Things I say instead of asking for help.

I’m angry
Don’t worry about me
I don’t matter
I’m fine
I’m worried about you, are you OK?
Do you think the people we don’t know at number 7 are OK?
I’m not very good at this.
I feel a bit sick
I’ve got a lot on at the moment
I need to sort this house out.
I’m fine.
(Message deleted)
Honestly don’t worry about me,
I’ll be ok
I don’t matter anyway.
Honestly I’m fine
I’m sorry I’m so useless.
Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter.
I’ve let you down.
I’m fine,
I’m sorry.
Are you ok? You matter. Can I help? Be kind to yourself
I’m tired.
I don’t have the time for this right now.
I’m fine.
I don’t have the energy for that at the moment.
Forget I just said that.
I’m fine.

A hug for the past

3 children, several years and many tears has me stumbling upon my old words.

I am hit with the need to hug the mother of that baby 6 years ago.  The mother with PND who fought and fought and eventually made it out of the storm.  She did not like herself.  She did not appreciate her talents and she felt nothing but shame.

I want to tell her that things will get better, then worse again, then better again, and then happiness will be all consuming.  That she will have more children, that with three wonderful daughters she will be blessed beyond her wildest dreams.

I want to tell her that each pregnancy will take her on a journey, and each destination will be wonderful.  That, yes, there will be bumps in the road, but ultimately, she will reach her destination and happiness is as good as she hoped.

I want to hold her and take away her feelings of shame and embarrassment. To tell her that she never needed them.  That she is loved and she is safe and she always has been. To praise her, to point out all the wonderful things she has achieved.  I want to adorn her with garlands and celebrate her as the goddess that she is.  To succeed at all she has, with the weight she had upon her, is remarkable and worthy of praise.  I want to tell her that SHE is worthy of praise.

I want her to know that it’s OK.  No just that it will be OK, but that it is OK.

I want to tell her to stop comparing herself to others.  To stop wishing time would stop. To stop fearing others thoughts.  Others do not control her, they do not own her happiness, and, quite frankly, no one was ever judging her the way she felt they were anyway.  The shame was not needed.

And yet, she is me.  And that shame is back.

 

Switching off and Logging out. 

The era of technology has taken over.

And I’m fighting back. 

Before I start this post, it needs an explanation, a disclaimer perhaps.  

The TV is on in our house pretty much all day, and it’s rare that I don’t have a phone or ipad in my hand.  Even at the dinner table. I know far, far too much about the residents of Adventure Bay (canine or otherwise), and can identify each of My Little Ponies by their cutie marks alone. 

I basically suck at being with my children without technology. 

But, the increasing anger of my 3.5 year old is concerning me. And my observations show that she gets the most angry when she, or I, are plugged in. 

So we are going off grid. A bit. Just a tiny bit. In fact not off grid at all really.  Just switching stuff off for a bit. 

We’ve always done ‘stuff’ as well as watch TV, but it’s usually been on in the background.  This week it hasn’t.  

In the middle of the day my phone is put in another room and the TV is turned off and I engage Mummy mode.  Full mummy mode. I mean obviously, I’m always a Mummy, but I’m usually a wife, teacher, friend, person in my own right at the same time. 

It’s about being in the moment. Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to give it my full attention.  Be that playing a game with the big one, singing songs with the little one or having a conversation with my husband.  I’m going to be in that moment, and only in that moment.  

It’s early days, the moments are short.  But they are increasing. 

And, do you know what?  It’s bloody hard work! But do you know what else?  I’m enjoying it. More importantly, so are my children.  Tensions with my eldest are lessening.  I’m shouting less. So is she. 

“Mummy, it’s been a lovely day.  Thank you” 

So, the experiment continues.  Can we get our TV viewing down to once or twice a week? Probably not. I need it.  Paw Patrol allows me to wash up and Ben and Holly provide a chance to make dinner. But can we stop watching TV when we could be doing other things together? I hope so. 

Parental confessions that few will admit to….

I pretend to be asleep so that my partner has to deal with the baby. 

If I just close my eyes and slow down my breathing then maybe he’ll do his get up.  If I turn the phone face down on the bed he won’t notice I’ve just been on texting and he’ll think I’m still asleep.  

I pretend I didn’t notice the dirty nappy. 

Because I did the last one.  Yes, it stinks.  It’s full to bursting and clearly needs changing.  But I will ignore it until Daddy enters the room.  When he comments on the nappy I shall look surprised and say “oh yes, I think you’re right.” 

I want to wake my sleeping baby for a cuddle, or because I know breastfeeding will help me sleep.

I miss her.  Even when she’s near me.  It’s 2am and I’ve woken suddenly? Time to wake little one, I want a cuddle. It’s 2am and I can’t sleep? Time to wake little one. The breastfeeding hormones will send me back to sleep. 

