The Price of Love

I haven’t written on my blog for a few months now, and even though I’ve missed spending time on this passion of mine, I simply haven’t felt inspired enough to sit down and pen my thoughts. There have been some pretty major changes in my personal life which I’m still adjusting to, and this has meant time has become more of a constraint for me. Last week I received a heart-breaking message from a very dear friend, and ever since I have felt compelled to unlock my thoughts once again.

With age comes life experience, and with life experience we can find ourselves in the most unthinkable situations. Last week this transpired in reality when a friend whom I consider to be my soul sister contacted me to say her younger brother had sadly taken his own life. At the time of receiving the message, I scanned it and read all of five words before running out the house to call her. I didn’t think about the fact she may not be ready to speak, I just needed to hear her voice, I needed to try. She picked up and we both immediately broke. My heart was breaking for her and her heart was just breaking.

Why was my beautiful friend having to go through such tragedy? The girl who has been a pillar of strength to me for fifteen years. The girl who has always supported our entire friendship circle with her endless love and wisdom. I didn’t want her to have to need us in such a way, but she did, and I knew it was our duty to return the love she has always cushioned us with.

Going to bed that evening I simply couldn’t shake her brother from my thoughts. A man with a family and two beautiful boys. A man who at the tender age of thirty had his entire life in front of him, but a man who had gotten lost down the dark road of depression and was unable to find his way home. He was surrounded by people desperate to keep his head above water, but this deadly illness had riddled his mind and in the end he wasn’t able to fight the tidal wave that life had sent his way.

In the days that followed, I became very aware that my friend had adopted the carer role within this tragic situation life had thrown her into.  Being a midwife, this is instinctive, and so natural, but I couldn’t help but worry about who was taking care of her. I knew I wouldn’t feel at ease until I’d seen her for myself, and that the other girls were feeling exactly the same. When the funeral details were confirmed, we all took the day off work without hesitation and began planning the logistics of our journey to Bradford. I suddenly felt like I had aged ten years, I didn’t want to be grown up anymore, I wanted to go back in time to when we were all eighteen and life was carefree.

On the day of the funeral we left London at 5.30am, and as we hit the road I couldn’t help but think how lucky we were to have each other. True friends that would do anything to support each other, to ease the pain and amplify the love. If ever I was to go through anything so life changing, these are the girls I would want by my side every single time.

The funeral itself was one of the most dignified I have ever been to. The family were so united and conducted themselves so graciously despite the circumstances surrounding their loss. How was it that a mother and father were sat in front of their child’s coffin preparing themselves to lay him to rest. My thoughts ran away to places that I didn’t want them to go, and mentally I found myself in their shoes. As I imagine all children are for their parents, Virràe is my heart and soul, he’s my inspiration and the reason for so much that makes me who I am today. I can’t even entertain the thought in my mind, but being at the funeral, watching this play out as a reality for my friends parents, it left me feeling desperate to never want to be in that position. No parent should ever have to bury their child.

After the hymns had been sung, my friend bravely delivered a eulogy. She stood there with a warm smile on her face speaking so honestly of her brother and letting us all into the privacy of their incredible relationship. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the room. I was bursting with pride for the sheer fact this inspiring woman was my friend, but my heart was heavy with the pain that I knew was in hers. At the burial, she nestled between us, her girls, and we held onto her she approached her final goodbye.

For this young man, every thought was a battle, and every breath was a war. He was living in a body that was fighting to survive with a mind that didn’t want to be here anymore. His pain is gone, and his soul is free, but for those that he leaves behind, whilst grief is never ending, it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is by no means a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, it is simply the price of love.

 

 

 

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Mental health is wealth.

Last year I had a breakdown, and as a result of this I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Those that know me well may struggle to comprehend this as I masked my feelings quite well, or so I like to think. I hid behind a face of make up, a loud laugh and a happy smile, or I did the complete opposite and shut myself away from the world, this was how I coped, how I mustered the strength to face another day and do it all again. It worked for a few short months, but not dealing with what my mind was going through resulted in a breakdown of my body. Every inch of me was crying out for help and one day I gave in. I’m sharing my story because I want people to understand that these emotional illnesses are silent but deadly, they can manifest themselves inside the human mind and break someone till they are never the same again. I count myself lucky that I was in tune enough with my own emotions, I could feel something wasn’t right and I was strong enough to make that call to my GP. I also had the incredible support of a few people who knew everything I had been through, watched as I completely changed unable to do anything about it, but stood by and waited for me whilst I returned from this turbulent journey and made it home.

Having depression and anxiety is like being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure with no strength to be productive. It’s wanting friends, but struggling to socialise. It’s wanting to be alone but not wanting to be lonely.  It’s caring about everything then nothing at all. It’s feeling everything at once, and then feeling paralysingly numb. 

As I sat in the waiting room to see my doctor, part of me wanted to head straight out the door and just ignore my feelings. I’d coped long enough, surely I could just continue? The lump in my throat wouldn’t go away and I didn’t know how I would begin explaining my emotions so they made sense. I didn’t want to look stupid. As she came out to get me the nerves doubled. There was no running away now. I didn’t realise it at the time, but when I shut the door of her room, sat down on the chair and looked her in the eyes, I’d just taken my first step in battling these demons. She very gently asked how she could help me and I wasn’t able to utter a word, instead I sat in her chair and I sobbed my heart out. I felt pain, I felt relief, I felt  vulnerable, I felt safe, and I cried until there were no more tears left. When I’d caught my breath she asked me to talk her through what was making me feel this way, and so for the first time I told someone my story.

