About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Three years, and counting

It's a frantic time of year, but Miss T's third birthday seemed a good opportunity for a reflective blog post. Of course, that's not necessarily how this will turn out...
It was actually her birthday a few days ago, but work and Christmas got in the way!
So let's look back over the last three years.
That's easy to do simply by scrolling through these blog entries, where the journey from mad mummy to today's saner version is clear to see, via happy pills and the lovely therapist.
But there have been lots of changes to the lovely three-year-old Miss T over those years as well, of course. And in many ways that is the more incredible journey. I still find it hard to work out how this chatty, funny, clever, stubborn child grew from the helpless and passive infant. Although, to be fair, she was desperate to talk almost from day one.
We have some lovely days together, although bizarrely most of those are when we are alone. I still find it difficult to fully immerse myself in mum mode when there are people around (by people I mean family - of course I don't ignore her in crowded shopping centres!). Part of that is because she has such fun with other people that I like to hang back and let her get on with it rather than interjecting with "mummy moments" like "Please say pardon, not what," or "Try to use your nice voice when you are asking for something, and don't forget to say please,". But if we have a whole day to ourselves it is often a real joy - something I never would have imagined three years ago. Whatever we do, from cooking to painting or even shopping, we share some very special moments.
Perhaps some of that is because whole days of just mummy and Miss T are quite rare because of work.
Actually, not that rare - we have Wednesdays and most weekends. It's fine. It's just different from what I expected. But that's okay too.
That's one of the biggest changes of all in these three years - I can go with the flow a lot more. I don't have any long-term career plan, any long-term family plan, not even a plan for the rest of this week (besides work and Christmas!).
But that's okay. And that's the best bit of all, from someone who used to have to-do lists for every single day that often started with "Get up, have a shower, have breakfast...." and continued right through to "Clean teeth, go to bed".
It's amazing how I have changed, and amazing how she has changed, and she still surprises me every day. I hope I can continue to surprise myself as well.

Friday, 18 December 2009


This post was nearly all sorts of things. It started as a report of my first experience of a birthday party for one of Miss T's school friends - we survived even though I had to text her mum first to ask how old she was, and I didn't know anyone's name.
Then it was a pensive post about health issues, or the lack of them, after news that yet another friend has spent time in hospital with their child - there have been admissions for pneumonia, swine flu and minor operations but we are yet to set foot inside a hospital with Miss T.
Then I considered updating you all the latest challenging behaviours she has come up with and how we are dealing with them.

But then I got this hug.
And suddenly none of that mattered.

It's things like this that make me realise just how far we've come. When I come home from work and a minute later am engrossed in a conversation about school and her friends, or she has grabbed her farm set for some special snuggle time (don't ask me why we need the farm to snuggle, but it's become a tradition) I realise it doesn't matter that some things don't go to plan. What's so great about planning anyway?
So we haven't managed to ride the Santa train this year even though I wanted it to be our special family tradition. We've been for a snowy walk to look at Christmas lights instead and made a unique Christmas cake featuring marshmallows. Yes, marshmallows. Again, don't ask.
So there are still times when I am so frustrated I could cry (and sometimes I do) and I forget she is not behaving badly on purpose (most of the time). A good cuddle fixes it all.
It's something I'm going to try to remember in future.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The pursuit of perfection

Why is it so hard for me when things don't go to plan?
Don't answer that question!
Actually, although today has been a challenge, hence this rare midweek post, it could have been a lot worse.
But I do find it difficult when I don't live up to my own expectations. I know I can do things so much better, and be so much better, and when things largely outside my control intervene it's hugely frustrating.
On the positive side: I can recognise that it's my own expectations that lead to the feeling of pressure and disappointment when something goes wrong. I know that if they do go wrong it's not because I am a bad person or useless or stupid.
On the negative side: I still need to work on handling that disappointment and pressure in the moment. And avoiding it in the future. And it is still a battle to prevent it becoming an all-consuming, crushing emotion.
But tomorrow is another day, and for that I am grateful. I am also grateful for this blog as an outlet for these self-indulgent ramblings, and to you, my long-suffering readers!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

"I didn't realise you were a mum...."

That's a comment I've heard quite a few times lately and I'm puzzled by it.
Mostly it's at my new place of work and I can think of several reasons for it, when I think logically:
1) We're so busy we don't really have time to get into deep personal conversations.
2) There's no room on my desk for photos, although Miss T is my screensaver - but I've always got programmes open on the screen.
3) I often stay late, so people assume I have no nursery pick-up etc to do (when the truth is that the ever-helpful grandparents are on duty, again...)
But it does bother me, if I'm in a tired and emotional state. Do I not seem motherly? And when they find out I do have a daughter, and a small one at that, their shocked expressions seem to indicate that I should be at home rather than pursuing a career.
It's a fact that the industry I work in can be male-dominated, perhaps because it demands unsocial hours that are difficult to do with children if there are no ever-helpful grandparents on hand, but one of my new colleagues has two small children and no one seems to express surprise to her.
Perhaps part of it is my fault - in the same way I saw my pregnancy as irrelevant to my work and was irritated by the constant questions whenever I was out trying to do my job, Miss T is not part of my working day, although I often miss being with her.
But I simply don't have time to engage the office in fascinating discussions about her latest achievements, and nor does anyone else.
That may sound harsh and I'm sure my work-life balance would not work for everyone. Nor do I think it will necessarily work for me for the next 20 years. But for now, working hard and playing hard (with Miss T on my days off) is an approach that works for me.
When I'm at work, I'm totally at work. Hours can whizz by with no thoughts of lost shoes, the school run or bedtime battles popping into my head. Of course, this is only possible because I know she's 100 per cent safe and happy with Mark, my parents, or our chidminder and I'm incredibly grateful for all of them for allowing me to concentrate on work.
But when I'm at home, and Tasha is awake, I'm totally at home. Since signing the contract for my new role, meaning I could give up most of my freelance commitments, I don't let work intrude on my days off and I try to give her my full attention, which means we have had some lovely days together.
It also means that there are few evenings out with Mark and weekends away are a rare luxury. Actually, not a luxury - almost a trial. I don't want time away from her. I want to spend time with her.
How bizarre it feels to be writing those words, on this blog!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Something to share...

Here's a little something I wrote for elsewhere that I thought some of you might like to read. Some of you, I fear, will be horrified....
I was prompted to share it after another puddle-splashing session by Miss T that ended with her sitting in the aforementioned puddle. Thank goodness for the ever-present emergency spare clothes!

