Swimming with the Sharks

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As the blur of August came to a close last year and September was looming overhead, I suddenly found myself with the insecurities of a child starting school for the very first time. Asking the questions, do I have the right kind of shoes? Will the others like me? Or will I be left alone until the bells rings out sanctuary?

Was I starting a new job?

Was I moving to a new country?

No.

I was simply doing what every other mother has to do at some point in their lives…

The School Run.

Except for me it was a little more strange, I was crossing THE PARENT LINE. And not, for once, to tell little Johnny’s granny that he had weed himself again today or to explain to Gertrude’s dad why one of her pigtails was missing.

This time, I was standing as a long term albeit temporary fixture for the first time ever – being just me. Just a mum. And I’m not afraid to admit, the prospect was rather terrifying!

Where to stand? Do you make eye contact? Is there a certain clique to join/avoid? I found myself in unchartered territory and I was scared.

However,

There came one fateful day when my darling little red-head was showing her darling red-head temper and just. Would. Not. Stop. Crying.

And there was a voice, amidst the screaming

“would you like to pop in mine and feed her?”

I could have cried on the spot. A helping hand, a lovely, caring, Good Samaritan offering a seat, some peace and a nice cool glass of water.

From that day I allowed myself to take a breath and look around me – familiar faces; parents whose children I had taught, parents from baby groups and boobie groups and all the rest of it. And they had friends, and THEY had friends and cool glasses of water in desperate circumstances soon changed to cups of tea, cake, Marks and Spencer’s toasties, cake, More baby groups, more tea, cake and good old gossip sessions, Nights out down the local pub (child free, occasionally – I KNOW!!!)

And now, without me realising, September is once again looming and I’ll be crossing back over that fateful yellow line for part of my week. But now I know that each Thursday and Friday when I am returned to being “just me, just a mum” when it comes to swimming with the sharks, this time I’ll have a little rubber ring around me in the form of these lovely friends I have made. So a big thank you to all of the lovely ladies who have been there, and to the many who will join us in the future as our Thursday tea group gets bigger (!)

And the Good Samaritan? Well, she just can’t get rid of me now!

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Eighteen Summers

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Occasionally, amongst the politics, funny videos gone viral, pictures of mouth-watering food and hilariously inappropriate memes you come across something on social media which strikes a chord.

A friend of mine posted a simple picture with the words  “You only get eighteen summers with your child. Make them count.”

Why this particularly stood out I’m not sure but eighteen suddenly sounded so few. Then I got to thinking;  they grow so quickly these days it’s more likely reduced to fifteen/sixteen at the most?

My eldest is now six… which if this theory is correct I only have ten left. What a truly saddening thought.

So there are several different ways to approach this;

You can be saddened and dwell on the days gone by that you aren’t going to get back. In doing this, you are in danger of letting more slip by unnoticed.

You could vow to make the most of every summer you have left with your young ones before they are too cool and just want to hang about in the park or down the beach with their friends. And yes, I am going to try and embrace this and instead of looking with foreboding at the fast-approaching six week holiday (which, incidentally, coincides with my return to work in September) I’m going to plan lots of   Lovely, memory-making activities, days out with friends, inexpensive, fun to-do lists. (The National trust has a fab to-do list found here) https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/50-things-to-do

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Another way to approach this thought, one which I think I may be leaning towards, is to live in the now, yet also, somehow, establish the type of relationship with your children where actually, without being coerced, forced, or bribed into it, your young choose to spend time with you through the summer.

Now, I’m not claiming to know the answer to this one – answers on a postcard please! But I think instead of dwelling, start living in the now, making the most of every moment in a positive way whether it’s self-kindness, time with your partner, family or children.

Make those memories but never stop building on those relationships because only then will those eighteen summers last a lifetime more.

*Note: I actually saved this post as a draft last night. Having woken up this morning to such devastating news about the tragedy in Manchester, the topic of making the most of our time together seems even more poignant.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected.

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A Quick Catch Up…

Well seeing as my dear husband has gone to chase a ball around a field with 13 other boardering-on-middle-age-men I might just make the most of an evening alone to bring you up to speed with what has been happening.

So here is my year (yes, terrible blogger, it’s been more or less a year) in a nutshell.

Baby number two

After a long, relatively worry-free pregnancy, baby number two finally arrived. We gave…no hang on I gave birth to a beautiful (albeit huge) baby girl two weeks past the due date (comfy in there). She is an absolute joy and her big sister dotes (smothers?) on her at every opportunity. When they say you never get two they same I should’ve listened… but that’s a blog post for another day.

 

Driving Lessons

Enough was enough. If I had to sheepishly ask one more colleague at work for a lift to a course I would’ve died of shame. Not that any of them would make me feel like that they were wonderful, but I was a grown woman and it was getting silly. So of course, never One to make things easy for myself I decided the time was right when I was ohhh, 9 months pregnant? Why not eh? I’ve never seen a test instructor look so terrified before the driving even began. But I passed! (Hooray!) Bought the obligatory little run around banger, handed it over to hubby and pinched his shiny new merc (more room for buggy – obviously!) and now, whilst I am still a wimp sometimes, I am slowly but surely gaining confidence and zooming around and about.

 

Home is where the heart wants to be…

Despite being almost there with the deposit, the wonderful surprise of baby number two and the determination to take a full year off with her has meant a bit of a set-back on the whole deposit front and we are, for the time being still living under the tyranny of the landlady. There is light ahead though and once I’m back in the land of the pay-check We will be saving like mad so that I can unleash the bursting-at-the-seams Pinterest boards and create not just a lovely house, but a home.

