Motherhood is……..

It has struck me lately how immensely exhausted I am.

Not just the general end of the day tiredness we all get, but a pure, absolutely shattered, all day consuming, can’t quite function enough to string a sentence together sort of tired.

However, one other thing I have noticed and think about often now I’m on my own is that I am absolutely in love with motherhood. In love with being mom and having that one special little person around me all of the time. If I could do it again I would. In a heartbeat.

I love to watch her, to play, to teach her new things, to learn together, to just be together. For some, it’s not like this, I totally appreciate that, but for me, I feel I was born to do this. To exist with her by my side. It’s the only thing I know I’m any good at. She was meant to be here.

I love it, yet I am worn by it in equal measure. I think we may all feel this way at times, especially with little ones running about. So here are a few honest thoughts on the pros and cons of life as a mamma. It’s not for those with a weak stomach. I’m straight. I’m to the point. I like to say it how it is. Of course it applies to all parents who are hands on and involved with the raising of their kids, but I think this one will hit a resonating and accurately truthful spot with a lot of the moms out there, who, lets face it, often do a lot more of the hands on kind of stuff! Here’s my tale of motherhood, worts, sick, mess and all. Good stuff too 😉 I hope it raises a smile or two. It made me smile writing it.

Enjoy 😉

Motherhood is………

Sickness: Getting in from a shopping trip and cleaning up sick before your bag is even off your back. Knowing that the frozen peas in your trendy hessian bag for life are going to defrost before you have cleared it all up, acknowledging the simple task of putting them in the freezer first is something easier said than done when you have a daughter with a severe gag reflex, who will continue to be sick, making more mess to clean up, if it’s left to linger longer than a few seconds. Realizing that your wipe clean only new rug probably will not wipe clean at all and needs to now go into the washing machine. Feeling disheartened that you know the colours will probably run and ruin the whole thing. Discovering that you are out of washing powder, having to leave the rug to sit and fester for the rest of the day until you have the energy to go shopping again tomorrow. Contemplating washing the rug the next day when it’s pouring with rain and knowing it will take at least 3 days to dry indoors, keeping a dim glimmer of hope that it doesn’t smell damp again after that long and need to be rewashed. Scraping off what you can into the bin with a spoon whilst trying not to gag yourself. Sitting on your tired knees, literally scooping up chunks of vomit with your newly purchased packet of £2.49 a pop water wipes. Feeling annoyed that you were hoping these expensive wipes, that you couldnt afford when she was a baby as she needed several packets a week then, so now buy as a treat, are now being used in great mass to clean up sick, rather than sitting for a few weeks in your bag as you had hoped, ensuring you got your money’s worth out of those pricy bastards, with an added feel good factor of being able to clean your little one’s face with a chemical free product. Having to change the bin before it’s even full so the smell doesn’t stick to the kitchen. Having to change your daughter’s clothes and give her a bath all before lunchtime, knowing all of these things should have lasted until bedtime, when they will have to be done again anyway.

Getting to comfort her and make her feel better after being sick or feeling unwell. Getting those somewhat desperate, feel sorry for myself cuddles off my little girl who really needs and wants me in those moments. Completely surrendering to what she needs and feeling that love and bond, whether it be letting her lay across my lap until she feels better or simply kissing her head and assuring her she’s ok before she runs off to play again.  Feeling loved and needed and knowing I’m helping her in that moment and offering love and security.20170530_143329

