Back to basics for us.

Another long hiatus from me I’m afraid. I don’t know how other bloggers do daily posts…weekly seems difficult enough for me! But then maybe their not juggling all the other things too. Work is full on, home is full on and I’m now taking on the challenge of being a completely gluten free household too as, after the biopsy, we had confirmation that Charlotte does indeed have Coeliac Disease. Just what we needed!   

  
So I’m now trying to work out what this means and how it will affect our lives…so far I’ve come to the conclusion that it will affect it a lot! 
I have to admit I have become a lazy cook. We go out for food quite often and we eat ‘easy’ foods. I’m not happy with this scenario as I used to love cooking and trying new things but time has not been on our side and I’ve recently been picking the easiest options. After a trip to Bill’s Restaurant and Starbucks I’ve realised this can not be the way forward. The options available for a four year old Coelic are non existent and this in turn means a hungry child and a stressed out mum! So I’m going to have to go back to basics, meal planning and cooking from scratch. Great! When the hell in going to fit all this in I’m not sure yet! 

  
My high pressure project had a very brief quiet moment last week and I had time to take stock and realise that Charlotte has actually been quite poorly and getting worse over the past few months. Cue ‘worst mum in the world feeling’. She’s tired all the time, she’s waking during the night again, she’s grumpy and so am I and she is catching every bug going. I have also slowly been gaining more and more weight because of this unhealthy lifestyle we’ve slipped into so we need the change but I’m petrified. There’s so much to take in and implement and it seems so overwhelming. So rather that deal with it right now we’re running away on holiday in the hope we’ll both be rejuvenated enough so get cracking on the change when we get back. 

  
So now I have to focus on washing and ironing in order to pack and work out what the hell i’m going to wear by a swimming pool so I don’t look and feel like a beached whale. 
Anyone got a tarpaulin I could borrow?? 

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The Vitamin D boost. 

This week I snuck off to Portugal for a childfree break. I didn’t think it would be able to happen as I didn’t think I’d be able to get the time off work or that my ex would have had Charlotte as, before I ripped him a new one over Christmas when he thought having her for one day over the Christmas break was good enough, he wouldn’t have had her for longer than a couple of days. But, surprisingly, when I asked him only because ‘what did I have to lose’, he said yes. 
So I had a cheap, week long break with friends in Portugal booked. I had no time to think about it as work was taking up 100% of my energy so the night before I packed my bags in a very random fashion, ransacked the house for my passport and drove down to Bristol to get on an aeroplane. 
And it’s been a well needed rest. 

 

One of the many beautiful beaches I sat on this week.
 
I’ve said no to the crazy watersports my friends were excited about, I’ve eaten lots of delicious Portuguese food, drunk quite a lot of Portuguese wine and I have sat on various beaches and read my book and thought about life, the universe and everything. I’m not sure I came to any epiphanies or great conclusions but I have definitely decided that my life cannot carry on on the way it is at the moment. I need to off load some stress, I need to enjoy my daughter and the time I have alone. I am currently doing the exact opposite of this. 

 

Feeling a little bit anti-social whilst watching my friends go paddle boarding…not so much when they came back 3 hours later knackered and aching.
 
My travel companions have highlighted this even more as they are all so different to me. Not in a bad way, I’ve had an amazing time and we all get on amazingly well, but they are all living lives and having experiences that I just haven’t even grazed the surface of. They’ve travelled, they’ve been impulsive, they’ve taken risks, they’re all comfortable in the decisions they’ve made and I’ve done none of these things. 
This is not to say that I want to pack up and run off somewhere (although that does sound tempting) but I need to make some drastic changes with both mine and Charlotte’s lives so I do not get to the end of this life and think…well I could have done so much more. 
I’m a homebody, but that doesn’t mean I have to be boring and I’m fed up of feeling like I’m not in control of my life. I want to be dependable for Charlotte but other parents manage to have adventures at the same time so why am I not doing this. 
So I’ve arrived back to cold, grey England and starting to take some steps to put this change into action. I’m not sure quite where they’ll lead to but hopefully it can only be to a good, new place in our life. 

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

 

 

Morning mopey thoughts.

I woke up today feeling a little bit sorry for myself. I had some quiet time to think whilst Charlotte slept in after a late night last night. This feeling could be because of many things I’m sure as its been a pretty crappy week, including slipping deadlines, fucking Valentine’s Day around the corner, a car parking ticket and worst of all loosing my make up bag last night which I’m utterly devastated by, but I also vocalised something a few days ago that is the crux of most of it…I have no one to talk to. 

Now, that’s not technically true I know, so I’m already making it sound worse than it is. But if you read my blog you know I’m not generally a pessimist. I have lots of friends I talk to and I am very very grateful for that. What I actually mean, however, is I have no one to rant about how crap my day was whilst I take off my coat and they hand me a glass of wine and just listen. I know, I know, this wouldn’t strictly happen either because I have a four year old who starts screaming for ‘Paw Patrol’ as soon as we get in the house but most people do have someone to come home to. Whether it be a flat mate, parents or a partner, they can still play that vital role in your life. It’s usually a two way thing but it just lightens the load of a heavy day and I’ve come to realise that I’m really missing that.

