2 Years old Today

2 todayMy Darling Girl,

I have no idea how we got here. Just like with your sister, I believed we would have all the time in the world but once again nothing prepared me for how fast time would fly.

I watch you as you edge further away from me at your playgroups and know it won’t be long before you venture even further out into the world. Without me. Soon you won’t be curled up in my lap watching CBeebies when you are poorly. Soon you won’t reach for my hand when you can’t sleep. Soon you won’t look for me in a crowded room or even in an empty room.

This will be the last year we will have together before you start nursery and before there will be portions of your day that I will not be a part of.

You are 2 years old today.

I wonder if you will ever know how many times I have sat outside your door as Baba takes you to sleep. Or how much my heart misses you when you sleep. Or how many times I have stood beside your bed and watched you sleeping. I wonder if you remember the times I carry you on my hip as I walk around the house or the times I spend showering you with kisses.

You are 2 years old today.

Soon you will no longer need me to read Goodnight Igglepiggle or Sleep Tight Upsy Daisy at every nap and bedtime. Soon you will not want to hold my hand as I do so nor will you nuzzle into the crook of my arm as we near the end of the stories. Soon you will drop your afternoon nap and we will no longer have those afternoon cuddles before you have fully woken up.

You are 2 years old today.

My little baby may now only reside in my memories but my little girl is flowering before me and I could not be prouder. As you carry on your day, clutching your favourite Teletubby or your most prized possession of all: our cuddly doggy doorstop that I fear will always be affectionately known as “Ga Ga”, I am given a window into your mind. A mind that is full of love. As I watch you running into the kitchen each morning, proud to show everyone your outfit for the day, I am filled with so much pride as the love that is within you shines through.

I cannot wait to continue reminding you each day how much you are loved. I cannot wait to explore the world with you, even if it means you will eventually find the courage to explore it without my guiding hand.

You are 2 years old today and I could not be prouder.

Happy Birthday my Sweet Girl.

With lots of love,

xxx Mama xxx

Opening image: www.fotolia.com
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Looking Back on 2018: Less Is More

2019

It’s been a lonely year and most of the year I have struggled. I promised to write a blog a month through 2018 and with the publication of this post I will have kept my promise. I have been on the brink of giving up and looking back am not entirely happy with some posts I have published, just to meet the monthly deadlines. I have struggled with shutting myself away to write and finding time to write once the house has reverted back to a semi-organised state before the chaos of a new day begins. My working environment has often been cluttered with family life: laundry, school books, teddies and dishes and very often those exact things took precedent. Even now I am struggling with writing this long-hand at near midnight as my laptop decided to break at the final hour.

I know that nothing will change next year as I continue promising to write my way to publication but my attitude I hope will change. Nothing worth achieving is worth it without a struggle. There is no good in looking back with regret…only gratitude. Even in grief we can find gratitude in our ability to love and be loved. As well as training my writing hand I also want to train my mental mind so that come this time next year I will not only (I hope) be a writer but will be a better, healthier and happier version of myself.

I have found that having fixated on writing a blog a month, time has been taken away from my writing to publication. So as an alternative I promise to write every month. Full stop. Whether that be a blog post, book writing or competition entries. Writing is a lot similar to life. Little is very often more. Sometimes it is the case of doing one thing well rather than several things poorly or in my case not at all. So every month I will choose which genre to write and hope with each passing month my goal is more attainable.

So as Big Ben chimes in 2019, I look forward to more of the struggle. The struggle to steal time to write, the struggle of motherhood, the struggle of time. I will end my blog a month journey in the same manner in which I started it. In wishing you all a very Happy New Year and hope 2019 brings you all a year full of love, happiness and a little less is more.


Opening image: https://dbxuk.com

The 1 1/2 Minute Lesson

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Not so long ago I was staring fear in the face when my youngest daughter of 20 months had a Febrile Convulsion in the middle of a busy shopping centre. It lasted for only 1 ½ minutes but that was truly the longest 1 ½ minutes of my life. A Febrile Convulsion is caused by a sudden rise in your child’s body temperature and is a sign of an infection somewhere in the body possibly caused by viruses or bacteria.

