Forgiveness

2016. The year the world broke or that’s what the media would have you believe. So many of our legendary musicians, actors and heroes disappeared from our planet. It pains me to think that they will not be around to make more music or films or write books. The thing is we are getting to an age that the people we idolised in our childhoods are starting to get old. Yes, some died too young and it doesn’t seem fair but excessive lifestyles and genetics demand we all be taken at different ages. It is unfortunately part of the process. However…if any of you have discovered a way of becoming immortal then drop me a line!

My own personal 2016 saw pain, I felt a bit like Supergirl when she was banished to the Phantom Zone, all my powers were gone and the mud was so sticky, there was a possibility that I wouldn’t get out alive. Luckily, I have strong women in my life like my mum and best friends that have shown me that just like Supergirl, you NEVER GIVE UP!

At the start of my turmoil a friend wrote to me, she said “Go to the ocean, pick up stones and name each one with an emotion. Throw away the ones you do not wish to have anymore, throw them far, as far as possible and let the water wash them away”. So I went and I threw and I threw. I threw so hard and for so long until the sinew twisted and burned, I threw until I could not even pick up another stone. One stone that I named forgiveness stayed by my side. I could choose to throw that stone away and get on with my life holding a little black hole of hate. See the problem is, forgiveness is the heaviest of stones. You know that if you choose to forgive, it will feel beautiful like a sneeze. But sometimes that sneeze just won’t come and you do everything to try and get there. You look into every light, grasping at every tingle, hoping. Then without any warning the euphoric snot flies all over. I’m not saying that my snot is flying yet, but it could happen any day. Until then, my stone of forgiveness will stay by my side and one day I’ll be ready to hand it gracefully to my former ally.

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Christmas, help!

As the kids get older I find it harder to think of Christmas presents for them. Our apartment is not massive so I really have to think about space, also I don’t like just buying things for the sake of buying. I want to get them gifts that will mean something to them and they will use. I just don’t know what those things are.

My first thought was bikes, Summer is the only one that can ride without stabilizers which I find totally ridiculous but I guess moving to the city where the sidewalks suck and everyone drives, it never calls for cycling much.

Really, I think I would just like to get them a couple of little things each and then spend the big money taking them somewhere exciting. An experience to remember! But Christmas for kids has turned into a shit show of plastic and paper, with the excitement of opening gifts then throwing them aside. Do they really need another box of shopkins or  more toy cars or whatever fad gift is relevant this year?

I’ve been wondering a safe way to teach them about the value of giving, that is a much nicer and more fulfilling way to spend Christmas than receiving an abundance of toys. I’d really like to head down to a soup kitchen or something but I don’t know about having a four year old in that environment is any good or even a thing that is allowed. Also I know that everyone wants to help at this time of year and we would be better doing a homeless charity when volunteers are low mid year. I guess google will be my friend when investigating this.

So how do you all choose Christmas presents? How do you differentiate between what they really want and what they REALLY want? My kids tend to look at catalogues that we get through the door and pick about 10 things on each page. Telling me how cool it is and how they absolutely need a chocolate making kit or they may not survive Christmas. Jeezy, were we all this greedy as kids?

I still remember my favourite present as a kid. I don’t really remember my age, maybe six or seven. I was overjoyed with a cardboard sweet shop that had real sweets. I sat for hours weighing out sweets for everyone that they were not allowed to eat, because then I’d have none left to play with. The sweet shop could not have cost for then a couple of quid, but boy did my mum do well that year! Now it’s about spending as much as you possibly can on the kids. Everyone posts to Instagram and Facebook with their massive piles of presents under the tree on Christmas eve. I feel a bit like it is keeping up with the Joneses and I just couldn’t give a crap about that. I would rather impress my kids with time and an experience.

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Since I started writing this blog post, Jacob and I have decided that we are going to go away for Christmas. The kids will get a few little presents as we can’t carry that much then a larger one between them when we get back. While away we will show them the craziness and man made eyesore that is Las Vegas, then move on to Lake Mead in the hope that we can teach them about how Vegas may be fun but it is draining this lake dry. I will come armed with information about what conservation ideas are around and see if they can think of any. From there we’ll move on to the Grand Canyon because who doesn’t want to see metamorphic rock…this will take some good explaining, I’m sure! Then to the Joshua tree for a little hiking and peace. Being a thrifty chick I want to do all this on a budget. Google has already told me a lot of exciting free things to do while on the trip but if anyone has anymore ideas then hit me up. I really want to show these kids everything!