I was brought up in very loving household where my parents and family adored my sister and I, and to this day we are both shown so much love and affection. Every phone call ends with ‘Love you’, and these wonderful humans are the reason my heart is so soft, and that I am so affectionate and emotional. Some would say that I lived a very sheltered life, I was never exposed to any nasty people, to any nasty behaviour, or to any nasty words. As a child my family nurtured my individuality, they taught me to be independent and listen to the voice within me. Sure I made mistakes, but I learnt from them. I am of great value to my family and my happiness means everything to them. Even though I’m grown up with my own baby now, I’m without a doubt still theirs. 

This incredible start in life meant my heart was always very firmly fixed to my sleeve, I loved openly, I trusted everyone and thought everyone liked me and had my best interests at heart. I knew family politics existed but I had no first hand experience. I was also not in the least bit street wise, and this mixed with my complete niaevity about life and humanity ended up making some parts of my life very hard for me to deal with.

As you get older you gain more life experience, you meet more people and you naturally become extensions of yourself. You become a sibling, a friend, a niece, a wife, a daughter in law, a sister-in-law, a mother, and sometimes you find yourself working towards other people’s expectations of you within these roles. I find this is especially apparent in the Indian culture.
In the last few years, life has connected me with people and situations that have polluted my waters, and along the way I have lost the vivacious, happy-go-lucky and care free girl that I once was. Suddenly, I found myself in a world where people said horrible things about me, they didn’t like me and I truly couldn’t understand why, I’d never not been liked. People talked about things I had said in sheer innocence, they watched how I did things, they compared me to others and they judged me as well as my life choices. Being me wasn’t enough anymore, in fact it seemed like that was starting to become the problem.

One of my lowest points was being shouted at in a confined space in front of a group of people, some of whom I barely knew the names of, all because this person felt I had hadn’t behaved in the way she felt I should have, I hadn’t met her expectation of me. She humiliated me and her behaviour was inhumane. Those that claimed to care for me lowered their heads and said nothing, and to me they are just as bad for letting another human be treated this way. Only one person stood up to this emotional abuse and I’ll never forget the words she shouted, “shes someones daughter.” The only reason I physically escaped was because I suffered a panic attack, and this reaction in my body gave me the strength to leave the room, sadly it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever emotionally escape from and to this day I still have flashbacks. Although she later apologised, it was an apology for the way I felt, not for her own behaviour. 

This is just one example of what lies at the root cause of my illnesses and because of my experience, the Indian culture is something I’ve come to detest. I don’t believe anyone has the right to control you and dictate what you do, or how you do it, and there’s not one part of me that believes in this way of life or treatment of women. It’s 2017, life has changed and the world has moved on, yet our culture in so many ways has stayed stagnant. It’s all about expectation, what others will think and what looks good. Being a nice person and doing things with a clean heart counts for nothing if you aren’t impressing people and living to the expectation of those around you. This needs to change.

After my diagnosis I began having counselling once a week, and I started the sessions as a completely different woman to the one I finished them as. They gave me the opportunity to be truly honest, to bare every inch of my soul and to get the help I needed. One of the questions she asked me unlocked a power and strength I never knew I had. She asked if I had ever felt suicidal, and I immediately answered no. She asked what would stop me from taking my life if I ever did feel this way and for me the answer was easy, it was and always will be my son. Being a mother, having a life so dependent on me is what gave me the strength to want to be okay, to fight for my mental health and my happiness. It made me want to be strong and live a life that makes me happy, to cut myself off from the people that dragged me down and to do what suits me without caring what anyone else thinks.

I hit rock bottom last year, but the only direction I can go in now is up. I’m lucky, I’ve made it to the recovery stage and I have a new found faith in my strength as a person that I don’t waste time thinking about the past, and I no longer fear the future. If I can make one change in this life it will be to shift our culture, to empower women to stand up and not let themselves be drowned by the power and control of others. To not have a life dictated by expectation. There are a breed of people that will pick faults no matter what you do, so why waste time caring and suffering in the process? Depression and anxiety were the hardest things I have ever experienced and if sharing my story can help others to know they aren’t alone then I will never stop being honest, I will never keep my mouth shut and I will keep fighting till people listen.

I don’t have time for people who can only offer their support and love to me in secret. Keeping quiet, being fake, it almost ruined me and it caused me to have a mental break down. From now on, what you see is what you get, my heart will never leave my sleeve and l will not apologise for who I am and how I live my life. That doesn’t make me a bad person and I know that now. My journey in facing up to my depression and anxiety isn’t over, but I also know I have so much to live for and so many reasons to be happy and stay happy. Mental health really is the biggest wealth in life.

Blonde Mummy. X  

Tummy Bug Trauma.

Last night I probably had my most frightening mummy experience to date. I genuinely felt like someone was watching over us because it was one of those innocent situations that could have turned out completely differently.

