Justifying Decisions, Why Do I Continue To Do This?

As a parent of two children, life can throw judgement your way.

Rather, judgemental people in life can throw judgement your way.

So often I have found myself justifying the choices I make, not just for the children, but for me too.

After a toxic friendship with a woman who would negatively judge the majority of my decisions, I now feel that I have to be ready for further comments about the choices I make.  I am now, armed with my ammo of words, to explain why I do what I do. Continue reading “Justifying Decisions, Why Do I Continue To Do This?”

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…..#4

Good Afternoon!  So, today I am thankful for;
Being a grown up
I didn’t feel brilliant when I woke up this morning, and I remembered back to when I was little, having to suck it up and go to a family thing or a planned event my parents had decided on, wishing I was back in bed, or on the sofa watching TV.

Now I’m a grown up, and, although there are a few negative aspects to it sometimes, there are plenty of positives too!
I got up, pulled on some baggy leggings I wouldn’t dare wear out, and my husbands hoody over my pyjama top-I didn’t even bother putting a bra on (too much information?)
I scraped my hair back into a pony tail and ran a wipe over my face.
I’ve spent the day in front of the TV snuggled with the kids, watching films and faffing on my iPad.  I have only got up to get the kids juice, and get us all lunch, then sat back down.  I fancied a cake and we didn’t have any, so I just got up and made one.  Then I ate some as soon as it was ready.
Because I can, because I’m a grown up now!

The cake thing acutally brings me on to the next thing I’m thankful for today.

 
Being able to bake
You don’t get much chance as a kid to bake, and when you do you’re governed by a recipe out of an old book your parents still have from their ancestors, and said parents are breathing down your neck, checking you’re doing it properly, and making sure you don’t burn the house down.
So when you eventually become a grown up, you kind of have to learn to do these things on your own.
I don’t remember learning it, it just kind of came naturally, a bit like the writing I do now actually.

But really, what a skill to ace.  I want a cake, I make a cake.  The cake I wanted today was plain sponge, with cream and strawberry jam inside, and cream and strawberries on the top.  Luck shone down on me today and I had every ingredient I needed, I made the cake and it looked and tasted exactly how I had dreamt it would in my head!

 
Being able to let go
As I type this, I only have one of my babies at home.  Which isn’t abnormal as I sometimes only have Olivia here in the week, while Kye’s at school.  School, is one of those things you’re forced into having to be OK with as a parent. You know they need it, you know it’s the law, you know there’s not enough brain in your head to teach them at home, so it’s best for them.

What I struggle with more though, is the ability to be OK with letting my eldest child go to friends houses without me!  I know, I know,it sounds crazy doesn’t it, seriously, cut the apron strings woman!  Unfortunately, that’s just the person I am, and always have been. Don’t get me wrong, he’s gone to friends houses before!
Before today however it, was just stupidly hard and I’d worry and have the worst anxiety all the time he was gone.  The difference now is, as I’m getting better mentally, and becoming happier and more positive in myself, decisions such as letting him go out for the afternoon to a friends house, becomes a lot easier.
I’m proud of him, for wanting to go, and I know he’ll do his best to follow the rules that are not only the ones he’s been brought up with, but the ones set out by his friends family. Today though, I’m also proud of myself for having the ability to now let him go.

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

Lost Memories

If anyone follows my blog, or regularly reads the things I post, you’ll know about my history with Anxiety, Depression and PTSD following a lack of aftercare when I had 3 recurrent miscarriages a few years ago.

For those who haven’t read any, my basic background is that, between having my son and daughter, myself and my husband lost 3 babies.  We were offered nothing in the way of aftercare, no psychological help, and because of that, years later, I’m now suffering from several mental health issues.

Today, after a trip to the park with the little ones, I decided to sort the vast amount of photos and videos on my laptop out, and add them onto my external hard drive.  What I hadn’t anticipated was the sheer amount of them I actually own.  On the laptop alone there were over 8000 (whoops!)

I added them and decided to sit and nose through the old photos I’d already stored on the hard drive, and in doing so, came across the last six years worth of memories.  I’m going to go ahead and use the term “memories” loosely-you’ll read why further down.

