Category Archives: parenting

Fab First born…as you turn 17

Dear J,
So you’re turning 17 and I’m not going to whinge at all that you are getting older. Simply because next year means you’ll be…oh I can’t even go there.

I think and hope you know I’m your biggest fan. So here’s 17 ways you rock at 17.

1) You’re meme king!

I like you send me funny meme’s throughout the day. Makes me feel like I’m oe of the cool kids ,even though I know I’m not.

2) You’re my Doctor Who buddy

The others may question why we watch certain episodes over and over. Not you , even better you can choose the perfect episode to suit the mood!

3) You rock dad jokes

Honestly,they are BAD!! That you find them hilarious though is endearing in itself so we’ll forgive you!

4) Our Sporting Bucket list!

I know I know….you’ve done Wembley with Hull City…hey J tell us that story again in case we missed it the first 678 times??

We’ve a few left though eh? Wimbledon, London Marathon , more Olympics??wait for me!!

5) You’ve lovely manners

Everyone comments on it ….

Actually I’m taking that one , brought up right you see!

6) You’re the best big brother ever

I know you think the dream would be to be an only child,but that’d have been such a waste. You’re great to them all (even S though she drives you nuts!)  You’re a fab role model – though you know that has to be kept up forever now right? Like me and Auntie La? No going off the rails!

7) Additionally you are small girl whisperer

No-one can talk her down from a tantrum like you. Teach me your ways….

8) When you love , you love hard

Harry Potter , snooker, The National Train Museum. Some may say obsessive. I say passionate.

9) You’re interested in the world around you

Not just physically around you either. You’ve an interest and compassion for suffering and people going through hardship and turmoil even if they’re on the other side of the world. Even if you don’t know them. You’ve empathy , a character trait many others could benefit from.

10) You’re a food weirdo (like me)

I still don’t get the lasagne thing. You love bolognaise ,yet won’t touch lasagne even without cheese sauce…which just makes it bolognaise in a different shape surely! Not that I can talk!

11) Your kids TV nostalgia is mine too!

Whatever DID happen to Milo ,Jake ,Bella and Fizz eh? 

Did the Rubberdubba’s EVER get a peaceful bath?

What the hell was The Shiny Show all about??

And yes ,the guy from Raven scared the life out of me too!

12) You’re easy bribed

Entertain small girl , go to the shops , most jobs are do able for the fee of a packet of fizzy fangs!!!

13) Watching you round others makes me proud

You’re chatty and friendly and warm and can usually find common ground with most people. This could turn out to be your most valuable life skill! I like how warm and caring you are with your friends and how you seem to just be a natural with people! I wasn’t when I was your age and really aren’t that much better now.

14) Your opinions give me hope

You’re open-minded , you’re tolerant and you actively want to change things for the better. As do your friends. When the world is an unstable as it is knowing you all are active in your plans to make a difference well it makes me despair that bit less.

15) You don’t think you’re too old or cool to play showtune karaoke with us.


FYI You will NEVER be too old or cool to play showtune karaoke!

16) You’re thoughtful

You have small girl and I’s PJs on the radiator after a rainy school run. You pick out movies or documentaries you think I might like. You take your brother to football matches if his mates arent going. It’s nice to see!

17) You make parenting easy.

Other than that wretched colic at the start ,which drove the pair of us into thinking I wasn’t cut out for this job. You’ve made being a mum pretty painless.

No drama , no trouble,no horrid teenagey strops or awful behaviour (don’t worry I know you’ve still a few teen years left yet and could turn at any minute, I’m not complacent I promise)

I say this often but that’s because it’s true. Being your mum is an absolute delight. I’ve no idea where it all went right with my haphazard parenting style and you being my guinea pig in the world of mum- hood,but it seems to have and I could not be prouder to have you call me mum.
PS….You sure you’re insistent on going AWAY to uni??? …

Love mum xxx 

Rhyming with Wine


Co-parenting turns me into a complete cow….