We’d had a super busy weekend filled with birthday parties and family functions. Virràe had been a little off his food since Saturday, but as he was still eating, and I knew he was teething, I didn’t think too much if it. By 6pm Sunday, he was so tired that I knew he would never make it through bath time. As we were at my parents house and our bags were already packed, I did a quick pyjama change and within a few minutes he was sparked out on my bed. I lay his head on a pillow to help ease his already congested head and went down to pack the car up. As I didn’t expect him to fall asleep when he did, I had already packed the monitor thinking I would put him straight in the car after his bath and he would fall asleep on the way home. Honestly speaking, it didn’t cross my mind to take it back out my bag because I knew it was only going to be ten minutes before we were on the road. What could go wrong in ten minutes?

The first thing I did was switch the car on to get it warmed up, and my mum helped me pack up the boot with all our bags. It still amazes me just how much stuff you need when travelling with a child. As I was doing a last check of the house to make sure we’d taken everything, I heard Nik shout my name and I immediately knew something was wrong. I ran upstairs with my heart beating out of my chest to find my son lying in a pool of his own vomit. I say pool, because he was literally swimming in it and every inch of him was covered. Judging by the mess, it looked like he had been violently sick at least ten times, if not more, and all of it in his sleep. Not once did he cry or so much as whimper. I’d even kept the door ajar, just in case in the few minutes that I was going to be gone he woke up, never in a million years did I think this would have happened. I gently lifted him from the bed, and although it must have only been a few seconds, it honestly felt like an eternity before he finally opened his eyes. My head was pounding with the question ‘what if’? What if I hadn’t put a pillow under his head? What if he didn’t have the strength to roll over onto his side? What if I had been more than ten minutes? What if he had choked?

I knew I didn’t have time to explore the answers, I just had to concentrate on getting Virràe sorted. I scooped him up without a moment’s hesitation and within seconds I too was dripping in sick, but I didn’t care. I gently put him in the shower to rinse the thick coating that clung to his pyjamas and he was crying his eyes out, clearly feeling completely disoriented. That in itself was heart breaking to see. After getting him mopped up and in clean clothes, Virràe sat quiet as a mouse on his Nani’s lap and watched his favourite nursery rhymes on the iPad. I got myself showered and afterwards I just sat on my mum’s bed and I couldn’t get over what could have been. Virràe came waddling over saying ‘mama’, smiling at me as if to say ‘don’t worry, I’m okay’, but I couldn’t shake that churning feeling. If only I had left the monitor plugged in, then I would have heard something, I would have been alerted to the fact that something wasn’t right, but to have to walk in and find Virràe like that with absolutely no warning was truly traumatising. I know he was asleep, but surrounded by all that vomit, he just looked lifeless. It was a scary flash of a life I hope to never face.

Tummy bugs are so common in young children, and I feel very lucky to have made into his second year before we got struck, but I find it so frightening that such a young child can be so horrifically sick without waking up. Maybe he was just exceptionally exhausted and in another situation he would have cried to signal that something was wrong, but the fact is, he didn’t. What if he had started to choke but his body was too tired for its reflexes to kick in? I know each parent has their own ideas of what makes them feel safe when it comes to their children, many use the matt’s under the cot which alarm if a child stops breathing, others are happy with an audio monitor, some with a video and some happy to have the nursery door left open. There’s no rule about what’s right or wrong, it really is about what you as a parent feel is best. Whilst I do always use a video monitor for my peace of mind, even at night it stays on loud right next to my bed, but sometimes in the evenings, I’ll be off doing house work and I don’t take it with me, or it will bleep because its running out of juice and I might wait till Hollyoaks has finished before putting it on charge. Last night has really shaken me up, it showed me that anything can happen in five minutes, and that nothing is worth being without the tool that helps you see in an instant that your child is safe and well.

Virràe is a real stickler for routine, especially at bed time, he’s completely and utterly text book. But yesterday’s experience proved that children are the most unpredictable thing in the world, and I don’t think you can ever be too safe. Yesterday was very frightening, and what could have been doesn’t bear thinking about. I for one won’t ever be leaving Virràe asleep without the monitor plugged in, not even for a few minutes to pack the car. Parenting is a massive learning process, you become wiser with every experience, be it good or bad. I learnt a lot yesterday, and whilst I know we’ll be faced with many more tummy bugs over the coming years, I hope none start quite so scarily as this one.

Blonde Mummy. X

 

 

My darling boy. 

To my darling boy,

I cannot believe you are already two. At points it has genuinely felt as though time has run away from us. When I close my eyes and think back to the moment I first held you, I still lose myself to magic of it all. As I heard the nurse confirming that you were safe and healthy, after what can only be described as a traumatic entrance into the world, I distinctly remember the feeling of relief running like a wave throughout my whole body. It was so strong that I could no longer sit up, my body fell back onto the bed, and at last, knowing you were okay, I allowed myself to cry. The gentle tears that ran down my face turned into sobs as my emotions took over, I remember repeatedly saying ‘we did it’ as I was unable to take in the fact that you were my baby, and that I was your mummy. You and I, we did it. The peadretrition cried as she gently placed you in my arms, she looked at me and whispered that you were beautiful. I looked at you and for the first time in my whole life, I felt complete. You were here, at last, you were here.

I was so scared that I was going to forget you at each stage, and that’s partly why I started this blog. A safe place to store the memoirs of our life together, tales of our adventures, and the raw emotion that motherhood brings. Tonight, on the evening of your second birthday I am feeling a multitude of those. I feel sad that you are officially two years old, yet I’m so looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store for us. It sounds silly, but I feel so proud when I see you do things independently, like eat cereal with a spoon and actually not miss your mouth. A month ago, every drop would have fallen back in the bowl, but now, you’ve got it kiddo. There is a slight heaviness in my heart when I allow myself to accept that coupled with your independence comes you needing me that little bit less. I know that’s the way it should be and I will always nurture this element of parenting, but just know that I will always do whatever I can when you need me. Whatever life throws your way, don’t ever doubt that.

