Not today however, as just as we got back into the car to drive there the heavens opened. We found the centre, surrounded by mist and rain clouds and not a single pleasant view, and all ran inside. It was about four o’clock by now so we went to the cafe for a cuppa and cake. There was a nice softplay there, yet as always, my 17month old wanted to wander where he shouldn’t, which was on this occasion around the tables that weren’t being used and had chairs upside down on top of them. I asked my husband to get him (he was closer!) as I could foresee a nasty chair falling incident and got the reply, ‘he’s alright he’s just walking,’ and then, yes, you guessed it, two seconds later and the boy decided to pull a chair in top of his beautiful little head. Cue screaming, cue looks from everyone judging us for letting him walk there in the first place, cue me shouting ‘I told you so,’ and everyone feeling slightly awkward. Thankfully the crying stopped and we could see there wasn’t much damage done to my little one, yet everyone else was left feeling a little bit tense.
We went back to the cottage where were discovered that it really isn’t set up for small people. There were no stair gates, no secure fire guards next to the log fire, no high chair, hard corners everywhere, cleaning products in kitchen cupboards where the doors could be easily opened….I could go on. I take it for granted that at home, and the majority of other homes I’m in, that there are things put in place to make life easy, to keep children safe without you having to follow them around every single second of every minute. The toddler jammed his fingers in drawers, picked up firewood and got splinters, changed the channels (to no channel) on the tv, ran up the stairs and all sorts of other mischievous things…and that was with two of us watching him constantly! It was not relaxing AT ALL!
Thankfully he goes to bed at six and it was then I discovered the first of my packing errors…I had not packed a bottle, not one single bottle and he will currently not go to sleep without one at night…so this resulted in me having to do a very quick dash into Brecon hoping that the local supermarket sold bottles, which thankfully they did. I raced back to find a very overtired little boy, a rather stressed out Dad and that the majority of the lounge had been moved or altered in some way to make it a bit safer…for everyone!
The boys went to bed and the second of my packing f*** ups became apparent…I hadn’t packed the four year old’s blow up sleeping bag bed. No bed. FFS. Why couldn’t I have forgotten socks or toothpaste or things that weren’t really, really important? After a frantic search and brainstorm we found some cushions that are meant for the sun loungers that were outside. We found a spare duvet cover to use as a sheet and a lovely blanket for a cover. Sorted.
Wine was now in order and then I cooked dinner (priorities!) We had a relaxing evening in front of the tv and then went to bed. Day 1 done.
Day 2 was ok, we discovered a lovely farm and spent hours there feeding lambs, holding rabbits and chinchillas and watching spooky shows. The only things that weren’t perfect were that even after we’d ordered our lunch it didn’t appear, and when we asked it turned out that they’d lost our order and had to start again from scratch, cue three very hungry and grumpy children. Then the 17 month old walked into a (unpadded!!) metal bar in the toddler soft play area and added another bruise to his already colourful little face. Poor little chap, he is so accident prone at the moment and every time he falls over and hurts himself I feel soooo guilty. We spent most of the day there and then after the older two had completed a challenge and collected two pumpkins on the way out, we left.
Back at the cottage the four year old suddenly went very pale and quiet and wasn’t himself at all. Thinking he was just worn out from the day we had early nights all round, however when he woke up on Saturday it was clear that he was poorly with a nasty high temperature. Turns out he picked a good day to make us all stay in as there was a storm outside. A massive, huge , horrible storm that was worse than we experienced last week in Bristol. Garden furniture was blown all over the place and the road outside became a river. Keeping our fingers crossed we didn’t have a power cut as there was only one candle in the cottage and no matches, we all huddled in the over crowded slightly unsafe lounge. I cooked a roast thinking that would cheer everyone up, but the toddler threw his on the floor and it wasn’t the happy family meal I’d envisaged with my husband and I having to take it in turns to look after him and eat our roast cold. I was in bed by seven that night as I was utterly exhausted.
And today, well today on the way home, we visited Caerphilly castle and froze our butts off walking around and exploring it for a few hours. Nice and fun…but freezing cold!!
I’m not entirely sure what the point, moral or message of this post is (I usually like to have one) but I guess writing about it has helped me as blogging usually does…putting the last few days in perspective has taught me not to expect anything when there are children around (and that I need to think carefully and write lists when packing!) I’d imagined us all walking up the mountains or around the beautiful reservoirs of the Brecon Beacons (which we couldn’t have done anyway because I’d forgot the blimmin sling) I’d imagined cosy nights in, laughter, rest and relaxation and I guess I came home slightly disappointed that there wasn’t really any of this, and that sadly, this weekend, the errors and mishaps didn’t make us share laughter, or rest, or relax….they just served to frustrate and exhaust my husband and I even more.
