I’ve become “that” obsessed doggy person and I am not afraid to admit it

So I have loosely referred to my beautiful dog in the last few posts, but I have never written a whole post on him.

Meet Bumble, he is img_8873.jpg

a Bearded Collie and turned 1 in September, he is my 3rd baby….yes I just referred to him as my baby!  When I first started to think about getting a puppy, I kept my plans to myself for a while….then I just couldn’t help myself and my plans would just fall out of my mouth.  Cue the comments from concerned family and friends….”are you mad”, “do you know how much hard work they are?”, ” how are you going to cope with a dog when you struggle to juggle kids and and work on your own”….I got them all and I seriously questioned my own sanity for a while.

What was interesting to experience, is that when you think about getting a dog and you start to tell people your plans, a lot of negativity comes out, well it did in my experience and it made me question my own judgement and whether I was making the right decision.  I have come to realise that when you get a dog, or any pet for that matter, you get hounded by everyone’s opinions on how you should handle and bring up a pet. One person suggested that I was being selfish and even had the audacity to presume that I would regret within the first year of getting a dog as it would hinder my social life….well let me tell you, I have loved every minute of Bumble so far.  I watched in horror on a local Facebook community page after a young woman asked for advice on which breed of puppy she should look at.  The poor woman must have received over 80 responses and 90% of those were the most judgemental, patronising comments I ever read, but unfortunately, from my own experience, it didn’t surprise me. I rarely comment on these posts, but when I saw her being lectured by people who were assuming she hadn’t a clue on how to bring up a dog along with the responsibilities, I had to comment and assure her not everyone is quick to judge.  To my relief, it encouraged others to do the same thing and I later received a private message from her thanking me for the positive comment.

Ok the puppy stage is hard and being house proud makes life harder when you have a dog, but no-one & I mean no-one gets me like Bumble does.  All you doggy owners out there reading this will know what I mean.  In fact, as I madly type this blog, he is lay at my feet.  Every time and even today, I realise he doesn’t leave my side, particularly after the RugRats dad comes to pick them up.  He just senses and seems to know I adore his company.  I can have the worst day or I will be walking into the house after picking up the RugRats and they will be talking over each other and arguing about who should have sat in the front this time & telling me off for not getting it right and up his fluffly little head pops from his dopey snooze and with a cock of the head, he makes me smile instantly and in that moment all the worries and RugRat arguments disappear.

Yes, I’m in love with my dog and I really don’t care and you can tease me and mock me, but I am and he has been there and comforted me at some really shitty times, when no one else has.  I tell him my worries, I moan to him about the weather and I ask him if he thinks my boyfriend is the right choice and it really doesn’t matter he can’t talk back and this is probably why dogs are seen as being so theraputic, they don’t judge!

Some of you may think I love my dog more than the RugRats but it isn’t the case that I do, it is just that he gives me an uncomplicated relationship and he makes me feel calm at times when I never thought possible.  When I find myself being on my own and a little low, he is there and makes me get up in the mornings when I don’t have the RugRats and has made me stop and realise that I live in a pretty part of the country, whereas before, I may not have seen that.

I was recently having a chat with a colleague and old friend and he admitted to me that when I told him about getting Bumble, he thought it was the biggest mistake I’d have made to date.  He hadn’t voiced this to me at the time, he kept it to himself, but it was pretty big of him to admit this to me recently and he made me smile as he said, “I have to eat my own words now and I am sorry, but he really isn’t the biggest mistake, it was a genius move for you and the kids”.  You see, for all you doubters out there, this wasn’t a quick fix and patch up from a divorce, as from experiencing having a dog as a little girl, what also happens is that they teach children an important lesson in life, responsibility.  I felt as a mummy to two RugRats, that they needed something to anchor to when they had experienced an upheaval, but also at the same time get back a way of communicating to them in terms of teaching them life skills, with the help of a puppy to reinforce the message I wanted to give to them.  Sounds deep, but it really isn’t and felt like the right way to teach them discipline at a time when rules seemed blurred as they were getting used to different terms in their two homes.  The RugRats know that Bumble needs feeding, walking and playing with, but they also have learnt the discipline you need with a dog in terms of training them and working as a team so Bumble knows where he stands in the family (or pack to him).  It is working and they also relate to people in their day to day lives better in terms of feelings and empathy towards others around them.