When I write, I’m always very honest about the bad days, the days you drive me up the wall, round the bend, and to the bottom of a wine bottle. Yet there are days that have been so wonderful that it has made me forget about my daily worries, and for that burst of time, life has felt perfect. In the lead up to your second birthday, it feels as though I have watched you evolve right before my very eyes. It has been incredible to witness, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of your transformation into a little boy. When you are a few years older, I’m sure you will have lots of questions about what you were like as a young child. In case my memory fails me, here are my absolute favourites…

I love the way you point at me and say ‘mama’ every single time I walk into a room. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing that. I love the way you say yellow – ‘wewwow’.I love the way you say red – ‘ed’. I love the way you say blue – ‘bu’. I love the way you call your little cousin Ava your sizza. (Sister), and I adore the way you stood over her as she cried, by way of protection. I love the fact you have ‘cloth cloth’ to keep you comforted whenever I can’t be with you. I love the way you whisper random words to yourself when you are  laying in bed with me. I love the way you walk around the house with your eyes shut because you think it’s really funny. I love your obsession with aeroplanes and the fact you call them ‘ada’. One day I’ll explain why that means so much to me. I love the fact you give cuddles and say ‘ahhh’ at the same time. I love the fact that you have to eat breakfast from my bowl, even after you’ve had your own, and I love the way you drag me by my clothes into the living room and push me onto the sofa when you want me to stop being busy in the kitchen. You remind me what’s important and that the cooking can wait, yet time itself waits for no one, and I hope I can keep making the most of you at this incredible age.

Two years on I still go to bed every night (unless you have been particularly naughty), with a feeling of excitement that in a few hours I get to see you again. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words how much I love you, and I hope I never have to, because I hope you will see it in everything that I do. I yearned for you long before you were born and I never thought that I would get you, perhaps that’s why you are so precious to me. Perhaps that’s why you always will be. I grew up much quicker than I should have, but sometimes my darling boy life does that to you. This is one of the reason that I am fiercely protective of you and I will never apologise for that. You will always come first and I bare no guilt for being that way. Being your mummy has empowered me with so much strength, and it’s given me the biggest purpose in life. You really are my world Virràe, and I love you to the moon and back.

Happy birthday my beautiful boy.

With all my love,

Mama. X

 

 

 

Brave Heart.

To my brave husband,

This post is dedicated to you from the bottom of my heart on father’s day.

I can’t imagine what it feels like for you to be a father, without a father, on father’s day. When I think about it for even a split second, my heart aches with the most excruciating pain. How do you comprehend the loss of a parent when you yourself are so young. When you still need your dad. When you rely on your dad. When your dad is amongst your very best of friends. I know you haven’t found it easy adjusting to this new life that we’ve all been thrown into, but everyday you have still got out of bed and made it through another 24 hours. I might not say it often enough, but I am very proud of you. You put on such a brave face when we are out. You smile. You laugh. You continue to remain the life and soul when deep inside I know you are struggling to come to terms with the loss of our hero more and more as time passes. Please know that I will always do my upmost to keep supporting you as best I can, and that I am here for you to lean on for as long as you need.

I may not have shared this with you, but one of the reasons I married you is the love you have for family. You treat my family like they are your own, and in turn they simply adore you. When dad became ill, you didn’t hesitate to leave our home to become his carer and a much needed rock for your mum and sister. As your wife I missed you deeply, and I found it hard leaving you at night to come home, but what sort of wife would I be if I didn’t support you during your darkest days. I also want to thank you for supporting me in making sure our son never suffered during this time. When we decided to bring life into this world, we made a pact to always ensure our child’s life stayed as comfortable as possible, and protect him from the realities of what life may bring. This was really put to the test whilst dad was ill, and we made a joint decision that it wasn’t fair on Virràe to uproot his life and for him to be surrounded by the whirlwind of emotions we all had as we were coming to terms with dads illness. Instead of understanding that husband and wife were living apart in order to continue caring for two equally loved people, our dad and our son, we both know many people chose instead to pass judgement. As our world shattered in slow motion around us, we stayed strong, united and unbreakable at a time when we could have let them come right between us. We really put the vow ‘for better for worse’ into practice and for that you have every ounce of respect within me.

As we came to understand that cancer was winning it’s battle with dad, he began detaching himself from all of us. All of us except you. I know it was his way of trying to make it easier for the three women in his life, by creating distance to help us let go, but with you he simply couldn’t do it, he couldn’t let go. The night before he left us, it was you that dad was dreaming of, it was you that dad was calling out for. He knew he could ask anything of you and that you would carry out his wishes to the highest of standards. Dad was so proud to call you his son and you made his final weeks so comfortable by being completely and utterly selfless. I will love you eternally for being this man.

