Monthly Archives: April 2017

The one where…. My child ruins Friends for me 

One thing I love about the teens getting older is being able to introduce them to TV shows and movies and books that I used to love when I was their ages. It’s so nice now they’re older to make the tv snacks, get on the sofa and watch something together.

Some of my shows and movies are more successful than others. Dawson’s Creek was ridiculed and heckled throughout, much to my dismay.

Friends though. Friends was welcomed with open arms. We went through every series. We began recording the actual programmes we would have ordinarily watched on tv as they just wanted to watch ‘one more episode’ of Friends.

I was smug.

Told you it was good eh?

“Hey! How you doing? ” became the eldests greeting as he got in of an evening. .. to his brother! To himself even! Inappropriate yet really quite funny.

” I’m FINE! “a la Ross when Rachel and Joey are together became code for anything that was clearly anything but.

Smelly cat was sung out loud.

” could I BE wearing anymore clothes ” became the answer to my insistence they wrap up warm to go to the football.

All was good.

I was cool mum.

I am the best.

Then it happened.

We’re rewatching some Friends more recently (yes they loved it THAT much) we’re at a later series, close to the end and my 15yo youngest son spoils it all.

Youngest son : Mum I’m surprised you wanted Ross and Rachel to end up together.

Me: Why? You know I’m a sucker for a love story!

Youngest son : love? Is it though? That whole relationship is just toxic. Ross is too  controlling.

I am stunned into silence at this point.

That’s OK though because he’s going to elaborate.. .

Elaborate he does. .

How unsupportive Ross is when Rachel lands her dream job.

The suffocating manner in which  he behaves about Mark. Becoming a stalky control freak creepfest.

How he never takes responsibility for cheating, using the “we were on a break” excuse.

I couldn’t disagree with any of it.

I mean Ross was never my favourite – he’s a sexist idiot. Remember the fuss he made about Ben playing with a doll? How he mocked and sacked the male nanny? ?

So the lesson learned here is this-beware of sharing your old favourites with your children, they they might just spoil it.



Me, Being Mummy






 

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Practical ways I tell my anxiety to keep away!

Anxiety sucks.

 

It can turn your average day into an overthought , catastrophizing nightmare.

 

I don’t have the cure I’m afraid .

 

I’ve read all the info , I know exercise , good nights sleep , healthy food and not drinking wine or overdosing on chocolate are what I’m meant to be doing to keep anxiety at bay. Not much fun though are they?

 

I can’t run when I’ve convinced myself I’m going to faint at any minute …and probably on the road…then I’ll get run over and killed… and then what will the kids do….Yes that’s my actual thought process during an anxious moment. Total pain in the arse.

 

I’ve never managed to stop that horrific pain through my stomach and my face going numb by eating kale.

 

How the hell am I meant to get a good nights sleep when I can barely breathe with the panic?

 

 

I know these tips are the sensible ones. Sometimes a run does blast away the panic , sometimes a long sleep stops the overthinking.

 

 

Over the years though  , I’ve gotten to grips with my anxiety to an extent. It’s personal to me and I know how to nip an episode in the bud quite often , I know how to calm myself . They may sound a bit odd but anxiety is a personal thing , there’s no one size fits all solution. Maybe some of mine may work for you . Here’s how I tell anxiety to just p**s off!!!

 

 

Phone calls to my sister.

If I’m feeling a bit wobbly , or I feel unsettled this is my go to activity. Chat , especially idle gossip and thoughtless chat is a distraction. Add to that my sisters familiar voice and calms me down.

I’m not suggesting you all ring my sister when you’re panicky , though as I always say if I could clone her I’d give you all a copy – she’s ace!!

Maybe if you have someone with whom you can partake in chit chat as a distraction though , a familiar voice , a calming influence though this could work for you .

 

Monday vlog indulgence

Could be a bit niche this one …stay with me.

Monday’s are always a pain in the bum aren’t they? A good start to a week though can do wonders for my head. I also love a vlog , I’m a blogger , I’m nosy why wouldn’t I?

Starting the week by watching Marian Keyes weekly vlog sets me up nicely for the week . She’s funny , she’s engaging, she’s pretty , she’s smiley ( I’m pretty sure the accent helps too) I am a big fan of her books and she’s a bit of a Twitter crush of mine if truth be told. Being told stories is another on the anxiety cheat sheet and well ,  Marian is as fab at telling stories verbally as she is writing them down. The vlogs start my Monday with a smile. In fact I recommend them (  link here : https://www.youtube.com/user/himselfkeyes) to all of you , even if you’re not quite as nutty as me!)