While going through them, I remembered around 90% of them, whether that was taking them, or seeing them from someone else.

I know some memories don’t make it to the “long term memory” part of your brain (I’ve just completed a diploma in psychology-this was one of the modules), but I do remember the majority.

I then flicked through until I came to my daughters last three years worth of photos and videos.
We all sat round, giggling at how little, funny and sweet my daughter was (and still is-sometimes), and discussing with my son when they were taken etc.  It was then, that I realised something pretty sad-I didn’t remember the majority of them.

Of course, I know I took them, I remember roughly the reason behind them, the time (roughly) they were taken, but I cant remember being there, enjoying that moment, like I did with my son.  Quickly switching the laptop off, I tried to reassure myself.  I have a lot going on, most days, and what with the issues left behind from the miscarriages, my mind isn’t as clear as it used to be.

Then it dawned on me, what if those two things were connected?!

After putting the children to bed, I opened Google on my laptop.  I’d love to say I was wrong in my suspicions, but unfortunately I’m not.

I found out that the hormone cortisol, which is released when you’re stressed, is known to prevent the formation of memories, and therefore causes memory loss.  Because anxiety tends to be a long term issue, you’re putting your body through almost constant stress, therefore releasing a harmful amount of cortisol into your body.  Additionally, anxiety also distracts you, making your mind wander, therefore hindering your ability to remember what’s happening in the here and now.

PTSD is one of the biggest causes of anxiety, because of the trauma sustained.

I have to count myself as one of the lucky ones, even if it doesn’t feel that way.  I have thousands of videos and photos I’ve taken of my kids, and my “memories” can be in front of me at the click of a button.  However, what I find that infuriates me more than anything, is that this could have all have been prevented.   This is yet another thing mental health has taken from me, primarily down to the lack of aftercare I received.

Its just another thing I’ll have to live with, and slowly come to terms with.

I know I say it a lot on the end of these types of blog posts, but its SO important that the message is sent out.  If you, someone you know, just anyone you hear about, has gone through even one miscarriage, or a trauma, make sure they’re battling as hard as they possibly can to get help.  And if you/they can’t find that strength to do it for themselves, if their minds and bodies are just too bloody exhausted from fighting to get through each day, then help them, help those around you to get medical help.

Because the life they’ll lead without it, isn’t worth thinking about.

X

 

For immediate help or if you’re worried about someone’s mental health while they’re stuck on waiting lists/doctors lists, click the following links for advice.  There’s also a link for advice following miscarriage(s) from an amazing organisation, Tommys.

The Samaritans

Mind

Anxiety UK

Tommys

 

Almost 30…..

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In exactly one week, I turn 30!

As a child, I used to imagine what it would be like to be 30.  I was like Jenna Rink in ’13 Going on 30′ (if you haven’t seen that film-you’ve missed out!)  I willed time to go faster, so I could experience life as an adult, and all the grown up things I thought I’d do.

Of course, as we all know now we are adults, it’s not all fun and games and really, we wish we’d been smaller for longer.

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My son, currently aged 6, is constantly telling me how he “can’t wait to be a grown up”.  He wants to be able to play on the Xbox all the time and not be told what to do-I don’t have the heart to tell him its pretty much nothing like that!

The subject of turning 30 is a puzzling one.  On first thought its a daunting prospect, with so many deep, life relating questions you seem to ask yourself.  The main one, in my case, is whether I’ve achieved all I wanted to by the time I turned 30…..

