Thinking Slimmer, Sacking Sugar #slimpod

As long term readers are aware, I have been on a mission to lose weight for just over a year now. I wrote this post about how I felt at the time, and in a  year I have lost 16 pounds. Not as much as I would have liked, but I have had a few family and emotional issues in this time, which did set me back a bit. I am pleased I have lost this weight, that I haven’t got any heavier, but I have been struggling with the whole yo-yoing up and down over the last 6 months – I have gained and lost half a stone in this time.

With my Dad’s cancer diagnosis, it gave me the signal I needed. I wanted to get healthy for the sake of my daughter, my family – I have to keep going with my weight loss and not give up. Easier said then done, however. Emotional eating is my downfall, and this very stressful time has meant I have reverted to comfort eating and stuffing my face with chocolates and sweets in the hope that would make me feel better. Feeling tired and not feeling like cooking has also meant more takeaways, more junk food and basically I was feeling very bloated, and yucky and basically fed up. I knew what I had to do, what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t find a time, a moment to stop what I was doing and get back on the wagon again. Couple all this with my general anxiety about my health and my fears of developing type 2 diabetes like my Mum, and I knew I needed to do something, but I was at a loss as to how I could move forward.

Then I saw a post by Kate at Striking Mums. It was asking for people who wanted to drop 2 dress sizes, and quit sugar. Something clicked, and I knew I had to take up this opportunity. I contacted Kate and signed up to a Thinking Slimmer focus group, which was focussing primarily on kicking sugar habits. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

What is a Slimpod?

A slimpod is a podcast that you listen to every night for 21 days and then after this you listen as and when you need it. It is a cutting edge weight loss solution created by Harley street neuroscience experts Sandra Roycroft-Davis and Trevor Silvester. The slimpods last for 10 minutes and in the time you listen, it re-tunes your mind to make healthier choices and to make positive changes to your life without even thinking.

Sounds….a bit airy fairy, doesn’t it? How can listening to a slimpod actually make you lose weight? Well, I had to give it a go.

You download the slimpod from the site, or you can purchase it as a CD. I have managed to download my slimpods on to my ipad, android phone and my kindle fire quite easily.

So, I started my slimpod over a week ago.

I have 2 slimpods – one is Drop 2 Jeans Sizes or More, and the other is a ‘habit-breaker’ The Chocoholic Cure. I listen to mine just before I go to bed, and listen to the slimpods one after another. It is up to you when you listen to your slimpod, but you can feel sleepy when you listen, as you are encouraged to relax, so I like to do it before bed. It doesn’t matter if you fall asleep listening, as your ‘ears are always awake’ as Trevor says!

I have found that I start to listen, and then start to drift off into a lovely sleepy trance. I either fall asleep or wake up just at the end of the slimpods. It is so strange when I do this, as I really can’t remember hearing any of them! However, I feel it is working.

You make a contract with yourself that is in the handbook that you download from the site. Every day you should write what good things or differences you have made that day, to help you focus before your slimpods. There is a lot of advice on the website, as well as the handbook. You also can join the facebook group for more support from other slimpod users. It feels very positive, supportive and non-judgemental.

The main thing I have noticed is that food is not the main subject of discussion. How you are feeling, positive choices, changing lifestyles are what you notice. The food element is there but it isn’t as important. It doesn’t matter what you eat, there is no diet. It is liberating, and the fact that nothing is bad, or wrong is a refreshing way to look at things. You can’t mess up, there is no ‘start again tomorrow’ as what I am finding is that I am naturally stopping eating when I feel full, I am choosing to eat fruit, and water rather than chocolate and fizzy drinks. I go to bed pleased with what I have achieved during the day, rather than feeling I have messed up, and waiting for a tomorrow that never comes. I haven’t eaten chocolate or sweets for over 2 weeks – I haven’t even felt interested in them, even when they have been in my eyesight!

I feel energised, more motivated to complete tasks at home and at work – things that I have been putting off previously. I feel confident to try new things and I even tried some size 16 clothes – stretchy ones – that actually did fit. I felt so pleased with myself.

The emphasis when you are listening to your slimpod is not about your weight, not to jump on the scales but to measure your success in other ways. In my first week I did jump on the scales and I lost 4lbs. However I haven’t felt the need to weigh myself again, and I just ‘know’ that if I keep on doing what I’m doing, I WILL lose weight and I WILL be achieving my goals.