WE'VE had swine flu - not literally in my case - so the latest headline-grabbing health scare seems to be E-coli.
Of course it is a serious illness and the tales of toddlers with organ failure are enough to strike terror into the hearts of parents everywhere, but the hysteria does seem to me to be another symptom of the germ-phobia sweeping this country.
While I don't encourage my own small daughter to eat her lunch in the toilet or to ignore basic hygiene, I also don't disinfect her toys or insist she washes her hands every time she strokes one of our two hairy hounds.
I'm sure there are some people reading that with a shudder and a squirt of anti-bacterial hand spray, but I don't want her life to be restricted by fears that are blown out of all proportion.
It's impossible to visit a farm now without dire warnings about risks to your health, and the handwashing police lurk by every pen.
When we stopped at a motorway service station last week I was astounded to discover people are now encouraged to disinfect toilet seats before using them - and before using the "wave to activate" no-contact flush system to ensure there is absolutely no chance of touching anything yukky. Apart from on the door handles and locks, of course...but there's always a wad of toilet roll and that ever-present anti-bacterial hand rub...
In our house, the 10-second rule is still in force: drop a piece of food or cutlery on the floor and as long as it's been there less than 10 seconds it's fine to pick up.
And when we go to the park or the beach we pick up all sorts of treasures to bring home without a moment's thought about all the nasties that could be lurking on them.
My sisters and I grew up literally eating mud pies (and worms, and drinking strange concoctions made using chalk and water) and survived to adulthood without any major episodes of illness.
And we had a lot of fun along the way, unlike the children I see who find their playtimes interupted every few minutes for a spray of this or a squirt of that to keep them squeaky clean.
Children get dirty; it's a fact of life and another of those quickly-discovered parental lessons.
But clothes can be washed, babies are bathed and it's amazing what you can achieve with hot water and soap.
So we'll keep on stroking animals, playing on the floor and creating masterpieces from mud and I hope my daughter will remember a childhood of fun instead of fear.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Guess what? A new post!

Don't all fall off your chairs, but I'm back!
As usual, life has got in the way of blogging and as usual I've sat down to do this many times but never quite made it.
This time I'm determined!
You'll be glad to know there are no disasters or traumas to report - of course I would have been here before if there were.
I had a "review session" with my life-saving therapist a while ago and that prompted me to thinking about a review on here.
I'm not ashamed to say I'm still 'in therapy', albeit only every six months or so. I think it's healthy to recognise that I still need some support. It's probably more about exernal validation and my need for that is a part of my character that I have come to accept. I don't believe things are good until someone else tells me!
But it's also great to have an hour just to talk about everything and just to think about me. Not about aged dogs, cranky cats or troublesome two year olds.
Which brings me to Miss T, who is of course not actually that troublesome. She's fantastic. She's loving preschool, despite my well-documented fears, has mastered toilet-training (pretty much) and is learning and growing every day. Best of all she now has moments where she'll play happily by herself while I wash up or cook dinner or - shock horror - read a magazine!
What else?
Well, I have a permanent job! It's similar but different to my old job, a bit of a promotion, a lot more fun. And it means less stress about income and bills, if a bit more about other things. The hours are longer than I'd like but it's four days a week so I try to make sure my Tasha days are truly dedicated to her. No more skulking upstairs on the computer while she and her daddy play downstairs or go out.
Other stuff?
Not much. Life goes on, there are ups and downs, trials and tribulations. But we are a strong family unit and I love nothing more than when we are all at home together, snuggled up on the sofa reading a book or - shock horror part two - watching TV!
See? I can admit to less-than-perfection...there was a time when I would have insisted Tasha not watched TV and instead organised an educational activity. But actually, she needs chill out time too and when we watch it together and talk about what we see, or if it gives us ideas about craft activities or teaches us new songs then there's nothing wrong with that.
But do you know what? I don't care if anyone disagrees with that. It works for us and that's the main thing.
That's about all there is to report - as usual I'll end with a vow to try and update more regularly, but who knows if I'll keep it? If you check back and are disappointed at the lack of waffle or ranting, just know it means my life is crisis-free!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Fun in the sun...

It's been ages again, so I thought I'd try to make up for it with this pic of Miss T in her favourite place...
So where were we?

Oh yes...preschool...well, there were tears but we survived, of course. I think she actually quite enjoyed it and she says she's looking forward to going again this week. Can't say I'm looking forward to the drop-off but we'll both survive.
In other news, just for a change, work is madly busy but I'm loving it. I can't actually remember the last time I've felt so happy. Maybe it's because I'm in control of my life, working for myself, doing what I love. Maybe it's because I've devised a beautiful colour-coded schedule that (theoretically, when I'm not doing holiday cover or taking on extra work) gives me time off as well as time at work. Maybe it's because I'm proving to all those who doubted that I can be successful outside of the traditional office environment and there is life after redundancy. Maybe it's just because the sun is shining. I don't really care.
I would like more time with the smily little girl pictured here. But I also have to take the work while it's there, for all sorts of reasons. And thanks to the beautiful weather and our beautiful hometown, we can still have beach time after a day at the office.
So that's us - on the beach, in the office, at preschool...but happy!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Growing up!

Miss T starts preschool this week. I can't quite believe it.
Well, maybe starts is a bit much - she has the first taster session before her official start in September. But it feels as significant as if I were packing her off, lunchbox and books in hand.
It's a very odd feeling and as usual there are all sorts of conflicting parts.
I'm torn between thinking it's vital she gets off to a good start as school is such a key part of life, and believing that actually, she's still so little that whatever happens this week, and in September, doesn't actually matter.
It doesn't help that she is still not a fan of being left and the childminder suggested this might prove to be an issue at preschool.
We have warned them, but I'm not sure they are fully prepared for a proper Miss T strop-fest...
Filling in the paperwork was also an interesting experience - I felt strangely outraged that they believed I could condense everything that was special and noteworthy about my child into three A4 pieces of paper!
At the moment, the pupil herself seems wholly underwhelmed by the idea. I've told her she will be going to school on Thursday, and it will be lots of fun, and she usually replies: "Mummy's coming?"
I tell her Mummy will take her but can't stay although I won't be long, and she just carries on with whatever she was doing.
I'm trying to portray it in a positive light for her, and for the reasons I touched upon earlier. Education is such an important thing for me that I want her to find her first experience fun and for it to instill in her a lifelong love of the classroom and learning. Maybe I'm being unrealistic!
But I'm also struggling with the fact that she still seems so small and I'm worried about how she will cope.
Will she be the only one still in nappies? (hopefully not still in them by September....) Will she be the only one crying? Shall I let her take her bunny and her dummy, both only used for sleeping or when she's ill (or being left at the childminder's on a bad day!)? Will she be the only one who still has a dummy? (I stress, only for sleeping...)
I'm sure she'll have fun, once she gets used to it (next year maybe?), but I can't help wishing we could just fast forward to that point. Wish us luck!

