Advertisements
RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Grateful

Today an article was published in the Guardian in which the author Bibi Lynch, expressed her disdain at women who complain that motherhood is difficult. She herself is not a mother (through the opportunity never arising) and used the piece to appeal to mothers to ‘open their eyes and see what they have’. I found the article very hard to read as a mother myself who yes, does have a rant occasionally about how difficult life is.

Yes, she was brave to have written such an honest piece so publicly and, yes I have sympathy for her that her life hasn’t taken the course she’d have liked and she’s been robbed of the chance to have a family. But after posting the article on Twitter this morning and sparking a debate which has lasted the day, I feel I need to explain exactly why her words have touched a nerve with me.

Bibi cites a survey which claims that ‘women who tried to be “supermums” were in danger of becoming depressed and stay-at-home Mums (with no adult company) were most at risk from this depression’.  She then goes on to say she’s sick of hearing about desolate Mums and how hard motherhood is. Dangerous ground, lady.

I have suffered post-natal depression. I still, two and a half years after the birth of my second child suffer depression (only recently diagnosed) and anxiety to the point where I have a physical reaction in the form of heart palpitations and nearly pass out from light-headedness and dizzy spells. It’s no joke and sometimes takes all the strength I have just to get through the day. It’s not a weakness and it certainly shouldn’t give reason for criticism.

Does this mean I sometimes need a sounding board after a particularly stressful day? Yes. Do I sometimes need to take to Twitter or my blog to find support from people in similar situations? Yes, and it’s a HUGE support. Does this mean I’m not grateful for what I have? Not for a second. Does this mean I wish I’d never had children? No, absolutely not. I KNOW how lucky I am to have my children. Each night I kiss my children and thank my lucky stars for having them in my life. They are my world, I would die for them. Since becoming a mother I have not once wished I’d remained childless. Not for a second, not even on the hardest, most bone-crushingly tiring days.

LadyCurd wrote earlier that you shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. I cannot agree with this sentiment more. Mothers suffering depression (regardless of whether or not it’s post-natal) suffer massive guilt. Guilt associated with bonding with their child, guilt because they’re not working, guilt because they ARE working but most of all, guilt because they’re feeling sad when they have this wonderful child and they’re not bursting with happiness. Then reading that they should be happy/grateful/dancing a jig around the living room whist sitting under a dark black cloud which simply refuses to lift is painful. Very painful to read. Cue more guilt, the black cloud descends further and so the cycle continues.

What is clear from the piece is that there is a strong difference in opinion between mothers and women who don’t have children. I disagree that mothers are treated as superior citizens. Quite the opposite in fact. Long gone are the days when seats are given up on the bus or tube. Women pushing prams are sneered at for taking up the pavement and I’ve even had people move in a cafe when I’ve sat down next to them with my children (in a family cafe, at lunchtime and my children were sat in silence I must point out). Working mothers are at the very bottom of the food chain. How many women do you know who’ve had to compromise on their job/hours/pay after having children? Most working Mums I know have, and a shocking number have found themselves ousted from their positions after maternity leave, having to take on a different role or having no job to go back to at all.

I must reiterate that as much as I can, I do empathise with Bibi for her situation. It must be so hard seeing friends become pregnant, being surrounded by children knowing that it’ll never now happen for her but at the same time I beg, please don’t tar us all with the same brush. In your own words you are somebody who ‘fucked up her own life and is just jealous’ but please, please don’t lay the blame on other mothers. Don’t judge us on something you (sadly) know nothing about and most of all please, please don’t ever call us ungrateful. Believe me, we do know we’re born.

Advertisements

Childhood memories and grown-up dreams

Today, as we entered the gates to the park, I went off in one direction to sit on the blanket and the boys another, to play on the equipment. As they walked off together, Max slipped his hand into Finns. This small gesture, completely natural and unprovoked, stirred something in me and it felt as if my heart was going to burst right there.

A relationship between siblings is unique to any other. Stronger than friendship, bound through blood, it is one which lasts a lifetime and holds the key to our past, the strongest link to a shared history.

As they played, I watched on and every now and again they’d lose each other and come to me asking where the other is. Even at such a young age, they are a comfort to each other which brings me peace knowing they will always have a non-parental force in their life, each watching over the other.

As they grow, they will share secrets, games, friends, and what we’ll do our absolute best to be a very happy childhood. As long as they have each other, these boys will be just fine.

No spring skips it’s turn

It’s like I’ve come out of hibernation this weekend. I mentioned before about how life is so much easier when the sun’s shining and it’s like the weather Gods have granted me favour and shone the sun down for a whole week.