I will write some more posts soon about how I am getting on, but I am loving what I am doing at the moment, and listening to the slimpod has definitely helped me feel more positive and in control of what I am eating and how I am feeling.

Are you Thinking Slimmer? How do you like the Slimpods? Let me know if you are!

 

 

Toddler Car Journey Moments 

That moment on the motorway when you hear “Hello Mum!” and realise that your child has escaped their arm straps on the carseat

That Moment when you realise you have a 3 hour car journey and only have one CD with you – ‘Cbeebies Party’

That moment when you know you should’ve stopped at the last services to change their bum, as the next services aren’t for 30 miles and you can smell a poonami occuring

That moment when they drop their toy on the floor and you try to scrabble around with your left arm behind you to find the said toy

That moment when they repeat the above again….and again….

That moment when the ipad battery runs out

That moment when you try and play I Spy with a 2 year old

That moment when they drop their milky drink all over the car floor and you have cheesy smelling car for weeks to come

That moment when they will not believe there isn’t a microwave in the car to make warm milk 

That moment when you spot a cow in a field and then they never get to see the cow because they looked the other way and now they are well annoyed and demanding another cow

That moment when you hear absolute silence…..

……because they have systematically taken every wet wipe out of the packet and are eating them

That moment when they fall asleep 5 minutes before you get home

That moment when you arrive and can get out of the bloody car

 

A Trip to Brighton with Travelodge #Bloggerlodge

We were really lucky when Travelodge offered us a 2 night stay in a family room in Brighton, to review their newly updated rooms.

Brighton is a lovely city and as we have family living there, we thought it was a great chance to take Nancy to Brighton to see the sights.

The journey to Brighton was relatively straight forward, and the Travelodge was easy to find. We were staying at the Brighton Travelodge on Preston Road.

brighton-trip-review-hotel-travelodge

Parking in Brighton is at a premium, luckily there was parking on site although this is first come first served. You also have to pay to park, it was about £15 for two days parking. However having been to Brighton before, I know parking is a nightmare and it does cost a lot, so I wasn’t phased by this, but its worth remembering.

The room was a Family Room, and it was large! We were really lucky as one of the single beds was in a little alcove which meant that we could have the lamps on it didn’t affect Nancy too much when she slept.  The bed was a good size, and there were tea and coffee facilities.The room was clean and also had the added touch of a Fan in the room which was great seeing as it was so hot! There was also a TV in the room too. WiFi is available with 30 minutes free and 24 hours costing £3 – the wi-fi was actually very good, and Nancy could even watch YouTube on it without buffering! One thing I really would have loved to have seen was a fridge – in a family room especially with Nancy liking a lot of Milk to drink, a fridge would have been a great addition to the room.

Travelodge-bloggerlodge-review-trip-brighton

The Bathroom was a little disappointing. The bedroom had clearly had a makeover, but the bathroom looked old and there were a few worn bits, although it was as clean as it could be. Still, it did the job. Well, at first it didn’t as the shower fell to pieces but the lovely staff at the Travelodge got this fixed in no time, and we were happy with that.

The location of the Travelodge is not near the sea; however it was a very quick bus journey of less than 10 minutes and we were right there on the seafront. The Travelodge is near a big park though called Preston Park which was just across the road; this was a lovely place to wander around in the evening, and there were also some gorgeous wild flowers that I stopped to admire. A 10 minute walk away is London Road with many lovely pubs and places to eat. On our first night we went to Hare and Hounds which has a mexican street food menu, and it was delicious. They allow children in up to 8pm so this was perfect for us and then we walked back to the hotel via the Park.

What To Do In Brighton:

Brighton has everything a seaside town should; it has the famous pier, with arcades and rides and the beach. There is a Sealife centre right on the front as well as The Big Wheel – which is a bit like a smaller version of the London Eye. We went into full tourist mode and went on the wheel, which Nancy loved, and although it was half raining, half sunny when we went on board, we could see some lovely views. Watch out though – you turn around and suddenly there is a photographer in your face taking your photo, and at the end they try to get you to buy the photos, so just be warned!

brighton-fish-chips-travelodge

The arcades are just such a british seaside tradition, and the arcade on Brighton Pier is a famous one. I remember my grandparents taking me to the 2p machines when I was young. Nancy loved the hustle and bustle of the arcades and even had a little go at the 2p machines, and her Dad even managed to win her a few prizes. Unfortunately it started to really rain at this point so we didn’t walk further down the pier to the end, which was a shame.

