My Dad-A Daughters First Love

A blog I’ve been wanting to write for a long time seems perfect to do this weekend ready for my Dad’s Birthday.

 

“A daughters first love “

I read a lot of quotes, I use a lot-especially in my blogs, then I decide whether I believe them or not!  However, there’s not a shred of doubt that the above quote is 100% true. Continue reading “My Dad-A Daughters First Love”

Find Me A Gift-Men’s Engraved Infinity Bracelet Review

I was sent an Engraved Infinity Bracelet for my Dad for
Father’s Day from Find Me A Gift!

Find

 

Who are Find Me A Gift?

Continue reading “Find Me A Gift-Men’s Engraved Infinity Bracelet Review”

525,600 Minutes-How Do You Measure A Year?

525,600

I’m unsure if those of you that will read this, are familiar with the above number and the song it relates to.

Seasons of Love is a song from the West End musical, ‘Rent‘.

This song came on a year ago today, on the radio on my TV.  I was doing washing, something not abnormal in my life, but this time, I was doing washing, ten minutes after coming in from the hospital. Continue reading “525,600 Minutes-How Do You Measure A Year?”

Momma Makes-Mother And Daughter Tee Review

we were sent some awesome clothing from Momma Makes!

who are momma makes?

A Mum and Dad team of two-Aimee and Scott, who, after seeing all the beautiful products available on social media, decided they wanted to see even more!
After searching the internet for specific items they required for their own little girl, and having no luck, they decided to make her the things they had hoped to find online! Continue reading “Momma Makes-Mother And Daughter Tee Review”

10 Things Girls Need Most-Book Review

As I’m writing this, the Department for Education is reporting that a third of all teenage girls in the UK suffer from depression or anxiety.

 

Starting out as a mental health blogger, means I’m privy to a large amount of statistics.  How many men suffer from one type of mental illness, how many women suffer with another.

What I’ve rarely seen are statistics for children, until I received best selling author, Steve Biddulph’s book.

10 Things Girls Need Most, to grow up strong and free, doesn’t just focus on younger girls mental health-but an entire range of methods, and interactive tips, to enable you to bring up your daughter to the best of your ability.

 

The NHS say that 20 percent of girls are self harming-three times as many as ten years ago.

As previously mentioned, I am a mental health blogger, who suffers from mental health issues.  To read in this book that not only are a large and increasing number of young girls are suffering from mental health issues, but that there are also a worrying amount self harming and suffering from PTSD, is enough to make me want to work hard on making sure my daughter is safe and secure.

During the content of the book, there are a large amount of interactive activities for the reader to take part in.  Enabling you to think about your own background and past experiences, it becomes clear how those influence our daughter’s present and future.

 

A father who is able to show his caring makes a huge difference to a girl.  It’s a learning curve, since her world is very different to yours.  there are some secrets to make it a lot easier.

 

There are sections for both parents to write in, which personally made me realise how much of a massive part Dad’s play in their daughters lives.  I’ve heard about underestimating the relationship between a father and daughter before, but the importance of their relationship is made evident throughout this book.

Regardless of the age of your daughter or your home situation, the entire book is helpful.  You learn not only what you may have missed previously in their lives, but also what you can currently do to help them, and what you can aim for in the future.

 

Taking one chapter at a time, you can create your own ongoing support group to help you care for all your daughters together.  That’s how girls were meant to be raised-by a tribe.

During my journey through the book, the interactive activities felt like a therapy to me.  The information I was given, didn’t come as a surprise, but knowing my daughter may suffer in some way because of my past, was especially hard hitting.

If anything, during the sections of this book, and once I’d finished working my way through, any concerns I do/did have about my daughter and her future, felt manageable.
Knowing I could refer back to the book whenever I needed to, knowing that these pages held more than just information-that they held help, nourishment and education for us as parents, alleviated those fears I have for my little girl.

