My very REAL life.

Things have been progressing slowly. My marriage, my job, my family are all moving in one direction – towards a united future.

I can’t be all ‘sunshine and rainbows’ yet. Whose life is that truly? Although in some cases, with certain people, I feel I have to portray that outlook. No matter how honest you are to yourself, some people cannot cope with the truth. They want to live in an idealistic world and only see you in a superficial light. It’s easier for them. Not witnessing the nitty gritty ins and outs of your life, makes their life run that bit more smoothly. This would be fine if these people were acquaintances but it’s difficult when they hold some standing in your life.

I spoke of the difficulties within my marriage earlier this year and was met with abuse. Abuse from strangers and people we knew.

To these ‘somebodies’, I had been too honest. I had crossed a line as a wife and taken some sort of revenge on my poor husband and even though I expressed his approval to my decisions, many fought against it. Many felt they could not accept that but it is what it is.

We all use different forms of expression. I too have lived a life of bottling things up, shielding my problems from others, avoiding truths and pretending life is okay.

As I fall into a new life as a mother, I want to set an example that it is okay to feel out loud. Nobody is tied down to read what I write by any means. If you do not agree, look away. I am not here to argue. Only to say how I feel.

My marriage in some ways is back on track. My husband and I have come through the bump in our road and made it to the other side. I cannot say that things are rosy – they aren’t. In fact, there is still some tension. He isn’t perfect and nor am I and I am still apprehensive about where our journey together will go. I want to vent and moan and be honest but am fearful to express my true feelings here as now there is an expectation of a backlash.

What a shame that my only outlet has been forsaken.

I haven’t written here for a while because of it. Unsure of what will provoke these ‘somebodies’, afraid of their response.

If you know my husband then you know him as a son, a friend, a brother, a colleague. Only I know him as a husband. Only we share what we share. I am with him every day and see every fault. I see the good things too. They are never forgotten but when I choose to mention the bad -the ONE time I choose to mention the bad – do not berate me.

Marriage is tough. God, it’s hard but I want to be married to him and I am glad we are being more open, more supportive and more positive with each other.

I am now looking after my daughter full time.

It’s a JOB. In every sense of the word but it’s the most wonderful,rewarding (and tiring!) job I’ve ever done and I’m grateful to do it. She is so funny and sparky and bright and kind – I could not be more proud of my little angel.

Motherhood has changed me. All I want to do is make her life wonderful just as she has done for me.

I hope all my followers haven’t deserted me and I promise to touch base more frequently from now on 🙂

Ros x

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The Right to: Have some ME time.

Whether you have a hectic career, you are a busy mother, you work late or just have too many things to do: everybody needs some ME time. Stress is a killer. It is one of the causes of high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, depression. Stress is a part of everyday life and we meet it at times when we’d rather not, usually when everything seems to be happening at once. The best way to take control of it is to have some time away from it.

Taking ten minutes to read a bit of your favourite book or watch that programme you saved on SKY + can be the difference between keeping your sanity and reaching breaking point.

It is not selfish to have some time to yourself. Yet the pressures around us tell us we don’t deserve to put our needs first.

Last year I posted something on Facebook about wanting to pamper myself – haircut or massage, can’t remember. Many mummies liked it and could empathise greatly. One woman found her way to it and commented that I should be more focussed on my daughter and should not have time to think about myself. This kind of comment was not meant maliciously but it was written sarcastically and it did bruise me. I really struggled with being a preemie mum especially in the first few months. I had only worried about my daughter, so much so that I hadn’t left the house in ten weeks for fear of infection. I was neglecting my mental health which was clearly starting to affect my relationships with others.

If I hadn’t taken any time out for myself, seen a friend for a coffee, gone shopping, had a haircut, I would have gone insane. The stress was overpowering me and I constantly felt ill. I can deal with not brushing my hair for three days or eating lunch at four in the afternoon because my exhausted baby refuses to nap. I can handle waking five times through the night not knowing what is upsetting my baby or wearing an unchanged, sicky t-shirt all day. I can do all that as long as I have some time for myself.

I have been lucky. Even during the worst times with my husband this year, he has always given me a bit of “time-off”. He has taken baby our for a little walk or watched her while I read a magazine with a cup of coffee for ten minutes. In that sense, he was amazing.