Brighton SeaLife Centre

The Sealife Centre was something I was really looking forward to. It has recently been refurbished, and it looked like there was a lot going on. The main arcade of the centre is amazing, and there are lots of fish and animals to see as you wander through. Nancy loved experiencing a rock pool, being able to touch a starfish and a crab, as well as shells. The rainforest section is well designed and Nancy loved going into the little view ports for children. There were snakes, turtles and other fish. Nancy thought the piranha looked a bit sad.

The main attraction for me was the walk-under tunnel, where you can see massive turtles and sting rays float right over your head. There is a glass bottomed boat you can ride in as well, for an extra cost (which we didn’t go on). There is a Jurassic style section but I didn’t feel this was well stocked at all and Nancy was not really interested in the sealife in this section. In general it was a good couple of hours to spend out of the rain and Nancy did enjoy it. Oh, and there is also a photo opportunity in the sealife centre, so again be warned!

The weather thankfully cleared up in the afternoon, and we headed to the lanes for a spot of window shopping and some tea and cake. I love the lanes, so much vibrancy and lots of lovely little unique shops to explore. After tea and cake we wandered down to the beach again and walked along the promenade to Hove, where we met with some family members for a catch-up.

After this, we walked into Hove and had our dinner in a great Italian restaurant. Hove is a lovely little place, with a village feel to it.  We got a taxi back to our Travelodge from Hove which cost around £8.

How Did We Sleep?

Our nights in the Travelodge were good. Our beds were comfortable and at night it was relatively quiet where we were staying. Having seen the location of the seafront Travleodge, right in the middle of all the clubs and bars, I was quite grateful for our location!

We all managed to sleep well despite the heat, and in the morning we had a complimentary breakfast (usual price £7.95). The breakfast was eat all you like, which included cereal, fruit, toast, yoghurt, croissants, bacon, scrambled eggs, baked beans, tomato, sausage, fruit juice, tea and coffee. I felt there was a good range for the breakfast and something for everyone and the cooked breakfast was very tasty and cooked well. £7.95 seems moderately priced for breakfast and you could literally fill up on whatever you liked. I have paid a lot more than this for a breakfast at other hotels so whilst not cheap, I didn’t feel this was too bad a price.

Checking out was easy, and it was great that we didn’t have to check out until 12, although we did check out earlier as we wanted to get going to visit Arundel Castle on our way back!

We really enjoyed staying in Brighton, it was a lovely break and there was so much to do. The Travelodge was a great base to explore Brighton from, and the room was comfortable and spacious.

We received 2 nights complimentary stay at Travelodge including breakfast in order to undertake this review. All views and opinions are my own.

I don’t want to stop living because my dad is dying

When I was at work the other day, I was talking about starting to go to the gym. Someone remarked that perhaps I shouldn’t be doing that right now, because, well, you know.
What they meant by you know, was that my dad is dying. And who wants to go the gym when your dad is dying? 

Well, I do, actually. 

Everyday I wake up, and everyday is another day when I know my Dad is not well. He has cancer, stage 4, the worst it can be. Nothing can be done to cure him. It is awful, and the thought of him not being here makes me feel very sad indeed. 

I’ve cried, we’ve all cried. I cried the day they told me, I’ve cried on the way to work. I think of a memory of me and my dad and tears well up in my eyes. I watch Nancy with him, laughing and smiling and cuddling her Grampy, and I feel so sad that he will not see her grow up.

But you know what? I am tired of crying. I am tired of grieving for someone who is still here. I want to live my life, the way my Dad is so proud of me doing. I want to do the things I want to do, enjoy my time, make nice memories for all of us. For him. 

I keep thinking how awful it must be for my Dad. He has to face up to his mortality, a fear we all hold, surrounded by people who are crying for him as if he is already gone. He is being strong, as usual, holding everyone together when inside he must be falling apart. 

I want to make this a happy time. I want to make this time full of smiles, and laughter, and happiness. Not just for my Dad. For me. Should I be feeling worse than I am? Is it wrong to want to go to the gym? To go on holiday? No, I don’t think so.

Maybe this is a selfish thing to say, to write. But I can’t help feeling that it is wrong to be so maudlin and so miserable when this is the only time we have left with my Dad. 

