It *does* get easier

I went to see my cousin and her children the other day with JJ and EJ. She has a two and a half year old and a seven month old. They are both gorgeous but the baby is adorable – such a happy little man!

We went to a local playground and then back to hers for pizza (and a sneaky glass of white for us mummies 😊).

At one point during our conversation she asked me to reassure her that it does get easier. To be honest she looks to me like she is breezing it but I guess that’s the myth of modern motherhood. Of course my immediate default response was to think about my current parenting challenges and try and convey what it might be like for her in five years time.

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The law of attraction?

I’ve written before about having a positive mental attitude (with all disclaimers for those who suffer with clinical depression/hormonal imbalance, etc.), and it’s a subject I regularly come back to. I think it’s even more important in times of adversity: when ‘bad’ things happen (things which you wouldn’t have chosen, or things which were completely out of your control) it’s important to remember that you have it in you to regroup and find the silver lining.

I recently went on Amazon Prime Video and I wanted to find a movie to watch which would fit my mood. It occurred to me that some of my favourite movies are ones which inspire me in some way, or convey a really universal truth about how to find happiness in life. Groundhog Day is a perfect example – not only is it a really funny film (Bill Murray’s best performance in my opinion) but it provides the ultimate message: that until you stop expecting good things to happen no matter what you’re like, or what you do, or how you treat others, you cannot move forwards towards real fulfilment – you have to make a change in yourself.

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Coping with the demands of parenthood

I assume that most people probably hear the phrase ‘high demand child’ and think ‘come on, aren’t all children demanding?’, and yes, I presume that most kids will have high expectations of their parents and want/need a lot of stuff done for them on a day to day basis, however, I believe that the way my eldest son, JJ, is hardwired means that he takes ‘demanding’ to another level.

The thing is, he’s always been like this – as a baby he had colic and cried non-stop so I could never switch off and think about anything else. As a toddler he was unable to play imaginative games on his own and didn’t much like TV so I couldn’t do what other people seemed to be able to do and pop him down in front of cbeebies for five minutes while I had a quick shower or tune out with an hour cuddling up and watching a Disney movie (he’s still not much of a one for feature length movies).

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Single parenthood and loneliness

It’s been 13 months now for me as a single parent. For the first five months my children and I lived with my parents and that came with it’s own challenges (namely 400 miles a week of commuting just to do the school run). Since September 2016 the three of us have lived back in our home town in a two bedroom rented house. The children spend the night with their father anywhere from once, twice or three nights a week depending on his work schedule and availability and my one proviso is that the children are home with me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when there are after school clubs and activities and I try and maintain a constant mid-week routine.

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On mediocrity

“Is there such a thing as a successful comedian who isn’t also a tortured soul?”

I am reminded of Robin Williams and Spike Milligan but…well it’s not just comedians is it? Anyone with any kind of creative drive is probably in the same boat – the life experiences which mould us, which input directly into our mental health – these affect us as creative, motivated, driven individuals, don’t they?

I remember a time when I was 16 and first got a glimpse of this phenomenon. I was attending a residential holiday camp in Cheltenham run by the British Theatre Association along with my friend Ali who was keen on a career on the stage at that time. To be honest, I wasn’t bothered but I did enjoy stagecraft, theatre, the drama of it all (literally) and if I had understood that nugget of truth about myself in the moment, I probably wouldn’t have been so affected by what I witnessed.

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What I got from Blogfest 2016

scummy-mummies

When I booked my ticket for this year’s Blog Fest I felt like it was a total whim. I didn’t know who else was going and I certainly didn’t have a burning desire to gather tips on photography, vlogging or monetising or any need to feign interest in starting up a relationship with the likes of Unilever, Barclays or Coca Cola. What did intrigue me was the guest list, the entertainment value and the panel discussions.

I went to Blog Fest back in 2014 and I really enjoyed the day – meeting up with people I’d only ever seen in 2D and soaking up the atmosphere, being in a huge space filled with like-minded women (for the most part – once again the attendance of the dad bloggers was entirely minimal – I briefly chatted to Tim (Slouching Towards Thatcham) and another dad blogger called James and I think they said they were two of five dads attending!).

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Blog fraud (the posts that passed me by…)

blog-missing-in-action

Call out the blog police – I’m still calling myself a blogger even though I haven’t posted a thing for weeks – and not only that but I’m off to Mumsnet Blogfest at the weekend which seems doubly fraudulent!

I guess the main reasons for my lack of input are these: life lately has been both mundane and complicated; full disclosure is not an option; it feels like things have changed so much since I began this blog back in July 2013 and despite the fact that I’ve never really stuck to a niche or a formula with regards subject matter, I am still struggling to decide what I want to write about and share.

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Repetition and variation: Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Can you believe that the movie Groundhog Day is now 23 years old? I remember going to see it at the cinema in 1993 with my friend Karen – it was the end of my first year at University and Karen’s year abroad in the UK (from the US). It took a while to get one’s head around the story – I remember my initial reaction being “what was that all about?” – I was hooked on the desire for things to always be properly explained – abstraction, for a while, seemed unacceptable.

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What’s in an age?

Helen mirren - age just a number

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they are constantly reading things written by people ten or fifteen years younger than themselves bemoaning how middle age is upon them and after that everything must wither and die? Unless there are a lot of people out there who truly believe that they are destined to kick the bucket the day they turn 60 then a lot of people are obsessed with “youth”.

OK, understandable, fair enough, but for me, the benchmark of ‘youth’ is not looking back ten or fifteen years into the past from where I’m at right now, but looking ten, fifteen years into the future.

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Letting go of stress and anxiety

balance in life

I may not be the best person to be making bold statements about such things, a lot of stressful things have happened recently and I haven’t exactly taken everything in my stride, but, as I get older and I spend time reflecting on my own way of reacting to certain things, I realise that I’m actually quite good at keeping the yin and yang in balance and not allowing myself to be swept up in an emotionally charged response to potentially negative news.

I’ve read other people recently talking about certain things – the end of a breastfeeding journey for example – and really agonising over it. I look back at my own experience and I realise that (certainly second time round) when I made a decision to stop breastfeeding that was it. What good is the agonising? The same goes for parent guilt – something most of us feel at some point.

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