Saturday, 12 July 2014

Happy

Hello lovelies. And hello to new followers, you are most welcome.

This week has been a bit shit to tell you the truth. I don't know if it's tiredness, or hormones, or both. We are in the land of the cross here, I can tell you. Lots of fighting and cheeky/naughty behaviour. Boundaries being pushed big time. I have this fuzzy head, which is often a precursor to spiraling down into the blues. Everything has gone to pot.

I was told the other day that I try too hard to be a 'good' Mum. That I exhaust myself by trying to do too much, and the net result seems to be that my children demand more and more, without showing any gratitude or respect. It was a pretty damming indictment of myself and my children. I didn't like hearing it, and it took a while to process what was meant. It's true that I have huge internal struggles about motherhood. It doesn't come easily to me. When I read accounts of the surge of love mothers felt for their new born, I don't get it. I was just too exhausted. I am always too exhausted. I'm exhausted right now. I battle with the stay at home Mum role a lot. I see it as my job, and I want to do it to the best of my ability, when good enough would probably do for about ninety percent of the time.


At times like these I find that my mind gravitates to the negative. Everything is hard work. I doubt all of my abilities, and I wonder about my place in the world and how it just didn't pan out the way I thought it might. I can feel huge resentment towards, well anyone really. My mind starts playing tricks on me, as I question it all and the urge to runaway from it all wells up inside me. Do you ever get that feeling? The urge to flee. It's horrible isn't it? Well I am getting it a lot this week.

I'm not influenced by the media. The only thing I buy into is that my hair will become full and lustrous if I buy the right shampoo. I don't think that if I fill my house with mason jars, peonies or succulents, my life will be enriched in any way. I don't believe that being a size eight with a washboard stomach will bring me inner peace and happiness. I quietly laugh to myself at some of the 'lifestyle' blogs and magazines and shows out there. I am the most uncool person you are ever likely to meet, if being cool means reading feminist literature whilst cooking quinoa burgers on a open pit fire in the middle of a meadow and then diving into the river for a spot of wild swimming.



But I am influenced by the way other people present themselves and their children. Particularly when it comes to the behaviour of their children. Although I know that it is not possible that their children are perfectly behaved all of the time, there is a little bit of me that holds it up as a mirror to my own. I am a pretty honest person, and if my boys are being little bleeders (which is a lot of the time) then I will voice it. Experience has shown me that most people are not as honest. Either that or I really am a mother to the three biggest brats in Cornwall. And what is the deal with other people thinking that they can voice an opinion on the behaviour of your children, or float praise of their own at the expense of yours? I just don't get it. I don't get it after seventeen years of parenting. All I know that it either pisses me off or deeply hurts me, depending on how am I feeling.

Oh dear! Sorry about that. Excuse the mad ranting. It's that time of year I guess. Don't take me too seriously. Honestly I always feel better after one of these rants. And I am the world's most contrary person at times ;) And I've just bragged big style on Facebook just now.....

.................................

Just a few happy things. There are little gems there. I need to hold onto them really tightly at the moment. My eyes are open. I know the signs. I know I need to take a step back and breathe and turn my destructive thinking patterns around.

A gift from CJ
Gold for Alf
Sunflower
Ice Pops


Alfie and his mate Thai



Last week I met fellow blogger CJ. She writes at Above The River. Perhaps you already follow her tales of raising three boys, growing on her allotment and general musings on life. She is what I call an honest blogger. She is funny and down to earth and meeting her in real life was an absolute pleasure. She gave me this mug as a gift. One of my first ever posts was about breaking the exact same mug, and how upset I was. I am originally from Bristol, and a big part of my heart still belongs there. I was so touched that she had read the post, and remembered. What an absolute babe she is.

Alfie and I have been locking horns big time lately. God how that boy can get under my skin. He is really struggling with the minefield that is being an almost teen in secondary school. His confidence at all levels has really taken a hit. But he is also demonstrating behaviour that cannot be excused. He was ribbed at the start of his club championships. He was told that he would 'be owned' by all the other green belts. He took all the banter very seriously, and almost bailed on the tournament. But he told gold in his category. A huge confidence boost for him. He smiled and looked happy for the first time in ages. It's all you need sometimes isn't it?

I have sunflowers in the garden. They haven't been chewed through by the snails. They are a beautiful addition, and always remind me of growing them at school. Such a simple, honest plant. There aren't fancy and frou frou, and I love them all the more for it.