When dad left us, it was you and I that realised he had stopped breathing. It was just me, you and dad, and I truly believe that was his way of passing on his crown to you. His way of saying that he knew he could count on you to continue his name. The way you conducted yourself at the toughest point in your life to date was beautiful. You stayed composed beyond belief and I was in absolute awe of you. In case I haven’t told you recently, I still am. In the weeks that followed, you really held yourself together when you could easily have fallen apart. I often put myself in your shoes, and I don’t think I would have coped half as well as you did. When thoughtless people stirred up trouble for our family unit, you stood tall and spoke up without hesitation, despite the emotional turmoil you were in. Overnight you turned from a boy to a man.

As we watch our son change and develop with each new day, I know your heart wishes dad could be there in person to experience it all with us. I wish I could bring him back as much as I could fix this hole in your heart, but sadly, the things we want the most in life are often out of our control. I hope this letter goes a little way in showing how deeply I love you, how incredibly proud I am of you, and how I have every faith that you will continue to do your dad proud.

Happy Father’s Day to a wonderful daddy who is so much like his own.

With all my love,

Your Wife. x

From Caterpillar to Butterfly.

 

Signing the contract for my new job actually left me doubting myself more than ever. Was I doing the right thing? How would he cope at nursery? Would he be okay? Would I be okay? Could I figure out a way to stay home? Should I figure out a way to stay at home? Deep down I knew he was ready, I knew we could do with the money, yet I couldn’t help but feel coated in a sticky layer of guilt.

Actually, perhaps it wasn’t the stickiest of layers, because if I’m being honest, I mean really honest, part of me was looking forward to the break. Especially during his brat attack melt downs, and if you’ve ever been around to experience one of these, I can only apologise. Being a stay at home mum is TOUGH, (of course I mean amazing….) and undoubtedly the most challenging , (I mean incredible) job in the world. Okay, no pretending, I’m meant to be an honest mummy blogger after all. Yes, some days its bloody tough, and beyond challenging, and on those days I do think fondly of life before the child.*

*I think It’s important to clarify, whilst I may dream, I never wish. Ever.

Being a SAHM can really test you as a human, especially when you have a toddler who can  A.) reduce you to tears, and B.) drive you to drink before noon. On top of that, time is a constant battle, you rarely feel accomplished and worst of all, you can’t even go to the loo without your child hanging out by your knee’s. Then, when your offspring behaves like Satan has spawned him, you’ve had no adult conversation, the house looks like a war zone and you’re running on minimal sleep, going back to work seems more like a treat. If you’re reading this and you’re a new, even new-ish mum, this may not resonate with you AT ALL, but all I can say is, enjoy this bit, it’s the calm before the storm. Unless of course it’s just me that has the kid with the “big personality”, as others like to put it. #JEALOUS.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum; because clearly the above paragraphs paint this picture so well!? But, I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my whole life, and we really have had lots of amazing days making fabulous memories, and on those days I’ve wondered how on earth anyone can leave this life and go back to a 9 – 5 job. BUT…when your child throws their dinner on the floor, or screams in your face because you’ve dared to take a dirty nappy out their hand, it acts as a pretty instant reminder. Please see below pic if you’re more of a visual person.

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I was absolutely dreading my first day. New job, new people, let’s face it, it’s just not a fun situation. And when you’ve been out of work for 18 months, not only has ones mojo gotten lost, its emigrated and left no forwarding address. I got up extra early to apply actual make up instead of slopping on some BB cream, and I had to blow the cobwebs off my GHD’s, as I’m not sure a snazzy company in Windsor would have appreciated the mum bun? It has since made an appearance or two, so the attempted ‘yummy mummy’ image didn’t last long. I got all my handbags out from my ‘life before kids box’, and they were all either the size of a house, or as small as a mouse. The mummy me couldn’t help but question how the pre mummy me filled, or fitted anything in either type. Oh how it was to be so impractical. *sigh*. I distinctly remember that feeling of needing to carry everything in my daily bag, you know, just in case I went out after work, or just in case I did something fun and spontaneous. I’m not sure I even know what the latter word means anymore. Queue violins. My once overflowing handbag used to be my life, but now my life comes in the form of a maniac toddler and his changing bag, of which I am granted the smallest of spaces. It all felt pretty alien compared to the chaos, and sometimes comfort of  toddler world, and at least here my boss was only 2 foot tall and could be bribed with shortbread biscuits. Here’s us on the morning of the start of our new lives:

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Dropping Virràe off at nursery was harder than I thought. He turned into this meek little boy and my heart was being pulled in every direction by what felt like a gazillion strings. He clung to me like a baby Koala and cried when I tried to hand him over. I sobbed as he was taken away to be distracted, and the nursery girls rallied around with tissues to mop up the mascara sliding down my freshly bronzed cheeks and causing carnage. I slipped away feeling like the world’s worst mum and burst into tears outside the nursery door. I felt like I’d made the biggest mistake in the world. Another mum stopped to make sure I was okay and promised me that things would be different in a few weeks. I thought she was offering me a cuddle, and just as I was about to lean in, desperately, I realised she was moving me out the way so others could pass. AWKWARD. Could my first day have started off any better?!

I got to work and I felt like a total fraud. I saw all these proper grown ups, doing actual work, and I wondered how on earth I would ever fit it. I still had ‘wind the bobbin up’ spinning round in my head, and every part of me was struggling to get out of mummy mode. I wanted to ring the nursery every 5 minutes but was trying desperately to take in all this information about the place I would be spending the majority of my week. When I did get a chance to call, I found out that Virràe was reluctant to eat, or sleep and that there had been a good few tears. This made me want to run right out of work, get my boy and take him home. Obviously I resisted this temptation and continued to put on a brave face at work. I sat at my desk feeling really out of my depth. I just wanted to have a good cry and for someone to give me a cuddle, or, offer me a big glass of wine. Suffice to say, neither happened and I felt like absolute sh**.