Above: Sick in all its glory. Sorry Emi. I write the truth 😉

Tantrums: Watching your child have a major meltdown at the fact you have put butter on their toast underneath their layer of jam. Feeling pissed off that they are now refusing to eat the toast you have got out of bed to make at 6.30am especially for them after they have demanded it of you since about an hour earlier. Not having the patience to pander to a little dictator at that time in the morning, so casually making tea and switching off as they scream and slam the door in the other room, probably breaking things you rather like along the way. Getting worked up and frustrated inside and trying your hardest not to scream and slam the door in return. Snapping back at them when they throw the food onto the floor, them wanting that reaction, as you see it catching your furniture along the way, making more unnecessary mess to clean up. After 20 minutes of hell, realizing it has all gone quiet and going in to see the child happily chowing down on the now cold toast they were so against a few minutes ago, whilst giggling away to CBeebies on tv. Walking off in astonishment after hearing them say they are still hungry and asking for more of the toast they apparently so hated before. Feeling mentally drained before it’s even light outside, knowing the rest of the day could bring another 3 or 4 of these breakdowns and not feeling ready for it or able to cope. Wondering how the hell you will get through the day with a start like this. Praying for bedtime already at 7am. Doing breathing exercises to keep your cool by the kettle, as you reach for the normal tea, knowing you need it in a time where you would usually be happy to settle for decaffeinated. Hearing it all starting again because the tv programme she has watched has finished and you get the blame for turning it off, somehow from the kitchen without access to the remote control. Calming her down again and taking in her requested second round of toast, only for her to refuse it and say she’s not hungry anymore. Feeling your blood bubble inside but trying with everything you have not to show her she’s got to you. Begrudgingly eating the would be wasted toast so it doesn’t end up in the bin, even though you have tried to be good and have just a banana and some nuts for breakfast that day. Knowing its a losing battle and sitting back and enjoying the toast instead whilst looking down at your ever expanding mum tum you should have shifted 4 years ago. Knowing that putting the toast in the bin would bother you more than eating it, so accepting the extra calories you didn’t initially want are an acceptable second option to otherwise pointless wasting of food. Knowing you have had bread every day for the last week and really need to cut down on starchy carbs, whilst knowing you are gaining so much comfort from them at the same time. Waiting until you have eaten the last crust before hearing another meltdown when she realizes you have eaten the toast she didnt even want because it was hers.

The rare occassions when she has a meltdown and there is a good reason behind it. Those times she breaks downs and is angry and I am able to keep my cool and let her do what she needs in letting it flow. The patience I have learned over time in how to deal with someone who has no control over how to deal with their own emotions themselves at that age. The lessons I have learned in not taking it personally. The triumph of getting through a tantrum and coming out the other end still liking each other immensly. The fact they don’t remember these things 5 minutes after it has happened but will remember me being there instead.

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Above: The come down to a massive tantrum out on a day trip with friends. I am half eating, half trying to find the will to smile and half hoping she eats her lunch and stops being a diva…thats a strained face right there…the show must go on…second pic…the face says it all…early morning bad start, mom annoyed, picky nose kid not bothered

Bedtime: That same routine every night of fighting her to get up the stairs as she does not want to go to bed. Having to physically carry up a strong willed 4 year old if she refuses. Watching as she brushes her front teeth only, really hard and really fast within about 15 seconds to make a point that she has done them. Chasing her across the landing to bring her back into the bathroom so that I can help her brush them properly. Having to hear her fake cry as I try and brush her back teeth, with her exaggerating that I am making her teeth hurt and making her sick. Once teeth are done, rechasing her across the landing again to bring her back to the bathroom to have a wee before sleep. Having to physically put her on the toilet as she protests that she doesnt even need one. Fighting against her superhuman mini person strength and replacing her back on the toilet about 4 times until she finally sits there and has a wee that sounds as if it it has been stored up there for about a decade. Watching her smirk at me as she does so. Going into the bedroom to find she has taken off the pyjamas you placed on her 5 minutes ago and dumped them on the floor in a heap. Reading her bedtime story and leaving the room, only for her to refuse to settle or wake up an hour later so you lose any chance of an evening yourself. Never getting to sleep in your own bed as she has security issues, sleeping next to her in part every night and forgetting what it’s like to sleep alone and comfortably. Wondering if when you do eventually make it back to your own room, if it will be taken over by spiders from lack of use. Waking up each morning and finding you have no battery power on your phone, when you know you fully charged it the night before. Charging it again and finding 100 versions of the same selfie of you asleep in the background and your daughter’s big face up close and having to spend the morning deleting most of them to make space on your phone again. Wondering if you should install a camera to see what exactly she gets up to in the 2 hours she is probably awake before I surface unwillingly at around 7am.

Those evening that she does not fight to go to bed and looks forward to her routine. Those times she sets the timer to show me that she is learning and wanting to brush her teeth for 2 minutes, watching on at her little happy face as she proudly and manically brushes her teeth herself to show me. Those times she cannot wait for our one on one time in bed, curled up together, warm and cozy, with an arm around each other and a good book to share. The nights I will read to her and she memorizes the story front to back and reads it in her own way back to me. Those nights where all she wants is me by her side to cuddle her and feel secure in the knowledge that I am there for her. Those nights where she wakes up in the early hours, desperately checks that I’m still around, reaches over to hold my hand, says she loves me in a half-asleep croaky voice and falls back into a deep happy sleep. Knowing she feels loved and secure with me. Waking up to her beaming face wanting to spend yet more time with me. She’s always smiling when she wakes up. Waking up with her wanting to get on with the day and make more memories with her mom. Having some novelty funny pictures to look back on that I didn’t have to bribe her to get myself. 

