I don’t know whether it’s the the alcoholic eggnog or a little bit of Christmas magic but the last few days have definitly felt very merry. A lovely feeling of calmness and contentment has crept up on me (well as calm as you can be whilst trying to plan all the shopping for the festive period).
I don’t want to get all ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on folks. However, I feel I have received so many of the hopes and dreams that I spent years waiting for. I have so much to be happy about and grateful for. There is still plenty left to achieve in life but, with a bit of perseverance and hard work, things are falling into place and the future is looking bright.
This Christmas time may not be perfect and if you are in a sad place then I am sending you this wish; May you focus on the many wonderful things around you. May you take comfort and happiness from them, be grateful for them, and be the cause of merriment in others, if and when you have the strength.
Winter is not a time of mourning, it is not a season of death. It is a time for conserving energy, it is realising the importance of making time for self care.
If plants and trees were to constantly be in the spring and summer stages of growth then they would quickly die during the winter season. Instead they have learnt to adapt to the season. If the conditions around them do not support growth then they do not give up completely or continue to fight against the situation they are in. Instead they just pause. They pause their growth, they don’t feel the need to be on show or at their optimum level of performance. They conserve their energy whilst waiting for spring, allowing them to survive the darkness. Then when spring comes they are fully ready to flourish and grow again.
Just like nature we can not be expected to be in a constant state of growth or always at peak performance levels. Sometimes we are experiencing darkness. In that time we need to pause. We do not need to be worried about putting on a show for the benefit of other people. Nor should we feel like we are failing because we are not growing or that we have lost our ‘summer leaves’. They will return. When the darkness leaves and the sun returns we will continue to grow again. For now though, we may need to pause.
I left the last decade as a strong, independent and confident young woman. I was fresh out of university and ready to take on the world. Going into this decade I found myself at the start of what appeared to be an excellent career. However, whilst the money was good, the job brought stagnation, stress, long hours, self doubt and a loss of confidence. Luckily, for the first few years it was a fun team to be part of and we all had a good sense of humour. As it so often happens in life, as the work team started to fall apart midway through the decade, my home life started to come together. The second half of the decade gave me my husband and the start of our own little family. The years haven’t been without heartache but my wonderful husband works so hard to heal some of the wounds that this decade has left. I may not be the determined and headstrong woman I entered 2010 as but I am filled with a more mature strength; to calmly endure what I must, be passionate enough to change what I can and to quietly walk away from unnecessary pain or aggravation. Whilst things haven’t always happened as quickly as I wished, it is for good reason. Each situation has helped me to learn a lesson and in the end things have always worked out for the best. Over the last few years it is unbelievable how much my life has changed and blossomed. This decade has been a rollercoaster of emotions and learning. However, I am grateful for the years and the experiences they have given me. I am proud of the changes I have made and hopefully the next few years will see me making a few more. I can honestly say our current life brings so much joy. I feel I am finally on track again to where I want to be and look forward to the challenges and rewards that the next decade may bring!
This photo was taken a year ago, a few days after Isaac’s first birthday. It is a big middle finger to all the people who enjoy telling new mums something along the lines of “wait until they start crawling”, “looking after a newborn is the easy bit” or “this is only the start, you’ve got the worst to come”.
When you are in those early few weeks, recovering from pregnancy and labour, a hormonal mess and so sleep deprived beyond all belief, these words can send you in to a panic. You wondering how things could possibly get any tougher.