Sunday, 14 June 2009


I had a bit of a significant moment last night.
I accepted I am not and never will be a perfect parent.
It may not sound like much, but it's a massive achievement for me as perfection has been a theme of my life for as long as I can remember.
I also accepted that actually, I'm not doing so bad.
But it's sad that again it took someone else's (perceived) poor parenting to allow me to realise my own strengths.
I won't go into details, partly because I still find it so sad, but it's another case of people who can't accept that a child changes your life. You make a decision to have them, whether they were planned or not, and it's your responsibility to live with that decision and its consequences.
In the same way as when Miss T chooses to ignore warnings about teasing the dog and ends up losing a brick from her jar, if you choose to bring up a child you live with the fact that things will never be the same again.
In my opinion, this means Saturdays spent shopping are off the agenda for a good few years, nights down the pub are a rarity and only possible when babysitters are available, and holidays mean family time rather than the previous heady mix of alcohol, culture and shopping.
Not everyone shares my opinion, and that's fine, but I'm glad I can say I put my child first.
In other news, I'm still working on that elusive skill of keeping my mouth shut but sometimes I feel it's important to speak out.
There was a good example of that this week when I overheard a comment from someone who couldn't understand why a 26-year-old with clinical depression would want to commit suicide. They were using the classic argument that he had everything to live for and many people are much worse off. Both statements may be true, but I tried to put forward to viewpoint that he wouldn't be able to realise that and it wasn't as simple as snapping out of it. I'm not sure I got through, but at least I tried...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

I'm back! With apologies and an update...

And so sorry for lack of posts. I've sat down to do it so many times but then something else has got in the way, be it small child, hairy animal or work.
As usual, the lack of posts is actually a good sign - I know if there had been burning issues swelling around my head I would have made time to let them out here.
Of course there have been difficult times but there have also been positive times in the month since I last updated you all. I really can't believe it's been so long!
So where were we?
The nightmare playgroup visit...well, of course we went back but we also tried another one which I much prefer. It's a lot friendlier, a lot less cliquey and feels a lot less judgemental. Plus there are more children and a lot more room which means it's more fun for Miss T, who has started asking to go.
We've started a new "behaviour shaping" method where she earns bricks in a jar for being good and loses them for bad behaviour. When she has enough she earns a fun treat, and so far it's working well. She hates the idea of losing bricks and loves the treats so it's a great motivator and better than the naughty step, which was losing its impact.
I'm enjoying my time with her a lot more than I ever thought possible, and I'm realising - finally - that these days will never return.
In fact, as the work situation improves slightly (I have picked up some regular freelance shifts which provide much-needed income), I find myself yearning for those lazy days of painting, park and playing. We'd both got used to the idea of chilling out and getting ready in our own time so the first morning we had to be out of the house by 8am was a bit of a shock!
Of course, I'm loving being back in a newsroom. It's what I do, it's who I am. As much as I've enjoyed being a stay at home parent, I can't deny my need to write. Part of me is a bit sad that it's meant I have eased off on other plans but I have to be realistic and work with the opportunites that present themselves. There's no need to do everything at once, as a good friend of mine would say!
However I do have some concerns, especially in the light of my renewed positive mental health. I'm very much an all-or-nothing person, in work and in other areas, and I am finding it hard not to get sucked back in to the all-hours culture of a newsroom. There have already been some signs, like attending evening jobs which I'm not technically paid for, and working late. It's easy to put these down to doing a good job, especially as I've very grateful to my new colleagues for giving me the opportunity to use my skills and earn more money. But I'm trying hard to remember to say no, and make decisions with my family in mind as well as my work.
That's about it for now, and sorry it's a bit vague but at least it's a sign things are going well, I think...I'll try to be back within a month this time!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Control...or a lack of...

I'm not really sure where to start.
And I'm not really sure whether this will be a "yay" or "boo" post. Maybe I'll leave that up to you to decide...
So on Monday Miss T and I decided to try a new toddler group.
It didn't go well, for either of us.
For her, it was a new place, with lots of new people, and on a morning when she was feeling a bit under the weather.
This manifested itself firstly in clinginess ("You come mummy" whenever she moved to a different activity) and then in bad behaviour (I almost wrote naughtiness but we all know we're not allowed to say that...). She snatched toys from the youngest child there and then when told to give them back, threw them across the room.
I responded as I would anywhere else - with a warning, followed by a spell on the hastily-introduced 'naughty chair'.
But I think that's where the positive aspects of this experience end.
I'm not sure what I was expecting from the morning but I found the actual reality quite stressful and frustrating. Every other child seemed to be behaving beautifully, every other child sat down nicely for drink and biscuit time while mine whinged and ran off and every other mum was able to chat and enjoy themselves.
As I'm sure you've noticed by now, when I get stressed or frustrated I get emotional and I'm afraid - and embarrassed - to admit that tears were soon on their way and I felt a complete failure on all levels.
A complete meltdown followed, for me and her, and it wasn't much fun.
Nor was the conversation afterwards with a fellow mum, who I'm sure meant well, but said I was letting Miss T control me because I went with her when she asked. I let it go at the time - I wasn't in a fit state to do anything else! - but it's another of those points I've been mulling over ever since.
I'm not sure that it is a control thing. I see it more as support and reassurance for a little girl who's still learning about the world and her place in it, and who is only just learning that she is a separate person to her parents.
I see it as my role to provide comfort when it's needed rather than to question the validity of the request for my input.
I don't dispute that other children are more confident than my own, or that this is partly due to my parenting and the choices I have made.
But I'm not comfortable being the kind of parent who just shoos their child away when they ask for support.
We will be going back to the group because I feel it's exposure she needs to prepare her for preschool and school.
But I'm hoping next time will be less of a drama...
So...is that a positive or a negative?!

Friday, 8 May 2009


So we survived, naturally. And it's another of those situations where I'm not that sure why I was so worried.
We scrubbed the house from top to bottom, although I did resist coaching Miss T and am very proud of myself for that.
It did feel like an impending inspection of parenthood rather than a routine check and opportunity to ask advice from a health professional, and if I'm honest, I feared my parenting skills were about to be found lacking.
That fear was not allayed when Miss T decided to spend the morning in a rare grumpy mood where nothing was right and there was much pouting and foot-stamping.
But the sun came out when the health visitor arrived (not literally, sadly - my hairy hound from hell, who had to be shut in the garden while she crossed the threshold before being brought in for a proper introduction, ended up all soggy and forlorn) and she amazed me with her confidence and inclination to be sociable.
The checks themselves were ridiculously easy for her and she demonstrated a range of things that weren't being checked, like imaginative play (making mummy be a dog and leading me round on the aforementioned hound's lead), language development (talking constantly!) and kindness (giving said hound a cuddle when she accidentally stood on his foot).
And as a result, the official verdict is "excellent communication and development" and "very sociable" with "no concerns".
I can't describe how proud that makes me, which is actually a strange feeling. Not for the obvious reasons, including the fact that our once non-existent bond is now so strong, but because it is coupled with a sort of dread of the future.
I'm desperate not to heap the kind of pressure on her to be perfect that I experienced but am already slipping into dangerous territory - who knows how I would have reacted if the conclusionss had not been so overwhelmingly positive today?
But as usual, the positive of this situation is that I'm aware of it and will try to keep myself in check. Because if I can't, god help us all when it's time for her GCSEs!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Oh dear...