Over the course of the weeks that followed, things got better in every way. Thanks to the incredible staff at his nursery, Virràe very quickly settled into his new life there. Almost overnight, he was eating like a dream and sleeping like his father (out cold with the ability to snooze through a hurricane.) Suddenly my irrational mummy fears of him starving to death and becoming an insomniac, vanished. Amongst other things, he began learning new words and playing with toys properly, (instead of just destroying things) although he does still do this. To be honest, it was just nice to drop off and pick up a smiley happy little man and not be consumed by guilt and doubt about the choices I had made to try to give my family a better life. One day I snuck into his room at nursery and he hadn’t noticed me. His mummy radar was obviously on the blink, because usually he can sniff me out at any distance. I stood back and watched him running around, he was in his element. When he finally realised I was there, I was greeted by the biggest grin, he ran over to me and pointed back to where he was playing looking as proud as punch. In that moment it all clicked into place, I had done the right thing.

Going back to work was tough, I hated knowing that time with my boy was so limited. And whilst limited it remains, it has also become precious. I cherish more moments than I did three months ago. I have more patience when Damien joins us at meal times. I leave my phone in my bag and concentrate on whats in front of me; hence I have become worse at responding to messages, (sorry about that!), and I’ve stopped caring as much about the constant chaos within my house. For the short time that Virràe and I have together, I try to make as much of it about us. Going back to work has given me an injection of confidence in being more than just Virràe’s mum. One day, I’ll feel proud to tell him that I went back to work because I had to, because my family needed me to. But now I can safely say that I’m also doing it because I want to.

I found a quote that sums up this phase of my life:

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she turned into a butterfly…”

Blonde Mummy. X

 

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to work I go.

It’s my last official  Saturday in the most high powered job I’ve ever had, a stay at home mum. From Monday I’ll be starting my new life as a clown, juggling motherhood and working in an office. My recruitment agent rang me yesterday and kept asking me like a wild puppy if I was excited. If being a mother has taught me one thing, it’s to be honest, and so I told her that actually I was more nervous to be leaving my son. Well, she didn’t like that one bit, and said “well I think it’s exciting.” I felt like saying, well that’s because you’re a skinny blonde bird in her twenties, renting a swanky pad in Windsor and getting a fat wad of cash by me accepting this job. I didn’t of course, and said in my most non sarcastic tone, “yes it’s very exciting”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic opportunity and I know I’m lucky to have been offered a local part time job, with great hours and in my field, but at the moment the apprehension of leaving my son is too overwhelming.

Virràe is almost 18 months old and I’m very aware that not many mum’s get to stay at home this long. A lot of my mummy friends had to go back after 1 year and I know that emotionally, I would never  have been able to do that. However, we live in a time where life is expensive, and that’s just the basics. Mr. Blonde told me that he would get a second job and work nights so that I could stay at home full time raising our son. The tone in his voice was so genuine and real, and I know he wouldn’t hesitate if I had said yes. To be honest, I’ve even caught him looking through job sites and doing the math’s in his head. The very fact that he would is enough for me.

I always say that the reason I was created in this life was to be a wife and a mother, they truly are the only two things that matter to me, especially the latter. I feel immensely privileged at having carried a child, and now raising one – I simply can’t verbalise the gratitude that runs through me every single day. That’s why knowing I have to leave him is so painful. I have to remind myself why I’m doing it, and only then do the pieces of the jigsaw fit together. Being a parent, but especially being a mother means that your entire life becomes about making sacrifices. When you fall pregnant you sacrifice your body. When you give birth you sacrifice every ounce of dignity you ever owned. When taking care of your new born you sacrifice sleep, even showers. When raising your toddler you sacrifice time with your girlfriends, sometimes your career. The list is endless, but when you become a parent, sacrifice not only becomes second nature, it becomes instinct.

The reason I explored going back to work was not purely down to financial need, but also because Virràe was showing me signs that he needed longer periods of interaction with children his own age. Going to toddler groups for an hour or so a day, having play dates with his friends, Virràe was at his absolute best, but it just wasn’t enough. He needed more. Recently during the February half term I looked after 3 children as well as Virràe, during these 5 days he learnt to walk, he learnt more words, and I had never seen him more excited. This confirmed it for me, he was ready for more than me and a few toddler groups could provide.

Mr. Blonde and I went to look at nurseries and there was one in particular that felt right. My mum friends said you’ll just know when you’ve found ‘the one’, and they were right. Your gut instinct tells you when you’re in the right place for your child. However, I knew that without me working we couldn’t afford to send him, and so I said to myself, if it’s meant to be something will come up and that’s how I’ll know if I’m doing the right thing. I’m one for needing signs to reassure me, and thats when it happened. In the days that followed the nursery visits I got a call about the job, I got the interview and then I got the offer. It was meant to be. I accepted the job, signed on the dotted line and within mere seconds my days were numbered with life as I knew it.

I have spent the last two weeks settling Virràe in at nursery, and to be honest, I think I have cried more than he has. I’m really proud of how well he’s done, except with food of course, but we all knew that was going to be hell on earth. That aside, its true what they say, kids really are more resilient than we give them credit for. However, I’m not sure the same can be said for us mummies, but only time will tell. For now, like one of the seven dwarfs, Hi Ho! Hi Ho! it’s off to work I go.

