Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Somebody I used to know...

All parents know that having a child changes your life. But sometimes some of us fail to appreciate how much of our lives we lose in them and how much of our future is invested in them.

The person I was before no longer exists this I know.  Occasionally I imagine that I could once again  play out that person be 'just Anna' but in reality I know that won't ever be the case. Which is okay, I learnt a long time ago to accept that and it's no real sacrifice for the sake of having Emily in my life. She's worth the identity crisis!

So now I am a mother that takes precedence over all else in my life and everything I do or don't do comes back to this in the end. People may tell you it doesn't but truly it always does!  I go to University for me, so I can get a degree to better my life but do you want to know what I always say, when asked, are my main reasons for wanting to better my life? Yes that's right for my daughter, to make her life better and make her proud of me!  I will always be judged on it, known for it and the words mummy, mum or mother will be said a million times more in a year than my own name. I will be defined by it while I study, when I start work, in my relationships, my friendships. It may even define whether I am loved or not loved.

So what happens when becoming a mother means the person that's meant to love you stops loving you? Or maybe they realise that they do love you but by the time they do it's too late. And then everyone that comes after may only love you depending on this fact, you being a mother or how they can relate to you as mother, not just a women or another person. You are never just yourself ever again. You aren't complete without this part of you being right there out in the light for everyone to see and so you are never again loved for just you I guess. Interesting...

Ironically the only people that may actually love me for being just me are my daughter and of course my own mother but then she knows the score.

Friday, 23 November 2012


I hate meal times! Well correction, I hate meal times with Emily!

For the last 2+ years, every single meal time has been a fight. I get indigestion just at the thought of having to sit down and try and persuade Emily to eat something. It's not that Emily doesn't eat, it's just that all she wants to do is (what I call) graze. Fruit, yoghurts, crackers and cheese, cereal, toast, etc...But nothing in the form of an actually meal unless it's for anyone other than me and then she will basically eat whatever is put in front of her as the nursery take delight in telling me each time I collect her! I suppose I should be grateful that she at least eats proper meals some of the time.

I try not to make a big deal out of it, I ignore it, I refuse to give her anything else to eat if she won't eat her tea, I shout at her or cajole her, I get her to cook with me. I try everything, everything and nothing works. I know it's a battle of wills but I feel like I'm losing all the time. The worst thing is that unlike other difficult situations that arise with children I don't feel able to push this one because I'm terrified I will make her weird about food. I keep hoping she will grow out of it but we are coming up for three years of this and sometimes I just want to cry! In fact honestly sometimes I have cried.

Every so often I give up on the whole meal fiasco and I just allow her to graze which makes us both happy but then I start feeling inadequate because my daughter won't sit and eat a meal for me, so we start the whole process again. It's exhausting!

I think in all honestly I am exhausted right now, some days I feel like I'm walking through treacle! I want to be a good mum, I want to be a good student, I want to find the time to clean my house for god sake! I want to stop worrying about money all the time and manage a full nights sleep without waking up in a panic about something but most of all I just want my daughter to stop fighting me on everything (or at least most days it feels that way)!

Take last weekend for instance, I decided to take her up town to see the lights switched on and she spent all her time running off into massive crowds of people, moaning or crying! The final straw was when she had a massive tantrum in the middle of the main street. I could have quite happily left her there and all I was trying to do was something nice! Mentally I know she is only three years old, she is like all other three year old but emotionally it's hard and I feel alone, tired and fed up. I know I'm not alone but it doesn't half feel like it sometimes. I apologise to my readers and I appreciate that I am moaning about life.  This is just how it is and I get that but sometimes I have to let it all out or else I think I might go mad. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! Right I feel a little better now thanks...ha ha ha :) So much for the carefree student life, I think that bit passed me by!

And as I finished writing this blog my beautiful daughter passed me an envelope whilst singing happy birthday (incidentally it is not my birthday today) and this is what was inside.
So despite all of the above I do love being a mum, really I do, even if it's blo*dy hard work sometimes!!  

Sunday, 14 October 2012

It's been a while...

Wow I realised today that I haven't written in quite some time! 

Life has been a little hectic recently and I currently feel like I am living about three different lives, simultaneously. 

I am a mum, a student and have just started a new relationship. All of which are extremely important to me in different ways! As always Emily is my main priority and the focus in everything that I do but I have to say it is nice to have other things in my life. Things that feel like they are just for me! 

University is extremely time consuming and intense, finding the energy to be fully committed to it whilst also being fully committed to Emily is challenging at times. I feel a little overstretched and being on my own adds to the weight of responsibility massively. However as always this was my choice and so I endeavour not to complain too much. I also appreciate how lucky I am to have the opportunity to re-train at this point in my life and I do it with Emily at the forefront of my mind always, as with everything that I do. In this instance ultimately my desire is to make a better life for the two of us and to make her proud of me.

My new relationship....

I won't talk too much about because 1) it's private and 2) I'm not sure my new boyfriend would like me discussing us so publicly (ha ha). However I will say this, I like having someone in my life that makes me smile constantly even when I don't always feel like smiling! It was unexpected but sometimes the best things in life are I think! I like the laughter, the fun and having someone to hold my hand while I sleep. Anyway I think I have probably already said too much ;) 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Occupational Therapy...

So last week was the end of an era! It was my last week as a full-time, stay at home mum. As of next week I will be a full-time mother/University student! This week...well I'm on holiday! Not literally you understand but Emily has started nursery a week early, to allow me time to collect my thoughts and organise this big change in our lives.