It really does.

Honestly I try to be a good human. I try to do the right thing. 

I try my upmost to be kind and compassionate.

However…

It would seem if you want to bring out the worst in me , co-parent with me.

I just can’t bite my tongue.

I can’t always be reasonable

I can’t turn the other cheek.

I’m a jealous,insecure nutcase.

I’m a spoilt petulant toddler.

I’ll say here as I always do ,small girl’s daddy is a fab daddy. This isn’t about him as such but just the situation.

Small girl has split her time between the two of us since she was tiny. Having two homes is her normal and she’s the most happy and content little girl .Me however…..

It’s such bloody hard work,emotionally draining (I know that’s a bit of a knob phrase but I can’t think of a better way to describe it) It’s the never ending compromise and discussion and always having to take other people’s views into account and basically being a reasonable adult always that takes it out of me!!!

Every summer holidays small girl and daddy head off on their annual roadtrip on their hols.She absolutely loves it and they have great fun and she’s always full of talk of her adventures when she  gets back. She’s done that for years so that’s her normal during the summer.

It’s not my normal though. I miss her. I want to be the one experiencing new things with her, I want to be the one to take her to boring castles ( see excerpt from last year’s holiday diary)

I wanted to take her camping the first time , I wanted to do everything first actually…and second…and forever…

You see I know I’m being ridiculous and unreasonable so that’s a relief. I know the bitchy passive aggressive texts I sometimes don’t stop myself sending in time are juvenile. I know muttering F off under my breath when something has been said that I don’t like is unnecessary but just sometimes plastering on a smile and reverting to my default as the people pleaser you can read about here just isn’t possible!!

I don’t want to take her camping,I bloody hate camping .I share her thoughts on castles for that matter!!! We’re lucky to have daddy to step into the breach for all those outdoorsy pursuits.

I’m the craft parent who doesn’t mind paint making a mess , I’m cooking mummy and ‘making stuff’ person. I’m Disney karaoke mummy.

She has the best of both worlds and is so happy with it.

It’s just for me sometimes I feel as though I only get to be part of half her world and that sucks a bit.

The evolution of the Summer Holidays…

I’m noticing a marked change these summer holidays. I’ve barely seen the teens so far. They’ve all developed these weird social life things (must look at getting myself one of those) It’s gotten me to thinking about how the summer holidays have changed.

As a kid summer holidays are the Best.Thing.Ever!!!!!They last forever and you just get to hang out with your friends all day.

Going back to school was always weird though wasn’t it? Did anyone else used to get really nervous first day back to school because you’d not seen a lot of your class mates in so long??

As an adult pre kids , school hols? Whatevs ! Has no impact on my carefree life. I’m just going about my business going to work and such like. Spending my glorious days off mooching around the shops spending money on myself …. except what the hell??? Why are all the shops full of kids?? The little buggers are everywhere running feral round the shops touching everything. They’ve invaded Costa too?? With their sticky fingers and their snotty noses.When I have kids they’re going to be always perfectly turned out and impeccably behaved…. bloody school holidays!

With pre school children well summer holidays matter not one jot. 

Every single day is basically dealing with other people’s bodily fluids on no sleep. Days , weeks , months merge into one long  sleep deprived hallucination. The only reason you know it’s school holidays time is because you can’t go to soft play for a sit down and a crap cup of tea. It’s full of boisterous ‘big kids’ running around like total maniacs!

When you have primary school aged children the holidays are hard work.

Really , really hard work.

Small people expect to be entertained constantly. 

You use up all your good ideas the first week. You’ve done ,cinema , trampolines, fairs ,bowling already. You have to rely on your free stuff for week 2 . The park ,free museums and movie days. You very soon discover there’s no such thing as a free activity where kids are concerned. The park involves ice creams and that bloody bouncy castle ,museums mean souvenirs and even the brilliant movie day plan means snacks aplenty.

