Love Is …

lovehands

1- Making sure you don’t leave the house without a hot coffee and some breakfast.

2- Moving the car in the evening so it’s easier for you in the morning.

3- Not batting an eye lid when you come downstairs with bleach on your upper lip or a full face mask on.

4- Rubbing your back when you are bent double over a bowl being sick despite your protestations for him to leave (because in your mind this is no way for a husband to see his wife).

5- Appreciating that just because you are a stay-at-home mother does not mean your life is any less stressful.

6- Remembering you in his everyday and bringing home treats from the office.

7- Celebrating your successes more than you do.

8- Always going that extra mile on special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine’s Day).

9- Never letting you walk past or go to sleep without a kiss.

10- Always thanking you after every meal you cook for the family.

Thank you for loving me. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr. Alphabet Games! 

Love

Opening image: younghoustonmagazine.com
Closing image: heandshe.in

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

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

Looking Back On Motherhood

lookingbackI have spent the past month in denial of the inevitable. The inevitable that in fact happened this week. My little girl turned 2. She is 2. She is no longer 10 months, 18 months or even 20 months. She is 2.  I now no longer refer to my daughter’s age in months but years. It has been both the longest and shortest 2 years I have ever had. It has been the most tiring yet the most rewarding. I am now wavering between joy at watching my little girl grow and develop and learn new things and sorrow for the days, months and years that have passed.

My sleep is no longer regular, my evenings are long gone. My cleanliness is a rare commodity these days and my husband and I share few moments alone. However, my life has been enriched more than ever before. For a moment or two, I would like to speak from a personal point of view about what motherhood has done for me:

1- I have learnt to love my body. It is not perfect and there are many things I would like to change. However, I look at myself in the mirror and I see a body that created my beautiful girl.

2- I have learnt to have purpose. Before she came into our lives, I would work only to pay the bills. Now I work for her future. My dream of writing has become fused into my dream of providing for her. I am now able to pursue what I have really wanted in life, while doing a job (motherhood) I absolutely love.

3- I have learnt to put myself last. As a stay at home mum in particular you are last after your child, your husband, your ironing, your cooking, and your cleaning. I used to never walk out of the house without make up. Never answer the door in tracksuit bottoms. I would never go without showering for more than 2 days; I would never go without straightening my hair. This is not a sacrifice to me for I do not go without these out of duty but love.

4-  I have learnt to play again. To crawl inside a play tent at playgroup and for it to be okay to get stuck. I have learnt to dance and to sing in public and for it to be okay to be out of tune.

5- I have learnt that no matter how exhausted I am, there is always enough in me to play one more game, to cuddle her a little more, to read her the same book again one more time.

6- I have learnt that my parents love me more than I could possibly have imagined. I think now of the sacrifices they made for me and the love they had for me to make those sacrifices.

7- I have learnt to imagine again. Imagine this empty box is a boat; imagine the table is a house. I have learnt to block out the less important preoccupations and welcome the more important matters back into my life.

8- I have learnt to see the beautiful in the not so beautiful. The beautiful in the piles of laundry, the stacking dishes, the crumb encrusted floor. I have learnt to see the beauty in family life.

9- I have learnt about unconditional love. As cliche as it sounds, you will never understand what that means until you become a mother yourself.

10- I have learnt of new ways and new reasons to love my husband. I would never have thought I would enjoy watching my husband fall in love with another woman, yet watching him excel in his new role as a father has renewed my faith in both him and our marriage.

I used to think I was the teacher in the relationship but I realise now my daughter is the teacher and what a wonderful teacher she is.

motherdaughterphoto

Opening image: www.marcandangel.com
Closing image: pixgood.com

The End To My Distracted Parenting

distractionparentingMy mobile phone broke  recently, I use the word broke to imply it was hit by a wooden toy hammer by my near two-year old. At first I felt very insecure, similar to hanging off a cliff edge without a safety net. I used my phone for everything: from shopping and shopping lists; to listening to music; to medication records for my daughter. I would use my phone to catch up on social media while getting my daughter to sleep both for her nap and at night. Only occasionally would I use it to make phone calls. As a replacement, I insisted on using an old phone we keep in reserve for international visitors, the only one without easy access to social media and the Internet.  It has now been about 2 weeks and I must say I have not looked back..