As of next Monday I will be enrolled as a full-time student O.T which stands for...wait for it...Occupational Therapist.......(pause)

No, I know you still don't know what I am talking about do you?! (sigh)

Having a mother as an O.T has meant I have spent the last 31 years (well okay maybe only 25 of those) trying to explain what exactly an O.T is and what it is that they do! On the rare occasion these two words are met with vague recognition and not a glazed expression I am overjoyed at the prospect that maybe the person I am dealing with might possibly know what an Occupational Therapist is! And upon meeting someone within the health care profession that does know what an O.T is I am practically nauseous with excitement! Sad I know but I lead a rather un-rock n roll lifestyle these days so it doesn't take much to excite me!

So okay for all you people out there that do not know what it is an Occupational Therapist does the COT (College of Occupational Therapy) describes it as follows:

"Occupational therapists view people as occupational beings. People are intrinsically active and creative, needing to engage in a balanced range of activities in their daily lives in order to maintain health and wellbeing. People shape, and are shaped by, their experiences and interactions with their environments. They create identity and meaning through what they do and have the capacity to transform themselves through premeditated and autonomous action.
The purpose of occupational therapy is to enable people to fulfil, or to work towards fulfilling, their potential as occupational beings. Occupational therapists promote function, quality of life and the realisation of potential in people who are experiencing occupational deprivation, imbalance or alienation. They believe that activity can be an effective medium for remediating dysfunction, facilitating adaptation and recreating identity."

Still confused?! 

Basically think of anything that you do on a daily basis, bathing, dressing, walking down the stairs, leaving the house, going to work...anything at all. Now imagine for whatever reason you couldn't perform that task anymore. For example you had an accident, developed a mental illness, were brain damaged, had a stroke, were diagnosed with a debilitating disease or maybe you were born with a disability that means you were never able to perform that task without assistance in the first place. Well that is what O.T's are for and no not to do it for you but to provide you with the support you need to either help you perform that task again or adapt your life around the fact that you cannot do that task alone and unaided anymore. They provide people with the necessary tools, whether that is re-teaching tasks, breaking them down into manageable steps, teaching people how to cope with a change in environment and how that change may effect their daily occupations or providing equipment or adaptations to a person's property to enable them to live more independently and more comfortably. So that is a very basic explanation of what an O.T is and what they do but if you remember that it will take me 3 years to qualify on a course that is a mixture of Anatomy & Physiology, Psychology and Sociology. Then you start to get an idea of the variety and scope of the job. 

So I don't expect anyone I know to ever ask me again what exactly it is an Occupational Therapist that understood?! Ha ha....

Friday, 17 August 2012

Leaving home...

I remember watching a sketch with comedian Michael Mcintyre, where he talks about the differences between people with children and people without. Hilarious! I laughed myself silly because obviously it was very funny but mostly because it was just so true! I relayed details of the sketch to one of my best mummy friends and she nearly wet herself in the middle of the street laughing so much! 

One of the topics he covered was leaving the house. He said:

This is how people without children leave the house.
 'Shall we leave the house?'
 They exit the house.
(note the above will only be funny to people with children, those without will just shrug their shoulders and agree 'yes indeed this is how we leave the house'.)

He then goes on to explain in detail how he attempts to leave the house each and everyday. If you haven't seen it I recommend you watch it, very funny indeed! Michael Mcintyre Christmas Comedy Roadshow

So it occurred to me today, whilst running nearly half an hour late for my play date, that I couldn't recall it ever taking this long to leave the house before I had Emily. Admittedly I have got a lot better at it more recently, just after Emily was born I was lucky if I could make it out the house within 2 hours of when I said I would be leaving. It's still so hard though. 

This morning, I was attempting to tidy up whilst getting myself dressed and ready to leave. Emily emptied the entire contents of her box of playmobile toys onto the lament floor in the lounge. Toys scattered everywhere. She then abandoned the toys in favour of pulling items off the book case. I must have asked her a dozen times to put on her shoes, she of course ignored me instead using her small pink table as a make shift ladder so she could gain access to the kitchen cupboard that contains a large pot of pick n mix left over from our trip to Legoland. She spilt her juice all over the sofa and herself so I had to get her completely undressed and re-dressed. I finally managed to wrestle her into her coat and shoes, we left the house. She ran off down the road whilst I was locking the door. I managed to get her back and into the car, strapped her into her seat whilst I returned to the house to retrieve her toothbrush because she hadn't brushed her teeth as I had asked. Then I had to go back into the house again because we needed baby wipes for her runny nose. By now I had locked and unlocked the door three times, it was 10.20 and we hadn't even left the street yet! We finally made it to soft play exactly 27 minutes after we said we would arrive. And sadly that might be a personal best for us!  

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Not measuring up!

Warning: Sorry a rather self-absorbed, self-pitying blog this time I'm afraid! So I suggest that if you think it will upset or anger you to read it that you do not read it! To all that do decide to read it I apologise and promise to make my next blog more upbeat and positive! x

As a parent I have massive guilt, most of the time! And there are times when I feel like I just don't measure up! I have moments of feeling like a huge failure and I have to say that the last few months have felt very much like this! 

Emily is going through a particularly difficult and extremely tiring stage. She constantly questions everything that I say or ask of her, if she listens at all to me in the first place. Everything involves some sort of fight or argument, it's like a constant battle of wills and I just don't have the energy to keep up with her and her constant demands. 