Yet ask the children if they’ve had a great time and the reply would be a resounding ‘YES!!’ For them there wasn’t a forgotten bed, but an opportunity for an exciting sleepover in big sister’s bedroom on a brand new bed! There wasn’t a dangerous storm, but a thrilling show through the window of magical moving furniture and blowing leaves. There weren’t banged heads, but adventures and places that had been explored. There were new experiences, new memories being stored, new things done; and even though my husband and I have come back exhausted, the children have come back energised (apart from the slightly ill one) A change for them it seems, really is as good as a rest….
Do you find family time away relaxing…or exhausting??
I’ve linked up with the lovely @PODcast ‘s What’s the Story? this week, luckily she let me tell this story with lots of photos! 😉
Wish: A wish is a hope or desire for something. Fictionally, wishes can be used as plot devices. In folklore, opportunities for “making a wish” or for wishes to “come true” or “be granted” are themes that are sometimes used.
So if you’ve followed me on Twitter today you’ll know I’ve had a bad day, well afternoon really. And what does a blogger do when they’ve had a bad day…why blog all about it of course!
A few things that have happened recently have got me thinking (yes I do do that every now and again) and have made me realise how fragile my mental state can still be at times. It’s hard once you’ve suffered from depression (well it is for me anyway) to not think it’s always hovering not far away ready to come back and bite you on the ass. I forget sometimes that life with three children is going to be busy, stressful and hard work and that things are not always going to happen how I’d like them too or when I’d like them to. And I need constant reminding that I don’t necessarily feel overwhelmed because I’m depressed again, but simply because it’s life; and good days are often intermingled with bad ones. We all have them. I guess for me maybe the trick is to recognise that this is exactly what they are…just bad days, not a bad life. And sometimes even though those bad days do all appear to happen at once, hence the phrase ‘never rains but it pours,’ the good days are still there too, if not a bit few and far between at times.
Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and a bit anxious again and it has got me worried I’m sinking back into the treacle I spent so much of last year trudging through. But if I look closely there have been so many reasons for me feeling out of sorts, not just PND…there has been a sickness bug in the house, my middle child has started school and routine is all out if the window thanks to a ridiculously long settling in period, my husband has had to work long hours and be away, my mum has been abroad, (this always unnerves me, I like it when she’s here even though she lives two hours away) it was my dad’s (who sadly passed away when I was 22) birthday last week, my 12 year old has been beyond hormonal and challenging, the toddler never ever sleeps (slight exaggeration!) and the weather has turned to pants to name just a few things. I know these things aren’t life threatening stuff. I know these things are not end of the world stuff and I know that these things are just stuff. Stuff that on a good day I can embrace with the fact that my life is never dull. Stuff that we all experience. But it is stuff that at the moment is slowly wearing me down and making me tired and emotional.
We all know parenting is relentless. The challenges and difficulties you face at one stage disappear only for a million other challenges to rear their ugly head. It’s never easy, the goalposts constantly change and a whole load of new crap comes our way. And yes I waffle on about instinctively we’re supposed to know how to deal with all of these challenges, and when I’m well and feeling rational my instincts do guide the way and I marvel at them all the time. But on days like today I’ll be honest, even I doubt them, even I doubt myself…and I hate self doubt. Deep down I know I can’t control my daughter’s hormones, just guide her through them. Deep down I know my toddler’s sleeping issues are not because of something I’ve done and that I have to be patient and know that this is how things are at the moment. Deep down I know I’m not ill again and my instincts are as strong as they ever were. But when I’m having a bad day all of that goes out of the window. I feel trapped. I feel useless. I desperately crave a break and a bit of time out. All it usually takes is half an hour. Time to say…let it all out in a blog post…and then I feel better. But sometimes it takes more than that. It needs a day away from it all and I’m starting to recognise when I need these days the most.