For a while now I have resented bedtime, resented the disruption to my casual social media catch up of the day. However, without the distraction of technology I have enjoyed night-time cuddles so much more. I realise now that rather than being a comfort social media has been more a distraction. Me time no longer involves Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, it involves cuddling my daughter in the rocking chair and feeling her little fingers wrap around the loose strands of my hair.  I now resent the social media I once craved for.  I do not want my daughter’s memories of me as being on my phone, my iPad or my laptop. I want her to always look at me and see me looking back at her.  I want her as an extension of my hand, and not a cold, metal piece of technology.

distractionmum

I was told recently that it is unhealthy that I spend so much time with my daughter. One day she will start nursery then will attend school full-time and I will be left with an empty nest. Yes, no doubt I may very well stay in the car park until the bell rings and will highly likely suffer more from separation anxiety than my daughter will. But, is that not the price of motherhood? So many people talk of motherhood as a sacrifice: we as mothers give up so much to raise our children. We give up regular showers, clean clothes, nights out, even solitary trips to the bathroom. I know it will likely be harder for me than for  her when the time does come for her to enter the world without me, but that to me is the sacrifice of motherhood. Already, I can’t believe that next month she will be two years old. It feels like yesterday when I bought her home from the hospital. I remember thinking how a year seemed such a long time when she was a baby, but now one year seems so insignificant. And it is only one more year until she enters the world without me by her side. I do not want to spend this last year distracted by status messages and tweets.

The social media networks are a wonderful thing and we all know and enjoy their benefits, myself included. Having said this, I would prefer my daughter to  fall asleep watching my eyes laying upon hers, rather than she fall asleep watching the light from my phone flickering across my distracted eyes.

motherslove

Opening image: www.babypost.com
Second image: themominitiative.com
Third image: bestquotesfb.blogspot.co.uk

Motherhood: Competition and Cliques

motherhoodcompetitionYesterday my daughter refused to take her afternoon nap. Nothing I did would placate her nor entice her to what I call the ‘land of the bunnies’. She had the tiniest of meltdowns come 6:00pm when I was getting her ready for bed, only because she was so tired. During the day I, however, was having the meltdowns of all meltdowns albeit mostly silently. As my daughter played contentedly beside her sandpit yesterday afternoon, I was convincing myself over and over that I had done something wrong. That those of the Gina Ford clique would never have a problem such as this. Looking back, I am now berating myself for allowing those thoughts and feelings to ruin the day I had with my baby girl.

I took my daughter to her first birthday party this past weekend. Talking to the other mothers there, and comparing notes on our little one’s bedtime and naptime routines, I couldn’t help but feel a slight note of self-righteousness when their little ones were in bed by 7:00pm while my little one is often falling asleep in the arms of either her father or me at 9:00pm. And yes, I still cuddle my 21 month old to sleep. And yes, she very often comes into bed with us during the night. Those at the party were not as bad as others who have outrightly told me I am a bad mother because I don’t leave my daughter to cry herself to sleep at night. I have been told that it is wrong my daughter is not in nursery as it affects her ability to communicate with other children her age. A theory which my daughter has blatantly thrown out the window.

My mother once remarked how it was much harder in her day to raise children and although to a certain extent I agree with her, she is not completely accurate. As parents we may have technology on our side; we may have the latest gadgets, baby monitors and medicines but we no longer have society on our side. There is forever a debate in newspapers, magazines and across the Internet about whether mothers should leave the home for work or not, whether the child is in nursery or not, whether as mothers we breast feed or not. Whichever option we choose it always seems to be the wrong one. I do not judge others as parents as long as they give love and gentleness and as naïve as this might be, I expect others to offer the same courtesy. I do not regret how I have raised my daughter over the past (nearly) two years and if I could turn back the clock, I would genuinely do exactly the same thing. Cuddling my daughter to sleep works for her. I still remember calling my father in the middle of the night. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I grew out of it and so will my daughter.

