wellbeing, creativity and violence?

I read a hilariously funny thread on The Motherload Page on Facebook this morning about a mum who had some choice words to say about Kirstie Allsopp and her home made Christmas programme. The thread turned into such  a laugh that I had to stop reading as my post surgery tummy really couldn’t handle it.

This has got me thinking this morning about just how differently we see and think about things as mums. For any of you who haven’t seen it Kirstie has made a series of shows for the last few years about her making and crafting things for Christmas. These have included things such as driftwood trees, garlands, embroidered gifts, homemade chocolates and chutneys and on this weeks show pears dipped in gold leaf and used as place settings. The whole ethos behind it is to lose mass produced expensive gifts for handmade and cheaper unique alternatives.

Now I am a bit of a Kirstie fan and love her ideas of creating things for your home from old peoples junk. I also view this with dreaming eyes as I know I neither have the time or the cash to invest and renovate in old items. However it is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine to watch such shows and come Christmas I do get a real kick out of all the amazing crafts, artisans and ideas that her programme showcases.

In real life I like to do craft, I am a fan of drawing and lettering as you all know and I love a bit of papercraft. This does not mean I am very good at it though and I can recall last Christmas getting very uppity after watching what felt like a million you tube videos on how to fold paper stars and not actually achieving any and making what resembled boomerangs. Karl however tried one and ended up folding a perfect star which I still have on my dressing table now as a reminder of how much I made him laugh pouting as I couldn’t get it right!

I have found this year a way of making cardboard barn stars which not only have I managed but I also really enjoy so now the house resembles the bit in Elf where poor Buddy goes into overdrive making snowflakes. Cooking and baking, I barely get by, crochet and embroidery, I’m more likely to stick a needle in my eye and end up in hospital and things like felt make my teeth go funny when it rubs together and makes that funny noise! Anyway my point is as much as I enjoy watching and looking at such crafts I am no good at them and leave it to the professionals. For me though there is a kind of relaxation or therapeutic element to watching such arts being undertaken.

Some of the comments on the Motherload this morning however spoke of wanting to punch Kirstie, how unrealistic her ideas are and how the money she was spending (gold leaf on a pear for example) would be much better spent on other more important things (like prosecco or chocolate Baileys I thought!) I did note that her own children didn’t take part in the show and she uses other children who do not belong to her and do crafts well and behave impeccably. I imagine this is because she like the rest of us knows that if you try and do anything with your own children they see it as a cue to misbehave, cause merry hell and eat everything in sight. Kirstie is a mum to boys too so she like me will face challenges such as arm wrestles over who gets to eat the most cherries, tears and tantrums over the metallic sharpies and constant games of hide and seek because the scissors have gone missing…… again!

It can be seen as yet another pressure on busy mums at Christmas that not only do you need to buy everything, get it all wrapped and ready and have the kids at home for two weeks you also need to make things yourself and spend countless hours doing so and then delivering them with a smile looking glam and not pissed (because of all the prosecco and Chocolate Baileys!)

Kirstie Allsopp will have at the very least, a team of researchers, a make up artist, a hair stylist, an assistant, a runner, someone who cleans up as she goes, someone who buys the stuff in for her to use and childcare on tap. She is also a famous celebrity who has plenty of cash to spend on gold leaf, artisan chocolate and things that are sold at posh Christmas Fairs. This is clearly not and never will be me, I am just happy if I get a compliment about my cardboard stars and a few likes on Instagram. I don’t think Kirstie wants to pressure us mums into a craft induced anxiety attack she is just doing her thing.

It really doesn’t matter what is under the tree this Christmas but who is sat around it. Whether that be your family, friends, moaning children, sleeping elderly relatives, drunk, sober, on their third bottle of chocolate Baileys or whatever. My point is that we are all bloody amazing and our families and friends are grateful to have us even if they haven’t got a place name marked with gold leaf or nothing but beans on toast for their dinner. Christmas is what we make it, we are who we make ourselves and no amount of gold leaf will do anything about that if we don’t believe it.

I leave you with a quote from Lady Cora from Downton Abbey, ‘You are being tested, and you know what they say my darling, being tested only makes you stronger’.

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Welfare check….

Hi everyone, how are you all?

Well as you will mostly know I’m back home from the hospital having had my hysterectomy. I’m feeling very tired and in pain but from the second I opened my eyes I felt so much better. 