What is most special of all, Bumble has brought laughter back in the house.  There have been some fraught times, but he has brought back the RugRats magical giggles and I love how they beg me for him to have a sleepover in their rooms now he is older & I know that they will have their moments where they will use him as their own sounding board and get comfort from him when they don’t feel able to come to me or their Dad.

So I may not have the savings I once dreamed of having as my money now gets spent of the dog and RugRats and I have to plan my holidays wisely, with or without the dog and taking into account dog sitters and vets bills, but I really don’t regret my decision one bit and would go as far to say “up yours” to the doubters out there.

It made me laugh when I went to a conference last week, which actually inspired me to blog again, as an entrepreneur Sam Jones spoke of his blog on having a dog in the office and how it caused a dramatic split in opinion and it was the most commented blog he’d produced to date.  Becoming a dog owner and asking for people’s advice really does seem to open you up to passionate comments from both sides of the fence even when you are a dog lover.  But what Sam recognises is, there are so many articles on dogs being good for office morale and people’s well-being, it is hard to argue against those pros and to me the far outweigh the cons.

To close, I may rock the boat further by making this statement, but if you are planning on getting a puppy and people tell you having a puppy is like having a baby, I am sorry but I really don’t agree.  I know I refer to him as my baby, but I didn’t have to get up with every 3-4 hours and change his nappy and breastfeed him, like I did with the RugRats.  He has learnt to fit in with us and along the way he has taught us some pretty amazing lessons on unrequited loyalty and he is the bestest friend I’ve ever had & he may have even inspired me to write about his adventures…..now just to try to convince work that he will boost productivity too!

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Where did 2017 go?!

img_8987-1So my last post was New Years Eve and we are fast approaching the end of November.  I have blinked and nearly a whole year has passed me by!

I have kept myself to myself this year.  It felt like the first year since my divorce was a frenzy of change and adjustment and I was riding the crest of a wave in terms of feeling positive and reading back on my last post, I know I was experiencing delayed reactions to the reality of what had happened.  I felt guilty for feeling upset and confused why I only started to feel that way.

The thing is, I know I felt empowered as a woman to free myself from a relationship that I knew hadn’t been working for a long time and I felt grateful that I had managed to keep a certain status quo for my RugRats by not having to move, but the thing is, I didn’t allow for the reality of everything to hit me when the dust had settled.  I read something recently (the blog fails to come into mind as I type) that it generally takes 2 years for you to come to terms with the after effects of divorce; by looking at the timing, I would say this is pretty accurate.

I have a theory…..when you go through a divorce, you have your core friends who are there to keep you going when the chips are down, then you have your outer circle who dip in and check on you now and then and then you have the rest of your friends, who you realise are just your, dare I use the Stacey Forsey terms from Cheshire Housewives, your “social friends”!  So the social friends are the ones that scamper!  You don’t hear from them and there are those awkward moments in the school playground or the local shop, that you bump into them and you are feeling hurt and they are clearly embarrassed that they haven’t a clue what to say to you……bin those mates!  Just bin them now (obviously I’m not saying be rude and blank them, you can still maintain the pleasantries) as they will be the people who make you anxious and question yourself….stop that now.  Believe in the theory that when this happens, it is about THEM and not YOU and is a clear indicator to their own insecurities.  This has taken me until fairly recently to realise that and it has made me question everything I have done and made we reflect and wonder if I have done something to offend them…..the theory my best friend & I came up with is that they have questioned their own relationship and also my best mate also reckons they think I may hit on their husbands & therefore clearly don’t know the real me!