We’ve only had one day off together this week so I got up early (which was not actually that early, as it turns out. BST, I am cross with you for making me lose an hour’s sleep but will forgive you as I bask in the long evening sunshine). I am training for a charity cycle ride (more of that soon…) so hopped on my bike and clocked up a not-too-shabby 20 miles. It was a lovely ride, a trip down memory lane if you will, as I cycled to Whitchurch where I grew up and took in each of my 3 old houses there.

We then decided that the time has come to get the veggies planted so hopped in the camper van and headed to B&Q. We spotted some cute wendy-houses and I don’t know who was more taken by them, us or the boys. I want this one so bad.

The smell of barbeques were wafting our way from neighbouring gardens so we decided to join in and have our first barbie of the year. Eaten on the picnic blanket.  Proper summery, like (there may have even been* a chilled glass of wine involved).

I bought the boys a growing kit from B&Q so they can have their own little plants. It contains tomatoes, lettuce and pumpkin seeds and is perfect for little ones. You just re-hydrate these little pods filled with soil, push the seeds into the soil and cover the tray with the plasic lid. They were a big hit and are now sitting warming nicely on the windowsill as we eagerly await the first shoots.

Now it was my turn. I bought a whole host of seeds and once the greenhouse had been de-spidered *shudder* I set to work planting my new babies, watering them in whilst dreaming about ratatouilles and sweet corn on the cobs we enjoyed last summer (lets not talk about the earwigs on the corn though *bigger shudder*).

This makes me very happy. Now to fight over who goes out each night to water the little blighters.

*was

Happy

Today was my fourth Mothering Sunday, a day which since becoming a Mother I’ve found a bit tricky. I want to see my Mum, Andy wants to see his Mum and we also want to do something just us with our boys (so I get them to myself!).

We’ve experimented with different things in the past, having both Mums here or seeing one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Having them both here isn’t really an option anymore. They get on fine but are quite different people so it always feels a bit awkward and like nobody is quite relaxed, plus I usually end up cooking which I don’t want to do on Mother’s Day *stamps foot*.

So a compromise this year was to each spend a day with our Mums before Mother’s Day to get our ‘Mum fix’ before the day so we can do something just the four of us. Man, what a good day it’s been.

It pretty much summed up my perfect Sunday which, me being Mum and it being Mother’s Day means the boys done good.

I have agreed to a Bristol-Weston charity cycle with the nursery in May. They’ve not told me the mileage yet (perhaps I should have asked before I said yes…) but the only cycle route I can find is 40 miles long. Cue mild panic. So with this in mind, I need to get some miles in training.

A long ride was planned for this morning and Andy suggested him and the boys come too. Brilliant idea. But, uh, who’s going to tow the bike trailer with 2 stone child inside? Oh. Ok. Well, I guess it’ll benefit my training. So we took off up to the Bristol-Bath cycle track, which we’re lucky to have virtually on our doorstop and powered to Bath and back. 17 miles. Bloody hard work. Must remember cake money next time.

I was then plonked on the sofa with the papers, a blanket and ‘Ratatouille‘. A long, much needed snuggle ensued whilst Andy busied himself in the kitchen preparing lunch.

I was then treated to a delicious roast beef dinner, apple pie and custard. Andy rarely gets to cook as he works evenings and at weekends he does bath & bed with the boys so I do pretty much all of the dinners which is fine but it’s soooo good to be treated sometimes, especially when your husband does a mean Sunday dinner as mine does.

We’ve had a lovely spring evening here in Bristol so took the dog out for a stroll after dinner to try and walk off the food babies we were lugging around. The kids took great delight in the muddy puddles and were filthy so after a dip in the bath, we had a final snuggle in front of the TV, all 4 of us, before packing 2 very sleepy boys off to bed.

I’m now sat with some chocolate and a glass of wine in front of the fire to round off my perfect day. I’ve been thoroughly spoilt and have the words of my four-year old in my head ‘I love you soooo much, Mummy’ which has been repeated to me over again today. It’s the best, they’re the best and I’m one lucky Mama 🙂

4 Years: A life in pictures

This time 4 years ago my life changed forever. Finley William Sherlock made a speedy arrival into the world at 1am on Saturday 8th March 2008. When you have a baby, probably the thing you get told the most is ‘make the most of it, it goes too fast’. Really, it does. It seems like only yesterday I was standing in my living room, 2-day-old baby in my arms thinking ‘what the hell do I do with this thing?’ and now here I am, 6 months away from waving him off to school *sob*.

So here we are, the most tiring, anxious, busy, sleep-deprived, fulfilling, wonderful 4 years of my life. And I wouldn’t change 1 second. Happy birthday buddy x