By the end of the holidays you are a shell of your former self. Your brain is frazzled by thinking of fun activities. You can see on social media that everyone else went to much more exciting places than the park to chuck stale bread to ducks . Yes you know you’re meant to feed them peas now Ms Concerned of Facebook. Thanks.

Then come the teen years. 

Where we are now.

I kid ye not my eldest texted me a list of dates he and his brother were available for ‘family stuff’ . What with holidays with grandparents , their dad getting married and the very important football fixtures it seems I have a few days beginning of September.
I mean on days when small girl is at daddy’s and it’s just the teens and I the lie ins are awesome! I mean I don’t actually sleep in ,the internal mum alarm clock sees to that. I can though lay on my bed and read undisturbed for an hour. Living the dream right? No one bugs me to go to the park or do painting or play trains anymore. They entertain themselves quite happily.

The downside of course being they’re not really into mums craft ideas or going out skipping. Activities tend to actually cost and contemplating selling a kidney to pay for a theme park become the norm.

I kinda miss them too ( don’t hate me I know some of you would walk over broken glass for an hours peace in the hols)

So yes summer holidays change , not necessarily for the worse or even the better ,just different.

It’ll change again next summer , we’ll be gearing up for the eldest going away to university…..but let’s not talk about that just yet… I’m not ready!!!

Naptime Natter


I’m resentful…and it’s strange

The man who abused me is getting married in a few weeks.

It’s provoking a few strange emotions in me.

Ordinarily these days I rarely think of him. He took up so much space in my mind for so long. I simply don’t allow him any more. Having to organise the summer holidays though and work things out with the children ‘The Wedding’ comes up a lot and I’ve had to communicate with him way more than I usually do. So hand in hand with that I have been feeling a little unsettled .

It would maybe be expected to maybe go through a train of thought of wondering why he could behave normally and decently with someone else. It’d maybe be expected for me to wonder what it was I did to make him behave that way.

I don’t though. 

Not one bit.

Mainly thanks to therapy and The Freedom Programme I know that there was nothing at all I did that caused him to behave that way.
Nothing.
That is all on him.
He chose to be abusive.

A secondary reason I’m not having those kind of thoughts though is because I don’t believe he has changed. To have changed would mean taking responsibility,seeking help to alter your behaviour. However he still gaslights my experiences by never ever having admitted how he behaved.

So with not believing he has changed ,that brings with it a sense of responsibility towards his wife to be. I wrote a note to her here detailing how futile I know it is for me to tell my story ,to attempt to warn her off.

I wish there was a way I could keep her safe but it’s frustrating as hell that there is nothing I can do.

Mainly though the strongest feeling I have in regards to this situation is a whole heap of resentment. 

I’ve spoken about how that relationship left me numb for a very long while. There are many negative feelings about what happened to me that I have dealt with and then tucked away , anger being the main one.

Resentment though that’s been niggling a while.

I’m resentful that he gets to get on with his life ,having the normal grown up relationships whilst I was left so broken only now almost a decade on can I even ever so gently begin to date.

I’m resentful that I still and probably always will carry mental scars and struggle in certain situations whilst he gets to carry on without a care in the world.

I’m resentful that my children are being dressed up and shown off at this wedding and he will take credit for what amazing people they are despite not being in their lives for years.
I know it sounds like the whining of a bitter ex ,and this post is a bit of a whinge fest I’ll grant you. 
I document every huge stride I take in recovering from abuse though that it only seems honest to cover the tricky times.
I’m not sat here rocking in a corner or conjuring up complex revenge plans. I’m too healed for that.
I truly hope the kids have a fun day and enjoy themselves.

I just had to write this though.

I needed to document my feelings because amidst the champagne and the smiles and the happy ever afters….

I see him.
I know.

I remember.

So does he.

The Power of Women

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My eldest daughter of all four children is the one I worry about the most.

