Walking on the tight rope.

Walking the tight rope

Mental health is a bitch. It is a reactive, sensitive balancing act that, for some, seems like no problem at all and for others can be a precarious tight rope walk, just waiting to fall and hoping there is a net somewhere deep below. 

I was on that tight rope for a long time. I suffered with depression for many months, if not years and I suffered from post natal depression (PND) and anxiety with maybe a bit of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) thrown in there after having my daughter. Every now and again I feel like I’m back on it, wobbling. Not very often thankfully but every now and again. Today is not one of those days but I can completely understand how someone feels up there. 

My blog name is theperfectjuggler, which, for the most part is a ‘tongue in cheek’ name but, sometimes that extra ball can be the difference between having good mental health and it all going down the pan very quickly. 

The government have, this week, said that they will be putting more funding into mental health care. Perfect timing as Monday 16 January is known as ‘Blue Monday’. The most depressing day of the year. 

They want to make workplaces more able to help and support those with mental health issues, they want schools to teach about how to maintain good mental health and for teachers to know how to be aware of children who may be developing mental health issues and how to deal with those who already have them. They are also upping the funding into mental health services for pregnant women and new mothers. All of which have been seriously lacking. I agree with this focus and hope that they actually see this initiative through. 

Ironically I have just had to tell the department I work for that I will no longer be able to lead their Wellbeing group as my own mental health was suffering. This one added responsibility which I was passionate about and enjoyed, was the ball I could no longer juggle, and before I dropped it I had to put it down voluntarily.

I know lots of people that are suffering with ‘bad’ mental health, 1 in 4 of us will suffer with a mental health issue in our life time and I just want to say, I get it. I get feeling so low that you want to hide. I get that you don’t want to talk about it. I get that sometimes, it seems like the best way for everyone would be if you weren’t around anymore. I get that you didn’t think you could cry anymore but you do and I get that some people don’t get it. 

I also get that it can get better by focusing on the good things in your life and removing some of the bad ones, by not letting yourself become insular and selfish, by helping yourself climb back up the ladder to the tightrope, even if it’s just one tiny step at a time. It can get better by seeking help, and support from professionals, from family and from friends. By developing resilience techniques like mindfulness, meditation and exercise, to use when you next have a wobble. And lastly to realise that you can’t necessarily change what happens to you but only you can change how you deal with it when it does. 

Things will get better, I promise, I’m proof that they do. 

I get by with a little help from my friends. 

Sometimes when I’m sat alone on a Saturday night I do question whether I have very many friends. Sad and depressing I know, but being a one parent family can sometimes be a quiet and lonely life. The evenings especially so, as you know that that’s when everyone else is having their family time, or couples time, or some lucky buggers are even free to go out in the evening without having to book a babysitter weeks in advance and you’re stuck at home with a sleeping child upstairs.

However, my perspective changed dramatically this weekend, after Charlotte was admitted to hospital and we had to stay in overnight. I now realise more than ever before that I do have many, many friends.

Poorly girl.
With these friends we may not be able to meet up very often, we may have known each other for ever, we may not have actually known each other that long, we may have met because of babies or toddlers, or work or where we live, we may have met through the powers of Facebook, we may not exactly even remember when or how we came to know each other but, that night I had so many offers of genuine help that I could feel this amazing support system around me and, oh my goodness, did I need it right then.

Those who didn’t live close were messaging straight away, checking on me and Charlotte and giving me strength to cope with the situation. Those who were close were offering practical help like phone chargers (life lesson no 1: never go to out of hours with 9% battery), dog walking, popping to the shops for food and drink or a toothbrush or just desperately needed moral support. 

They all had their own stuff going on that evening and they were willing to stop that stuff, even briefly, and help me and that made me feel very honoured.

Luckily we came out of hospital the next day and, despite more tests that still need to be done, lots of things returned quickly to normal. But those 12 hours of hell really made me appreciate those around me and realise that I am really lucky and that I do have my so called ‘village’. 

So, in this season of gratitude, good will and thanksgiving (a bit late I know), I want to thank all my friends, from the bottom of my heart. Because without them I wouldn’t have made it through half the challenges I’ve faced and I’m sure they’ll help me through the next lot too. 

Why I love Warwickshire

I’m such a fair weather blogger or maybe the opposite of that. I feel at home posting when everything’s going wrong but the past couple of weeks have been really good and I have realised just how much I love the place I live. 