My last happy, if you can picture it, is sat in the garden after school sucking on an ice pop. I love ice pops. I devoured them when I was pregnant with Alfie. I remember buying them after school and eating them on the bus home. Again a simple honest treat. You can keep your Magnums, I'll have an ice pop any day.

Have a lovely weekend

Leanne xx





34 comments:

  1. Ahh Leanne! I can empathise with you. I never felt like I was the best mum in the world. In fact I'm sure I wasnt. I dont think I was really ready for the responsibility even though I was 23 when my first born came along. I dont feel I got much support from my then husband and I look now at my grandkids and think I am a better grandma than ever I was a mum. Keep doing what you are doing. You are doing your best and no matter what your kids always love you.XX

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    1. Hey Anne,
      I try my best. I often get it wrong. The motto of my blog!!
      Leanne xx

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  2. Sorry you sorry you are feeling low. It sounds that you are doing a great job as a mum. Ignore the competitive parent brigade - it's why I don't bother with Facebook anymore. Your boys sound fine, just typical teens. Girls aren't any better - in a recent row over her phone bill I was told to 'piss off'. She apologised later and I eventually returned the phone. And then there's her grumpy dad..I love blogs like yours that are honest and open. Take care and smile at those sunflowers.

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    1. They are very typical, and I still tear my hair out!!

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  3. I'm glad you're so honest, Leanne. I can't stand competitive parents. I feel like I'm the only one in the world who doesn't care about the things they do. I overheard a conversation this week at the pool, during swimming lessons for small children, wherein one mother was complaining about how she didn't feel the lessons were "challenging" her five-year-old enough. The other mother, in trying to console her, said, "Well, he won't be the next Michael Phelps, but they're good enough for now." Michael Phelps?! Good Lord. What did he win, eight gold medals or something? Why does he even register in a conversation about five-year-olds learning to swim for the first time. And here I am, thinking my kids are getting a marvelous gift with their simple lessons at the neighborhood pool, four weeks of lessons for two children costing me the grand sum of $100 total. People...who needs 'em. :P

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    1. Oh God. So ridiculous. I'm not looking forward to running the competitive gauntlet when Olly starts school. Yuk.
      Leanne xx

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    2. I am not looking forward to running the competitive parenting gauntlet when Olly starts school. Yuk

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  4. I saw the most beautiful blue butterfly today, a Chalkhill Blue. They have just emerged and they are clean and fresh. I am going to put it on my blog (tomorrow, time permitting) and I'm going to put it on for you. Because a Blue Butterfly can cheer you up in the way nothing else can.

    I was told a tale of a 'perfect' family last week who were very snooty indeed to a single mum about her son's wayward behaviour when she was struggling to work and bring up her kids, hubby having buggered off to a different continent. Fast forward ten years and the snooty family's perfect daughter has recently run off with a married man to the other side of the world, while the single mum's children come home for holidays and never forget to celebrate each other's birthdays. Give me imperfect every time - it's more fun (overall), lasts longer and it doesn't ask impossible things of humans who are by nature imperfect beings :-) xx

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    1. My sister is raising two boys on their own. She is a brilliant Mum. A bit fierce, but life has been tough. She has been on the receiving end of disparaging comments. However she is made of tougher stuff than me. She was very vocal in her responses!
      Leanne xx

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  5. Perfect mothering, is there such a thing? Mine thrive on my neglect. I do think you should rethink your policy on mason jars though Leanne, I'm sure they must be the answer to a perfect life. You can even make lasagne in them, I've seen it on Pinterest xx

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    1. Ooh I'd love to eat pasta out of a jar...

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  6. Don't beat yourself up too much, Leanne. There are a lot of us out here who understand just how you feel - we've been there or still are there. I've raised three, now 20 to 24, and still think I did a terrible job despite the fact that all seem to be perfectly normal,decent human beings, quite fond of their Dad and me, and with no more than the usual faults and quirks we all have! I look back and shudder at my mistakes but the reality is that I did the best job I could and the results aren't too bad. Bits of life are frequently rubbish but take heart in knowing that this will pass.