Most days we are up at 6.30am and I spend the next 12 and a half hours feeling like my head is gradually building up to explosion point! I long for 7pm so I can take her to bed, even though bedtime in itself is a fight. A fight to get her ready, to get her into bed and to keep her there once she is in bed! I can't seem to keep my temper and the smallest of things irritate me. I have been told that I am miserable and not myself and is it any wonder really?!

I really don't want my experiences of motherhood to be like this! When I look around at people I know, people who are going through extremely difficult situations it makes me feel guilty that I am not coping better. Emily is here with me, whenever I want and she is healthy and happy and that should be enough! And it is enough but I am just so god damn tired all the time and don't feel like there is anything left for me. I spend every night sat in, alone and not able to do anything or go anywhere because Emily is in bed and then weekend's mostly all I want to do is sleep to recover. I would love to do something constructive with my time alone but I haven't enough money or energy.  

To make it worse people are constantly telling me to enjoy this time I have with Emily before I have to go to University but in all honestly I cannot wait to get to University so we have a routine and there are other people around to help me occupy her time and keep her stimulated. She is as bright as a button and extremely quick which is a joy and what every parent wants but it is truly exhausting and makes me feel like I am just failing to keep her even remotely entertained or stimulated. 

I know that being alone was my choice and it will take time to adjust but I feel lost in a bit of a fog at the moment. I suppose no-one ever said that motherhood was going to be easy and as people keep telling me it won't get any easier, just different. I just hope that eventually I will get better at dealing with it all or at least stop feeling like such a big failure.... 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words...

...or so it is said. 

For me pictures have always been important. They are a way to look back and remember a time, place or person that impacted on my life in some way. They are my memories.

So blogger readers I share my memories with you here today and I hope that they will make you smile. As the song says, 

"In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And darkness still inside you
Makes you feel so small."

So at times like those it is good to remind yourself of all that is great in the world or at least in the world that is all yours!

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I wanted to write about love but I realised that I no more understand the complexities of love then I do of life. The raw emotions that we feel, the ones that cannot be verbalised because they exist only to us, to try and explain them to another can feel rather daunting, unexplainable even. There are no words that can convey the gravity of what love is to each person. I know what love is to me, although I may not be able to express it adequately in words, I feel it right at the centre of my being every time I look at a person that I love. However I cannot be sure that what I feel is the same as what any other person feels even though the sub-text may appear the same at times.

The prophet, Kihlil Gibran wrote “as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he ascends to your heights and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.” And this is what love has taught me. At it's height you can feel no greater elation, it will lift you up and beyond any kind of happiness you ever thought possible. However when love crucifies you it does it in such a way that you feel torn apart from yourself, the enormity of pain that it can inflict on you is devastating. So much so that sometimes you feel you may never recover. Sadly some people, broken hearted, never do...I know no other emotion (if you can categories love as an emotion) that has the potential to do this to you. No other emotion that has the power to propel you into the stratosphere one moment and slam you hard and cold back to earth and bury you deep the next.

Love comes in many forms for different people but as my blog is about my experiences as a parent then I must talk about my love for Emily I guess. The love you feel for your child is an all encompassing thing. It surrounds you and makes you weak and vulnerable and (only speaking from personal experience now) it is unmatched in power to that which you feel for any other. My love for Emily is fierce and unrelenting, it is all consuming and self-sacrificing. It keeps me going when I want to give up and forces me onward, everyday, even when I feel like I have nothing left to give. It terrifies me because it exists in a place I have no control over and is rooted deep in the centre of who I am. I cannot hide my heart from her, like I have done with so many other people in my life, not that I would want to of course but it is truly humbling to love so profoundly and without question. I never got it before. All those years when my own mother would look at me with genuine love in her eyes no matter what I might be telling her or what I might have done. I didn't understand that it could be possible to value another person's life more than your own but now I understand.

So maybe love is so complex because the nature of love is unfounded. We do not know where it comes from, or what controls it. We only know how it feels to us and I guess that is all we can really understand about it or maybe that is all I can ever understand.

Just a few late night thoughts...  

Friday, 8 June 2012

All by myself...

Generally I don't like to think that I can't cope. I am fiercely independent and extremely stubborn and always have been even since I was Emily's age. Although back then my mother always insisted that I was just 'strong willed', which is a nice way of saying I was a pain in the backside (she smiles)! So I don't like the idea that I might not be able to do something or everything for that matter, unless of course it relates to flat-pack furniture in which case I am quite happy to let someone else do it for me, ridiculous invention! 

Anyway life is a little hectic at the moment, which may indeed be a severe understatement. Let's see what you think? Currently I am in the process of revising for my exams, whilst sorting, cleaning, decorating and packing for a house move that will take place immediately after my exams. This is all done whilst helping Gavin move house last weekend, filling in forms, organising meetings with my prospective landlady, organising a man with a van to help me move, calls to Sky, calls to insurance company, trips to the postoffice to send supporting documents for my bursary, trips to the doctors to obtain a copy of my immunisations for University, trips to the charity shop, trips to the tip and looking after my sister/mother's guinea pig whilst my mother is away (which reminds me I really must go buy a newspaper to line his cage). Oh and Emily is at home with me constantly at the moment as with the Queen's jubilee and half-term both her nurseries are closed. And she is now poorly bless her, running a temperature and miserable with suspected Chicken Pox (although the spots are yet to appear). We haven't slept much these pass few nights. 

