Words from the Wise…..

Hey all, how are we?

I’m very conscious that I have been quite quiet recently. The main reason for this is that since I’ve been struggling with being so down I’ve not wanted to just come across as negative and moaning. I have so many wonderful things to be grateful for and I am trying to work on all the other sides of my appallingly low self esteem which I believe is the root cause of many of the issues I have had over the years.

I go back to work after six months off on Monday, this time has incorporated illness, major surgery, recovery and now my issues with me. Am I ready? No! Do I have any confidence? No. Would I rather curl up in a ball? Hell yes! I of course cannot do that, I am a professional, working mother and a huge part of who I am is someone who works. Not just because we need to cover all the bills and the mortgage but also because I like that I have another avenue in my life, a place where I am not just a mum and no one will shout at me because they can’t find the head to the green ninja from Lego Ninjago.

For so many reasons I now realise that I am the reason for a lot of the bad things that have happened in my life because I tell myself I am no good, I can’t manage it and I don’t deserve whatever it is. I spoke in a previous blog about mental health and needing to be okay with me otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage with anything or anyone else.

So while waiting for my initial counselling assessment I have tried to start my journey on my own and do some small things to help me get through this time. One of the first things I did was look to Pinterest. I have had an account for years but never really used it but have been sent many things from it in relation to my youth mentoring. I set up a number of boards one being, ‘quotes to live by’ and another, ‘things to read’. I began to find inspirational quotes and pieces about mindfulness and stockpiling them to read and to look at to remind myself of all the good and positive things in life.

I started to track my moods and work out what sort of things made me low and the things that made my heart sing. I focussed more on being a happy, healthy me and the mum and wife my family needs. I also spoke to others who have been through similar and have found themselves where I am. I realised that my priorities needed juggling and that not everything I prioritised was making me happy and healthy. I realised I needed to let some things go and work much harder at others. I basically realised that for me I was in a new phase and almost starting from square one.

As we all know the beginning of anything new is hard, leaving your comfort zone and trying something you are not used to doing is like trying to win a gold medal at the winter Olympics in ice skating when you have never skated before. It feels odd, abnormal and very lonely at first but after time it becomes more normal, almost a habit and you start to feel like you can manage.

I challenged myself to do some things I had never before been comfortable with. Since I had been ill I struggled with my running and whilst ill I have put on quite a lot of weight. Running was something I would happily do on my own as it gave me a space to think and to breathe. I couldn’t imagine walking on my own though, in fact I found the thought quite embarrassing, wouldn’t people think it’s odd that I’m out walking on my own and I don’t even have a dog?! As you can imagine when I started actually no one batted an eyelid and I have been enjoying some brisk, long walks out and about in the sunshine which has given me that space to think and breathe again outside in nature.

Things haven’t been perfect and following my assessment I am now on the waiting list for starting sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which I’ve never done before and is described as a more proactive type of therapy. Things are moving in the right direction, going back to work, getting back to my mentoring and being braver with my thoughts and outlook are all going in the right direction, I just need to not muck it all up!

So to sum up, who knows what will happen next week, just walking through the door of the office seems like a marathon to me at the moment. Hopefully it will be much simpler than that but if it’s not I will have to deal with it because as we said earlier I can’t just curl up into that tiny ball!

I wonder if any of these which are some of my favourite quotes that have helped me through recently will resonate with you?

‘You have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t helped. Try approving of yourself and see what happens’

‘Bloom where you are planted’

‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent’

‘It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are’

‘You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. You were created to be victorious’

‘Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining’

‘She was unstoppable not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them’

‘Only grow things in your brain that you wouldn’t mind putting in a vase’

‘Some days she has no idea how she’ll do it. But every single day, it still gets done’

‘Don’t let the muggles get you down’ (Wise woman that JK Rowling!)


 

 

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The Fisk Family Dolmio Challenge…..

Are you like me and sometimes struggle for inspiration for your family meal plans? Life is just so busy and often after all the other things I need to sort putting together a meal that we will all eat that is healthy and filling seems to fall by the way side.

I have sadly done what I said I would never do and always kept fish fingers and chicken nuggets in the freezer and though I try to always have fresh fruit and veg sometimes it feels impossible to plan in advance when exactly I will need and use them.

We like so many other families have to contend with work, school, after school clubs, weekend clubs, birthday parties, homework, reading books, food shopping, clothes shopping, exercise and let’s be honest I could go on. So when you get home sometimes the thought of cooking a meal from scratch can be a bit daunting when all you want to do is chill with your little people.

