Just Because…

something to say

1 – I am not boring.

Just because I read books you are not interested in does not mean I am boring.

2 – I am more than a job title.

Just because I am a stay at home mother does not mean I am not intelligent or wasting my life. I am raising the future.

3 – I am not little anymore.

Just because I was once a baby does not mean I have stayed that baby. I am a thirty-five year old woman and have thirty-five years’ experience behind me.

4 – I do have an opinion.

Just because I do not often say anything does not mean I do not have anything to say.

Just because I am younger than you does not mean I cannot offer advice. We all have different life experiences and have a different insight on events.

5 – I do have a resolve.

Just because I am quiet does not mean I do not have that resolve. Sometimes it takes a stronger person to keep quiet than to fill a room with the sound of their voice.

6 – Being busy is not an excuse.

The less involved you are in someone’s life, the less they are a priority to you.

7 – Flattery can go a long way.

Just because you are older does not mean you are eligible to criticise in order to advise. Sometimes it is nice to receive compliments. Sometimes compliments achieve more than criticism.

8 – Sometimes it is nice to be more than the token free babysitter.

Just because I am the youngest does not mean I cannot join in adult conversation. Sometimes I would not mind washing up or cooking or feeling like in my absence I would be missed for more than my babysitting.

9 – One person’s rubbish is another person’s gold.

Just because that is your opinion does not make it true nor does it define me.

10 – Conversation is food for the soul.

You cannot get to know a person unless you speak to them personally; reports through another person are superficial at best.

Opening image: www.jonstallings.com

It Could Have Been Them

AylanKurdismileAylan Kurdi. A little boy not much older than my daughter. Aylan Kurdi. A little boy who puts everything into perspective. To many though Aylan Kurdi is a bad word.

He was a refugee.

Was.

Three year-old Aylan Kurdi was fleeing ISIS struck Syria with his mother, Rihan; father, Abdollah; and five-year old brother, Galib in the hope of reaching Canada to live with his aunt. The Kurdi family had reportedly attempted to apply for Canadian asylum but were denied due to incomplete documentation. In a desperate attempt to provide safety and solitude to his young family, Abdollah Kurdi entrusted their lives and hope for the future in the hands of human traffickers. In the end, Abdollah lost his wife and his two sons who drowned off Turkish waters.

We have all read those tabloid articles blaming refugees for all our society’s problems. For our unemployment, for the faults in our benefit systems, for our lack of school places. I can hear the echoes of all the misconceptions and misjudgements around refugees. There is so much talk and debate on how to curb the immigrant numbers but not much talk and debate on how to solve the issue. On how to bring peace to the regions.

Several times my mother mentioned Aylan Kurdi and the image of him on that Turkish beach. I didn’t want to know and even said as such. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to leave my sheltered ignorance. The news of the Syrian refugees were always a comfortable distance away and although I was sympathetic, did I really care? Probably not – I was too busy worrying about the dinner or my daughter’s schedule and playdates.

Was 

As I write this my daughter is curled up in her bed with her favourite star blanket and her growing collection of stuffed animals. She will wake to a peaceful world. In fact peace is all she knows. Unlike Aylan Kurdi.

It could have been her. 

We are all appalled at the events of WWII and the Holocaust and so often ask why no one did anything. Why so many people were bystanders. Until now, is that not what we have done? Just yesterday, David Cameron has pledged that Britain will accept ‘thousands’ more Syrian refugees in response to the humanitarian crisis. We are so desensitised that it took the image of a little three-year old boy washed up on shore for our government to take action and our nation to care? As long as it doesn’t affect us, we turn a blind eye, we turn the page or we change the channel, instead of trying to help.

My parents were refugees fleeing the Iranian Revolution and I have so often heard stories of bullets whizzing past them. My mother remembers what it was like to have young children during a volatile time and the fear she felt for her family’s safety.

It could have been them.