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Above: One of many 6.30am selfies

Being just us two: Finding it hard some days to keep her occupied and do two people’s jobs in one. Seeing her dad on his days off and watching her love him and his time, then seeing the difference in her asking for him after times we may not see him for a while. Feeling bored with routine and no one to share daily silly things with. Wondering what the point of life is sometimes without someone to share it with. Shared life is just better. Sitting down at the end of the day after she’s asleep and having no one to share the day with and discuss or laugh about things she has done. Sitting down at the end of the day and not having any adult company to be with, to talk to, to touch. Staying mute all evening whilst knitting, knowing I’m only 30 and am already living the evening of a 75-year-old granny, yet knowing I’m too tired to do anything else anyway. Trying to keep on top of all the things we used to share as a team by myself, whilst trying to still ensure she is occupied and not breaking things. Constantly juggling money, housework, time. Feeling like giving in some days yet somehow keep being strong and doing what needs to get done. Keeping her busy so that she is constantly learning and happy, not feeling she is lacking in only having one of us here full time. Dealing with my own baggage and emotions, trying to stay positive for her and me. Establishing a new relationship with her dad, working to be both around for her and trying at the same time to not resent him too much on the long weekends he gets to not be here helping me. Constantly trying to put her before myself and what I may want. Wanting to go out but knowing sometimes it’s harder to enjoy activities with only two of us. Doing those activities you have pushed yourself to do for her and then being surrounded in parks, at theatres, by seemingly happy families and couples living the life you so wanted, and coming away feeling like utter shit. Like you are not enough for her alone.

Realizing that you can do anything when you have to. Feeling a sense of achievement when you manage something foreign to you, like building a lawnmower out of the box for the first time ever, having been given no alternative apart from not mowing the grass which badly needed doing. Knowing that you are capable and she is safe in your sole care. Having so much time together that she’s like a mini best friend and companion. Having been able to spend the really important first years of her life with her, never missing a thing. Getting to be there for all the crucial milestones. Coming together through times of grief to form an unbreakable close bond. Knowing that her not having much materially now will mean that she will appreciate everything she eventually will have in later life. Knowing that I will teach her to earn whatever she has in life and to work hard in all that she does, whether that be baking a cake or her later studies. Passing on my own life skills to her and watching her enjoy learning them. Being a little team and helping each other get through the days. Compromising together. Her insight into when I may not be feeling well and her care and love in giving me the space I need in those times, even at her tender age, she knows. Knowing she still has people she loves in her life, even if in a different capacity to the one she once knew. Knowing I am doing whats best for her. Loving how precious I am to her and she is to me.

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Writing this I have laughed and cried at what a menace and a sweetheart she is wrapped in one parcel. Kiss your babies goodnight and take nothing for granted. Parenthood is a bloody rollercoaster and it’s important we laugh at the struggles in order to get through them and appreciate the good bits in equal measure. Goodnight. I’m off for a cuddle x

Remembering Nan at Christmas

How is it December 11th already?! This month has been a whirlwind of house sorting, tantrums (Mainly Emi, honest) seeing visitors and friends and getting ready for the big day on the 25th. Of course, it’s really all about the children when making grand plans for presents and trips to santa,which with a 3 year old, this year is ALL about those things as well as family time. However, this year is going to be a bitter sweet one for me and many others since the loss of Nan in July. It almost feels like it happened longer ago, I have to remind myself sometimes it was only this July we lost her. So I wanted to make sure I remembered the adults this year too as best as I could. This year really is about making sure that EVERYONE is ok, because in all honesty, it’s going to be really strange on the day without her here. WP_20160411_16_59_17_Pro[1]

Last year, even though ill and with very little appetite, Nan still managed quite naturally to insult my cooking to my face across the dinner table saying “Sprouts are a bit crunchy”, whilst making a point of screwing her face up and over exaggerating how difficult she was finding it to chew them with her ill-fitting false teeth. My brother kept his head down, apart from a side glance to see my reaction, probably knowing the effort it had taken me that year simply to hold any sort of Christmas after my partner had moved out only a few months before. Meanwhile, I clenched my teeth and tried not to tell her to go home. (I wouldn’t have really but I was annoyed.)

