Tag Archives: parenting

#Blogtober17 – Day 6 – Flowers…….Daisychains like Diamonds

I struggled with today’s theme of flowers. I know nothing about flowers! I’m not a fan of flowers as gifts and I’m certainly not a gardener.

Then I remembered a moment . The one in the picture above. The day I taught small girl how to make a daisychain. 

We have spent a lot of time at the park small girl and I . As every parent knows the park is the best activity for a sunny (or indeed a cold/rainy/snowy) day . You can take a sandwich there and call it a picnic , they can run around till they’re exhausted and sometimes they even have ducks! Best of all they are free!!

We’ve had many a special moment at the park small girl and I. She teaches me her gym routines , she runs an exercise class to keep me fit,she puts on a dance show. I mean who wouldn’t want to hang out with this cool one 

Anyway , I digress as per! One day we’d sat on the park , eating our picnic chatting away and she started picking daisies and trying to ‘magic’ them into daisychains and getting frustrated it wouldn’t work. I offered to do the magic bit for her and put together her flowers into magical jewellery! She was astounded! She spent the day wearing her daisychains as though they were diamonds and I felt like I really was magic so happy did a tiny thing make her! 
It really is the little moments that count!!

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A little bit in awe of teen girl , an instinctive feminist…

My teenage daughter , she won’t mind me saying , has previous for being a bit of a pain in the arse. I wrote this a while back about why , although it can be frustrating I don’t necessarily see it as being a solely bad thing.

I suffer great mum bias of course but as well as being kind and funny and beautiful and ridiculously cool in a way I certainly was not at 14 she just seems to ‘get it’. 

I would certainly label myself as feminist and maybe some of my preaching that I often feel is falling on deaf ears to all 4 of them is filtering down after all but she’s an instinctive feminist. I think I learnt feminism. I think I saw things happening in the world I didn’t like and then looked to people more knowledgeable than myself to ask questions to and to ask what I should be reading and what I could do as an individual to help.

Eldest girl though , she just seems to know it , she feels it . I’m in awe of that.

The other day we were walking back from the shop. Chatting about the new bank notes. She mentioned there hadn’t been as much as a fanfare about the new £10 note as there had been the £5. I , said ah that’ll be because there are no men on it! We then spoke about what a struggle it had been to get Jane Austen on the note. I told her about all the vile abuse and threats that campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez had received throughout the campaign to get a woman on the note. 
My daughter’s response came immediately.

 “Well you know why that is don’t you?”

“Because those men took offence to being excluded” I offered.

“Well yes , but especially excluded from being on money . Those kind of men who behave that way see money as power and certainly don’t want replacing by women.” 

This had never occurred to me . Yes I’d concluded that the men threatening to rape and kill Caroline Criado-Perez for daring to campaign for a female face to join the Queen on our currency were suffering from such fragile masculinity that they couldn’t stand to see men removed from on a bank note. To equate that with money and power being synonymous had passed me by. Not her though.

Her feminism gives me hope. 
Her feminism means she rolls her eyes when comment is passed about why she can’t dress more ‘like a girl’ (” I’m a girl , I’m wearing clothes I AM dressed like a girl)
Her feminism means when the boys at primary school refused to pass to her on the football team as she was a girl her reaction was to win player of the match rather than have a row.
Her feminism means pulling up girls at school who are telling her friends they should be on one ridiculous diet or another. Telling them they’re spreading dangerous nonsense . I’m super proud she told me she did this whist munching on a chip butty but that’s just me.
Her feminism means pink and blue kinder eggs anger her , that nothing irritates her more than being told she’s ‘ too pretty ‘ to play rugby and should be looking after that face , that has rejected gender stereotyping from being a little , little girl.

Yes she likes the last word , yes she drives her brothers mad winding them up just for fun , yes she’s overly argumentative and yes she has a temper and can strop like a toddler at times. 

I’ve always thought and always said though that this girl can and will change the world one day. 
I think maybe she already is. 

When did you stop holding my hand?

On our walk to school last week small girl slipped her hand into mine as she was enthusiastically chattering about Masterchef and skipping along.

At that moment I realised that she’d stopped doing that. That what used to be an automatic response to put her hand out to hold mine had stopped.

I don’t know when it stopped, I don’t remember it happening but it had.

It made me a little sad to think that all these little habits of a younger girl were now lost , grown out of by an increasingly older girl . I can’t remember when she stopped asking for comics or when she stopped asking me to tuck her in ‘super super tight ‘ but she has. 

I wrote a while back about I’d miss all her little behaviours. It’s just here . Now one by one they’re disappearing.

On that same walk to school small girl told me in articulate , expressive detail all about how the Northern Lights were causing whales to beech themselves. I didn’t know anything about this (thank you Newsround for filling her little brain with so much knowledge) It really made me smile that she’d heard all about that and was interested and wanted to share it with me.

In the same way I’ve finally stopped whining , most of the time , about the teens growing up I think I need to the same here.

This little girl who is so interested in the world around her is developing interests and passions that the younger her wouldn’t have on the same way. I think I may have an eco warrior on my hands.

Her absolute passion for cookery means what was once rice crispy cakes has become her ability to make a roast dinner with the minimum of help from me. Her Yorkshire puddings are honestly the yummiest and put to shame her Yorkshire girl mums pathetic efforts.

Her insistence on plating up as a work of art leaves us all with teeny portions (she’s watched too many Michelin starred chefs programmes) 

It’s slightly concerning that rather than call out that dinner is on the table she shouts “service ” but we like quirky here!!

She’s begun to draw a lot , she’s always been creative but her art has brand new qualities to it . A little different to the cute little cat pictures she used to draw a few years ago.

Her book choice has changed , ever the bookworm I unfortunately can’t remember the last time Hugless Douglas got a read but we’ve been reading Little Women together of late , one of my all time favourites .

So I’ll not moan too much about my littlest girl growing into a lovely 9 year old. She’s taking me along with her on her new adventures and I couldn’t feel luckier about that 

Just hold my hand from time to time small girl….



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Bringing up Georgia

3 Little Buttons

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 

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Rhyming with Wine


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.

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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One Messy Mama



          Mummy Times Two



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.  

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