This book can be read again and again.  It’s not a book about how to parent, it’s not a book about do’s and don’t’s.  It’s a guide-an aid if you will, to bringing up your daughter in the best way-enabling her to tackle the world and its stresses, with strength and freedom, whilst knowing they’re guided safely by you.

10

This really is an incredible book-especially for those with daughter.  To buy your own copy, head over to Amazon here.

Golden Parenting Advice-UK Parent Bloggers

This week I have drafted in my blogger friends to add their opinions and thoughts on subjects I’ve chosen to write about.
Today is day 3, and the subject today (as you can see from the title), is;

Since becoming a parent have you ever been given any ‘golden’ advice that you just can’t live without now?

Personally, mine is to not worry as much.  Something it took me two children, and 5 years to understand-but something I’d definitely share with fellow parents and parents to be!

Beth from Twinderelmo was told “Always trust your gut instinct. It’s too easy to be led by books, health professionals etc but you are with them 24/7 and know them better than anyone.”
How true this is, I spent half my time with my first child going through a library of books and panicking about what Health Visitors would say!

Amy from Amy & Tots was told “Lather your newborns bum in vaseline before putting on their first nappy. It helps to stop the meconium poop sticking to them!”
Where was this information when I had my two!!!  That stuff is like hot tar!!!

Jaymee from The Mum Diaries was told “When it comes to breastfeeding each day is a milestone!  Don’t think too much about the future just concentrate on today!”
This is such good advice-it can take so long to crack breastfeeding, this advice takes so much pressure off!

Emily from EmilyandIndiana was told ” If clothing is stained (especially from those newborn poop explosions!), hang in the sun – it magically lifts the stains!”
I’ve heard about this!  The amount, even now the children are grown up, that gets stained with dinner etc-I could salvage so much with this advice!

Kate from Counting to ten was told “Knowing about developmental leaps (Wonder Weeks) made a huge difference to me. When baby is being particularly challenging you know there is a new exciting behaviour on the way.”
All I’m going to say is, I’d never heard of any of the “wonder weeks” business!  I had basic email alerts each month, but nothing that gave me insight into why they were doing what they were doing!

Louise Bell from Wee Ohana was told “Trust your gut! If you think something isn’t wrong investigate it! When my little boy didn’t smile until late, laugh or give eye contact at 6 months I had concerns, and then he didn’t talk and I had more concerns, every told me he would talk in his own time.. now we are awaiting an official diagnosis of autism. So trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right don’t let people blow it off!”
This is so important.  You know your child!

 

The above advice is so important!  I wish I’d known half of these when my littlies were babies!

Thanking my lovelies over at UK Parent Bloggers for their contribution!

(If you want to see our last two blogs from this weeks crowd sourcing series, here they are! Future Advice For Our Sons-UK Parent Bloggers.
Future Advice For Our Daughters-UK Parent Bloggers)

Being Beaten By Anxiety and Depression-Let’s Talk, Mental Health

 

Do you ever feel like you’re being beaten?  Beaten by something that’s basically “all in your head”?!

This week (and month if I’m honest) has been a really hard one with my anxiety and depression.

Nothing major has happened, but little things have cropped up, and, instead of those things going over my head like they should do, they seem to have affected me more than ever.

I’m suddenly at a stage where I just want rid of it all-the anxiety attacks have changed their symptoms, and I’ve been toying with starting medication-something I never wanted to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve changed a lot this last couple of months . I aimed to make 2017 a positive one, attempting to focus on the good things that happen rather than the bad.

I’m doing well, I’m in a much better place than I was this time last year.

I’m more confident, which is a massive thing for me.  I’ll never think I’m anything special (mainly because I’m not), but, I know I’m good at something for once, and compliments I continue to be given remind me of that.

I’m busy! This may seem like a negative to some, but due to my social anxiety, and lack of confidence, making plans and socialising eluded me for a while.
Blogging has taken me places I never thought I’d go, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I have these opportunities-they’re one of the main things that keep me going.