I had dared to venture away from the standard boiled sprouts option, instead adding lemon, garlic and breadcrumbs, but when faced with a 79 year old woman who knew exactly what she wanted and expected from a christmas dinner, this did not go down well at all. I remember at the time, after hours of cooking, being really annoyed at her for feeling the need to even say anything like that, she could have just politely not eaten them. But then that would be asking for her to be someone else. Now I can look back and laugh. It’s actually a really happy memory for me now because it’s just so silly isn’t it?! To get annoyed over sprouts?! People of a certain age do tend to think they have the right to say and do whatever they like and they let it out of their mouths wherever and whenever they please. Nan was no exception to this theory. It’s a humorous thing really. The best part is, they know full well that because of their age that they will get away with it. And they do. And she did. Because no one dared say anything back. It’s ok for her to upset someone but there’s a natural respect for that generation that I wouldn’t have tried to upset her in return. Funny isn’t it?

What I would give to have her insulting my cooking abilities this year.

There is something about christmas that just makes Nan feel alive again. This was her time of year. Everything reminds me of her. From going to choose the christmas tree, which we always did together (with Emi last year which was special), to seeing the Cherry liquor chocolates in M&S that I bought for her every year (and that she then bought even more of for herself because she loved them so much and often ate a whole box in one sitting whilst watching tv on an evening.) Everywhere I turn there is a reminder of her and it can be really hard sometimes not to just keep crying at the fact she is not here anymore. Most of the reminders are happy ones, but even the good ones can make you tear up. 20161203_1752391

The one thing that reminds me most of her at this time of year is Holly. For as far back as I can remember she made holly wreathes for friends and family all throughout December, trailing up to the local park with her drag bag in the dark so she wouldn’t be seen cutting away at the Holly in daylight. I think we have probably all been up with her at some point helping her get in her supplies. The house was a mess with greenery cuttings and ribbon everywhere all throughout the month but the end result was always stunningly beautiful. People came back to her every year because she was so good at what she did. She didn’t do it to make money. She never made anything from it. She did it because she enjoyed that the people who had them from her loved her work and would return every year for something she had made. They were miles better than anything you saw in standard florists or markets. She had a real sense of pride in everything she made and even though she would never admit satisfaction with anything she produced to anyone else, I know she was proud of her abilities and most of all aware of them herself. She knew.

This year, without Nan to make my wreath, I wanted to remember her in my own way by attempting it myself. Not for myself. I havent made myself one yet. I will. My main purpose in doing them was that I wanted to make one for those people who had one last year and would never get another. I wanted simply to gift them in tribute to Nan and as a way for me to stay connected to her and remember her. To try to practice the skills I picked up only last year when she showed me a few bits in the nick of time. Christmas to me, especially after a loss, is not about what you get. It is about gestures, love, cherishing what you have. We don’t have Nan anymore but we do have everything she taught us. It has been a wonderful experience for me. An emotional one of course too. I have retraced her footsteps and scrounged around the same park she did to get some holly and other greenery. Whilst there, I sat in the sunshine and just remembered her. I felt sad and happy all at the same time. Then I came home and had a go. That was very Nan. Just give it a go and try. I realised there is a bit of Nan in me too, as after I had made a few I started to see what I did wrong with the first one I had already gifted and was kicking myself a bit that it wasnt as good as those that followed. A bit of Nans perfectionism coming out in me I suppose. Now I can see why she was always so particular. The more you do the higher your own standards are. They also take thought, time and patience. I think I understand her a bit more having made a few of these, which I didn’t expect any insight into her when I started them. Funny how things work out. 20161208_1512151

Above: There is always time for a play in the park, even on our Holly collecting mission…

As it happens, I have been rather pleased with the outcome of my efforts. I will fully accept it when anyone says “Its good but it’s not your Nans” because it’s so true. She just knew what she was doing and if she didn’t it looked like she did. She was beyond practical and would always work it out. She knew how to do everything with ribbon and wire and arrangement. She just knew. I don’t. My version is to buy a base (she made her own) and stick things in as best as I can and hope for the best. As it turns out, I’m not too shabby at it! 20161210_1421231

