The Eternal Dilemma…..

I know what you will think as you start reading this…… not another work/life balance post but it really is something that sadly plays a huge part in so many of our lives that it is something that comes up in my circle often.

This week illness has played a big part in my life (see my previous post) even more so because it looks now like  I am anaemic and until that is under control my Doctor doesn’t think I should drive. Now that would be all well and good if I didn’t have to work or ferry the kids about but I have luckily got an amazing support network and can get by (just!)

What about those of us though who simply don’t have that option? A very good friend of mine has this week faced that very dilemma when she was called at work by her daughters nursery and asked to collect her as she had become ill. As many of you school and nursery mums will know some illnesses carry an obligatory time where the child cannot go  back to school or nursery. This was one of those times.

My friend like me is a part time worker who works around her very full time husband. I have massive respect for them both as he works many more hours and in another county than my own husband and we struggle so sometimes I dread to think how they juggle it all. There is always that time when work and family life collide and of course a sick child always has to take priority so my friend had to take some parental leave to care for her daughter who was poorly and wanted no one but her mummy.

It sounds like the simplest thing in the world doesn’t it? However then you get the feelings of guilt, the little comments made about how you are needed at work but if there is no other option they will have to stomach it and your internal struggle knowing that you are doing what is best for your family but also feeling bad for leaving others with potentially extra work and the bad feeling that can create. Companies now are so much more understanding than they ever have been before and work/life balance is factored in to almost every human resources policy so why do we still feel inadequate compared to colleagues who don’t have the same commitments we do?

I have mentioned many times in my blog about how women feel that they need to be everything to everyone, amazing wives, mothers, workers, homemakers, organisers, bakers, scientists (anyone else’s boys like making volcano’s?) and we end up feeling that we can’t quite manage. This is so unfair and really it is us being nasty to ourselves. I want my children to grow up knowing that they will never be perfect and can’t be amazing at everything. I want them to learn that with true grit and determination they can do whatever they want in this world however it will never be easy, but lets be honest nothing worth having ever is!

Perhaps the answer in a world full of criticism and judging others is that we should be kind to ourselves. If your child is ill you look after them and comfort them. It is what we parents are meant to do, it is the most important job we have and we need to do it. If work has to come second for a short while so be it and the opinion of others who think differently doesn’t matter, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!

I want you to smile and know that whoever you are and whatever you are doing you are bloody amazing. Maybe try smiling at someone else today too, you have no idea what they are going through either and you may just make their day!

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hystorectoWHAT?!

Hey all, I hope you are having a fab week.

I write this blog post from my bed in my pyjamas and feeling very poorly. If any of you have been following my Instagram for any amount of time you will know that I have not had the best of health in this last year. This all culminated in me having an operation in June to hopefully diagnose and treat the condition. However this didn’t go according to plan and fast forward four months and it would appear that actually I am suffering with a kind of endometriosis and the best way to deal with it would be a total hysterectomy.

Now, I hear you, this is a big thing, a post about something so massive but I felt it needed to be written down, partly so I can get my head around it and also to share the train of thoughts I have been having since I found out. Stick with the post please, it won’t all be doom and gloom!

I am on board with this plan of action, I am lucky that I have two beautiful children, a lovely husband and a complete family life. I may be thirty three which is on the young side for such a drastic procedure but I am not so much of a fool that I wouldn’t have it when I know that it will improve my quality of life as well as that of my family (who wants mummy laying around in her jims not wanting to take you out!) It is a massively thought provoking turn of events though, not just for me but for others around me too.

The main thought from others seems to be what if I decide to have more children? What if my family isn’t quite complete and I am taking away my chance? Well I have blogged before about my wanting to have a girl but ultimately deciding that my family is absolutely complete and that we wouldn’t be having anymore than our gorgeous boys. This is still a massive thought though isn’t it, that my body is letting itself down so much that I am having to take away the reason I was put onto this planet, the thing that makes me a woman. When thinking about this I think of all the women who have gone before me in this world, some who will have suffered similarly to me and wouldn’t have been able to get help. Some who fought for women to have the rights that we do today and for the equality we enjoy in our modern world.

Surely as a woman and a mother I owe it to my family, myself and other women around me to show that I have the power over my body and how it affects me and to take control over my own future. If we break a leg we have treatment and do what we need to do to get better. This is surely no different? I can completely understand how unfair and totally devastating such news would be to a woman who had yet to have children. Not all women want to have a family and that is of course a choice that we are all entitled to make however I imagine that most women see themselves as a mother at some point in their lives. There are many women my age who are yet to start their families and to have to face a hysterectomy would be life changing. I think this is why it is not routinely offered to women who are yet to have children unless it is a last resort.

I have spent a lot more time since finding out watching my boys. The things they do, the funny things they say, the mannerisms they have which they have got from Karl and I and how we have raised them to be the lovely little people they are. Nate, so full of passion and enthusiasm, keen to please, kind and gentle and so so clever. Leo, such a sweetie with a brain that could out think us all, an energy like one I have never known and such a massive heart that he tries to hide behind a rufty tufty boy exterior.

