Happy Fathers Day Mom

Today I logged onto Facebook (as we do in order to pass a few minutes with our morning beverage of choice) and my news feed was filled with loving posts to various men from across the board, from dads, to grandads, to loved ones of the male variety in general. Which is lovely.

It is, afterall, fathers day. The day we are told to thank our fathers for all they do for us. The only thing is, I never knew mine. He was around for a short while but soon lost interest and vanished around the age of 2 or 3. My very young mom raised three kids on her own for the most part (albeit with the help of my powerhouse super human nan who dashed between work and school to collect us and help where she could.) But on the whole, my mom raised us kids and was the one that put us to bed each night and spent that time with us.

So, I have to say, I find fathers day a bit of a funny one. I do not feel obliged to thank a man I do not know and have not seen since I was 2. Neither do I feel I owe anything to a man who made my moms life utterly miserable through neglect and abuse, leaving her as a young mom of three with no money and bad memories. He never bothered contacting us again, until too long had passed, somewhat of a relief looking back, and paid no maintanance for his children EVER, moving on to impregnante another woman whilst mom raised his first three alone. I cant be thankful to a man that by birth right is my dad, but by presence has been none existant. I can, however, be thankful to a few people and Im going to take the time to do that today, before the day is over, to give my thanks publicly, because although my mom hates these forced days where we are told what to say, I know her and a few others deserve a few good words on fathers day.

Firstly, to my step dad, Rob. My mom got remarried to a lovely man after we all become young adults (or old teenagers in my sisters case.) He has been the one who has supported her and loved her and helped her. He has also supported, loved and helped all of us kids in equal measure, individually, at different stages of our time knowing him. We have brought, in all fairness, a lot of distruption (as kids do) to his previously probably a lot more peaceful child free life. However, we have also added another dimension he never had before, a positive one, like that feeling of belonging to a unit and life being about so much more than yourself . Like having a family to call his own (without having to do the pooey nappy stage-he got the difficult young adult stage instead!). And the unconditional bond that you get as a family when you realise these are truly your people and that, even if you fall out, you know a year down the line you can see them and give them a great big hug and mean every squeeze of it. We have had our moments as a family, all of us, but you have done as you promised you would and stuck by mom through thick and thin, as you have stuck by all of us too. For that, and for the person you are, I truly am thankful that you came into our lives, having enriched ours also with something that we have never had before either. That being a positive male role model who says what he means and does what he says. One that knows and wants his responsibility and looks after those around him. I know we scare you sometimes (ha!) but I wouldnt change you being in our lives for anything. I am so pleased you and mom found each other when you did. It was so lovely talking to you today and we look forward to seeing you in August. WP_20140221_174

Secondly, to my daughters dad, Adam. The pain I felt after you left, breaking a decades worth of love, work, family, hopes, plans and life, is not an easy burden to bear for anyone. On occassions since that time, for one reason or another, things have been trying, confusing and frought. Seperations are not easy, especially unwanted ones. However, we have somehow, someway, managed to create the most beautiful, intelligent, funny little girl. We did that. I dont know how she came out so wonderful. Or so clever. Or so talented. We have had back and forths, ups and downs, trials and trouble. We have also, however, had family time still as a unit, co parenting on your days here to make sure Emi knows her parents are both around still, regardless of our personal situation, having plenty of moments of happiness, joy, friendship, laughter and pride along the way. Whatever has happened, a families bond, if they were a genuine happy family, is still there. You are still family, in whatever way we can now call it. The obvious resentment is there for me as a single mom now, doing most of the work all week on my own and being the one that now builds my life around Emi, which is so much harder by yourself. That is natural I think. I am still working on that. However, as it is a day for being grateful and thankful, I would like to say that I am thankful you still turn up when you say you will. I am thankful that you help out with the nursery runs when you can, giving me a much needed break on those days. I am still thankful that Emi has a dad and that you didnt do what a lot of men do when they leave and simply walk away and forget about her. I am not saying its perfect and you know I give you it when I think you can try harder for her, thats my job, im her mom, but what matters is you are still here. That is more than my dad did and I can only hope that it lasts so that Emi will always have two parents who want to be around her, in her life, wherever we may be, showing her she is loved and wanted. It hasnt been easy, granted, but somehow, even after what happened, Emi is surrounded by love and happiness in her home, both by me as her main person each day on our days alone together and also as a family still when you come and visit. It is so healthy to teach her to be kind. To be kind to those even who have hurt you. To be kind to those you love. To be thankful for the things you do have even when you dont have what you feel you would like. Emi still has her people around her and I am very thankful for that. Thank you for letting her enjoy opening your fathers days presents today. She had a ball. 20170221_085447