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Once the wreathes are packed away, there will be lots of other things sparking off memories for me of our past times with Nan. My big tree reminds me of her huge real trees she used to get and let us decorate (Probably rearranging our placements once in bed, as I do now with Emi). Hiding Emis presents in the cupboard reminds me of the stacks of presents she used to drag up the road in her wheely bag to us on christmas day. Her face last year watching Emi open the presents she had chosen for her was lovely. The trifle she made every year will be sorely missed. (I never did get her recipe.) Things just keep flooding back to me and I will miss her so much this christmas. However, I am already making my own traditions, with my own little person hopefully remembering all the little things that I do for her too, which is lovely to know that the cycle of life, love and giving is not one that ends with the loss of someone special…..and something tells me Nans traditions are not going to stop at me 😉 xxxx20161210_1212541

Trying to just be ill with a toddler around!

I am ill ;-(

Ok so im not dying or anything but I sure as hell feel rough. I have flu. Sore, itchy, watery eyes, a runny yet blocked at the same time nose (how is this even possible?!), achy body, constant sneezing. You lye on one side and feel the bunged up shit clear from the higher nostril and fill up the lower one on the pillow. Then it runs and you have to blow for the millionth time, leaving your nose tip looking chafed,chapped and crispy. Its hell. Sorry for the graphics. I like to share 😉

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Give me a bad stomach any day over something that engulfs your whole head and impairs your vision and function! (Not today though thanks, I don’t need a bad stomach today on top of this, I was just saying.)

I usually get a really bad cold about once a year, around November most times. Well, its end of October so nearly on schedule. Last year my daughter was still two and into quite simple things so I could rest a bit. The year before that she was still a baby so would actually sit still a lot (and nap!), plus I had a partner to help when I needed to go upstairs and recover. Being ill with young children must be so much easier if you have a partner. Dont take them for granted when you are ill ever again! Trust me. You need them ;-).

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Above: Baby days x

This year is my first experience of being a single parent, dealing with being ill, with a full on toddler (She doesnt toddle anymore, I shouldn’t call her that!) still going 100 miles per hour, with a full on cold raging at around the same speed as her. Its exhausting! We are literally not allowed to be ill because they simply don’t give a crap! Children are selfish creatures of habit and comfort and they need what they need and its your job to do it all for them. They still demand toast within 2 seconds of waking up. They talk at you none stop whilst you try to stay awake and grunt back at them through snot rags and lots of steamy cups of honey and lemon (hold it under your nose, have a steam and a drink in one ha). They still trash the house. They still need to get out and get some fresh air. They are still lovely but generally annoying when you’re not feeling up to finding their antics sweet or amusing.

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Above: Menace with the face of an angel

Today I had to get her to the doctors as she has another cough that’s lasted about 4 days. Illness does not stop this kid, shes bright in herself, it does however, keep her awake (and me) coughing all night. So on a lack of sleep from the night before, I did not want to leave the house at all. I didn’t want to get dressed. Putting on my makeup onto puffy watery eyes was, in itself, a particularly hard challenge, however, as it happens, we made it. We have been out again to a jobcentre appointment for myself this afternoon, also stopping off at the park on the way back. Lots of walking, lots of interaction for a little one and lots of activity. Yet she still didn’t rest this afternoon like I had hoped she would.

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Above: Her mind was literally blown that our local park had new equipment today 😉 x

The truth is you have to just power on forward and get through it, especially if there’s no one to take them off your hands for a few hours so you can sleep like everyone else gets to do when they have the flu. It’s not easy but you just have to take your moments where you can.  I have to admit I snuck upstairs for 10 minutes today whilst she watched Casper and closed my eyes under my duvet, still not being able to sleep and switch off as a responsible mom but just having a few minutes breather without the tv blaring at my already spinning head. It didn’t last long. Those words every tired and over worked mom dreads being shouted up the stairs came shortly after. “Mom, where are you?”. Followed by manic footsteps and a tiny girl lunging towards me, all massive blue eyes and cheeky smiles, proceeding to then jump all over me on the bed, having great fun in the process. She thought it was great fun I couldn’t fight back much.

Dinner for her tonight was 2 fish fingers and some sliced cucumber. Lazy, none time-consuming and edible. Not a great meal in itself, I could have at least done her a few chips or some bread and butter or something but I plain couldn’t be bothered. There was no energy for menu planning. I spend a great deal of time making sure she eats well usually so I think I can be excused an off day.  I also read her a really short bedtime story as my voice wasnt up to it. She grasped my game and went about then reading it back to me for ages afterwards to delay my tactic from taking effect sooner than she would have liked. On the ball that one.