Channel 4 in the UK, shows a programme called, ‘The Three Day Nanny’. The nanny goes and helps a desperate family in need of her services. Last week, they showed a couple at breaking point with twin girls. The mum looked after the girls for the majority of the week, solely on her own. She barely left the house and was unable to complete the simplest of tasks as the toddlers were such a handful. In an interview at the start of the programme you could see tears in her eyes as she seemed so anguished at not having any time to relax and do something exclusively for her. Sadly, she did not have a husband that offered her this. In the two years since the children had been born, he had NEVER offered her a hour on the weekend to have the girls and give her a break. He admitted it freely like it was a norm. I’m sure it does happen and many mums are put in this position.

To have a healthy relationship with anyone, you need to have breathing space. That includes your children. Many women get that when they return to work but like the struggling mum on the show, I will be at home every day looking after my little girl. It was my choice (to a point, we could not find affordable childcare) so some will say, “Deal with it” but I am entitled to have a break.

Thank you David for all those breaks you have given me.

And to the woman who told me off for wanting to take care of myself, like I said to you before:

Happy mummy = happy baby.

The decision to stay at home.

Leaving your job, that you love, is not an easy decision to make. As a new mum, people will make assumptions and judgements on whatever choice you make. Stay at home or return to work? A choice that many working mums are faced with. When I got pregnant, there was no such thought in my mind. I wanted to return to work. My job was a constant for me, an achievement and most of all something that gave me a great deal of confidence and pleasure. Leaving was not an option.

However, nothing could prepare me for the feelings I had when my daughter came into this world. I had not expected to feel so overwhelmed with love and be distraught at the thought of leaving her with somebody else. In fact the very notion of it haunted me for the first few months of her life.

We researched many options for child care, shocked at the cost and left in despair at how we, two full time working people, could not afford to put our little girl into a day nursery for the week. The only other choice was for me to return part-time and for my daughter to be placed in a much less costly environment at a childminders’.

Sadly, even the few we visited left me feeling a little sick. Not because they were bad in any way but simply because I had to deal with my separation anxiety and not hers. She seemed to adapt well to one particular childminder, surprising us all (as babies often do) and both my husband and I felt happier instantly.

It seemed to be all sorted at work too as I was to return for two days a week while my little one was at her childminders’. Unfortunately we were dealt a little shock as we didn’t realise childminders charge something called a “retainer fee” to keep a child’s place free until they are due to start. In our case, her place needed to be retained for 6 months which would cost us an un-refundable bomb. We just couldn’t stand to lose that money thus putting us in a very difficult position.

I now had to consider leaving my job.

I read an article at the start of the year about more working mums in Britain, having to leave their jobs as they could not afford expensive childcare. London seems to be the most costly of places and sadly that is where I am. Other European countries seem to have this base covered a little better or a lot better should I say.

In Sweden, the state subsidizes the child care cost so the parents do not have to pay more than the equivalent of £113 a month.

£113.

The fee for our local, well known nursery per month is £1600. Yes that’s right – £1600!!!!! Fourteen times more than Sweden. It’s ridiculous.

I could have easily gone back to work part-time/full-time if childcare in this country cost an average of £113 a month! Instead, I have had to leave work to be at home with my daughter. Undoubtedly, there are positives to this decision. I get to do what sadly, a lot of mums cannot – look after my daughter daily and spend these precious moments with her. I am thankful that I can do that. I only wish I had more of a choice.

On the job front I will be registering as self-employed in the near future and starting a career that fits around my new job of being a mummy 🙂

After all, it is one of the hardest jobs out there and certainly one of the most rewarding.

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.

The dilemma.

I am currently on my maternity leave from work. I am now in my fourth month of it and am not entirely sure of where the time has gone.

My husband and I have been researching nurseries for the little one for when I return to work and I have to admit (even knowing that it would always cost more than I could ever afford) I never fully realised just how expensive nurseries in London are. Overpriced is a word that stands out. Some that we’ve looked at are more than my monthly wage for one month! It’s ridiculous.

So what are working mums, with a salary under 30k meant to do?

My combined income with my husband does not provide me with enough money to pay off a mortgage and nursery fees. So what do I do? Here is the dilemma.