To me, motherhood is the greatest calling. As a mother I am shaping a person, I am teaching her about the world. Being a mother has made me a better person because I want my daughter to be a good person. She now seems to watch my every move. Just the other day, she tried to place toe separators between her toes and paint her toe nails because she has watched me do that countless of times.  Looking back again on yesterday, I don’t remember my daughter ever being truly unhappy and that is what is important.

mothersinstinct

haters

I just don’t understand why if mothers feel they are lacking, they need to put others down to make them feel good. Why not better themselves? Forget the corporate world, motherhood is the most competitive. I understand why but we have to remember there is no race to the top, no fight for promotions, no fear of redundancies. We are all in this together, I think it is time we act that way. I am now nearly two years into motherhood and I would not exchange it for anything in the world. No gold, nor riches could ever replace what motherhood brings to my life.  I regret caring so much of what other people thought of me as a mother and would hate for other mothers to feel the same way. My advice to everyone out there is to follow your mother’s instinct (and yes you do have one) and listen to your child. Each and every child is different. What works for one will not necessarily work for another, and that includes siblings. I hope we can now as mothers refrain from putting others down and instead raise one another up so we can be the best mothers we can be.

TogetherOpening image: wikihow.com
Second image: imom.com
Third image: en,paperblog.com
Closing image: mothering21.com

The Fragility of Life

Fragility-of-lifeOver a week has now passed since the devastating death of Mrs. Ann Maguire in Corpus Christi College in Leeds. Stabbed to death by her 15-year-old pupil in front of students as she assisted in preparing the students for their upcoming GCSE exams later this month. She was so dedicated she had come into work on her day off. Having taught at the school for 40 years, she has inspired three generations of pupils. The outpouring of grief following her death is palpable. As a 33-year-old I can not understand it so I can not even comprehend how her 15-year-old students are coming to terms with her death. Although I have had the unfortunate stain of grief forever etched onto my soul, I am grateful that it is not through the hatred and violence of someone else. To say that my thoughts and heart go out to her family and friends goes without saying. How they are coping with this with such composure and dignity is beyond me. There is also the other family to consider here. The family of the killer who now have to live with the knowledge that their loved one was capable of such actions.

Despite this, the death of Ann Maguire is not in vain. At the very least it has proven that teachers do matter and not all teenagers are the uncaring, apathetic species they are made out to be. To think that a teenager organised a fundraiser in her memory to which more than 200 students and their families attended proves that point.

balloons003

It is only natural to look for answers as to why but there is only one person who can answer and that is the 15-year-old who wielded the knife. It is no good to blame the rock music he listened to, I listen to rock music and have done so throughout my teenage years but that did not possess me to such actions. I was not exactly the most popular student in my school either and violent video games are not the answer. We are all in disbelief at how anyone can commit such an act of hated and violence, let alone a child and it is only natural to point the finger and find blame somewhere.

As I held my daughter in my arms tonight I had a much deeper respect for life. I remember holding my new-born daughter in my arms 17 months ago and swearing that I would protect her from all harm. I knew deep down that would be impossible but the mixed emotions of becoming a mother for the first time convinced me that it was indeed possible. Rocking her to sleep tonight and watching her eyes grow heavy as her little fingers played with the loose strands of my hair made me fear so much for the future. I fear that I will not be able to protect her from hurt and pain. I feel what the mothers of Mrs. Maguire’s students must feel right now.

Life is so desperately fragile and can be taken in an instant. Ann Maguire is an inspiration to all teachers out there. She is a reminder that you all make a difference to lives. She is a reminder that exam results are not always the most important thing. It is how you make people feel. Mrs. Maguire has inspired me to grab life with both hands. To hold my loved ones that little bit tighter and to whisper those three words that little bit louder.

Rest in peace Mrs. Ann Maguire.

Maguire shirts

Opening image: Wendy Alexander
Second image: BBC
Closing image: BBC

Previous Older Entries