  1. Children. I wanted kids.  One girl, one boy.  When I was a teenager, dreaming of my perfect, grown up life, I wanted one boy called Danny, and a girl called Leticia (yes really).  In actual “grown up life”, I have one boy (who’s not called Danny) and one girl (who funnily enough is not called Leticia!)
  2. Husband. I wanted the man of my dreams.  He didn’t have a face, not a definitive one anyway-but I have a feeling he looked something like the men on the posters on my wall-a mismatched version of celebrities and professional football players combined together to make THE perfect man.  (Please note, at no point did I dream of the word LOVE).  In actual “grown up life”, I have the man I LOVE.  He looks nothing like any of those men on my childhood bedroom wall, but he was my schoolgirl crush, my childhood sweetheart (who admittedly dated the majority of my friends before getting to me-but the course of true love, never did run smoothly, did it!)  He is the love of my life, my absolute best friend, and I cannot imagine life without him.
  3. A houseI wanted my own home, a house, with a garden and rooms for both my children (remember my one girl and one boy dream). In actual “grown up life”, I have a house.  Its not mine, we rent it, but its our home.  We’ve been here a year, the children have their own bedrooms, we have a garden (and a drive-get us!).  I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in any of the homes I’ve lived in and right now, its perfect for our little family.
  4. To be Successful. I wanted a good career, savings, pennies in the bank, the ability to afford holidays for “my perfect” family and all the happiness money brings.  In actual “grown up life”, I am now a SAHM (stay at home mum).  I have very little in the way of savings, we’ve never had a family holiday (since before children anyway), and in the way of a career, I’ve so far not begun the “perfect job”.  I am, however, pretty happy.  Money is nice, savings would be lovely, and spare money to spoil the children with would be brilliant.  But we’re a happy family.  We pay the bills, we eat well, we enjoy our life, so what more can you ask for!
  5. To make my family proudI wanted to do things with my life that never brought shame or unhappiness to my family.  I wanted them to be proud of me, happy with my life choices.  My father, especially, I wanted to make proud the most.  He shaped me and made me the person I am today-I never wanted to make him sad, angry, ashamed or disappointed in me.  In actual “grown up life”, I can’t answer that can I?!  I can’t tell you if I’ve made them proud, only that I tried my very hardest to do so.  My dad, remains the driving force behind me trying to make something of my life.  I constantly think about what he’d say when I make decisions or life choices.  I’m no angel, I know I made some weird decisions as a child and teenager, and sometimes he would’ve been a little disappointed in how I dealt with things or paths I took, but I don’t think there was anything that would’ve made him ashamed of me.
  6. To be happy. I wanted to be happy. That’s that really!  In actual “grown up life”, I am mostly happy.  I touched on happiness in the “having money” part of this blog.  But that’s not all I need to make me happy.  I have two absolutely amazing children, who don’t stop making me proud and trying their hardest, day in, day out.  I have an amazing husband, who, for all his faults, remains my constant, my bestest friend in the entire world, who I share everything with, and laugh with (most of the time).  I have an amazing family, who I love and adore for their constant love and support.  I’m happy with decisions I’ve made, and paths I’ve taken.

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All these things, all these mad dreams and ideas I had about being a grown up and the perfect life I was going to have, were pretty delusional when I look back as an almost 30 year old.  You cant look ahead 20+ years and map out who you’re going to be and what you’re going to be doing.  At that age, you don’t envisage, the crap challenges you’re going to face along the way.  You don’t know the people you’ll meet, the choices you’ll make, or most importantly, the person you’ll become.

What’s important, as we have these milestone birthdays, is that we’re content.  Content with where we came from, how we’ve lived so far, and how we plan for our future.

Turning 30 doesn’t scare me, upset me, or make me sad for what was.  It makes me excited about what’s to come.

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Thoughts For Today

  

Ok, so this just may end up as a blog of the ramblings of my own mind, but it’s in overdrive today, and a counsellor one told me to write it down-so I’m doing so (albeit a tad publicly).

  • Number 1 on the agenda today; 

Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on something?

I don’t mean something massive, like having another baby, or other massive life events.  But sometimes I just feel like I’m not whole. I have my children, I LOVE being a stay at home mum and watching them grow, change and learn.  I love my home, my husband, all of most of my family, and day by day the anxiety issues and depression I struggled with so much last year seem a little bit further away, and I feel like I used to again, a little bit more.

I just feel like I have something else to give, like my mind/body needs busying in some way.  I hate exercise, so I know it’s not something as simple as going for a run that’s going to fill the gap.  As previously mentioned, the house, the husband and the amount of children is all fine, so no need for change there either. 

Honestly, how am supposed to expect anyone else to know what’s missing and help, if I don’t know myself!  Today though, the void is more felt than it has been, and it’s starting to wind me up more than anything!

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out soon!

