Feeling guilty when things are ok for you

Lately a few of my friends are really going through it. Tough times both at home and at work. I know how they feel, we’ve all been there. We look at everyone else and think ‘oh I wish my life was as simple as hers’. I know those idyllic lives aren’t always what they seem on the outside but sometimes you just want everything to be just a little bit easier.

Over the past few years my little family has been through our ups and downs, it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind, four years ago I hadn’t even met Mr S. I had a great career and was reasonably happy. Now I have a husband, a 2.5 year old, a fab house, no full-time job admittedly but it’s all pretty good. Yes there are areas I’d like to change, I’d like to push myself to have the courage to work for myself and make all my ideas reality, I would also like to know that the Rockstar will go through the ‘naughty’ phase and we will come out the other side. Apart from that we’re pretty good.

I have a set of friends that help me in many ways, I have one that dropped off food to our house for two weeks while the Rockstar was in NICU, I have a friend who I whinge too over WhatsApp and she does the same back, I have a friend/sister who knows everything about me and gives honest, really honest feedback. I have a friend for every occasion and I know if I am low one of them will spot it.

I hate that those close to me are having tough times and I try as hard as I can to help in whatever ways I can, whether it’s a phone call or sending a silly card to put a smile on their face. I am constantly thinking of them and finding ways I can help, in any small way. I just want everyone to be happy. I know that’s not always realistic.

My sister jokes with me and says I just want to fix everything. Yes maybe I do. Sometimes my life is easier when everyone around me is happy, that sounds so selfish but it’s true. I can spend my time concentrating on our relationships and having fun knowing that my friend is happy. Knowing someone is hurting is really hard.

I’ve been through times when I have felt low, and I mean really low and if it wasn’t for an unwanted busy body then I may not be here today. I say unwanted busy body but really it was a saviour, without this person butting in then I wouldn’t have asked for it and just carried on for as long as I could, feeling bloody awful.

I look back at that time now and am thankful I had one friend that made it his business to help and that spiralled in to lots of people helping. Back then I couldn’t imagine my life as it is now, so I truly believe that things do get better, at the time I know it is hard to imagine, but it does. I look in on peoples lives and can see what needs to change but it has to be done when they are ready, I’m just there to assist if they need it.

So I will be that busy body for as long as I am allowed, just letting my mates that are having a rough ride know that I am here if they need me. I hope that while I do this, they will be there for me when I go through the next patch of rough stuff, because it’s sure to happen.

We are all so busy with our lives that we may not look deep enough into our friends lives. Yes, it may feel life prying and you may have friends that keep things close to their chests, so just ask a few more questions, call instead of text, pop round for a glass of wine, just let them know you’re there.

One thing I have realised is that I have been known to spend so much time worrying about others that I’ve let parts of my life drop to the wayside, a happy medium is hard and I need learn that I can’t always help everyone. In the meantime I will give it a really good try.

 

Sorry Son, yesterday I failed you

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So yesterday wasn’t my finest parenting day so far. My 2.5 year old son pushed me to the limits and I turned in to a mum I never wanted to be, I feel the need to say sorry.

‘Rockstar, We had a really busy weekend with your Aunty and 7 year old cousin staying. You and her do push each others buttons and wind each other up. We went out a lot, late to bed and early mornings so yesterday when we had just a ‘normal’ day just me and you, was clearly not enough for you.

You are what I call a ‘proper boy’ you can be a bit boisterous and we love a rough and tumble but we also love cuddles and kisses but yesterday it all went a step too far. We had a discussion over breakfast, I know that’s not a fight to battle, you were going to be with me all day so if you just wanted a banana for breakfast that was fine. I let you have it.

I know you were tired and you wanted mummy to play but I really did need to tidy the house. Mummy tried to explain that she would play as soon as she had done the washing but that wasn’t enough. You threw your cars out of the play room, tipped up the crayon pot, emptied the contents of the play kitchen. I told you off but carried on loading the washing machine.

I could hear you shouting out at me to come and play, I felt bad but the house was such a mess, I needed to get on top of it before we started making a mess again. I know sometimes days can be boring, in my head I was telling you we would go to the park this afternoon but I couldn’t say it out loud otherwise you’d want to go now. The weather was awful otherwise you and the puppy dog could have played in the garden.

Your shouting continued, so I gave in and came to sat on the floor in the play room with you, you settled for a bit until you found the plastic golf club but couldn’t find the ball. You got so frustrated, I asked you to just wait while I looked for it for you, but instead you hit me over the back with it. Hard.