Don't let the title fool you - there has been no crisis and in fact this is a very rare self-aware post...I hope!
Miss T has her two to three year developmental check on Friday and it's something that has had a strange effect on me.
When the health visitor rang to make the appointment, my first instinct after putting down the phone was to Google the check to find out what it involved.
I have so far resisted.
Which is a good thing. Because I wasn't going to Google for my own interest, I planned to then tutor my two-year-old to make sure she "passed".
Luckily, I recognised this as a completely ridiculous response. According to a parent friend of mine, "everyone" has tutors now for the 11+ (which is an archaic Kent test to stream people for grammar schools if you're not from round here!) and loads of people also have tutors for SATS but for two year olds? Really??? Even I could tell that would be a bit over the top.
However, it's not all good news. I have resisted the Googling, and resisted the tutoring, but I can't shake the feeling that if she fails (which she can't - it's not a pass/fail situation!) then I'm a BAD PARENT.
And I have had a few sneaky conversations with people who have told me some of what it involves, and I'm fairly confident she'll be fine, but even if she's not that should be fine. If that makes sense. Sorry if it doesn't - it's been a long day!
My point is - why can't I just accept her as she is? Why is there this constant quest for perfection? If I'm this bad now, what will I be like at SATs time? Or the 11+? And let's not even think about GCSEs and beyond! (although please note how I phrased that - deliberately leaving out the assumption that she'll stay on for sixth form and then go to a top university before becoming prime minister...)
Oh dear.
There's not really much else to say, is there? But of course I'll let you know how she gets on - I wonder if there'll be a score? I wonder how to find out what the highest score ever achieved is??? ; )

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What would it take to make you believe you're a good mum?

That's the question a friend asked me the other day.
And it's a good one.
My immediate answer was that I won't believe it until Miss T is an adult, or at least almost adult and I can see what sort of person she is; and how messed up, or not, she is.
That was the wrong answer, apparently!
And as I'm home (in a caravan!) alone with a sleeping child, now seems as good a time as any to consider alternative answers.
Of course, when I think about it, I can recognise some positive signs already. Tasha is very gentle, mostly, better than a lot of other children her age at saying please and thank you, is confident, funny and clever. In fact, she's very clever!
But how much of that is down to me, really? And surely there's more to being a good mum than having a well-mannered child? After all, we are not living in Victorian times...
There are other aspects - we do a LOT together (not always through choice, I confess!) so our days are very stimulating and educational, which must be a mark of good parenting? Maybe not...I mean, obviously there's more to it than that but at least we don't spend every day at home in front of the television.
Her speech and communication is fantastic and today she even wrote an N and told me she'd written Natasha - aged two and four months! But that's just intelligence again and that's probably genetic anyway. Or maybe it's not even that fantastic and I'm just being an annoying proud parent...
How about the fact that I care desperately about what her life is like, now and in the future and strive to do my best to make it as good as possible? Note how I wrote "strive to do my best"...maybe that's a mark of a bad mum? I know I don't always do my best - some days it's just too hard.
Or that I care about what she eats and what she does? But that's just normal, not anything special.
I honestly have no idea how to answer that question beyond my initial, wrong, answer. Anyone else got suggestions? How do you quantify good parenting? Help!

Monday, 20 April 2009

A calm week?

So it's been a week without posting.
And while that may be dull for you lot, it does, in general, mean that things have calmed down here. I haven't felt that burning urge to get everything out here before I explode.
Of course that doesn't mean we have been existing in a pink and fluffy world all week, sadly. There have been tears and tantrums, but luckily only from the toddler and I have been able to deal with them in a calm and consistent manner, mostly.
It is hard work, it's such hard work that it's difficult to explain to anyone who doesn't share their house with a wilful and intelligent toddler. You simply can't have a lazy day where you let things slide because the results are hellish for days. You have to keep on top of the behaviour, ideally in a calm and consistent fashion, with warnings and choices and consequences. It's exhausting.
We're on holiday at the moment, and while it's fantastic to be exploring a place as beautiful as where we are staying, it's bittersweet for me because there's not much change from my life at home.
Mark has a week without work to look forward to, but mine has come with me - although only for today, hopefully. And my day to day life at home involves much the same as days on holiday so it's hard to see it as a break.
However it is lovely to be able to share family time together so enough of the moans. As well as keeping on top of toddler tantrums (and I'm not sure I can really call her a toddler any more!), we're having some great conversations and this has been the first holiday where she has really understood what is going on and has been excited about it, which is fantastic. I am actually looking forward to some of the activities we have planned together, rather than thinking of ways to escape and plan time for myself, which is a huge achievement for me.
There's not really anything else to say at the moment so I hope this short update will suffice for now. Fear not, if another crisis looms, you will most definitely hear about it!

Friday, 10 April 2009

An end to the catastrophising?

But another excuse to use that word!
So we survived our afternoon, mostly. The chores were completed, the plants were planted and there was another witching hour strop but without the shouting from me this time.
I'm almost glad she had another meltdown moment because although it was, as it usually is, difficult to deal with, at least it showed I could deal with it without heading for the hills.
Since then, things have returned to a calmer state (on my part, at least - she is definitely demonstrating her two-year-old frustrations and opinions!), perhaps because Mark took a day off and is not back at work until Tuesday.
I am trying to remind myself of an important lesson that I had forgotten, that of picking your battles. It does help when I find myself saying no for the 50th time in a day...
And, it has to be said, I do feel a bit foolish for my over-reaction, or indeed, catastrophising, of the shouting incident. But that's how I felt at the time and I have little control over that, as I think I demonstrated!
Another companion of that good old black dog seems to be neediness - whenever he is around and the fog descends I need reassurance, and I need it quickly! I have been known to post on internet forums and then sit there refreshing and refreshing the page waiting for someone to reply. And if they don't within, oh, about five minutes, I have even posted again, reiterating whatever crisis I am having.
I'm not proud of it, I'm not proud of any of it, but I do accept it and I hope that helps in dealing with it.
Oh well, at least this latest episode has ensured a return to the central theme of this blog, which I hope will hope any new readers who may have wondered why they were here.
But for my sake, I hope the calm stretch lasts a bit so I can return to fluffier blogging!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

catastrophising, part two...

I love that word, catastrophising. And I can recognise it as what yesterday was about. It doesn't make it any better, of course, and I still wish it hadn't happened.
But today I can accept that it did, and that the sun is still shining today.
Of course, Miss T woke up her usual happy self, there were no dramatic "I hate mummy because she shouted" declarations, and I got my usual morning cuddle. Time will tell if there are any lasting effects but for the moment, we're moving on.
Which means that today continues as normal - and as of 15 minutes ago, I'm alone with her again until bedtime. Unless you count my five furry chaperones...
That does make me nervous, I have to confess. Today started badly for me, despite Miss T's attentions. It was one of those mornings where I knew I had to get up and face the world but I couldn't find it in me to do it.
That doesn't mean I just wanted an extra hour in bed, although that was a welcome benefit.
It means my head was saying, 'get up, get ready, you'll achieve so much' but my heart was stubbornly refusing.
All I could focus on was the catastrophising (I'm going to use that word as much as I can because it makes me smile!) of the previous day and the insistence that Miss T would have a better morning without me there. In fact, everyone would have a better morning without me there.
This is the part I hate most about the black fog of depression. It's all very well being aware of it, having coping strategies and of course fantastic friends, and thanks to all who responded yesterday, but when it descends like that I am literally powerless against it. I know I'm being irrational, just like yesterday I knew I was being unreasonable. But I don't know how to switch it off, or to switch the light on and banish the darkness.
Maybe that's just an excuse. I know it sounds like one and I'm sure that's what many of you are thinking.
So you'll be relieved to hear I am pulling myself together and I have plenty planned for this afternoon, including planting in the garden and errands in town.
Whether that will be enough to keep the fog at bay and the toddler amused remains to be seen.
All I can do is hope - and sometimes I can't even do that.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Spoke too soon?