Life should go on, life is what we are here to do. And most of all, I realise that life is precious. Life is so precious and we all take it for granted. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. I keep thinking of the tragedy in Tunisia, which happened days after my Dads diagnosis. Here we are, crying over my dad and yet there are 30 people whose lives were taken suddenly and cruelly, no warning at all. No one knows when they will die, just my Dad has been given the heads up. He can say goodbyes, tick things off a list, enjoy the time he has left.

Which is what we should all do really, isn’t it? Enjoy the time we have. I am a great believer in mindfulness, and living in the moment. Our time is now, we won’t get these moments ever again. Let’s make these moments count. 

It is easy to look at everything and start to feel sadness. To look at the calendar and wonder which day it will be. I won’t let myself be held to ransom by Death.

I have reduced my hours at work, temporarily at least, to make the most of this time. Spend time with my family, to take time for myself. I think of my Dad, and I want to make every time I see him a good one. I also look at Nancy too. I want to make sure we have lots of memories and good times to share as well. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I will cry. When it will all get too much. But I need to balance this with some positives. I have to at least try to do this. I can’t feel like a dark shadow of doom hangs over me every day. I can’t pause my life, leave my life in limbo, waiting for the day when ‘it’ happens. And I don’t think that’s fair on my Dad either. Keeping some level of normality must help him somewhat to feel like life goes on too. 

It’s ironic however that the normal you crave, that my Dad and we all want has gone forever. It was gone before we even realised we had lost it. We can’t go back, but we can move forward, and move forward together, smiling not crying. This is an awful situation, but I want to make the best of it, for all our sakes. 

My Spa Day Experience – The Salt Scrub

I had never attended a spa day before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This weekend I was on a spa day as it was for my sisters’ birthday.  Paper knickers, foil and chanting monks…..see what happened when I went for a Salt Glow treatment….

Now I must say that there is a reason why I haven’t been on a spa day before. I am scared of people, and I am a bit weird. I get anxious worrying about what will happen and what I am supposed to do. I am terribly self-conscious. I just say stupid things and do stupid things. I decided to just go for it, and just push my boundaries and have a Salt Glow Scrub treatment.

Prep

Preparation for the spa day took several hours. I had to shave my legs, my underarms and also attack my ‘bikini’ line which looked more like a ‘shorts’ line. I also had to slap on the make-up to make sure I looked good enough in all the spa day photos.

Arrival

On arrival I was disappointed we were not having prosecco, but then it was pointed out to me it was 10am and some people seem to think this is a little early to start on the bubbles. We were shown around the spa and allocated our robe and towels, obligatory uniform for a spa day.

The Robe

What do you wear under the Robe? Nothing? Underwear? Swimsuit? I chose a swimsuit.

The Salt Scrub

As I entered the room, I could hear Enya in the background. The bed was in front of me, curiously covered in a piece of foil.

“Welcome” gently breathed the therapist.

“Now if you would just change into these paper knickers, and then make yourself comfortable on the bed, then we can begin.” She handed me a small packet and then left the room.

“Oh OK! I’m wearing a swimsuit!” I said, not really sure why.

Paper knickers? I looked down into my hand, and unfolded a paper thong, one size fits all.

I haven’t worn a thong for at least 10 years. And not a paper one at that.

I looked at it for a bit to try to work out what way to put it on. I managed to get it over my hips and it just about covered my muff area. Now I realised why I was told to get rid of that ‘bikini’ area.

The bed appeared to be about 4 feet off the floor, I managed to ungracefully flop onto the bed, and onto the foil sheet, face down.

The lady then entered the room again. There was a small silence, and I wondered what was going to happen next. Then, without further ado, she started to rather vigorously slather my arms and legs in a hot oil, and then scrub the living daylights out of them.

The music changed to monks chanting.

She started to wrap me up in the foil, and then wrapped two towels around me.

“I will just leave you a moment to relax” she whispered, and slinks out the room.

I felt all cocooned, like a baby swaddled or back in the womb. I let myself drift for a moment and felt relaxed. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about a piece of chicken that was ready to roast. I also wasn’t sure when she was coming back and I was worried I was going to fart or something.

Back she comes, and starts to unwrap me. The chicken was ready.

She turns a shower on behind her, and for a moment of horror I think she is going to wash me.

“If you would like to get in the shower, and remove ALL the scrub, and I will be back in a moment”

“Er, do I wear these knickers in the shower?!” I ask, completely not understanding anything.