I hide in the toilet to play candy crush. 

I just want a moment.  Just a moment.  I’ve been stuck on this stupid level for weeks and I just know I’ll beat it if I have a moment to myself. 

I actually really enjoy Bing Bunny. 

Flop is ace, Pando is annoying and Charlie is cute.  

Mr Bloom is hot. Fact. 

I won’t make inappropriate jokes about sowing seeds and getting dirty in the garden, but .. Yum. 

I eat cake quickly so I don’t have to share it.

I eat it quickly and I eat too much of it.  

I wee with the door open.

For several reasons.  I do, of course, want to hear where the toddler is. But I’d also like her to start to understand toilets. I *may* have even weed in the potty before so as to demonstrate how it works.  And if my partner walks upstairs? Well, he’s seen childbirth, there is nothing left now. 

CBeebies is amazing childcare

Just to give me some time to sit.  I won’t even pretend it’s so I can do with washing up.  It’s not.  It’s so I can sit. 

Sometimes, just ever so rarely, I remember my life pre toddler and think how much easier things were back then. 

Then I look at my daughter, and I remember, it was emptier then too. 

To the mums I met before I was one. I’m sorry.

Some things in life you will not understand until you have experienced them. Parenthood is top of that list. There is much I have said, or thought, before my daughter was born, that I am totally ashamed of now. To all those who embarked on the motherhood journey before me, I am sorry.

I am sorry for asking you “does she sleep through the night?”
I know now this was wrong. Not only wrong, but frustrating, inflammatory and down right none of my business. To start with, sleeping through means different things to different people, secondly, babies aren’t supposed to sleep through, and finally, my question set you up to criticise your child. I should never have asked you this. I am truly sorry.

I am sorry for tutting at your bed sharing.
I confess, I thought you were odd still sharing a bed with your daughter when she was nearly 2. I couldn’t understand why you didn’t want your space, or why you were not forcing independence on her. I realise now that being independent comes only after being dependant.

I am sorry for asking “how long are you going to do that for?” when you breastfed your six week old.
I really didn’t mean to judge, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know the bond created when you nourish your child. I didn’t know then, that the NHS recommends breastfeeding exclusively until six months. I had no idea that the World Health Organisation suggests breastfeeding alongside food to two years ‘and beyond’. I know now, now I preach what I once misunderstood. I am sorry.

I am sorry for judging your lack of “discipline”.
I had been fooled by TV personalities who taught me how to “tame” toddlers, (as if they were wild animals and not children). I had been misled and I believed that you were spoiling your child when you did not sit them on the naughty step, or leave them to cry. I know now I was wrong to judge. Yes it works for some, but not for you, and, turns out, not for me either.

I am sorry for thinking you were boring for talking about your baby all the time.
I am now more boring that you could ever be. And I am not sorry for that. But I am sorry that I didn’t understand your desire to share your pride, and I am sorry for not listening.

I am sorry for the sleep and behavioural “tips” I offered unsolicited when we met in the street.
I was a back seat parent. So much worse than the back seat driver. It was none of my business, I had no experience, I had no attachment. Yet I thought myself an expert. Thank you for not punching me.

I am sorry. I had no clue. I didn’t understand.

How true it is that you should never judge a person before you have walked a mile in their shoes.

Parenthood is one hell of a mile.

Breastfeed on, and stop pressing share.

NF, JC and the like do not need or deserve our time of day. Their opinions on breastfeeding are neither educated nor relevant to my life. What they are however, are dangerous and inflamitory.

Every time a public figure, (even those as ridiculous as NF) comments on breastfeeding, a vulnerable new mum is led to believe that it is OK to question and judge her parenting choices. It is not.

Yes, the London restaurant in question here made a big error, but so have we. By constantly discussing and quoting the celebrities and politicians we are giving these people and places more publicity, when we should instead be praising the many many wonderful places that support Mums, (however they feed their children.). I support a woman’s right to protest. I support a woman’s right to choose how to feed their baby. I do not support the use of discussing feeding for political agenda or publicity.

Breastfeeding is hard work, it is difficult and and exhausting. It is also best for baby and recommended by the World Health Organisation to two years and beyond. It is a a wonderful experience for mother and baby and it has innumerable health benefits. But, at its simplest, it is feeding a baby. For some reason, there are people in the public eye, (and out of the public eye) who feel the need to comment on this. Ignore them. They have nothing else to talk about, and, worse still, they are using their comments on this simple act as a way to get attention, publicity and potentially, your vote.

Do not give them your time. Let’s stop sharing. Stop commenting and stop liking.

Just feed. And if someone doesn’t like it, well that’s too bad. You have a legal right to do so.

End of.

I’m back- and this time it’s personal.