I had read about lots of other women in my position saying the same and I thought it all sounded a bit too good to be true, how can you feel better in such a short time and how does your body know that quickly. Well I was wrong, I feel stronger and better than I have in a long time despite having just been through a major operation.

I’m not going to go on about the whole thing now for a few reasons, one I feel I will write better when I’m a bit more with it, two I don’t want to bore you and three I’m already getting sleepy!

I managed to drive Karl mad this morning by putting the television on at 0500 and watching some programme about security at Australian airports, the boys loved it (particularly the man smuggling birds eggs in his underpants) and he struggled getting them ready for school. I’m now the bad influence parent, the rebel, should be interesting! 

Loads of love xxx

Applicants please……

So when I was at school, 1995-2002 (yes I am that old!) I went to an all girls grammar school. It was a very good one, high on he league tables, full of amazing teachers and somewhere I could absolutely flourish.

One of the strongest memories of school was that we as women could do anything, we could be whatever we wanted to be and were encouraged to think outside the boxes convention had in the past put us in. I couldn’t tell you just how many conversations I was involved in about what we were going to be when we grew up, what our further education would be, what in the world would we change and how exciting those prospects were. I actually remember once totally judging another girl who said she wanted to be a mother and have a family. I wasn’t thinking about anything like that at that time in my life. My ambition and drive would get me a career way before I had the time to think about marriage and children.

How wrong and misguided I was. Please, please don’t get me wrong every single person in this world should be able to be what they want, who they want, to do what they want to do and to be happy but I also think we should remember that one of the most important and hardest jobs we will do will be to raise others in this world.

I have a career and it is massively important to me, I have worked hard and I have achieved things that make me very proud. I however back in the days of sixth form and dreaming of the life ahead of me would never have read the following job description and even considered applying:

‘WANTED: unpaid vacancy, 24 hour cover, sole responsibility at certain times for small human boss. Always on call, can never be absent without prior planning and permission, ability required to deal with situations under pressure, on demand and with a view to taking a lesser role after an 18 year probationary period however may be longer depending on the needs of the employer. Always financially responsible and expected to assist with all kinds of personal hygiene and bodily fluids.’

It’s funny as I wrote this I had to stop as Leo loudly exclaimed that he needed his bum wiping!

As women we have the ability to rule the world, we are also responsible for raising the future leaders of our world, the people of tomorrow are down to us and that is one hell of a job description. This is course the same for men and women but I do feel like at my school in particular we could have been more open and honest about the fact that although we could do whatever we wanted we also would have another hugely important and massively rewarding job if we chose to and that it would be the hardest, most testing and possibly the one we should be the most respected for in the future.

Just a thought for all for today xx

Teeny Tiny Little Things

This week I will be spending the majority of the week worrying about the impending operation on Monday, I know you will all be very happy when it’s over for a number of reasons, one being the fact that I will shut up and talk about something else and also will be able to start taking more pictures out and about as I get better and start to do some of the things I love that I haven’t been able to do in recent months.

I have so many things to look forward to and actually not one person I have spoken to who has been through a hysterectomy has had anything negative to say. I have of course heard of women who have had issues but the ones I have spoken to it has been a new start, a pain free future and a positive step.

My own journey has been shorter than so many other women and for that I am extremely grateful, I don’t think I would have any family or friends left if I was like this for too long, as Karl so nicely put it this week I am not useless but currently of limited use (he was joking!)

I have as many of you know been published a couple of times recently on a site called britmums.com. This site is an amazing resource for parents and bloggers alike and is so accepting and informative I have been so proud to have written for them. They have agreed for me to write another piece for them this time all about this year and my health issues resulting in my endometriosis diagnosis and how I get on through the operation and recovery. This is something that I hope can bring some knowledge and information to other women who may be in a similar position as well as offering support and guidance.

I am going to appreciate the little things this week and try not to dwell too much on next week. It is a hugely positive thing for me and my family, just a very scary one at the same time. I keep thinking that this is the last week I will ever be able to be someone who is capable of carrying a baby, that is a very odd feeling. Being honest though I was terrible pregnant, always ill, waddling around on crutches because of a dodgy pelvis and definitely not one of those yummy mummies to be I saw in the waiting room at antenatal appointments.