Aylan and Galip never got to start a new school term, they never got to put on shiny new shoes. Their parents never got the chance of dropping them off and waiting for their return at the bus stop. Maybe if we stayed on the page and we didn’t turn the channel, maybe, just maybe it could have been them.

epa04910104 Washed up body of a refugee child who drowned during a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos, at the shore in the coastal town of Bodrum, Mugla city, Turkey, 02 September 2015. At least 11 Syrian migrants died in boat sank after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. EPA/DOGAN NEWS AGENCY ATTENTION EDITORSgraphic content ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT ; TURKEY OUT

Allah Yarhamak, Little One. Rest in Peace.

The Guardian lists many ways we can help, some of which does not include donating money.  I am ashamed that I didn’t want to know. These words I have written seem so feeble and insignificant yet as a writer, words are my weapon. I no longer want to be a bystander and I no longer want to stop caring. We can do something. We can give money, we can donate, we can at least listen to their story. Then just maybe Aylan’s little life would not have been in vain.

Opening image: The Week
Closing image: cloudmind.info

The Penultimate Career

motherhoodjobI am not stupid. I have a postgraduate level education. I am not lazy, my working day begins the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them at the end of the day, which is often in the early hours of the following day.  I have dreams and I have aspirations. I have only ever wanted to be two things: a mother and a writer. I am the happiest I have been for years. After dressing for the corporate world it is so refreshing to leave the house in jeans and trainers, it makes me feel so liberated.

I work hard and in the past two years have worked harder than I ever have. I have exerted myself to the point my health is now affected.  My only source of news is on my mobile phone usually through my Facebook or Twitter feed usually at past midnight because to refute the common assumption of stay at home mothers (or SAHMs), I do not sit and watch television all day. Neither am I on my phone during the day, except to make phone calls. I do not go out and spend my husband’s money, in fact for at least two months now I have walked around with holes in my jeans.

David Cameron’s new childcare manifesto is designed to ‘help hard working families who want to get on’ and who aspire. How does one define hard working? I am attempting to carve a future in writing and working on several projects simultaneously, I have enrolled in a home study Creative Writing course. I am taking care of my 2 1/2 year old daughter, ferrying her to her many classes and groups. Each day she has at least one event to attend. I am also educator and playmate. I am the cleaner and chef. My husband has dinner on the table when he comes home and his clothes are always washed and ironed. Even when my daughter goes to sleep at the end of the day, there is housework and of course my writing projects, my aspirations.

sahmsday

Why should my daughter and my family be penalised because I chose to stay at home and do all these roles, every single day for free? David Cameron and his government in their discrimination are preventing me and other SAHMs from achieving our aspirations. As a family we are already penalised because my husband and I are still together and my husband is working, now we are penalised because I choose to raise my own children? What is our society turning into?  A society that is more worried about taxes and money rather than the welfare of its children? I aspire to raise happy, confident children myself and not pay someone else to do it for me. Does that make me lazy? I used to think that made me a good mother. Maybe I’m wrong. According to our prime minister I am lazy.  I am wasting my education and do not aspire. On the one hand he is supporting young couples in starting a family and then on the other hand encouraging them to abandon them and return to work when they either do not have to or do not want to.

Every day I wake up with a smile and every night I fall asleep with a smile. How many people can say that? I am raising a child with good morals, with politeness. A good work ethic. I am educating her in the hope she will reach high educational achievements and subsequently will give back to her country. Why is that not commendable in the eyes of our Prime Minister and indeed the rest of society? I am sick and tired of being looked down upon by everyone and I mean everyone. I am criticised for what and how I feed my child. Yes she is a difficult eater. She only really eats the food I cook for her. but if that is her only vice, I am eternally grateful. I am proud of my daughter and I am proud of being a stay at home mother. Mr. Cameron, I am not lazy, I am not stupid. I work harder than many people I know. I do aspire, I aspire to be a good mother. I think that is more than enough.

good mother

Further links:

Wannabe Stay-at-Home Mothers Are Being Slowly Screwed by Cameron

David Cameron’s ‘Slur’ on Stay-at-home Mother’s 

Stay-at-home Mothers Deserve Some Respect From David Cameron

Opening image: Carpe Diem Mom
Second image: Alpha Parent
Closing image: Some ecards

An Open Hearted Apology

Mother and daughterI owe an apology.

To my daughter.