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The perfectly unperfect mum.

To all the perfectly unperfect mums out there, this one is for you.

You vowed to never be a TV mum and suddenly it’s on for the half the day. Washing, laundry, housework, Sometimes it’s the only way…

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You swore you’d be the baker mum cooking up a storm. In reality, watching ‘Great British Bake Off’ with a glass of wine is actually more the norm…

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You promised that you’d never shout at your darling little child, but sometimes they test your patience so, and yes you do go wild…

You said you’d keep your house pristine with everything put away, now the toys adorn the floor every single day…

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You wanted to be that yummy mummy with amazing swooshy hair. Now you leave the house in sweats, no make up on – who cares.

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You thought you’d be the lucky mum who’s kid did everything right, now you can’t do anything without a bloody fight…

To all the mums who try their best, but things don’t always work out, you love your kids and they love you, with this there’s not one doubt.

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We all spend the early years of motherhood losing our shit, some of us just hide it better than others, and the rest of us drink wine!

Blonde Mummy. X

‘The first cut is the deepest’

This week has been very eventful to say the least. Just when you think you’ve got your shit together and are starting to feel semi super mum-ish, your toddlers teething smacks you round the face like an unexpected slap. It’s sharp, painful and the burning sensation seems to linger on..and on..and on.

For the last couple of weeks, Virràe Yuvraj has become increasingly clingy, difficult, and just not his usual smiley self. Everything has become a chore for him, from eating and nappy changes, to bath time and even playing, thus, it has become utter hell for me. Throw yourself off a bridge kinda hell…..

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On Monday this week, he became so difficult that when I looked hard enough I’m very sure I saw little devil horns poking out his head. He was off his food, his toys, he was even off baby TV! Like me, I think he was simply losing his mind in frustration, except he wasn’t doing anything without letting the world know first.

Throughout the course of the day, his temperature was like a roller coaster, one minute he was bunged up, and the next his nose was like a leaky tap. He was moaning to be picked up for a cuddle and then within the same 30 seconds he was squealing to be put back down. No matter what I did or didn’t do, I was without a doubt losing with a capital L.

When it came to bed time, I was relieved to have a break from mummy duty, yet filled with dread that this little Damien was going make me suffer even more. After a dose of Neurobaby, a lather of baby vicks across his chest, and a lashing of calgel across those gums, he thankful went down quickly. Too quickly….

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I can only liken that night to feeling horribly hungover, except this time I did not have the pleasure of drinking too much wine and enjoying myself getting to this awful state. VYP was crying in his sleep pretty much the whole night. Whilst he didn’t actually wake up for even 10 seconds, he was searching for my comfort whilst those rebellious baby teeth partied in his gums ALL NIGHT LONG…*queue Lionel Richie music*

As morning broke the black cloud of the night before, VYP woke from his slumber at 6.30am instead of the usual time of 8.00am. Oh how I was longing for that hour and a half, but his unhappy gurgles told me I was never going to get it. After a nappy change that was more like a wrestling match, we trotted downstairs, me looking like a panda bear and Virràe warming up to let me know exactly how rotten he was feeling. (Me with my black panda bear eyes below!)

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Breakfast soon turned into a war, he knocked the spoon out my hand and the porridge went flying. Every toy I gave him as a distraction was thrown across the room and he tried in desperation to scramble out the booster seat. Why after 12 hours of not eating was he not starving? As I tried another spoon of porridge, I couldn’t help but curse teething under my breath. Painful gums I understand, but why with it must our babies get teething colds, teething nappy rash, teething poo’s, loss of appetite. As if teething wasn’t bad enough on its own!!??

After a few more spoonfuls, he’d had enough and so had I, so very willingly, I gave up. As I was wiping his face, and again failing miserably, I decided to have a quick feel of his gums. As he clamped down on my finger, there it was, the sharp scratch of a tooth! I couldn’t believe it, after 16 long months my boy had finally cut his first tooth. I actually wanted to cry and felt a really overwhelming sense of pride, yes, over a bloody tooth! Suddenly the last couple of weeks seemed worth it, all of it.

As the week went on, my happy chappy  was still no where to be found. He’d been replaced by a little boy who’s characteristics I simply didn’t recognise. He was off his food at every meal, and was just about eating a biscuit here or there. His cough was getting worse and he’d even managed to give me his cold. By Thursday afternoon I was feeling absolutely dreadful, Virràe’s top tooth was bulging out his gum, and he was just not coping with the pain. My prayers were answered and bed time arrived. He drank a measly 2oz of milk and thrashed about in my arms clearly very uncomfortable. I found his muslin cloth which he latched onto for comfort and drifted off to sleep.

After an uninterrupted nights sleep for Virràe, he awoke at 5.30am this morning. I however had hardly slept, one nostril was blocked, the other was running, my head was pounding and my body was aching. On top of that he decides to wake up in the ungodly 5th hour!! I put him in bed with me, hoping he would lay there for just long enough for me to muster the strength to open my eyes, but the pungent stench from his nappy informed me that the teething symptoms were still lurking and laying in was not an option.

I had never seen a poo like it, it was so sticky, like a swamp in his nappy. I’d heard teething poo’s were bad, but wow, nothing prepared me for this! To make matters worse, for the first time since he was a new born, his nappy had leaked. Great…as if this week hadn’t been traumatic enough.

