Our Time Will Come Again

 

Husband Wfie ImageBaby,                                                                                  (remember when I used to call you that?)

At the time of writing, I think I can count on one hand the number of words we spoke to one another last night. We didn’t argue and neither had we fought. We just put everyone and everything else before our own needs. Sometimes I wish we could just be a little more selfish. I wish we would not need to re-schedule or cancel date nights. I wish we could celebrate our anniversary and show the world we deserve to be celebrated, rather than dismiss its importance. We are passionate about family and yet we seem to forget the most important family of all. The one we have created.

The most common advice given to parents as they embark on parenthood is to enjoy it while it lasts and lately that advice has struck a deep chord with me. We are watching our daughters grow in both awe and disbelief at how fast time flies. I feel a pang of sadness as our eldest daughter ventures further out into the world, further away from my outstretched hand. At the same time there is an excitement growing inside me that one day we will be us again.

One day our evenings will not be taken up by cleaning sticky floors and kitchen surfaces, clearing away toys and writing in homework books.

One day our evenings will not be taken up by gardening, making packed lunches and the never-ending cycles of laundry.

One day our evenings will not be taken up by pleading with our children to eat their dinner and embarking on the never-ending cycle of picking up toys, cutlery and food from the floor.

One day we will not wake in the morning utterly exhausted from the cries and needs of our youngest or staying up at our eldest’s bedside, holding her hair while she is sick in our now christened ‘sick bowl’.

Our time will come.

Our time will come for cuddling up on the settee to watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Our time will come for candlelit dinners while holding hands.

Our time will come for spontaneous trips into London to the cinema or theatre or even pulling all the stops and dinner out in a restaurant.

Our time will come for bedtimes where I fall asleep on your chest while watching Family Guy.

Our time will come for uninterrupted conversations.

Our time will come for no longer speaking to one another in the third person.

I know these days with our girls are fleeting and one day we will miss all this beautiful chaos.

We will miss our daughters crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning, asking if it’s “morning time yet” while we wonder how long we can delay the inevitable.

We will miss the water fights in the garden.

I know I will miss our daughters climbing up your body while you sing the circus tune and spin them around upside down (even though I feel I’m having a heart attack each time).

We will miss our drum rolls in the morning.

We will miss family trips to the park where we inevitably end up in opposite directions depending on which child we have.

We will miss playing Wii games, Happy Families and board games on repeat as well as reading the same books over and over.

We will miss this.

So, let’s enjoy it all while it lasts. Let’s sneak in kisses and cuddles when we can and let our daughters see us doing so. Let’s hold hands on the rare occasion we are together during the day. Let’s link arms with the person pushing the buggy. Let’s put Cbeebies on for the girls when we want to have a 5-minute uninterrupted conversation. More importantly, let’s celebrate us more. Our wedding anniversary, engagement anniversary maybe even our month anniversary (remember them?)

It won’t always be like this.

Before them there was us and after them there will be us. It is knowing that after our girls have begun to pave their way into the world, we will find the path back to us again that keeps me going. So, let’s take the sleepless nights, the crazy mornings and the non-stop weekends knowing that at the end of it all there will be us again.

Love Always,

Your wife.                                                                                                                                         xxxx

Marriage Hands

Opening image: http://unknown-love-quotes.blogspot.com

Closing image: my own

 

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The Beautiful Struggle

mmh

 

“Do one thing every day that scares you”, easier said than done. However, for Maternal Mental Health week (30 April – 05 May), I will try my best.

As I write this, the clock is fast nearing midnight, the kitchen is still scattered with the days happenings and my bedroom resembles a mass of suitcases, moving boxes and washing baskets of either dirty laundry or laundry waiting to be put away. I have messages on my phone that I have not had time to answer all day and my to-do list is forever growing.