Last but not least, to my mom. We have had our ups and downs. I personally think its a girl thing because Emi already acts about fourteen at four! You dont always say what I want to hear, or you might question things I think dont need to be raised. You annoy me and I annoy you. Sometimes. Thats life. Then, sometimes, you phone me up, just for a chat, just because you miss me, just because you miss Emi, just because you want to see how I am. You live 300 miles away, yet, you are the one that phones me after ALL the important things that go on in my life, like health appointments or personal stuff, you always phone to see how it went and how I am. I was thinking about this the other day. Dont think I dont notice that. We may have fallen out before. Plenty. You have raised strong feisty women with an opinion. It wasnt going to be a smooth ride. We may have really pissed each other off before too. You may not have been able to raise us in the idealic situation we are told by society we should have. But you did raise us. You are still here. You are still present. You are still calling. You drive up 300 miles just to get a cuddle from your grandaughter and make sure you can still be involved with her upbringing. I know people with mothers on their doorsteps they dont hear from for a year at a time. You bother. You make the effort. You are someone that Emi completely trusts and puts her own care in Grandmas hands because she knows shes safe. She has decided that for herself because she feels it. You have taught her, through what you taught me, to feel what she needs to feel. To follow her emotions and to go with what she needs. You are constant. You are here. I admit I have taken that for granted in the past and as we all do, have sometimes focused on certain bits I may not like or agree with. You have also done this in return. However, we fight, we make up, we get over it, we move on. We mend, we heal, we progress, we live, we love. That is what a true family is about. To be able to tell you straight then get over it. To not always agree, but to get over it. To accept youre not always right then get over it. To be there because they want you to be ok. You, I know, would never cut me out of your life as some have done, or leave me to my own devices to never hear from you again. You are too concerned with knowing if I am ok. I hear of people, friends I know also, who dont speak to their mothers or daughters. They fall out and never speak again and years pass and they die having never spoken and one person is left feeling horrible about it. I think that must be unbearable. I would feel heartbroken if Emi didnt want to know me. I would also never even consider turing my back on her, unless given no choice of course, as I appreciate some are. Now I am in a position of being where you were all those years ago, on my own with a child, I fully understand how hard it must have been. The loniless can be dibilitating. The work load can be exhausting. The constant reminder that you dont have what you wanted can be hard to take and effect how you feel around the children. However, you managed. As I am. I am more than managing on the whole actually. Thats because of you. Because I have been raised to be silently secure enough to handle my own. To feel every insecurity but to work to the best of my ability with what I do have. To have that fighting spirit within me that you took from nan also and to simply survive, even when you feel you dont have it in you. Because the alternative is not an option when you look into the eyes of your child and know you want them to have a happy upbringing. I want so much for Emi and I know you feel the same for me. So I just wanted to say thank you. For being both mom and dad for all those years. For doing it all. See you next week. looking forward to our holiday. WP_20160620_17_38_41_Proxx

 

Put your phones down! (Why being a phone addict ruins relationships)

I often ask myself these questions. Who needs to sit on their phones all day? What are they even looking at for all that time? Dont they have more interesting things to be doing? Using your phone is one thing but being on it all the time is another. I have known my share of excessive phone addicts. People who sit on their phones all day and night, especially in the company of others, with that in particular being something that really annoys me at times. It is like people just don’t value face to face communication or time anymore. How are relationships, including friendships, expected to be maintained or grown, if the people within them are mentally elsewhere all the time? Being present physically is not enough. I know people who have brilliant relationships in all areas of their lives and those are the people, not surprisingly, who don’t let technology take over from whats really important. Living in the moment. Building what you have. Not letting recreation time become everything over everyone.