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Sometimes you have to forget about keeping up with mom of the year and do what helps you to survive, when you really need to of course. Regardless of how ill I feel today, and how it must sound like I am complaining to some, having her happy and healthy and with me is all that really matters in the bigger picture. Annoying as she has seemed in my ill face today, as most of you would agree, the alternative would be far worse.

I looked at her peacefully sleeping and the days annoyance vanished completely. I really think it’s this way for lots of us and if we notice our children and watch the good bits it can be so worth it over the time you spend with them. Family isnt boring or tedious if you notice the good stuff and feel fortunate to have it. Having children is the best thing anyone can do and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Also, thankfully, most of the time I am feeling in a better frame of mind to enjoy it too. Just flu is a killer ;-/.

I do love that girl. But I’m ill and I have my limits. The flip side is that her being under the weather too means she has settled at 6.30pm tonight! Bonus. Meaning I have time tonight to bath, blog and stretch hopefully. (If the annoying chavs outside letting off excessively loud and unnecessary fireworks don’t wake her up before I head to bed!)

I’m off to drink more honey and lemon. Night all xx

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Single Mom,not Superwoman! (And what its really like living with a 3 year old!)

I was chatting to a friend the other day when they pointed out to me how they thought the systems that be often expect single parents to be more like superwoman than anything else. And it wasnt until she said it that I realised how much I am expected to be able to manage on my own. And what a good job I’ve been doing actually. I have been feeling somewhat overwhelmed by it all since last year when this became my living status, that being me and my daughter on our own.

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Now she is three and a half, has just started pre-school and is growing so fast it scares me! I am a busy single mom trying to work out what to do next whilst wondering how the hell I will fit going to work into the equation next year when she starts at school. I have a lot to juggle and would really love to hear from any of you that have done it and succeeded! Here is a bit of an insight into what living with a three-year old is really like for those of you who think it’s a walk in the park!

As it’s approaching next September, I find myself more and more daunted by the day. I am sure some of you reading this have been there and can assure me it will be ok. I know deep down things will work out in whatever way they are supposed to. That is usually how life goes. Just getting there is always scary. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to this. My head is a cloud of decisions I have to make pretty much alone and I often feel ready to give up. I don’t though. I suppose that’s my saving grace. I’ve come close to giving up. But the benefits of having children, single or otherwise, far outweigh the negatives and that is why us parents carry on when faced with only one other option.

Choosing a school: I’m just realising how scary it is making sure you pick the right one! Even if you are happy with a decision and make a choice, there’s no saying they will have space for your child anyway. School life is a whole other ball game to just having a baby. Its getting very real. Choosing a school is something you hope to be doing with a partner on a lazy Sunday in bed, with her tucked up in the middle of you both, looking over the relevent prospectuses whilst cooing over how fast your little one has grown up. To progress as a unit is always the ideal. I looked forward to that bit. You work with what you have. I will of course discuss it with her father, but, inevitably, I will be the one taking her and dealing with the school every day, so it is on my shoulders to make that final decision. It already takes me 25 minutes each way to walk up hill to her pre-school, that’s each way, 25 there and 25 back. Twice over each day. Nearly 2 hours of my day taken up with getting to pre school and back. No wonder my calves ache! Yes I could spend £4.40 per day on the bus but you do the math, especially when she’s at school. It may not seem much to some of you but every penny has to count when you don’t have excess.It has to work for me too whichever I choose.

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School runs: Managing school runs with work as a none driver is not going to be easy. (Those who have helpfully said why don’t you just learn to drive have obviously never survived on £45 income support per week.) I had a friend once who said I would manage as everyone else in my position had to. It’s a  good point in theory, but coming from someone who was driven to the school gates door to door every morning by a family member and who had a supportive partner paying the bills whilst she got to raise her kids at home, it didn’t really bring me much comfort. Remarks aren’t really helpful unless they come from experience. We have a practice routine now of course, which will help us prepare for the real thing, as she’s been at nursery for a year now and the hours are pretty similar to a school day (9am until 3pm) But that’s just two days per week,whilst I am at home and don’t have to rush to work after. The five day week is going to take some getting used to I think!

