Getting to know my daughter…..

 

 

How many of you set yourself New Years goals? How many of you are actually still on target with those goals?

If, like me, you usually set yourself an unattainable resolution (no chocolate, lose 2 stone in 5 minutes, buy fewer shoes, etc) it becomes difficult to maintain and you find yourself sacking it off by January 6th.

I basically took January and February as “warm up” months, in which I did absolutely no warming up. I ate more, moved less and drank a bathtubs worth of red wine. I felt unhealthy, lethargic and pretty bloody miserable.

Then I had a bit of a kick up the arse, my work hours were reduced (not that ideal for the shoe fund) and I grasped this extra time as an opportunity to make a change.

With the time I now have free, I actually get to walk the school run most days. It’s a 2 mile round walk, which is a pretty decent 20 miles a week and so my 2 stone may come off within time. Spring is just around the corner, and we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful area so it’s not an unpleasant walk by any means.

The best part of this though, is that for the 20 minutes or so each way I get to have some really great conversations with my youngest daughter. As a middle child, she does often get overlooked as she pootles along doing her thing, not causing any trouble and generally being super pleasant. Whilst we deal with the teens and the toddler, it’s so easy to forget quality time with her.

This week I’ve learnt some new non-blue jokes, discussed Roald Dahl, spotted birds and been educated about the hierarchy of a primary school playground. I’ve seen such an insight into how my little girl thinks and feels, that without this time alone, I may have missed out on entirely.

I appreciate that it’s not possible for all mums to make the school run at all, or it is a rushed thing as you frantically whizz off to your daily activities, but if you can find the time to do even one unhurried trip a week, and really have a conversation with your offspring, you’ll come away having learnt at least one great thing, even if it is that Timmy* in class 2 always farts in Assembly.

The chocolate may still be present, I will still always love a Pinot Noir, but my health and my relationship with my daughter has taken March off to a flying start, so that’s something I’m more than pleased with.

 

*He’s definitely not called Timmy

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Tantrums and trolleys…..

I’m writing this from my car, with a (finally) sleeping toddler. I can’t face waking him up and taking him out, because then he’ll be straight back to Asshole Level 10.

We’ve just done the food shop, on a Sunday. What the Jesus was I thinking? 

Thank you to the supermarkets who place shiny kids magazines right at the entrance. Wankers. 

Cue me being “firm mummy”, as the boy has been spoiled and his behaviour is getting steadily more awful. So it’s time to sort this out. (Apologies to the lovely people who had to deal with the fallout of this). The response to my parenting turnabout? Well, it wasn’t pretty, all of the screaming, name calling, accusations of “bullying”, threats to call his dad and “tell on me”. 

Thankfully the looks I got from the other shoppers were mainly sympathetic and one lady actually touched my arm and said “you stay strong love, it won’t last forever, and you’re doing the right thing”. I nearly cried and hugged her, but that might have been a bit weird. 

Training your kids to be fully functioning, decent humans can be hard at times, bloody hard. I feel like I suck at it most of the time, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone and that there’ll always be a mum nodding knowingly and offering a smile in the vegetable aisle. 

It’s been two months and still no word…..

(Massively stolen from the creepy “Stan” by Eminem)

I’ve been so busy over the last couple of months that I’ve not updated this. I’ve had some great ideas which I’ve immediately forgotten, but a great deal of it has not been knowing what to write.

For me this is a huge deal. I live for writing. I live for words and the way they make thoughts and feelings come to life. I’ve been blocked. 

My brother is a songwriter and I was always sceptical about writers block. I totally get it now. It’s not so much that I didn’t have anything to write. I had so much that it was difficult to sift through and sort the nonsense from the sense.

I’m nearly there. Just want the guys who’ve been hounding my ass to know that I’m not quitting, I’ve not lost my mojo and I will update shortly. Just need to make sure it’s not a lot of shite really

(It’ll probably still be shite to be fair) 

Happy January guys (not you dry January folk, you can eff off xx) 

I’m not a very good adult….

But I make excellent forts. 

This week has been pretty lame for humanity. One of the most powerful nations has elected a hate mongering, orange fuckwit to it’s highest position. Wow. 

Now I could go into great, boring length about how horrifying this is to me as a woman, mother and general actual human with feelings and shit. I could, but I’m not going to. 

Instead I made burgers, poured some wine and am watching The Crown in my fort. I think I’ll stay here until the world makes sense again (or until the wine runs out) 

“Me time” and why it’s absolutely necessary….

To be a fully functioning human, sometimes we all need a little “me time”. Whether that’s a glass of wine in silence, taking afternoon tea, having a bath without someone simultaneously having a shit, reading a great book (check out K.L Jones and her “Isle of Dreams” series) or watching Disney films in your pyjamas, every little helps.

A few friends and I have been going through some things recently, and decided on spa days as a treat. We all live sort of away from each other (I’m the traitor that moved 100 miles away) so it’s not as easy as meeting up for a quick brew. We really have to make the effort to meet and to make it spectacular when we do. I think that makes it even more precious actually, we’ve taken days off work and spent a fortune to do so, so we really go all out.

There’s something so wonderful about taking a day to just be you, an actual adult with her friends, talking about men, gin and menstrual cycles. It’s brilliant.

It’s also made me realise how important that time as an adult is. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day drudgery of packed lunches, play dates, party invites for kids you’ve never heard of, actual employment, blah, blah, repeat, put gun in mouth. 