 

I know you can’t and certainly shouldn’t compare children. They’re all individuals. I know this. I can’t be the only parent who sometimes wonders how if you’ve parented all your children in the same way how come the end result is so different?

 

I’ve always admitted that my parenting style is one of  making it up as I go along  , it seems to work the majority of the time though.

 

Before eldest girl came my two sons.

 

They do fantastically academically , impeccably well behaved ( in school at any rate I’m not raising Topsy and Tim here!) they’re driven and motivated and *touch wood * at almost 17 and 15 they’ve never caused me too much bother or worry.

 

Eldest girl is a whole different kettle of fish. I learnt this when she was a baby. She has always been fiercely independent, very head strong and to be brutally frank , a bit of a pain in the arse . I wrote here why I don’t think that is particularly a bad thing.

 

I’ve asked her permission to write this as I really don’t want this to seem as though I am blogging about my child in a negative way. This isn’t negative. I did always want my blog to be a honest place though and it may seem I am always talking about how great it is to be a parent of teens ( and it really , really is in my experience so far ) There are challenges though.

 

Eldest girl has struggled with school this past year. She doesn’t seem to settle into it well. She’ll get into trouble for talking and rolling her eyes when a teacher tells her to hush. I’ll get emails about how she’s answered teachers back. I get irritable and annoyed with her when I hear this . I’d not stand for that kind of horrible bad manners at home, that she will display it to other people , well I really hate that.

 

I think I should take a bit of responsibility though. After all am I not the one who tells her to never let injustice pass her by? Who acknowledges that as a female my daughter will always have to shout louder to be heard, that she’ll have to fight to be allowed to take up space. If I then punish her for doing what she sees as standing up for herself, well I’m probably giving out mixed messages.

 

I wrote here about trying to teach her about picking her battles and that’s something we still need to work on.

 

I do worry she has little focus , that she has no real plans for the future , she’s 14 I don’t expect her to have her life mapped out I just think having something to aim for is healthy.

 

 

Last week we had a breakthrough.

 

My daughter is one of only 4 girls who have chosen to do computing as a GCSE next year. These girls were invited to go to a local company (CDL in Stockport) for the day. To have a look around, to chat to people who work there and to learn a bit more about a career in I.T ( oh my is it even still called I.T ? I am sooo old)

 

 

My daughter came home from this day inspired! Truly! She couldn’t shut up about her day and the people she’d met. She’d put together a plan and researched what GCSE grades she’d need and what her options were after school to pursue this career that has spoken to her so loudly.

 

The thing with my eldest daughter is that she, at 14 , has been coming up against inequality and sexism already for a very , very long time. From the boys who wouldn’t pass to her as a girl in the primary school football team. From teachers who have had her help others struggling with work when she’s finished early when the boys are given extension work. From certain family and ‘friends’ who pass comment about why can’t she dress like a proper girl. She is very much a hoody and trackies kind of girl and I really am quite jealous because she rocks it. I would look a fool. From the horrible words such as difficult and feisty and bossy that are never applied to her male counterparts exhibiting the same behaviour.

 

Yet last week she went to a company where they didn’t just tolerate females in a male dominated environment but they embraced it, they actively encouraged it . I think that could have been the first time (other than mum who obviously doesn’t count ) that she’d been told how valuable she was as a young woman. That her contribution to the world was welcomed, that there is a space for female voices where you don’t have to shout to be heard.

 

I’ve always said that I think the key to channelling my daughter’s spirit and passion is to surround her by inspirational , empowering women who can help her with learning how to choose battles and channel the kind of drive that makes me think of all my children she could no doubt change the world.

 

Last week she got a taste of that and I’m so grateful to CDL for sparking something in my daughter that has left her motivated and excited for the future.

 

 

Now ..just need to work on the eye rolling…..

 

 

 

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JakiJellz

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We ❤ Wimbledon – but it turns us a bit nuts!!