So as I said I don't like to think that I cannot manage but even I have to admit that breaking down and crying at the news that Gavin has had to cancel the internet connection (during exam revision week) may be a slight overreaction and blubbering on the phone to my sister yesterday may be a sign that things aren't exactly 'fine' but I am just going to put it down to my hormones, bloody hormones making me all irrational. So I will survive and get through all this without taking up chain smoking or heavy drinking and without developing a stomach ulcer in the process and the runny nose that has appeared over the last few days can bugger off. I just don't have time to be ill right now! Beside on a day like today when I think about what other people close to me are having to deal with it puts my life into prospective...

Right where is my list?

Friday, 4 May 2012


I read an article today about SAHM's (stay at home mums). Apparently a childless woman had written into an advice column complaining that her mummy friends had little or no time for her, they would not respond to her emails and text messages. She felt like they were avoiding her and could not understand, when they didn't work what they did all day. Hmmmm...Well the columnist had to refrain from speaking the true nature of her thoughts and was obviously as diplomatic as she could be. This did however sparked a reaction in one particular SAHM who wrote an article for Yahoo news reviewing exactly what it is she does on a typical day and I have to admit although only having one child (unlike this woman who has a toddler and a baby) it all sounded very familiar. 

In truth I have never received any such reactions from any of my childless friends, but that is because none of them are selfish or unaware enough not to realise that being a parent (particularly the one that stays at home) is hard. However it would seem that there are many people out there still wondering what exactly SAHM's do all day, even (sadly) the partners of some of the said SAHM's, who seem to have little understanding of what it is their other half does all day when at home with the children. 

So for all 'those' people let me run you through a typical day for me with Emily...

Yesterday she was awake at the usual time 6.45am, you could set your watch by her most days. She came in complaining that her pyjama trousers were wet, not a regular occurrence granted but we still have the odd night accident. I was still half asleep and in agony with stomach cramps (period related) so I got up, changed her trousers and took her to the toilet. Then I went to the toilet, got dressed, got Emily into her dressing gown, stripped the sheet off her bed (luckily the duvet was still dry) and we went downstairs. I got Emily some juice, made her some breakfast, gave her her antibiotics and vitamin tablet and then sat her down with Nick Jr. whilst I went to make myself a cup of coffee and take some paracetamol to numb the pain! Next I did the washing up, emptied the drier and took Emily's clean clothes upstairs to put away. I opened her curtains, tidied away her toys from last night. Made my bed and collected some dirty washing to put in the machine. Came back downstairs, checked on Emily who had now finished her breakfast and was smearing her dirty hands all over the sofa. So I cleaned up Emily, cleaned up the sofa, blew Emily's runny nose and got her ANOTHER drink of juice (please mummy). Made myself another cup of coffee as the last one, only half drunk has now gone cold. Put the washing in the machine and then went back to check on Emily, who has converted my lounge into a softplay centre whilst I had been gone, emptying the entire contents of her toy box onto the floor. I sat down to drink my second cup of coffee when Emily informed me that she wanted a poo and she wanted to do it on the potty! She still refuses to go on the toilet unless she has to and it just isn't worth the fight right now. So went to retrieve the potty from upstairs, put Emily on the potty and sat down to drink my coffee. She then informed me that she has finished and wanted grapes, banana's and more juice (please mummy), so I took her off the potty, cleaned her bum and took the potty upstairs to empty the contents into the toilet. Rinsed the potty and left it soaking in the bathroom. I went back downstairs and into the kitchen. Brought the fruit and juice back into the living room and sat down to write my blog. Finished blog and realised what time it was! We had to be at nursery in an hour! So I chucked Emily in the shower, brushed my teeth, brushed Emily's teeth, got her out of the shower, wrestled with her whilst trying to put cream on her sore bum as she sobbed and screamed, wrestled with her whilst getting her dressed. Then I left her to play for 5 minutes whilst I had a shower and got dressed. 

Once dressed I got Emily and took her downstairs, wrestled with her whilst brushing and drying her hair, she screamed and cried the whole time. Made her a  tuna sandwich before nursery that she poked and prodded and basically tore up into tiny piece flicking bits of tuna and bread all over the table and the carpet in the process, before finally eating only half the sandwich. I ignored the mess and dried my own hair and threw on some makeup to cover the dark shadows under my eyes. Took some more paracetamol for the pain in my stomach. Got Emily's bag ready for nursery, got my coat and shoes on, cleaned Emily up after eating her sandwich and asked her to find her shoes for me whilst I went to the toilet.  Came back downstairs to find her sitting on the floor with piles of shoes around her although none actually on her feet. Found her shoes, put them on, found her coat and put that on, only for her to inform me that she needed a wee. I removed her coat and took her up to the toilet where she then informed me that actually she DID NOT need a wee afterall, took her back downstairs and put her coat back on again, managed to get her out of the house into the car. Dropped her at nursery and went into town to pick up a birthday card and present for her to give to Gavin on Saturday.