We create these little humans and (quite rightly most of the time) put their needs first. We forget husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, actual friends and focus on these tiny dictators and their lives, and completely neglect our own.

We actually need to be real people to raise real people. If a child is raised in the belief that they are the centre of the universe, what life lessons are we giving them? That parents are not people too? That they are allowed to rule the world? (Unless you’re Beyoncé or in that video, then that is not actually a viable life plan, believe me, I’ve tried). We need to take these minutes, hours, days (even a whole Ibiza filled week if necessary) away from the day to day minutiae and just be us again. It’s nice to remember who I am sometimes, and for the record, I actually quite like me. I’m pretty great, and I’m sure if you do it, you’ll remember just how great you are too. 

I genuinely believe that being a happier person, will make you a happier parent.

So this month, plan a day with your friends, or even alone, just to be you. Do something you want to do, it’ll be the best gift you’ll give yourself this month. (Unless you purchase a Louis Vuitton journal cover, but it will be a very close second) 

Half term already?!? 

Time flies when you’re just settling into a new school year. Before you know it, it’s half sodding term already!

I’m incredibly lucky, in that my wonderful mother in law has a couple of free weekdays and will take my animals for that time. Actually half term is potentially my easiest time as a parent with a job. The offspring are dropped off on a Monday evening and collected on a Wednesday evening, and I can get so much done that I may even get a Friday off! 

If I was still young and hip I’d take advantage of those days. I am however, neither that young and have never been hip, so I’ll probably sleep. Or attempt to go for a run, or drink gin. (It’ll be the gin)

I’m constantly amazed at my kids. They are so resilient and wonderful, when they aren’t being assholes. Our second eldest girl had the best parents evening I’ve ever attended this week. Not one teacher wasn’t gushing about her behaviour, her effort and her absolute positivity towards life, she makes us so proud. From her rather rough start she grabs onto any opportunity to better herself and to get involved. The fact that she introduced me as her “mum” that evening made my heart swell. Also, this weird thing happened with my eyes, they started sweating, but I think it may have been the rickety school heating. 

Our youngest also had her first parents evening at her new school, although she is primary so only one teacher to meet who was equally gushing. It’s been a great week.

Our eldest has been putting a lot of effort in with her extra curricular sports, her art (wait, she’s the next big thing) and her behaviour. 

The boy……well, what to say about Jude….. he’s the most beautiful male that has ever existed. He is a clever, loving, wonderful little creature, whose tantrums could flatten Trump Towers and save the world an awful lot of trouble. This week, he started to wipe his own ass.

It’s been a proud week to be a mum, and after this week, with my girls’ comments and behaviour, I finally feel like a good one 

Cloudy with a chance of dropped balls….

That’s odd, I don’t remember buying tickets for a guilt trip. Especially one where I’m the pilot.

The husband has returned to working away (bonus: less washing. Non bonus: I’m now the only zoo keeper), the kids have gone back to school and business is booming. Life should be good, right?

Except the kids have 867 extra curricular things to attend per week, youngest daughter hates her new school, and I’m drowning in work. Most nights I’m still working past dinner, then throwing food at the animals until they quieten down. 

Mornings are a nightmare in our house, calls of “I’ve got no clean shirts! There’s no bread for lunches! Have you brushed your teeth? (Followed by me checking and being flattened by dog breath)” are rife. Someone’s always shouting, and it’s usually me. 

Then I get hit by the guilt. Why weren’t the lunches done last night? Why did I not wash the shirts as soon as they got home? Why am I so fucking useless? Oh god, they’ll end up failing their exams, unable to look after themselves or form healthy relationships, and appear on Big Brother or Geordie bloody Shore. This is all before I’ve even managed to get into the office, then the cycle starts again. There aren’t any balls in the air by 10.30, I’m tripping over them all on my way to the printer. 

Can we really have it all? Can I be gainfully employed and a mother of four? Are my children suffering because of me? The anxiety of trying to be a perfect parent is very real, and bloody awful. 

Last week something snapped, and I ended up sat on the floor of my office with my head on my knees trying to breathe. I couldn’t go on like this anymore.

I took some time out to make a cup of tea, and read some messages. Amongst one lot, a friend recommended the Headspace app for meditation. I duly downloaded and took ten minutes to follow the first recording, chuckling to myself that this was it, I’d finally had the breakdown I’d been promising myself. Ten minutes later, I was calm. Yes I still had the workload, yes I still had a bunch of kids with their hectic schedules and yes, I was still fatter than I wanted to be. The difference was, that none of these things were in themselves an issue, and certainly not anything to panic about.

I made lists (bloody love lists, me) and prioritised my jobs and appointments. Looking at them in black and white really helped me to see where time could be made, and which things could actually be scrapped. 

I also made the time to plan something for the family, a holiday for next year. It’s still over 10 months away but picturing the Tuscan sunshine, ice creams and fun in the pool are also a powerfully calming image for when things get a little tough. (I’d definitely recommend Tots to Travel for all those looking for a holiday with the offspring, the villas are beautiful and the customer service team were so helpful.) 

I’ll probably still drop the ball, more than once a day no doubt, but I’m trying not to stress about it too much. Shit happens, and the perfect mum doesn’t exist. It’s time to stop trying to live up to unrealistic self expectations and just be there, trying your best, because most of the time, your best IS good enough 

Should probably buy some more shirts though 


Picture twistedsun.net