  • Number 2;

Do you ever feel like the most two faced mum in the world?

I have taken a look at my day today, and to be honest it’s pretty similar to most days with my two children.  One minute I’m cooing over how adorable my daughter is, the next I’m ready to pop with anger at something she’s done a million times before, but only now have I let it get to me.  Another time I’m in awe of how clever my son is, the next I’m snapping at him because something he’s done is picking away at me.

Both of my children are pretty much exactly the same.  They look the same, act the same, speak the same, (even sleep the same). But none of these things happen at the same time.  I never have two good children, or two bad, both tag team each other to get the maximum amount of steam coming out of my ears!

So why is it, I find myself sitting at night thinking of how I behaved rather than how they did.

Did I shout too much? Are they laying in bed now thinking of how mean Mummy was today? Will my boy go to school and tell his teacher or friends how mummy is always angry?  Because sometimes, that’s how I feel, even thought deep down it isn’t true-I’m definitely happy more than I am cross-but at the end of the day, when the little devils angels are sound asleep, it’s me left with the thoughts and worries of the day. It’s me wondering what would’ve happened if they’d turned round when I was sticking my fingers up at them behind their backs (we all do it-or will do at some point, don’t deny it), and it’s me constantly at war with myself over whether I’m doing it properly, adequately, fairly and, well, perfectly!

Is there such a thing as a perfect parent? I doubt it, but if there is I’d love to meet one, lock them up  and ask them the secret to amazing parenting!
The human mind is so ridiculously complex sometimes, it’s amazing how any of us get anything done when our brains are so full of questions, confusion, and emotion.

Fingers crossed, answers are not far away. 

X

Facing Facts 

At the grand old age of 29, I can easily look back on my adult life so far and see how much I’ve done, and how much I’ve been through. 

I think, however it’s fair to say one of the hardest decisions I’ve made is to not have anymore children. 

I’ve not had surgery to get my ‘tubes tied’ or to get ‘sterilised’. I’ve just made a decision that I know I’ll never change. 

While the women in mine and my husbands family are falling pregnant now and having babies in the near future, I’m about to get rid of the cot both my children slept in.  The thought of which fills me with such depression that I can see why people DO change their minds about having more. 

My reasons for not having more?

Well for starters I get so sick with pregnancy. With my son I had no one else to look after so it didn’t make much of a dent in my life.  With his sister I had him to look after. I went through his 4th birthday and the months following not remembering things I’d done, not spending time with him-basically living in my bedroom sleeping and being sick, while he ate his meals and watched DVDs in bed with me. What kind of life is that for a pre-schooler?! 

Also, between having my son and daughter I lost three babies trying for our second. I couldn’t put myself, my husband or our families through that again. 

So those are my main reasons for not wanting anymore. I cannot and will not put my children through any of that, especially now my son has school and my daughter will be going to nursery in the near future. 

Other reasons are the usual you hear from other people who’ve made the same decision, I think. 

Money. I cannot afford another child. It would mean buying a new car. We have no money for a new car.  One of the children would have to share a room in our lovely new house we have only just moved into! Or we’d have to move again. Which we can’t afford!

Ironically after making the decision to not have anymore children, all I’ve done since is want more children-even dreaming about being pregnant last night. 

It’s never going to happen. I can’t outweigh the negatives with positives and that, to me, speaks volumes. 

It doesn’t, however, make other people having babies any easier to deal with. 

I liken it to having my miscarriages. The women around me were popping babies out while I couldn’t keep mine growing.  Now, when I’m done with having them, people are still popping them out. But this time people aren’t as sympathetic.  Previously, people would say “it’ll be your turn soon.”  Now it’s “well you could have one if you wanted one.”  While, in-laws are saying “well never say never”, friends are saying “you’re still young, you might change your mind.”

I know I never will-and that seems to be such a final decision, my struggling to come to terms with it, seems like a natural thing to battle with. I hope it is, and I hope one day I’ll find peace with the decision I’ve made. 

For now, I’m going to enjoy my babies and the little complete family we have. 

It’s time to face facts, stand up for the decision I’ve made for the reasons I’ve made them, and enjoy what’s to come in the future. ❤️