My youngest daughter is 15 months and when I look back on this time, there are of course moments of joy but overall, I fear there have mostly been moments of anxiety and apprehension. I have an older daughter of 5 years so I am not even what some call a ‘new mother’ but I feel I am struggling at the whole motherhood thing. On the outside I have two wonderfully behaved, polite, beautiful children who adore one another and I walk in the outside world with a smile and an upbeat attitude, internally I feel I am drowning and everyone is watching from the shore but no one is coming to help me.

I remember after the birth of my first child, my health visitor asked how I was feeling, I replied honestly and said I was a little tearful. Instantly her back straightened and she looked at me and listened to what I was saying for the first time it seemed since she arrived. She proceeded to ask me whether I had thoughts of harming my child etc. but not once asking about me. I have never had such thoughts of either harming my children or myself but occasionally still feel tearful and overwhelmed but would not dream of contacting anyone from the medical field for help. For all I know these feelings could be perfectly normal and the sensible less emotional side of me knows it is, but there are times I convince myself I am the only one to feel this way.

The birth of my second daughter was traumatic and recovery was more problematic than for her sister. During the birth of my youngest, not once was I examined in the delivery room. The midwife had her back to me the entire time and I delivered my daughter with no input, guidance or support from the midwife until the very end. Due to complications, I had to go to theatre and the effects of the operation I had still affects me today. My daughter’s tongue and lip tie were not diagnosed effectively in hospital even after being checked at least twice, breast feeding was hard, painful and not at all natural and on top of everything else, I had my eldest daughter to consider. She and I have a special bond and it was extremely hard for both of us in the early days when I was not so readily available for her. I felt I was just expected to cope and I was not allowed to feel anything other than overwhelming joy. Having said this, I think I am getting to terms with motherhood ‘for two’. The guilt I feel for my inability to split in two is lessening as I watch my girls together and witness the love and adoration they share for one another.

I wish I did have someone to talk to though when my youngest was born. Some of the time our feelings of apprehension and lack of confidence and self-worth do not rear their ugly heads until days or even months afterwards. Then they start to build and subsequently you are then dealing with a mountain of negative emotions and a new-born. I am still plagued with feelings that my daughter doesn’t love me or that I am not good enough for my children. For most of the time, I internalise these feelings but I know they are revealed in my lack of confidence and self-doubt as a mother. I think all mothers, first, second, third or even ten-time mothers should be given the opportunity to talk to someone as routine, not just given a leaflet but someone to listen to them. I know of one new mother who returned to work for a very well-known and reputable company a year after her daughter was born, on the outside she had it all she adored her husband and daughter but just weeks after starting back to work she threw herself in front of a train.

We are often taught to be kinder to others for everyone is fighting their own battles. It is similar to motherhood, on the outside we may watch someone enjoying a well-paid job, a bigger house, more money but there will always be battles that person is fighting behind closed doors, and rather than alienating people due to jealousy for their perceived fortune or to castigate others due to their parenting styles/choices children we should offer support and friendship. Depression is still deemed a dirty word, a weakness rather than an illness. We need to change that. We need to normalise the need to talk, particularly with mothers, encouraging the notion that needing to talk does not equate to being a bad mother.

Motherhood is definitely messy. Motherhood is sticky counter tops, it’s toys all over the floor and it’s laundry upon laundry upon laundry but it is also cuddles at bedtime, it is open-mouthed kisses and it’s overwhelming pride at their first steps, first words, first gold star at school. Motherhood is messy for all these reasons but also for all the emotions we face every day. It is messy for all the judgements we receive from the outside world, from fellow mothers, family members and those in the medical profession who are placed there to ‘help’ us.  Motherhood is messy because we are forever fighting to be enough, but we never are. There is never enough time for each of our children, for our partners, for the house, for ourselves. We are never enough. Motherhood is messy because sometimes its sitting beside an untouched fruit bowl while you comfort eat your way through your chocolate and marshmallow reserves in one evening.

This is real motherhood and there is no shame in struggling with the mess and not always enjoying it. It is not a reflection on your affection for your children if you don’t enjoy motherhood all day every day.