 

 

Joining in with small girl

My 8 year old does everything with zeal. There is no half hearted with her. On a wobbly day , taking a leaf out of her book and just joining in with her is as therapeutic as anything I know.

If it’s feeding the ducks we’re throwing the food as far as we can , if it’s drawing or colouring it takes every bit of focus we have. If it’s dancing it’s with every bit of our body.

It seems when I put my absolute all into any activity it’s really hard for my anxiety to take a grip on my mind.

 

 

Watching stand up

An obvious one really.

From the school of fake it ’till you make it!! If I’m laughing anxiety does not stand a chance.

 

 

Writing

Could be a blog post , could be a letter (yes I still write those – how quaint am I?)

More likely though it’s just a total mind dump into a notebook.

When I am anxious I overthink.

This never ends well for me , especially when it all just swirls around my mind like some kind of brain bothering hurricane. The reason I ever started this blog was because I’ve always found that writing down what bothers me helps . Having a million thoughts whizzing around this head each one causing another hundred in an anxious chain reaction means I’m not going to feel great. Picking up a pen , writing them down uncensored gets the thoughts out of the nutty mind and into a notebook where they become much less powerful. I can see how ridiculous they are written there in black in white.Then I can shut the notebook and walk away. It helps.

 

 

They’re little things , but sometimes little things help.

 

Do you have any little tricks that keep your anxiety in it’s place or that can calm you ?

 

I’d love to hear them.

xxx
 



My Facebook blog page is here 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s off on her soapbox again…

I am too.
I’m just so sickened and furious I can’t possibly not climb onto my soapbox. So forgive this long, rant post.
We currently live in a society where Tax Credits will only be paid for the first two children. I have thoughts on how we can meander into effectively being a 2 child state but they’re for another blog. I am aware that the welfare state is under excruciating pressure and that cuts have to come, again I’ve thoughts on why the cuts have to come from the poorest rather than the richest but again whole other blog post.
The one exemption to the 2 child law that is in place is if a third or subsequent child is “conceived as a result of rape or an otherwise coercive relationship”

All you have to do is fill in form NCC1 4/17 (an 8 page long document) to be assessed as to whether your rape counts or not.

Simple eh?

Nothing for you ladies to get your knickers in a twist about. The government are merely making sure they put a end to all those hoards of women getting themselves pregnant for benefits and one of those massive mansions some channel 5 documentary shows us they all live in.

I find this law abhorrent enough as it is. I can imagine many women having to struggle financially rather than go through the humiliation and reliving of a hugely traumatic event filling in the rape form then having to discuss it again with a third party.

The law itself isn’t what has me seething though (well it does but it seems I can get to a higher seething level). My issue here is that whoever dreamt up this Victorian, barbaric law and every person who signed it off along the way know nothing about domestic abuse and less than nothing about coercive control.

The thing that jumped out at me was that women still living with the father of children born through rape or in a coercive relationship are not allowed to claim this support.

So here we are at the first ridiculous notion. That if you are in an abusive relationship which, as they often do, include sexual abuse you are able to just pack up and leave. Now  even without taking into account the slashing of funding for women’s refuges, making it harder for those who are able to leave, there’s the simple fact that many women in abusive relationships can’t just leave. Here’s why I couldn’t.

Then we get to rape in relationships. The people who dreamt up this law are obviously those who are experts in how rape happens. They clearly think it’s exclusively something that only happens in dark alleys, by big scary monsters of men who attack strangers.

Rape doesn’t always happen in badly lit streets after dark. Sometimes it happens in a comfy bed, in her own home, by the man she loves.

Keep in mind too that a tactic abusive men use too is to keep a woman pregnant. Ensure she’s stuck in the house. Often she’s denied access to contraception as she’s not allowed solo doctors visits.

So the people at the top who make these laws. Well you’re doing the work of the abusive man for him here. You’re telling these women that you can’t be raped if you live with someone (he’s probably been telling her that for years) Then when he does impregnate her without her consent she’s going to struggle financially, trapping her further. Well done decision makers. Research a project called The Freedom Programme they’ve helped many a woman like me get to grips with their own abuse. I’m sure a little read could educate even the most ignorant.