I wonder when the boys grow up whether they will understand my decision to have such a massive operation at such a young age and take myself out of the game for a couple of months while they are so young. Do you know I think they will, surely it’s a small sacrifice in the years I will share with them and the activities that my be affected if didn’t go ahead and have the operation.

I am so lucky to have a great family and friends around me who I know will be there and support me through this journey. My best friend had the same operation only earlier this year so it seems very strange having been through her journey with her to now have swapped places.

I finish with a little thought courtesy of A.A Milne (well Winnie the Pooh)….

“Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more… to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”

Growing up and moving on

Hey all, how are you? 

If you follow my Instagram feed (lucy_fisk) you will know that it was my birthday this weekend and that I spent it in the lovely city that is Amsterdam.

The weekend that saw me turn 33 along with my friend Vanessa who was celebrating her 40th birthday taught me a lot. I explored one of the most interesting places I have ever been too. We walked and did so much that as I type this most muscles in my body are aching, my toes still feel a little bit numb and I feel so tired I could sleep for a week. Yes I hear what you are saying, I am getting old! 

I also took the time to take stock of where I am and where my life is at my new age. I had been looking forward for sometime to going away, time with friends, time to be me and not just a mum and time in a place I had never visited. What I ended up doing was having an amazing time while also realising I have absolutely everything I want and need at home. I missed terribly my boys (Karl included!) and found my mind wandering to home and cuddles from my lovely husband and beautiful sons. It made me see that I am one of the luckiest women around and that made me smile massively!

You may have noticed I moan about the children, I get stressed, I sometimes nag Karl and I know you will be shocked to hear this but sometimes I can be a miserable moo but I love them immensely and would never be without them. Who can ask for more than that? All the other things I do, my mentoring, blogging, photography, Instagram, my newspaper column are all things I love and make me immensely happy but the root of all of these things are my family. They back me up, they give me my ideas and they are there when i need them. 

My dream as most of you know is to write, to make a career out off my writing and my pictures and I see how that this is hugely to do with wanting to be at home and around my little family more. To be able to put my heart and soul into what I write while being in our lovely home surrounded by those that I love and that love me. Hint hint to anyone who fancies employing me to write for their publication, newspaper, leaflet or shopping list! 

Anyway my next post will be a full on critique of Amsterdam but for now I must sign off and say that I may be the most grown up I have ever been in years but I am also the most full of childlike excitement that I have been for years. I am too old to please everyone, I am secure in who I am, I want to spend time with the people I love and enjoy all the smiles they bring.

Life is too short and time is far too precious to waste.

The wisdom of children

Hey all, I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Yesterday was my first day back of the new school year at Youth Mentoring. This is something I haven’t really blogged about before as due to it’s very nature it confidential and often emotive.

It is so easy to forget as we get older just how hard it is to grow up. To be a teenager with all the hormones flying around and simply trying to work out who we are and what path we want to follow (how hard when at nearly 33 I’m still not 100% sure!) We forget the pressures school puts you under when we enter the world of work and start to look back on our younger days with rose tinted glasses. I even do it now, I often discuss with friends how much easier life was when I was at school and yet when I reflect back on how I felt at the time I longed to grow up where I could make my own decisions and not feel like my every move was dictated and judged by others.

When I began my training as a youth mentor I remembered just how many of the issues we discussed had affected me. Issues with friendship, identity, education, self confidence and many others. I became very nervous about how I could make any kind of difference in a young persons life and whether I was actually a bit of a fraud who had just about managed to get through childhood and adolescence by the skin of their teeth not really knowing how or whether I actually did anything right.

So last year I started, I met with three children of different secondary school ages throughout the year. One of them I saw for the whole year and felt that we had really made progress. So much so that at the end of the school year we said our goodbyes and I had been told that I would meet new teenagers at the beginning of this year.

I was quite surprised when I arrived to find that that familiar face waiting for me. My heart I have to be honest sank, I immediately thought that I hadn’t quite got it right last year and obviously things had gone awry over the summer and I had let them down. I sat down and took a deep breath and we chatted. Actually for quite a lot longer than I realised but I found out that although things over the summer had been fine for various different reasons the return to school had bought some of the old behaviours back and this had caused some anguish and issues for my mentee.

They explained to me that they had realised the issues from before were creeping back and that they felt the need to do something about it before it came to be a significant issue and asked for some additional help and advice in coping in times when the old version of them reared it’s head.

I have to say I not only felt like I could cheer at this fourteen year old but I was genuinely shocked. There are so many grown ups I know and others I have come across in my life who have issues, often recurring that they refuse to either acknowledge or get any kind of help for. Here was someone who not only acknowledged these issues but also acknowledged that just because they had managed to deal with them once a new set of circumstances had meant that they needed to seek additional help to face these new challenges head on. Now if that isn’t wisdom I don’t know what is.

