Anger · Family

Redefining Relationships – A Reflection on 2016

Redefining Relationships - A Reflection on 2016As most of you probably know by now, I stopped contact with my mother in 2013, when I was pregnant with Burrito Baby. Although she’s tried to control the narrative, telling people that it was because she showed concern about my weight because of my pregnancy or that it was because I was being controlled by my Husband or that I was bipolar, none of these things are true and were constructed by her in order to make her look like the victim of the situation.

The facts are these: I was systematically groomed and sexually abused by a family member for several years of my childhood. The person in question was technically still a child himself (which, by the way, is NEVER a justification), but a lot older than me and certainly old enough to know that what he was doing was wrong. I never told anyone about this but my mother read about it in my diary when I was 13 and chose to ignore it. I was then forced to tell her about it when I got engaged to Husband because my whole family decided to attempt to bully me into inviting the person who abused me to my wedding.

In the years that passed after it came out, it was kept secret from certain family members and even those in receipt of the knowledge continued to maintain a relationship with my abuser. I’ve been questioned, accused of lying, treated like was the one in the wrong, told that it was “all too stressful” for my mother and that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Being told that “I can’t congratulate you on your pregnancy because the last one was stressful for me” was the final nail in the coffin for my relationship with that woman.

I mourned the loss of our relationship for a long time, but not the loss of HER, just the loss of a mother in any form. I felt like I’d been robbed of the chance to have a decent mother/daughter relationship and I felt hugely resentful to other people who had close, nurturing relationships with their parents.

After a while, it occurred to me that my life was actually less stressful. I realised that I’d spent my ENTIRE LIFE being the butt of their jokes, being called nasty names, being taunted for being a “calamity” (which, incidentally, was as a result of meningococcal septicemia leaving me with gross motor function issues), having the mickey taken out of me for the way I walk, my weight, the way I held my bag, having my self-esteem chipped away bit by bit.

What it also made me realise is that relationships aren’t defined by blood. My husband, the one she’d accused of being controlling (seriously, can anyone who knows how much of a gobshite I am REALLY imagine me being controlled?!), has my back constantly and reacts with love and raw emotion when he thinks I’m being mistreated, something she never managed to do. I’ve forged friendships with people who GET me and who’ve been properly fucking loyal to me in a way that certain blood relatives have never been.

Let’s not forget my Dad. The man she worked SO hard to decimate in my eyes, to destroy our relationship beyond repair so that he’d never get a look in. He’s man enough to admit that he made mistakes in the past and hasn’t always been a perfect parent but he’s been there, properly been there for me when I’ve needed him. I hadn’t told him about the abuse until he read my Mother’s Day post this year and I heard his heart break when he called me to talk about it. I hate the fact that it’s hurt him but I wept when I heard how sad he was because FINALLY one of my parents had acted like they give a shit instead of trying to deflect blame and make it about them.

I’ve kept a dignified silence for SO long and not risen to the barrage of messages to both me and my friends and family, the “accidental” phone calls, the self-satisfying Facebook posts where she pretends to be the victim of MY cruelty (what a fucking joke…) and allowing her friends to call me names and question my character  but NO MORE.

This is my line in the sand.

So, this is my Happy New Year post. Happy New Year to my friends (the ones who cook me crumpets and watch girlie films with me and call my Facebook trolls a c*nt and offer me help when I need it and just generally have my back, as well as the ones who I never see but speak to on Facebook who tolerate my ramblings and political posts) and my family (the best in-laws I could ever ask for, the mums and sisters and aunts and uncles and beautiful nephews and cousins by marriage who’ve been my rocks for almost eleven years, but especially in 2016, as well as my Dad and Tracy, my baby brother who’s a foot taller than me, and Uncle and Aunt and Joe and everyone else who I love) but most of all to my Husband and our girls, my reasons for living and trying to be a better person. I love you all.

Turns out, I’ve got everyone I ever needed.

Giveaway · Health

Have a BERRY Good Day!

The Berry CompanyDid you know, that according to The Berry Company, the average person knows if they’re going to have a good day by 8.12am? The girls and I try to leave the house by 8am every day, in order to get Sausage to school on time (and to ensure I can park somewhere within a 2 mile radius of the school as the parking around there is HORRENDOUS!) and the be honest, 8.12am is pretty much the exact time that we know if we’re going to hit traffic or not, so I totally agree with this statement!