We really look forward to Wimbledon in this house , a lot. Well the two boys and I do anyway. I think the girls just like that it signals close to school hols time and I put on snacks for big matches. 

There’s also , for me , the added bonus of Andy Murray. 

Now anyone who has ever followed me on social media or in fact ever spoken to me is probably a tiny bit aware of my utter adoration for the guy. The crush is all encompassing. So that adds to the excitement! 

So we do love Wimbledon,but here’s how it turns us into total oddballs!!

We get delusions of grandeur

We talk about going to Wimbledon ‘one day’. Probably to the final. In the royal box no doubt, hanging with the young royals. Maybe I’ll be married to Harry by then – he probably has a thing for fellow redheads ,older women and commoners ….see what I mean? Delusional!

Realistically we’d likely only get to go to Pauper’s Sunday or whatever they call it.

The cost of men’s final tickets for all 5 of us plus strawberries and cream and my Pimms bar bill,well I’d have to sell a kidney!

We think we rock at tennis

Our nice weather activity,as a family,is going off to play tennis on the local tennis courts. Now with 3 teenagers ANYTHING that everyone agrees to do without a fuss , especially outside I have to take as a win and encourage wholeheartedly.

The thing is we are enthusiastic but we’ve no skills. In fact that line could apply to most sports undertaken by the boys and I. We try our best at sporting activities,our heart is truly in it but we’ve limited skills. The girls are the sporty ones in our house.

So as you can imagine our tennis matches are very stop start. Rallys of more than 3 are huge achievements and hitting the ball on a first serve makes us believe we are up for Sports Personality of the Year.

Mum dresses even weirder

We all know my dress sense is one entitled “have you not bought clothes since 1998?” I can’t help it , I’ll never be cool and trendy. I’m ok with that. Tennis season though I step it up a notch. I LOVE tennis dresses! They’re so cute and so summery and probably 18 years ago pre-children they maybe suited me. Now? Not so much. Stretchy material is no great look for a woman in her mid 30’s (yes 37 is mid ,hush!) with 4 kids!

I also have a white pleated tennis skirt my sister gave me years back that I wear to play in. I mean business, I look a fool but who cares?? Possibly the kids but who’s asking them?!!

Tennis snacks become a thing

Football snacks are a big deal in this house. On a big game day all the big guns are brought out : Nachos , pizza , wings.

I tried dragging the same snacks out for the big Wimbledon matches but the kids though maybe tennis snacks should be a bit more refined (we are big on themed dinners in our house- I made a rod for my own back years ago with that one!)

So refined snackery it is! Tennis snacks became sandwiches minus crusts and cake . Basically afternoon tea accompanied by fake (obviously alcohol free) Pimms.

I contemplate tennis lessons

Ultimate female mid life crisis cliché isn’t it? The stuff of dodgy Mills and Boons stories…. frustrated woman takes tennis lessons and is seduced by hot young tennis instructor!! Ooo actually maybe I’m being too hasty in ruling it out.

The reason I don’t go through with my tennis lessons notions though is for a whole other reason. It’s because I cannot stand being rubbish at something. I get frustrated at not being able to pick up a skill instantly and I’m an awful bad loser.

It’d be McEnroe esque carnage!!!

So roll on summer.

We love Wimbledon.

I love my quirky family.

Come on Andy Murray *swoons*



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A boys first love – A guest post from my eldest

I couldn’t let the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter pass without comment. JK Rowling is a hero and inspiration of mine. Harry Potter though , well I know a guy who can talk about his love for that with way more passion than me.

My 16 year old first born. He fell in love with the books as a little little kid . They’re his go to books when he’s had a bad day or is ill or just needs a bit of comfort. I’ll let him tell you all about it,

 

 

Harry Potter. Where do I even start? Hooked at 6 finished by 11. Almost cried when I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter but it probs just got lost, it’s cool, yours did too, right?