I have a dog to come home to, who has inevitably vomited in the house somewhere whilst I’ve been out or chewed one of charlottes toys so it is no longer usable. That’s not a particularly calming way to start an evening.

I guess I just want someone around to give me a hug and tell me it will all be alright because sometimes that’s all you need.

For now this will have to do.

It just sucks.

Nothing sucks more than being a single mum with a job and a poorly child.

Oh but wait, it sucks even more when you’re battling an evil cold yourself and you have deadlines looming for some pretty high profile work.

It sucks even more that you are run down as hell because you’ve been running yourself ragged for work for the past six months and not stopped.

It sucks even more that you have to choose between looking after your poorly child who just wants mummy cuddles or dropping her off with grandma so you can get to work and try and get some things crossed off the very long to do list.

It sucks that I changed to being a part-time working mum in the hope it would give me a better work-life balance, but it’s just ended up with me being paid less for trying to cram the same amount of work (maybe even more!) into four days rather than five.

It sucks that I constantly feel at least one step behind at work and one (or ten or twenty) steps behind at home.

So, in summary, being a working mum sucks.

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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.

I quit. 

  It has now been six months since I last had a cigarette. To some it will be a shock that I ever smoked, to some the fact that I only smoked 4-5 cigarettes a day and could take days off if I wanted or needed to, meant that I probably wasn’t a ‘real smoker’ in the first place but since my uni years I have turned to cigarettes (and wine) when I was stressed or bored and that pretty much describes lots of being a single, working full time mum and going through a divorce. 

I have had many breaks from smoking or turning it into only ‘socially’ smoking but I have realised that I never properly gave it up. 

It was my fall back and in my situation it did the job for a bit. I couldn’t drink copious amounts just in case something happened with Charlotte and I would never forgive myself if I couldn’t drive her to the hospital if that’s what she needed. My appetite diminished when I first split with my ex so my stomach wouldn’t allow chocolate to be my main vice, so smoking seemed like the only thing that could help me at that time.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad. I met some new friends from sneaking out to the smoking area at work (read: the windiest corner of the office grounds) and it was a good excuse to leave my desk and escape my horrible job but, just before Christmas last year I decided I wasn’t going to do it anymore. My clothes smelt, I was getting sore throats much more than usual, it was ridiculously expensive and, to be honest, it was bloody cold having to stand outside in the middle of winter! 

But it felt different this time. I don’t walk past smokers and yearn for one more drag. I don’t feel the need to have one because my friends are and, because I feel much better and healthier it’s not something I want to go back to. I also want to be a role model for my daughter and don’t want her to catch me in the act or always wonder why I smelt funny after coming in from outside.

I have still been through some damn stressful moments in the past six months and some damn boring ones too but I haven’t found the closest newsagents available and I am quite proud of myself for that. 

Watch this space for 12 months! 

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.  

 

Time for bed.

IMG_2297.JPGThis weekend I have been tired. Tired of being tired. Tired of Charlotte being tired. Tired of being pulled in different directions. Tired of making other people happy. Tired of listening to other peoples suggestions of how to not be tired. Just fucking tired.

I have so many things going on in my life at the minute and I don’t feel like I have control of any of it. I am not in control of Charlotte’s behaviour or sleeping patterns which, in turn, makes it very difficult for me to control my behaviour towards her and I hate the fact that I am constantly having to shout at her to do anything, so in turn she will shout or lash out at me. I hate the parent I am being at the moment but I can’t see the wood for the trees. I keep reading ‘positive parenting’ articles and, although I know all the theory, I can’t get to the calm level I need to put it into practice.

I have also realised whilst Charlotte eventually fell asleep on me at 10.30pm last night that when I return to work full time, nursery will see my daughter for 45 hours in the week and I will see her for roughly 37. 15 (ish) of these being before and after nursery which will be a rush of feeding, dressing, undressing, cleaning and other necessities. She will also no doubt be tired and grumpy for most if these if we carry on as we are. All my maternal instincts are crying out ‘Stop the madness!’ Yes, I know being at nursery won’t harm her. I know a consistent routine may help our sleeping situation but I also know that I don’t want to see her less than she sees her key worker. That’s not the way this whole parenting thing should be done. That’s not the way I want to do it.

Lots of well meaning people keep suggesting ways of making my situation better but they all involve time I don’t have, money I don’t have or motivation which is seriously lacking at the moment.

I am not depressed… I have been there and that’s not where I am now (thank goodness)…but I am stressed. I am up to my eyeballs, panic attacks stressed and something has to give. I just can’t work out what I can let go of without the rest of the carefully stacked blocks falling down. How the hell do other mums and dads do this? Or are we all just one step away from a nervous breakdown?