Put the phone down and look up.

I’m setting myself a challenge. To put the smart phone down and look up more. Live in the moment if you will. It sounds crazy that I even have to set myself this challenge, but what with my blog, the Facebook groups I run, my love of scrolling through Instagram and my self-diagnosed addiction to all things social, I need to nip it in the bud and focus on what is important.

 
My daughter.

 
A poll was recently taken by Digital Awareness UK of 2,000 11-18 year olds and, amongst many other upsetting stats, it showed that:

 

“36% of pupils asked their parents to put down their phone… [of these pupils]…46% said their parents took no notice while 44% felt upset and ignored.”

 
I don’t want to be in that 46%.

 
Everyone says it all goes so fast and I’m now worried that I’ll miss the bits I am lucky enough to be around for, when not at work and when she’s not at her dads, because either she or I or both of us have our noses buried in a tablet or a phone.

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It’s unnecessary. It’s antisocial and it’s not how I want to parent.

 
Mum guilt is a bitch and there’s so many things I feel guilty about but can’t change. This, however, I can.

 
So, from school pick up to bedtime, my phone is going away. The tablet is only being used for half an hours entertainment if needs be whilst I get dinner ready (my tv is currently kaput) and my thrilling social life (ha ha) will just have to wait.

 
Who else fancies joining me? Let me know in the comments so we can be strong together!

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An alternative Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone, or Mothering Sunday if you’re the traditional type! I hope you’ve all managed to get a lie in (what that means with the clocks going forward I don’t actually know), some version of breakfast in bed and have been presented with multiple homemade cards and presents. 

This year I’m definitely getting a lie in as I don’t actually have Charlotte for most of the day. 

I heard the shocked gasps then but it’s ok, I  promise.

My ex and I have Charlotte alternate weekends (with me doing the bits in the middle too) and this year Mother’s Day fell on ‘his’ weekend.  I didn’t realise until quite late on in the proceedings and wondered if I should attempt to barter to keep her for myself or shorten his weekend with her so I could see her. But then I thought… 

What does Mother’s Day mean for me? 

…and thinking about it, for me as a mum it doesn’t mean very much right now.

The first Mother’s Day after I split with my ex I had three cards from friends and family and multiple presents and flowers. It was nice as I wasn’t expecting anything, especially as my ex and I were not in good terms, but the past two Mother’s Day’s have just been a bit, well, depressing. 

Mother’s Day isn’t just about Mother and Child bonding. It’s meant to be a full family experience and I remember it so fondly from when I was younger. The Father is meant to take the child(ren) out to carefully curate the best present/card combo. The breakfast is made with help from the Father so no fires ensue or coffee isn’t spilt down the stairs. The Sunday Lunch is a full family affair whether out or in but, for better or worse, that’s not how it works in our little family of two. 

Crazy curly haired lady!

But I realised that, where we are now, I don’t need presents or a soppy Hallmark cards from Charlotte. I definitely don’t want presents brought begrudgingly by my ex. It melts my heart when she brings me a drawing home from school with a lady with crazy hair in the middle surrounded by hearts and flowers and says ‘I made this for you mummy’, but I am lucky that they happen every week for me, not just on one day of the year. 

I don’t need a lie in because I generally get one every other weekend and, believe me, I usually make the most of it. I know I have got it good compared to a lot of mum’s in that respect so I take full advantage! 

Last years attempt at breakfast in bed – the wine wasnt part of it, promise!

I don’t need breakfast in bed. She’s five. That would be a disaster and I’d have to go downstairs to find out what the crash was and supervise at some point therefore defeating the point entirely.

Our day trip to London last summer
I do, however, need quality time with my daughter. Like playing a new card game with her that her grandma taught her, and listening to her cackle when she’s on a winning streak. Like having tickle fights on lazy Sunday mornings. Like going on road trips to see something a bit different or Film Night Fridays with pizza and a movie. Like cuddling up in bed every evening and reading books. Just the two of us. 

And I realised that I am ridiculously lucky that I get that most days of the year, not just the one. 

So Charlotte can have her Daddy weekend because she needs and wants quality time with him too, and we’ll just pick up where we left off when she gets back. 

NB: I also know I definitely have two homemade cards hiding in various conspicuous places, so all is not lost.

Dropping the F-bomb.

I’m holding my hands up…I’m a sweary mum. I TRY my hardest to keep it clean whilst Charlotte is around but if some knobhead (oops) cuts me up in traffic I am likely to call him (or her) out on it at high volume and it comes out of my mouth before I remember to censor it for my 5 year old’s ears.

My attention was brought to my effusive language after catching Charlotte dropping some form of F bomb whilst walking away from me not once, but twice this week. My heart sank. I’m a failure as a mum. 

“What a silly, naughty man” is sooo much less cathartic than “What a fucking dick” though, don’t you think? 

I hardly ever remember my parents swearing when I was younger. We would get reprimanded if we said ‘crap’ which seems to be a pre-watershed word nowadays. Bugger was ok, just. Bother was preferred. When pushed during my teen years my mother may have uttered the f word but sort of muted herself when she said it. Much like when your nanna has to say ‘lesbian’. 

I obviously did not inherit this restraint.

Nope, I’m the mum who swears and then wishes she hadn’t because she isn’t quite sure if the mum she’s talking to is a kindred spirit or one of those mum’s who suddenly look like you’ve hurt their delicate ears when you call someone a wanker.

I’ve also come to realise I’m the colleague who swears. Open plan offices are not ideal for this. My job makes me say ‘for fucks sake’ approximately 100 times a day so keeping that internalised would surely be bad for my health! Luckily my team mates are well aware of my colourful language but I’m sure not everyone approves. 

I wish I was more mild mannered and I have tried, but it’s too hard to keep all the effing and jeffing in and filter it to a more child friendly/ work friendly chiding and so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the end of the world. 