As I finish this, the kitchen is scattered with the days happenings, my bedroom still resembles a mass of suitcases, moving boxes and washing baskets of either dirty laundry or laundry waiting to be put away. The fact that I manage to prep for dinner as my little one naps feels like a huge accomplishment, after 3 hours sleep. Motherhood will always be messy but at the same time it is oh so beautiful.

banner_mother

Opening image: www.passtheproseccoplease.co.uk

Closing image:  www.nextstepintegral.org

A Letter to my Second-Born Child

mother and baby

My Darling Girl,

Nobody warned me that one moment you would be a new-born baby lying in my arms and the next moment you will suddenly be a year old.  You came into a family already with a set of rules and routines but you slotted right in as if you were always there.

We have been a team from the start as due to poor care during your delivery, it was only you and I working in a rhythm that bought you into the world.  You slept in my arms your first night a little ball of vulnerability I promised to protect with every fibre of my being.  In the blink of an eye, you no longer seem a little ball of vulnerability as you stretch out on my chest in your twosies pyjamas that you are fast growing out of. But, I still whisper my promises to you every night to protect you with every fibre of my being.

Do not for one second allow anyone to make you feel second-best. You were so wanted by all of us. It really is true that when a mother has children her heart grows to accommodate the love. Like you I am my mother’s last and there remains something special in being a mother’s last. You have made motherhood feel brand new.

We have shared special moments this year that I will forever hold dear such as the way you fall asleep in my arms, resting your head on my shoulder, clutching a toy or item you have quickly grown an attachment to that day, whether it be a teddy or a little bottle of olbas oil. Once you are ready to sleep, you bury it between the two of our bodies, tucking it down safe. I will miss your open-mouthed kisses, the way you raise your head from my shoulder, look at me and smile before you kiss me on the lips and go back to sleep.

Every day I feel so lucky to experience motherhood again but also to experience it with you. No matter how old you are when you read these words I hope it reminds you that your Mummy loves you more than anyone. No matter where you are, what you do that will never change. I love you and your sister equally, regardless of your birth order. Your clothes and toys may be hand me downs from your sister but my love for you is most certainly brand new and I promise you now it will forever remain that way.

Thank you, my darling girl, for coming into the world. Thank you for completing our family and showering it with your love and laughter. Thank you for your patience and your smiles, your open-mouthed kisses and your night time cuddles. I can’t wait to spend the rest of our days together with you, loving you, guiding you and nurturing you.

Happy Birthday my little flower,

Love Always,

xxxxxx Mama xxxxxx

 

Opening image: thelibertarianrepublic.com

An Open Letter to my Husband

Husband and wifeAs I write these words, you are sitting before me on your laptop, as we both often are these days. The television is on and although we are both watching the same programme and sitting in the same room, I feel we are rarely together.

I miss you. I see you every day in the cloud of parenthood, the achievements of our children from their phonics and reading ability to their pincer movements and growth spurts but I rarely see you.

I’m sorry you get to see me perpetually exhausted in the mornings as we rush about the morning dealing with nappies, breakfast, book bags and lunch boxes and similarly in the evenings as we rush about clearing up toys, the dinner, sterilising bottles and now packing an endless supply of boxes in preparation for our upcoming house move. Quite often throughout the day I feel I am brimming with words I want to say to you, but when I do get the chance, we are usually on the way to bed when we are quite often asleep before our heads hit our pillows and neither of us are in the right frame of mind.

Know that although I may not run to you as I once did, I still look forward to you coming home each evening.

Know that I am not stupid for refusing a toilet break in the morning, knowing that in doing so I find a decent parking space at school, I get to walk our daughter to school in a manner that I can reassure her at a time she needs me. And be back home within 10 or 15 minutes, a well-practised and I must say fine working routine. Motherhood has aided with this when I don’t often get round to eating or even going to the bathroom all day.

Know that these days I don’t have a home but a workplace, this will hopefully change when I get my much-needed office space but until then the living room is my office, as is the kitchen, bedrooms and even the bathroom. Therefore, boxes that are left in the living room are left in my office, clothes and items scattered around are scattered around my office.

Know that I love you.