For all the positives I find, the negatives start creeping back in, especially when my mental health is as bad as it has been.
Recent events have shown me how alone I am, and I never thought I’d feel alone!

Of course I have the children-and as I always mention in these sort of blogs, they’re what get me out of bed in the morning.

And I have my husband.  But recently, him working random hours, with seemingly little down time, alongside me going straight out to events some evenings, has left me feeling a little “single”.

I don’t have a Mum, someone I can go and see for advice or a shoulder to cry on (she’s not dead, see HERE for why I don’t have a ‘Mum’).

My Dad lives 20-30 minutes away (dependent on what transport I use), and, although I know he’s on the end of the phone or at the end of that journey to see him, he has his own life too, and I don’t always feel like I can burden him with my stuff.

I don’t have many friends. This has never been much of an issue for me-I prefer a smaller group (less people to get my hopes up they’re going to stick around).   But the ones I do/did have are even starting to dwindle now.

I’m a great believer in “those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind”.  If people don’t want to be in my life anymore that’s fine, but I now can’t help feeling like I’ve gone through life wasting my time on people that aren’t going to last.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like I have anyone.  Loneliness is the worst feeling in the world, and it’s the one thing I currently keep going back to.

I’m just lost sometimes on how to fight these invisible illnesses, and how to shake the feelings that engulf my every day moments.

I keep fighting. I keep going. I keep hoping.
X

Mummy Times Two

Alcoholism, My Mum and Me



I found the above quote on Pinterest when trying to find something profound to start this blog off with.

In all honesty-I don’t know enough about the subject from an alcoholics point of view to be profound, but I know how it is to be the victim of alcoholism.
I haven’t got it, I should add that, I barely actually drink.  Maybe that’s because I’m so scared of being the person that is suffering from it right now.

That person is biologically, my Mother. 

I have to say it like that now.  I have to say biologically because she is-biologically my Mother.  But that’s all she now is.  We have no relationship anymore.  We haven’t done for over three years. And even prior to that, the relationship was fraught.

All because she chose to make her decisions under the influence of alcohol. 

My parents divorced when I was 13.  My sister was 10.  My brother was 8.

I woke one night to hear them rowing,  I crept to the top of the stairs and as I did, my Dad came up, on his way to the bathroom, murmuring as he passed me to go back to bed-that everything was fine.

I’m unsure if she did it to spite him, but my Mum shouted up to me “he’s leaving me-your Dad is leaving us!”

Unable to process this, considering my Dad, my idol, had just told me everything was fine, I rushed back to my bedroom, and got back into bed.

Within minutes, the feeling of worry crept over me and I remember the panic taking over. My Dad came in and I didn’t give him chance to explain. I just kept asking him if it was true.
He confirmed it was, but he wasn’t leaving us, he was leaving my Mum.  Nothing would change between him and his children, it was his wife he’d fallen out of love with, not us.

Shortly after he moved out, leaving us with someone grieving the loss of her marriage. 

I get this, I really do. 20 years of marriage thrown away like that, you’re going to struggle.

Unfortunately, my understanding didn’t last as long as I hoped it would, because, although I understood she was sad, my 13 year old self assumed we, her children, would remain her driving force to stay strong and keep going because she had us.

It didn’t happen like that at all. 

Within a week, she was out every night. She was spending all of her money on drinking in her local pub. I was left at home, at 13, cooking for me and my siblings, getting them into bed on time when she would go out prior to their bedtimes, and making sure all was ready for our school days.

On occasions, she wouldn’t come home until the early hours, on other occasions she’d bring random men back with her and I’d have to try and sleep through loud music, while she continued her party downstairs.

I was effectively a Mum. At the age of 13. 

I did this for 5 years.  We saw my Dad on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday one week, then a Wednesday Thursday and Friday the next.  When he met his now, wife, he would holiday with her,, so, in August he’d be away for 3 weeks.  I’d dread it.