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Getting out the door:Trying to get yourself up and out the house is one thing. Getting up to an alarm for anything in the early hours is never nice for anyone, kids or not! If I leave without food on my clothes or lipstick on my arm it’s a successful morning. (Ever tried just nipping upstairs to do your make-up without a 3 year old following you and destroying every piece of makeup you ever owned?! Not managed it yet myself!) Trying to get yourself and a young child out of the house, on the other hand, is a whole different kettle of fish. To be clean, dressed, packed and fed and at the place you’re going on time is a challenge. We are managing it so far! Just about!

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Inconsistencies: There are smooth days where she is so good that I feel a little smug my seemingly angelic child at the time does all she’s told. Then there are days when angel is not the preferred choice of word and she doesn’t co-operate at all. Those days where you will get her dressed, leave the room with only 10 minutes to spare until you need to go, come back in and she’s running around with her trousers on her head and a completely naked body apart from her pants and one sock. All in good fun of course. But not in the least bit helpful. Or those days where you get her dressed and she spills her whole bowl of cereal down her top and it pours under your tv cabinet, giving you another job to add to your morning, reducing your time to get ready and meaning you have to then power walk up the hill arriving very sweaty and frantic but just about on time! Buy hey, if you’re going to be inconsistent at any point in your life, three is a good a time as any to get it out the way!

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Above: Who, me?!

Invasions: Mornings, at times, can be a mammoth task. Eat your breakfast (No!), go and get your shoes (Sits watching tv ignoring me), go and have a wee before we leave (cries saying she doesn’t want to try then after 5 minutes of stern mom talking she goes and does a massive one that she obviously needed all along anyway.) You find yourself often sneaking around the house trying to do things in secret. Like tiptoeing up the stairs to have a lone bath whilst she’s watching Bing, only for her to hear me getting in, run after me, then harass me to get in too until I can’t bothered to say no anymore. She proceeds happily making it her own private water world fun time regardless of its original occupier and I quickly wash my hair in the only corner she hasn’t taken over with toys and bottles. Cold water runs freely no matter how much I say to turn it off,my knee is throughly washed at least 12 times whilst I watch my best body wash I was trying to make last at least another week rapidly disappear before my eyes and my 10 minutes of peace become yet another long-winded mess to clean up after. More work for Mommy. Its exhausting sometimes. Mentally draining. Of course there are mornings shes wonderful and does whatever I need her to. And at other times I adore her company in the bath and love that everything is fun at that age. Who am I to spoil her fun. Simple pleasures are all a three year old really needs after love and food. But when you have somewhere to be, its hard work to see the fun side too often. The clock waits for no man once they are in the system.

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Me Time: Every one needs this. Shame we don’t all have the luxury of taking it when we live on our own and away from family. I think it must be so easy for men to just walk out on the tediousness as they see it, of a nagging women and young noisy baby, not fully knowing or wanting to know the full sacrifice they are leaving them to make for the remainder of that child’s life (As if they didn’t sacrifice enough having the babies in the first place-So long tight stomach, confidence and energy) Women often are the backbone of the family and yet are so overlooked at times its frightening. A mother can do a 15 hour day, feed her baby, tidy the house, do the shopping and still manage to get something edible on the table for when her partner gets home complaining about his single task of working that day and being tired. Yet we are made to feel grateful they have earned the money and find ourselves running round after them to meet their needs. Who is meeting ours? We constantly multi task and it’s just not noticed.

Now I am alone I am having to double the multi tasking I was already doing! It never ends! I am permanently exhausted. I am not always able to clean the house properly or go out for yet more food supplies because it’s too much work after cleaning, cooking, chasing and entertaining. It takes several trips sometimes to do top up shopping. On my own, I cart everything back on the bus, juggling my toddler holding onto one bag with the other hand full and a back pack on too. There isn’t much time left over for me. Yet I am proud of myself for rising to the challenge because the alternative is not even an option.I am going to do this job properly and raising a child is nothing to be half soaked about.

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Time Restraints: My evenings will be taken up with coursework from October, going from one job as Mom in the daytime, to another of student whilst she sleeps at night. I have to do this to better the situation I have been left with. My day will be something like 6am until 11pm constantly doing work of some sort. Once shes dropped at pre-school, I come back and clean up last nights mess I was too exhausted to clean up last night. I have a real bath to make up for the one she stole that morning (If cleaning didn’t take the morning) I might go food shopping or pay some bills and before you know it its time to collect her again. The day goes fast and the night even faster. God help me fitting it all in next year. I will. I have to. I’m just not looking forward to working even harder. I don’t feel its possible right now.

