They’re cancelled!

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I’ve been really poorly AGAIN and then Leo has too. He was up all night on Christmas eve, vomiting. I couldn’t eat anything Christmas day and I haven’t had a single alcoholic beverage the entire break! I know, what a nightmare.

I am constantly coughing at night and Leo now has an ear and chest infection. Luckily, we spotted the signs and quickly got him some antibiotics, but it’s not the Christmas we had planned. We haven’t made it over to Bourne to see the rest of the family, as night times are hard enough over there when we are well! But it was the right decision.

We just had to cancel out Nye plans as I’m coughing all night, Leo is still disrupted and Nic, our friend who we were going to go and see is also struggling with this latest lurgie.. Basically a write off of all things planned!

We’ve managed some lovely days out though; Blue Planet Aquarium, Chester Zoo, walking in the local area, so all has not been lost. It’s just been incredibly tough on Tom as he had to do the lion’s share of caring for a poorly baby. He’s had some fun with the little man whilst I snooze though!

Enjoying a croissant in the big boys chair at John Lewis

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Proud moment

Whilst what I class as good parenting may come naturally to a lot of people, it doesn’t come totally naturally to me.  I have had to read and understand the intricacies of the growing and maturing mind so that I can manage my expectations, understand where the little man’s behaviours and motivations come form and nurture him accordingly.

The approach I want to take has a label of course and it is Positive Parenting. This is by no means permissive and is about mutual respect and understanding, setting relevant boundaries and helping your little human learn and grow in a way that is appropriate to them, the core thing for me is respecting them as equals.

Now that Leo is getting to an age where he understands that he can have an opinion, I am starting to be able to practice the things I am learning.  He isn’t a particularly wilful child, so its not a regular thing where we have to have a debate about what happens next. However, last night he had been listening and grooving away to some music on my phone and he loves to carry it around whilst it is playing.  As it got towards bath time I let him know that I would be taking my phone back when the water started to run.  That time came and of course, he didn’t want to let me have the phone and got quite annoyed when I made a move to take it.  Instead of just taking it off him anyway and causing a meltdown, I sat with him and just kept saying to him that it was time to say goodbye to the phone and Mummy would really like him to give it to her.  He tried to make a break for it a couple of times, so i just gently blocked his way and repeated my request,  After a minute or so, he happily passed me the phone and ran off to Daddy to get into the bath,

This moment might seem like nothing to some and I am sure there are plenty of people that have the thought process that I should have just taken it off him, but I wouldn’t do that to an adult so why should I do that to a child.  We had a mutual interaction and he willingly did as I asked without any tears or hardship, and it was lovely.

I know there will be times when I will have to put my foot down and absolutely will upset him, but I am hoping that he will understand well enough that it wasn’t done from a lack of respect and they will be few and far between.  Right now I am mega proud of him and I am pretty proud of myself too.

And it begins again

I spent years reviewing myself, my behaviour, my interactions etc in an attempt to become what I classed as a better person and I thought I was doing a great job. After taking a year out of the working world, I now see that everything I did was to eradicate my entire person from view as I see myself as utterly flawed.

This has basically got me nowhere and I haven’t been true to myself. I read something the other day about being charismatic, and one of the most charismatic things about a person is when they are true to themselves and confident and happy with it. I realised on reading this, all of the people that are drawn to me and respect me are the people that I am myself with. The people that let me be me, they might be few and far between, but does that really matter? The people that I have worked so hard to impress and change for, are no nearer respecting me than they were before and I am just left feeling like I have failed myself in the process.

I’d rather be disliked for being myself than being equally disliked for being something I am not, it’s just not worth the effort.

I want Leo to grow up loving who he is, knowing it’s OK to have a difference in opinion or do things differently, it doesn’t have to be a failure on your part. If you are confident in you, then it’s just one of those things and if you end up being surrounded by haters then it’s just not the place for you. I don’t want him to be a prisoner in his own insecurities, it’s an utterly abhorrent place to be and no one should be there.

I thought I had come a long way on my journey over the past 20 years, it has only just begun and it has taken me having a child to see that. It’s a long road ahead, I have a lot of internal struggles to face and I’m tired and constantly ill right now, so it seems even harder, especially when I thought the hardest part was done. But I have the most wonderfully supportive husband and an amazing child who makes my heart melt daily; so I’m starting from a good place.

Being present

One thing I have to work really hard on now I am back working, is being truly present when I pick Leo up after a day in the office. Leaving all the detritus of the day behind is a real work of art, which sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But how many of us could hand on heart say we do that.

When you are with your children, do you truly take your time to just absorb them and what they are doing, or does your mind wander off to a different place. When they come and cuddle you, do you allow them to dictate that cuddle or do you break away because you are trying to get things done, or ‘need’ to check social media?