Came back home, emptied the washing machine and put the contents out to dry. Sat down to do my homework for A&P. Hoovered the hall, kitchen floor and living room carpet, picked bits of tuna out of the rug! Did the washing up AGAIN. Made myself something to eat, by this time it was 2.30pm and this was the first time I had eaten all day. Contacted my mum to tell her that Gavin had put money into her account accidental and arranged to meet her and sort it out. Then I went back out to pick up Emily, brought her back home, got her some juice and a snack. Made myself a cup of tea that went cold as I had to go fetch the potty on three further occasions because Emily was suffering with diarrhoea. Hoovered the upstairs landing and both mine and Emily's bedroom, put a new sheet on Emily's bed, cleaned the bathroom and the toilet. Tidied away Emily's toys AGAIN. Came back downstairs and made Emily some tea, put some tea in the oven for myself. Got Emily cleaned up from her tea, got her changed and ready for bed, got her changed again as she had an accident because she stood in the kitchen moaning at me, whilst I was doing the washing up AGAIN, that she needed the toilet even though I asked her to go on her own four times! Brought the potty downstairs AGAIN so she could go for another poo. Took Emily and the potty upstairs, emptied the potty and rinsed it out, gave Emily her antibiotics, brushed her teeth, took her to bed, read her a story. Went back downstairs, had my tea, watched Eastenders, tidied away Emily's toys in the living room. Went on the computer for a while to check my emails etc...Then went to bed. Got woken up by my neighbours banging on their own door at 'god knows' what time, went back to sleep, got woken up by Emily having had a bad dream and wanting to sleep in my bed. Went back to sleep. THE END...Woke up and started all over again this morning!

Sound familiar? 

I read this on a friends facebook status the other day and I think it speaks to the heart of what being a SAHM is all about. See what you think...

"A man came home from work and found his 3 children outside, still in their pyjamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn around garden. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Walking in the door, he found even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was against one wall. In the front room the TV was on loudly with the cartoon channel, the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pyjamas, reading a novel... She looked up at him, smiled and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?' She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?...
''Yes," was his incredulous reply..
She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it."


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Watch out 'a family' is about...

Children and 'fun' days out normally end in tears and I'm not talking about the children here!

We took Emily to the Peppa Pig show at our local theatre, an enjoyable experience for Emily. Not so much for myself and Gavin. I can just about tolerate Peppa and her friends for small periods of time, i.e. 5 minute intervals on the television. A whole hour though was slightly torturous. That coupled with the fact that it cost me £3.60 for a tub of sweets! And yes you had to pay the £3.60 in advance regardless of how many sweets you actually wanted to purchase. Thus forcing us to fill the tub in order to feel like we were getting our moneys worth and not in reality being severely ripped off! And don't even get me started on how much it cost to purchase a small bag of popcorn...£4.00, it's corn!! Sugar coated inflated corn (deep calming breaths)! Needless to say we didn't bother with the popcorn. So the sweets ensured not only that my daughter was a sticky, slobbering mess before the show even started and me with no wet wipes again. Sometimes I feel so inadequate as a mother, especially when other mothers seem so well equipped - particularly the mother sat next to me that had to offer me the wet wipes to assist in our sticky situation but also that we literally had to scrape Emily off the ceiling by the end of the show because of the sugar high she was obviously experiencing. And yes I know we should really have thought through the snack situation before we arrived at the theatre, once again lends to my theory about my inadequacies as a mother (sigh).

So next I foolishly attempted something more adult enjoyable (well for female adults anyway) a small shopping spree in Primark. Silly, silly Anna! Emily spent the time either hiding in piles of clothes, pulling clothes off the rails or running at high speed towards the front door, knowing that I was unable to follow her due to the vast pile of clothes in my arms. Leaving me only one option, screaming like a banshee much to the dismay of other customers and staff a like. This combined with me walking into other shoppers not once but three times in my distraction, ensuring that I came very close to being punched in the face by a rather grumpy young mother whose pram I nearly derailed, opps! I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown when Gavin finally came to my rescue! Our next foolish decision...A trip to Frankie and Bennys for some tea. 

On arriving at Frankie and Bennys Emily made a little friend which was rather sweet and kept her happily distracted whilst Gavin and I perused the many millions of menus the waitress bestowed upon us. Seriously I think there was about 4 different menus with various meal deals! We all chose our food and Emily reassured me on three separate occasions that she did indeed want a burger but of course refused to eat anything once her food actually arrived. She just nibbled on a few chips and took a bite of the bap surrounding the burger, dipped her fingers in the ketchup, climbed on the back of the seat much to the dismay of the couple sat behind us, threw things on the floor, tried to escape on several occasions and moaned continually. I could literally feel my blood pressure rising and my dinner, completely spoiled of course - I ended up with that old familiar friend (indigestion) before I had even finished my food. However I guess it could have been worse, the little girl sat next to us was by this time having a full blown tantrum. I think between the two of them they ensured that all childless couples seated around us will remain childless for the foreseeable future. I wanted to tell the couples to move to a quieter part of the restaurant, to reassure them that we wouldn't be remotely offended. In fact if we could have moved too and left Emily where she was we would have done!

Wow, happy days! Ha ha ha...


Friday, 20 April 2012

From one mother to another

So this entry is for a woman who has been monumentally instrumental in my life. A woman that I draw strength from when my own has deserted me. A woman that has taught me how to love unconditionally and is always on my side no matter the situation. A woman whose individual strength of character is an inspiration and a woman that will always be, regardless of any human frailties she may possess (as we all do), perfection to me. My mother...

Through all the twists and turns of my life so far, the wonderful highs and terrifying lows there has always been one consistent, my mum. She will celebrate my achievements with me, never taking any credit for herself and she will pick me up when I am on the floor and feel like I cannot carry on. She has never judged me for my actions or decisions but has only listened and supported me, in the sure and certain knowledge that I am indeed the master of my own fate and that I know what is best for me (even when it may appear to everyone else that I don't). She believes in me and never doubts that I know what is right for me. This type of support is rare, especially in a parent. To allow your child to forge their own path, to make their own mistakes and to stand back and allow them to do this, only providing support when it is asked for, takes a very special and unique person. And this is my mother...