Know that when I am making plans and writing lists, delegating and checking things are done, I am not nagging or disbelieving your capabilities, I am simply project managing my office just as is done at your office.

Know that you are my rock.

Know that when I am scrolling through social media at the end of the day, it gives me a let out. It is my way to wind down.  My working day does not end. I no longer have that relief of shutting the door to the world, the office, the deadlines. As you know, my phone is only used for necessity during the day when I am with our girls. The moment I wake up to the moment I close my eyes I am in work mode.  I wish I could read a book as I once did. I wish I could relish the feeling of a book in my hands and the scent of its pages but I am simply burnt out. For now, social media is my escape as it is for so many.

Know that I am eternally grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to stay at home with our girls. That although I do feel burnt out, I have never been happier.

Know that although I love motherhood I miss how we were pre-parenthood. I miss our kisses goodnight, our cuddles in the morning. I miss resting my head on your chest as I fall asleep each night.

Know that I see you. I see you rushing out in the morning in the hope of returning to hear our eldest read at night-time. I see you getting up to our youngest in the night so you can have father/daughter time and also so I can sleep. Know that I see you in the every day.

Know that sometimes although you are the maker of my much loved hot chocolate and marshmallows, I need the strength to not reach for the biscuit tin but the fruit bowl in the evenings. Know that I sometimes need you to be that strength.

Know that sometimes it is a good thing to worry. I know I worry too much but sometimes I feel I need to worry for the both of us. Sometimes worrying is a good thing, it stirs us into motion, it keeps the wheels turning.

Know that sometimes I feel we parent separately rather than together. I love being with our girls but sometimes it’s nice to have company.

Know that we both have a responsibility to one another to go to bed early.

Know that listening to Our Special Music brings back the memories of our early love and the pain of our separation and reminds me how much I love you and feel truly lucky to be your wife.

Opening image: my own

A Promise Of Kindness

images2018

It’s that iconic time of the year again. The time for looking forward to new beginnings and fresh starts. Resolutions and promises. The time for new hope. It was at this time in previous years, I would make grand promises and resolutions for change that I would invariably break before the sun set on the first month of the year.

It’s that iconic time of the year again. The time for also looking back and reflecting on what has been. Of facing our regrets and remembering what we have tried so hard to forget throughout the past year. Fortunately for me, the birth of my second daughter has overshadowed many more melancholic times and looking back on the past year all I see is our family becoming complete.

I recently came across a wonderful video by the wonderful Kristina Kuzmic, entitled “The Things We Tell Ourselves” and it resonated wholeheartedly with me. There have been things I have told myself this past year I would not dream of saying to anyone else. So, instead of making a long list of resolutions and promises, I will be making one change this year. To be kind to myself but also to push myself. To be strong enough to ignore the television in the lounge and write. To grab whatever time I have as a parent and achieve what I need to, rather than using tiredness or having children as an excuse. I do not want to be in the same position as I am right now. I may not be the CEO in a multi-million company but I am the CEO of the company that is most important. Despite this, I want to write more. I want to read more. I want to sleep more. I want to like myself more and in order to do that I need to be kinder.

So in order to be kinder, I will be writing once a month on my blog on various elements of 2018 including my dream of finally publishing a public piece of work that I have delayed for five years now. I want to fall asleep reading or listening to music rather than trawling through social media sites or Amazon.

dale street 2 1984

So with the help of Kristina, I want to be kinder to myself. I want to tell the little girl in this picture that she is good enough. That it is okay for her to be first sometimes. That she is a good mum, successful and important. She is a good person and valuable. When I think of what I have told myself this past year of my performance as a mother and my value as a person, it breaks my heart that I have in essence been telling this innocent little girl who is an image of both my daughters and how I would feel if anyone would ever be so harsh to my girls.

So as Big Ben chimes in 2018, I look forward to much of the same as this year but more importantly I look forward to treating myself a little more kindly. So Happy New Year, everyone. May it be a year full of love, happiness and more importantly kindness.