To have the strength and courage to be able to say things have changed and I need some additional help is a truly mature and grown up way of looking at life and yet this was from someone who in the eyes of many grown ups in the world would be an immature teenager with not a lot going on other than hormones and popular culture.

Life is constantly changing, we are constantly changing, growing and facing new challenges as people. Our identities, our personalities, our relationships with others constantly evolve and how many of us are brave enough to seek assistance or discuss our struggles  with others? There is almost that element of the stiff upper lip and coping. This is why I believe mindfulness is so important in todays ever stressful and changing world.

I have every faith and hope that our young people will grow into a generation who can embrace their mental health and how it affects them and not be scared to top up their coping mechanisms or to talk to others about how they feel. To acknowledge that it’s okay to not be perfect and to realise that we grow more as people by accepting our limits and building on our foundations to combat them.

In stark contrast I took the boys to the local woods for a muddy puddle walk today with one of my friends and her children. I had to strip the children of all clothes except their socks and pants just prior to getting into the car due to the ridiculous amounts of mud, rainwater, leaves and I suspect large range of animal poo.

In the road we live in there are quite a few elderly residents and it has become a daily thing to wave to the old lady who lives next door but one who sits in her chair in the front window of her house. Her son has told us how much she enjoys seeing what we get up to and how much effort the boys make to wave and show her the bits and pieces they come to and fro with (dinosaurs, balloons, sticks, lolly pops, drawings, ice creams, worms, you get the drift!)

Nate had been particularly quiet the whole journey home and I couldn’t figure out quite why. He had been having a lovely time full of laughter and mud, there was nothing for him to be even slightly down about. We pulled into the driveway and I pulled the keys out of the ignition. As I did so and just before I opened my mouth Nate in quite an affronted voice said, ‘If you think I am waving at the old lady only wearing pants you’ve got another thing coming!’ I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as he skulked off towards the front door not wanting anyone to see his dinosaur pants that he had chosen with pride this morning.

How amazing are children?

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Perspective

Hey all, How are we?

I have been thinking a lot about perspective this week, it becomes abundantly clearer as I age that so often the way I see things will be completely different to how others see things. We all interpret things differently, just look at art. One persons masterpiece is another persons eyesore. One person could look out of a window and see rain and instantly feel down and miserable, another would smile thinking of jumping in muddy puddles, the flowers that need a drink and how our world is such an amazing place.

I imagine this also works for how we view ourselves, we see ourselves in a totally different light to how others do. Some of us see positives, some negatives and we can so easily become our own worst enemy. What do you see when you look at yourself? Are you happy? What would you change? What would you keep? How would you go about making those changes? Do you see how much of an amazing person you are or do you struggle with your confidence?

I definitely fall on the latter side, I have realised lately that my own perspective and opinion of myself needs considerable work. How I feel about me affects how I behave, how I work, my motivation, my relationships and my happiness in general. This is not a self sacrificing post where I expect everyone to say that I can’t be as bad as I think I am because let’s be honest the only person who can change how I see and think of myself is me. This is of course far easier said than done but I do believe there is huge truth in the saying that how can we expect everyone else to be okay with us if we are not okay with ourselves?

When I think bout it there are massive examples all around me of how people view themselves and how it affects them. This week alone a great friend made a decision to not go for a job they would be amazing at because they were not convinced they were ready. A decision I totally respect and understand however I just wish that they could see how highly thought of they are and just how much they would have been able to excel. But again it’s how you feel about it and no ones else’s opinion will sway you.

Another friend is having some work done at the dentist and when we talked about being her being scared and how brave she is she almost dismissed it when actually she is one of the bravest people I know. So much so that I wished she could see how much of a breeze the dentist would be in comparison to recent trials and tribulations that she has dealt with confidence, elegance and quite frankly true grit.

Nate as many of you know is my older son who is six was really struggling this morning after he had been put into time out two times. One for being rude (no it’s not okay to tell mummy that they smell or that they are the worlds worst parents) and the other for ruining two of the beautiful roses in one of my vases in the living room by hitting it repeatedly with a wooden stick made of colourful blocks and also doing the usual and refusing to get washed and dressed. His younger brother Leo in comparison was a model child, he got ready, ate his breakfast, tidied his room, did the best reading I have ever heard him do and received an awful lot of praise for it. That in itself made Nate look at himself and decide hat he was a bad boy and would never be able to be good. His opinion totally and actually completely untrue. Like we explained to him, you can do bad things but it doesn’t make you a bad person.

So a personal journey for me to try and look at how I view myself and work on how I treat myself and others around me based on that. A long journey I hear you cry and one I will no doubt bore you with over the coming months.

So to conclude, what do you see when you look out of the window today? As Carrie Bradshaw so eloquently put it, ‘The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship is the one you have with yourself.’ If the people who love you and you love are there for you, willing to put up with you warts and all, love you despite your crappy decision making and feelings of total inadequacy then surely they deserve for you to be able to give that love back as a happy, secure person. Think about it…….

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