The day you were born, I was also re-born. Re-born as a mother. I am no longer the person I was before and that is OK. More than OK. You have enriched my life beyond any comparison. When a child is born, so too is a mother and that mother is born with a belief that she is super human. That she can do anything and everything. But she can’t.

Lately I have been so concerned with providing for you, with trying to build something that can sustain us as a family when I don’t need to. Your father is taking care of that part. I shouldn’t care what I am worth to anyone but those living under our roof.  My mind has been on the next thing on my to-do list, the next assignment I need to complete, the next chapter I need to write. I have foregone playing with you to tackle the washing up so I can give myself more time in the evening to stare at a blank computer screen, or “puter” screen as you so eloquently put it.

No more.

The job I have now, looking after you is my dream come true. Ever since I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mother. Everything else I have done prior to the day you were born were mere stepping-stones. Yet I have lost the opportunity in the everyday. The opportunity to talk to a few more ants on the way back to the car. Or the opportunity to create a walk around the neighbourhood into a big adventure. Or simply the opportunity to leave the washing up for later and to play “hide and seeks” one more time. I always wanted to be a mother who was present, always there. Not a mother who shouts or who is blind to your wonderment.

So I am sorry my darling girl. I am sorry I lost my patience as we walked back to the car after playgroup. I am sorry for an “I’ll just do this” turning into you ever giving up on Mummy coming to play. I know you are nearly 2 1/2 now and you should play on your own. And you do. But you are not 2 1/2 for long. Already I stand over your cot as you sleep and see you in your big girl pyjamas, with your big girl pillow and wonder where my little girl has gone to. My heart aches because you are growing up but at the same time it is rejoicing for the same reason. The washing up can wait. Even the writing can wait. You should not have to wait. I want you to always remember me as a Mummy who had time to play and in your later years to talk, night or day. Not a Mummy who was always distracted.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow take your time. Tomorrow I will get down on my hands and knees and talk to the ants with you, I will kick that football around, walk around the neighbourhood collecting sticks and leaves. I will play “hide and seeks” any time you want, even if you do tell me where to hide. Tomorrow I will play.

I love you, Bunny.

Mummy xxx

Opening image: www.tatcha.com

Sufferers in Silence

Blood cells

Thalassemia: one of the world’s most commonly inherited diseases, yet one of the most neglected. Its amazing clinical diversity accounts for this, yet it is this diversity that ironically makes it the most neglected. One person’s Thalassemia is different to another’s. Just because two people have the same type of Thalassemia does not mean their symptoms are the same.

I inherited Beta Thalassemia Trait from my father who until I was born was not even aware he was a carrier. For most of my life I never gave Thalassemia a second thought. That is until I became pregnant. For over two years it has become a permanent existence in not only my life but also that of my husband and my daughter.

I should need minimal medical attention. The particular form of Thalassemia that I inherited is what is often regarded by many as the less dominant. Although that may be true, I (thankfully) do not require regular blood transfusions and the physical representation of the disease extends mostly only to the paleness of my skin, however for me Thalassemia Trait is debilitating enough to affect my life in an immense way. In fact I have been told by a leading Thalassemia expert that my symptoms extend to Thalassemia Intermedia, which requires irregular blood transfusions yet on paper my body shows only Thalassemia Trait indicators.

Many diseases are treated in accordance with the sufferer’s lifestyle but that does not seem to be the case with Thalassemia. Since having my daughter I have held a much more active lifestyle and it is because of this that Thalassemia has become more central in my life. As an example, I am continually breathless and at times the pain in my chest from my body trying to regulate my breathing stops me short. My daughter now sometimes breathes as if she is breathless herself so she can be like her Mummy. I feel faint even blowing her bubbles. I now suffer from pain in my fingers, to the point again when I have to stop and wait for the pain to subside. Not the best thing for a writer.  The pain has improved since I started taking daily Folic Acid supplements but there are days when the pain breaks through. I very often feel cold even in the heat of summer due to bad blood circulation. The tiredness, well that would be another blog post on its own. There are days I have to leave the house in a mess simply because I physically cannot bring myself to pick up a duster, hoover or iron.

