Mummys’ little helper…..

There are lots of blogs and Web posts from women who joke about their claims to only get through the day with the kids on a daily dose of a favourite tipple. Wine and Prosecco are all favourites, and rather than ‘Mothers Ruin’ Gin is now ‘Mummys’ Little Helper‘.

I’ve never really taken these claims seriously, and I’ve certainly not judged either. Who am I to say what coping strategy one should employ? (My own is prescription based). I appreciate its often an exaggeration to make a humorous blog post (isn’t it?). All I know is that as a bit of a light weight I couldn’t really trust myself not to just fall asleep before tea was finished, let alone want to crawl into bed before the kids are ready to. That’s most evenings as it is, even without the booze.

I can however certainly see the benefits of that early evening drink. It occurred to me the other day that actually having a drink at tea time (or 6pm ish if we are going to eat after the kids) makes a lot of sense. For one thing, having a drink makes me a lot less shouty at bedtime.

Repeating “pyjamas, bathroom, brush your teeth, where’s your reading book?, why can’t you hang up your uniform?” etc etc constantly doesn’t need to be in a raised voice, it can still be said in a calm manner, even if it is the eleventybillionth time you’ve said it.

Bath and bedtime is definitely a bit easier going if I’m in that floaty-head drunk bubble that a glass of wine or two can do (like I said, Lightweight). Given that I do find bedtimes quite stressful as I’m always worn out, but the kids seem to have boundless energy, I do need a strategy so as not to get so strung out.

The kids love it when Dad chases them up the stairs and around the bedroom a few times before getting them ready for bed, but I’m just not that fun!! Maybe I need to pay more attention to my mood, and self medicate more often, for all of our sakes. 

The sound of the bath running will now be synonymous with the popping of a wine cork or clink of ice cubes in a glass…..!

Although its been a recent revelation to me, I am aware this is not really news for most, and although possibly controversial I trust people will read this as a witty observation, rather than a cry for help, but I’ll wait for the fall out….

In the meantime, Cheers, Iechyd Da!!


Moonlight Mindfulness with Muffin the moody moggy

We got a cat, finally. I’ve been wanting a cat for ages. He is semi feral, but actually quite friendly if you can get close enough for a cuddle. We get all the purring and smooching that I love, even if he was a bit distant to start.*

The second day was a cold wet February evening and as I stood in the rain, trying to coax him back into the purpose built (quite cosy) shed with a sachet of cat food, I decided now might be a good time to think about life and the universe and all that and get a sense of how I was feeling. To try a bit of Mindfulness.

I instantly recognised a slight trepidation about the cat that had escaped on its first night and already had me worried whether he was a goner from a fox. This had definitely dulled the initial excitement of finally getting a cat. We have dogs, but I am definitely of the feline persuasion. This cat also has a job to do. We are inundated with rabbits and so as well as fencing, netting, raised beds and the occasional use of ferrets and a man with a gun, we are looking for a decent deterrent for the veg patch.

Anyway, back to Mindfulness. I had been advised by the GP (latest in a long line of recommendations) to try it as I am currently suffering with a stress related condition called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. Basically I have started clenching my jaw so tightly it is causing pain and swelling in the joint. Mostly during my sleep, but also subconsciously when I’m awake too. I know, sexy right?

Now, I have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m not particularly stressed at the moment (the drugs help with that, see previous posts!). So what’s it all about? I will probably never get to the bottom of that one, and am not going to try. It’s probably more important just to deal with the impact its having on me, rather than the cause at this stage.

So I was stood in the dark, in a field, trying to be mindful and contemplative, and all that. As the rain hit the back of my legs, soaked through my jeans and ran down into my wellies, I decided that the cat was OK, he was close by mewing at me. He had had some food and knew where there was shelter (with carpet, cat bed and catnip claw scratch post).

I was happy he was around and decided any further soul searching for grounding and happiness could take place in front of the fire. Or better still, a hot bath.

* FYI He is now very much a cuddly cat. No longer distant and aloof, he even lets the kids pick him up, so can’t really call him feral, other than he sleeps outside!

Let me explain…….

Being the slightly neurotic person that I am, before I posted any of my early stuff on here, I have let a couple of friends and the Hubster read them. Just to make sure I wasn’t writing drivel and completely wasting my time!!

I have been told, very wisely by Hubby, that if posting personal stuff on t’internet I need to be very sure I am happy with it before I post it.

“Once its out there, you can’t take it back”

That, I think, needs to be my mantra for this blog. It certainly does make a lot of sense to edit yourself before posting, and even censoring yourself so as not to offend, enrage, embarrass etc. I’ve had experience of that through Facebook, and can vouch that its not nice. Fair enough.