They made a video of their newly-appointed CMO (that’s Chief Mood Officer to you and I!) who made it his business to spend a morning in London seeing if he could improve people’s days…watch the video to see if he was successful:

I’m not going to lie, I might be a little bit weirded out if someone randomly offered me a hug, but I’d be thrilled if someone paid a tenner towards my taxi fare, although I’m wondering if that makes me a terrible person?! I’m a sucker for a high five though so that would definitely give me a chuckle, especially if I was having a stressful morning.

The Berry Company has decided to take its mission even further and is running a competition to help people win a good start to the day, with one of the prizes being a lift to and from work in a supercar with Le Mans Driver Oliver Jarvis! All you have to do is head over to The Berry Company website to nominate someone who you think deserves to win. It’s as simple as that! Runners up can also win a hair and make up session before work or a bunch of flowers delivered to their desk, both of which would be a really welcome pick-me-up.

If you’d like to nominate someone, or find out more about The Berry Company’s range of fruit juices, simply head over to their site.

We hope you’re having a BERRY good day!

Family · Happiness · Home

The Dulux Kids’ Bedroom Project

One thing that Husband and I are really adamant about is that kids should be allowed to have opinions and preferences, and should be given the time and space to express themselves exactly as they’d like to. A few weeks ago, Sausage made a passing comment about how cool it would be if she was allowed to have pink hair and after a little bit of discussion between Husband and I we told her that we had no major objections…and then this happened:

Pink Hair, Don't Care!

It’s a dip-dye which means that it’s easy enough to trim the bottom few inches of her hair off once she’s back to the daily grind, and it’s made her feel really special and grown-up, being allowed to have such wacky hair!

By the same token, we think that kids should have a say in their surroundings too. I’m not talking about letting them choose the wallpaper for the living room, but their own bedroms should be a place where they feel a bit of ownership, which is why I love the new project by Dulux, getting kids involved in the design on of their rooms. The Dulux Kids’ Bedroom Summer Holiday Workbook is a downloadable .pdf which allows kids to gather and record their colour preferences, inspirations and input into the design of their own rooms, so that Mum and Dad can create a space which the kids feel truly connected to.

Dulux Kids Workbook

Dulux have conducted a load of research which shows that kids really value being part of the decorating process:

An overwhelming majority of kids (92%) would spend more time playing in their room and doing their homework if they have a say in how it’s decorated.

Research commissioned by leading paint brand Dulux found a whopping number of children value being part of the decorating process, with the majority saying it was the second most important thing they had ever done – even more important to them than their first day at school or losing their first tooth.

The study of 2,000 families shows that children also found decorating with their parents a really positive experience, with 65 per cent saying they felt happy and 58 per cent excited at the prospect of helping mum and dad.

Additionally, parents commented that decorating together helped to increase their child’s sense of ownership, pride and opportunity for creative expression. Some parents said it even ensured rooms were tidier, because they wanted to show it off to their friends and family.

Surprisingly, however, whilst an indisputable 92 per cent of parents believe that decorating their child’s room is important, the study found that only a QUARTER of parents actually consulted their kids or involved them in the process.

Dulux offers a whole range of paints which are perfect for decorating a kids’ room – Dulux’s Endurance+ range is the perfect paint for a kid’s bedroom makeover – it’s 20 times stronger than normal emulsion, so when you’re tackling sticky fingers and mucky paws it’s a great solution, allowing you to wipe away the stain and not the paint underneath, meaning your walls stay as fresh as the day you painted them!

We’ll definitely be using the Dulux workbook when we get around to decorating the girls’ room and I can’t wait to see what crazy ideas they come up with. They’re sharing a room at the moment but have very distinct little personalities, so there’s a good chance we’ll end up with a room completely split down the middle, with one colour on one side and a completely different colour on the other! We’ll be sure to share the results with you when it happens.

For more info on Dulux and their ranges, you can tweet them on Twitter using their handle, @DuluxUK plus the hashtag #KidsBedroom

Kids

The Four Core Aspects Of Looking After Your Child’s Future

The future is far from set in stone. It can be quite scary just how flexible it is and how much and change. Even more so when we think about our kids. I think all parents bite their nails at the idea of their child coming face to face with many of life’s problems. Especially if we’re not there to help them. However, we can still help them. It just means thinking way ahead. It means helping them now and teaching them as they develop. Not just disciplining and sustaining them, but trying to teach. Here are a few ways we can do that.