It did hurt but only as much as a plastic golf club can! I think it was just the end of a few hours of ‘naughtiness’. I shouted at you, loudly, probably louder than I have before, to the point of the dog going to the back door wanting to go out in the rain and get away. I took the club from you and put it out of reach, you had a breakdown, you screamed and started to pick up imaginary things from the floor and throw them at me. I took hold of your arm and moved you out of the play room, I sat you on the floor in the kitchen and asked you to sit there and think about what you’d done. You got up and walked off, hitting the dog on your way past. I shouted again.

I repeated the process, to get the same reaction. What more could I do? The house was a mess, I didn’t really care about that, you were clearly angry and sad and at this point so was I. I took you in my arms and asked you to calm down, it didn’t help, you lashed out at me again. We ended up both sat on the sofa crying.

You looked at me and asked why was I crying, I explained that you’d hurt me and I was sad that you were unhappy. I said I was sorry for crying. You asked me to say sorry to you for pulling your arm. I laughed, I had to say sorry to you!

Here I was sat looking a mess, feeling so awful that I shouted really loudly at you, forcefully taking your arm, and not playing with you. How did we get to this point? I never wanted to be the mother that shouted back at my gorgeous handsome boy and cry in front of you but it’s happened and I’m worried it won’t be the last time.

The day didn’t continue like that, you ate your lunch with no arguments, you had a sleep and we went to the park and had fun. We talked about being kind and gentle but I didn’t push it too much. By the time daddy came home you were calmer as if nothing had happened, I on the other hand was still struggling so I was pretty quick to hand you over to daddy and go and have a bath (with a wine). I cried again. You went to bed like a good boy after lots of kisses and cuddles saying Love you Mummy. I love you Rocco’

I told Mr S about our day and that I was worried about these outbursts and maybe they were our fault. He is our only child but I wouldn’t say he was spoilt but I do find myself giving in sometimes and maybe that’d where it’s started.

I want him to be a kind loving boy but I can’t help thinking that there’s something underlying that is making him so frustrated. He’s not like it all the time. I mentioned it to nursery today and they assured me it wasn’t just Rocco, it was him pushing boundaries but they’d keep an eye on it.

Every day of parenting is challenging but yesterday really did test me, but I survived. Not sure how many more I will cope with and I will admit I was happy that today is a nursery day. I just need to think back to a few days ago when we were in the supermarket, Rocco and I were chatting like we do and a lovely lady came over to say how nice it was that I told him I was proud of him and that he was a good boy. She praised us both for not screaming and shouting at each other.

If only she’d seen us yesterday.

 

 

 

The bits I missed out on

 

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So I made the mistake of watching One Born Every Minute today, sometimes it has no effect on me at all, I must be tired because I cried and it wasn’t even a really emotional one.

The same happened when I was watching Sarra Hoy on the News last week promoting BLISS and seeing her prem little boy so fit and well, it just reminds me how lucky so many people are. I am grateful for the love and support we had in NICU and have been very vocal about it but today I had an overwhelming sense that I’d missed out. I haven’t felt like I have regressed back to Rocco’s arrival for a while.

I was taken into hospital just to be monitored and ended up having a C-Section, 18 hours later at 5am in the morning. I wasn’t aware that was going to be the outcome that day.

It wasn’t having a section that worries me but I’d imagined my sister sat outside waiting for news as I did with her. She wasn’t there so I wanted her to call her as soon as he’d arrived but I couldn’t as it was so early in the morning and she had a massive event that day (that I was meant to be at) so I felt she needed more sleep.

The calls Mr S made to tell our closest family of the new arrival were received with more shock than the normal conversation would have been, no one expected it. I hadn’t called anyone in the night to say I’d been moved to the delivery suite, the first Mr S knew was when he got the call to get back to the hospital. Part of me wishes I had now.

It wasn’t until today that I yearned for that moment straight after birth when in most cases you get to cuddle your baby, have everyone say how gorgeous he was and hold him close right away. In our photos we are all gowned up, Mr S has the little man and although I’m there in body I wasn’t really there! Both Rocco and Daddy were then whisked away to NICU. I totally understand that had to be done but I feel a bit deprived.

I do find it strange that I have these feelings today, we’re 2.5 years on, Rocco is a fit, he’s healthy (apart from his recurring winter cough which I am hoping he will grow out of) and he’s happy.