It sounds stupid, but I have to force myself to drop the thoughts and want to check out instagram whilst he is playing, just because it is a habit like any other. I make sure I constantly check myself when he is being a little bit demanding and I have had a bad day, those are the true testing moments, putting that layer in place to make sure you are at your best when you feel your worst, because that is when they truly need you.

I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing husband, who shares the childcare load and then some. This makes achieving the above a million times easier.

However, something occurred to me the other day. Do I make sure I make the effort to be present with Tom. We talk about everything that troubles me, so he is well aware of the struggles I have with things, but does he truly get my presence these days.. No, I don’t think so. I am always rushing to get things done, or get to bed, or just talk about my world, that I do break away from cuddles, I do spend my time thinking about work and my current fitness struggle and baby etc, etc, when I am with him and I don’t truly listen and absorb him. Being the perfect pants that he is, he points out that he is a mature mind and has the ability to understand situations and know that there are other things in my world that cause distraction, but I still think it’s worth the effort to take time between my lamenting and musing to truly just be with him.

As with everyone you hold dear, it’s those close and connected moments that make your world go round. Sadly, they are fewer than the moments that cause frustration and annoyance, as you are at work or away from your special people more than you are with them. So take the time to indulge, absorb every aspect of those moments into your soul, as it is those moments that keep you strong.

It’s addictive

The first few months with your baby are mind blowing, serene, sleep deprived moments you will cherish forever. As they become a toddler, the time becomes something bigger. You didn’t think you could love them more, but everything they do makes your heart swell more and more.

Watching Leo is addictive, interactions are insane and unclear and wild and free, all at the same time. They’re understanding you, you’re understanding them a little, they have a will, a mission and so, so much to teach us if we take the time to watch.

For me, the addiction is in their freedom. No bitterness, no worries, no troubling thoughts weighing them down, no insecurities or self doubt and it’s just the most beautiful thing to see and be a part of. It also makes me want to fiercely protect it, although I know I can’t forever.

I want him to stay wild, stay free of these daily norms that plague me at least, I can’t talk for others!

There is a mission in everything he does, he seems to know just what he wants to do even though it seems totally bonkers to us. He has full blown conversations with us that make perfect sense to him and it’s adorable. Watching him regularly moves me to tears because I love him so much, crazy woman. He is the icing on our cake, he is the product of the amazing relationship that is Tom and me and it just blows my mind daily where we are! It’s a shame so many seem to wander through life with children, without stopping to absorb their greatness.

Update

Writing on a train whilst it chugs away to Chester. It is crowded and hot and one of the worst things about working in Manchester at Christmas time. It is, however, taking me back to my family and our awesome house.

Work. Busy, interesting, hard. Lots of learning about data warehouses and resilience and budgets.

Fitness. Bit crap, going to the gym every week, spin every week, cycle every week. But not gaining a lot for now. Just in maintenance mode really until the new year once the overindulgence is out the way and training for next year’s races begins. Looking forward to multiple duathlons, multiple mud races and hopefully a three peaks challenge of one version or another.

Family. Leo is amazing. Funny and smart and sweet and kind and loving and wonderful. Sarah is amazing but struggling with a few issues that just need time to resolve. Funny and smart and sweet and kind and loving and wonderful.

Anything else. We have a new camera. It is ace. We’re making slow progress on the house but it’s a long way off our final vision. Needs time and money and effort. To be continued.

Happy. Loved.

Rebalance

I’ve really been struggling to find my way since starting back at work. I feel like I’m failing as a mother, as a manager, a healthy eater and most definitely as a fitness addict! It’s a pretty rubbish place to be.

My hormones are all over the place, I’m ill pretty much all of the time and I can’t remember the last time I felt good about myself.

I have gone back to doing the classes in an attempt to get myself back to working out regularly, this is how I originally started my fitness journey anyway. I’m enjoying it, it’s just tough on my lunch break.

Eating enjoyable meals and fitting lunch time workouts in is basically impossible, so I still have Huel. Not something that sits overly well with me, but I have decided it’s better than any other quick alternatives. I have started having it with almond milk instead of cows milk in an attempt to help sort my hormones out too.

I don’t like this place I’m at, I have such a long way to go again. I feel like I have regressed back to where I was many years ago and don’t have the time to fix anything properly!

Life is busy!

I don’t know where the days go, not long now until little man’s 2nd Christmas! He’s obviously still oblivious at this point, which is great as it gives us even more time to try and understand how we wish to approach Christmas.

Even before Leo was born, we were discussing how to approach the commercialised lies attached to Christmas, the idea that some random stranger sits in judgment of a child all year to decide if they are worthy or not, is truly repellant to me.

We want Leo to have the magic of Christmas, but understand it is make believe. Apparently it’s quite the thing to do these days, that’s not saying I won’t get resistance from people accusing me of spoiling the fun or assuming I automatically think they are bad parents!

I am trying not to over think it, having a child has taught me that you have a rough idea of what you want to achieve and then just go with the flow. It’s a tricky thing to do when you’re used to controlling everything!