This week the lovely people from Dolmio challenged us to do just this using a variety of ingredients and showing that you can make a hearty and delicious meal in not too much time at all. We decided to go for a Traditional spaghetti bolognaise using the Dolmio traditional sauce. We added in plenty of vegetables which I would often struggle to get the boys to eat like aubergine and courgettes as well as some of the ones they eat ordinarily like carrots, mushrooms and onions. The good thing about this dish is that you can hide the dreaded veg they turn their noses up at and the yummy flavour disguises them!

The boys helped with stirring the pan and licked the spoon a fair few times! I laid the table and we sat down to eat. This was on a busy Monday evening after we had done the school run and bowling club. The sun was shining as Spring is finally breaking through and we all sat down to a lovely family meal together that had only taken 25 minutes to prepare (that was with the boys ‘help’ slowing us down!

Being outnumbered by boys we get through a lot of food in this house and one jar of Dolmio was enough to feed us all as well as offer enough leftovers for Karl to take some in the next day for his packed lunch. This was using only a regular sized packet of mince and some of one packet of wholemeal spaghetti.

The boys of course ended up with food all over their faces and covering much of the table but they were happy and full. I often feel guilty when it’s been a busy day and we end up eating freezer food as it seems the simpler option however it is possible to have a home cooked meal with minimal prep and cooking.

Now I am not for one second suggesting I am some kind of domestic goddess (if you could see the mess in the kitchen now as I type you would gasp!) But I would like to be able to have some simple meals that I can easily cook on my own if Karl is working or we can cook together when he is here. I do cook spaghetti bolognaise but I had forgotten how much easier it is using a sauce like Dolmio.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. To find out more click here.

 

Best laid plans……

Hey all, happy Saturday evening to you.

Today was one of those days where I made loose plans as you never quite know what will happen and thank goodness I did.

Leo who has numerous food allergies the worst one being to cows milk protein had an allergic reaction to something he had eaten. Often we aren’t 100% sure exactly what it is but it leaves him poorly and miserable.

This isn’t anything too much out of the ordinary, we have been dealing with his allergies since he was two weeks old so we know how to deal with them it’s just not ideal when it’s the weekend and you want to meet your friend and her children at a local wildlife park.

Karl had to work later on today so we had the grand idea of me taking Nate out for a bike ride so I could get a nice walk (exercise to burn off cake) in and Karl and Leo would stay at home so Leo could chill and Karl would start cooking an early dinner so we could all eat together before he went to work.

It sounds perfect doesn’t it and I will be honest I was quite excited about some one on one time with Nate as Leo had been having the majority of my attention all day. So he donned his cycle helmet, talked me through his gears and off we went. We are lucky to live near some fab footpaths that are away from the road so we went along one of those that heads up to some woods. 

My only rule was that Nate wasn’t to go so far that we couldn’t see each other but luckily as the path is straight and quite wide I could see him easily. We came to a big hill and Nate was so chuffed with himself peddling all the way to the top without needing to get off his bike and push.

I noted some lovely cream coloured blossom on one of the trees and thought for a moment about stopping to take a snap but decided it would be best for the return journey so hopped along after Nate until we came to the bottom of another even bigger hill.

Now this hill I know well as I run up it (when my only exercise isn’t chopping said cake up!) Nate wisely decided to push the bike up the hill half way and then that he would come down on the bike and I should film him on my phone to show Daddy and Leo. 

We communicated by shouting and he announced so loudly that the birds flew out of the trees, ‘I’m Coming, start recording!’ So I did as any mother would and excitedly filmed him shrieking with excitement and with a huge smile on his face as he came down the hill. 

I reminded him to use his brakes as loudly as I could just incase he forgot but then chastised myself as an overprotective mother as he knows the hill and has been down it before so why would he forget?

Well can you guess? He forgot, the bike wobbled and I filmed my eldest son, my gorgeous boy crashing his bike in a cloud of dust. 

I sprinted to him as he wasn’t far ahead of me and found that the bike had fallen on top of him. He was covered in mud and crying his eyes out as you can imagine. I was quite concerned about his knee which on examination looked swollen and already bruised but he was more concerned about a nasty scrape on his arm. 

I did all the first aid stuff and made sure nothing was broken (thank goodness as on a footpath in the middle of the woods I have no idea how an ambulance would have got to us!) I then had the dilemma of being a good mile away from home with a heavy bike, an inconsolable Nate and hills to combat. 

Nate wanted an ambulance and for a good five minutes all he said was ‘A and E’ and then when I explained that an ambulance wouldn’t get to us he said ‘get the emergency helicopter then’!