 

Opening image: medicalnewstoday.com

Second image: my own

Proud Beyond Words

mother and daughter

As many people have learnt, a lot can happen in a year.

Since your fourth birthday, you have become a big sister. You have had to go from having my undivided attention to having to share me with someone else. So many people have warned me of the jealousy that you would feel and maybe the dislike or resentment of your baby sister. You have proved them all wrong. All you have ever shown your little sister is love, a testament to the mother you one day hope to be. You have shown understanding beyond your years when I have been tired beyond imagining, particularly when your sister was just born. You have cuddled me, stroked me through my tears of exhaustion and reassured me that I am still a good Mama, even though I can not devote my entire time and attention on you. You have made me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have started school. It was a time of uncertainty for you. The longest time you and I have ever been away from one another. It was a hard few weeks at first but although there were tears in the mornings, upon entering the school gates, in true British style, you held your chin up and walked through those doors. In your teacher’s words you built relationships with your classmates and with your teachers and worked hard in your lessons despite your hidden feelings of self-doubt and misgivings. You have made me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have gotten used to falling asleep on your own because your father is late home from work and your little sister woke and will not settle. You lie there waiting for me to read you stories and more often than not I do not return before you fall asleep. Sometimes I return to kiss you goodnight and whisper “I’m sorry” in your ear, you sleepily reply “that’s ok” and hold out your arms for a cuddle. In that moment, you make me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have learnt that nothing is your own now you have a little sister who looks up to you more than anyone. You have watched as your sister plays with your precious Barbie collection. When I say playing, I mean sitting on them, sucking on them, messing up the arrangement you so carefully made the night before. You insist on sitting beside her at the dinner table each and every day and have learnt that your cutlery and even your own dinner is no longer your own. The moments you share your dinner with your sister (even though she had her own, exactly the same as yours) you make me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have watched me deliver your sister with a calmness and emotional maturity beyond your years and the moment I saw you for the first time as a big sister, you made me proud beyond words.

Since your fourth birthday you have grown in confidence, sticking up for your beliefs and never letting anyone say a bad word against your loved ones, and in each moment  you fight for what you believe is right you make me proud beyond words.

I could go on.

——

You have learnt that very often your days consist of playing a waiting game, but my darling girl on the eve of your 5th birthday I want you to know that in no way are you second-best. As you fell asleep in my arms tonight I promised you as I have done many times before that I will be your constant, as you have been mine.

Happy Birthday my sweet Princess, may you always know how much you are truly loved. 

mother and daughter 2

Opening image: clipart-library.com

Closing image: videoblocks.com

I Love You Enough…

Home made party cupcake with a number candle on topFour years ago  I embarked on the breathtaking journey of motherhood. This past weekend my little girl turned 4 and today I applied for primary schools for her. It seems wrong somehow. I still see her as the vulnerable little baby that entered the world not so long ago and later took her first vulnerable steps towards my open arms.

I make a habit of telling my daughter that I love her multiple times a day, even when she is sleeping, however every day I wonder how much she knows I love her and whether she will ever know.

So to my little four-year old girl I hope you know:

I love you enough that I would go without so you could have that extra treat.

I love you enough to always put you first.

I love you enough to always include family in our lives so the memories you make with them will last long after they have gone.

I love you enough to say “no” when I need to.

I love you enough to be the bad guy when I need to be, even though it breaks my heart to do so.

I love you enough to be hard on you sometimes to encourage you to be the best you can be.

I love you enough to not resent you when you push the boundaries but instead to respect your need to push those boundaries.

I love you enough to ignore society’s definition of  perfection  (although for me you are perfect).

I love you enough to sometimes let your father take the lead.

I love you enough to make the perfect reality for you.

I love you enough to never quit.

I love you enough to make my dreams a reality for you rather than for any self-regarding quest for gain.

I love you enough to never regard what I have ‘given up’  for motherhood as a sacrifice, but a privilege.

I love you enough to never let you forget how much I love you.

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Opening image: sevenhillsrunningshop.com
Closing image: lovethispic.com

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