Oh dear. It was all going so well, but today that run of positivity spectactularly ended.
I turned into one of those people I totally despise and lost my temper with my beautiful, clever, funny little girl.
It wasn't even her fault - she was ridiculously tired after a late night yesterday and has conjunctivitis so is feeling a bit miserable and as a result spent most of the afternoon moaning.
Couple that with the headache from hell for me, no paracetemol in the house and a bout of intense nausea and you have a recipe for disaster.
I knew what was coming, and did attempt to avoid the situation by arranging for backup but Mark was at work and couldn't get away and my parents were shopping. Which is fair enough, on both counts.
It was the first time in months and months that I've felt that I shouldn't be alone with her, and I wish now that I'd tried harder to find an alternative by contacting friends or just getting out of the house.
But there's no point looking at the ifs and shoulds. It won't change anything. I just have to try to learn from the experience and move on.
Reading that back, it all sounds terribly dramatic and actually I'm sure it's something that happens in a lot of houses every day. I didn't batter her over the head with the book I'd just had to read for the 15th time, I didn't strangle her with the cat's tail she'd just been pulling. I just shouted at her.
But I really shouted at her. Proper, grown-up out of control shouting. Not a sustained bout of abuse, just a sentence. But that doesn't excuse it or justify it. There is no justification, in my eyes, for what I did.
I'm not sure I, or she, will ever forget it and the look on her face will certainly stay with me for a while. It's definitely not something I want to repeat. But of course that's obvious.
I'm desperately trying to be a positive, loving, patient parent and of course I shout at her sometimes if she misbehaves (although to be honest, mostly I just use strict voice coupled with a warning about a consequence). But routine discipline, and behaviour shaping, is a world apart from losing control and bellowing at her to be quiet. And she knows that as well as I do.
The whole situation has brought back so many uncomfortable feelings for me that I wonder if actually I was doing as well as I thought.
Maybe I am just not cut out for this at all. There was a moment, after I'd apologised to her, explained I felt poorly and had a headache, and was tired and therefore got grumpy, just like she does, and she refused to give me a hug, that I just felt she would be better off without me.
It sounds ridiculous now but I was close to calling Mark and telling him to come home because I had to leave because I couldn't be near her.
I realise that is a huge overreaction but it feels like such a setback for me that I can't help it.
And of course now many other incidents from the last week or so are coming back with a fresh context, including a conversaton I had with someone who asked me how I was finding motherhood.
When I said it was okay, he was clearly shocked and I knew I had given the wrong answer. The correct one would have been a gushing monologue about feeling fulfilled and enjoying every second.
But I don't think that will ever be true for me, and now I'm wondering if my best, and the compromise we have reached, is actually good enough for anyone.
I'm hoping things look better in the morning.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


I'm in a bit of a quandary today, and I shouldn't be. It's all very odd. But I expect you are used to that by now.
So this afternoon we popped out to buy some laminate flooring - it's my first big purchase using my redundancy money (although at £160 it's not exactly massive!) and we decided to go ahead with it despite the potential lack of future paycheques simply because the carpet downstairs is getting too awful to live with.
This is important, honest...bear with me!
So after paying for the flooring I decided to pick up a free newspaper on my way out of the shop. No real reason other than I hadn't read a copy of it for a while, and I'll read anything!
We then went off out and about and I've only just managed to read it. And noticed that they are advertising for freelance and contract journalists. And wasn't as excited by that as I thought I would have been.
On the surface it looks perfect - a freelance position should, in theory, give me the flexibility I need, and it's the profession I've dreamed of, trained for and dedicated my life so far to.
So why am I not already composing my application?
I'm not really sure. Maybe because the state of the industry makes me nervous still. Maybe because a return to the stress of a newsroom dooesn't seem that great after a few months out of it. Maybe because I'm enjoying all the other bits and pieces I'm doing.
I've thought and thought and worried and thought about what to do and have decided to go with the flow for a bit. Maybe the advert was the reason I was meant to pick up that edition of that paper today. So I'll respect those signals from the universe and sent off my CV, and if it's meant to be, then it's meant to be. But if it's not then so be it and I'll continue with everything else I'm doing. Maybe I can even do both - and conquer the world at the same time! I'll let you know...

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

oooohhh adverts!

Or, Google will make me rich...
Well, it's one of my master plans, anyway!
Don't worry though, there are still a few others. But if you do fancy clicking on any of these ads and helping me pay the mortgage that would be fantastic. After all, we all know you can make millions while you sleep...can't you?!
In other news, there's still an air of sadness around things at the moment, perhaps not unreasonably. My dog walk this morning felt muted, and after spending the day housesitting for my friends while they were at their son's funeral I'm obviously not in cheerful mood.
I think the saddest part of the day was seeing the blank mother's day card he had bought for his mum, only to die two days before he could give it to her.
Or perhaps learning that the lasagne I'd made as a gesture was in fact his favourite meal so they were unlikely to enjoy it. I can't imagine how hard it must be to have everything in your life tinged with sadness like that from now on.
But I still have Miss T, and of course Mark, and we're doing okay. In fact, we've got a lot to be thankful for.
Of course, there's still a lot I can get worked up about, this is me, after all! Today's rant was about a random blog post I came across (did I mention I'm addicted to reading random blogs?!).
The author proclaimed, very seriously, that she was "depressed" after a frustrating week of unpacking with three kids around.
Having read a few of her other blog posts I wouldn't be surprised if depression is on the cards for her somewhere, but I can't accept that it is what she is experiencing at the moment.
But then again, who am I to know?
Right - enough rambling! I'm off out tonight to tell people how well my community website is doing (very well, by all accounts - 128 visitors and 357 page views, and it's been officially launched less than a week!) so must go get ready.
Don't forget to click on the ads! Or commission me to make a community website...or write your lfie story...x

Sunday, 29 March 2009


I'm learning some interesting lessons lately.
Of course, the first is that life is too short. And precious. Miss T has been poorly and although it was highly unpleasant, as winter vomiting virus usually is, it was never really serious.
But that didn't stop Mark and I worrying, and checking on her more than we needed to. I've learnt it can all end so suddenly, and I don't think that knowledge will ever really go.
I've also learnt that sometimes I don't want what I think I do. I'm sure that makes no sense, and I apologise - despite my best efforts at disinfecting etc Miss T seems to have shared her germs with me so I'm not on top form. But am I ever?
Anyway, that last lesson is job related. I missed out on a job that I thought was mine, and that I thought I desperately wanted. But after a wise friend questioned whether I did actually want it, I realised I probably didn't. I wanted it because it was a job, and because of all that represents, eg a regular income etc, and because it seemed it was so nearly within my reach.
But the job itself wasn't ideal, with hardly any opportunity for writing, and with colleagues who I know would have ended up making the position a nightmare.
So I can now accept it wasn't meant to be, and keep looking for something that is. Whatever that may be.
I've learnt that I still want to rescue people, and I can't bear people feeling sad or stressed, but I'm learning that I can't always fix it. Sometimes people have to help themselves first. And all I can do is be there to offer support, not to put the pieces back together for them.
I'm learning to say no as well, but that lesson could take a while!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Now I get it...