“Er. Well you can if you want….” She looks at me as if I am insane. I start to get off the bed, and then slip right off the foil sheet. I try and gain my composure.

I get in the shower, wash off the scrub, and manage to dry myself, put my paper knickers back on and then haul myself back on the bed for whatever else is happening.

Back in she glides, and the enya music is cranked up a notch.

She grabs my leg and we are back roughly massaging cream all over my legs. It does smell lovely.

“I shall now do the mini-facial” She announces, which is news to me as I wasn’t expecting her to touch my face.

She takes two cotton pads and gently wipes away all the make up I plastered on myself this morning. Typical.

As she is doing this, I start to become conscious of what my face must look like to her. Am I smirking? Laughing? Do I look calm and relaxed? I almost start to laugh out of nervousness and now I am aware of my face and what my mouth is doing I can’t stop smirk-laughing, Trying to look more calm and relaxed is making me look like a crazy axe murderer. My face has contorted into a strange strangled smile. I close my eyes and try to meditate, be in the moment, but then as I am thinking this I am suddenly aware that she is dabbing my face with her fingers like she’s finger painting. Dib dib dib.

Then everything stops.

There is silence apart from monks chanting. I wonder if the monks ever thought they’d be played in a room with a woman wrapped up like a chicken fillet and wearing paper pants. It’s a funny old world.

And then I hear a tiny pair of cymbals go

“ding”

“That is the end of your treatment” she coos. “And I will just go and fetch you a drink”.  I wonder if she manages to do a few spray tans in the time it takes her to pop in and out each time.

She hands me a glass of water, and tries to get me to buy all the stuff she smeared all over me today.

“I’ll think about it” I say as I sip my water, not intending to buy anything at all.

I thank her, and she leaves me to put on my clothes. I have a dilemma about the paper pants. Do I keep them on? I decide to take them off, and leave them on the bed. I feel sorry for the woman having to throw away other people’s paper pants.

And then I walk off, full of zen, and feeling relaxed, happy to have surivived a spa treatment and ready for my waiting prosecco.

Fish Fingers and Facetime Heartbreak

They told us in the most technologically advanced way they could, via Facetime. I was actually impressed. This was the only time my Mum has managed to Facetime us herself straight off.

I wonder if anyone else has used their ipads in this way. However it was the only way they could see us, virtually better than nothing at all.

As I saw their faces nervously stare back at the screen and I knew it wasn’t good.

As a nurse, I am used to bad news. I hear it, I say it. I am hardened to the cold, grey words.

But when it is personal, when it is your family, the colour and the pain sear into your heart.

Memories and thoughts flash through my mind. Some good, some bad.

I feel a sadness descend over me.

And then I have to snap out of it, and cook fish fingers and chips for my little girl, who keeps asking me what is wrong.

I sit with her and watch YouTube videos of cartoon Monkeys falling off a bed.They fall off, they get up, and they do it all over again.

She must know something is up as she has eaten all her fish finger without prompting, and I silently make a note to use this information at a later date.

I desperately want to forget about all of this. But I can’t, and it’s real.

I feel the sadness grow and spread just like the cancer that has invaded my family.

 

 

 

Plus Size for Beginners

If you’re new to Plus-Size, or just wondered what was within the flowery section at the back of the shop with this name, then this very much tongue-in-cheek guide is for you.

1. The plus-size department is seperated from the ‘normal’ clothes, usually at the top floor right at the back, segregated like it’s some sort of infectious disease.

2. You will be able to spot the Plus Size department as all the clothes are significantly bigger than the rest of the shop, clothes billowing from the racks like sails on a boat.

3. People who wear Plus Size clothes, they love slogans. They love slogans like ‘Love Yourself’ or ‘BE HAPPY” or “Life’s for Living!” emblazoned across the front.

4. Because all fat people are happy, jolly people. Our role model is Father Christmas.

5. People who wear plus size clothes, they love flowers. They wear clothes covered in ditsy prints. It’s like a plus size uniform. Any flower will do, just make sure they cover 85% of the top or trousers you are wearing. It’s like camoflage.

6. People who wear plus size love bright colours. The brighter, the better. Even better if you put multiple bright and clashing colours onto the same piece of clothing.

7. People who wear plus size must wear different clothing to the rest of the shop. You can’t get ‘normal’ clothes in the plus size, oh no. The ‘normal’ size only goes up so far and after that, you have to wear the special clothes.

