About Me

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

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!