Through her love and support she has taught me about the kind of person I want to be and the kind of mother I want to be to Emily and for that I am eternally grateful and truly blessed to have her in my life. A very long time ago I heard a song that struck a chord in me because it reminded me not of a romantic love (as I think the song was intended to portray) but of a love far more important to me, the love I feel for my mother.

"For all those times you stood by me 
For all the truth that you made me see 
For all the joy you brought to my life 
For all the wrong that you made right 
For every dream you made come true 
For all the love I found in you 
I'll be forever thankful  
You're the one who held me up 
Never let me fall 
You're the one who saw me through through it all 

You were my strength when I was weak 
You were my voice when I couldn't speak 
You were my eyes when I couldn't see 
You saw the best there was in me 
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach 
You gave me faith 'coz you believed 
I'm everything I am 
Because you loved me 

You gave me wings and made me fly 
You touched my hand I could touch the sky 
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me 
You said no star was out of reach 
You stood by me and I stood tall 
I had your love I had it all 
I'm grateful for each day you gave me 
Maybe I don't know that much 
But I know this much is true 
I was blessed because I was loved by you 

You were my strength when I was weak 
You were my voice when I couldn't speak 
You were my eyes when I couldn't see 
You saw the best there was in me 
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach 
You gave me faith 'coz you believed 
I'm everything I am 
Because you loved me 

You were always there for me 
The tender wind that carried me 
A light in the dark shining your love into my life 
You've been my inspiration 
Through the lies you were the truth 
My world is a better place because of you 

You were my strength when I was weak 
You were my voice when I couldn't speak 
You were my eyes when I couldn't see 
You saw the best there was in me 
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach 
You gave me faith 'coz you believed 
I'm everything I am 
Because you loved me 

I'm everything I am 
Because you loved me " 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Going it alone...

I know it's been a while since I last wrote but a lot has been happening and most of it I didn't feel able to share, not until now anyway... 

So I am now officially a 'single parent'! And what have I learnt so far in my limited experience of this new situation? That going it alone is hard, maybe an obvious reflection but so true. The complexities of relationship breakdowns are multiplied by the addition of children. In reality when most relationships come to an end there is a very real chance that you will never speak to or come into contact with your ex ever again. However when you have a child with someone this changes the dynamics considerably. 

I do not wish to share everything, most being extremely personal to myself and Gavin but needless to say we came to the painful conclusion that we could not continue living together. I guess sometimes in order to fix what is broken you have to step back and see it from a whole new angle and that can be hard to do when you are constantly in each other's space. But as I have already said in a previous blog, 'There is nothing lost, that cannot be found, if sought' and I truly believe this. It's just maybe you have to look for it in a different way...So although Gavin and I may have closed this particular chapter of our lives, characters can return to a story at any time. You should never assume that you know the ending to a good story because you may be pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns that occur. 

Anyway enough metaphor bashing. What are the realities of single parenting? Well the sudden realisation that whereas before there were two of you to do everything, now all that 'everything' falls to you. I am truly exhausted by the aloneness of it all. That is not to say that Gavin hasn't been around, he has of course retained a very close relationship with his daughter. And I am aware that for him this whole situation is doubly hard, being away from Emily is heartbreaking and he is handling it with a strength of character that most, I fear, do not possess. I myself am not sure I could deal with the situation so well were the tables turned. To add to the aloneness and exhaustion is the financial worry and the endless form filling, spending everyday carefully watching your bank balance and praying that your claim comes through before all the direct debits come out. Trying to figure out what you are entitled to and spending ridiculous amounts of time 'on hold'! Sleeping alone in an empty house, that's tough! Knowing that you are the only person that stands between your daughter and an unwelcome intruder. 

And all the time you are battling through you are also desperately trying to keep a sense of normality for your daughter's sake and well for your own too. Life doesn't stop just because you don't feel like joining in. Take College as a prime example, I still have classes to attend, assignments to write and these are just as important especially if I am going to change that conditional offer at University to a firm one come July. Another tricky part is fielding the constant questions of 'where is daddy?'. I mean honestly how do you explain this situation to a two year child? Answer, you don't. We told her that although daddy has gone to live with Nanny and Grandad, that he loves her very much and will always be around and left it at that. That's about as much as she can understand at her age and being the product of a parental breakdown myself I am not so sure that being her age isn't better really. Being SO aware of what is happening around you, to your family is not always a good thing. Besides, amazingly, children seem to adapt very quickly and I am certain that she will be over all this long before Gavin and I are.

And on a more positive note I have a new found admiration for all the single parents that I know. My mother being one, raising three girls alone and trying to hold down a full-time job at the same time. My best friend, my aunty and some of the wonderful women that I attend college with. I draw strength from their experiences and their assurance that with like so many other things in life, a little bit of time, it will get easier.  

Monday, 26 March 2012


Change is a certainty in life, we can always rely on this! But what about personal change? 

Well there is a saying that goes something like this, 'You cannot help those that will not help themselves'. So personal change, personal growth or whatever you want to call it, has to be down to the individual. I guess the idea is that all the changes we make (and stick to) are born out of our own desire to change and not because we think we should for someone/something else or because someone/something else is pushing us into it. Admittedly I think another person/situation can be instrumental in us wanting to change, their desires, thoughts, needs and wants can guide us in our decision. However to truly change, to alter your life or who you are, that has to come from within. So regardless of what other people may think or say or want, unless you think, express and want all those things too then you are (it seems) eventually doomed to fail and revert back to past behaviour. 