 

 

Kindle be gone.

Road trips with young ones are just not what the used to be and I blame the invention of tablets. Up until last Christmas we did not own a tablet, or that’s a lie, I did, but it was mine and the little rats were not getting their filthy paws on it. Then along came amazon with a deal…$35 for a kindle fire. How could I refuse? Number one was getting older and as much I had resisted the electronic madness there comes a time when you have to let them enter that world. But you can’t get one child something without getting the others the same…Right? So before I knew it there were three Kindles all wrapped up and under the tree. The kids seemed easy about it start, only playing in them every so often. Still interested in all their other toys and actually socialising with one another. But slowly, slowly the beast grew and now I don’t have any idea how to moderate this unruly monster that I, myself brought though the door.

For me, sometimes it’s an easy out. I need to make dinner or clean the house in peace so out comes the tablets. In the past few months I’ve become unceasingly lackadaisical, handing it over to stop the constant whine “Mum, can I have my Kindle?” “Mum, when can I have my Kindle?” “Mum, Mummy, Mum, I really need the Kindle!” Then there’s the harrowing screams when the battery runs out, I always think someone is close to death. The arguments the ensue when one kid realises that one of the others have 100% battery but theirs only has 98%. But when will the madness stop? What’s a mum to do? The husband I have had talks about how to moderate it, how to give them a little but not make it so they are like shit faced junkies waiting for their next hit. Do we time it? just an hour a day? or only allow it at weekends? The guidelines on these things are ever changing and I can’t keep up.

We don’t take them to use them out of the house (The kindles, we do take the children out of the house!) unless we are travelling. Which brings me back to road trips. This past Thanksgiving week we spent a lot of time in the car. We drove up to Sacramento, which is about a six hour drive but then add in dinner and toilet breaks, we talking more seven hours. So the Kindles came with. It was great to start, they played happily, still talking to one another, requesting Alicia Keys to be on the stereo constantly. And may I point out the The Element of Freedom was released in 2009 – I mean seriously, I thought it was about two years ago, what happened to those years?

While in Sacramento (the state capital of California), we looked around the amazing old town, which has a history with the Gold rush in 1848. The area has 53 historic buildings and is registered as a national and California historic landmark. It also has a darker side, and was once known as the worst skid row west of Chicago. Today is it still super rough around the edges. Due to it’s river location it is very industrial with lots of edgy graffiti on disused buildings running the length of river from our hotel to tower bridge. Perfect for a rock band photo shoot! But the area still has a huge homeless population, it pains me to see so many people wandering around, kicking the dirt, looking completely lost when you know that they should be receiving real medical help. I guess the cost of medications and healthcare will make it nearly impossible for these people to stand a chance.

A friend recommended that we take a trip to the rail museum, which is located in the old town. The place was filled with historic trains and employees in costume who had the knowledge to answered every question. The carriages were filled with artifacts, and placed on moving platforms that swayed gently, so you really get a feel what it would be like to travel in these trains back when they were operational. The play area for kids had…yip…trains. They could watch the vintage train sets bimbling around in their vintage tracks, then play with the wooden trains. Pretty much a perfect day out for anyone. Even if you’re not a trainspotter(which I am not!) But throughout the day I heard the word Kindle, 700 million times. They kids dreamed of the drive back to L.A. so that they can play their bloody kindles. The immediate moment was lost. Screw the trains, who gives a shit about historic train or even playing for that matter when there is a Kindle sitting in a hotel room all lonely and sad. How could we have left them there? What if someone breaks in and steals their precious box of plastic and microchips.

The journey home was quiet, apart from the cogs of my brain ticking around trying to work out a solution that will end this madness.