The rape clause also tells us that children conceived as a result of a coercive relationship are also exempt from the 2 child policy.
Except again this women have to have left to count.

Sigh. .. .
Coercive control in its nature begins  so subtly you often don’t realise it’s even happening until it’s too late. You no longer question why you shouldn’t wear make up you just stop. You know you can no longer go out with your friends but are unsure how it got to that.
I can envisage many a scenario where coercive control in a relationship would result in pregnancy.
It’s the man telling his partner if she truly loved him she’d have a baby despite her not wanting one , after all doesn’t he live with the kids she already has by some other guy?
It’s the woman accused of having an affair because she doesn’t want to have sex. She knows from past history that line of questioning will likely end in violence so she lays and doesn’t protest whilst he has sex with her.
It’s the exhausted brand new mum, newborn by her bed whose partner is so jealous of all the attention she’s giving her baby. She’s sore, she’s exhausted, she certainly doesn’t want to participate but she’s told to just lay still and quiet so as not to wake the baby.

I could go on, but I’ve probably gone on enough. I just can’t understand the mentality behind this law in a country that considers itself forward thinking and free and fair.
I’m at a loss as to what I can do as a woman living in a country where the government shows such disdain for women’s rights and such a misunderstanding (or maybe a choice not to understand) how abuse works.
I feel for these women, abused by the person they live with then to have their experiences gaslighted by the government too.
I fear what comes next.

There’s a petition here against the cuts if you feel like I do. 100,000 signatures means this must be debated in parliament

My Facebook page is here

 

Shameless plug : If you like my nonsense and fancy nominating me in the #BiBs2017 you can do so just here http://www.britmums.com/nominate-for-the-bibs2017/

 

 

          The Tale of Mummyhood

A guest post from my First born

This is a guest post from my fab first born. I’ve been nagging  the kids to write for me for ages …. Parenting lesson there : nagging works.

 I’ve left it totally untouched despite itching to edit. .. Oh so I’m a pushy mother – old news! 




 
Whilst walking down the street, people cross the road in order to avoid me. They give me dodgy looks, tell their young children to avoid groups of us, we are of course, after all, extremely dangerous, each and every one of us. But which group of people am I being stereotyped and discriminated against for being a part of? I’m the worst of them all, I’m a dreaded TEENAGE

Hoodies up, we aren’t allowed to be warm you see, looking at our phones, heaven forbid the possibility that we’re keeping in contact with people, haven’t seen our parents in weeks, probably slipping each other drugs on the sly, we are really very intimidating.




I bet every single one of you has done it at one point, maybe it’s dark, you’re in an unfamiliar place, maybe walking home from a party and you see one of us, or maybe even worse, maybe we’re travelling in packs at this point, stalking the streets for pray and stabbing them with dirty needles.




What do you do? You turn the corner, you cross the road, anything to avoid having to have a confrontation with the rabble heading towards you.




How would you feel if someone close to you acted like that towards a black person? Surely you would be rightfully horrified, for all sensible people know you can’t judge someone by their appearance.




Maybe you don’t think I’m telling the truth, maybe I’m just being overdramatic, but is it a coincidence that security guards watch us like hawks, especially if we have one of those cursed hoodies on, possibly worse, if you’re really unlucky we might have had the cheek to put our hood up! (the horror!) There is no coincidence in the fact that mothers tell younger children to “come home if there are teenagers around” on their local park, I was told the same myself.




But when did it become acceptable to openly discriminate against a group of people in this manner? Even worse since when did such discrimination go unnoticed? Why should I feel pressured to not wear my hood up, to stay off my phone and not walk in groups, just to be seen as an ordinary human being and avoid such discrimination. When you talk to us you may be surprised to find out that we’re actually just people like you. Maybe we dress differently, maybe talk differently to you, but when did such minor barriers hold a cause for such a divide in society?




You know some of us have jobs, some of us play for sports teams, a couple of us even manage all of this, along with the stress and pressure of college, and the work load of that, I could go for pages and pages about the struggle of teenagers in this society we’ve built ourselves, but I’ll save you of that for now.




The one thing I hope you take away from this is to know that we notice. We notice your dodgy looks, your odd comments here and there. And as shocking as you may find this, it doesn’t make us feel too great about the older generations. It doesn’t make us feel particularly respected in the world we will soon be taking over. We were all teenagers once, so next time you send your young children to the park, don’t send them scared of the people they will one day become.