8. People who wear plus size must wear an item of clothing with elastic in. It’s the law.

9. People who wear plus size have to wear wrap dresses and tunics and leggings, at least once a week.

10. People who wear plus size all have very wide feet, so need shoes that are as wide as 2 normal people’s feet.

11. Oh, and people who wear plus size love shoes, because we can buy any fecking shoe we want. Unless our feet are too wide, but we may buy them anyway just to stroke gently.

12. People who wear plus size have huge boobs. Boobs so big they can’t fit into anything but massive boulder-holding industrial strength old granny looking bras. Every single plus size person can barely stand up due to the weight of their boobage.

13. You are either in the plus size, petite or tall section of a shop. You can not ever be a combination of these things.

14. If a plus size person tries to wear skinny jeans, she will spontaneously combust.

 

Phobias and funny things about me…. 

Ok. So I guess everyone ‘s a little weird, right? I mean, we all have our little things about us, that makes us who we are. 

I don’t really know why I am writing this.

I thought it would be a crazy good idea to let you know a few fun things about me. Things that will probably make you laugh or wonder what a weirdo I am. All in the name of embracing who we are. So here goes……

 1. I am afraid of Pigeons

Pigeons are evil little diseased birds and they are out there, waiting to fly in my face and attack me. I actually scream quite loud actually, if a pigeon tries to attack me*. Trafalgar Square is a no-go.

*limps with it’s diseased legs into my field of vision

2. I can’t chew baked beans

This comes from a long manifested issue where my Mum would make us finish our plates before we could leave the table. So I, erm, used to just swallow down baked beans whole,because I hated the texture and just couldn’t chew them. I still do this now. I didn’t realise this was weird for a long time….

3. I am scared of talking on the phone

It all started with a well meaning phone  call to the dogs trust when I was about 12. I had just watched their advert on TV asking for £1 a week donations. I wanted to give them some of my pocket money. However, their hard sales pressure telephone manner and their constant ringing on the house phone, and the fact my mum made me talk to them every time they called, has had a profound effect on my ability to make telephone calls ever since.

4. I love salad cream on my baked beans (that I don’t chew….I know….weirdo)

Don’t judge until you’ve tried it, right? It’s best with a jacket potato in my opinion……

5. One for the….what?

I used to think that Baa Baa black sheep gave a bag of wool to the Day. Not Dame. To my shame I only realised this about two years ago…..

6. I have a funny laugh

People have remarked I sound like Frank Bruno…..

7. I do a weird flappy hands thing when I’m nervous 

Yes. I do. So if you see me do it, just nudge me OK, coz I HATE doing it but I don’t realise I’m doing it.

What weird and wonderful things do you do? I’d love to know. Mainly to make me feel less weird……

8 truths about nursery

For anyone not aquainted with a nursery, these 8 truths may help you to fit right in when your child starts….

1. You can never just ‘drop off’ your child….it takes at least 10 minutes and even then you have to crowbar your child off your leg

2. On that point, I break my neck to get there as close to opening time as possible, press the buzzer….and I wait and wait. Be prepated to wait for ages, holding a wrigging toddler and having to remember the password. “SOMEONE LET ME IN!” I want to scream in the frenzy of the morning chaos. I should’ve made that the password, thinking about it…

3. They will always, always get covered in mud, paint,water,  and have lasagne in their hair. There is absolutely no point in dressing up all pretty as they will be in spare clothes within about 10 minutes of arriving.

4. What do they eat? Who knows. If they ate half a veggie roast, what does that equate to exactly? She won’t eat salad without screaming blue murder at home, but you tell me she eats SECONDS? When they write ‘beef lasagne’ then cross that out and put ‘veggie lasagne’, what did she really eat, hmmm?

5. You will always get conned into buying their professional photos….yes I too said I wouldn’t ever bother but oh! the pressure. Oh and I always forget that it is photo day and it’s just pot luck if she’s wearing something suitable…

6. Keep all spare change for charity money that you will have to give to nursery as part of red nose day/children in need/hug a tree day etc.

7. Be prepared to empty your recycling bin and hand this over to nursery for various art and crafts projects. I buy Waitrose milk just so I can look good when I hand over the empty cartons.

8. Get ready to wow the nursery with your child’s fancy dress outfits. Book Day fills me with fear. Luckily this year she wasn’t well and so we didn’t have to do a bodge job with a bin bag and some tin foil. 