A while ago I wrote a blog post about a letter I had written to myself with wishes and hopes for the future and I thought that maybe it was time to write another one. I’m a firm believer in having things to look forward to, plus I’m a list lover, so writing a letter detailing all of the things I’d love for myself and my family in the near future seemed like a productive way of working through my current not-so-great-mood. It goes as follows…
1. A date night with my husband. Oh this is a big one on my list. We still have not had an evening or a night to ourselves since February. Lack of a babysitter seems to be the main problem. When you’ve got three children it can (shock horror) put some people off babysitting. And with the toddler not sleeping too great I’d probably worry he was being troublesome whilst we were out. But nevertheless my husband and I need some time so I need to make it happen.
2. A mother/daughter evening…or several! These have really worked wonders in the past and made our, at times tested, relationship stronger. Sometimes I forget that she had me all to herself for so long and that living in a step-family situation possibly isn’t always easy on her. It’s good for us to have some time together.
3. A day for me. To just be me and not a mum and all of the things that brings with it. I’d love to go to a spa, or sit in a cafe all day writing, or go for a swim where I can actually swim. You get the idea. I’d just, selfishly, like a ‘day off.’
4. Family walks and Sunday roasts. We got into the habit when I was ill with PND of not venturing out too far. Of just going for lunch and then coming home again with the excuse that the baby needed to nap. I love autumn and the run up to Christmas and have very fond memories of family walks as a child. collecting conkers and jumping in piles of fallen leaves. So I’ve joined the National Trust and would like to go on many a winter walk, coming home to cook a wonderfully warming roast. Thankfully the rest of the family would like to do this too! 😉
5. Self-publish A Monster Ate My Mum. This excites me…a lot! So far I have asked the wonderful Helen Braid to do the artwork for me and the sample pages have brought tears to my eyes they are so perfect. I have no idea how to go about self-publishing, but hopefully I will learn as I go through the process and the poem will be brought to life.
So that’s my list for now. I think it’s only fair to stop at five things for fear of writing down too much and becoming disappointed when they are not all achieved. The things I have written above are all achievable (I hope!) and would benefit more people than just me…so watch this space and hopefully, fingers crossed, I will be writing a blog post at Christmas telling you all about it!
What would be on your wish list for the next few months?
Judgement: Judgement (or judgment) is the evaluation of evidence to make a decision.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a couple of weeks now, but it hasn’t been proving easy. I mean, how do you write about people judging other people whilst taking a good long hard look at yourself and realising that maybe you do it too. I umm-ed and ahh-ed about publishing this post for fear of people judging me for judging, actively, all the time and then I decided to do it anyway. Honest as always and besides, it provokes a good healthy discussion!
Those of you that follow me on twitter would recently have seen my outrage at a young teen girl loudly judging my twelve year old daughter in public. For those of you that don’t follow me, I shall recap. We were off to the theatre for a girly night out with my best friend and my daughter’s Godmother (you’ve heard me mention ‘Cynthia’ before right?!) We’d been shopping during the day and hadn’t left long enough to get ready and have dinner so after we’d dressed up for the theatre we dropped into a local supermarket to pick up some sandwiches. (we’d had a big lunch) (see how I felt the need to tell you that for fear of you judging me for not feeding my daughter properly!) Now, my daughter is 12 years old and is, quite rightly in my opinion, starting to take a pride in her appearance. Not in a pressured by her peers or people she sees kind of way, just in a ‘I’m going somewhere nice so I should make and effort and look nice’ kind of way. And this I encourage. So yes on that night out I let her wear her wedge heeled shoes, and yes I let her wear her leather jacket, and yes I let her wear make-up…well I say make up, it was actually just mascara if I’m honest. She looked beautiful.
In the shop she nipped in front of me to get a thank you card for the boy’s pre-school staff, and as she disappeared around the corner I heard someone very loudly tut before saying ‘that girl is wearing far too much make up and is far too fashionable for someone her age.’ I turned around quickly and saw a teenage girl who couldn’t been no more than fourteen (yes, I judged her age) with her father. (yes I judged that too, could’ve been her Uncle, or brother I guess) I don’t know whether it was the way in which she said it, the look on her face when she said it or the fact that she was commenting on my daughter’s appearance and judging her that made me snap, but I walked up, looked her in the eye and said ‘please keep your opinions to yourself in future…alright’ in rather an unpleasant tone. My daughter had heard the exchange and instantly became paranoid that she was wearing the wrong thing. Her body language changed and the previous confident walk became a hunched shuffle. And it made me upset. It was another moment in her life when she had to become a little less naive and a little more street wise and know a bit more about how us humans work. How we (rightly or wrongly) judge others, sometimes because it makes us feel better about ourselves and sometimes just because (more on this in a bit). And this conversation with my daughter got me thinking…is it right to think things about other people as long as they don’t hear you? Is the quote ‘What other people think of you is none of your business.’ actually true? We all try not too, but is it fair to say we all judge people all of the time…sometimes without even realising that that is precisely what we are doing? And that we just don’t say anything because we’re too polite? How many times have you wondered if someone is fat or pregnant? If the woman he’s with is his daughter or lover? Or thought ‘oh that haircut is not good’ ?? (be honest!) But is even thinking these things ok? And do we ever have enough evidence to make informed judgements?