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    1. Thank you Meg. Once I calm down I can be rational about it all.But in the heat of the moment....
      Leanne xx

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  7. Yep, welcome to the human race. Life can really wring you out, that's for sure. Oh my goodness, the fleeing I can so relate too!!! I'm 56 now, but I have been feeling like fleeing all of my life when life leans in and pins me to the wall like it does. When I was youngish I talked of owning a light house. All By Myself. Then as time passed, I joked about running for the door. I warned my husband that I would trip him if he tried to get to the door before me. The door to anywhere else. I have decided that feelings are just that. Feelings. They are fleeting and changeable. Just let them come and go. Remind yourself that if you are down, you will soon be up. And if you are up, well, remember that you may soon be down so put something away in your emotional bank that you can withdraw as needed. Try not to look back with regret or ahead with angst. good luck with that but still aim at it. You love your children and they love you. That, my dear is a fact!! Not just a fleeting changeable feeling. You won't always feel like you do or like they do, but you do and they do. Keep acting accordingly. And don't forget to love yourself too. You are very precious to many people.

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  8. Leanne, take heart. I'm a whole generation older (I think), approaching 70 in a month or two's time, and I have two sons, now in their 40s. But when they were teens, they were just as you mention here. It was pretty hard work. I'm sure boys are more hard work, perhaps in a different way from girls. But now they are wonderful sons, so take heart. Parenting is a 24 hour thankless task at times. It's a good job we don't fully understand or appreciate this when we conceive or the human race would die out in a generation. Yes, it's been said before, I know!
    I don't quite understand some of the things you say about Alfie and the gold medal. Perhaps it's modern parlance, but the meaning has totally escaped me. You say he was 'ribbed', does this mean teased? And then that he would be 'owned' by the other green belts, so I expect that means they were proud of him? And 'almost bailed' on the tournament, does that mean he almost didn't turn up, i.e. bailed out? I must seem thick, but when I first read it, I thought, are the other members being hard on him or praising him? As I say, this is perhaps a generation thing, and this time yours and mine. But I really enjoy your blog - it's fun to read how others bring up their children in 2014 and quite frankly, it's not all that different from when I was being a stay-at-home mother in the 1970s. The only thing today is that I do think children don't have sufficient time just to become bored! Yes, bored. It's a good training for later life. They seem to have every moment of every day filled with 'activities' from going to school, maybe a breakfast club, then aside from homework, judo, football, music tuition, ballet (mainly for girls, but I don't want to be sexist, there must be some lads who do ballet) drama, choir, and so forth. Then of course, they have all their electronic gadgetry as well as perhaps reading (the latter if you're lucky, our two used books for book tumbling, rather like domino tumbling rather than reading them!) So they end up, I think (cod psychiatry here, folks!) with culture and activity overload. As I say, I think sometimes they need time just to be, not do. But then, I'm looking at it over the long term, from the distance of age, now our sons are great men, not only our sons, in middle age.
    Margaret P

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    1. Thank you galant. Poor Alfie has been through the ringer this past few weeks. But he came through in spades on Saturday.
      Leanne xx

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  9. hang in there, you are doing the hardest job in the world. eat ice pops, drink tea, don't forget to take care of yourself too x

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  10. Beautiful mug! I won't comment on the rest, but I hope that things get better, I expect that they will in time! xx

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  11. How sweet of CJ to gift you with a replacement mug! I'm sorry you are feeling down about parenting. I think that feeling that we are rubbish moms washes over all of us at times if we are honest. Heck, my kids are in their twenties and thirties and I still get that feeling at times. Complete and utter despair over the job I did, and wondering what the point of all those years of active parenting was if they are going to make such stupid choices and bad decisions. As for the unkind, unthinking person who told you that you are trying too hard to be a good mom, well, as long as honesty is allowed I have to confess there's a part of me that would like to slap that person.

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    1. Hey Kristie,
      I often wonder what it's all for. I know that I railed against every boundary that my parents set!
      Leanne xx

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  12. Oh dear Leanne I hope you are feeling better today. My perfect daughter just told me to shut up a moment ago. Nice one moment and the next one you get a shoe thrown at you. I feel the pressure of parenting all too often and have once packed my bags to leave. Only I couldn't think of a place to go. You are a great mum and I love you for being so honest about your ups and downs of motherhood and how it affects you as a person. Btw there are now 7 brats in Cornwall, my four have joined the club. Just joking:) Hope to see you soon! Cx
    P.S. Typing on phone is tricky with my sausage fingers. Hope there are not too many typos...