A few days later we were headed to Carlsbad for the night. I was quite excited, having seen friends photos for the area. It always looks beautiful with lovely beaches and desperate housewives style homes. And yeah, the Kindles came with…they needed to experience the beach life too…right?! While driving down the freeway I noticed a massive building wrapped up like a giant Christmas present, with a freaking huge red bow on top…I tried and tried to get the kids attention but their eyes were glued to their screens. How could they miss such an amazing Christmas miracle? The bow itself was about 3 stories high. What the hell were they thinking? How can Plants vs Zombies or slither.io be better then a giant bow on a building? ugh I give up!

I’d love to tell you that Carlsbad was as good as I expected but the weather was crap, with two storms headed our way. We pretty much hid in our hotel room watching out the window as other hotel residents took pictures of the palm trees blowing sideways. The next afternoon we had a cold, windy walk on the beach.  Then lunch at Benihanas before enduring another quiet ride home.

This past week I’ve come to the conclusion that, I’ve had enough, no child of mine is going to miss the craziness that is America. Or miss the songs we can sing, the chatting that we can do. The good family times that we are missing out on due to a $35 piece of plastic. But now comes the hard part…weaning them off. I’ve had a few people who don’t have children telling me that they would just lay down the law. Which is lovely and slightly naive. I want to understanding their needs and really, Jacob and I are the only ones who have to live with that crap, so a full cut off may not be the right thing!

So, What’s the right thing to do? What are the limits? What do you all do?

I’m wondering if a mysterious ant colony may invade the house and eat up or carry off the kindles! That’s a totally realistic reason for their disappearance, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frightened Heart.

I have it pretty easy when it comes to the bedtime routine. Yes, I repeat myself endlessly and sometimes have to step out the room to count to ten. However, it’s guaranteed that between the hours of seven and eight my mini me’s will be in bed and quiet. But something changed a few weeks ago, the littlest one become scared of something and was constantly get up or screaming “Mummy” from beneath her sheets. To say it got my back up a little would be an understatement, she was really cutting into my adult time. I have some classy (crappy) TV to watch. Does she not understand I’ve been with her all day and need to tune out?! It’s not like she’s alone in the room, there are two other kids there….she is not alone!

I finally caved in and decided that I would stay in the room, but with no contact – don’t want this to become a thing, right? So I lay on the floor doing some yoga, a little plank here and there, stretching myself all over the place. Until that moment where I would look at her from the corner of my eye to check she was asleep, then I would bolt out the room straight to the sofa via the kettle.

But it hit me, she’s scared, she’s little, she’s mine, and I’m the one who makes her safe. What the hell was I doing? She needs me!

She needs me fully present, laying next to her. I don’t go off the clock, that’s not what being a mum is all about. I ease her frightened heart, her overactive brain and it is me who will quell the nightmares. I give her peace from the scary monsters that could jump out from beneath her bed(and they might due to my lack of cleaning skills!)

This is not about me, how did I even make it about me?

This is about her needing comfort, I should be dropping everything to embrace that embrace. Will it really make much difference to my life if I watch one less episode of Buffy? Or will it make a real difference in hers if I am holding her, stroking her hair and making her feel loved?

There is only a small period in their lives that they will actually need me to do this, so why am I fighting it?

When you first give birth, you stare at the little squished up thing every minute of the day, wishing you could bottle every single second. Every smile, every smell – well maybe not every smell! You think that it will never end. Then suddenly without any warning you’re sighing at the moment they wander into the living room when they should be in bed.

I know there are all the theories on self soothing and the old ladies telling you not to spoil them. But can you really spoil a child with love and attention? or is this just total crap so that we can get on with our own lives, leaving them to become a hardened mess.

When they were babies, I always went in for the bed sharing, I practiced baby led weaning. Wore them in a sling until my back was giving way. Taking parts of my parenting from the continuum concept and enjoying all the moments I could. What changed?

ME!

Tonight, I lay with the littlest. Stroking her hair and listening to her breath becoming deeper, staring at her beautiful skin and watching her eyes blink slowly until they were so heavy that she couldn’t open them. I didn’t stop there, the other two were still awake, the eldest reading and the beautiful boy just looking into space. I sat next to his bed and repeated my actions, stroking his hair and wondering where my little boy went. I rubbed my nose against his, he looked up at me and smiled then fell into a deep sleep. I moved onto the big girl, clambering up into her bunk. While she was still reading, I gave her a foot and leg massage as she gets growing pains. She put her book down, cuddled into me and told me how much she loved me before closing her eyes.

