How Am I Responding To Challenges? Groovy Mums.

It is 2012 and this year I commit to responding to the Groovy Mums challenges.

1. Lotions and Potions – To be honest, in the grip of post-natal depression, my whole self-maintenance routine took a nosedive. Probably best not to go into details (disgustingly yucky) but there was not an awful lot of self-love going on. Things have improved but post-natal depression’s aftermath does not quit on the day you notice the sunlight again. If only it was so simple! I was never that much of a pamper myself type of girl anyway. Since starting the journey into the groove, little signs appear in my bathroom that suggest I am making an investment in the physical side of me. New body sprays, different deoderant, bubble baths and soaps. I won £150 worth of beauty creams last year and they still remain unused. Perhaps I should have a go with them if only to experiment a bit. I think part of getting the groove back might involve trying new behaviours just for the hell of it. What do you think?

2. The very wonderful women who link up with Groovy Mums are struggling with my challenge to list the best things about themselves. Lord knows why as they are all absolutely fabulous. I had better have a go myself to show them how it is done. Physcially, I have always had a good skin and hair that one Groovy Mum tells me has a va-va voom all of its own. The love of my life told me I had very feminine wrists, not the most normal compliment but hey, we will throw that in the mix too. I don’t have a hourglass figure but I do as an old friend once said go in and out at the right places and have a booty worth of those seaside postcards. My son tells me that I have eyes that give hope. Isn’t that just amazingly lovely of him? My daughter tells me that I am the best mum in the world and my other son tells me that I help people. My husband said I am sexy and when pushed for a more realistic answer said I am a very determined person. What do I think of myself on the positive side? I know that I really do care about people and like to go the extra mile for them. I know I gave up the chance to make huge amounts of money feeling I would be more useful on the frontline making a difference. I know I gave Him Indoors faith in himself for the first time in many years and that led to great things for him. I know I cocked up with my step-daughters but that I did dig deep to try to do my best by them. I know that when the missing child returns home to her birth father, she will get a very warm welcome. I know I am the child that cares for my Dad whilst my brothers get on with their own lives. I know I am shy and yet I will push myself to try the really scary stuff. I know I have walked on fire and did it with huge aplomb. I did throw myself into that boudoir photography session too despite wearing the carpet out before knocking on the door to the venue. I have passion. I have wit. I can be naughty but also very nice. To summarise, I ain’t all that bad, not really. I also have a high IQ apparently which does make me question how come I have got into so many scrapes over the years. I know whilst being a chaotic mum, I do tell my children every day how much they are loved. I teach them how to care for others and how to aspire and not necessarily to what society will try to force them into. I am creative and very much an ideas person. I challenge authority and authority doesn’t always like that but it so needs that kicking of the ass. Hey, once you start, you really can think of positives about yourself.

3. It is World Religion Day this week. I was brought up a Roman Catholic. A counsellor I had in my early twenties told me all Catholics have an A-Level in guilt. Is mine compounded by hearing from being a toddler that it was important to my birth mum that I kept the faith? I stopped going to church when I had my first son and he made a noise in church and there were so many funny looks. I would sort of like to go back to church if I am honest. I see my Dad go early on Sunday mornings and would quite like to join him. I think he would like it too which is good enough for me.

4. What good can I do with my blog? I think I have already really helped people in terms of being honest and telling it how it is for me. That seems to free other people up to do the same. I am not alone with my thoughts and feelings. I also want to help good causes and try to feature them on the blog when I can. I am hoping to do so much more. Watch this space!
Oh, and Groovy Mums is the most lovely thing really for both myself and those who join in.

5. The big question is who can I ask to help? In the home, I really do need to get more input from family members in housework and so on. 90 per cent of it falls on me and then I end up getting resentful. You don’t want to know me when I am feeling that way. I throw a fit, I blast, I am not nice at all. On the work front, I need to say that there are issues in the past that are holding me back. It is OK to ask for help with references and the like. I made big progress on this one recently. I have also received help from bloggers and the Groovy Mums when struggling with relationship issues.