I won’t claim to be an expert, for some it means more, and many know more. It will always have a special little scar spaced slot in my heart, from crying when I was younger, when the actor for Dumbledore died, so I was of course terrified that without Dumbledore, who would stop Voldemort? All the way to the woman sat behind us when we saw the last movie, who sobbed all the way through.

But in so many ways it’s so much more than a story. The idea that one happy memory (a patronus) can hold away an army of negativity (dementors) is an incredibly powerful one, as she says “help can always be found at Hogwarts, for those who ask for it” (or sommat like that anyway) That message is incredibly powerful.

Teaching young children about toxic environments, and encouraging imagination will have an impact for generations to come. There will never be a day that someone in the world doesn’t think a positive thought about Harry Potter, and in turn JK Rowling.

Somewhere, in a small café  in Scotland, one woman created a story and a universe that would last long in the memories of millions, some like me who hadn’t even been considered, yet alone born. She would change the lives of millions, and create strong role models for all, no matter what your age, race, gender, or sexuality namely herself, Emma Watson, or even Rupert Grint, for gingers everywhere!

I’ve read so many fan theories, from small little sad ones, like how Sirius and Harry had such a strong relationship because whenever they looked at each other, they both wished to see James.Simply insane ones too, like that Dumbledore is a time travelling Ron Weasely. Each day a new theory pops onto my facebook news feed, and that is how you know when something truly amazing has been created, when after 2 decades, people still can’t get enough, and that is the sign of a true legend.

It creates moral issues, like whether Snape is a good guy or not.I mean apparently abusing and bullying innocent school children isn’t an issue anymore, but that’s a whole different blog, possible series. But it gets young minds thinking on their own, raising their own moral issues, and allows them to gather their own opinion and voice it. In this world, there is nothing more important than standing up for what you believe is right, and that is exactly what she has started to encourage teenagers to do.

It makes us cry, laugh, and fume, sometimes all at the same time. And I could, have done, and almost definitely will reread them over and over again, because with truly beautiful, informative and intelligent writing you learn something new on every page.There is absolutely nothing bad about that, it means that generations upon generations will be passed down books from their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, and millions will be inspired by her writing, inspired to be a Harry, and do good. For that, from billions of potterheads across the globe, thank you JK Rowling

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are”. -Sirius Black, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.    JK Rowling.


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My children do not come from a broken home 

There are way too many phrases that make me want to scream. The term ‘broken home’ has to be up there at number one.

It’s a phrase usually accompanied by statistics:
“Children from broken homes 5x more likely to suffer from mental health problems” (Daily Mail)
“Children from broken homes nine times more likely to commit crime ” (Telegraph)
” 7/10 young offenders come from broken homes” (Telegraph)

I’ve read through these articles,I’ve read the statistics and it seems that broken homes in these instances are those where there are not two biological parents living at home with the children. Broken home is often used to mean fatherless home,although there are of course motherless homes too.

I just think that these articles and statistics and panic inducing headlines do single parents a huge injustice.
Sure some families will struggle after splits and divorce.Sure some single parents will find it hard to cope so maybe we could look at how best to support them rather than write off their children as future thugs.

I don’t know one single parent who always envisaged this as the dream they’ve always wanted to persue from being a young child.I think most people would wish to raise their children in a marriage or long term relationship with their father.To have a calm,stable family life of mum,dad and children where the little ones can learn about healthy,respectful relationships from just observing their parents. Unfortunately though this sometimes simply doesn’t happen. 

Scary headlines don’t help. I for one have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about being a single mum. That chip wasn’t put there by me though. I feel judged because I am judged,often. 

An academic,Patricia Morgan,who has written several studies on family break up says this 

“Broken families and serial fathers produce homes full of conflict and chaos and they are terrible for children”
Well Patricia, I am not as well educated as you . I’m not an academic. I am however on the front line of single parenting,everyday. 
This house you speak of terrible for children? full of conflict? That was our life when we were living in the conventional family that you are so keen on. The fatherless ‘broken’ home we live in currently is one of relative calm , of happiness and laughter , of comfort.