My house is starting to look how I want it (if you remove the clutter, but let’s be realistic here!). 

My overgrown, but actually quite pretty garden.
I have some beautiful parks close by, perfect to escape with a crazy four year old to burn off some energy. 

New park on Chase Meadow
I have some gorgeous National Trust properties close by, and now I’m a member we have free reign of all of them. 

Charlecote Park and House
My town hosts some amazing events, food festivals, Thai festivals, film festivals, chocolate festivals and next month a chilli festival! 

Warwick Food Festival
I have some amazing independent restaurants, cafes and bars to eat and drink. 

Coffee Architects in Leamington Spa
I have a great network of friends and when I finally get my bum in a gear a great network to support small businesses. 

Networking , training and friends in Warwickshire
We also have one of the largest castles in England which means the town in steeped in history and William Shakespeare resided in a town not far away. 

Bird of Prey display at Mary Arden’s Farm
Sometimes you’re just too busy dashing around to actually notice the things around you and I have recently realised just how lucky I am to live here. I ❤️ Warwickshire. (The tourist board can pay me later)

30 things I’ve learnt since being 30.

It was my birthday last week and I’m now the ripe old age of 32.  A huge amount seems to have happened over these past two years, some of which is documented on this very blog as I started writing just after my 30th birthday.  I feel like I have learnt a lot, sometimes the hard way and some I have just happened upon through pure fluke so I’ve jotted them down to remind me.  Some are a bit deep, others entirely the opposite but all are true to me.

  1. Having children doesn’t mean you must cut your hair shorter. I for one look awful with shorter hair.
  2. I can, pretty much, make it through any challenging situation…just.
  3. You only live once. A cliché but a damn true one so make the most of it!
  4. Your health matters, so pay attention to it.
  5. Experimenting is a good idea in all areas of your life…food, fashion, f…(you get the idea).
  6. Making a mistake is not the end of the world.
  7. Tell your real friends you love them.
  8. Unfollow or unfriend people off Facebook or Instagram whose posts irritate you.
  9. I still don’t like goats cheese no matter how many times I try it.
  10. If I stop moving I seize up and it’s a lot more difficult to get going again.
  11. You will meet amazing friends in the strangest places if you are willing and open to find them.
  12. I wear my heart on my sleeve which can sometimes means it gets bruised more easily..
  13. Earl Grey tea is actually very nice.
  14. My wardrobe now has less clothes that are better quality, rather than the other way around.
  15. Same with my make up.
  16. Bright lipstick isn’t actually that scary.
  17. Sometimes I would rather eat an amazing salad that something deep fried.
  18. Saying ‘No’ and standing your ground is amazingly empowering.
  19. You are allowed to aspire to be in a job which you love…goals are good.
  20. Dresses actually suit me much better than trousers.
  21. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing.
  22. Doing something good for someone (even if very small) is one of the best ways to boost your mood.
  23. I now ‘mum dance’ but I still do it anyway.
  24. All parents are winging it.  They are lying if they tell you other wise.
  25. Despite all my body hang ups people still seem to find me attractive, therefore I shouldn’t worry about them so much.
  26. I’m now much less tolerant of just smiling and nodding.
  27. My eyes are my best feature. (Sorry boobs)
  28. Netflix is definitely worth the membership fee.
  29. Being a single mum means my daughter is my best friend and my enemy number 1 all at the same time.
  30. Being a single mum is incredibly hard work but incredibly rewarding.

Barefaced

I never thought of myself as a ‘make up’ person.  I just wear mascara because as a ginger/blond-ish person I generally look half asleep if I don’t. I wear some sort of base just so that my rosy cheeks don’t make me look like I’ve been on the wine all day (I promise I haven’t!) and so it covers some of the dark circles under my eyes, but that is usually it. I was also briefly an Avon rep but had to give it up as I was spending all/more of my earnings on the very same make up I was supposed to be selling, but I definitely wasn’t a ‘make-up’ person…or so I thought.

However, a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday night before going to the theatre with a friend, I lost my make-up bag.

 It was my own fault for a) trying to apply make-up whilst walking, b) having a small bag which was, as usual bursting at the seams and c) not being remotely aware of the world around me and, in my defence it was the end of a stressful week. I’d just finished work after a 9-hour day and I was knackered and somehow between the carpark and the restaurant I was meeting my friend at, I lost my make-up bag…with all my make up in it.

And I cried.

I’ll just go back to the bit about my stressful day and week for justification but that seemed like an overreaction to losing some make up, even to me!  But it wasn’t just some, it was all of it.