Early this morning, things seemed bleak. I feel much better now. We went to the most depressing town on God’s earth today but managed to have some quality family time of a sort. Dancing on Ice is back on the telly. I have a little tipple at my side and I am still blogging. Him Indoors loves me perhaps in a totally cack-handed way but the feeling is still there. My children adore me. The outside world has started to beckon too and the application for a driving licence is in the post (Thank you Polly!).

It could well be that I am getting into the groove. How about you?

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Originally posted 2012-01-15 21:19:38.

Responding To The Challenges

I have a confession to make.

I set up the blog hop Grooving Mums back in September 2011. Very quickly, I started setting challenges to help people move forwards. I did some of the challenges but only a few of them really. So this year, I commit to challenging myself and following through. So to start with the challenges I set yesterday for the lovely Groovy Mums past, present and future.

1. Did you over-indulge over the festive season? What can you do to prepare for the life-changing journey ahead in terms of improving your health?

I over-indulged not only over Christmas but really from my birthday in mid-December. With the return of the children to school tomorrow and some semblance of normality, I will return to healthy eating and also up the exercise levels from zero to hero(ine). I know I can do it because I made huge strides last year losing weight and dropping dress sizes. I also want to push myself to get all those niggly little health things like smear tests sorted. I have a terrible habit of neglecting myself on that score.

2. What do you need to change your mind about? Have you written yourself off in some way? How can you shift negative thinking patterns?

I need to stop telling myself that if I have not done it already, I will never do it. That applies to so many things from mundane stuff like learning to drive to being a better wife and parent to writing that best-selling novel.

I need to ease up on myself but also others around me and to stop expecting perfection. It isn’t realistic and it stresses me out to such a degree.

3. This week, Christians celebrate the Epiphany. Here is one dictionary definition for the word epiphany “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” What does this mean to you?

I am not going into details but I do realise after a very recent event that I need to monitor family finances and take control of them. Him Indoors, whilst lovely, is not any good at budgetting so I am taking control and looking forward to seeing the positive results of that.

4. Are you aware of all the blogging networks you can get involved with? Is it worth you checking them out and promoting your efforts to sparkle to a wider audience?

I am currently wondering just how many blogging networks we need. There seem to be more and more emerging. I think there is a danger that if you like blogging, it can become far too much the be all and end all to the detriment of other things.

I like writing and I like engaging with others. However, from time to time, I start showing way too much interest in what “the world” thinks of me in terms of awards, rankings and so on. It is all too easy to get sucked into what is at the end of the day largely meaningless nonsense. I don’t want blogging to excess or rather blogging networking to excess getting in the way of me developing my groove.

Having said all that, part of getting my post-Christmas groove back was to redesign my blog into this very pink and much more me look. It took a fair few hours and there are probably more tweaks to do. What do you think to it so far?

Something I do want to see featured on this blog is real stories from real mums facing real issues. I will take guest posts and probably run some initiatives around topics that I feel need highlighting all as part of getting the message out to society that mums need to be valued. Everyone will benefit (children, partners, employers) when society wakes up to the fact that mums do their best in most cases and don’t enjoy being written off as anything other than “just a mum” from the moment they leave the labour ward.

Tomorrow, my 2012 groovy journey starts for real.

Join me and enjoy the bumpy ride.

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Originally posted 2012-01-04 15:35:50.

The Start Of A Whole New Year

Well, there was I saying yesterday that I would do New Year’s Eve my way. What do they say about God laughing at our plans?

Firstly, we had a go at letting of Chinese lanterns and in so many ways it was an unmitigated disaster. A rainy and windy night did not help one bit. Him Indoors did his bestest but to no avail. The lantern went limp and would not rise.

The good side of this was that all the family laughed a lot and my 84 year old Dad in particular. It was the anniversary of my late Mum’s birthday so seeing Dad laugh so much was good. My 6 year old son who I must have told that the lanterns were to remember our lost loved ones kept jumping around crazily saying “Rest in Peace”. I really don’t blog about family life enough as it is usually chaotic and frequently hilarious. In fact, I am just pissed off to high heaven that someone else wrote Outnumbered before I did and, hence, robbed me of a small fortune.

Dad insisted on staying up till midnight despite myself and t’husband being quite happy to got to bed at 10 o’clock. However, you can’t be put to shame by someone in their eighties so we did the usual and watched Big Ben and t’fireworks and drank the New Year in.