Not only was it the Summer holidays, so we’d have no school to break up our day, she’d have spent all her money on alcohol so there’d be no days out, no treats.

We’d just count down until he got home. 

When I was 18, I got with my husband. For a few months we’d stay at my house every night, because I had the children to look after.  Within a year we were engaged, and he made the decision we would get a flat.

If he hadn’t done this, I don’t know where I’d be today. 

She was upset when I left, I can never be sure whether it was because I was leaving and her daughter was growing up, or she’d lost her babysitter.

She married again, I didn’t go to her wedding-I wasn’t invited, and I didn’t want to go.  Her husband is also alcohol dependent, and openly told her he wished she hadn’t had kids, something he repeated to me during a drunken rant down the phone one night.

During my wedding, which her and her husband attended with my late Grandad, she spent the day with a face like thunder.  I can’t watch my wedding video because she taints it in the background constantly.  An hour into my reception, following the food and the first dance, she left, to go to her local pub. 

During my sons christening, which I also invited her to, she didn’t speak to me or my husband.  She sat in the pew in front of us and didn’t even acknowledge my son.  At the drinks afterwards, she made her excuses to my Dad and left without speaking to me. 

When I lost my three babies after having my son, she wasn’t there-she doesn’t even know she could’ve had three other grandchildren. 

The day my daughter was born, I messaged her to tell her the name and weight of her new Granddaughter.  She didn’t reply.  I messaged again and she responded asking why I’d chosen the name.  She was angry my daughter was named after mine and my husbands grandmothers-there was no congratulatory message, no plans to visit and meet my daughter.

She refused to be part of her life unless I allowed both of my children to call her Nanny-something I’d made very clear during many previous arguments, fuelled by her decisions made during drunken phone calls, that she’d not earned that right-that her constant flippant relationship with me and my son, didn’t warrant her to have that title-that it had to be earned.  At the time of those conversations she’d agreed.

But suddenly that agreement wasn’t accepted anymore. 

She’s never met my daughter. My son doesn’t remember her.

Around 18 months ago, I messaged her during a clear-out of my old photos, to tell her I had pictures of her with her late parents, and I’d give them to my brother to give her if she would like them.  She responded telling me to f*** off out of her life.

So I did. 

Honestly, I’ve never found a decision so easy but hard, so upsetting but elating, and so final.

There’s a certain element of grief in it.  I’m grieving for the Mum I had as a young child.  The one who spent time with us, as a family.

But I’m also grieving for the life I never had.  For the love I never felt from her.  For the cuddles I never had. For the relationship I’ll never have again.

Yes, alcohol did this, but her choice to drink that alcohol, to get through a divorce, caused her to end up addicted to it.  She not only make her decisions under that influence, but showed no remorse the following days upon realising her mistakes.

And I’ll never forgive her for that. 

Ultimately throughout all of this, I’m left with peace. I have a doting Mother-in-Law, Step-Mum and Auntie (who ironically is my Mother’s sister-another family member alienated by poor life decisions) who play the role of a Mum better than I have ever known.

I have two children who are shielded from a relationship they could have had, with an unhinged adult I couldn’t have allowed to influence their lives.

I am proud of what I do, decisions I make and relationships I have, and I’ve made those decisions based on a need to never act how she has.

Today I’m Thankful For….. #5

I’ll be honest, today I struggled to find things I’m thankful for.
It’s not been a bad day as such, just a kind of nothing day where nothing much happened. I think I’ve scrambled three together though.

