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

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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

Hello October…..

img_2473-1So it’s been a while…..and October has descended within a blink of an eye!

I love October; for me it symbolises the start of the darker nights, autumn walks, cosy jumpers; but the most important of all, it is the month that I became a mummy. My first little RugRat was born and I know it all sounds so very cliched, I never knew a love like it until I held him in my arms. He was beautiful and came out with a head of dark hair and the moment I locked eyes on him my heart soared. The overwhelming desire to ensure that he knows he is loved and protected stays with me every day.

My boy always manages to surprise me with his ability to blow me away with his little nuggets of wisdom. At nearly 8, he seems to have this insane maturity  that sometimes also makes me choke up.

In my quiet moments, I wonder if the divorce has robbed him a little of his childhood and how it will affect his outlook on relationships. I hope that it does not have the negative affect that I fear. I am constantly being reassured by friends and family that kids are resilient little things, but that mum guilt always sneaks up on you.

There’s been a super amount of mum guilt going on of late…..when I last blogged I was full of optimism and in the middle of what I believed to be the greatest love story. When I read it now, I can’t help but squirm with embarrassment. Yes, you’ve guessed it…..it didn’t work out and I have been on another one of (to quote one of my solid crew) “life’s shifty learning curves”. What it did do though was distract me at a time that I needed to be distracted and for that I am grateful of.

So I find myself standing at the start of my favorite month looking on to what it will bring and wondering if it will bring new symbolism’s for the future.  It is also quite huge for me to look back at what has happened in the last year. In fact my first blog started in October. I was fired up with all the things I had planned, one of them to start writing again, but I didn’t quite finish it all off.

October makes me realise it has a history of new beginnings for me. New beginnings excite me but at the same time give me a feeling of the fear of the unknown. Will I fail?  Will I soar?  Will it bring luck?….well you make your own luck and I know one thing for sure…….I am staying a single mummy.

I need to do all the things I had promised myself we would do as The Three Musketeers.  If I can get through my little wish list and make myself go through some things that I’ve put off doing because of feeling awkward or unsure, then I will feel like I have achieved.  I know that there are two little people that look up to me and that motivates me every day.

So…….here goes……Come on October, let’s be having you.

xX TTFN Xx

 

You’ve got the love

36349b188290067868ad1e6d7d92a4b0So, I decided to start this blog as my therapy and I have quietly told a few close friends. They have all agreed that this could be a good thing. I remember when I went to the solicitors to start the divorce and I remember telling my solicitor that I have verbal diarrhoea when it comes to my feelings. What you see is what you get! Seeing as I cannot sick up all my feelings to my soon to be ex husband and as I know most of my friends have their own lives to live, rather than listen to me moan every half an hour, I may as well just lay it all out in this strange world of blog.

I am learning fast who are the friends that are my rock solid crew, the ones that have seen me cry, don’t judge & hug me when I need a hug.  I also begin to learn who some people may call the “fair weather” friends and they seem to immediately look like they want the ground to swallow them up when I mention the “D” word.  I think I touched upon the point when I created this little blog, that I started the year accepting that I should not hold on to the relationships that weren’t working out, but I also realise that there are many different types of friendships & it is learning how you can put them into the little categories that all of us know we have for these friendships.

I remember that moment when I was on my way to stay with family with my two little RugRats & at that point there were only a handful of people who knew me & the soon to be ex were getting divorced (I always whisper that word when I say it….but that’s a whole different blog).  Seeing as it was all very fresh & I was still coming to terms in my own head as to what we were about to start, imagine my surprise to receive text messages, less than 4 hours into my break away, from our joint friends saying they were sorry to hear our news……..even more so knowing that the soon to be ex wouldn’t even tell his own family, but felt it was ok to send a group text to friends, without giving me a heads up.

I remember the feeling I had reading that first message I got, late at night……I wanted to vom in the nearest thing I could find to vom in……it was the moment I had dreaded to be honest.  It was less than a week in & I was on autopilot, taking the kids to holiday club, going to work, trying to work, picking kids up from holiday club, feed them tea, play games with them, take them to play dates…..all of this was done on autopilot & if you asked me what I actually did that 1st week….I could honestly not tell you coherently…..I still get upset thinking of that week as I type. I just wanted to hide from the world & wrap me & my RugRats in a big duvet & cuddle ALL the time.  So when the texts came through, my little protective bubble I had made around me & my RugRats was burst that very moment, I knew in that moment that the failure of my marriage would be being talked about in our group of friends, our relationship would be dissected & pulled apart (ironic seeing as it is broken, I know) & friends would be second guessing at why & how it all went wrong…..suddenly it wouldn’t be mine & the ex’s problem to work out, but there would be other opinions flying into the mix.

My head just wanted to explode and I was also worried I’d lose a close friend from it, my lovely, beautiful, crazy friend who was the chief bridesmaid on our wedding day & also the friend who was married to the soon to be ex’s best friend.  You see, I didn’t tell this friend as I had this overwhelming fear I’d lose her, I didn’t want her to feel she had to choose, I didn’t want to be this shit friend who went and ruined our circle of friends.  How could I broach this subject with one of my best mates, without it having a knock on effect on all that we had shared & all that we had built, in our cosy little lives?

I felt sick, as I knew she would have got that message & I needed to ring her to explain why I hadn’t told her……….but then I looked at my phone as I was driving to my escape to the country, and there it was, a message from her, my beautiful crazy friend.  I couldn’t read it as I was driving at the time, I didn’t want mum to read it to me, as I knew I’d be a mess as I read it & I didn’t want the little RugRats to see mummy cry.  I waited till I locked myself in the toilets of the motorway services and with shaking hands, I clicked on it and it took me 5 times to read it as I just cried & cried……..I won’t share that message here, as that is between me and my beautiful friend……..but in that moment, the relief was overwhelming, she didn’t hate me, she was worried about me & we agreed we would talk when I got a chance………..needless to say when we got that moment to talk, I realised this girl was part of my rock solid crew and do you know what I also realised?  That conversation was one of the most honest conversations we’d been able to have in such a long time, which in turn made me realise, that this rocky road I was setting foot on, was going to be worth it in the end.  I realised that I had been trying to be this person I wasn’t for a long time & it even became hard for me to say when this started really, how scary is that??

When I was talking to my beautiful friend, she told me to make sure I went to my friends for advise & to remember that it was okay to admit I was struggling & to stop being so proud & lean on the friends I had.  You see she knows me well; I don’t like to make a fuss (believe it or not) & I don’t like to burden people, but I am beginning to take on that advise & that is what I realise each day when I am evaluating how the day has gone.  I remember her telling me that she couldn’t be that friend who knows all about the legal shit or how to sort my finances & protect myself & get all the nitty-gritty organised, she pointed me to our other friend for that (my little fighter, an angel sent in disguise with the best potty mouth ever), but she told me she knew she had other strengths that she didn’t need to remind me of, as that is why I love her, just the way she is.

I suppose what I am trying to get at is, I love all my friends, they all have their different qualities & strengths, and I love the different dimensions they bring to my life and the RugRats life; even the fair weather friends.  I accept that this won’t be easy for some of my friends and I accept that there will be some casualties along the way, but that doesn’t worry me, as I know that when I am near the end of the “D” journey, it won’t matter to me how many friends I have, as I know who the important ones are and that makes me smile, really smile.  Even in these early stages, I already see that some friendships may even become stronger now, then they ever had been. I accept you all, warts and all, because that’s what makes life fun right??! So for all my friends, the song that feels appropriate for my mood right now, is especially for you, I love you all for your different reasons, just as special as each other.

xXx TTFN xXx