Thursday, 29 September 2011

My (Glorious) Day!

What a glorious day today, huh? I got up this morning with no real plans. Maybe the swings, maybe the playgroup. Then my friend texted me asking if we would like to join her and her two girls for an afternoon up at Knebworth House for a picnic and fun. Would I?! I got the kids ready and jumped in the car, cranked up the Tom Tom and we hit the road. I avoided the motorways and henceforth got driven round every motorway in Hertfordshire! Then the postcode I'd plugged into my delightful satnav took me right outside the park. Unfortunately it was the private entrance. So off we go on our merry way again. One rather stressful stop at Tesco's later (maybe you saw me? I was the strained woman chasing a 2yr old down the aisles with a car seat in a trolley!) we pulled up at Knebworth House and Park. And it was shut. Yes, shut. Closed. On the nicest day of the year so far and these beautiful grounds were closed. BACK IN THE CAR!!!!
My friend knows a place down the road - Stanborough Lakes - which has a kiddie park and somewhere to have picnic so about another 26 roundabouts later we park and all pile out of the cars.
After a spot is found and all the food we bought is spilt onto the rug my friend and I pour a cheeky glass of Rose wine and we sit back and watch the kids play. Well, the toddlers at least. They were running for no real reason and in no real direction, holding hands and laughing as they fell over. Charlie was happy. Really happy. He felt free and in good company (he loves my friends daughter) and without rules as he could come and pick at food when he wanted and then run off again, and he probably had more 'Chocco Bites' then were all together good for him! He was amazing to watch. He made me smile and filled my heart with joy. I reflected on the post that I wrote this very morning and marveled on how the feelings of what you do when it comes to your kids can change on the spin of a penny. How you can be at your lowest low one moment and then at your highest high almost the next.
When we got home I feared the worst as he'd had 20 minutes sleep the whole day but he just got on the floor and played with his cars. And allowed (and I know how the use of that word sounds and that's exactly how I want it to) me to put my feet up with a cup of tea. As I watched him press buttons on his toy and dance to the music I could fill myself welling up with love and pride.
I'm going to be a better Mum. I won't get stressed or impatient with them. Those aforementioned 'moments' will be better...ummmmmm.... controlled (for want of a better word). I want Charlie to be as free as he was today until he isn't anymore. Yes, I know that is idyllic and pretty much impossible but what's the point of an idyll if not to try and make it happen?
As I said, what a glorious day!

The Lost Week

Last week was hard. Really hard. I am not sure what triggered it. I woke up feeling rather run down and bunged up, feeling the beginnings of a cold, but instead of phoning my boss and saying I was ill and then going back to bed with a Lemsip I had to get up at 6am, feed Baby Max and then get Toddler Charlie up, make him breakfast and then traipse down to a playgroup and spend a whole morning in a room with wild toddlers and screaming babies. And it went downhill from there.
Charlie is very astute when it comes to picking up on peoples emotions and an imbalance can really affect him. My stress, although I was trying so hard to contain it, was putting him on edge and making him clingy and whiny, which made me even more stressed.
On top of that, because I was feeling a bit pooey I wasn't on top of things I am usually on top of, like the housework, shopping and paperwork so I felt as though things were falling to rack and ruin around me, which made me even more stressed.
There were a few times during the week when Max was crying and Charlie was whinging, or I was trying to settle Max and Charlie would be screaming and shouting, that I had to leave the room, close the door and count to ten. A few times I cried for 'no reason' and a few times my husband got it in the neck when he came home.
Everything and everybody else disappeared in a fog of stress. I was putting all my efforts into just getting through the day without a meltdown that I forgot birthday's and didn't get back to people and left library books to run up a fine.
But I have emerged. I took the kids to my Mum and Dads over the weekend and managed to get out with my Mum and sister for (more than) a few glasses of wine and some adult conversation. And that's all it took for me to shed the mantle of Mummy for a few hours. On Monday I drove home feeling a little hungover but also like a weight had been lifted and so far this week has been a really good week. I am able to enjoy my kids again without feeling like they are dragging me down.
I was careful not to hide my stress but also not get emotional about it. For example when someone would ask me how I was I was reply with frankness that I was having a tough week and feel really down. I didn't want to hide behind this expectation that we, as mothers (or whoever is the stay at home parent), that we can't show a weakness, that we can't say that it's all getting a bit too much.
The 'real' side of being a Mum is coming through a lot on the blogs that I have started reading (a list of the ones that make me laugh and cry will appear here soon) and they have made me feel a lot better because I know it's NOT just me and I AM a good Mum.
A friend from University is pregnant at the moment. She is due in four weeks and we went down for her baby shower recently. I am not her only friend who has children but she asked if she could phone me if there was anything she wanted to know. I said, of course, but reminded her that she had people closer to home who had had children. I know, she replied, but you tell it as it is. As soon as she said that I felt glad that I had forced myself to be honest about being a Mum no matter how difficult it is. And I will continue to do so.
I love my kids more than anything in the world but sometimes I want to be in room without them. Sometimes they make me cry. Sometimes they make me more stressed than any bad boss has ever done. Sometimes I wish I could step into the Sliding Doors version of my life. But I would never change it. Much.

