Chronic fatigue is a condition that is so debilitating particularly when you are juggling all the various tasks of motherhood. Lisa shares her story with us and we wish her well as she moves towards a positive future.

What is the striking story you have to share?

I’m not sure if it’s striking, but two years ago when my second child was nine months I was diagnosed with PND. However after feeling extremely tired both physically and emotionally and nothing seeming to help I was eventually referred and diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. At the time my children were two and one year old, my dad had recently been diagnosed with cancer and life was pretty hard going.

What were the joys that this experience brought your way?

 

Whilst I wouldn’t say there have been joys from the experience, it has shown me how important my family are and how amazing my husband is. It has also taught me strength to not let what others think about me upset me as much as it used to.

What challenges did this situation bring your way?

 

Trying to get through each day was a challenge at the time, and still can be. I need to constantly rest, try not to overdo things and take time to relax each day – try telling two young children that! Simple things like cooking their tea can tire me out completely and if I overdo it I am wiped out for days afterwards. I’ve had to rely on family a lot for support and increase the children’s hours at nursery so I could have days to rest.

It has been very tough and the guilt that I am missing my children growing up and not being there for them is immense, regularly bringing me to tears. People struggle to understand and I have felt judged on many an occasion.

How do you ensure you get time to yourself and what do you do with that time?

Because life can be tough and whilst I am resting my husband is looking after the children and rarely gets a break himself, as a couple we now have an agreement that every three to four months we have a short break away to ourselves. It gives us chance to take some time out away from home and recuperate, meaning we are more able to handle life at home once we return.

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself? How?

 

I think by going through this I have had to rediscover myself. There is so much I can’t do now – even going for a walk with the children on a weekend, which we used to do regularly, I can’t do now. It makes me strive to get well and do those things once more, but also appreciate what I can do and what I have. I already have goals in my mind that I want to accomplish once I’m better and able to, and I am determined to get there.

Describe at least one physical feature you have that you consider to be beautiful

 

My eyes – I inherited my big, brown eyes from my granddad and I have always been proud of them. I also love that both the children have inherited them, and they get so many comments on how beautiful they are.

What makes you stand out?

I don’t think I do stand out. I’ve fought for years trying to do so, but over time, and probably with age, I’ve begun to accept who I am and appreciate how much I have. I don’t need to stand out to be liked or loved, plenty of people think I’m pretty great already.

Is it important to you to support other mums?

Yes definitely. There is so much competition between mums and I just don’t get it. I do what I do with my children in my way, and I’m doing the best job I can. Just like any mum out there is. I really don’t understand or feel the need to judge any other mum who is just doing the same thing. At the end of the day if children are healthy and happy, that’s all that matters.

Which mum inspires you?

My mum is incredible. Whilst not only supporting my dad through his cancer, she has supported me through my own illness whilst living over an hour away from me. She stays at my house regularly, helps with the children and my housework and lets me rest, and then returns home to do it all over again. I couldn’t have gotten through the last eighteen months without her.

Huge thanks to Lisa for sharing her story. You can find out much more about this wonderful woman by visiting the Hollybobbs blog.

Sarah is a mum who thinks she does not stand out and I beg to differ. If you agree, I hope you will leave a comment so she can read them and realise that she is more inspirational than she might believe.

perfectmum

What is the striking story you have to share?

I was 17 when I had my first child. I battled slight depression but it was manageable. However when I was 22 I had my second child a complicated pregnancy and birth. It involved my son being born by emergency c-section. I had blood transfusions waiting and can’t remember much about being in theatre itself.

I became very protective of my son after that. I wouldn’t let anyone near him or accept any help. The health visitor started picking up on this and asked to me fill out a questionnaire. The same day I was sent to the hospital for an assessment as my mood was so low. They recommended I went into a mother and baby unit. I thought of my daughter at home and refused. I agreed I would see a health professional every day and take anti depressants.

What were the joys that this experience brought your way?

My son spent the first three years of his life in and out of hospital but seeing him smile or taking his first steps made everything seem ok. Watching my daughter grow up and start school showed me I was on the right track and doing the right things. At times I felt like I was the worst mother in the world and they would be better off without me. but They would give me a hug and my heart would melt and I knew I could never leave them.