As humans I think we are programmed to analyse situations and people. Many, many years ago our ancestors had to judge everything. Whether noises were a sign of impending danger or harmless; a polar bear coming to attack our family or just the wind. Whether the caveman next door was a good neighbour or one who would steal your gathered food when your back was turned. Now of course we don’t face any of these dangers, but we still have our primitive brains in our heads. The brain that only functions through fear, anger and depression and to where we all retreat occasionally. (well I know I do) The brain that controls the fight or flight response, making us analyse every situation and trust our instincts. Sadly as we’ve evolved maybe our primitive judgemental brains have had to channel their focus elsewhere, as for the most part the dangers that were ever present then are not now.
Now I’m not saying judging someone for the way they are bringing up their children is ever right or a natural chemical reaction in the brain. And I’m not saying that a lack of empathy and understanding as to why a person is dressed, behaving or living in a way they are is a good thing either. There are many reasons why a mum might be shouting and losing her temper, or why someone is behaving in an arrogant or shy manner or a child is appearing to have a tantrum. And I’m not saying all judgements are negative ones…some may be very flattering indeed, like when you spot a lovely skirt someone has on or notice a good looking man walking past you. But what I am saying is that we all do it. We all size up situations, people, places and sometimes make snap judgements based on what we encounter. I’m currently sat on my own writing this blog post in a coffee shop and people are probably looking at me thinking I’m a billy no mates. And does it bother me? Before all of the above happened or when I was in my twenties then yes, it probably would have. I for one am generally very sensitive as to how people perceive me and can at times be super paranoid about what people think about me. But I’m learning to care a little less and have more faith in myself and those around me (not literally around me now, I mean around me in everyday life!) who I know think I’m actually alright. I’m learning not to get wound up about people’s judgements of me and take it personally because it sure as heck isn’t winding the person up who’s doing the judging. If someone is misreading me or a situation I’m in then maybe that is more a reflection on them and what is happening their life than it is mine. I think I need to learn to accept that it happens, that people judge me, and be safe in the knowledge that only those close to me know the truth about me and my life and that’s all that matters.
And then of course there is my impressionable daughter. Well…she decided to focus on the words ‘too fashionable’ from the judgemental teen’s outburst, and has taken it as a compliment that she was very well dressed. Clever girl 😉
Control: Control (management), an element of management. Control freak, a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done
I have to start this post by once again apologising for it not being polished and perfect. It is simply an outpouring of some rubbish that’s in my head which is making me feel a bit crap, and blogging always seems to help! It’s nothing serious and no-one needs to panic that I’m spiralling back down into some nasty dark place, but equally I hope you don’t read this post and think I’m total a drama queen! I’m not. Things just get on top of me sometimes.
So…here I am, sat in bed, feeling somewhat out of sorts. I can’t quite put my finger on how I’m feeling, a bit like I’ve been dumped, have a hangover and am in the middle of a very weird dream all rolled into one. So many things in my life are happening and changing and are out of my control. I don’t do out of control. I make a messy drunk and swear I’d only be happy on a plane if I were the pilot.
Several things have conspired over the last few weeks and even months that have contributed to me feeling as such. Many of them I have been unable to control. A few years ago when anxiety had an evil grip on me I tried to practise the art of ‘if I can’t control it, then I’m not allowed to worry about it. But how do you not worry about your 4 year old who isn’t putting on weight and hacks up a horrific amount of thick yellow grunge on a daily basis? How do you not worry about your 12 year old daughter relishing what little freedom she has and beginning to make more and more decisions in life for herself? How do you not worry about family and friends who are going through a tough time and you can do nothing to support them or fix things and make it all better? How can you not be concerned about your son who starts school in September, and whose best friend has now moved to the other class so he hasn’t the support and friendly face he needed on that first day?