A year later and the husband is currently sorting dinner out whilst I ‘look after the child’. This consists of lying on the sofa drinking wine whilst the little guy tidies the living room before he heads off to bed. He loves hoovering and putting his blocks away, tidying up is just a big game to him. He may not be talking yet but he definitely finds ways to communicate. It’s wonderful getting feedback from him and I will adamantly tell any new parents struggling to cope with that crazy newborn stage… parenting definitely gets easier! 🍷😉
Life seems to going at 100 miles an hour. The days, weeks, months just fly past. We are always busy parenting, working on the house, generally trying to make a life for ourselves. It is only very occasionally the husband and I take a moment to spend some quality time together. Away from everything else; away from our work, away from the daily chores, away from being a mummy and daddy. We both love being a family unit but it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of viewing your partner as a family provider, a house fixer, a father to your children. So when we take some time out from everyday life and have some quality time together, I find myself falling in love with him all over again. In these moments I no longer see him just as a good father to our son but as a good man in his own right. I remember why I fell in love with him in the first place, how much he can make me laugh, why I fancied him. After a romantic get away, when we get back to normal family life I find that I appreciate all the little things so much more, the selfless things he does each day, just something as simple as bringing me a coffee each morning. This has become such a habit that I often don’t even acknowledge it. This morning, after our weekend away together, I really appreciated it. Even though I say it every day, the words can get drowned out by the chaos of everyday life. So, husband I want you to know that I really really do mean it when I say I love you.
P.S. The appreciation could also be due to me still feeling a little hungover from the weekend! The husband is always whinging that we have no photos of us together these days as I hate my giant moon face so you have no idea just how drunk I had to get in order to take this photo. I’m assuming I’m still a tad squiffy now as I’m posting it!
“There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.”
– Author Unknown
“You cannot be serious?!? I have to wear this all day?” The little guy is off on a trip to the Monkey Forest today (I’m very jealous) 🐒 🐒🐒
I went in to full on control freak mummy mode as I bundled him into the vehicle; explaining to the fully qualified and experienced childcare practitioner how to use his car seat, how to unfold his pram and provided a full itinerary of the contents of his bag “I’ve packed three changes of clothes, a weeks worth of nappies, a lightweight showerproof jacket, a cardigan, sun cream, wellie boots, a fleece lined waterproof rain suit…” She was lovely enough to play along and listen intently rather than roll her eyes at me 🙈🙈🙈
One of the toughest things I have found with parenting, and it is only going to get harder as he grows up, is the constant battle of wanting to protect my child from the world and knowing that I need to let go just enough so that he grows to be a problem solving, independent, confident child ready to take on the world and all it offers!
I’m dreading trying to navigate through the teenage years 😳
This is something that I have been trying to make a conscious effort to do recently. And I can feedback that it is working wonders, I’d recommend it to everyone. Instead of ruminating over little insignificant situations or people I can walk away feeling incredibly proud and actually a little sympathy for the other person. It is important to remember that if someone is rude or lacks maturity then it is because something is missing in their life. It could be that they are imitating a poor role model, they are deeply unsatisfied with their life achievements, are seeking attention in a negative way (just like children do) or simply they are a little jealous of some part of your life. It is difficult but so important to treat them with the pity they deserve. Now when I am faced with a disrespectful person or a situation where I would naturally want to retaliate and humiliate, I instead take a breath and remember my good fortunate to currently have a wonderfully fulfilling and incredibly busy life. Before I reply I say to myself “I am are far too satisfied and busy to sink to the low level that is being presented to you. Regardless of the words this person is saying their negative and hateful actions are clearly showing that they are unhappy with themselves and they require a compassionate response.” Every time I have chosen to respond this way I have ended up feeling incredibly satisfied and a little smug. It is a behaviour I wish my child to see and hopefully copy. If I wish nothing else for my child then I wish for him to be happy and kind. Therefore, I have the responsibility to role model and display the behaviours I wish him to show. I am really struggling to display any self love currently but I can definitely show compassion and kindness. So I am going to try and spread the love more and more.