 

Ex errrr cise 

well as much as I loved the Zumba classes, they had to stop when I fell pregnant and there’s NO WAY the pelvic floor could handle those moves now! Admittedly I don’t walk half as much or as far as I did first time round (blame the zooming around and about mentioned above) and so the weight is just not shifting! Now, with a mix of slimming world, walking (talking) with a good friend and a dip of the toe into clubbercise last week I am more determined and focused to get in shape. If only I didn’t like cake…

 

Baby Number One

…Is growing into the most beautiful, caring, bright young lady I could wish for and makes me more and more proud every day.

 

Award Winning Author

…I am not.

However, I did take a year off from it all and I am back, full of fresh ideas, I have carefully researched a few publishing houses and despite receiving another generic rejection last week I have simply swallowed my pride, chosen another publisher and moved on. I WILL NOT give up, I WILL see my work published one day.

Well, I think that’s about it for now,

 

Sweet dreams xx

 

Inspiration (gentle peer pressure)

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Having been accosted by the lovely (bossy) friends I have made behind the parent line…(more on that later perhaps) I have been inspired (forced) to pick up where I left off with my blog.

I must admit I’m pretty disappointed in myself for not keeping it up to date. Now, I never had aspirations of it going viral (although I’m truly grateful to those who choose to follow my journey) but I enjoyed the escapism of writing again.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up too much, I probably underestimated how different life would be with two children. But I can promise myself and anyone interested in what I say that from here on in I’m going to allow myself a little time every now and again to write about whatever eccentricity is buzzing around my head at the time.

And I do thank the lovelies on the yard for inspiring me once again xx

 

Sweet dreams xx

NUMBER TWO!

Ok, so I know there are certain connotations attached to the title I have chosen to head this blog post, however, please be assured that this post has nothing to do with my toileting habits.

Assured?

ok, let’s continue.

My inappropriate title in very shouty capitals actually refers to the fact that finally (for those who have read some of my previous blogs and know how much I wanted it) baby number two is on the way!

Having all but given up and become resigned to (but very grateful for) the fact that we would only have the one child, I began to experience flu-like symptoms. Not unusual around Christmas time… But when I looked at the pile of chocolates the children at school had very kindly brought in on the last day as a gift and felt slightly queasy, I began to allow a little spark of hope to creep in. Me? Not want chocolate? Something had to be up!

As I’m sure many of you who have tried or are trying will know, peeing on that little stick for the millionth time becomes so mundane, you barely even glance at the result, so used to seeing a solitary line taunting you. So when I glanced and glanced again and saw the line had made a wee (pardon the pun) friend, I could hardly contain my excitement!

Of course, as if by magic the morning (afternoon and night) sickness started the very next day as if my hormones were jumping out shouting ta daaaa! We’re baaack!

Of course, as with my first, I lay on the bed in the ultrasound room, convincing myself that it had all been my imagination and they were going to throw me out or send me up to the psyche ward for an evaluation but there it was, just like its sister, flashing its peachy little bum at the camera and I instantly fell in love all over again.

So for those of you who followed my ‘what to expect that what to expect doesn’t tell you to expect’ blog (yes I probably could have come up with a snappier title) chances are, this time round will be completely different so watch this space for the weird and wonderful world of pregnancy.

 

Sweet dreams xx

Wow, That Went fast!

First off, Happy New Year to you all! But my word, where did that year go? I was just getting my blog- writing (experimenting) underway then September hit, new school year started and Whoosh! Here I find myself in 2016!

So I am taking this opportunity – whilst little legs is snuggled up in bed and the other half is playing some ridiculous (though fairly amusing) play station game – to breathe for a moment, put my feet up and see how the world of blogging has been doing since I last joined you!

And although a new term begins this Tuesday, I promise I’m not going to leave my posts so long this time! Perhaps a resolution I might just keep?

Cupcakes, cuppas and catch ups

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I found myself with one of those rare days where the grandparents offer to have the little one and you’re at a bit of a loose end because, well, you are so used to planning your day around them! So, sitting with the background sounds of a range of Disney characters singing and dancing, (because that’s the norm with a four year old whether they are in or not) I began to mull over the different things I should be doing. The housework…? Hmmm I’ve got a spare day not a week, I wouldn’t even make a dent! Schoolwork…? A possibility, but then this is a genuinely rare occasion… As if by some kind of SOS telepathy, one of my friends from school announces she too has a free day so we made plans to go for a quick cuppa and catch up.

4 hours later, and I have had a thoroughly lovely day, strolling round the local village, trying on clothes and howling as I look less Audrey Hepburn, more Audrey from coronation street! A gorgeous lunch and a delicious guilt-free cake (weigh day was yesterday, I’m fine for a day or two) and oohing and aahing over the beautiful Christmas decorations in the craft shops.

Part of me still felt ‘the guilt’ (as covered in a previous blog) but, do you know, I’ve laughed so much and feel fully rested and I just know my daughter has had a fantastic day baking and painting and other grandparent-type activities that I thought to myself, just once in a while, perhaps it’s okay to take a day off and do something that I enjoy doing.

And now, as I wait for the whirlwind that is my little girl, I can look forward to hearing all about her day and telling her about mine, whilst bathing her and snuggling up on the sofa to read a bedtime story together. And that is what makes everything worthwhile.

So, Dear Reader, I am hereby giving you permission to take a restful day off to yourself, every once in a blue moon, and enjoy it, because I intend to. (Maybe)