During my real job I am a primary school teacher and well known control freak. I’ve tried to job-share and it hasn’t worked, namely because I couldn’t control the people I worked with. That sounds harsh, I’m not a complete bitch and in fact am praised at work and respected for being supportive, empathetic and approachable. But at work I like order. I like things to be done to the best of everyone’s abilities, I know where I stand. I haven’t worked now for over a year and am not due back until January and sometimes worry if it’s this lack of routine, lack of feeling in control of things that adds to this weird way I am feeling at the moment.
And the reason I’ve not worked for so long…..the birth of my third (and final) child. The child who cannot be controlled in any way shape or form. We all know that becoming a parent means losing control of so many things. Your freedom. When you sleep, eat, shower. You even lose control of whether or not you can drink a cup of tea whilst it’s still warm. (and I wont mention the lack of control over certain bodily functions) This last year control has completely left me, run away and hidden in some far off land not returning anytime soon. Naively I thought that with my third I’d know what to do, get it all right, have it all sorted….but…no! Never have I had to trust my instincts more, listen to my baby more and lose what little control in my life I had left. And although most days this is ok, some days I find it frustrating. I want to be in control. I want to be on top of things. Drink a hot cup of sodding tea, go to sleep when I bloody well want to, be on top of the laundry and have a clean and tidy house. Ah the house!
Our house is a perfectly nice house. I’m not homeless and I live in a lovely area, yet in January after several long discussions with my husband about how he’d lived in this house since he was 6 and needed to move on and be the man of his own home, we decided to put our house on the market. I was also very keen to move as I’ve never really felt like this house is my home. Buying it off my in-laws seemed like a great idea at the time, but it still very much seems like their house. When my mother in law comes to stay, for example she will unconsciously put things back where she used to keep them, and our garage and loft are still full of their stuff. So, we were excited to move, to find our own forever home. However, I was soon to become frustrated at the lack of control over the sale of the house and I became more and more despondent as no viewings happened.
To cut a very long story short, a couple of weeks ago we found our forever home. The owners wanted to downsize and knocked on our door asking if we could do a house swap. Not quite believing it could happen my husband and I were cautious at first, but the other family were the driving force and were soon phoning or coming round daily asking how quickly we could move. Numbers were discussed and a deal was done. We were beside ourselves with excitement at the future this new house help for us and our family. It really was our dream house. Our forever home. One where I imagined grandchildren coming to visit us. And then on Sunday, returning from a weekend away we found a card through our letterbox saying the move was off, with no explanation. Now, I am VERY aware that I sound like a spoilt brat crying over spilt milk, but I was devastated. The life I had imagined for my family gone. My dream shattered. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried quite a lot over the last couple of days. So silly really, it was just a sodding house. A house I wanted but didn’t really need. Please don’t think I’m some ungrateful woman who doesn’t appreciate what she has got because I do, I really really do, but I think the loss of the house is just the catalyst for my current emotional state and has piled on top of the other crap I feel I can’t control and has been building up over a while. This year has been one of the toughest I’ve faced for a while and the new house represented a new start. A new beginning for us all where we could shake off all the crap that’s happened. But sadly it’s not going to happen, it simply wasn’t meant to be.
I know I need to learn to let go more, to analyse less and be more relaxed. I’m learning with my youngest that he isn’t a baby who does anything by the book and he is teaching me to lose control a little bit at a time….he’s very good for me! I’m also a firm believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t ever know or understand that reason. Many of the things that I am feeling so out of control about can be resolved or won’t seem nearly as important in six months time, and I will learn to embrace those that can’t be resolved; for life is one big adventure and it would be dull if we were always in control of what was going to happen next…I guess…
Friendship: Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. Friendship is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association.
My mum always said to me that there are two types of friends in life….floaters and stickers. Now whilst I always thought this sounded more like she was talking about poo than people, over the years her words have actually proved true. Friendships are strange and wonderful things, some last and some are only there, often intense for the short time you need them. Sadly, sometimes friends let you down and make you question yourself and others, and sometimes a true, long lasting friendship can develop in the most unlikely of places.
Becoming a mum at the age of 24 changed a lot of my friendships. Many of my friends were into going out, boys, and burning the candle at both ends. Whilst I was also up all night it was for a very different reason and unsurprisingly some of those friendships very quickly fizzled out. But amazingly others that I didn’t expect to became stronger, and I learnt a lot about who I could trust, and who was a true friend who would go out of their way to support me.