It is a popular belief that when facing death, you watch your life flash before your eyes. As I watched my little girl slumped in her buggy, unconscious and convulsing and as I struggled to take off her layers;  un-do her buggy straps and keep her safe in her buggy, a minefield of thoughts exploded in my mind associated with her dying; wishing I had enjoyed her enough, loved her enough and didn’t waste the time I had with her. I was petrified.

We got the all clear from the hospital and came home that night. She took about 2 weeks to “be back” but that night at least we were through the hardest part. What stood out from that night as I lay beside her, holding her hand was how fragile life really is. How with just a simple cold our lives could have been so different. I promised then that I would embrace my children wholeheartedly. I will take the sleepless nights the constant “on the go-ness”, I will cherish the times I’m in the kitchen with my toddler balanced on my hip and I will treasure the fact that I never seem to be alone even in the bathroom. I will embrace their eccentricities, the nappy changing, the homework and the bedtimes.

Parenthood is truly a gift and one that can be taken away at any moment. We may not be able to write a traditional thank you note for the gift but we need to start appreciating what we have been given whether it’s at 2:00am or sitting on our laps in the bathroom.   We work so hard to train our bodies and minds to be healthier we sometimes forget that also extends to our children. In a similar fashion to training ourselves not to reach for another chocolate or biscuit from the tin we should train ourselves to remember the moment they were placed in our arms when they were born; as mothers we should remember those butterfly kisses from the womb and how they made us feel. My little girl’s guardian angel was watching over her that day and for that I will be forever grateful. I don’t want life to ever get in the way of me remembering the first glorious tastes of motherhood.

If I can be so bold as to appeal to you all to please not wait for a scare such as this to appreciate the gifts you have been given because maybe one day it will be too late. I have learnt the lesson that we need to clear our minds from the laundry, the housework, the office and from our smartphones and remember to be present because tomorrow, next week, next month or even years from now our borrowed time will run out. To my beautiful girls, I promise you here that I will make each moment count. Every day.

Opening image: http://whisper.sh

A Mother’s Heart Laid Open

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My Sweet Girl,

We laid side by side one night with our hands clasped together and literally prayed to God for your little sister. I will always remember the moment we sat side by side and I shared the first grainy scan photographs of her and finally being able to tell you that there is “a baby in your Mummy’s tummy”. I think it’s safe to say you loved her from then on and you spent the next nine months telling your sister over and over how much you loved her.

I am guilty of reserving my patience for your sister sometimes in the unfair expectation that you are nearly 6 years old and therefore understand the adult world more than your 20-month-old sister. I tell you now, I hate myself in those moments. I never want you to think you are anything less than your own level of perfection.  I would never change anything about you from your dinner table shenanigans to your seeming forgetfulness of time when using the bathroom or washing your hands, despite my protestations I love them dearly because they are what makes you ‘you’.

Little did you know as you gazed in wonder at that scan picture what it meant to have a little sister. You didn’t know then that nothing would be yours again, from having to share me to having to share your breakfast, lunch and dinner.  You didn’t know then that you would have to share your toothbrush, your bed and in some years so too will you have to share your clothes.

You share your things so freely and lovingly. You accept that your sister will pull your hair “because she is only a baby”. You accept that you need to share your food “because she is only a baby” and you even accept you need to share me “because she is only a baby”. I hope I have shown you that even though you do need to share me, you will never ever share my love.

You often mention your ‘younger memories’ as you call them with the nostalgia of the ‘good old days’ and it brings sadness to my heart. Our Mummy Daughter Moments may look different now, but I hope you still see them in our Mummy Daughter nights, in our games of ‘I Spy’ on the way to school, in our cuddles at bedtime and dare I say our physiotherapy sessions. I hope you see them in my pride and encouragement as you rehearse for drama class; as you practice your reading and complete your workbooks.

Much seems to have happened between Reception and Year 1, friendships have come and gone; you have grown and even have less teeth but as you venture further out into the world, navigating the emotional barriers that attempt to bar your way, please know you can always turn back and head for home. Throughout your journey in this world, there are a few things I hope you never forget:

1- It is okay to be alone, whether that be in the playground or in the lunch hall. Sometimes your own company is the best company you can have.