I got him to sit on the bike and pulled him along, at one point my cardigan got stuck in the ‘engine’ bit of the bike (yes I hear you, I’m an idiot!) and had to try and untangle myself with Nate still on the bike and holding one of my arms.

I called Karl who confirmed what I knew that I needed to get him home and that he couldn’t get to me any quicker. I later found out that actually Leo was having a tantrum anyway so poor Karl was dealing with that! 

By the time we had gone the mile or so back to the end of the footpath I was dripping in sweat, I could feel the muscles at the top of my arm swelling and my back felt like it would give in. I decided that the best thing to do would be to leave Nate on one side of the road so I could cross with the bike and put it on our driveway and then run back to carry Nate across. He would be in my sight the whole time and I didn’t want to make him walk anymore. One because I didn’t want him to be in pain and two because he sounded like a wounded animal and was getting increasingly louder and I imagined our neighbours would panic. 

So I calmly explained my plan to him and went to get ready to cross the road when he said, ‘I can’t stand here on my own! I could be kidnapped’! I then heard laughter from a lady who was gardening her flower beds in the garden just next to us. I imagine she like me was imagining the millions of times I have said just those words to Nate when he has asked to go off and do something on his own.

So we get home to survey the damage and bless him he has some awful scratches and bruises and feels very sorry for himself. He was put onto the sofa in his pyjamas and we cuddled and then Nana came round for some added TLC.

You can imagine how shitty a mother I felt, being the bloody idiot who filmed her son crashing his bike and then had to somehow get him home. Karl assured me though that for a boy this is one of life’s valuable lessons and he did something similar crashing a bike into a fence at Nates age. 

I know that as parents we can’t wrap our children up in cotton wool but the guilt I felt and the feeling of my heart being in my mouth that my baby had hurt himself was truly awful. Next time I take him out he will be wearing much more padding and I imagine I will stick to a flatter path.

I’m not for a second suggesting that any of this was funny in anyway however it was only when we got home and had calmed down that I went through what Nate had been saying in my head and couldn’t help but giggle to myself. I have two amazing, bright, excitable and occasionally challenging little boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Is this is a good time to say I failed my cycling proficiency test at primary school?! 

International Women’s Day

I realise that I am one of the millions of people who are today writing about International Women’s Day and my thoughts on being a woman in the world. I am in awe of so many men and women and have many places I can look to for inspiration and guidance.

There are women the world over who are inspirational such as powerful women in governments, business, human rights, music, celebrity and writing. I am quite sure if I asked any woman she would have her list of go to inspirational women and the lists would differ greatly depending on personality and lifestyle.

I am not going to use this post to talk about women I find inspiring as I often do that in my blog posts as standard. I would like to talk about how I feel about being a woman and ask what does being a woman mean to you? I think my views are slightly off as I am not raising daughters. I have to use the viewpoint of raising boys who will respect women and be inspired to look at the achievements of everyone around them regardless of their sex.

I have spent time on Instagram this morning (big shocker I know!) and there are so many pictures of mothers who are raising daughters and their hopes and dreams for these little girls who have such a massive and varied world to grow up in. If I’m being totally honest I feel a little left out, I’m the mum who spent the morning arguing with Leo about how it is not appropriate to go to school with no pants on. I have been up since 0300 hours as my mind is constantly going over worries and issues so much so that I can’t sleep and I have been branded useless by Nate as I can’t tell him how much a McClaren F1 car would set him back or how many horse powers (Nate’s words not mine) they have.

I am struggling with being a human being at times at the moment let alone a woman, wife, mum and holder of massive parenting responsibility. How can I show my boys how much women should be respected and how important they are? Well I think the one thing I can say I am able to show is overcoming adversity. We have all had our fair share of issues in our lives and I don’t think there is a woman walking this earth who hasn’t. Yes okay some issues are tiny in comparison to others but that is all subjective. What I might see as huge someone else might see as tiny and vice versa. Just because people may not appreciate what it means or meant to you as an individual doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an issue and that you didn’t overcome it.

Every day I work on issues in my life of some kind, as many of you know at the moment its self confidence and self esteem issues and feeling like I’m not quite sure exactly who I am following a hysterectomy and six months off work. Some days I am really good at facing these issues head on and coping, solving and working on being a better person than I was yesterday. Other days I sit on the sofa and feel like all I can do is eat rubbish and watch reality TV which is somehow addictive but a total waste of time (Keeping up with the Kardashians?!)