I’d lost my beloved Bare Minerals brush which made applying foundation or BB cream quick and easy, meaning I could do my make up in the 3 minutes from when I drove into the work carpark and when I actually exited the car to go into work. 

I’d lost my blusher which made me look a bit more alive on a cold day. 

I’d lost my bronzer which led me to believe (even for just a brief second) that I do actually tan when I go on holiday (I don’t).

I lost my eyeliner which I had just about got the hang of applying and made me look slightly more grown up and sophisticated – well I thought anyway and,

I had lost my Cath Kidston make-up bag which my brother and sister-in-law got me for my first birthday after splitting with my ex and when everything was, pretty much, falling down around my ears.

So I sat in the car and I cried…and then I realised I couldn’t fix my face because I had no make-up, so I cried a bit more.

So apparently I am a make-up person.

I also hadn’t realised how expensive the stuff is! Generally, you don’t buy your make up all in one go.  You slowly build a collection, working out what brands, colours, textures you like, spending time and effort culturing this collection that will help you face the day. £5 here, £7 there.  So having to walk into Superdrug on a Sunday and purchase everything in one go was a bit of an overwhelming situation for both myself and my wallet.  I forgot what skin tone I had, I forgot how some mascaras just irritate my contact lenses and I look like a panda by lunchtime. I forgot that, unless its fool proof, I’m going to fuck it up and unless its quick I’m not going to use it. But after what seemed like hours hovering over all the make-up stands (so much so the ‘security’ had started to loiter close to me) I put all the novelty items back. I gave up trying to fit everything in with the myriad of BOGOF, 2for1 and spend ‘£20 get a free contouring set’ deals and gathered together a selection of, what I think, are fool proof items to start my new collection, and do you know what?  I don’t think I’ve done too badly.

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I am not Superwoman

Well, its official, my mind is a mess, my body is a mess, my house is a mess and my parenting style is a mess.  I have been working long hours for a hellish project and it has taken its toll on every part of me. This week I’ve cried in the office over a very small thing, I’ve cried at home over big and small things. I’ve had a very poorly tummy (I will say no more on that right now), I’ve stared at my massive washing up pile every evening for the past four days but have not yet washed it up and I’m being a shit mum as all I want to do is come home and veg on the sofa when Charlotte wants me to play and we have eaten crap way too often recently (thank goodness nursery gives her real food).  

 I am apparently part time and have the salary that goes with it, yet I have also worked more than full time hours over the past few weeks and have been logging on at home in the evenings just to get stuff done.  This is not a recipe for a happy, well-balanced life is it?

 So I’m thinking about going to the doctors to be signed off for a bit after long and teary discussions with lots of my friends because I’m not sure I can do it anymore. But something is stopping me and I can’t quite figure out what.  Pride, maybe. Stubbornness, maybe.  Conscientiousness, maybe. Worried about the stigma, maybe.  But I think it’s mainly down to the fact that, even though I know it’s utter bullshit, somewhere inside of me still seems to think I should be fucking Superwoman!!  This fictional character who is able to deal with all areas of life effectively, all the time.  Whose house is spotless. Whose children don’t have tantrums and do eat broccoli. Whose nails are perfectly manicured at all times and who can still hold down a full time job and keep up with the high stresses in her job.  Single mum or not Superwoman has her shit together

superwoman Well being Superwoman and ‘having it all’ seems like a quick way into an early grave, so, as one of my friends said, I need to choose my priorities.  Surprisingly work comes nowhere near the top of this list so I need to make sure it’s not at the top of my stress list either. 

 I feel a revelation coming on. #iamnotsuperwoman

 

 

The Single Mum’s 29 (ish)-Day Challenge

Whilst wasting time passing some time on Pinterest I came upon an infographic entitled ‘The Single Girls 30-Day Challenge’.  Now, I am single girl (…lets not mention that the rest of my divorce still hasn’t gone through yet…) but not many of the challenges seemed particularly realistic so I tweaked a few and ended up with this, much more do-able, 30-day challenge.  But as its the 1st February and I’ve crossed a couple off it can be my 29 (ish) day challenge.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

e3f8150e_Love_Sex-SingleGirlsChallenge

Goodbye 2015

As is a custom on this day each year I wish you all a happy new year and wonder where the bloody hell 2015 went??  I am also picking up my keyboard, blowing the dust off and posting something on my blog, which hasn’t happened for some time!  I guess I just got fed up of always posting depressing reads and longed for the day I could post something positive that I wouldn’t have to take back a week later because my judgement of a situation maybe wasn’t quite the real deal.