The outer circle and inner circle friendships are all people I have been friends with for a long time and know me well, but as time goes on, people have their own lives to lead and it starts to become quite awkward when it comes to dinner party invitations or couples nights out and those slowly drift and you begin to feel isolated.  You used to have the “sympathy invitations”, as one of my single mum friends recently referred to, and as a close friend referred to me recently, “showing girl power”, and your married friends or friends in long-term relationships would invite their recent single girlfriends, but the reality of it is, it makes it really awkward when you have hit your mid to late thirties and the new going out, is the new staying in and cooking like you’re all competing for Come Dine With Me. Even the invitations to days out with the kids as a family begin to drop off as it’s just me with the kids on the weekends that I have them, and some girlfriends begin to feel awkward as they want their husbands to join them and think it may make me feel awkward. It doesn’t at all, I value every friendship I have, including those I had in marriage and in reality, it’s not any different to how was back then when I was married!

I’m not trying to sound ungrateful here or play the “my life Is harder than yours” card, as we all have our own issues and I certainly don’t take my friendships for granted and I certainly don’t think life revolves around me, I’m simply saying that there comes a time when it hits you that you are facing the reality of life as the single friend, and to married couples with young families, you are seen to have a different & new reality.

My reality is now juggling a full-time job, my beautiful RugRats and all their social activities and hobbies and running a home and not having someone to sound off to at the end of the day, apart from the dog! In amongst that, I am trying to date!  Yes I said the other “D” word!  God almighty, this raises another topic of discussion that generally includes you but is never spoken in front of you, just that you know it has been discussed, when you get to that long awaited catch up and a few drinks have been had and it is let slip what a mutual friends concerns are that you are dating and your choice of (dare I use this term) partner has been fully discussed & dissected at length.  Again, I hate to sound like I am being ungrateful, & I love my friends dearly, but can you imagine how it feels a little disheartening that somehow you have entered this realm of reality that when you become the divorcee or that single friend, it feels that some people (& this includes family) take it as an invitation to express their opinion on your life choices, as clearly I have made totally shit ones before and in their minds they really are trying to help.

It’s not just me though, I have friends who feel exactly the same way who are single and haven’t had kids or been married before. The sad thing is, when I have chatted with these friends, it seems that like me, they yearn for inclusion and it feels quite isolating when you learn of other friends being invited to social events and you haven’t been included as it was deemed as “all couples”.

I get it, I do & I know it comes from a good place generally, but the reality of it is that I am hard on myself as it is……I just feel doubly shit knowing that I am being judged by others too & it only deems to make a friendship feel awkward  & that makes me recoil!  I can honestly say, I would never sit with my friends and judge their relationship choices, let alone voice it.  We are all grown ups and we make our own choices in life and if that is with someone we wouldn’t be with ourselves, then that doesn’t mean it is the wrong choice for them. The same goes for the career paths we take or the decisions on new purchases. Everyone is entitled to make a decision without being judged and measured against the social measures that are constantly being placed, especially now in the age of Facebook and Instagram.

I have watched a lot of friends through the years navigate through their different relationships, whether it be family, romantic, friends or work colleagues and we have had many a deep & meaningful chats over a few G&Ts about the individual complexities each of these can throw in our way, but what I have learnt through my own experiences, is never to assume and try not to judge.  We all have our own shit going on & there will be fall outs and make ups along the way, but I will never ever openly judge or voice a judgement, as to be fair, we all judge, but some do without hesitation and we need to all learn that lives can be so complex at times and everyone is allowed to change their minds otherwise you look at life in black and white and if you do, you never open yourself up for change. Sometimes change may not feel a positive experience at the time, but it will do at some point, as without change, you will never experience new opportunities.

I have always valued the friendships I have & I do not mind admitting that I have been hurt in the past when I have realised that other friends may not hold the same value in our friendship, but as I have blogged before, as I have grown older, I know that friendships ebb and flow and sometimes you may be closer to some over others & then it can change again, but it doesn’t mean I value that person any less.