 

My resilient daughter

Seriously, this child.
She was definitely sent to try us, aside from her rather challenging behaviour, she’s  constantly poorly at the moment, and today it would appear she has come down with Hand Foot and Mouth (we think).  Coming up to three weeks in nursery now, she’s only had 3 days where she’s been free from illness, which is tough to watch, but she just gets on with it!  We think she probably started coming down with whatever this is on Friday, after we remembered today hearing her complaining about something hurting, that now has a spot on it.  She has spots on her hands and feet, and a mouthful of ulcers, but not once has she got upset, or fussed about any of these things!  She’s the same child i tell people about all the time, a story about when we viewed our current home; She was 18 months old, toddling around, and, as we viewed the kitchen, she’d climbed to the top of the first flight of stairs, fallen down them, got up at the bottom and run off.  She’s made of some kind of tough-stuff and I’m so thankful she never seems to suffer too much with things.

A Sunday lie-in
I can hear parents everywhere questioning what one of those is.  My kids never let us have one either.  Except for today, when my husband nudged me awake this morning, and whispered “it’s ten to 9!”
I turned over and didn’t even bother opening my eyes to acknowledge it-no sleep is ever enough for me-but just the thought that they’d both slept in, getting the rest their little bodies need after a horrible couple of weeks of being so unwell, made me so happy!
It also gave us the energy to be better parents (not that we’re not bloody marvellous anyway), more patient, happy, motivated parents, meaning we had happier more content children.  Even if this only happened this morning, and they’re both up at 5am tomorrow, we can at least remember it as the “Sunday that was”.

My dad
There’s already a blog about this amazing man, here-My Dad, but I very rarely write much regarding him in general.
At 61 years of age, he’s a massively successful man in his work as a child support worker and family liaison officer, a qualified counsellor, a loving Husband to my equally awesome Step-Mum, an amazing family man, and Grandad to his four Grandchildren.
Sometimes, I find, life just takes over a little. We get ill, then he gets ill, so we sometimes go for long periods of time not seeing each other, even though he’s only half an hour away.  He’s busy, working all week, and, I rarely get a weekend where we’re all free at the same time.  This doesn’t affect his relationship with me in the slightest.  He’s still attentive, caring and loving, and there’s rarely a day where we don’t speak.  His Grandchildren love him as much as anyone else in our family, and he and his Son-in-law (my Husband)  have an amazing bond too, which is all I can ask for really.

Recently, in events beyond my control, he’s been put through the mill a bit.  I worry constantly he’s not OK handling all the stress (even though he tells me he’s fine), and I get so angry with people taking advantage of his good nature.

He never loses it, he never gets angry or takes it out on me or anyone else, he’s always the same Dad to me he has been my whole life.
He’s proud of me and the things I’m doing and achieving.  He’s supportive of my decisions, and advises me when I need him to.  He listens to me while I rant for half an hour about something bugging me, then gives me the bang on the head I need to continue being strong.  His support knows no bounds, and I don’t think he realises just how much he is loved and respected, not just by me but by so many people.

I’m thankful because he’s my Dad.  And I’ll thank whoever or whatever gave me him for the rest of our lives.

 

 

So that’s all for today’s ‘thankful for’ post!  Don’t forget you can join in to!
You can go onto my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or comment at the bottom of this post to join in thinking of something you’re thankful for.  Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MFBthanful so I can find you easily too!

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Xx MFB  xX

Social Anxiety-Today I Win

 

This morning after a night of no sleep, thanks to a pulled muscle from teaching my kids how to do a headstand (don’t ask), I felt I had a very good reason not to take my son to a friends party he’d been invited to.  I felt I should find a reason not to go, because that’s what I always do.  Welcome to the beautiful world of social anxiety.

Let me mention here, if you don’t know much about social anxiety, it’s basically full of people making plans with you, inviting you or your children somewhere, you saying yes, then on the day, finding any excuse you can, not to go!
You could really want to go to the thing you’ve been invited to, but, as the day looms and the anxiety kicks in, the little niggling feeling you have about going gets worse.

