All posts filed under: Being a Mum

Dear Joe Wicks (again)

I am very pleased to report that I graduated from Cycle Two last week and today is my first day on Cycle Three of your 90 Day SSS Plan. I have to say, it does feel good to be over halfway. It’s been such a positive experience for me. I guess it’s a good sign then, that I am beginning to feel like I have learnt enough and it would be quite nice to test my wings, and see if I can fly this balanced-diet-with-focussed-exercise journey alone. That said, I do like to finish things that I start and after a weekend of letting myself off the hook a little, I am ready to be a good student and work to plan for a final 30 days.  This takes me, rather inconveniently, to the 2nd January. Nothing like increasing the challenge tenfold by doing the final cycle through the Christmas season eh! It’s OK though. Don’t panic, I have a plan. One thing I have learnt so far is that calculated “blow outs” are no …

Freelance Re-visited

I first became a freelancer when I was 30.  After graduating with a languages degree in 1999, I had spent the rest of my twenties working for various companies and charities in Liverpool. It was a considered career move, something I wanted to do and I took my time to be ready to take the leap. At the time, it felt really scary, almost reckless. With hindsight, I can see that it was the best time to go for it.  My husband had just been employed by a big, global company, which gave us at least one secure income.  We didn’t have any children, so I could pour my all into the work and my availability to clients was 24/7. Having worked in Liverpool for almost a decade, I had contacts to approach for possible work. It was a great experience for me.  To begin with, I had lots of little pieces of work.  A fundraising job from an old employer, book keeping for a friend’s business, a monthly event to manage through another friend …

Would I have been a better mother in the 70’s?

Our children are six and seven years old. Both are at school. They can use forks. Conversation with them is coherent and interesting, sometimes illuminating and educational. One of them can wipe their bum, the other still prefers to let others take care of that.  Our family can walk 5km in about an hour. At least once a week, they make their breakfast without setting off the smoke alarm. OK, that’s cereal day. We are officially parents of children: no babies, no toddlers. Quite often, either Gareth or I will turn to the other and say these words; “I would never have talked to my parents like our children do to us.” This is often followed by a frustrated debate about why our children can be so disrespectful. Gareth leans towards our children being punks, I lean towards our skills being deficient. We settle on, maybe we’re being punk’d? I could be paranoid but I get the feeling that our parent’s generation are quietly wondering what all the fuss is about. Why do mum’s get …

Three countries in one summer

When we were in New Zealand we would often talk to ex-pats about their experiences of visiting home.  Due to the distance and expense the whole family would generally need to take four weeks off to make the visit manageable.  Even then, they would always come back totally shattered because the four weeks would be a mad rush around various friends and family homes scattered across the country, the whole family staying in one or two rooms, managing the children’s behaviour as they juggle tiredness and not being in their own space along with trying to squeeze in a few landmarks or “must-sees” of the UK, of which there are many! One person suggested to Gareth, when we had been considering it a couple of years ago, to go over in the UK summer, rent a big holiday house in some beautiful part of the country and book in friends and family to come and visit you.  That way, in between the two 32 hour flights your family has had to endure, they can stay …

Fix You

There was no one, particular event that put the line “I will try to fix you” into my head, but once it arrived a couple of weeks ago, it stayed and has danced around ever since. Therefore, I will blog. I’ve been thinking about how much of what I say and do is motivated by the ‘fix you’ intention.  I’m not alone either. When I take a step back from the interactions I have with others, those close to me and those that are new to me, there is an element of us all trying to “fix” each other.  If you look at the news, it’s filled with examples of people going out of their way and in fact to extraordinary lengths to “fix” others. Listening to Chris Martin’s words (and after Googling ‘chris martin explains fix you’), it’s clear that the song is a declaration of commitment to someone he loves.  He’s saying he understands their hurt, that he’s there for them and will help them through a hard time. The motivation is care …

Adventures in Emigrating

“What do you think?” Claire asks her children as they settle into the back seat of the car. They were halfway through their first week of house hunting since returning back to England.  They had two weeks in a holiday home in Bath.  Her poor, jetlagged husband was commuting to Reading everyday, getting up around 5am and returning by 8pm. They had hoped they would be able to live near his sister and her family but only a few days in and it was disappointingly obvious it wouldn’t be sustainable.  Plus Claire had already realised that UK city life wasn’t going to work for her. Back in New Zealand, they had lived in a house in Christchurch city, but it really wasn’t city living.  The house had a 200 metre square footprint and another 400 metres of garden.  It was detached, on a leafy avenue.  The beach was 10 mins away, as was a huge expanse of woodland.  Going back to terraced houses with concrete gardens and the 24/7 life of a city, even one …

Parenting for the benefit of strangers

My children are not easily ignored.  They are loud.  They are opinionated. They are communicators.  They have a lot of energy.  Everything is important and urgent to them. When they are doing something they go all in, unless it’s reading their school book or eating frittata. Minnie is kind, generous and spots details like Sherlock Holmes. Jackson always has a project he’s working on, he has it all planned out and he wants you to be part of the team (under his leadership of course). I love my children.  I can see so much of me, their, daddy and their grand parents in them and that delights me.  I think my children are fascinating and I hope we help them to grow their God given talents into gifts to the world. My children can also be self absorbed, bullish, cheeky and sometimes out and out rude. They are young, they are at the beginning of their lives and perfection only happens in heaven, which is true for all of us by the way. I know all …

To the Moon and Back Doesn’t Come Close

I don’t think I am going to be alone when I say that without a doubt, my most favourite part of every day is the couple of minutes I spend tiptoeing into my children’s bedrooms, just before I go to bed.  The house is silent, there is nothing left for me to do and my children are fast asleep in their beds.  I walk in and feel the same rush of joy I felt when I clapped eyes on them in the delivery room.  Bending down to adjust their duvet cover so they are fully wrapped up or lifting their heads back onto their pillows, I can smell their skin and place the tip of my nose onto their super soft cheeks so I can practically drink in their deliciousness. Then I whisper that I love them and creep back out.  Sometimes I will get on the bed and snuggle alongside them for a couple of minutes, sometimes I am so overwhelmed with how much I love them I can get tearful, sometimes they look so gorgeous I …

Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Mum As it’s Mother’s Day in the UK today I thought I would write you a letter and thank you for all the things you have done for me over the years. First of all, and most importantly, thanks for giving me safe passage into the world.  Given that you are five foot one, I was nine and a half pounds and two weeks late in the hottest summer ever this was no small task. Thank you for teaching me that the world does not revolve around me and that I must always be aware of the people around me and try, as much as my imperfect self is able, to be kind and thoughtful, putting others needs first. Thank you for always being so generous.  You never spoilt me as a child but there were so many riches in my life; a beautifully decorated room of my own, Marks and Spencer snowball cakes on Fridays, your attention every day I came in from school, a home in a village that had a river 15 minutes …

Sleep babies sleep

There is something really lovely about your children getting to the age of five.  Actually there are lots of things like; they finally wipe their own bum, they go to school so a professional has to tell them backchat isn’t becoming, you can drop them off at a birthday party and go get a coffee somewhere civilised and once in a while, they use a fork. The something I am thinking of is that you start to remember what it was like when you were their age.  And it kind of reminds you to not panic as a parent. For the last month or so our children have stopped going to sleep the right side of 8pm.  The routine was (and would still be if we had any say in the matter at all) was bath at 6.30pm, PJ’s, clean teeth, have a little play and then to respective bedrooms for stories.  Lights out about 7.45pm and sleep would soon fall upon our sweet angels. The hot weather and light nights have royally screwed us …