Monday, 19 September 2011

No Child Born To Die

Two years ago I was induced with my first child which resulted in a long and a traumatic labour. Second time round I wanted a birthing pool delivery that was free of pain relief. Alice Ko was the midwife on duty when I rushed in after an accelerated labour. She immediately took charge, teaching me how to use the gas and air and was firmly supportive when I panicked and wanted to get out of the birth pool. If I could hand pick a birthing experience that would have been the one; and that is thanks to midwife, Alice Ko.

Please sign the petition to ask the Government to do more to ensure that no child need die because they do not have access to a healthcare worker

Monday, 5 September 2011

And so on...

I've been away for a while. It's hard to find the time to sit down and write. Sometimes I feel as I have nothing to say and then sometimes I feel as if I have too much to say and I don't know where to begin!

I have set myself a challenge. To only buy 'pre-loved' clothes between June (when my son was born) and Christmas. This means plain old 'second-hand' and of course the odd vintage piece. This challenge came to me for a few reasons. First of all, money. I love clothes and I love looking good but all too often the bits that I want are out of my price range and I end up buying something in a sale that I don't really want or need but feel I should have as I want some new clothes. Second of all, my body. After only spending 54 weeks not pregnant before having my second child my body has no idea what size and shape it wants to be. Although I am not actively working to get the baby weight off, running a home and running after a toddler is sure to help me fight the flab. I was a skinny minnie before Charlie and now I am a happy size 12 but will I stay this way? I dunno. So I am loathe to spend money on clothes when it may not even fit me a few months.

I am loving it! I love a good challenge anyway (hence me trying to learn Bridge and sewing on an old Singer, but more of that later) but this has been so successful. After spending £35 in British Heart Foundation and walking away with 5 tops and 3 jumpers I was on a roll! A pair of silk trousers from M&S and a beautiful green skirt from Zara later (purchased at St Christopher's Hospice) I was hooked! My aim is to get pictures of all my finds on here but I'm suffering technical issues (I can't find the cable to hook the camera up to the laptop!).

And a strange thing is happening. I am stylish. I was always well groomed and always tried to match my bag to what I was wearing. But stylish? That wasn't really a word that described me. Until now. And I am not sure why this is happening. Is it because I have picked such great pieces that style is now effortless? Is it because I have to really work hard to find these pieces and so want to make the most of them? Maybe. All I know is that people are telling me that I look great and complimenting me on my outfits. I feel so ... proud, when I tell them that I am dressed head to ankle (new shoes!) in second hand clothes and my whole ensemble probably came to no more than £10! although I draw the line at second hand pants!
I suffered from a spot of temptation this weekend and saw a beautiful wine coloured pants suit in Peacocks but I stuck to my guns, and felt quite good about it. Onward and upwards!