Telling someone ‘I fucking love you’ makes it seem all the more true and heartfelt (sniff), telling someone they have acted like a dick helps you get your point across more strongly and if Charlotte needs to try these words out at home then it’s not the end of the world. I would be a pretty massive hypocrite if I said she couldn’t use those words wouldn’t I?! 

It’s parents evening this week though so we’ll see if she’s been dropping them anywhere else as well. 😬

First days of school.


We’re three days in so I think I can officially say we’ve survived school so far!! (OK, so officially they’ve only been half days and I’ve been working from home but we’re both still alive so please indulge me!)

So far, to date, we have only had: 

3 tears – hers not mine. 
2 grazed knees 
1 grazed chin
1 hair clip lost 
3 tantrums over kinder eggs at the end of the day. 

All fairly standard yes?! 

The tears were, bizarrely, this morning as I started to walk away. I think this may be the slow realisation that she’s got another 14 years of this routine before she’s free! And now I’m crying because I’ve just realised that too! 

I’m a bit nervous about still working my 30 hour weeks now she’s at school but, thank goodness for flexible working, I’ll still be able to drop her off everyday and pick her up at school finishing time three days a week. The rest of the time will be in the hands of after school club.  

I’m also, selfishly, a bit nervous about whether I’ll make any friends at the school gates. I didn’t make it to the ‘new parents’ social over the summer and the next one is on a Tuesday at 8pm so think that’s unlikely too but hopefully I will spot a few friendly faces and get chatting to some other real life parents. No fake yummy mummies here please! 

So my baby, who turned 5 ten days ago is at school. 

Bloody hell. 

Proud mummy.

I hope she’s ready. I hope she’ll love it. I hope she makes life long friends or, at least primary school long friends. I hope she’ll be reading in the next few months which will blow my mind and I hope that her writing will develop even further than it has already. But most of all, I hope that she will grow and develop into an amazing, bright, well-rounded child who aspires for great things to happen. 

That might seem a bit too much but I know she’s got it in her. 

Maybe she’ll inspire her mum to do great things too. 

I’d love to know how everyone else’s first weeks have gone. Hope you’ve survived too! 

Emotion overload.

I can entirely see why some single mums decide to stay single now. The emotions and time needed for the whole dating game and the emotions and time needed to be a mum are more emotions and time than one woman has!

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Being a mum, single or not, working or not, is tiring. It is draining, it is also the most joy you can possibly have, seeing your child grow, develop and learn. It takes all your energy to keep going when your child is poorly at 4am and then get up for work, school, nursery or daily chores but you do it because you’re their mum. They can test your patience to limits you never knew you had and it takes restraint, lots of restraint. As a single mum it can also be lonely.

But in order to do the dating thing, in the hope that one day you won’t be sitting in the evenings watching yet another rerun of How I Met Your Mother or the Big Bang Theory with only the dog to keep you company, you need to muster up some energy to act like a normal, interesting individual with whom someone may want to spend time with. If you do get far enough to meet someone and they don’t take one look at the bags under your eyes and run for the hills, you then have to find the time to see them (even harder if they have kids too), still look alive and well put together and not fall asleep whilst watching a film or yawn despite the interesting conversation over dinner. If you get as far as sleeping together this brings on a whole other load of time consuming exercises as hairy legs might just kill the mood a bit and you deserve to feel sexy and wanted so you want to make the effort.

All that time adds up to more than is available for any sane woman who intends to sleep at some point. The ups of the first few dates and then the downs if they decide it’s not working or even worse just stop texting you. It’s all just too much to handle when trying to do all the mum things as well. So I have decided that maybe the dating thing needs to go on hold for a bit. The internet dating apps have been deleted and the email alerts have been stopped. It is a nice confidence boost to get a notification that someone likes the look of you, but I don’t need my life and self worth being decided by complete strangers on a dating app. I need to make sure I have that myself and I have enough time to commit fully to the best relationships I have. The one with my daughter and the one with myself.

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The only way is up..?

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Well, these last two weeks have been the hardest in a very very long time. Every time I think I’m just about coping I get another kick and, to be honest (as I should be in my blog) my optimism and ‘Joie de Vivre’ which I pride myself on, is slowly sliding away. So far it has involved the ex contesting the divorce for no reason I can understand, a male ‘best friend’ managing to hurt me in so many different ways all at once, a flat tyre, a speeding ticket, work generally and a letter from work telling me they’ve over paid me nearly £400 and that they would be taking it out of my October pay (that’s nearly a third of my take home pay!) Just to top it all off I’ve gone off wine and can’t seem to bear drinking a drop. I know!! Nightmare!!

I won’t bore you with the details but I’m pretty sure I’m at one of my lowest points in a long time – my heart is severely battered, my anger is bubbling very close to the surface all the time and my bank account is empty – more than empty actually as I’m well and truly in my overdraft. I can only presume I was a mass murderer in a previous life and am now paying for my sins. I feel like a teenager but, unlike my 15 year old self, I can’t just crawl under the covers for a few days and cry my eyes out. I have a daughter, a dog, a job, a house and my sanity that needs to keep going and be looked after. I know I’ll recover, I am resilient and I know there must be some good days soon but I wish I could just press pause and get my shit together. I can’t let my daughter see me angry at her dad or crying because I am lonely and have been let down, so I need to breathe, adjust, pour a strong G&T and move on to the next challenge that will no doubt be facing me.

Someone warned me that the first year in a separation would be the worst but two weeks into the second year and I’m not sure I believe them yet. People also have been saying that all this crap must mean I’m due for something really good and I really want to believe this!! Win
the Lottery, a Knight in shining armour, a new job? Come on fate…I’m waiting!!

Single Parent Pessimist