I did some cafe watching a while back, armed with nothing but a yummy hot chocolate and a pair of eyes. In the half hour I was sat there, I was surprised to observe that only about 2 people walked past without a phone. Everyone else was looking down at their screens as they walked by. Not even looking what was in front of them. This was in Birmingham, so you can imagine there were a fair few people to watch during that short time! This is something I wouldn’t have noticed before. Until you think about something within your own life, you can be pretty oblivious to it. I remember when I was pregnant, I swear I had never really paid much attention to noticing other pregnant women before, then suddenly I spotted them everywhere. 😉 Funny how the mind works. is-17

We are, of course, all guilty of doing it to some extent. Over using technology that is. I’m no exception. I am a fan of going online myself. I am an Ebay queen, I occasionally browse Facebook and I text my family and friends to keep in touch. I thought I had a good balance with my phone/home life. I always try to put my daughter first and apart from the occasional text throughout the day that requires a quick reply or a bit of browsing whilst she watches a film on repeat for the 100th time, I thought I had it in check. Sometimes you don’t notice how things start to creep into your life and take over and I am sorry to say I am a little guilty of that lately.

The occasional browse on the news sites went from a few a week to being a morning routine of grabbing my phone upon awakening and making it my first activity of the day. I am guilty of saying “In a minute” to Emi many times, whilst I lay in bed reading showbiz news so utterly unimportant, as she nagged me to get up and make breakfast. It was, I suppose, a delay tactic. I’m fully aware that the minute I get up, my long day as a single mom to a 3 year old starts, who although exceedingly lovely, is very demanding of my time and energy, which is completely exhausting. It’s a shift. So whilst im not going to be too hard on myself , adjustments can always be made to improve things. Another example is my bath. A quick 10 minute dip to clean myself turned into another opportunity to watch meaningless YouTube videos whilst she played in her room. 10 minutes started extending to 40. I always spoke to her and she ran in to see me but it’s still taking away from our time. So I am guilty of that too.

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I’m not here to shame others. I’m not here to say I know best. Parenthood is a massive learning curve. Nobody knows all the answers.We all make mistakes, some of us notice and correct them ourselves, some of us don’t notice anything and never self reflect. The important thing is to try your best. If you can say you are trying, that is the best you can do. I suppose when I needed to lye in, or extend my bath, that was the best I could do on that particular day. I still gave all of myself to my daughter outside of that time for the rest of the day. But I realise if there’s a day I need a break like that from now on, I will go and have 5 minutes whilst she’s busy rather than pushing on towards an hour.

A good parent, in my opinion only, is an honest one. One who is self aware and can admit their faults. I have many. But as long as we try and look into reflecting on things too then it will all work out ok. I still get my fill of showbiz trash headlines. (A single mom needs to dream for 10 minutes about how the other half live!) I just do it when she’s in bed or at nursery now. Our time is too precious to keep wasting.

Some of the best examples of people in my life live by this same premise.

I have a wonderful friend that may not reply for days at a time, which, if you didn’t know her, you may take that as a sign she maybe wasnt too bothered about the friendship or the importance of keeping in touch. Fortunately, I know her well and know that to not hear from her is often a good thing, as it means she’s busy and focusing on work, life, family and her children. She makes them a priority as naturally they come first for her. And that is how it should be. She replies to me when she has time. Sometimes she even surprises me with a swift response or two ;-). It doesn’t matter how long we spend apart, when we reunite its lovely, because we make time for each other in those moments. We value that time and respect that each other has taken time out of our priority lives to be there. So being in the moment with her family and not looking at her phone every night is exactly the right thing to do. Family is everything, especially where young children are involved. Her partner is equally set on making his priorities the children and supporting my friend as his partner and mother to his children. I know many couple like this and they are always stronger for it. Team work always pays off! Being present is a choice.

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I have a group of friends that I see only a few times a year for birthdays etc, however, when together, we will sit and talk for hours, with not one of us sat on our phones or being distracted elsewhere, because those present is all the input and conversation that’s needed and desired. The same goes for another close friend nearby. We often share cups of tea and lunch and just talk to each other about our lives. It always feels good to talk face to face, establishes a greater bond of friendship and makes me come away feeling positive to know that I have a friend that will listen rather than be distracted elsewhere. Time is so valuable. To give your time to someone else is a gift.

My parents are another great example of how to stay interested in each other and make reality where you choose to put your energy. Each night, after spending very different days apart, they come together at the dinner table and discuss their day. Some people say old-fashioned, I think its vital to what makes their marriage a success. Being interested and making time for each other. I find it really sad when people willingly lose good relationships or friends through a general lack of being interested in them anymore. People will always appear more interesting if they are actually listened to, noticed, appreciated and don’t have to compete with a device of some sort. Back to basics.