What are you getting up to this week that will make you smile? I am smiling now thinking of Christmas scented candles burning, the boys snuggled up with me watching Elf, seeing my friends this weekend, my mum putting up her Christmas decorations and making me feel like an excited child again and watching the boys in their Christmas plays.

Much love xxx

Advent calendars and insomnia…..

Hey all and a very happy 0330 in the morning to you!

Last night I went to bed at 1920 because the pain in my side and back got so bad I couldn’t do anything else. I tossed and turned for hours and eventually fell asleep. Then ping! 0300 wide awake and realising that on only the 2nd of December I had already forgotten to fill the advent calendar. Cue getting up, fumbling around in the dark, filling the thing and then trying to get back into bed but actually falling over a pile of clean washing twice (I’m ill, there are lots of piles that are yet to be put away!)

Now I’m in bed, wide awake and my mind is working overdrive. You would of course think that this would be a huge thing, possibly the massive operation that is now only ten days away, the state of the world, the worry about all the people who don’t have somewhere to sleep in this cold but oh no, my current reason for insomnia is should we get a real Christmas tree this year or stick to the fake one? I am so mad with my mind right now! 

A few years ago at Christmas time I recall being at work and having left Karl and the boys at home alone as it was a late shift. The boys were three and two I believe. Whilst at work I received a call from a flustered and panicked Karl telling me that the boys had knocked the Christmas tree over while trying to climb it. I wasn’t really sure how to take this information, you can imagine a whole host of questions such as, ‘why were you letting the boys climb the tree?’ ‘where were you while this was happening?’ and my very favourite ‘have you picked it back up?’

Karl asked me to come home but I couldn’t so had to give instructions over the phone while my colleagues laughed in the background. Karl and i still laugh about that incident now (well I laugh and he describes a near apocalyptic experience that I don’t know as I wasn’t there!) after that day we decided that we would stick with fake trees because they are more robust and if the children should decide to climb it they wouldn’t get stabbed by the needles and snap the branches off.

The boys are now five and six, could they be trusted with a real tree? I’m conscious that I’m probably trying to overcompensate. It’s not been a hoot having a poorly mummy of late and Christmas will be lovely but a time of recovery after my surgery so I want it to be the very best it can be. The smell of a real tree is one of the things I remember loving the most at Christmas when I was little too and they are old enough to appreciate that now. What do you all think?

I am also loving all the Elf on the Shelf pictures. I absolutely take my hat off to any parents who have given themselves this challenge this year. Me who has struggled with the commitment of an advent calendar you fill yourself applauds the parents who late at night are busy freezing the naughty elf in a block of ice or surrounding him with flour where he has been baking in the kitchen overnight. I imagine if I made such a commitment our elf would nightly be sat slumped next to a bottle of chocolate Baileys!

I have some lovely friends who are partaking in this lovely tradition this year and am very excited to see their pictures every day. I will marvel at their amazingness and hope that next year I have the energy and the ideas to make such a thing for my boys (did I mention my chocolate baileys idea?!)

I had a visit from one of my favourite people and her beautiful little girl today which made me smile, she did my washing up (bless you) we drank tea and chatted for about five hours. Her gorgeous daughter serenaded us a number of times with some lovely Christmas songs albeit with a croaky voice as they are implementing a new sleeping routine and she has bless her screamed herself hoarse. My particular favourite was the one about Christmas Puddings and ‘Steven Hot’ he sounds like a cool guy! 

This reminded me of a conversation I had with Leo about the song ‘Away in a Manger’. Leo asked me what a manger was so we talked about it and I googled it (standard parenting tool) and showed him a picture. He then asked why was it away? I had no idea, other than it rhymes perfectly in the song and tried to provide a number of reasons in that ilk, I even tried the ‘ask your teacher’ cop out to which he replied, ‘but WHY don’t YOU know?!’ I didn’t say but immediately thought, because I am the mum who can’t manage elf on the shelf, can’t bake like all the other mums, spends 90% of her time currently in pyjamas, has a fixation on chocolate baileys which I’m not allowed to drink because of the tablets, forgets to fill the advent calendar and for three nights in a row forgot to collect letters left on the chimney place to Father Christmas because I kept falling asleep! 

Anyway I will now stop boring you with my ramblings. You would have thought I might be sleepy by now but instead I’m thinking, what would Steven Hot look like?! 

Night all xxx