In the early hours, Him Indoors woke up in severe pain. He went for a walk that lasted for hours. I was nervous about him being out and kept ringing every hour or so to see if he was OK. Psoriasis is not fun to live with, I tell you either for the victim or family members.

He got up late with me and the children but I sent him back to bed where he slept for a whole day. I busied myself with washing, washing up, drying, tidying and so on. I also gave myself the treat of watching “A Woman Of Substance”. I don’t know about you but I can feel hemmed in by family members so it felt quite good to have space to do my own thing today.

I played around with the blog too. I have blogged over at http://celebratingmums.wordpress.com but with a novel to write and other projects, I will now merge all my blogging efforts here. I have had fun messing with the look of this blog so welcome feedback as nothing is set in stone yet.

A peaceful and good start to the New Year methinks.

I have quite enjoyed today. I think New Year’s Day is often like the worst sort of Sunday with shops shut and nothing to do. Today, I felt content and I hope that feeling continues throughout the adventure that is 2012

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Originally posted 2012-01-01 21:19:13.

What Does New Year’s Eve Mean To Me?

What does New Year’s Eve mean to me?

Well, in our family it has always meant that it is my mum’s birthday. She was born 3 minutes before the New Year. Today she would be 85 years of age but we lost her 2 years ago.

I always struggled with her having her birthday in that limbo period between Christmas and the New Year. Rarely was I organised with her birthday pressie and usually bought it in a last-minute panic. Once I bought her some Body Shop soaps which she saw as a real insult as “You know I only ever use Palmolive”. Once I bought her a massage thing again from the Body Shop and she gave me a look which suggested I had gone totally insane. Terry’s All Gold Chocolates or Tweed perfume were safer bets. Jewellery was also very welcome but only the best you know.

When my Mum started to get her groove back (the more I analyse it, the more I get we share similar journeys), she used to go dancing on her birthday with me stuck home alone.

As a teenager, I started going out with friends on New Year’s Eve on pub crawls in various towns. I never liked how blokes felt they could kiss you on demand on New Year’s Eve. Once, I told a bloke that if he tried to kiss me I would throw his beer over him and his posh leather jacket. Well, he should have listened! My friends thought I was terrible but why should you be pawed just cos it is a certain date?

So quite early on I worked out that me and New Year’s Eve out on the town did not mix. It was not fair to spoil it for friends so I stayed in.

Once I had the idea that it would be good to have some wonderful orgasmic experience just as the New Year came in. I had this image of sexual ecstacy combined with Big Ben (the clock not the cock) making its presence felt. My boyfriend of the time was more concerned with getting on with things and I threw a fit that he misjudged things so everything was over with by 11.45pm.

This year, the new found freedom means I am taking New Year easy. If I stay up late, so be it. If I go to bed early, that is fine too. We are going to release lanterns with the children and I will think of two special souls, my Mum and the little angel the family lost this year.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

With a big thank you to everyone who reads, comments and supports throughout the life and times, 2011 and beyond.

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Originally posted 2011-12-31 20:31:14.

Confessions of a Naughty Girl

It is Monday so after waving off the little darlings to school, I jump on the weighing scales.

I was expecting a weight gain. It was my birthday last week and also Him Indoors was off work. Sins or indulgences included several full English breakfasts, cakes, buns, cheesecake, meaty mains, biscuits, copious amounts of booze. Well it is my birthday and I’ll sin if I want to plus I have a good feeling about Christmas this year so am out to celebrate.

I have put on 2 pounds which I think is amazing considering just how naughty I was last week. All I can think is that the dashing round the shops counted as exercise and stopped it being half a stone gained.

What I really love though is how the weight gain does not threaten me. I am in charge of what I eat and if I want a treat, so be it. It does not make me a failure or weak. It does not make me a bad person. It does not mean I am useless.

The plan for this week is to stick to healthy eating until Christmas Day when all bets are off just for the day.

Thanks again to #groovingmums and #mumentum ladies for all the support on my journey. It is lovely to be entering the New Year having already gone down 3 dress sizes. I have absolutely every intention of more success in 2012.

Here’s hoping you see less of me next week.

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Originally posted 2011-12-19 09:10:13.