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s OK. (According to Alanis Morisette that is). In my case happiness had a funny way of sneaking up on me when I felt I’d never see it again. In fact, I’ve been so busy just living, that I’ve been neglecting this blog and currently have no less than 10 posts that I have started and not finished.

Winter is well and truly here and I have promised myself time to write. I hope I hold myself to this promise.

The next few weeks should see posts about…
Friendship
Christmas
Breastfeeding (no surprises there)
My mum
Tongue tie
Money
The arts and education

Glad to be back. 🙂

Night time musings of the parent of a toddler…

It’s 3am and the toddler has been tossing and turning, feeding and cuddling, crying and snuggling for two hours already. The thoughts a parent experiences at this point as they try to get back to sleep;

Justin’s house, la la la la la la la, Justin’s house, la la la la la la, everybody’s welcome here in Justin’s house.

Who would win in a fight between the Octonauts and the Little Robots? I guess this depends on where the fight took place. Why would they be fighting anyway?

Ow, my arm, what do I do with them normally while I sleep? Surely they aren’t always this uncomfortable?!

I love you darling, but do you have to use my head as a pillow?

Justin’s house, Justin’s house. Arghhhhh I need to get that song out of my head.

What now? More milk? Really? I bet you need a new nappy, how long until Daddy wakes up and offers to change you?

Oh well, at least with being awake this much at night you are sure to have a lie in and I can get on with jobs before you wake.

If I go to sleep now I’d get a couple of hours before the alarm goes off.

Dusting for Justin, arghhhh that wasn’t what I meant. I didn’t want to replace one song with another!

Jobs for tomorrow, (well I guess technically it’s today), washing, washing up, sort through ironing, Toddler group, shopping, school work and planning…

You really do need a new nappy don’t you? But you are finally asleep and I don’t want to wake you.

You’re asleep! My turn, now why can’t I sleep?

Fingers tapping, Chuggington, chugger chugger chugger chugger Chuggington.

If I go to sleep now I’ll get an hour before the alarm goes off.

Yes! Daddy is up, nappy change for you, bad Mummy, I should have done that already.

If I go to sleep now I’ll get…

Beep beep beep

My thoughts on the quote “It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so very deeply.”

I saw that quote on Facebook.

I have since learnt that it is a poem by David Jones, (read about it here and the way in which these wise words have spread)

And it hit me- that’s my problem. Every single thing I feel is felt to the maximum.

And it really is true. A blessing and a curse.

When I am truly happy then I am full. Overflowing and face aching. When asked to think of a happy occasion, I think of my wedding day. I think of how my face hurt from smiling, I remember my husbands vows and feeling as if there was noone else in the world as he looked into my eyes. I remember feeling love. Love more than I had ever experienced. And feeling safe, knowing that whatever life throws at me, with my husband by my side I will survive.

Every second of that day was felt deeply. And what a blessing that is.
In contrast, when I feel sad, I feel empty, sadness consumes me and I am unable to focus on anything other than the sadness I feel. The negativity overtakes me. It forbids me from seeing the light, and stops me from hearing advice and kind words.

When I find myself in a black hole, it is deep. A true curse.

These are the emotions I am blessed to feel deeply.
Love
Pride

And the emotions that I am cursed to feel to the full.
Guilt
Worry
Paranoia
Jealously
Insignificance

I am saddened by the length of the lists.

EDIT JUNE 2014.
This post was huge amounts of traffic. I assume that this is people looking for information about the quote and not about me. I find this slightly embarrassing as this is not one of my strongest posts! If this applies to you and you have read this far, can I please urge you to have a read of some of my better posts?! In my opinion the 2 best are
To my daughter before you were created.
Mythbusting, Why I told the Facebook world about my Post Natal Depression.

I can see clearly now the rain has gone…

…I can see all obstacles in my way.

It’s leaving me. The cloud of PND that has been following me for so long is leaving.

It’s a very strange thing to feel happy. This feels like true happiness.

Not the kind of happiness that makes you see the world with rose tinted glasses, but the kind if happiness that makes you see the dull colours just as clearly as the bright ones. I can see the bad in the world as well as the good and I can cope with it. This, to me, is a much more sustainable form of happiness. This is not a bubble that could be burst at any minute, this is a house. A brick house with solid foundations.

In fact, things have been far from easy recently. Family illness and work pressures have made things tricky, but the exciting thing is, that despite all of this, my head is above water.  Waves that would previously have drowned me are simply washing over my back. I can cope. I am coping.

I can indeed see all obstacles in my way, and by seeing them I can face them.  My head was covered in a rain cloud that made me unable to see the path ahead, unable to see what was in my way and therefore I stayed still. I was scared to move towards happiness as I feared tripping on route and being stuck in deeper mud that I was before.  Well, now the rain has cleared and I can see the path clearly ahead of me. I can even see the destination. I am not there yet, but I do now have my map.  I can make it.  There will be ups and downs along the way, but I can get there.