When people ask me what I do for a living and discover I am a stay at home mother they presume I sit down with my feet up all day and occasionally play with a few toys. Doctors are no different. If I told people I was a sportswoman I am 100% sure I would be treated differently. Why?

I have visited the doctor and haematologist a number of times since my daughter’s birth with the same ailments yet have walked away with nothing but “it’s just something you have to live with” and the only remedy being to sleep early. No easy feat when you are a mother, housewife, and also attempting to carve a whole new career. None of the jobs I now hold I can shut the door on. There is no out of office, no holidays and no sick pay.

The medical field may claim they have no remedies for my symptoms but they are real, they are debilitating and quite frankly made worse by the lack of respect given. So today on World Thalassemia Day, give a thought to us Thalassemia Trait carriers. Those who are forced to suffer in silence.

RWilliamsPerson

Opening image: De Montfort University                                                                                                 
Closing image: Motivational Quotes

On The Question of Happiness

fatheranddaughter.Today was a good day as most of my days tend to be. Yet as a I contemplate the day in the quiet of the evening, my thoughts very often drift to happier times. While in a reflective mood, I recently revealed that since my father lost his fight to Myeloma, I have never again been truly happy. That does not diminish from the happy times in my life, what is does mean is that during those times there was always someone missing. My father never walked me up the aisle on my wedding day. We never had our father daughter dance we used to talk and dream about. The only contact my daughter has of her Grandpa is laying flowers at the cemetery. She has never run into his arms like I once used to. My daughter is two years old, yet she knows exactly what to do at the cemetery, she kneels there and places flowers in the holes of the flower-pot with a familiarity that hurts me each time.  I don’t even have the joy of picking up the phone and regaling my father with stories of my daughter. I would rather he be living miles away, at least then I could still pick up the phone, even see fuzzy webcam images. My daughter could still hear his voice, have some understanding of what a Grandpa means.

The unhappy times in my life are that much more unhappy because he is not there to offer advice, in fact some of those times are in my life story for the reason that he is no longer here. Most days the feeling of his absence can be contained, other days they can’t. Talking to some people, they can not resist but put me in psychological boxes and deem me unhealthy. Others can not understand how while being as spiritual as I am, I can not accept that he is no longer here. I live my life the way I am living because I feel he is still here, yet that feeling can not replace a touch, a smile, a shared joke, a hug.

My parents were my first teachers, they taught me to walk and talk. They were my safety nets as I ventured out into the world. My safety net is now weaker than it once was. Everyday I start and end the day with a smile yet my smile can break so much easier now. So yes, I still smile but there is a sadness in my smile now and that is okay. That is not a bad thing. It is a reminder that what I am missing is so great.

The greatest gift my father gave me was himself. It was being able to call him Papa.

Opening Image: pixshark.com

I Smile…

lovemotherhood

As I crawl into bed with aching limbs and tired eyes, I smile.

I smile at the tiredness I feel, I smile at the thought of the piles of laundry, washing up in the sink and I smile at the piles of toys that scatter my floor.

I smile at the dust bunnies that collect in the nooks and cranny of my home and I smile at the hoover that remains tucked away in its cupboard no matter how many promises I made to bring it out and put it to work.

I smile at my daughter’s increasing independence as I watch her little personality break free from the confines of babyhood.

I smile at the late night/early morning cries for “Mummy” because she feels safe and loved in my arms.

I smile at the constant “Mummy do it”, “Mummy, look”, “Mummy, cuddle” because I am her go-to person.

I smile knowing as I close my eyes each night, no matter how much I plan no two days are ever the same.

I smile because she has taught me a love I have never experienced before.

I smile because she has given me purpose.

I smile because she is my daughter and I am her mother.

I smile at the tug’o’war I play each day between myself as a mother, a wife and a writer.

I smile at the late night struggle with words I fight every night.

I smile at the late nights I am awake worrying why my daughter is not toilet trained yet, what to feed her tomorrow. Is she stimulated enough, is she this, is she that. I smile because I love her enough to worry.

I smile at the thought that tomorrow I will do it all over again.

Opening Image: Meetville.com

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