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Self Care: It’s a life of choices and sacrifices on your own I have come to realise. People often say raising a child is hard work in general and even as part of a couple. I am not disputing this. Partner or not, its hard work. But with a partner, at least there is a choice that includes you in the equation getting what you need also. I used to be able to have 20 minutes to myself on a morning whilst me and my then partner tag teamed the care of our daughter whilst the other got ready, all getting to do what we needed and getting out the house on time. Always on time. Always with washed hair. Pre single life I washed my hair every day just to feel fresh. Because I had time to wash and blow dry in those days. And put on make up. And paint my nails. And cut them regularly come to think of it. What a luxury. Post split, on my own time, if it’s a choice between getting her to her nursery on time or washing my hair, im going to be walking up that hill with a hat on instead! I come last now in the household list of priorities even more so than I did when I had a partner because im now doing double the work. It’s not a choice to not make an effort with my appearance. I try as much as I have energy to and as much as time will let me. Sometimes a face full of slap is the least of your worries when your toddlers just been sick all in her nursery bag right before you leave the house!

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Employment: Finding a job to fit around a 9am until 3pm day will be hard. Ideally I want to be self-employed but havent quite found that thing that I am really good at yet. I wont have the luxury of juggling the school runs and collections with anyone, it’s all on my shoulders and after this last year I do worry if I will be able to handle it all. I have also just started an Open University degree which I will have to work around next year. Finding a quiet moment to study with that feels almost impossible already being on my own with her, and that’s whilst im at home, so the thought of fitting paid work on top of that next year is something im finding hard to come to terms with. This  wasnt my life choice of preference. I believed in my family. On my new handed path, on a systems time scale of when they think im ready, im feeling more than a little bit terrified. But a day at a time is what I keep saying and doing.

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The fact is that people often see single parents as moaning individuals who must be saying how tough going it is to get sympathy. I have also found that it’s usually those without children with no day-to-day hands on experience of how draining it is, that have the least empathy for your situation doing it alone.

I don’t want your sympathy. I just like to tell it how it is. Some of you might find it interesting. This blog is something I will look back on with happy memories, knowing I allowed myself to process and progress onto better things for myself and my daughters future. I am not expecting any prince charmings to come and rescue me like in any of the chick flicks featuring any of the famous Jennifer’s that I really must stop watching (Lopez, Aniston, you know who you are giving us false hope these men exist!) I am pretty certain I am doing this alone from now on and all I can do is give it my best shot, exhaustion and all x

Toddler Selfie Mission!

I like to use this space to write about things that matter to me. Sometimes, however, like tonight, I have just been having a giggle to myself and really wanted to share these hilarious pictures with you, as it’s the light-hearted moments that get us through life and allow us to see that although life isn’t perfect it can be really very special at times.

Tonight I posted a series of gorgeous selfie photos onto my Facebook account. My daughter happily pouted and posed for several to get these gorgeous gems….

Looks pretty carefree right?! Well it was, in the end! I thought this bit of honest behind the scenes look at the reality of photographing a toddler might make a few of you fellow parents laugh or at least smile;-) Looking back at them myself I cant help but smile. Because photographing any child is never easy, especially a three-year old. They do not sit still, so most of the time, you will have to take about 100 frames to get 3 decent ones…as I will demonstrate ;-)…..

First attempt: Emi come here, lets take a picture together….fake sarcastic smile follows….WP_20160530_08_23_53_Pro[1]

Mom, catch me on the camera as I jump past!……WP_20160530_08_26_30_Pro[1]WP_20160530_08_28_04_Pro[1]WP_20160530_08_28_41_Pro[1]WP_20160530_08_29_49_Pro[1]Mid air dive onto bed….WP_20160530_08_29_52_Pro[1]

Finally get her standing still after much laughing and messing about….. Moody face for the photo, then ran off in fits of giggles…oh it is all a game when you are three ha….

To get her to stand still and smile, I did something that none of us parents like to admit to…I bribed my kid…nothing major, just with a square of dark chocolate…call me wrong, call me whatever you like, but it worked ;-). She was in a playful mood and was playing me through the whole session ha…So I played her back ;-)…and it worked a treat….I got some gorgeous results after that…if you say you have never done it , I am sure you are not telling the truth! 😉 Its amazing what she pulled out of the bag for a square of chocolate xxxWP_20160530_08_32_05_Pro[1].jpg