....when people say things like "Cheer up, it could be worse...."
Because I've had an insight into how terrible things can be, and I don't like it.
And I'm definitely grateful for what I have.
I'm grateful I could spend mother's day with my child (or at least part of it - we did disappear for the weekend, but that's another story!)
I'm grateful that the next thing I have to organise is a birthday party, not a funeral.
I'm even grateful that I just had to go upstairs and stop writing this entry, because it means my child is safe and well at home.
Sadly one of my friends cannot say the same about his son, who died suddenly on Friday aged just 16.
One day they were excited about a family holiday to America and arguing about spending money, then a few days later he was dead.
I don't understand how that can be. How can someone so fit and so popular be gone? How is his mother supposed to ever celebrate mother's day again? How is his sister supposed to adjust to life as an only child when her whole life has been spent as a sibling?
He will never get married, have children, have a career. He won't travel the world, buy a house, or go to uni. He won't grow old. How? Why?
I don't know any of the answers. But I do know that if I have learnt anything from this whole horrible tragedy, it's that life is too short. Who cares about whether you're a perfect parent, or someone else's child can identify a circle and a square? Who cares if Miss T is not ready for potty training while my friend's children are?
I don't.
But I do care that I still have her, she still has me and we can enjoy our time together.
Because I don't know how long it will last.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


...but not mine!
Since adapting my new, fluffy, mindset, partly due to changes in my circumstances and partly due to real recovery from PND hell being in sight, I have no time for negativity.
Of course sometimes I have days which are difficult, but in general I like to think I am a more positive person.
And that makes me rather intolerant of negative people. Not unsympathetic to those who are in genuine need, as I think I have mentioned before, but impatient with those who seem determined to see the worst in others and dwell on nastiness.
That's what prompted me to do this blog post, less than a week after the last one, you lucky people. I've been witness to some real bitterness lately, from people who would do better to just let things go and move on.
And I've also seen people who seem determined to try to poke fun at other's misfortune, and in some cases, tragedy.
Of course, I could ignore this, and generally I do - it's easy just to delete an email or Facebook message, and to click away from people who have so little faith in themselves they make others look small thinking it makes them look big.
But today I just wanted to get this out here, to avoid it erupting somewhere else and creating negativity in my life.
So now I have. I don't feel much better, but I will continue to maintain my pink and fluffy air and remember that those who indulge in such bitchiness say more about themselves than the target of their venom.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Updated update

It seems there is some unrest among some of my most loyal readers about the lack of updates here, despite my carefully crafted explanations about limited computer time and pressures of work.
So to satisfy those grumblers, here is an update.
And it's a strange one. I started writing this thinking there was hardly any point because everything was rosy and I had no news to report, but I'm not sure that's entirely true.
Work is busy, which is fantastic, but I don't seem to be making much money from it, which is less so.
I've applied for yet another job, but I'm really not sure I want it because it would mean a return to the office politics that I was so pleased to get out of, but equally it would be a fantastic opportunity and an exciting challenge, if I can get past the politics!
There has been more doom and gloom from my previous employer, which makes me feel vindicated in my decision to get out when I did but sad for my former colleagues.
And more of my former colleagues who left with me have found other employment, which brings up those old feelings of jealousy and bitterness. I know I'm lucky to be doing what I'm doing, and it is exciting and fun, but it's also a real hard slog. And a bit lonely in the office! And there is no one else to share the load with, to call a favour in with, or to field the phones for a bit.
Outside of work (not sure that's actually possible these days - everything is work!), Miss T and I are doing okay. As long as I get time to work - there it is again! - I can enjoy my time with her, but I have so much to do that if it doesn't go to plan, eg she won't sleep when I need her to or I haven't got childcare arrangements sorted for the week, I find myself easily stressed out.
I've also noticed a change in me that I'm not particularly happy about, although others may disagree.
I've always been proud to say I'm a good friend, and I'm always there for people. But lately, I'm not. I just can't keep myself going and be strong for everyone else. I'm painfully aware that my new positive outlook is fragile, to say the least, and I fear that too much negativity will cause it to shatter around me.
Maybe that's irrational. Maybe it's not a bad thing, because it's forcing me to think about my own needs instead of distracting myself with others. But I can't help feeling I'm letting people down.
If I see, for example, a Facebook post that screams "I need someone to talk to", although it may not actually say that in so many words, I find it very hard not to respond with the offer of a coffee.
Of course, they have many other friends who could make that same offer, and probably do, but it's a role I have traditionally cast myself in and if I'm not the supportive, listening ear, then who am I?
Well there's a deep question for you all - and it's late and I'm tired and I have not one, not two, but three meetings tomorrow, starting at 7am, so I'll leave you all to ponder it.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Spring is in the air...

....and that should gladden the heart, but it doesn't, for some reason. Sigh.
Maybe it's because those evil weather people are already predicting that it won't last.
Maybe it's because I have a week ahead with not much on. That's not as much of a problem as it used to be, but it is still a daunting thought. Actually, it's more the thought of the energy I need to keep motivating myself to do things with Miss T instead of humphing around feeling sorry for myself that is daunting.
I'm afraid I was rather lacking in that energy this weekend. It should have been great, as I had my review with my lovely therapist on Saturday and as predicted, she was mightily impressed - although not surprised - with my progress and how I have dealt with things since we last met.
Then we had a lovely afternoon, with Miss T chosing some beautiful new hot pink shoes and a catch-up dinner with old friends.
But on Sunday we had to attend an event I had been dreading, a toddler's birthday party. Now, as I have a toddler of my own there is no reason why this should fill me with dread. And indeed, it wasn't really the toddlers who were the problem, but the parents.
Actually, to be completely frank, it wasn't even the parents, it was me. I felt judged and observed, just like the bad old days, and also like those days, people seemed to want to discuss nothing but their children. Which often included statements about how fulfilled they felt or how wonderful it was. And I lost count of how many times I was asked about having another one.
But of course, we survived, and all was fine. And the sun is shining, and we had a lovely time at playgym this morning. And I have one more hour of her sleep left so had best get on with some work!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A treat for you all!