Please note that I still do slip up and occasionally tell somebody to go f*** themselves but hopefully this reaction will become increasingly rare 😉
It’s something that started on our first night home from the hospital. Our little guy cried all night. I had chosen to breastfeed but didn’t know that I wasn’t really producing anything so he was starving – but that is a story for another time. I was exhausted from three nights of labour and no sleep. My husband held me all night while I lay on my side to feed our baby whilst asleep. Once we sorted his feeding out we learnt that our child still WOULD NOT SLEEP! The only way any of us could get some sleep was to take it in turns to hold him. And so it continued from there. The fear was incredible but we were desperate! Were we going to be the next parents to hit the headlines for suffocating our baby whilst we slept? Would he fall out of our arms and suffer brain damage? Our son is now approaching 18 months and, as of yet, neither of these things have happened. Any professional we came across (doctors, midwifes, health visitors) failed to mention that co-sleeping was a thing. Instead they insisted that all babies will happily drift off to sleep if placed safely on their back at the bottom of their crib. It took us a long time and quite a bit of research to realise that co-sleeping can be done safely and there are even guidelines out there for it. I really feel that professionals should be able to say “sleeping in their own crib is best but if you are going to co-sleep then here is some info to help you”. Some people might say that we have made for rod for our own back as 17 months down the line our son still likes our company when going to sleep and he rarely sleeps through the night. However, I cherish the moments he snuggles up to one of us and clearly feels safest when he is being held. If the worst thing about our parenting is that we have ended up with a child that likes to cuddle and associates his parents with safety and peace then I reckon we’ve not made a bad job of it.
I love you little guy but that might change if you insist on eating all of mummy’s dates!
I was so anxious during the first few months of weaning – worried I was doing it right, using the correct methods, would my the decisions I make now have an impact on him for life? I had already buggered up breastfeeding so I HAD to get this right! I opted for baby led weaning but on my return to work I found I didn’t have the time or patience for it so started to ‘help him out’. This then set off a new worry that I had ruined all my efforts and all the hard work that had gone into mealtimes so far. However, this little guy has a great appetite and was determined to not be a fussy eater regardless of what ‘method’ of weaning I chose. It just goes to show that even though our best efforts might not be perfect they are enough. We are all doing a much better job than we think we are!
For the first time in such a long time I actually have a photo of myself that I am proud to show off!
I had thought growing a human inside me would make me feel strong and invincible. However, pregnancy left me feeling weak and vulnerable. I love Isaac to the end of the universe but I’ve made no secret of how much I hated being pregnant, for many reasons. Before I became pregnant I tried to stay active, I was capable of feeling sexy and dressing confidently (I also ate my fair amount of cheese, pastry and cakes so was never skinny). The pregnancy made me feel too weak to exercise the way I did beforehand and the constant nausea meant that the only food I could stand the smell of, let alone keep down, was flavourless high carb junk food (also chocolate – and I mean a lot of chocolate was consumed). As a result I now detest my body. I find it difficult to even look at my reflection in the mirror. I feel physically sick and cry when I see a photo of the mess my body and face has become. Usually when I see a photo of myself these days I do I do not look at the whole picture but focus on my hideously fat arms, my disgusting mummy tummy overhang, my swollen face due to my chubby hamster cheeks or the fact that my cheekbones have disappeared and my neck and jawline have actually merged into one.
So when I got the link through for the photographs from a recent photography session at I dance class Isaac and I go to I was half dreading seeing the results and half wanting to torture myself with having to once again face up to what I actually look like. However, my first reaction to these photos was not the usual one of disgust but of happiness. As soon as I saw them I thought… “wow I love them! I look so happy” When I see them I don’t notice all my insecurities, instead I just see a mummy who is so wonderfully happy and absolutely besotted with her child. I can only assume it was a combination of the photographer’s talent and the magic of the company of the group of lovely sling swing ladies. (Or it could have been the result of the glow/sweat from dancing round on the hottest day of the year in a very stuffy room and refusing to take my jumper off so that my arms weren’t on show). Every week these wonderful women never fail to make me smile and give me the confidence to dance round the room without feeling ashamed of myself. Luckily the room we use has no mirrors (why do fitness places always insist on thousands of mirrors???) so for one wonderful hour a week I can channel my inner Beyoncé and believe I am an amazing dancer. And because I’m doing it whilst holding my favourite little guy close to me in a sling I feel like some marvellous combination of a sexy goddess and Mother Earth herself.
Somehow the photographer has managed to photograph a moment of joy and have that emotion be the main focus of the picture. These photographs somehow bypass the state of my body and instead show the inner happiness and beauty that having a child has brought to my life.