Countdown to Christmas…let the extreme parent anxiety commence

BBC's Motherland: What is it about? When can I watch it?

(Picture: Colin Hutton/Delightful Industries/Merman)

So I have my lists from the RugRats for Christmas….well I’ll stop kidding myself, I had RugRat no 2s list and I freaked and no 1 is now refusing to write a list as he has been asking about a charity I have got work to support and now he feels he can’t ask for anything.

No1 is happy with her 4 things on her list…..which half I cannot get and also seems completely overpriced for what they are, but I fear I sound completely bah humbug.  So regrettably I have ordered them from some ridiculous waiting list and hope to god (not that I am a religious person….well I struggle with that) that they arrive on time for the usual 1am christmas morning wrap up.

I think I may have helped No 1 get his head round not feeling guilty writing a list ( we have sorted presents for the charity) and I have got him a few bits & bobs, but I am sat here procrastinating who to get what for the rest of my family whilst I help my mum source all the things she needs.

I can feel my anxiety levels rising minute by minute and I know it will all end soon, but on top of the Christmas shizzle, I have all the day-to-day shizzle to sort and that has its own anxiety levels attached…so I am on double whammy, about to run and hide under my bed with Moz the monster, anxious……I think you can get the picture now. But hang on…..I made the huge mistake of going through the RugRats school bags……the thousands of letters from the different schools PTAs about the various christmas events going on to the run up to Christmas Holidays for them and a letter has just landed on the mat to say I am due an MOT and service……do I:

  • run now and shout “every man & woman for themselves”
  • hide under the bed until New Year with Moz the Monster
  • reach for the Gin and stuff my face with cheese….

Well that gives you a flavour of a few options that have gone through my mind, but what is blindingly obvious is that I have to get my shit together and face it head on, but why do we put ourselves under so much pressure at Christmas, or any other day for that matter?!

I binge watched the BBC’s Motherland the other Sunday night….howled laughing but also thought it was a perfect parody of the life most mothers up and down the country actually have.  If you are a parent, you really need to get yourself hooked up with this on catch up and you will instantly connect with the characters, I dare you to take me up on this if you don’t agree, as I reckon you will like the little band of misfits on their mission to cope with daily life as a parent and the pressure you feel to make sure your kids feel included.

I have a slight girl crush on Sharon Hogan and when I learnt that her pilot was turned into a series, I waited with excitement.  Even the boyfriend got involved as he is a big fan of Father Ted and Sharon Hogan co wrote the script with Holly Walsh.  Needless to say, we sniggered and could not stop watching it back to back.

The writers have done an amazing job at portraying life with satirical humor in the playground and although I laughed a lot at Julia and her mum shouting and how each morning my life is like hers, okay without the husband, so a bit of Liz thrown in too, but  there came some uneasy viewing too with the perfect PTA mummy gang who are portrayed to constantly judge Julia, Liz and Kevin.  Kevin really wants to be in their gang but he isn’t cool enough to be in it as he’s a stay at home dad, Liz is a single mum and is suspected of trying it on with Amanda’s husband & Julia has sacrificed her kids for work.  So it stirs up those old feelings from not being in the cool gang at school or with the cool workmates that hang out without you, it makes you connect with the misfits and you cheer them on for standing up to the cool gang.

I loved Motherland, as you can tell, and it makes me realise, that with all this Christmas shizzle, I will try the best I can, but I don’t have to be insta perfect at it and I may have dark circles under my eyes, but to my kids, I am cool, so job done.  They won’t notice if I don’t make my own cookies or if my carpets need a clean, they’ll just love the fact that they got a few presents and spent time with mummy, sozzled on gin…..as apparently I am much nicer with a drink inside me (there’s your nod).

Now I’m off to bum fight over a Fingerling & then do more online shopping whilst I binge on Peeky Blinders…..TTFN

Advertisements

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

Love yourself

debccc4a57faa485499e67dc78e646faI am on the heady decent of a good weekend spent with my RugRats and family, rocketing in to a working week that does not include the RugRats.  Half term is upon us and I have mopped up sick, done 50 loads of washing and put in full-time working hours and more, even before it started.

I feared that the weekend gone would be a wash out and I had planned a very exciting weekend at that.  I packed our things and crossed fingers for no more sick…..we went to London baby.  I can’t say it any other way; Austin Powers has a lot to answer.

We had such a busy weekend and it is true when they say “change is as good as a rest”. We trotted round London doing all the touristy things you do.  London Eye…..Shrek tour…..Tower Bridge……..The Monument…….we conquered all the steps and then littlest pronounced she needed “a weeeeeeeeeeeeee”, standard.  We conquered, we saw and I soaked up the look on the RugRats little faces as we ventured London together for their first trip.  Their little faces always make me smile.  I  adore them and I want to cling on to all their sweet innocence,  as these days it never seems to last that long.