Some of you have complained this blog is a little text heavy.
Indeed it is.
So here is another pic of Miss T for you to admire - and one you don't have to crane your head to see!
Apologies again for the lack of update - the reasons in the last post still stand.
But as a special treat I'm sharing something here I was doing anyway.
It's one of those Facebook lists - sorry if, like my brother in law, you find them the most annoying thing ever.
Personally, I find most of them very revealing for a variety of reasons. The things people choose to share, the things they don't, the subjects they touch on.
So for what it's worth, here's mine. Some of them you'll already know, some of them you won't. Feel free to add your own, Facebook stylee!
25 random things about me
1) I'm addicted to spider solitaire and can play it for hours at a time, much to the annoyance of my husband. I like to play till I win, and that can take some time!
2) I'm also addicted to reading other people's blogs - friends of friends, random people I don't know.
3) I have a therapist and I think everyone would benefit from seeing one at least once.
4) I want to save the world. Not in any grand environmental way, I'm afraid, but on a personal level - I hate for people to be unhappy and always want to get involved in their problems, even if they don't want me to.
5) I'm not very good at accepting that you can only help those who want to be helped!
6) I'm terrible at keeping secrets. Not the big important ones, so don't worry if you've told me something, but things like surprise presents or good news.
7) I have practically no secrets of my own. In fact, I make a point of telling any new friends I get close to all my deepest darkest secrets. I figure that if they're not freaked out by what they hear then they're worth having as friends.
8) I hate when people hint at secrets or problems - like I just did, I guess!
9) I've always wanted to write, from as young as I can remember. In fact, one of my earliest memories is having a story on the story tree at infant school.
10) I thought I would be a poet or write books (in fact, I wrote one when I was about 13 but you wouldn't have wanted to read it!) until I did a week's work experience on a local newspaper when I was 15 and realised how much fun it was.
11) After weeks and months more work experience with that same paper, and others, I got my first paid job there straight out of university and was delighted to find it was still as much fun as I remembered. I never had that Monday morning feeling and would have done my job for nothing.
12) I thought I would be heartbroken to leave that job but actually it wasn't as bad as I feared. I guess the nice fat redundancy cheque helped a bit!
13) It is only in the last month or so that I have considered myself fully recovered from post natal depression, and my little girl is two and a bit. But I still have my therapist, even if it is only for reviews and as back up!
14) The thought of getting PND again terrifies me so much I'm still not sure if I will ever have another baby. I want another child, but not another baby.
15) I'm also terrified of having a boy!
16) I'd rather Miss T grew up to be kind and polite and gentle and loving than passed loads of exams and I think those qualities could get her further in life as well.
17) I failed my grade one piano exam and the experience traumatised me so much I never took another music exam.
18) I also failed my driving test twice but have passed every other test or exam I've ever taken after learning from an early age that being top of the class was the only place acceptable to my parents.
19) I had two honeymoons. Only one wedding though!
20) I was so anal about organising my wedding that the manager of the venue offered me a job as his wedding planner. I turned it down because I loved my job as a reporter but wish I'd taken him up on it...lists and folders galore!
21) I always preferred cats to dogs until I met my husband. When I was little I had a cat who was like a best friend to me and I told her everything. But he introduced me to dog ownership and they are much easier to train! If I tell them to go and lie down they will, but my cats will continue to bug me until I stroke them...
22) I was genuinely distressed when Miss T told me her granny's cat didn't like her and am now dreading her school days with best friends becoming ex-friends and all the bitchiness she will experience.
23) I still vividly remember the emotions from my school days, and most of them are not pleasant.
24) Apart from writing jobs, I've worked in a supermarket, playgroup and pubs and think everyone should work behind a bar. It's a great way to increase your confidence...oh, and find a husband!
25) I'm writing a book. See - that was supposed to be a secret but now it's out there! It will take me years to finish it though as paid work keeps getting in the way!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Just an update...

It's been a while, and apologies for that. The simple fact is that my time on the computer is limited to when Miss T is asleep, or out (not by herself, obviously!), and as there are people paying me to do stuff that involves using it, that has to be the priority.
So where was I?
Ah yes - positive thinking! Well, it's still in place, which I find surprising. I was just thinking back over the last few weeks, working out what to write, and actually, we've had some really good times.
Of course, we've had some frustrating, tear-your-hair-out-count-to-50-and-put-the-kettle-on moments too, but what parent of a two-year-old doesn't?
I'm still enjoying the time I get to spend with Miss T, and almost feel a bit resentful that I have paid work to do which means we have to be apart.
Almost! Actually, I also really enjoy the time to work and to focus on new things, many of which are so different and challenging and exciting. Of course, there's still the transcription job from hell in the background but even that is progressing!
I know that part of the reason for my renewed enjoyment of parenthood is the changes in Miss T herself - we have some great conversations, and she is growing in independence by the day. That is not always a positive thing, especially not when it comes to getting dressed or attempting to do something with her hair, but it does mean she can amuse herself and play with her toys for a good 20 minutes or so, giving me a bit extra space in the day.
It does make me think though - maybe I'm just not a baby person? I've always enjoyed my goddaughters more the older they have got.
Oops - I'm starting to ramble now, and this was supposed to be a quick post!
Those of you who remember my long-winded debate about whether or not I needed to see my lovely therapist again may be interested to know she got in touch to say she could not remember if we had agreed to have a review about now. So continuing with my new 'going with the flow' thinking, I've arranged one. At the risk of sounding all mumbojumboistic again, I can't help feeling there was a reason she got in touch (beyond wondering if we were supposed to have a review!) and it would be churlish of me to ignore it.
But maybe I'm just mad!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The universe and me...

Have I mentioned my new positive thinking ethos?
Maybe a few times.
Well, the good news (yes, you read that right!) is that maybe it's paying off.
To update you all, I said thanks but no thanks to the full time job after being offered a part time one from today's interview.
I haven't said yes to that yet though because I still have tomorrow to go! So I'm still confused, but confused and in demand which is not a bad place to be!
Maybe it's all just a coincidence but at this moment in time I'm thinking that things are happening for a reason.
I'm meeting people for a reason, I'm ending up in different situations for another reason.
I'm not always sure what it is, especially not at the time, but there is definitely a reason.
And since managing to accept that and go with it, things seem to be looking up.
It's really simple, as all the best things are - if something feels wrong, it probably is wrong, eg a full time job, but if it feels right, then go for it.
And to take this mumbo-jumbo, as I know some of you will call it, to the next level, I'm starting to think that if something keeps coming back to you then you should act on it.
I'm not quite ready to reveal exactly what keeps coming back to me, but I'm acting on it and seeing where it takes me.
That's a new thing for me as well - not revealing every minute detail of my life here. That doesn't mean this will turn into one of those annoying blogs where the writer hints at whatever is annoying her, or glosses over some personal tragedy - I'm still a firm believer in getting it all out there. But for now I'm just going with the flow and I'll let you know where I end up!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Dilemma...but a good one?