2- Always stay true to who you are, never change to please anyone or to spite anyone.

3- Your little sister will be your most important ‘BFF’ in life, she is a link to your past and to your future. Never allow anyone to let you forget that.

4- Never feel guilty for what you have and never let others make you feel that way.

5- Always foster your love of learning. Always listen in class even when it’s no longer cool to do so and you no longer have the reward handouts for ‘good sitting’.

6- Never, ever forget that I am the same as I was and always will be. No matter what goes on outside of our four walls, our house will always be a haven and I promise you I will be your lighthouse. Always.

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I love you always, my sweet girl:

xxx Mummy xxx

Opening image:7-themes.com

Closing image: www.stepschoolswork.org.uk

 

More Than Meets The Eye

sahm hate

“What do you do all day?”

“Every day is a holiday for you”

“How can you be with children all day?”

“You are boring”

 “You can’t have very much to talk about”.

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These are just a few comments that have been directed at me over the years since my eldest was born. I was always going to be a stay-at-home mother, ever since I was a little girl. I have even turned down a job and a possibility of embarking on a brand-new career, so I can be eligible for maternity leave. Being a mother was all I ever wanted to be, yet despite achieving my goals, I am judged as unsuccessful because success is only measured in terms of financial gains. I have never been one with the impressive job titles and my current one as stay-at-home mum (SAHM) tops them all. People tend not to ‘see you’ unless you have ‘Executive’ or ‘Manager’ at the end of your name.

I appreciate that people are often scared of what they cannot understand. They can not understand why someone with a Master’s degree education willingly chose to be a SAHM. Many do not know how to start a conversation without the “how’s work going?” pistol shot. It is similar to when I embarked on volunteer placements, again people could not understand why I would want to do anything without any monetary rewards. Much has been made of the need to change the title of stay-at-home mothers to garner more respect, but why change what we are in the hope of pleasing others?

I recently commented to a working parent how tired I was following a bad night with my youngest, but my feelings were dismissed simply because I do not ‘go to work’ in the morning. At the risk of generalising, working parents do not see stay-at-home mothers as equals. Throughout my working life, the breadth of my work was always more than my job title. If we are going to judge others should we not judge by how they are as people and the work they do rather than the job title they own? If I was working as a nanny or childminder the reaction from that parent I am sure would be very different. I do not understand why people value nannies and childminders and regard what they do as ‘work’ but not that of a stay-at-home mother who performs the exact same work.

Not so long ago it was ‘accepted’ for women to be paid less than their male counterparts for equal work. Until people started to speak up. I am not expecting this blog post to move mountains, I just hope it might prompt dialogue between people and maybe even change people’s thinking of stay-at-home mums and our work.

To those working mothers who endure the heartache of missing their child’s assembly or school parade I see you. I see you rushing through the gates in the morning desperate to make that morning meeting on time, I see you running back through those gates in the afternoon hoping you are not too late for pick-up. I see you scrambling to arrange childcare. I see you and I admire you.

To those stay-at-home mothers who feel judged for not working, I see you. I see your struggle at earning the right to feel tired, stressed or overworked. I see the sacrifices you make so that you can afford the latest fashion craze or latest school fees. I see the worry in your eyes, the worry for the future and your career. I see you and I admire you.

To those work-at-home mothers who do not fit in the known mould of motherhood, I see you. I see your struggle to simultaneously mould yourself into the working mother and stay-at-home mother. I see you shouldering the strain of both but none at the same time. I see you shouldering the guilt of both. I see you and I admire you.

Society seems set on definitions, we are so busy defining mothers and placing one another into categories of stay-at-home mother, working mother, work-at-home mother. Are we not just one and the same? Are we less mothers because we work? Are we of less value to society and social functions if we do not traditionally work? We should open our eyes a little wider. Have less judgement and nurture greater understanding. We like to be seen encouraging our children to accept differences in others, it is a pity we do not follow our own advice or teachings.