It may not surprise some of you, but I am one of those people who Google’s the crap out of stuff and I have to admit, I have googled the hell out of divorce and friendships when I have felt any my loneliest and lowest. I came across some brilliant blogs and a lot of on Huffington Post. It would seem I’m not alone in my thoughts and there are pages and pages of blogs where we’re pouring our hearts out on the effects of divorce. In fact the Huffington Post has a whole section on it!

I have also taken great comfort from a blogger called Jackie Pilossoph and she wrote a great article on the issue of divorce and friendships and articulates my experiences much better than I can in her post “Divorce and Friendships: It’s Complicated”. In it she says:

I think that when it comes to divorce and friendships, you lose some friends because of the divorce, but you make new friends, or people you didn’t know very well become good friends. Throughout our lives, friends come in and out of our worlds, and it largely depends on our circumstances and how much we have in common with those people.

So this year, I kept myself out of the world of blogging as I feared I was being judged but I kept a little diary to help me process my feelings whilst I did this and I know that writing makes me feel better and I may not be up there in the heady heights of your published bloggers, but I can’t help but feel it is time to put my toes back into the world of blogging (most people would say feet, but I am incapable of walking on the whole of my feet and choose to tiptoe) and see if I can put the world to rights. Some of you might think I’m moaning and some of you might judge me for publicising my private life but if that makes you sleep at night, go ahead, I don’t judge you, after all, I’m just like you. I am winging it every day like everyone else and trying to be a good mummy, a good daughter, a good friend or a co-worker. Just like you, I’m constantly working on myself, fighting my own demons, sometimes I win them, sometimes I lose, but at the end of the day, I really am just like you so let’s all start being easier on ourselves. If you can’t be then get a dog, I can highly recommend it and they are amazing for boosting your emotional well-being.

xXx TTFN xXx

192 days…..lots change in those days

img_2931So sitting here and reading my first posts has made me realise just how fast things change. When I last blogged, I was on a massive roller coaster of emotions. I was trying to work out how to handle a divorce and how to keep my little rugrats happy, whilst they were experiencing a massive shake up from their mummy and daddy divorcing.

I spent from the hours of 3 to 7 trying to act as if everything was just as normal as it could be. I had to, for the sake of my little rugrats. They needed some form of normality in the midst of a divorce, which turned bitter. My now ex husband (that feels so good) decided he would stay in the house right up until the end of November, whilst we exchanged words of war between solicitors. They say you never know someone truly until you experience divorce…..you really don’t! What he couldn’t see or refused to admit, that no matter how he pretended to be civil in front of our gorgeous creations; the innocent angels saw through this and picked up on the underlying tension between us. That, for my eldest, will take some time to heal from. His main fear now are arguments and runs as fast as he can when he perceives tension.  That, as a mummy, I find hard to process. No child should experience that, if it can be avoided. My ex could have avoided that as he had a bolt hole to go to. Instead, he chose to play the mental war tactics and smoke me out to gain the best financial settlement he could.

To be honest, as long as I was able to keep some continuity for the rugrats, in terms of being able to stay in the family home and do what is fair, I wasn’t that bothered. My priority was and always will be my children. Sadly, this wasn’t the same for my ex. The words “once we have agreed on a financial settlement, my attention will turn to the children” appeared on an email after I was begging him for some feedback on my proposals about co parenting, I was reeling…..to be frank, I still am.

I had made peace with divorcing, I was nervously excited about where life would take me next, but when you realise that you are trying to negotiate and always will have to negotiate with a narcissist, you suddenly get smacked in the face with the difficulty you will always have to face, as you share two children…….that never ever goes away. Now I find myself trying to make peace with this realisation.

For me, sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have a seamless negotiation when it comes to our children. I can try to change my behaviour in any way which possible to help the situation, but that will mean bugger all if the other person is hell-bent on just trying to be awkward with you and not focus on what is right for 2 small people.
I hold my breath, but I fear it may be pointless. That makes me sad.