So I'm confused. And while I hate that - of course I do, the very state of mind indicates a lack of control! - I can see that actually there are positives to be had, as usual.
I was going to offer this particular dilemma up here as a sort of poll, but I think actually the decision has been made. But any further input would be welcomed, even if it's to tell me I'm mad (although I already know that!).
Right. Let's get to it.
So I'm still job-hunting. Although I admit to doing so with less gusto than a few months ago as I start to focus instead on myself as a business and the freelance work I have been getting, plus other similar opportunities in the future.
And this week I somehow found myself with three interviews lined up - all of which have come to me, rather than me applying via any formal process.
I had the first one yesterday, one is tomorrow and one on Thursday. If I'm honest, the one on Thursday would always have been my first choice - it's reasonably local, hours to suit and would allow me to use my writing skills while developing new ones.
But the first company I saw have already offered me the position. And I think I'm going to turn them down.
Not just because I like the sound of the Thursday job more, or even because I think I stand more chance of getting either of the other two.
Not even because it's further away than the other two so means more travelling and more money in petrol.
I'm going to turn it down - even in this economic climate - because they want me to work full time and won't consider anything less.
Does that make me mad?
Three years ago, probably even a year ago, and probably five years from now I would say yes in a flash.
But now I want to spend time with my little girl before she is not so little.
I never thought I would be even considering turning down work - and paid work at that - in favour of spending time with the child I used to refer to as "that baby". Work was my escape, my focus, my reason for carrying on.
But as I continue to adjust to this with-child life, and continue to learn to enjoy it, I realise that actually that won't work for me any more.
In fact, a full time job, 45 minutes from home, would probably have more negative effects on my precious little family than no job at all.
Just the thought of the mountains of housework to do in evenings and at weekends, the friends to squeeze in or lose touch with, the activities we'll miss makes me feel like a failure so the reality would definitely stress me out.
Because of this economic climate I will wait until after the other interviews before making my final final decision, because after all any job at this point in time is better than no job. Probably. Maybe.
Who knows?!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Don't worry - not mine! I am still floating around in a fluffy cloud of positive affirmations and happy thoughts...mostly.
But maybe because that is my default state of mind at the moment...mostly...I find it really hard to deal with other people's negativity. I just don't understand it. Maybe negativity is the wrong word - I more than most can understand a black mood or a bad day.
But I can't understand general nastiness, bitchiness or unpleasantness. It doesn't fit in my fluffy world. I'm a great believer in the advice that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. Especially if it's not constructive. And some of the things I have experienced lately have been the opposite of constructive!
I'm getting round it at the moment by telling myself it reveals more about the person being destructive and negative than it does about their subject, especially when it's me, and I can rise above it all.
Luckily, due to some great friends and some hard-earned respect professionally which is standing me in good stead, this is proving possible so far. Fingers crossed it continues, or those behind it get bored or move on and find positive ways to channel their energy.
In other news, Miss T is becoming more strong-minded every day. Yesterday we had to use the naughty step three times before 9am - a new record and not one to be proud of. But the bedtime battles seem to have been won and we are having lots of fun...mostly.
In terms of gainful employment, well, I'm still trying. I'm determined to see things as challenges rather than setbacks, and in general this is an exciting and interesting time. Negativity aside. Who knows what will happen? Not me...but that's okay.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Things to celebrate...

1) For the second day in a row, Miss T declared that she wanted to go to bed for a nap, then actually went to sleep!

2) Yesterday, for the first time, she said "Thank you mummy" after I handed her something she wanted - without being prompted! (she also told off the decorator in my parents' house after he successfully negotiated her piles of toys and books on his way though but didn't say "Excuse me please...")

3) I have no idea what I'm doing next week - and I'm not that bothered!

If you're not impressed by all that, well, you should be! It's somewhat scary for me to read back that last point but it's true. The temp work I have been doing looks like it will come to an end on Friday and although I have several irons in the fire, or fingers in pies, or whichever cliche you prefer, I have no idea where my next pay cheque will come from.

But that's okay. Because at the moment I'm happy to let things happen. Without getting all spiritualistic/mumbojumboistic on you all, I'm starting to believe that old mantra that things happen for a reason. I've learnt some great skills from my temping placement and made some great contacts but I think it's time to move on. I may return later, or I may not. Who knows?

Equally, as I venture tentatively into the frankly terrifying world of self-employment (I'm practising hard at not thinking about cash sheets and ledgers and other things that involve numbers....), I'm making some interesting contacts there and there's a strong possibility that things will turn out okay. Or maybe even better than okay.

And perhaps the best bit? I'm making some great friends along the way!

So there are definitely plenty of things to celebrate!

Friday, 2 January 2009

New year thoughts

Okay, I know I'm a day late but we were busy yesterday, introducing another new family tradition - a visit to the New Year's Day parade in London. I can highly recommend it. But I'd also recommend you wear at least three pairs of socks and take a flask - two simply weren't enough!
Another tradition at this time of year is to get all thoughtful and reflective about the year just ended, and share hopes and aspirations for the next one.
I'm sure many of you who trawl this blog regularly don't share my next thought, but I wish it had been in existence for more than six months. It would then be much easier to reflect on the days and months gone by. A bit like those newspaper reviews of the year that are used over the festive period to fill space....
Oops, nearly got off topic again...
Unfortunately I don't have a year's worth of blog posts to refer to (did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?!) so I'll have to rely on my memory.
Some things are simple. Last year I had a job I loved and one that I thought I would be doing forever.
But forever is a very long time, and I'm no longer sure that would have been the best option.
Of course, as we all know, it didn't work out that way anyway and I am working on lots of different options for this year, some very exciting indeed. It may all be things I want to do forever, but actually, at the moment, for now will do me just as well.
One thing I can refer to is my old diaries. Not as in Anne Frank, or even Adrian Mole, but bog-standard appointment ones. And last year's was crammed full. So was the year before. If it wasn't doctors' appointments it was my lovely therapist, and if not them then my life-saving friends. I literally relied on them to keep me going and in one piece. All of them.
Things may be different this year. That's not to say I don't want to see people any more - I still need a weekly dose of coffee and cake to keep me sane - but I no longer need them in the same way.
Take today; the first day Mark's been back at work since before Christmas. Tash and I went to play gym this morning (again with no make-up on, and I even forgot to put on my necklace and earrings which was going to be my token attempt at making an effort!), then came home, then walked the dogs, then had lunch and now she's asleep. I have no plans for this afternoon. We may go shopping, we may do some painting (particularly with some of the mess-free water painting kits her aunts got her!), we may just read some books and chill out.
That simply wouldn't have been possible a year ago. Every hour of my day had to be filled with more than just her and I was petrified of being alone with her. Now I even enjoy it - sometimes!
Of course I still get moments - no longer whole days, but sometimes hours - when I wonder what the hell I am doing, and wish it would all go away. But as she grows up and more of her personality emerges, most vociferously at times, I can actually see myself doing this parenting thing for ever.
That may sound strange, but during the really dark times I did think it was all only temporary - any minute now someone would come and take her away, or take me away; I didn't really care which.
Perhaps the most important change as we start 2009 is that I can see more of the old Liz returning - or maybe a new, updated version.
PND Liz is still around, but more shadowy and a lot quieter. It's easy to shut her up with a good dose of common sense, most of the time.
I don't think I'll ever get all of old Liz back, or get rid of PND Liz completely, but maybe new Liz can be a good combination of the two.
I'm sure you'll all let me know if she's not!