Picture sourced by marcisim

Finances

A big concern for anyone’s future, really. We can help our child financially in all sorts of ways. The most obvious is by saving up to help them pay for their education and get in less debt. We can also help them understand financial responsibility.  If they’re in high-school, convincing them to get a part-time job can go a long way in that. We need to take more time to teach them about taxes, debt and credit, too. After all, they won’t be learning it from school. If we have medical risks, Gocompare recommends life insurance as well. This way we’re making sure we don’t hinder them with having to worry about our health costs.

Health

The impact you can start making immediately with selecting the right health options is immense. Just think of the different lives your child could live in the future. They could easily be a motivated, healthy and energetic person. They could also be obese, self-conscious and at serious health risk. You would love them either way, of course. But don’t deny which you would rather they be. Making unhealthy treats a thing of the past in your home and getting active with them can help you influence that future.

Emotion

It’s not just their physical health to be concerned with, either. Mental health is just as huge a part of the picture. Being accepting of their identity, whatever it may be, is a huge part. Helping them come to grips with life’s difficulties is about being open to them. Without judgement and without pigeonholing, spend time understanding their plight. Empathise with them and be patient. Kids make a lot of mistakes. Losing patience with them won’t stop them, but it will make them fear the consequences as well as you. Reinforce, don’t discipline.

Opportunity

We want our kids to be healthy, secure and stable. We also want them to be go-getters. Not just because financial and career success lies in that way. Happiness and a fulfilled life does, too. We need to teach our kids motivation, empathy and confidence from a young age. They should feel the ability to open any door life throws in their way. This can mean teaching them leadership through getting them involved in team sports. Or empathy through going volunteering with them. The point is that we need to make the effort to help them explore these options. That way they’ll continue to have the motivation to do so as they grow.

Further information on Proven Ways to Help Your Picky Eaters can be found here:  https://www.myparentingjournal.com/child-health/picky-fussy-eaters-tips-healthy-meal-ideas/

Happiness

Simple Tricks to Improve Your Mood

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We all have off days. You know those days when everything goes wrong? Traffic is bad and you spill your coffee down your blouse. Work is a treadmill of meetings and emails. And then someone says something a bit offhand and it feels like the end of the world. What can you do to cheer yourself up when the world seems to be conspiring against you?

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1.Treat Yourself

A little pick-me-up in the form of a gift is an instant way to boost your mood. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. It could as simple as a bar of chocolate or a record. For some people, a trip to the florists is a sure fire way of cheering themselves up. Flowers last for days and it always feels like a treat when you buy them for yourself.

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2.Take a Break

If your low mood is due to work, then take a break. Get away from your desk for an hour when lunchtime comes. Get some fresh air, walk around, and rest your brain for a while. If you feel like you need a longer break, then book a holiday. Grab some brochures and travel guides and plan somewhere exciting to visit.

3.Relax

Being constantly busy can make you feel low. If this is a problem for you, then plan in some relaxation time. Book a manicure, massage, or spa day. Take some time to sit and read your book. Catch up on your favourite programmes. Go for a run or a swim. However, you like to relax, schedule some time to do it.

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4. Plan Something Spontaneous

Phone your friends and see if they’re available this evening. Do something fun and spontaneous that doesn’t take any planning. Sometimes the unplanned nights are the most memorable.

5. Do Something Creative

Doing something creative will focus your mind. If you work in a non-creative role, it will also access a different area of your brain. There are lots of ways to explore your creativity including, painting, colouring, and sewing. Others prefer playing musical instruments or taking photos. Whatever you decide, let it absorb you and distract you from the strains of the day.

6. Establish a Ritual

Establish a ritual and follow it each day. This will be the cut-off point from work. Once you complete the ritual, you should stop thinking about work and focus on your home life. The ritual could be taking a shower, changing your clothes, etc. It may take some practice to get this right. But eventually, your brain will learn that at this point in the day, work is left behind.

7. Find Some Quotes

Go online and search for some quotes that fit your mood. Some people collect quotations and keep them in a journal to refer to over again.

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Keep a Gratitude Journal

There is scientific evidence to prove that focusing on three positive things each day will improve your wellbeing. A gratitude journal is a notebook where you can record the things you are grateful for each day. Many people report that they find this beneficial. It allows them to focus on the positives, rather than dwelling on negatives.

Of course, if you find that you’re having lots of bad days, you may need to take action. But for the odd bleurgh day, these tips might help. What tricks and pick-me-ups do you use when you’ve had a bad day?