But after an exhausting few months at work, various health scares and hospital visits for both myself and my friends and family I just didn’t feel like picking up the pen to fill you lovely people on yet another crappy moment of my life so I went quiet. But I did miss posting…and reading comments from my lovely readers lots.

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Just a little round up of the festive season. 

 

Taking a glance back to my last New Years post, I actually have done lots of the things I said I would for which I’m very proud!  I have got a new job and even a promotion at that!  I finally moved house and, I (with help from my miracle worker/sleep consultant) even sorted out Charlottes sleep, meaning I had more me time and a happier daughter too!  I’m not sure I’ve yet learned what I should do with that time but that’s part of my goal for this year.

So on to 2016 and this time around my main goal is to say “no” more. 

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My new mantra…

I am a people pleaser.  I am well aware of it and it’s a family trait. I like making other people happy, I like volunteering for things, and I like to keep busy.  I get a warm and schmushy feeling when I help out but I have begun to find that being this person all the time is actually detrimental to my health and wellbeing.  I book myself up to keep busy and help others and then moan because I don’t have enough time to keep on top of the day to day things that would help me live a calmer life. So, for once, I’m going to be selfish. Not in a’selfish bitch’ way but I’m going to come first for a while and look after me. (OK, let’s be honest, I’m always going to be second to Charlotte but that would be a major improvement!)

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing my blog and I’m hoping that I haven’t lost all my readers and I can pick up the pen and keep you posted.

Please let me know what your goals are for the year in the comments below and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break.

A beautiful day.

September is a crazy month and always has been. It got a bit crazier when I split with my ex a couple of years ago too but last weekend it got crazy in the best way possible. My BFF got married…and it was bloody wonderful!!!

Yes, there were stresses before (let’s not even mention the dress and how many times it was picked apart and put back together again). Yes, there was the obligatory argument between the bride and groom the night before the wedding over something that wasn’t that awful but could have hypothetically ruined the entire day and yes, there were aching legs the night before after preparing the castle (yes, you heard right) for the big day. I bet medieval women had buns of steel with all those cobbles and spiral staircases to go up and down!  

the boys looking industrious
 
But when Saturday came, a calm descended and everything was just beautiful. The bride looked more than beautiful, the groom looked beautiful in his blue suit, the castle looked beautiful with the sun shining on it on, what can only be described as a perfect autumnal day. Charlotte was a flower girl and wore most of what she was meant to and I was bridesmaid in a gorgeous teal gown with hair and make up done by a miracle worker/hair and make up artist.  

feeling pretty , scuse the sneak peek of a bra!
 
Yes, Charlotte had a couple of meltdowns during the day but apparently everyone ignored those and said she was well behaved. Yes, I spilt something down my dress but that was after the photos so it was fine-ish. Yes, there were times when I felt lonely and like the only single person there (I wasn’t – quite) but it also reminded me just how much I believe in marriage and that, just because my first didn’t work out, doesn’t automatically mean that if there were to be a second, that would fail too. 

It also reminded me just how much I love my best friend and how much I miss her now we don’t live close. Four days in her company felt like a lifetime and both of us were sad to say goodbye. She shouldn’t have been as she was oFf on her mini-moon! I was heading back home to finally pack up my flat and put up curtain poles as its my moving in weekend next! Eeek!

     
So to Rachel and Chris, your wedding was a fairytale for all of us and I look forward to being part of your happy ever after. Xxx  

We made it! 

We’re on holiday! We finally got here and it has been no mean feat as last Sunday Charlotte came home with chicken pox. Worst. Timing. Ever.  

I panicked, I hoped it would be a mild case, I accepted offers of reassurance that every child is different and it may not even bother her…
They were wrong – she was covered from head to toe by Monday and decidedly grumpy, whiney, whingey and eventually properly poorly.  Luckily each of these stages were fairly quick even though I did feel like I was suffering from proper jail fever and ready to crack. By Friday however we managed to get out of the house and by that evening we had a signed a ‘fit to fly’ note saying we could actually get on a plane without infecting the whole carriage! 
So after all that drama and uncertainty it was amazing to get on the plane and eventually get to our resort. It is all inclusive so I intend to eat, drink and be merry with Charlotte and my friends who have braved holidaying with us.