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    1. Hey Christina,
      I must txt you. I shall do that in precisely one minute....
      Leanne xx

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  13. Yes this mothering or shall I be fair and say parenting lark is pretty hard at the best of times and there are so many days that I literally feel like pulling my hair out. The truth though is that we don't have all the answers and we never will as everyone of us is different, but I suppose that is part of the charm (she says under muted breath) and the dilemma. I am definitely an honest parent and I don't really care what the public think of my parenting, I will be open with my kids no matter where we are. One thing is for sure, it seems to be getting harder the older they get, wasn't it suppose to get easier?? Anyway, pleased to hear that you got to meet CJ, I am such a big fan and feeling just a tad jealous!! Anyways, make the most of the sun and calm before the schools break for the summer, as I am sure we will all be singing I want to break free within the first week of the hole oh gawd help us!! xoxo

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    1. Hey Hannapat,
      It gets more complicated as they get older. It's like walking through a minefield sometimes! And yes CJ is rather awesome!
      Leanne xx

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  14. 'This week has been a bit shit' well i can tell you that I just snorted into my club soda! have you tried it, it's a lovely flavour.......! yes it's the very real end of mothering and some how that line has helped me very much today. Oh boy, I guess you are in the end of term thing, I guess they are too....hope your feeling better now X

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    1. of course I mean't to say cream soda!! x

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    2. Hey Heather,
      Yes I think term endings have a lot to answer for ;)
      Leanne xx

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  15. Aw, thanks hon, back at ya. Sorry your week's been one of those. I hope you're feeling a bit better now you've had a weekend as well. I'm struggling a bit at the moment to cope with everything, a feeling of being overwhelmed and yet needing to fit in more. But I don't know how. I feel I should be organised, but the more overwhelmed I feel the more everything whirls madly round in my brain. The boys are pushing boundaries here too, there's tiredness and irritability for all of us. You'll never regret the effort you put into being a great mum Leanne. And even if they don't seem to appreciate it now, I know that one day your boys will really understand how great your mothering is. As for the people who feel the need to comment on you, well, the less said the better. A huge well done to Alfie, that's a brilliant achievement. I'm so glad he's smiling again. The true and honest people are the happiest people I think. Those who are pretending or anxiously competing won't find contentment. You're doing a fantastic job, through the harder days as well as the easy ones. Always remember that. CJ xx

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    1. Thank you CJ. I am wondering whether I should curb my ranting on here though. You know when you get tired of the sound of your own voice? That's me. Whinger extroadinaire.
      Leanne xx

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  16. Hi Leanne! I have been reading your blog and rather a lot of others for quite a while now & I never comment, not sure why really! Anyway today I felt the need to comment! That post could have been written by me! I so get where you are coming from (I have two daughters 19 and almost 14) and I am currently being weighed down by the dramas unfolding with the youngest, we are always at loggerheads and I am constantly exhausted, constantly! The urge to run, run, run away is always lingering! I love how you kicked off the post with "This weeks been a bit shit" ...! You are not alone in your struggles! Love your blog by the way! PS I am a Bristol girl (born and bred) and now living in New Zealand! Take care and look for the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm damn sure its not the train ...
    Sara

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    1. Hello to a fellow Bristolian! And thanks for the support and good wishes. It is a hard job. It's also massively rewarding and I wouldn't have it any other way. I just need to vent my spleen every now and again, I guess.
      Leanne xx

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  17. Oh, lovely lovely Leanne, I really want to give you a hug. You are an amazing mother because you love, you care, you're interested. Honestly, I see some shit, disinterested parenting in the playground and at the park, and I think that interfering is a sign of love. That's what I tell myself anyway. Trying to hard to be a good mum - that's not a criticism if you ask me. It's better than not bothering at all.

    I hope the blues are not returning. Have you ever tried CBT? I had mine on the NHS. It's basically training your mind to think and react in a positive way and it helped me enormously with anxiety. It's useful when you can start to feel yourself slipping into familiar, negative thought processes, you can kind of haul yourself out if that makes sense. Anyway, enough of my unwanted, rambling mental health advice! Take care, you excellent mother, you. xx

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  18. I love your honesty Leanne. We've just started getting some back chat here I have to say I was a bit surprised, I wanted to say 'you're not 5 yet...can't we leave the answering back and pouting for another 8 years?'....hope things are better now.

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