So what happens when a person really does change, when this change comes from a place of self-awareness and an understanding of who/what they want to be? Well it should be acknowledged of course! Society, I think sometimes has a tendency when a person makes a big, life altering change to look around for someone else to congratulate. And as I said before I believe other people can be instrumental in us wanting to change, they can guide us and support us but ultimately the responsibility falls to us and thus so should the praise too. To heap praise onto others or to make them responsible for change in another, is to take away from that person what it is they have achieved. Personal change can be a challenge full of endurance, introspection, self-sacrifice and at times even self-deprivation or humbling of the spirit. It is a battle of wills, between the old and the new, the DEVIL you know and the ANGEL you don't.

So when a person has made this huge change, rather than looking to the people around them, look to them. Congratulate them. Because to do so is to validate everything they have fought, struggled and strived for. In heaping praise on others, for another's choice, is to undermine everything they have done. And yes we are all adults but we all still need validation from time to time and especially from the people that matter the most to us, our loved ones. Besides the thanks and gratitude for support should come from the person who has received it, not from the people around them.  

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The night is darkest just before the dawn...

When so much of your time is taken nurturing the relationship you have with your child/children, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are other relationships that need nurture too.

Having a child will definitely change the dynamics of daily life but most importantly it can impact on those relationships closest to you. Particularly the relationship you share with your significant other.

To begin with, after a baby is born, it feels as though there is no time at all. Each day seems to require at least an additional half a day tagged on the end just to get everything done. It is like you have literally been dropped full force into the depths of a very deep pool! You stumble through the first few weeks and months, taking as much enjoyment from the experience as you possibly can, inbetween the sleep deprivation and ulcer inducing stress that comes from the spiralling costs involved in raising a child. With so much to buy and so little money to go around, most months can feel like a desperate struggle, constantly robbing Peter to feed Paul. And what is that saying 'When money goes out the door, love flies out the window'? 

You have distant memories of the days when you had that thing called 'disposable income' and 'free-time' to spend it in. Becoming a family robs you of any spare cash and even if you did have some, you doubt you would have the time to enjoy it. Not to say that couples always need money to have a good time, but it certainly helps and not having to worry about it helps even more. But having a child was your choice, right? So you take it like a grown up, like your parents had to, and you find new and exciting ways to have fun without the need for money. Well I guess that depends on whether you actually have the energy or enthusiasm to think of anything other than getting from one end of the day to the other and when you can next get some sleep! 

So as the days and months drift by you seem to spend more and more moments apart, between work, child-care and sleep, the shopping, cleaning, cooking and other commitments (family, friends etc..), the person you live with, the person you share your life with, the person you made this beautiful child with begins to become a stranger to you. You see them everyday, you pass each other on the landing or coming in and out of the bathroom, you sleep next to them in the bed, you share a conversation or a meal but you don't really see them anymore. And eventually, given enough time, you look up and don't even recognise the person staring back at you. You went from lovers and best-friends to house-mates that are time-sharing a child. And you can't imagine how or when this all happened! 

Sad isn't it?! And it happens to so many couples, behind closed doors you never really know what is going on. 

So what can you do to salvage this? Well first of all I guess the most important thing is to make sure there is something to salvage, not all couples are going to make it. That's just life I guess. Something left to salvage? Then look inside yourself and except responsibility for your part in how it all went wrong, because very rarely is it all one sided. Next try to remember all the reasons why you first fell in love, why you made the monumental decision to have a child together, except the fact that your relationship will never be how it was pre-child/children but that it could be better, because you are part of something amazing now, a family. And above all, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and talk some more. Because with love, "There is nothing lost, that cannot be found, if sought"...And so you can find a way back to each other, to be happy, to be contented and as one of my best-friends recently told me, 'There is a lot to be said for being contented' and I am inclined to agree, it certainly makes the world a brighter place.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Lists and juggling...

Life can feel like an uphill struggle at times, sometimes it seems no matter how much effort you put in, you are still doomed to fail. I always feel like I am having to weigh up my options and try to decipher what tasks are more necessary (or important) than others. Very much like you do at work, you have a list of tasks and if you are anything like me, you have to sort through them and decide which ones are the most important and work downwards from there. Although invariably (as we all know) lists can take on a life of their own at times. The theory behind lists is that you make them to prioritise your tasks, or as a form of remembering things. You tick things off as you go along and so the list becomes smaller and you start to feel like you are achieving something. My lists are NEVER like that!  They inevitably become longer, or more complicated with tasks continually added to them. Even my shopping lists seem to miss the mark as there are always at least five items that go into the trolley, that never made it to the list. And these are not luxury items or impulse buys, they are just things I have forgotten that we needed.  

So I juggle all my priorities, like constant metaphorical balls in the air and I keep hoping that I might be able to chuck a ball or two away at times. Sometimes I do but they are always replaced by more balls, new balls and I guess some would just call that 'life'. And I walk around with paper lists and mental lists endlessly trying to tick the tasks off as I go along. Ring the nurse, email the University, buy new shoes for Emily, seal the bath because everytime someone takes a shower there is the danger of flooding in the kitchen, email photo's to my aunty, organise maternity clothes for best-friend, take packages to postoffice, call my sister in Hong Kong with my free 30 minutes international call (courtesy of the nice people at Orange), finish my A&P assignment, start my presentation for study skills, finishing reading Wuthering Heights for English, send back the Lovefilm DVD's, do some more exercise, clean the bathroom, wash Emily's clothes, wash my clothes, clean the kitchen floor, tidy and sweep the yard, spend quality time with Emily, spend quality time with Gavin, spend quality time with myself. Try not to want to burst into tears each night when I go to bed and realise that I have to start the whole process all over again the next day (ha ha). And in all that try to find the time to process all the millions of thoughts that are constantly spinning around in my head, things that can at times be of very great importance in holding together the fabric of my life, so that all those balls don't come crashing down around me. 