As for the serial father bit that you chucked in there Patricia. We happen to be single parents we’re not animals looking for the next particularly fertile mate. 
Yes there are families where the headlines and stats and stereotypes unfortunately ring true. That’s huge shame for all involved. It’s a shame for society. 

The single parents I know though,raising our future thugs and villains?? We’re actually doing a bloody good job in really tough circumstances. 
We’re resilient, we’re adaptable, we’re hardworking and we’re tough. Rather than looking for the next serial father to jump we’re actually making a cosy haven for our children,making sure they feel safe and loved and secure . We’re doing a two person job single handedly often whilst working or caring for other family members or studying.
The conventional family my children lived in once was a stifling,suffocating one. It was unhealthy and dangerous. It was not the calm nurturing environment it should have been.
My children are not from a broken home. They are from a fixed one.


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Out of my hands 

Back when we left the abusive relationship all those years ago.

Back when my now taller than me teenagers were still little tiny things. 

Back when my now college boy was still in infant school. 

Back when my articulate chatterbox 2nd born still couldn’t talk properly (damn you speech therapy it was THE cutest) 

Back when I thought baby no. 3 treating brother baiting as if it were an Olympic sport was a phase she’d grow out of (poor deluded me) 

Back then. 
I had one priority – to keep them safe. 

It was hard at times. I was still so damaged from the abuse, I wasn’t strong mentally but still that fundamental aim remained. 

Keep them safe. 

I often felt like I was fighting the whole entire world and noone would listen to me and help me. For years through the family court nightmare with social services dragged into our lives by him every concern I had was met with ‘he’s their father, he has a right to see them’ 

I had to stand firm and unwavering at a time when I’ve never felt so fragile, but I could do it for them- to keep them safe. 
The children have seen their dad intermittently. They go to their paternal grandparents every fortnight and though he rarely took up the opportunity I was clear he was welcome to visit them there.  I didn’t want to be keeping my children from their father. Don’t get me wrong it suited me when he didn’t bother, I’m not claiming to be a saint here. 

Now though, at almost 17,15 and 14 it’s no longer my call. It’s no longer my decision but theirs. It’s out of my hands. 
This weekend they’re going to stay at his house for the weekend for the very first time. I’m really not dealing with it very well. 
The thing is it’s no longer about their safety. They want to go and stay and I can’t stand in their way. They really like his girlfriend and I actually think she could be the draw of why they want to go. 

It’s not that I believe them to be in physical danger – believe me if I thought that was even a possibility they’d be going nowhere.  
The discomfort I’m feeling is for selfish reasons.  The thought of them being there has triggered all the old feelings. Mentally I’m transported back to when I first came here – fragile and vulnerable and just feels bloody horrid. 
When we first came here my anxiety manifested itself as a ridiculous phobia of fainting in public. My physical anxiety symptoms feel very much like that second before you faint. Erratic breathing, throat tightening, light headedness and back then I was new to the anxiety game and didn’t realise that’s what it was. It used to happen daily back then but it’s not happened that badly in a good 7 years. Then yesterday it happened again. I know it’s because of this weekend and I just can’t stand to feel this way. It feels as if all my strength and mental stability has been whisked away and I’m back to that shaken girl of old. 

I know it’s only temporary though. I know when they arrive home Sunday after a lovely weekend all will be back right with my world. I do know that so I’m going to try to take a positive from this. I’m going to use it to acknowledge to myself how far I have come, how I am a totally different stronger woman now. 

I did what I set out to do. I took my children out of an unhealthy environment and I kept them safe. 
I have 3 down, happy, level headed (most of the time) teenagers and I have to allow them the space to make a relationship with their father if they choose to. 
I kept them safe. 
I just was unprepared for the time to come when it was out of my hands.  