There will be some personal stuff on here about me and family life, stuff I want to do and stuff that completely freaks me out. That just makes for entertaining reading, I guess! But there will also be personal stuff on here about my experience with depression, the causes for it and the challenges I have taken on to deal with it. Its my choice to air those stories on here and I’m not expecting people (those that I have the pleasure of knowing in the real world) to say or act differently towards me. Unless they want to share their story or ask me about mine. I like hugs, but I don’t need lots of sympathy, I’m doing fine.

So, by way of explanation, we had a tough time of it recently. In the space of one year, we had to deal with losing my much beloved Nan (witnessing how the loss affected my family upset me as much as dealing with my own grief), we also moved house (from the home where both my babies had been born), into a caravan (sharing facilities with my in-laws) for eight months over the autumn/winter while we renovated a house (which took all our own and the kids savings, some borrowing and an awful lot of blood, sweat and tears). The kids moved school and our routine was thrown in the air from quiet stroll to school through the park to a half hour car run in heavy traffic. All the while the pressures of running our own business were hanging over us.

I was very stressed and often unhappy, I put on weight, and started experiencing panic attacks, which terrified me. Ultimately I began to resent the house and home we were trying to build and generally things took their toll. For a while.

But I am OK now, promise.

Yes, every now and then I have a blip and ‘Feel a bit January’ , but that’s fine because I can handle it. The upshot of all that happened three years ago is that last year I went to the doctor to ask for help. I wasn’t coping and was taking it out on my family and that wasn’t on. I may one day tell you when and how I hit my low point, but not yet. The doctor was great, we talked, a lot, for a few weeks before we agreed I should try tablets. She had given me websites and leaflets to read, and referred me to an NHS therapist (of course the waiting list was looooooooong, so I declined, there are more deserving cases than me).

I also talked to friends and family to get some opinions. Its actually quite surprising how many people are getting help with depression and other mental health issues. I certainly feel there is no reason to feel ashamed about it, which is why I am happy to be open about it on here.

So to sum up: the drugs are helping; alongside my gorgeous family, a beautiful home and my blossoming, ever evolving garden. That’s all the therapy I’ve needed so far.

I may talk again in more detail, I may just allude to it all in other posts, who knows, its my blog…….!

Feeling “A bit January”

That is definitely an emotional state in our house. “A bit January” sums up feeling a bit blue, out of sorts or fed up. I’m not saying anything new here about this time of year, and it’s been expressed a million ways before. Last Monday (16th Jan) was officially the ‘worst day of the year’, you know the one; 3rd Monday in January, when we haven’t been paid yet, but have all the Christmas bills to pay, the New Years Resolutions are already wearing thin and the signs of Spring are not quite here to brighten things for us.
But in our house “A bit January” is a call out for help when we just need a push in the right direction, a few words of encouragement or even just a big hug. I coined it last year when I realised that what I was feeling wasn’t just New Year blues, but actually depression. It took me until the end of February to get to the doctors to talk about it properly, and another month or two to pluck up the courage to start on the tablets she had prescribed me (after talking through lots of other options). As an aside, the support from my GP was superb and is what got me through those early days.
Anyway, I said it again this morning for the first time in ages. Life has been ok for the last few weeks, but something’s missing. I’m feeling the unrequited frustration of a creative type or crafter without a project (or with several unfinished projects), with lots of ideas, but no time to complete them. With new resources and materials (a recently added to ‘stash’ of fabric) but no space to sit down and work.

And then there’s the garden. Oh the garden… so much to do out there, and now is just the time to start. Turning the earth, sowing seeds, planning what is going to go where. I have weddings this year to grow for, and I need to get on with it, but the motivation isn’t quite there. I think this too, is the depression. Having a million and one dreams, but not the energy to start, which creates a million and one excuses not to start and ends with a feeling of flatness, of unresolved frustration and sense of uselessness and questioning ones own worth. Wow, that was heavy!!

I’m not sure how I start to deal with all of this, and I think this is my reason for writing this blog. I’m in a job I have to keep doing for the foreseeable future, so how do I balance work and family life with what I want to do for me? Is it selfish to want to sit in another room, in the quiet, to sew or knit? Is it unfair to the kids to ask them to play at home at the weekend so I can garden rather than taking them out for the day? (I think I know the answer to that one, they do have their own garden space, plenty of toys and the opportunity to go to friends or have friends over – they wouldn’t be bored, but do our weekends have to be purely family time?)
I need to find some answers….