Many ignorant people will comment that I should not have had a child in my circumstance. However, this is a stupid thing to say as I am not on state benefits. I am a working woman. My husband also works full time. We enjoy our careers. We have ambition and want to get somewhere in our jobs. This doesn’t mean I do not enjoy motherhood. I love being a mother and I dote on my amazing thriving daughter.

We as a society should be encouraging mothers back into work not depriving them of returning or continuing when nursery fees are through the roof.

I do not have a young mother who can look after her grand child nor do I have a large family base. I only have the option of a nanny or nursery when I return to work. When these options become unaffordable, what is one to do?

One thing is clear. My husband and I are going to have to spend a lot of time researching over the next couple of months to find somewhere of high standard and somewhere that fits comfortably into our budget for the little one.

 

Back to my Books.

I was talking to a colleague today. There was chat of how long we wanted to stay in our current careers. I love my job but can’t help but long for a career as a writer. 

It is something I am looking forward to getting back to once baby is born.

I will be taking several months maternity leave and plan to use this time wisely. Obviously, raising baby will be priority number one. So any chance I get to write and return to my novels, will be used appropriately and efficiently. I think it’s time to get back to my books. They have been neglected for far too long. 

Several years back, I wrote many film scripts. Most were rubbish to be frank! However, there were a select few that stood out. Ones that were of the Thriller genre and could really hold their place in the market today. As they are film scripts, I will need to redo and rewrite them as novels. THAT is going to take a lot of time! But it’s something I am willing to do.

Many people have told me for many years that I will NEVER be a writer, that it is my sister’s career not mine. Who is to say what I can and cannot be?

Writing is my passion and it’s time I put myself first. Well, after baby that is.

 

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

 

A Stop in the Series.

This week has been an eventful one to say the least. Going back to work and into the chaos has played a part but it’s my letter series that has caused upset. It is always difficult receiving criticism and anger from others in response to my blogs, however, as I mentioned previously, we all have a right to expression. It is a shame that I have to defend this blog so often. I never want to cause distress but for once I need to be ‘selfish’ and put my feelings first. I was in a good flow at the beginning of the week but have been put off my stride. There is much I want to tell you but it will have to wait for another time.

I have one more letter to write.

It will be to my sister.

It is a letter I have deliberately been avoiding due to recent events. I have so much to say. I’m holding back. I will write my final letter to her on Tuesday, the reason for this will be made very clear in my post tomorrow so stay tuned for that.

A spot of good news now and I would like to congratulate my husband David on being accepted for a new job. He has been unemployed for a couple of months now which has been frustrating for the both of us. This job has come at a perfect time and it feels like some much needed good news. I am very proud of my husband. He has a tendency to self-criticise and berate himself but his strength of character and determination has prevailed so well done!

See you all tomorrow xx

Poetry Week.

I’m no poet.

I have only begun writing again this year. I once loved poetry especially as a child. Poetry has always been my mother’s ‘thing’ just as writing has always been my sister’s ‘thing’. I was never known as the poet or writer in the family. We weren’t allowed to ‘share’ hobbies. I was not praised for excelling in the same way as my family. I was supposed to have an individual talent and stand out on my own. My poetry, my writing is entirely different to theirs. I should be allowed to showcase my own talent.

Creativity should not be stifled, it should be cheered and supported. I was the showman to my family. The actress and so-called “Drama queen”. I craved attention as a child but not for the reasons they pushed on me. I only ever wanted love.

My outlet has always been writing. At school I excelled at English. I was a story teller, imaginative and creative. I was a dreamer, frequently narrating and creating exciting stories for my friends. I wrote diaries and journals. I was incredibly expressive but my outlet was stunted during my teen years.

My sister wanted to be a journalist. It suddenly became clear that she would be the story teller in our family. This was her future – not mine.

I began writing privately. It became an emotional release. It still is.

Only now, in the last year, have I felt confident enough to showcase my own writing, my own poetry. I do not want to compete with my award-winning journalist sister. It would be amazing to have a stepping stone into the world of publishing. It’s just sad that my own sister has always looked down on my writing. She has always seen me as that fifteen year old girl and I can’t imagine she’ll ever look at me any differently.

I could have a way in. To show my work and truth to the whole world but the one person who could help me sees me as the enemy. Nothing I can do about that. Convenient eh?

This week is Poetry Week for me and I will be showcasing some of my most recent work. I hope you all enjoy.

Ros xx