What challenges did the situation bring?

The situation brought a lot of challenges. I lost a lot of friends as I didn’t want to go out and socialise with them. I didn’t speak to anyone else apart from the kids and my whole world revolved around them.

How do you find time for yourself?

Now I realise that time alone is equally important not only for me but for the kids too. I take time out when they are in bed either in my bed or in a long hot soak in a bath with a good book.

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself?

I eventually managed to get back into work and it helped me realise that I was an individual and not just mum. I could be both mum and Sarah.

What part of your body do you find beautiful?

I like my eyes. Your eyes can tell a person a thousand things without you needing to talk

What makes you stand out?

I don’t think I stand out .

Is it important for mums to support each other?

I think mums need to support each other. Something simple like a chat over a coffee can do wonders for that mum’s day and you might not even realise it.

Tell us about a mum who inspires you

My own mum inspires me. She went through a lot and showed me no matter what you can still come out the other side.

How would you like the next Government to help mums?

I would love to see the next government making it easier for mums to work with better childcare as it’s an issue I have. I struggle to work the hours I need with no childcare help.

Huge thanks to Sarah for showing courage and sharing her story. Please lend her your support.

A mum leaves a child at home as she takes up a posting in the Falkland Islands whilst serving with the Royal Air Force. This interview is with my oldest childhood friend so I am delighted to feature her story (or one of them) on my blog.

falklands

What is your striking story?

While in the Royal Air Force I was sent on detachment to the Falkland Islands. This meant being away from my husband and 3 year old daughter for 4 months. I didn’t think I would be able to cope with not seeing them for so long and wondered how would they mange without me. Would Yasmin understand that I was not gone for good but would be coming back. It was such a wrench leaving them at the airport with tears streaming down my face.

What were the good things about this situation?

This would give my husband chance to be close to Yasmin and spend more time with her than he would normally. Even though he too was in the RAF and working full time he was able to juggle things so that he was able to be there for her and enjoy father/daughter day trips. My parents also helped where they could and Yasmin got to be with them more often.

What were the challenges that faced you?

I missed them both so much and speaking to them on the phone was very upsetting and also difficult because of the 5 hour time difference. Yasmin would always ask when I was coming home and I would just say “soon” because I couldn’t say October (it was June when I left) as she wouldn’t really have understood. She actually had her 3rd birthday while I was away and not being there for that was heart breaking for me. My husband sent a video of her opening her cards and presents. I just cried as I watched it.

How do you ensure you get time to yourself these days?

I actually have a lot of time to myself as Yasmin is now at university but I spend that time worrying about her.Is she eating properly? Does she like being there? Does she have good friends? The usual mum things!

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself?

I think joining the Royal Air Force changed me. It made me more confident and I think I realised I was tougher than I thought I was. I didn’t get homesickness like a lot of the girls. I did miss my family but I knew they were behind my decision to join and were just a phone call away when I needed to talk. I coped with the strict basic training better than anyone thought I would even though I was one of the smallest girls in the group and not a very sporty person either.

What part/s of your body do you consider to be beautiful?

My mouth and lips. My smile.

What makes you stand out?

People say I am a very cheerful person and always have a smile on my face. I hope that makes me stand out from the crowd.

Is it important to you to support other mums?

I haven’t really thought about that to be honest but I think we do a very valuable job and don’t get the recognition we should in society.

Which mum inspires you?

I would have to say my own mum who raised us 4 fabulous daughters (okay so my dad is fab too!) Look how well we all turned out with a working class, Yorkshire upbringing. We did not have a lot of money but lots of love and laughs.

How could the Government make mums lives better?

Lower child care costs. Flexibility in maternity leave and returning to work.

Hayley has now retired from the Royal Air Force and lives in Spain with her husband Mo enjoying the sunshine and cycling.

cycling

On a cycling trip

I have 10 tips to help you to Spring into action.

I have enjoyed reading about so many mums having great times with their families at home and away. It cheers the soul and is one of the real advantages of social media. Feeling connected to so much happiness is wonderful.

lamb jumping

Spring into action!