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A lot of people in this world currently have stopped talking to each other in person, spending far too much time transfixed by liking, following, chatting, sexting, texting. There are so many platforms to entice every different sort of person online, whether that be shopping, playing games, gambling, social media or sex sites. People are too accessible. We live in a society where you can argue with your spouse over something as trivial as doing the dishes and rather than talk it through, simply go into a different room instead and arrange to have sex with someone else at the click of a button. Relationship ended in 5 seconds. There is always someone willing and eager to smooth over a bruised ego for attention and sex. That is truly frightening to me. Does anyone stand a chance? Nobody talks and fixes anymore. Likewise, people can spend more than is in their bank account getting carried away playing poker with other real online players in a different country. The thrill and the risk is what makes the fun. Often though, money is lost and the real friends in physical form are dropped and ignored for players you will never meet on the other side of the world.

I’m not condemning these things altogether, they can be useful platforms to be sociable or spend some down time. But moderation doesn’t seem to apply anymore. There is just too much. Too much opportunity. To much accessibility. It’s up to everyone else how they choose to live. I can’t tell anyone what to do. I do know, however, whats important to me though, especially after writing this, so I will keep reminding myself of that x

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Above: Pointing the camera at the only thing on the screen that matters 😉 x

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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When lipstick is the answer!

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I’m having one of those days!

You know the sort. We all feel like this at times, especially as single parents who have been faced with hardship or pain and are still trying to find their way through it.

Those days where you don’t want to get up but know you have to with a little person talking to you at 6am. Those days where everything feels at an all time low and you can’t understand where people’s empathy has gone when they say “That was a year ago, get over it”. Those days when you get no sleep the night before because after a good week of living with your little one, a bad night suddenly creeps up on you and you lye awake unintentionally thinking about all the bad things that have happened then get over tired and don’t sleep at all. Those days where the weather is so dull and heavy that is gives you a personality to suit! Those days where life feels out of your control and you can’t see a way forward with current relationships or situations. Those days where you look in the mirror and are confronted with new grey hairs, duller skin and deeper set eye bags, seemingly much more prominent than yesterdays offerings.

We all have these days, I know it’s not just me! But today is my turn.

I took my daughter into nursery today looking and feeling like utter crap. (Its true!) There comes a point where you sort of give up looking after yourself a little bit when you feel so low. (I’m not trekking up the hill in a dressing gown or anything, im washed and dressed at least, but with as little effort as possible, as it takes so much effort to do it.) I have done really well keeping up my yoga the last week but the last few days it has slipped and my mood has slid with it! Sometimes you just don’t have the energy!

I was going to head home and pretend I had no housework or phone calls to make and just lye around drinking tea all day whilst I had the chance. After realising this would only heighten my thinking and negative feelings today, I instead did something that I hardly ever do. I walked into my local town (even though days like this I hate people in general ha) and went shopping. Ok so I do go shopping, but it will be for food or household items. If I buy a new top it will most of the time be a quick pick up from a charity shop or a bargain I have had delivered to the house that I have found on Ebay. I never go and just shop or buy none essentials for me. Today I needed a bit of retail therapy.

Ok, so I still didn’t spend a lot, but I hit the makeup isle in boots and decided my face needed sprucing up. I came away with a new lipstick, a blusher, a highlighter and some eye shadow. Not masses but treats I never otherwise allow myself. I also hit the charity shops for a proper browse child free and came away with a few nice bits from Wallis and Topshop (at charity shop prices of course!). I came home, dyed my hair, sat in the bath for an hour and did nothing. I then applied my new make up, dried my freshly dyed hair and tested my clothes out. What a self-indulgent day eh?!

The housework didn’t get done today. My phone calls still need to be made. I will have to fit in some study for my course tonight instead. Theres a pile of washing on the kitchen floor I have just stepped over to make a cup of tea. Whats happening in my life today is still happening. However, I feel so much better in myself and most importantly am composed again to take my little girl to the park and be present with her in a calmer state of mind than I was this morning. I took a selfish pampering day, something I never do! I put myself before all the jobs that really needed to be done, something I never do. And I have realised that it is ok sometimes to do that! I feel better anyway with my grey covered and a splash of colour on myself.

This morning I was on the verge of tears and after a bit of self therapy I now feel ready for a fun packed afternoon when I pick my daughter up. I couldn’t be so self-indulgent every day of course. But some days its just needed. And lets face it, tomorrow is another day. Things can only get better, as they say! I am so glad I bought that lipstick 😉 ximg14758434965221