This weekend we travelled up north to visit an old friend with whom I lived with for three years at university. A friend who due to many things, namely life and a couple of babies, I hadn’t seen for several years. I was very excited to be going to see her and her family and it was a brilliant weekend. All of our children (6 in total!) chatted as if they were old friends themselves. I think my four year old summed it up when he said, ‘these people are my best friends ever!’ Lost in the moment he was having the most fantastic time, on the beach, riding a real tractor, running around their garden and playing hide and seek. Watching the children interact and accept each other so easily was magical. Picking up where I’d left of with my friend…priceless. It made me realise that it doesn’t matter if you don’t see friends every day, or speak to them every week. It doesn’t matter if you forget birthdays or wedding anniversaries. What matters is that when you do see them it’s exactly like it was the last time you saw them, and that it’s easy, and fun! Surrounding yourself with people who make you happy is vital, and having the courage to let go of those who don’t is equally as important.
Friendships come in so many different forms. Be them floaters or stickers, I’m learning to cherish every single one, with all of the different things they bring….and put every effort I can into them!
Meeting: A meeting is a gathering of two or more people that has been convened for the purpose of achieving a common goal through verbal interaction, such as sharing information or reaching agreement.
Britmums Live 2013
Little people in my phone,
That’s normally where you stay,
But last weekend at Britmums Live,
You all came out to play.
Mums, bloggers, people,
Laughter, hugs and kisses.
Old friends introduced to new,
Hits and sometimes misses.
Groups who know each other well,
Who have been here before,
Gather together, smile and laugh,
Room for many more.
Am I too keen, am I too loud,
Do I appear too much?
Half finished conversations,
Rushing to coffee to lunch.
And then friends appear from no where,
Like you they feel the same.
Talk is easy, laughter lots,
No fear, no doubt, no shame.
Shyness, loudness, emotional things,
Personalities all so unique.
Strength in numbers, bonding slowly,
Not feeling such a freak.
We each are individual,
Brought together by one thing,
Over sharing, openness,
For another blogger…sing.
Leaving feeling emotional,
So many things to take in.
Leaving knowing I’ll be going again,
New friendships will begin.
Release: 1. To set free from confinement, restraint, or bondage: released the prisoners. 2. To free from something that binds, fastens, or holds back; let go: released the balloons; released a flood of questions. 3. To dismiss, as from a job.
Before you read this post I would just like to start it by saying that it is not as polished as my posts normally are. It was written when I was very upset and from the heart. Apologies if there are errors!
As many of you who read my blog or follow me on Twitter will know, this weekend I went away, all myself. It was an amazing weekend, but this post is not about Britmums Live (that one is still yet to be written!) This post is about leaving your children, and that because of something terrifying which happened to my 12 year old daughter whilst I was away, it has got me thinking about releasing them. About how they cannot stay close beside us forever, and that one day they will be out there on their own, knowing that home is always a safe environment to which they can return.
I have left my children before, many a time. I think it’s a wonderful thing for them to know that they can be looked after and loved by many different people. (Obviously these people are family, or a very close friend and not complete and utter strangers!) This weekend, however, leaving my children was a bit different. My mum came up on Friday to look after the boys and my daughter whilst my husband was at work, and then on Saturday they tagged teamed it and supported each other. Finally, later on Saturday afternoon, my daughter wasn’t going to be a home at all. She had been invited to a sleepover for a school friend’s 12th birthday party and would be away from home herself, in a house I have never been to, with a parent I have only met briefly on a couple of occasions.
I imagine many of you out there with brand new babies or very young children are now sat reading this horrified, as I would’ve been many years ago. We are so used to our children being right by our sides, or on our hips, always close. We are used to being in control of who they see, what they eat, where they go. We forever scan rooms, pathways, parks, play areas for potential risks and danger…catching them when they fall, warning them not to stray too far, telling them where the danger is and how to avoid it. They trust that the world is a safe place, never aware of risks because we spend our lives as parents protecting them from them. However, as children grow up…we need to release them. We need to start helping them to make their own decisions, weigh up the risks and decide what to do and which path to take. They physically become further away from us…at pre-school, at primary school, secondary school. We cannot be around to protect them every single minute of every single day as we so desperately want to and we have to trust that they have listened to years of advice and draw on their experiences in life to make their own choices.