Date me! : I’m a chronic overthinker … 

Really, you’d have to be as nuts as I am to date me. My anxiety disorder often manifests itself in over thinking . I can work myself up into a frenzy about situations that are never going to happen. I can decide what OTHER people are thinking about me and make that fact in my mind. I grab hold of one comment someone has made and obsess over it relentlessly, make the highest  mountain of the tiniest molehill and it always ends with me being in a panic.

So I can either drive myself even more nuts worrying about it or I can laugh at how ridiculous I am at times.

I choose the latter.

It has become apparent that dating is the ideal place for my anxious  over thinking to thrive. Let’s face it, in this kind of scenario EVERYONE is trying to put the best version of themselves forward. You want to be liked. That’s how it works.

Poor unfortunate souls who date me though? They’re already fighting an uphill battle.

What he’ll say : You look amazing tonight

What I’ll take from that : aaaaw he fancies me! I’m rocking this dress!. ..errrrm hang on a minute. I look amazing TONIGHT? Has he been thinking I look rubbish every other time he’s seen me? Oh my! What on earth was I wearing last time? I must burn that outfit immediately.

What he’ll say : You can choose where we eat. I’ll eat anything.

What I’ll take from that: Ah how considerate, he knows I’ve odd little food ‘quirks’ … Oh wait, he obviously thinks I’m really high maintenance. He said he’ll eat anything – the undertone being that I’m a problem, my food dislikes are the barrier to us eating somewhere nice. He’s going to think I’m too much hard work and dump me!

What he’ll say : I’ve found us a new cocktail bar to try, you’ll love it.

What I’ll take from that : He’s so cute thinking of me when I’m not there.. .. although ‘us’? ? ? Did he just use’ us’? Bloody hell stop pressurising me, stop trying to encroach on my space you’ll be trying to move in next! While we’re at it-I’ll love it? ! Sure we’ve done cocktails often. Sure I’ve always raved about how much I’ve enjoyed it. Sure he’s been lovely enough to take time to get to know my likes and dislikes. Thinking he knows what I’ll love though? Cheek of it! Slow down Mr Telepathic!

What he’ll say : You’re fantastic to be around, I’m so relaxed around you.

What I’ll take from that : Yay! Yay! Hot guy thinks I’m great… Relaxed though? Relaxed? Is he saying I’m boring? Like he’s so ‘relaxed’ he’s borderline comatose because my company is so dull?

What he’ll say : I’ve got you a surprise!

What I’ll take from that : Ooo he’s so into me he’s getting me gifts! Eeeek this is awesome! Surprise though, WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DOES IT HAVE TO BE A SURPRISE? It could be anything, what if it’s something I don’t like and I’ve gotten this whole scenario wrong thinking he really gets me to discover he really doesn’t? He knows about my anxiety, why is the word surprise even in his vocabulary?

– upon receiving lovely, thoughtful gift. .

Yes but what does it MEAN though?

*brain explodes*

I mean, I think I do quite well and manage to control the over thinking most of the time and I can certainly cover up the underlying rabidness but I’ve also come to accept this is just part of what makes me, me.
The right guy will find it endearing I’m sure.. Or learn to live with it at least. I have to! !


My Facebook page is here

 
 

Who am I? 

*Did you just sing the Les Mis song there in your head when you read the title? I have been! *

ANYWAY… Before I even begin this blog post I really want to emphasise that I love my children with all I have. I am even loving motherhood right now, I haven’t always and I can admit that. Currently though I’m really enjoying this part of our parenting journey. 

Being a mum does define me and so it should. My eldest is 17.  I’ve been mum a long time. Being a mum has certainly shaped me in a whole different way than I would have been had I not had children. In fact I think being a mum has made me a better person than I would have been. 

So we’re clear on that yes? 

I’d never dismiss motherhood. 

I’m certainly in no way complaining at my life as a mum. 

I am incredibly grateful and so very lucky to have the family that I have. 

The thing is this. Behind the mum-who on earth am I as a woman? 

Before I had children I was only 19. I’d had grand plans to change the world. Nowhere in these plans was any ideas of getting married and having babies. In fact the one steadfast plan I did have was never wanting children. 

I’m so glad plans don’t always work out. Having children allowed me to discover parts of myself I never even knew existed. 

My children are getting older now. The elder 3 are teenagers, the little one is almost 9.

Well meaning people keep commenting how how now is MY time. Time to take back my life, that the children don’t need me as they once did. 