I was talking to someone about her maternity leave and she said coming home was lovely and settling in to home life 2 days after giving birth was great.  I spent a lot of time in NICU, I wasn’t home with my baby. I came home without the little man, I don’t remember struggling with it too much although my mum said she thinks I did. Maybe that’s why I regress.

I also don’t remember getting lots of ‘Baby’ cards until Rocco came home which I suppose is understandable but after the birth of a baby the house should be filled with joy and happiness. Ours was a little more subdued but full or relief that both he and I were going to be ok.

It really is strange how these memories come back to me and niggle at me from time to time. I can go months without thinking back to those times and usually when I do it’s a bit blurry and Mr S puts the pieces together for me, we look at some pictures, look at the crazy two year old running around the house and all is right with the world.

It was just the start of a journey, a blip that made us stronger together and we will be forever grateful. I shouldn’t feel deprived, I should feel thankful and not worry about those small bits I missed out on.

On that note I’m off to collect him from nursery and give him a great big squeeze. I’m very lucky that I can.

Let me S.P.E.L.L it out for you

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Our little man seems quite on the ball for a 2.5 year old, you can’t tell him we’re off on an adventure because he will want to do it right there and then. That could just be mummy’s impatience rubbing off on him actually.

As he’s getting more articulate and his memory is getting better, I’m more aware of what’s on the TV if he’s in the room – especially the News. I believe that there are things a little one just doesn’t need to see, we’ve no idea how much he’s taking in. I wasn’t sure when this would happen but knew it would at some point.

The funny side of him changing, listening and remembering has been entertaining.  If he over hears me talking on the phone and I mention the park, he immediately says “Park please mummy”. If I go to the freezer to get peas or ice cubes, Rocco will push me out of the way and reach for the lollies. If I call my mum on handsfree, Rocco will immediately say “can we visit Papa now please”.

We can’t mention holidays without Rocco requesting to watch the video on my phone of him on a plane last summer and asking when we’re next going on one. Good point actually son.

I’m finding myself more conscious of the conversations we have in front of him, there are just some things he doesn’t need to hear, although our adult conversations are all kid orientated these days anyway.

So I’ve taken to spelling key words out when I’m talking to Mr S, but for someone as clever as Mr S he just doesn’t get it!

For example Mr S will ask what we’re up to today.  I will spell out the words Park, Farm, Swimming etc and I’m not sure why I bother because as soon as I spell it, I can see Mr S spell it out in his head and then say it out loud!  The Rockstar hears it and is off to find his shoes and go on and on about it until we actually go out. Thanks Dad.

Rocco also has a thing about new stuff from shoes to toothpaste – he doesn’t like them, if he knows about them! I also don’t make a big deal out of new stuff to the little man, trouble is daddy does.

I bought Rocco a different toothpaste the other day but didn’t mention it, just popped it on the toothbrush and he cleaned his teeth. That night Mr S was getting him ready for bed and said ‘ Oh Rocco look you’ve got a new toothpaste’  to which the reply was “Nooooooo daddy I don’t like it”.

I had bought Rocco a new pillow and popped it in his cot (yep he’s still in the cot and I’m in no rush to move him) anyway new pillow in cot, Mr S puts him to bed and just before I can say ‘don’t mention the new P.I.L.L.O.W’  he says ‘Oh Rocco look at this lovely soft new pillow’. Then I hear the screaming “Noooo daddy I want my other pillow”.

Oh Daddy will you ever learn?

I wonder if it’s a mummy thing. Until recently my sister and I were still spelling words out in front of my niece, she’s now 7 and reminds me that she can spell now.

Maybe Mr S and I should start communicating by writing things down in future or maybe carry on as we are and our son will be a genius speller or at least Daddy may get the hang of it!

Right, I’m off to call the girls and organise a night out for a glass of W.I.N.E!

I want to talk about death

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Recently we seem to have been surrounded by death. We recently lost Mr S’ Grandad, he’d had a good innings at 91 but still a great loss, my dads brother passed away this week- I didn’t see him much but still a loss for my dad. A friend has been left devastated by the sudden death of his dad and then just this week a guy I have worked with who fought cancer for 6 years passed away leaving his wife and young son.