What I never saw coming, well not so soon, was meeting someone special…..yes I did!!! When I started this blog, it was after chatting to an old uni friend. I’d shared a few personal fears with him…..one of these was getting back on the saddle!! I realised early on in the process of my divorce, that I’d been so busy losing myself by loving others, I had forgotten what was important to me. He got me questioning myself again….back at uni, I left so sure of what and who I wanted to be. I had a vision of how I saw a relationship being too.

After having a few midnight chats and lots of sleepless nights, I wrote a list of what I would and wouldn’t compromise on within a relationship. This friend encouraged me that to go out dating would help me get back on the saddle.  A few wines later, one night with my cousin, gave me the Dutch courage I needed and I entered the world of online dating!

At first, I was intrigued as this never really was a part of my dating repartee back in the day! Back in my day, we went to bars and nightclubs where we proceeded to get tipsy and flirt outrageously with men we fancy.  Suddenly I had entered the world that seemed to be completely alien to me. I mean has it really come down to this? Swipe left if he’s a minger and swipe right if he’s fit?!! Apparently so!!

A month in and I realised that there were a lot of married men on there who were evidently not bothered to admit they were and were after one thing only……and no, I’m not talking about intellectual chat….some of the things I was sent and saw, still has me wincing now….but oh so funny!

My cousin had been dancing around with the world of online dating for some time and I confided in her that I found it all really daunting…..how on earth were you ever meant to meet a lifelong partner on a site that seemed to be more about physical attraction and one night stands. Being a mum of two, I didn’t have the time for all that…..I also didn’t want to be sleeping around and putting myself in compromising situations as a mum.

I was about to delete my profile after having a little wobble and on my way to refuge in hotter climates with my parents when I spotted a profile…..he had this amazing smile which instantly peaked my interest….I read his bio….sporty, sense of humour….and that all important point that came on my list of priorities when considering who I wanted to date……. A family man! So I thought, sod it…..then swiped right, just to throw that last shake of the dice before I gave up on the alien world of online dating……holy shit…..”YOU HAVE A MATCH” flashed up once more on my screen…..it was the family man…..now this is where it gets tricky in the world of online dating…..who makes that first move of sending a message? So going with the mood I was in at that moment, I decided I had nothing to lose but make that first move; after all, I was off on holiday for a week with the rugrats the next morning, I had nothing to lose.

Well, you know how the saying goes, “and the rest is history”…..well it is!  I find myself in a relationship with a man who has the most beautiful heart, a glowing soul and he ticks all those important things I once set off life from uni hoping I would find in a loving relationship.

Sitting here now, writing this, especially after reading my last blog entries, seems like a lifetime ago and I am still pinching myself.

What I do know is, I have learnt from the breakup of a relationship. I have learnt never to take anything or anyone for granted.  I also believe that sometimes in life, you’re damned if you do and you’re dammed if you don’t, so you may as well do what makes you happy….but not at the cost of others!  I have gone into this relationship with my eyes wide open and with the confidence to start off by being as honest with my hopes and dreams, this in turn with the hope it stands us in good stead for our new future together.

There is so much to catch up on since my last blog and I can’t cover it in one entry…..it would be a huge entry and anyone would lose the will to live reading it all in one go. So this is where I begin again and I’m sure there will be many moments I share…..but for now good night and God bless……I’m off to date my new man via the powers of FaceTime…….the things you do when you juggle dating and children !

When life throws you a curve ball……blog

So today was the day that I decided to bite the bullet & start a blog.  Some may wonder why……well back in August I was thrown a curve ball……my marriage was over.  There, I have said it!  That wasn’t so hard actually!

Not many people know & keeping my private life private in the workplace is quite hard to do when you are going through a huge life change.  I was talking to close friends & it became obvious that a good way to refocus & get a sense of who “me” was, was to do something I have not done for a long time….write and these days the best way to write would be to blog it!

So here I am.  I am blogging & this is my first post!  One day I may even let my two littlies read it, but for now I will share my journey here & lets see what I can come up with!