Ohhhhh okay and breathe! In truth my life is like so many others around me and I know that to be true. However sometimes it just feels good to share and maybe it will make the people around me feel a little better when they realise, that just like me, they are not alone! 

Friday, 3 February 2012

I carry your heart with me ( I carry it in my heart).

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body...

There is one baby born each second so as I am writing this sentence now at least 5 babies have already been born, that's a lot of momentous decisions isn't it?! 

And I am certain that I heard somewhere that you have more chance of popping up in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of a life-ring than you do of conceiving a child, although I wouldn't want to test those odds. But if the previous statement is true than that would make each one of those second born babies something of a miracle. So having a child really could be the most momentous thing you will ever do. It certainly feels that way when you are having them and afterwards nothing is ever the same as it was before and it never will be. Although sometimes we may fool ourselves into thinking that it is or that it could be. Children change everything, because whereas before your choices were your own, now every action has a consequence not just to yourself but to another person too and children are always the innocent in any situation and ultimately are only here through our choices and our decisions.

So this leads me onto the second half of the opening statement. ' is to decide forever to have your heart going walking around outside your body'. That statement could probably be interpreted in many different ways (as I have learnt from recent English classes on my Access course). However for me I think it speaks to the fact that we give our children our heart, our lives and more importantly our unconditional love. And for me unconditional love knows no bounds. It is the realisation that you would do anything for that other person and that ultimately you value their happiness above all other things. True love, love not restricted by conditions, reaches beyond selfishness, beyond what we may perceive is best for another person, beyond even what we want for ourselves. It is doing the right thing, at the right time, for all the right reasons. But most importantly it is remembering always that 'YOU' brought this little person into the world and that you are responsible in ensuring that when it really mattered, you did everything you could to make their world just a little warmer, a little brighter and a little more hopeful. 

There is a poem by a Edward Estlin Cummings called 'I carry your heart with me' and whenever I hear it I always think of Emily...

I carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling).

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) 
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
And it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
And whatever a sun will always sing is you

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Hello routine my old friend...

I can't think before I had Emily that I ever had that many routines or any routine of any sort for that matter. Maybe only small rituals, such as the Saturday morning lie-in after a long week at work or the full-fat latte and almond croissant from Waterloo station on my way to the office each day.  

Routine became something that I embraced as a part of motherhood. And now I have embraced it, we have become as one and we have routines for every aspect of our lives it seems. 

We have the Monday morning routine, when Emily and I are both up and dressed and out the house by 8am, her off to nursery and me to College. We have the Thursday afternoon routine (which I am still getting a handle on as my friend Theresa will testify), where we must be organised and out the house by 11.40am (lunch already eaten - which in the last three weeks has consisted of a tuna mayonnaise sandwich eaten on route - which may in itself become a routine) to get to my friend's house, to collect my friend, her son (Emily's age) and her baby daughter to go onto pre-school which lies at the top of a very steep hill by 12.15am. Dragging ourselves and the children (quite literally most of the time), negotiating the ever increasing piles of dog poo, errant sticks and muddy puddles. All enticing to a two year old, although not necessarily through actually choice, more by accident where the poo is concerned. 

We have the Wednesday routine, where we go to the grandparents, the Friday afternoon routine where Emily goes to her grandparents and I go to College, the Saturday morning routine where Emily goes to her grandparents and the Sunday morning routine where we goes to Emily's other grandparents, namely nanny Joan and Uncle Paul. And yes I appreciate that this may lead to complicated question once Emily is older, as to why nanny Joan and Uncle Paul are together but yet it's Aunty Jo and Uncle Tim. Still it's easier than trying to explain to a two year old why Nanny Joan and Grandad Kelvin are no longer together, ahhh the complexities of life. 

We have the night-time routine, the morning routine, the mid afternoon routine...well you get the idea! 

So with all this routine, what then happens when you take the child out of the routine? Well you know the old saying 'You can take the girl out of the......(fill in the blank) but you can't take the ....... (fill in the blank) out of the girl', this, I'm afraid, does not apply where children are concerned. Take the child out of the routine and all chaos will ensue as I was witness to last night. At 10pm I had to call Gavin to come pick me up from my mother's house (where we were meant to be spending the night) because at 10.30pm when the rest of the house were about ready to drop from a frantic day of foggy, stress inducing, car journeys across country to Sheffield and back, Emily was bouncing up and down on the spare bed of my mothers rather small two bedroom cottage, with walls as thin as tissue paper, refusing to go to sleep!  And having endured a night of hellish similarity the previous night, sharing a bed with a wriggly toddler, adamant that she would not sleep, raising her head off the pillow at the merest hint of a noise, the very idea that someone might be moving around and therefore she might be missing out on something. Restless sleep, interrupted with episodes of little arms flung in my face or little feet kicking in my back.  I was determined that I could not bare another night of this routine-less existence.  

So in conclusion not only do I embrace routine, I fear I may be lost without it. In fact I would go so far as to say that I may well not consider any overnighter with Emily until she is at least six? Ten? Twenty-one? Fill in the blank as necessary...