It’s the latter that has made me think long and hard about the need to lay out some plans incase death strikes our little family before it should. My friend knew what the outcome was going to be so I am sure as a family they had discussed it and their young son was aware of the invetatable but it still breaks my heart to think of a little family being torn apart and left to rebuild their unit. I don’t know whether the time to talk and prepare is better than it suddenly happening. I know I have the need to talk about death with Mr S but not with a 2 year old. He hasn’t asked about Great Grandad yet I’m not sure what we will say, I suspect he won’t ask for a few years yet, pictures of him suffice.

Mr S isn’t one for talking, let alone about dying. I need to know my wishes are in place, not just so I get what I want, after all I won’t know, but to make things easier for my family that are left behind.

I know of families that have fallen out over funeral plans, fallen out over the Will, I don’t want that, it’s just not needed. Mr S will have enough on his hands with the Rockstar and clearly grieving for his loss, without worrying about what happens next.

As an ‘organiser’ I want my funeral to run like clockwork, in fact I’ve already written the ‘event schedule’ for it! I’ve made suggestions on where the after party should be, food and drink. It’s what my friends would expect of me.

I haven’t got a huge amount of ‘special items’ but I’ve listed who should have what. I imagine the girls going through the wardrobe for coats and handbags whilst drinking fizz.

The next thing I want to do is get back to writing more emails for Rocco to read over the years. I have no intention of leaving him just yet and I hope I will still be around when he reads them but just in case something happens, I need to get back on top of that. I constantly fill his memory box of reminders of our adventures. I print off lots of pictures and pop them in little albums for him to flip through.

Mr S and I have talked briefly about what happens if we both die at the same time, who would have Rocco?  It’s an easy one for us when we have such close siblings whose morals and values are the same as ours, so it’s not actually something I really worry about. Once we decided that Rocco would be an only child I did panic somewhat about him being alone but that’s not a concern since we have talked about it.

Since we have been talking about death, Mr S has told me of a few things he would like at his funeral, I didn’t know these things, so talking has helped. It hasn’t felt morbid, yes it’s an awful thought and one I hope we don’t go through for some time but after the last few weeks you just don’t know.

I’ve downloaded some info on writing your own Will just so it is there in writing although for me it’s not about who gets what, it’s more about making sure people know how I feel about them.

If the last few weeks have taught me anything it’s taught me to talk more about what happens next, it’s not morbid, yes it’s a bit scary but it needs to be done. Find out what your loved ones want, work on that bucket list, call your mate you haven’t spoken to for a while, just spend some time doing fun stuff because life really is too short.

How would it ever work?

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Yesterday was a game of two halves for me, a bit of a rollercoaster. I woke up early enough to have a decent length shower, wash my hair, dry it (shock) and put on a full face of makeup. All before the little man demanded breakfast. I got him off to nursery with a day planned that consisted of looking at a property, some last minute research, an informal conference call interview, a trip to the shops to buy some birthday gifts. So a productive day was planned.

I was a little nervous about the ‘informal interview’ it’s been a while and it’s for a weighty role in the big smoke. It’s for a company that has always been on my ‘ I’d love to work for them’ list. I’m feeling pretty good about it as they found me, so whichever way it goes I can be thankful that I still look like a good proposition on paper!

I drop the Rockstar at nursery, whizz home to pop some washing in and the phone goes – I see the name of the nursery pop up. Whenever this happens I always fear the worst – He’s been expelled at 2 and a half!

Chicken Pox has been all over nursery and although I have been quietly bragging that we’ve not caught it I knew our time was up. But WHY today! I got back in the car to collect him. I can cancel the property viewing but the interview with a poorly two year old in the  background, never gonna work. Worst still when I collected him he only has 3 spots and is full of beans.

I quickly call my mum and tell her we’re decamping at her house so she can entertain the boy whilst I pretend to be the professional I once was. Just as well they couldn’t see me from the waist down in my tracksuit! It went well and I hope it goes further.

Although one question that keeps cropping up ‘ How could it work? take days like today when Mr S has to go in to the office, I was the one that collected the little man. If we were both working full time as employees to someone else, how do you make this work. Which one takes the day off? what if there is no support around for someone else to collect the boy? (luckily for us this is a very unlikely situation)

So following my 40 mins of professionalism I went back to being mummy, full of cuddles and Bing. When nap time finally arrived I was back on my lap top trying to work out potential budgets and movements should this come off, a bit premature but may mean I do want to give it a go, if I get the chance.

Then an email pings in to my account from a local recruitment agency asking if I am looking for work. The role is reasonable enough, not as challenging as the Big Smoke one, probably wouldn’t offer me any career progression (Another question – at 46 should I still expect that?) and half the money but it is on the doorstep.