How do you do it? The Life of a (full-time) Working Mum

One of those questions which makes you wonder why they’ve asked it….

 

Recently I have had a similar conversation with several people at work. They ask me how I am doing, I usually say busy, and tired, they ask me how many days I work, I say all of them, and they say 

“Oh! I don’t know how you do it”

Now, each to their own. I don’t really think how, when or why someone works is really something to comment on. But, why ask me how do I do it?

What sort of question is that?

When the comment is said, a few thoughts run through my mind.

Do they mean, How do I do it? because I must be such a cruel Mother to go to work?

Do they mean, How do I do it? because I must be a super organised and amazing mother/worker

Do they mean, How do I do it? because they have no idea how you fit in parenting and a full time job?

Do they mean, How do I do it? As I must be feeling so guilty for leaving my little girl each day?

The answer is, I DON’T KNOW how I do it. I just do it. I have to do it.

I started working full time again in January, I have now had 6 months of working Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. It’s hard. I miss my day I used to have off with Nancy. I feel tired a lot of the time. But, I am doing this for all the right reasons.

Money

I am doing this, as working full time means I get more money, obviously. This means I can afford to by Nancy nice things. It also means that her Dad can reduce his hours, and we still have about the same family income.

Career Development

I am doing this as at the moment, I am doing some really interesting stuff and it is all part of my career progession and development. This is stuff I haven’t had opportunity to do before.

Enjoyment

I am doing this because I, on the whole, enjoy my job. I don’t mind going to work. Sure, I’d love to just be at home with Nancy, but I do love my job and my vocation.

To Make a Difference

I go to work to make a difference to the people I work with.  I support people with a learning disability to have better health outcomes and more independence in their lives. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling role to have.

So, How do I do it? 

I go to work, and I don’t feel guilty. I feel me. I feel like myself again. I don’t feel a cruel and horrible mother because I know that Nancy is enjoying nursery a lot, and she also has a great time with her Dad and other relatives when I’m not around. Some days are better than others, certainly. There are times when I am super organised and I feel on top of everything. There are days when I get up and look around the place and I think a bombs gone off. There are days I wonder what’s the point? Why have I done this to myself? But most of all, I feel that this is my life, my choice. I don’t really compare or think about how others are living their lives right at this moment. I accept that everyone has a different way of doing things, and some of that may involve working, or not.

Most days start with me getting up around 7am. I have a five* minute sit down with my cup of tea and my ipad, and then I have to get Nancy ready, me ready and out the door. There are days when I have to drop Nancy at Nursery, my partner at work and then get to work. I work 9am-5pm, then get home, some days have to pick Nancy up first, sometimes have to get my partner too, then home. Sometimes I also have to go food shopping after work too. Then its Nancy’s dinner, bath, bedtime stories, seeing Nancy off to sleep and then I can eat my dinner, watch TV, or do something else like Read or Blog. Before I go to bed we have to do the dishwasher. Sometimes I also do the clothes washing then hang them out before I go to work. I try my best to cook meals but some weeks we do go for a takeaway one night a week.

My weekends are my time off, but my partner works every other weekend. That means two weekends a month when we can spend time together as a family, and two where I look after Nancy for 12 hours a day, usually on my own. I take her to see my parents, we may go shopping, but usually we don’t have the car and I find these weekends the hardest. No car means it is doubly hard to find the motivation to leave the house and do something to make the day go quicker. I love my weekends with Nancy, though, because they are my time, and I do try and make the most of my time with her. Having cuddles on the sofa or goin to the park are simple pleasures that I appreicate more now I am at work.

I think my biggest issue with the question How do you do it? Is that people feel they can say these things to you. Maybe they mean it as a compliment, but to me it is questioning my commitment to my family as well as my job. Maybe people can’t believe I would choose my job over my child – not that I have, but I think people think that by going to work full time, this is what you are doing. I feel proud of myself for what I have achieved these last 6 months. No decision or life choice is ever easy, but I feel I have accepted and come to terms with my life and how I live it. Yes I get the sunday night blues, we all do, but when I drop Nancy off at Nursery I don’t feel dread, or guilt, I feel…happy. Happy for Nancy that she gets to make friends and have adventures, happy for me to be doing I job I (most of the time) enjoy, Happy because I get to have some time to myself, Happy because my life is going in the right direction, and Happy because, well, you have got to be happy with what you’ve got and make the most of things, don’t you?

That’s How I do it.