<br /><br /><br />
<a href=”http://www.motherofteenagers.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e14/Motherofteenagers/3%20rsz_1rsz_1rsz_teen_logo_launch_zpslcprplei.jpg” alt=”Mother of Teenagers” /></a><br /><br /><br />

It’s coming up to that time of the year again.. .. 

We’re here again. The anniversary of the date I left the abusive relationship is on the horizon. I think by now I’ve possibly bored you all with my take and insight on that particular subject. I just wanted to talk about The Freedom Programme though and what an invaluable resource it is when you’ve suffered abuse (or indeed still are) 

That scary day, all those years ago, that I fled I didn’t expect to succeed. I don’t remember much about that time due to a shed load of unhealthy coping mechanisms as I spoke about here. What I do remember about that day though was the fear. Standing at the train station with the kids – sick with fright fully expecting him to show up and force us back. To this day I still occasionally have dreams of that exact scenario happening. They’re truly horrible. 

I did do it though. I got away. 

That startled girl in new city though is a million miles from the woman I am now. I’d naively expected to be able to  shut the door on that relationship and magically transform back into the person I was before him. Confident and ambitious. It sounds silly but it came as a shock to me quite how damaged I was. Thankfully here, years of therapy and using this blog as an extension of that down the line I am in the main healed and healthy and stronger. 

My healing process began with The Freedom Programme. I’d really like to share with you how it helped me so much. 

Firstly the fact that it’s a group scenario becomes really helpful. I know I know! That ironically was what almost put me off doing it in the first place. I had no confidence back then. I could barely look anyone in the face. How could I stride into a room of women and talking about things I hadn’t even with my closest people?
Well of course it wasn’t like that. 
It was a room of kindness and gentleness. Women just like me, who had the same stories to tell as me. That’s where the fact it’s a group scenario becomes empowering. You’re so isolated when you’re in an abusive relationship the relief of another woman saying “me too” when you talk of your experiences is incredible. When you speak of incidents that you’ve not mentioned to others as you worry they’d be seen as trivial and women relate,that’s powerful. Nothing sounded silly to these women, they knew. They got it. 

Secondly it’s just a brilliantly put together programme. The woman who devised it really knows what she is talking about on this subject and you can feel it. 

Each week you look at a different side to the perpetrator, the different behaviour they use. For me I for  the  first time acknowledged shared beliefs with the perpetrator which really helped me gain an understanding. You also are introduced to his opposite. Identify the characteristics of a more supportive man. The decent human being. Helpful in itself. 

Another amazing thing I gained from doing the Freedom Programme is that it helped me to allow myself to let go off the guilt I felt for not being able to get  the children out of that environment sooner. I wrote a whole blog post covering that here but it really was weight of the world lifted off your shoulders stuff. 

Lastly, and really importantly, the Freedom Programme stays with you. Here I am still banging on about it all these years later, I probably will be in another 10 years. 

There’s a section in the programme about being able to identify early signs of abusive behaviour. Kind of red flag warnings you can spot at the beginning of a relationship. I come back to these often. Between learning these on the programme and a good few years of just interacting with people I do feel quite well equipped to spot a twat from a distance these days. It’s helpful.

 They. Are. Everywhere 
The ones just beginning to chip away at a beautiful woman. The ones further down the line in absolute control of other people. The ones still single yet give off a waft of ‘abusive tendencies’ so strong  you can almost choke on it. 

If you are experiencing abuse there are agencies that can help you. That can safely support you. There are a whole army of women out here ready to mobilise on your command. 

Refuge 

Women’s aid

And of course the brilliant Freedom Programme

Are all here if it’s safe for you to get online. 

Doing the Freedom Programme started off my healing from abuse in the most positive way. Writing this blog and years of therapy have a big  part in enabling that healing to continue and there are also some spectacular humans who have helped me to get to where I am now, which is in no way a spectacular place to be but thinking back at this  time of year is way better than I’d have dreamed my life could be back then. 

Thank you all of you 

Xxx

 


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/



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