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

 

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!