But this weekend my daughter had a choice made for her by another person. And it was the wrong choice. It wasn’t life changing or life threatening. It wasn’t hurtful or dangerous. But it wasn’t her choice, and if it had been it would not have been one she would have made. At the sleepover, whilst I was over a hundred miles away in London unable to help or protect, she was made to watch a film. A film intended to only be watched by persons of 15 years or older. A thriller that scared her more than anything has ever scared her before. I didn’t know this had happened until I awoke this morning to find a text from her on my phone. It had been sent at 4am and simply read…
I want it go home. I watched a scary movie it was a 15 and I can’t go to sleep. I feel sick because I am worried that someone is going to hurt me.
I imagined my daughter, my only just turned 12 daughter, my daughter who is still very much a child, sat terrified all alone. Alone in a house she had never been to before. Alone in a room with some other 12 year olds she didn’t know, and only a few she did. Alone and terrified that someone was coming to get her, to hurt her. She is, as I have described in previous posts, sometimes a handful, sometimes verbally challenging and rule bending, but she is my little girl. She isn’t wise beyond her years, she isn’t ‘street-wise’ and ahead of the game, she hasn’t even begun to go through puberty herself. She is my baby and someone has made a decision that has rocked her safe and secure world.
It’s been a difficult day since then. Obviously I have wanted to race around there and pick her up immediately whilst shouting very loudly at the parent who allowed this to happen whilst she was in her care, but I’m not entirely sure my daughter would appreciate that! So she is still there now, shopping with them on the high street, not fearing the film in the safety of daylight. I’m not sure bedtime or the middle of the night will be so fearless for her later.
And me. Well I have spent the day thinking once again about parenting. I said to my mum on Friday that my instincts were uncomfortable about the sleepover, that I knew something would happen even though I wasn’t sure what. I’d met the girl whose birthday it was, and her mother, and many of the other children that would also be there and thought I was just being over-protective, being a parent who didn’t want to let their child have the independence they so desperately need at this age. What happened to her has made me think about the future and how in a few years time I will not always know where she is, or who she is with or what she is doing. It has made me realised that soon many decisions will be solely hers and I will have no control over that. That one day she will move out and be released into the big wide world…where someone might come along and make bad choices for her, hurt her, terrify her.
It was only a film I hear some of you cry, it’s not like someone really did come and hurt her and you are absolutely right. That film still terrified her and she cannot un-see what she saw, she cannot forget what she heard, and I’m angry that she didn’t get a choice in the matter. Whether or not she watched that film was not someone else’s choice to make, it shouldn’t have been their decision to let my daughter watch a film totally unsuitable for her, not least because she is three years younger than the film’s rating. I’m upset because it made me realise that she’s slowly being released already…slowly having to learn to make decisions herself and learn to be brave enough to walk away from the wrong ones. I know she won’t always make the right choices, or take the best path in life, hell I’ve made some shite choices in my time, but I hope I’ve brought her up to think things through, to make informed decisions…and more importantly than anything…to trust her instincts.
Opinions: In general, an opinion is a belief about matters commonly considered to be subjective, i.e. it is based on that which is less than absolutely certain, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. An opinion may be supported by an argument, although people may draw opposing opinions from the same set of facts. Opinions rarely change without new arguments being presented. In casual use, the term opinion may be the result of a person’s perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires.
We are allowed to have different opinions,
It really is ok.
You can do things the way you like,
And I’ll do things my way.
It doesn’t matter that we’re different,
That we don’t do things the same.
Just please don’t judge and please don’t preach,
There’s no one here to blame.
Everyone is equal,
and individual too.
I can be me and happily so,
And you can be confident in you.
Don’t challenge my opinions,
Don’t mock what I do best,
Don’t belittle my beliefs, my ideals,
It makes me like you less.
I know my children inside out,
As I’m sure that you know yours,
But please don’t guess what goes on here,
Behind my home’s closed doors.
I’ll leave you to do what you believe,
And please say you will too.
We’ll never be friends if we don’t respect,
Each others feelings too.
Everybody is different,
What’s best for them, their children,
And how to nurture them as they grow.
So let this be the end,
No more judging and unkind speech.
It is forgotten, I’ve let it go,
There’s nothing the other can teach.
I wish you luck in all you do,
I wish you love and joy.
Now let us each move on,
And do the things we both enjoy.
Peace: Peace is a state of tranquility or harmony.
No cloud to be seen
The wind breezes
Sand beneath my toes
Time to myself
Reading, sleeping, laughing
Ripples on the sea
A view to behold
Time out, refresh
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