So it is Friday and the day to launch this week’s Striking Mums blog hop. Let’s support each other as mums as we inject new hope and va-va voom into our lives.

Mums are individuals so you will be making your own plans but I hope some of these ideas might inspire you/

1. Learn – what have you always wanted to study? From Ancient History to Zoology and everything in between. Look into learning today.

2. See the medics – are you health checks up to date? It is time for that smear test or mammogram?

3. Give – it is so easy not to give when bombarded with requests to do so. However, why not challenge yourself to respond positively the next time someone asks you to sponsor them for a good cause.

5. Eat – look at your nutrition and see if you need to make some changes. Put some colour on your plate and ring the changes.

6. Volunteer – what could you contribute to the world for free. Anyone who gets involved in volunteering tends to find the personal benefits to them are huge too. Do something good today.

7. Get out – have you got a stuck in a rut with the places you go? Challenge yourself to plan an adventure on your doorstep, in the UK or overseas.

8. Style it up – do you need a new haircut? What would you like to wear really? Why do you run away from that?

9. Seek advice and support – if you have an issue whatever it is, there is some organisation or individual who can help to make life brighter. Be brave enough to contact them.

10. Create a mood board of how you want life to look by the Summer. Use Pinterest or magazines for inspiration and have fun. You will be amazed what happens when you get those creative juices going and visualize a great future.

How will you Spring into action?

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Kate on thin Ice Striking Mums

Becoming a grandma is an important milestone. I interviewed Nickie who became a grandmother aged 36. Nickie was one of the first bloggers to be kind to me when I started my blogging journey telling me that content matters so very much. It seems fitting to see her featured on my blog at last with her views on life and parenthood.

granny

What is the striking story you have to share?

​I was a teenage mum giving birth to my daughter at the age of 18 and then she became a teenage mum at the age of 17 which, if we count on our fingers, meant that I was becoming a grandma at the age of 36.​

What were the joys that this experience brought your way?

​My daughter had cancer as a baby so we were never sure if she could have children after receiving intensive chemotherapy for 6 months. In one respect, her having a baby and me becoming a grandma was nothing short of a miracle.​

What challenges did this situation bring your way?

​Stereotypical opinions! I wished that my daughter would have had the opportunity to forge a career rather than become a young mum. Dealing with the emotions across the family (and extended family) that come with the stigma of teenage pregnancy including wanting to tell our story so that it could be shown that you *can* get through this even though it’s an emotional journey but STILL being met with preconceived opinions.

How do you ensure you get time to yourself and what do you do with that time?

​I have had a myriad of hobbies which include blogging and vlogging, crafts and studying for a degree with the Open University but my new love is running. It’s totally changed who I am as a person and how I give back to the community who helped me find this new passion.

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself? How?

​My life is a continuous path of self-discovery. Each step is part of that journey. I woudn’t be who I am now without my past and I won’t be the person I’m going to be without what is happening now. ​

Describe at least one physical feature you have that you consider to be beautiful

​My eyes. I love their shape and the colour. ​

What makes you stand out?

​I’m not afraid to share my opinion, I’m a very loyal friend. I’m a very determined person who isn’t afraid to fail because it creates a learning experience. ​

Is it important to you to support other mums?

​Absolutely. I’ve been through so much in my life as a mum that there’s always some advice I can give. I can also learn from others too if they are prepared to share. ​

Which mum inspires you?

​My own. She died at the age of 55 after suffering for 45 years with Bronchiecstasis (wrongly diagnosed as TB when she was a child). She managed to keep a house, a family, a small part-time job, deal with the divorce of her and my dad (the only man she’d ever been with) and still had time for everyone else. I didn’t appreciate her enough and regret that every single day. ​

What would you like the next Government to do to improve the lives of mums?

​I don’t necessarily think the Government needs to specifically target mums but look at family life as a whole – maternity/paternity leave, childcare costs, working hours (making it easier for the employer as well as the mother/father) and also​ to fully support non-traditional family units as an equality.

Cuddle Fairy