This is so much better then any damn TV series. What was I thinking? I have three children who have gone to sleep knowing that in a world with so many unknowns, they can always count on me!

I stayed an extra five minutes just to hold the moment close.

 

 

Find your hurricane friends!

I’m back!

Having had a very long summer holiday for WordPress.

Life has to continue, are we not here to fight the downs and love the ups?!

When tragedy ensues, we live and learn!

I am finding out many things about myself and other around me. Who my real friends are, who has the ability to listen and not judge and who can appropriately change the subject to lighten the mood and get a little laugh in.

I am not going to go into details about my trauma, it is mine to bear.

I’d more like to share what I think a woman should mean to another woman.

It is only in the last 10 years that I have really surrounded myself with women, strong, unapologetic women. Women that hold another woman’s friendship close. Women who when the chips are down they’ll take your kids for the day so you can weep, they will bring you grocery shopping, they will hold you and listen to your pain without telling you to stop and get a grip, but also have the ability to tell you to get a grip when you are being crazy.

Moving to L.A took me away from the women that I held dear, the ones that got me through the day when my husband was away for weeks on end. Restarting was painful and exciting but as luck would have it I have found the same type of women here. Women with values and heart.  Unfortunately I have also discovered the kind of woman who is selfish and doesn’t belong to this breed. Like a kind of wild dog that will do anything to rip apart others. Thriving on the pain they cause, just to create a false sense of self worth.

Yes, we need to create our own happiness but will we ever get it if it is at the expense of another?

It’s a question that I have asked myself many times. Watching other peoples behaviour and wondering if it would really get them anywhere. And believe me I have also been a class A bitch in the past but luckily I have become wiser with age and because I had great women by my side to call me on it.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about a situation that she was in in the past and the advice that I gave her. (I actually forgot all about the conversation but was happy to hear that I gave her good advice)…as any real friend should! She asked me what she should do about a man who was married with kids but was being overly friendly to her. My answer was something like…”Don’t be stupid. This is not about you, this is about his ego. You’re not going to be happy and you will cause others so much pain. If he really wants you he will leave his marriage in the correct way, then you give him a chance. If he is not going to do that, then it’s only about him and his selfish needs. Do not go there!!!!” Luckily she took this advice and didn’t go down the road of causing destruction to so many people and throwing her karma scale way out of whack. Would there be any coming back from that? What I am trying to say, is if your friends can’t be frank with you or they sit back and watch as you press the self destruct button or even encourage you to do stupid shit, then are they really your friends? are they really the friends that you want around? or will they even be around when the going gets tough? Everyone has the friends that are around because of your circumstance, maybe the job you do, the people you know, or indeed craziness you give out. These are fair weather friends and play a role in your life but the role is to learn what they are and find your true hurricane friends.

I don’t have to mention names, my hurricane friends know who they are. They know I love and appreciate them. They are new friends and old friends, .they come from all over the world but I know them by they way they treat me. We don’t have to talk every day, indeed some I have not spoken to for years, but they are still there, they will never leave. There is never a  comment about the length of time we have been apart, just an appreciation for the time together. These friends will drop things to help me when I hurt, they welcome my family into their homes so we don’t have to alone, they send me messages for a far just to check in and they will listen endlessly without judgment. I don’t ever wish any pain on them but I know for sure that if something should happen I will have their backs just as they always have mine.

I read a book recently that had some interesting advice. It said the old saying of ‘treat people how you wish to be treated’ is wrong, it should be ‘treat people how they wish to be treated’ meaning you need to understand others around you, that their needs and expectations are may be very different to yours. It rang true to me, if I treat others how I wish to be treated am I not being selfish to my needs and wishes. Should I not think about what they want, how they expect to be spoken to? that culturally they may expect different things?

I guess in the end it’s all about love, respect, friendship and honesty.

To survive this crazy old life you need to have your real, true friends around. Create your tribe, show them they are worth their weight in gold and more.

Peace out hurricane bitches!! 😉 x