We had a little break at Wahaca at the Embankment (highly recommended) and as we sat there with my cousin and her boyfriend, we were revelling in all that we had done that morning and we sat planning the night ahead where more family were joining us for dinner, back at the ranch.  I was asking if my other cousins girlfriend was coming and we got excited as this would be the first time we got to meet her.  The RugRats are very nosey you see and some 2 years they had waited to meet their Uncles girlfriend….so much excitement was displayed at this moment.  The boy suddenly went quiet and I asked him if he was ok as he said…..”oh no……..” and I asked him if he was okay and his response knocked me sideways….”well you’ll be the only one there with no one to love Mummy.”  A mix of emotions were felt in one split second and I had to give my head a little wobble and my response was, “of course Mummy does, I love all of you don’t I, and that makes us very lucky as we will be with people we love”……”But you don’t have a husband or a man to love though mummy”……..you see where I am going with this??  There we so many responses I could have to this and all of them would blow my 8 year olds mind, so for him I settled with “that doesn’t matter to me, I am not missing out at all, anyway, all that matters, is you’re with us, and we don’t need anything more”.  My cousin ensued in her amazing distraction technique and I had chance to make my quick recovery.

One simple little remark, one sentence, left me spinning and has had me thinking.  I really don’t want to be one of those mums that portrays the message that you can only be happy if you have a partner.  I am not going to launch into couple bashing, as for one, it is completely negative and it is not what I am about at all, but I have a heightened awareness that my RugRats should not grow up thinking you need a partner to make you happy.  I want them to grow up and be comfortable in their own skin and I want The Boy to know that he doesn’t have to be a knight in shining armour and go off and rescue his Damsel In Distress, and I want my beautiful daughter to be confident and not want to be saved by a man.  I want them to define themselves.

This leaves me in a quandary.  Did I give them this first impression when I allowed them to meet my first boyfriend since my divorce?  I fear I gave them that message.  At the time, I thought I was making the right decision, but I screwed up, but do I feel I screwed up as it ended as quickly as it started?

I know I am questioning myself and I think it is only natural as I need to make sense of it.  I was upset when the relationship ended, more so due to how it happened, but also upset with myself as I had seen it coming and ignored the voice in my head, that I had promised not to after the experience of being with my ex-husband.  To add salt to the wound, things quickly spiralled out of control when the relationship ended with this person and even though he ended it, he begged me to take him back and when he didn’t get the answer he was hoping for, he didn’t stop with the incessant pleas and I feared it would never end as it began to consume each day.  When I look back, I am cross at myself as I feel I wasn’t firmer in my approach.  I have analysed the shit out of it, did I give him reason to think I would take him back, was I not firm enough and that’s why he thought it was ok to keep hounding me???

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I know that at that moment in time, when I had met this man, he came at a time I needed the distraction and what I felt was very real as well.  I was wooed with flowers, his weekly accolades of self professing love for me…….I was blown away by it all, but also found myself becoming too willing to please.  Slowly, his insecurities crept in and I found myself being moulded by his beliefs.  Luckily, that inner Alpha Female in me won the good fight and when it ended, I wasn’t scared that it was over.  I think this took him by surprise, you see, I know I am strong and independent and I know I don’t need a man to define me.  I genuinely believe that, even though I flounder every now and then, this is me, the Alpha Female and I am proud of that.  I think the kids will eventually see this, I hope they do and learn from it.

This leaves me in another quandary I find myself in.  Do I hold back on dating if it comes my way?  Some friends say to me that I need time to find myself and learn to love myself again and that I don’t need to find a man to define this.  I know this……I really do……I thought I did love myself, as if I didn’t, I would still be in a very unhappy marriage.  By actively deciding not to go on a date…..am I again falling into the trap and putting too much emphasis on my relationship status?  Do you see my dilemma now?

Some friends say to you “You need to focus on you first” with the belief that before you can share your life with someone else, you first need to know who you are, what you want, and in what direction you’re headed. Now I buy into this, I do, but I know I am not wanting to look for the next marriage material. I am not sat at home wondering why I am staying single….I know why I am single.  I chose the wrong men and I am not perfect, I make mistakes.  I do know I am not a woman who needs a man, I like to challenge and I am always upfront, but extremely loyal………now this is where I know my sticking point was challenged as I misinterpreted being loyal for allowing myself to weaken.  You see I can still be loyal and challenge or disagree with someone’s point of view and it shouldn’t  have to be the end of the world.

The thing is, I don’t feel like I have this ticking time bomb over me as I have two beautiful kids, therefore I have no biological clock looming over me.  I don’t look at everyone elses relationship statuses and take it as a competition, I don’t fear that all the good men are taken, I know I am not too picky and have learnt not to settle for anything less than I believe I deserve.  I am not looking to rush into a relationship just so i can post on Facebook that I am in a relationship, do you get my drift?  I just want to have fun, whatever form that takes.

For a short time, I thought I had lost my confidence, I allowed a situation to define me, which in turn made me overthink…..I think I am nearly out of the woods.  Life is for living (yes I really did just use that cliché) so I am going to enjoy all the plans I have and stick with them.  If a hot guy wants to take me out for a drink, then I will accept it if the offer takes my fancy, yet I will not be defined as to whether this makes me happy…..my kids make me happy, my friends make me happy, my family too and I am sure as hell not going to fall into that trap that after a few dates, I am going to post it all over Facebook and have them meet my kids…….who does that (she says tongue in cheek)??!!  Now that is a whole new blog entry to think about.

The RugRats will be good, I know this as they challenge me and as long as they challenge me, then I know they can challenge themselves for the future and hopefully my RugRats can grow into strong, independant people, with the ability to kick ass when they need to.

xXx TTFN xXx