The boys have been acutely aware that mummy has been ill and has been down, it must have been obvious over the last year going from issue to issue culminating in my operation. They have however seen me physically grow stronger, do more and recover. They watch me now being brighter, aware that I have issues but working on them. Stepping slowly into the sunlight and trying to stay there and not look back. How many other women have had to embrace such a journey that you can think of?

Whether it be a bad break up or divorce, ill health, career changes, family issues, friendship issues, dramatic changes in circumstances I can think of lots of women who have embraced these new beginnings and become stronger and wiser because of them. If the boys learn nothing else from me about women it will be that we take on board what life throws at us and we deal with it. Not always quickly and rarely on our own but we deal with it because we have to. We are women, we are depended on by so many and we depend on others. We are an integral part of how the wheel of this world turns and we should be proud of ourselves for this.

What defines us as women is whatever we want it to be. I, living in a house full of boys have to be quite strong in my identity as a woman otherwise the boy things take over. I say this while looking down at a remote controlled Porsche on the floor beside me, a drill on the dresser and some kind of electronic device with lots of wires and flashing lights on charging in the nearest plug socket. I have the responsibility of being the female influence to the boys and that is one that I take very seriously and am honoured to have.

Today we celebrate women all over the world and I am proud to say I am one of you. We can lead, achieve, influence and raise the future of our world and if that’s not an important job I don’t know what is. So whatever you do, stay at home mum, career woman, partner, single and happy hold your head high today and each day. You are doing the best you can and if today doesn’t go so well there is always tomorrow.

I’m not sure who said this but I wholeheartedly agree, ‘The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.’

 

Drone flying, bike riding and giant crumpets….

Hi all, how are you? 

This week like all the others seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. After what seems like a miserable few weeks I’m happy to say that this week with the start of spring and hints of sunshine to come has been much brighter.

Karl has just bought a new drone which he has wanted for ages. This white thing that looks a bit like a giant fan has been ever present in our lives since he received it at the beginning of the week. So much so the constant ‘droning’ noise it makes is starting to seem quite normal now. As is the gale force wind it blows around as it hovers over my head. 

So far this week we have taken selfies of ourselves in the garden from a great height, filmed the internal layout of the house while blowing around every loose bit of paper laying around (loads as always!) and filmed the boys riding their bikes up and down my parents driveway which is very long using the drones special ‘follow’ feature. 

I have to say I am genuinely concerned that we will end up causing no end of issues for the poor cows when they return to the field shortly and their peace is disturbed by Karl’s drone on follow mode but I’m hoping some of the overexcitement will have worn off before then! 

The boys have been particularly keen on bike rides this week and Leo is practicing to be ready to have his stabilisers off. This is for two reasons, one that he is five and really should be riding his bike on his own by now and two he is so huge that we are worried the poor stabilisers will buckle under the weight. He ate a bigger roast dinner than me today and that is quite a feat (I love a roast!)

I tried this week to be clever when it came to breakfast, I feel like daily the boys conspire to make it as difficult as possible. They change their minds repeatedly, decide they don’t like what they ate the day before, refuse to eat certain things over others (usually once I’ve already made the first) and generally drive me potty. 

So I went to the new Aldi and stocked up on every kind of breakfast option available. Cereals by the dozen, fruits, yoghurts, breakfast biscuits, bread for toast, eggs, bacon, sausages, cold meats and giant crumpets. If I’m being totally honest they were more for Karl and I. We are both partial to a nice crumpet and they looked so yummy. Typically both Nate and Leo decided they wanted said crumpets and not only ate nothing else of the huge amount of stuff I had bought but I ended up having to go and buy more giant crumpets and at my last count this morning that’s 24 this week! Nate will only eat his half butter half chocolate spread which is extremely odd! 

I am so happy that spring is here and I’m looking forward to the next part of the year. This week has been full of light and it feels like the new season has bought a new sense of purpose. 

Alf the cat is doing well, thank you for all your lovely thoughts and comments. He is eating like a king and doing lots of resting. We believe thanks to our neighbours we have identified the offending cat who apparently has been making a menace of himself with cats in the road. I’m not really sure what to do about that yet but I am very thankful our Alf is okay and on the mend. 

So this week if anyone feels they are being followed I apologise for Karl and his drone and if anyone fancies breakfast I have enough food to feed the whole of Kent (not any giant crumpets though, they are Nate and Leo’s apparently!)

Have a fab week you lovely people and never forget that you are amazing and you can achieve great things. No one can define exactly what those things are so this week if you climb a mountain or simply manage to get your little darlings to brush their teeth without a twenty minute debate about the workings of gum disease you will have achieved something!