Opening image: www.pinterest.co.uk

Living With Mother

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Dear Mummy,

Yes, I still call you Mummy just like I did as a child. It is not only your name, but it is also a reminder of years past. Of a happy childhood. The name is a representation of safety and comfort. Something I hope I am passing on to my own children.

I am lucky that you are living with us. We have had our moments and sometimes (more than once!) we have felt threatened by the loss of independence living together has caused however I am lucky. I am lucky that I get to be by your side, whether that be driving you to a doctor’s appointment, painting your nails or sharing a morning coffee.

You remain Grandma and I remain Mummy. You are not ‘the help’, the babysitter or a surrogate mother figure to my children. You have had your time raising your own children and now it’s your turn to enjoy a hot cup of tea while perusing the latest Radio Times magazine or watching what you have recorded on catch-up. It is your turn to enjoying watching children grow without shouldering any of the responsibility.

So please look beyond the mass of toys scattered throughout the house. I know it’s hard but please see it as the girls expanding their creativity. Please see the dishes that often fill the sink and kitchen surfaces as time I have spent teaching the girls, playing with them and creating memories that I hope will bond them together as friends rather than sisters.

When my youngest is awake in the early hours, when I can barely eat dinner without jumping up every other second retrieving cutlery and filling water glasses, when I lie awake at night worrying about all that it takes to be a mother, from dealing with separation anxiety, to finding lost LOL dolls, I realise you did and still do the same and I thank you. Motherhood may have changed between our generations but the nature of it will forever remain the same. This is my chance of giving back a little and I hope I am succeeding in some small way, even if it’s simply bringing a cup of tea without you asking.

I hope you can forgive me for the mess and disorganisation but motherhood as you know is messy and disorganised. I hope you can see beyond the chaos and see what I hope to be creating for my children. On top of that I promise to try. I promise to try and be the person you know I can be. I promise I will always be here for you, I promise I will drive you where you need to go (if you bear with me while I park!) I promise the children will never leave you or go to bed without a kiss and a cuddle because I now know what it takes.

I love you, Mummy.

xxxx

 

Opening image: my own

Our Summer Bucket List

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I have never looked forward to the summer as much as this year. My youngest is now walking and trying her best at talking. She is a lot of fun and sharing in her firsts makes everything new again: her first paddling pool, her first soft play, her first beach day. My eldest after her Reception year at school is like a different child. It sounds strange but I am so excited to get to know her as she is now. To spend uninterrupted time with her when we are not separated by the school gates and I do not have to share her with her teachers. I am excited to see my daughters together away from the rushed morning preparations for school and rushed afternoons leading up to dinner, bath/shower time, homework time and bedtime.

Instead I want to see them together creating memories during a summer that I hope sets a precedent for our future summers. I want a summer bucket list to become a tradition so that as my daughters get older and as their paths diverge into different directions, summer time will bring them together again and remind them that although boys, grades, work and relationships are important, it is the relationships and achievements made within the home that are more worthy. My eldest daughter refers to her younger sister as her BFF (best friend forever) and I hope that in creating memories and traditions such as these that I am able to nurture that into an eternal (and mutual) BFF relationship.

As with all big changes, it is important to start small:

  1. Saying yes more often whether that is to creating Barbie shows, watching YouTube together, running through the water sprinkler or playing in the paddling pool.
  2. Visiting museums.
  3. Spending the day at a sandy beach.
  4. Have a movie night … at the cinema.
  5. Have a cousin sleepover.
  6. Visit a library.
  7. Paint.
  8. Go swimming.
  9. Make spontaneous trips to the park with a picnic.
  10. Take naps together.

We are always so busy at life: moaning about the hot weather, moaning about the cold weather, worrying about bills and keeping house that we forget what is right in front of us.

To my sweet and beautiful girls, I promise to be a Mummy that says yes more often, that ignores the ironing in favour of painting or colouring with you and I promise to be a Mummy with fewer excuses. You are growing too fast before my eyes and I want to hold you closer in the hope of slowing down time. I know that is beyond my control but at the very least I can ensure we make wonderful memories along the way.

xxxxxx

 

memories bank

Opening image: www.pinterest.co.uk

Closing image: www.natureformysoul.com

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