Today, the niggling feeling was telling me not to force myself to be in a situation I’m in every day.  I have to go to the school every morning, and now the nursery too.  I have no choice, my kids need to go.  Today I had a choice-not to force myself to go, resulting in; (to name a few of the delightful symptoms that plague me daily) heart palpitations, horrible tummy cramps, feeling nauseous, hot flushes, panicky feelings-that start at the bottom of my body and work all the way up until I feel like I can’t breathe, bringing me on to-shortness of breath, and, my favourite, the urge to run, hide and cry in a corner.

Now, I suffer from social anxiety on a daily basis, so these feelings are pretty normal for me-I always say if it wasn’t for my children I probably wouldn’t ever leave the house.  Thankfully for me, I do have them to keep me going and get my butt moving every day, but today, I had a ready made excuse to not go-the neck pain!


At 11:30 this morning,  and hour before we had to leave, I changed my mind.  For several reasons……

My son, almost aged 7, unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of invites to parties.  He’s a lovely kid (and I’m not just saying that because he’s mine), he’s friends with everyone, very polite, well mannered and clever.  So clever in fact, that he now can tell me which of his friends parents don’t like me.  I myself, am a very private person when it comes to speaking with my children about personal grown up matters, which, I would hope, most parents are.  The fact would then remain that he’s come to this conclusion himself, noticing the tension, hearing things said, or not said, as he often asks me why some of his friends mummies don’t talk to me.

I’ve told him some people just don’t get on-sparing him from the detail that I could go into about the sheer hell I’ve faced for the last two and a half years.   In me explaining that, he understands that I’m the reason he doesn’t get invited to things-something his six year old brain doesn’t register as a bad thing yet, but something my 30 year old brain battles with daily, worrying he’ll one day start to resent me, as he gets older, and these issues possibly continue.

For once, he’s been invited to something.  How can I take that away from him because I can’t control my mental health issues?!

Another reason I went, (although one of the reasons I at first didn’t want to go), not one I realised until I was there, were my issues with worrying about what others think of me.

For a little while now, I’ve been slowly battling the nagging feeling I have at every event, social occasion or family get together, that people are judging me.

This, is made no better, by sly little whisperers, who judge everything I do, say (and sometimes, wear).  I think the change came when I attended my first press event in London at the end of last year.  I walked into a room full of people I didn’t know and thought, they’re strangers, they don’t have a preconceived idea of who you are, because they don’t presume to know a stranger they’ve only just met.  Tell them who you are, tell them about yourself, then they can judge on factual information, not hearsay others frequently use against you for their own pleasure.
Slowly, since that day, I’ve honestly started to feel sorry for people, and the way they go about their day, negatively, sadly, nastily, angrily.

I used to be a positive person, and I felt sorry for myself for the negative way I started to conduct myself, when faced with people that dedicated their time to putting me down and belittling me.  Why was I feeling sorry for myself, when the things being said weren’t even true?

 

I’m a really nice person when you get to know me.  Many years of being battered by dickheads took its toll and I’m not ashamed to say I now take a lot longer to assume someone is my friend.  But I am a really good friend, to those that are good to me.

I’m a good mum, a loving wife, I’m a talented writer, and have been nominated for an award in the last month.  I’m a good daughter, step daughter, and liked family member amongst those that know me properly.

I’ve never acted out of malice (sometimes I plainly just misread situations and people-something I’m learning the hard way to stop doing).

And through all of this-through all my good traits, even through my bad ones, (because I wouldn’t be so stuck up to profess perfection), I’ve realised one massive thing.  One gigantic, stupendous, life changing thing.

I’m happy with who I am.

And those six words, have got me through a fair few school runs, social situations, family get-togethers, and professional events recently.

I won’t be changed, I won’t be beaten.  You can try, and once upon a time you would’ve succeeded-you tried so hard, you’ll never understand the damage you did do-but not any more.

I know who my friends are.  And most importantly I know who I am. And I won’t let those that try and beat me down, those that don’t know me for who i really am, or stupid social anxiety, win, anymore!

Xxx

For more information on social anxiety, and how to cope with it-see the social anxiety website-here.