Yes it would be easier for the family but is that enough for me?

I didn’t think having a baby as late as I did would fill me with such emotion in every area of my life. The career bit has raised it’s ugly head a lot lately, most of the time I think I need it back in my life. I enjoy working for someone else, I’m good at what I do and if that means we have to make some changes as a family I’m happy to do so but the question is will Mr S and the Rockstar go with those changes.

Anyway I better go back to searching for a new work wardrobe and a little mid week apartment in London……in reality that was cuddle a spotty baby while convincing him he didn’t need his third lolly of the day. How will that ever work??!

 

Friendship Groups – where do you fit?

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I spent the evening with some girlie mates on Saturday, we’re a mixed bag which is why we compliment each other so well. We have one that will listen, one that gives an honest opinion, one that you can call from anywhere in the world and she will help, the list goes on but it’s comforting to know we all offer something different.

During a chat a friend of mine admitted she was upset that she’d be described as ‘the career one’.
1. Why was she upset to be described as that? It’s a fab compliment
2. Once upon a time it was me that would have been described that way

This made me ask – where do I fit now? I don’t need to be pigeon holed/ranked amongst the group but we  do have friends that have an obvious fit.

* The ‘Dater‘ who enjoys coasting not seeming to be rushing to make plans for the future. She’s out a lot and has a good social life.
* We have the ‘Mumsy‘ who has raised two kids on her own and done remarkably well but doesn’t want her girls to grow up so will staying mumsy of a while yet. We think its time she finds herself the gorgeous man and has fun. That said she is studying for a degree so once the kids are gone she can enhance her career.
* The ‘Fit One‘ the MILF of the gang. The less said about her the better!
* That ‘Career Girl‘ she’s worked hard and will be a Director soon, she doesn’t have a huge amount of luck on the man front, she’s a tad fussy! I also admire her skill in having different pockets of mates that enhance her social life to the point of over doing it sometimes. She likes to keep everyone happy, while maintaining a really good job.
* Then me – I used to be the career one, working hard and playing hard. I moved to the Big Smoke and had a fab working life but craved a personal life too so came back to the mighty West Country to gain some control. I met and married Mr S and had a baby all within 2 years.
For a while I was the ‘One that had it all‘ a family and great job. I practically worked through maternity and went back to work after 5 months, so I guess I did have it all. Then circumstances changed I was made redundant and I become the ‘stay at home mum with a bit of freelance thrown in‘. I’m not sure that’s where I want to sit.
On a personal level I am the one that organises the fun stuff we do as a group, the one that instigates us getting together, sometimes I’m not sure why I bother as everyone is always busy, which just cements my place in the group as the stay at home mum with time on her hands, I wish the latter was true.

I have another set of friends ‘The Witches‘ I’ve been friends with them a long time, we’ve always worked but I couldn’t bring myself to call this set the ‘working girls!’.  We get together for a good old gossip but recently I’ve felt a little out of the loop. They all have older kids now and all work full time.
Our kids aren’t going through the same thing – mines in nappies, they are looking at Senior Schools and Unis. We did have work in common for a long time but that’s out of the equation at the moment for me, so I found myself bailing out of meeting them for dinner. I didn’t feel I had anything to bring to the table.

I try to think about the times when they were going through potty training and school runs and I was on a beach in Barbados or schmoozing with Johnny Depp. Right now I don’t have anything exciting to add so I step away. Don’t get me wrong I love hearing about their work and families, I love them all dearly but I guess part of me is a bit jealous.

I want to be a bit of everything – that mum that cooks and cleans, works full time and looks amazing. Not sure that is even possible, there always has to be a compromise.

The Career girl works hard and doesn’t put the time in to meet the man of her dreams has probably chosen her path (I envied her as she could go home to lay on the sofa nursing her hangover), the mumsy works hard enough to get by with her priority being her kids, the mates that have older kids and work full-time – they do this to sustain the lives they lead. All of which are commendable in their own way.

I’ve realised I need to stop looking for a label and enjoy this time. We survive financially, still have great holidays, the little man goes to nursery a few days a week so I can work and still have some amazing adventures with him. I may not be that career girl anymore with an amazing wardrobe and I’m certainly not that full on bake at home mum, I hope I fit somewhere in-between and am there for any of my crazy friends if they need me.

That’ll do for me. For now.