Off came his vest and pjamas, which of course he wasn’t at all pleased about. 10 wipes later and I’d finally managed to clean his bum, during which I was feeling extremely grateful for my blocked nose! After what seemed like an hour, he was finally in a clean nappy and clothes. Then came the task of breakfast…

I tried my old faithful friend Weetabix, thinking it would be easy on his throat. How wrong was I? I tried toast, it went flying. I tried a biscuit, it was crushed in frustration. I even tried his absolute favourite, an orange. He had one lick before flinging it sideways. Before I sobbed my eyes out and made my bags even worse, I put baby TV on in the hope that it would distract him for long enough for me to make a coffee. It did.

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Despite having nothing in his tummy, he managed to do another dreadful teething poo. I bathed him, got him ready and put him down for a nap. (Thank God he fell asleep) I was back down at 8.30am but felt like I’d been up for hours. I couldn’t help but think that on any normal day we’d just about be finishing breakfast. For us, teething has changed absolutely everything. Routine has gone out the window and taken everything else with it, including 99.9% of my sanity. People keep telling me that now the first tooth has cut, the next few will come through in the coming weeks. I can only hope that like the song says, ‘the first cut is the deepest’…

 

Family Meal Ideas

Life for me got lots easier when I began cooking meals that Nik, Virràe and I could all eat. I’ll be honest, I’m not the perfect all organic, all salt free, all free range mummy! I do however cook quick, easy and fresh meals that introduce Virràe Yuvraj to lots of different flavours, and saves me time so that I can spend more of it having fun and being with my boy. (Or getting on with the never ending housework!)

Some meals are fab for when you’ve got guests coming for lunch / dinner but are still toddler / baby friendly, and others are great for when there’s not much left in the cupboards but you still want to make something fresh.IMG_20160115_141213

I always have plenty of potato, pasta, lentils, rice, tinned tomatos, stock cubes and cheese in my kitchen cupboards, so come rain or shine I’ll always be able to rustle something up using these staple ingredients!

Here’s my top family meal ideas for everyone to enjoy. Some of these recipes I’ve shared, and others I will be posting over the coming weeks, however if there’s any on here you’re dying to try please comment and I will post sooner!

  1. Chicken Korma and Corriander Rice – I made this recently when one of my girlfriends came round for lunch. The korma sauce is mild and creamy, so perfect for your little ones too. The sauce also took a grand total of 15 minutes to make, which meant that I didn’t need to waste time in the kitchen and could spend more time catching up with my girlfriend. The corriander rice has always been a winner for me, and you have the option of adding chilli’s to this to accompany the mild korma with a nice spicy kick!
  2. Short Cut Macaroni with a Home Made Tomato Sauce – I made this tonight for a simple Monday night dinner.  For the sauce I used a garlic and herb tinned tomato pack and simply added onions, some freshly grated garlic, and a dollop of ricotta pesto. If like me you enjoy spicy food, just separate the sauce into 2 pans and add a fresh green chilli or 2 into the adult version. The short cut macaroni is small enough for little ones to chew and swallow so you won’t need to waste even a minute chopping pasta up!20160125_165312
  3. Cauliflower and Potato Bake– just boil the cauliflower and potato till its cooked, whip up a batch of white sauce, pour over the veg, sprinkle on some cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes. I’ve managed to perfect my white sauce over the last few attempts and can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys!IMG-20160120-WA0002
  4. JP with Cheese and Beans– Virràe Yuvraj and I had this for lunch today, the fluffiness of an oven baked jacket potato is unbeatable! For some added flavour you could always melt in some cream cheese. An easy way to get carbs and protein in one meal.20160125_122104
  5. Daal and Rice – this is my go to meal if I’ve had a busy day but still want a home cooked dish, the Daal literally takes minutes to make, is full of flavour and one of Virràe’s faves! I’ve shared this one on my blog so make sure you check it out!
  6. Eggy Bread– Virràe doesn’t like egg and this is the only way I can get him to eat it. I usually team it other finger food like steamed veg, crisps and fruit so he gets enough to eat. Prepare for a lot of mess, but it’s very fun to watch them explore! An easy lunch time meal for everyone.2016-01-21_14.23.32
  7. Baked Salmon with Easy Peasy Creamy Mash – I try to give Virràe fish at least once a week. Sometimes I make my own marinade of blended vine tomatos, ginger and garlic, (chilli’s, salt and lemon juice for Nik and I), otherwise I spread the fillet with a nice layer of cream cheese and herbs. Either way I just wrap it in foil and bake for 18 mins in a pre heated oven. This usually cooks the fish to that beautiful flakey consistency. I team it with some fresh mash potato mixed with lots of butter, a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of cheese. One of our absolute favourites!IMG_20160122_173440
  8. A Hipp Organic Jar – Virràe loves them and he gets one on a Friday night as his weekend take away! Jars / pouches are also fab for when you’re on the go, or running to get home just in time for dinner and have nothing prepared. Hungry babes are no fun so I always keep a couple of jars in my cupboard.

Providing your child with healthy and nutritious meals shouldn’t mean you slaving away in the kitchen for hours. I hope this gives you some ‘foodspiration’, and that you enjoy making these quick and easy meals, leaving you more time with your lovely families.

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Blonde Mummy. X