I have a few problems with this mindset. Mainly the children do need me still. Not with the intensity of younger years admittedly. Parenting teenagers is tricky though, you have to pick up on cues that mean ‘I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m worried’ because they can’t always articulate it. Much like newborns  and  their differing cries that usually only their parents can decipher. Call me needy but I’m not redundant just yet. 

The other bits though? Taking back my life? Well that’s a weird one, the little people are my life. 

It is true though that I do have more spare time these days. This half term hols has highlighted the two sides of the coin on this. I had 3 whole child free days. I had the most glorious time just wandering about, sitting in pubs chatting undisturbed. Relaxed- none of the rushing around my everyday life has, lazy lie ins. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more. 

When I got home to a empty house though I was at a bit of a loss. Did the house jobs I’d been putting off, cleaned, cooked. Then what? 

What do I do to make me happy and content? 

What is it I actually like to do? 

Who even am I when the children aren’t around? 

I have a bolognaise scenario that sums it up perfectly (keep with me not as nutty as it sounds) 

One thing I do like to do is take a book and go for dinner on my own. If ever I go to an Italian restaurant my initial feeling is to order bolognaise, because I love it. 

UNTRUE 

The kids love it, it bores me to tears. The kids love it so I cook it, I eat it and somehow I’ve become indoctrinated into believing I love it. 

I wonder how many other things fit the bolognaise mould. What other things do I think I like that is really no more than mum habit. 

I want to discover who I am as well as the woman with the overactive womb. I want to find out and nurture a bit the woman behind the mum. (bit tosspotty I know, I’m sorry) 

I’m quite excited by the prospect too. 
Needless to say I’ll bore you guys to death with my little adventure of self discovery.. . after all it’s highly likely when I discover this woman, she’ll be a bit of a knob! ! 


Here’s my Facebook page 

Burnished Chaos

Bringing up Georgia

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My BFF boys…

There’s just 18 months between my 2 sons. They’re the eldest of the four children and have been one another’s playmates from the off. 

The minute my eldest met his baby brother he was besotted. Brother became his new favourite and most used word. He couldn’t quite manage to pronounce Luke so Guke he became – unfortunately for  Luke this has stuck and we do all still call him Guke from time to time. 

Now at 15 and 16 they’re proper friends. They really do get along and enjoy one another’s company. I can’t tell you how giddily happy this makes me. 

What was once playing with the wooden train set together has become playing X-box together. 
What was once playing in the garden as toddlers is now going off to play tennis or a kick about in the park! 
What was once sat on the sofa with snacks watching Cars… Well actually that’s still the same they bloody love that movie!! 

When they were pre schoolers playing together in their room I’d sometimes listen in from behind the door, so curious was I to know what kind of conversations they had(I know!  I know!  needy mum much?!!)  

Now when I’m pottering about I’ll pick up snippets of conversation they’re having. 

Chatting about football or mutual friends they share.  

I’ll hear eldest giving his brother advice about his GCSE options or helping him with homework. 

I’ll hear plans being made for cinema trips or a Star Wars marathon in their room. 

They both go to the football for home matches of the local team. They don’t go together but the eldest decided he was going to go to an away match. When I asked who with his answer was “I’m going to see if Luke fancies it” 

My initial thought was aaaww that’s the loveliest… It was speedily followed up with nooooo you guys can’t catch the train to a whole other city alone. They’ll get lost and end up stranded and.. .breathe .. How nice they want to do it together. 

 I’m just so full of joy that these boys brought together by genes and circumstance get on so well. 

As someone whose sister is my best friend and favourite human in the universe I just hope their lovely friendship continues.Having a sibling as a best friend is a special thing. On top of really enjoying one another’s company there’s so much shared history. There’s someone in your life who you can rely on wholeheartedly, who has your back, who genuinely wants the best for you. I feel lucky that my relationship with sister survived teenage years when we didn’t much like one another because now I have the best friend ever. 

I’d love to think in years to come my boys will feel that in their brother they will always have a friend, a refuge, an open ear and a positive influence. 

Of course the boys argue as siblings do. The ‘Stupid Football Game’ seems to be at the root of most of their quarrels. There’s a whole etiquette regarding when you can and can’t save games that goes way over my head. 

All in all though, these young men I’m lucky enough to be raising are a close little duo. 
I think that’s just the most special thing. 



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          Mummy Times Two

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