Monday, 31 August 2015

Mirror mirror on the wall,let me accept myself.... warts and all!

So those of you that follow my updates on the Facebook page will know that we have had two pretty tricky weeks away this summer. And we came back a little early from the last one. Cos the honest truth is that I was knackered. My son missed his WiFi and the routine and comfort of home, and we all were on top of each other in the caravan, there was no escape. I was gonna implode if I stayed there much longer.
(only joking)

Don’t get me wrong there were fab moments, and times when we all laughed together and had loads of fun. I suppose it was a week of ups and downs really, but I found it tough, and I was tired.....I will in time reflect on what happened and put things into perspective I’m sure, and laugh as I tell some of ‘the not so funny at the time stories’ (stories that include a shoe being launched at a slow moving car, a poor unsuspecting lady on the street having her bottom shoved from behind, and the epic daily battles of ......Caravan walls Vs The boy in the sleeping bag!!)

 But I’m not quite there yet ....just a little fragile at the mo!

Of course when we arrived home he settled back into his little room, he’s happy as Larrry. On the other hand I think I have been left a little shell shocked by the last few weeks and months.

When I sit here and think about it’s been a pretty shitty year really. My son wasn’t coping with mainstream year 6 so needed to go part time and I have home schooled him since Easter. I left my job to become his full time carer. And then there was the long transition and battle with the LEA to get him in the right school which took months. So he was only in his new school for 2 full weeks before we then broke up for the long summer holidays. There’s been no respite from the stress really for months now, so I suppose there’s no wonder I am looking a bit haggard is there?

I looked at myself in the mirror and I almost didn’t recognise the person looking back at me. Grey hair, bags under my eyes, no makeup, and a constant feeling in my tummy. Some of you may know that feeling of anxiety that can creep up on you. Well it’s crept up on me over the last few months and isn’t bloody going anywhere in a hurry! I’ve noticed it making me jittery when driving on the motorway. It’s making me pessimistic and snappy with my hubby over silly things like towels on the floor. And it’s making me dog tired.  I recognise it all too well.... I’m not daft I know what it is that’s creeping over me, its my arch nemesis who has visited me many times before..... And I know what I need to do. I will visit the docs next week. Judge me all you like but I’m not ashamed to admit it to anyone. The dreaded D word.....
It shouldn’t be taboo. It’s human, and normal, and shouldn’t be kept behind closed doors.

I know it’s not a sign of weakness. My nerves are rattled due to a long period of stress, and I know I need to do something about it. Not only for my sake but for my kids’ sake too...  They need a mum that’s firing on all cylinders.

You see my son lets everyone know when he’s anxious, stressed, or feeling damn right crappy. He gets it all out there and we deal with it and then he moves on. I reckon I could learn a lot from him really. 

Cos when I looked in the mirror the other day I did the opposite..... I thought to myself, mask it woman your OK, you have to be...  Sort yourself out, pull yourself together!! So I put on my makeup, died my hair and faced the day when all I really wanted to do was stay in my PJ’s and rest my fragile nerves a little, embracing how I was really feeling.  

Later the very same day my teenage daughter was messing about with a silly app on her phone. Basically it airbrushes out all your imperfections and makes you look ‘perfect’. She took a photo of me and airbrushed it. She got rid of my bags, my wrinkles, my chubbly cheeks, and my tired looking eyes. She made a ‘perfect’ version of me! But one thing the app couldn’t airbrush out was how I was feeling. That can’t be airbrushed out.

Just like when my son is feeling anxious, or overwhelmed.... We need to deal with it, recognise and embrace how he is feeling and then we do something about it and move on.

So that’s what I am trying to do. I am recognising how I feel instead of trying to airbrush it out. Being a mum is tough. It’s OK to find things hard. I am not going to let it overwhelm me and I am going to do something about it. I may have some PJ days but that’s OK, the odd one or two never harmed anyone!

And if anyone reading this has also been trying to airbrush out their feelings too, then please remember there’s no such thing as perfect. We’re all human, we all need a PJ day every once in a while.

In fact I reckon when my kids are all back at school later this week , (after visiting the docs of course) that’s exactly what I’m gonna do, with no makeup on, eating ice cream , and watching back to back Netflix.

My son has taught me to be me...the un-airbrushed version of me that is !!

Mrs M x

 (warts and all)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A letter to my husband

Dear Mr M, 
So today we celebrated 15 years of marriage and 23 years of being together. It's been a roller coaster adventure of a ride Mr M. With highs and lows, moments of absolute despair, and yet many more times of laughter, joy and happiness.

As I sit here writing this now I can’t help but create a picture in my mind of the two spotty teenagers that met all those years ago, so young and carefree. Back then all we thought about was fun steamy nights, and sneaking around after curfew. Love letters and living in the moment.

You asked me out whilst we were sitting on a bin sharing a bag of soggy chips, and I was smitten! What more could a girl want.

You were older than me and I was so proud to strut around with you on my arm.

We had our whole lives mapped out ahead of us didn't we?

But we quickly learnt that what we had imagined for ourselves and our kids wouldn't come anywhere near to the reality we would face. 

Because now, well now so many things have changed.

Our lives, like so many others parents out there is not one if I'm being completely honest I would have chosen. Autism, Dyslexia, I.E.P’s, health care plans, doctors’ appointments, social services, suspicions and even judgement of our ability to parent.

Not to mention the countless assessments, tests, and years and years of fighting a system that doesn't understand our son, just to get him the support that he's entitled to.

So let’s face it Mr M, I am anything but young and carefree nowadays. The hair dye and twitching eye are certainly testimony to that. I am no longer that ‘live in the moment’ kind of girl you fell in love with. 

And I would rather sneak into bed for some 'shut eye' if I ever got a child free evening... never mind staying out after curfew!

But who am I kidding anyway. Nights out are a thing of the past. Because if we do manage to escape, it’s usually separately as getting a sitter that can manage our tribe is a rare treat.

And sadly, we no longer stare into each other’s eyes over soggy chips (well I don't miss the soggy chips part it has to be said). Because I am usually cooking three different meals to accommodate the diverse food fads of our kids in this house!

It was heart-breaking in the early days of our marriage watching you reach out to our son to do the usual father son stuff; you know the football, cycling, and sports like all your friends were doing with their sons. To then see the hidden rejection you felt when he had a meltdown pitch side.

I know how hard that was for you to understand him before he had his diagnosis. I could see the pain in your eyes as you felt so helpless to see your little boy so anxious. But as it turns out, our children have taught us so much more than we could have ever imagined.

Then add into equation trying to find time for each other, work and responsibilities, high blood pressure, teenage daughters, lack of sleep,  financial pressures, dogs, cleaning, laundry, home schooling….. I mean c’mon the list goes on. There’s no wonder we are not the same people we once were is there?

I don’t know about you Mr.M, but I no longer desire the world at my feet. I would simply be happy with a hot bath, a good book and 5 minutes peace on the loo every now and again. Now that would be lovely.

But seriously, I want to grow old with you whilst we watch our kids growing up being happy and proud of who they are, not who society tells them to be. Together we are helping our kids to stand up for themselves, love themselves, and hopefully they will leave us one day to fulfil their own potential (or like our son says he will be living in a caravan in our back garden!) Whatever makes them happy. 

Despite the stress ours is chaotic fun mad house. Our kids are happy and loved and I wouldn't have it any other way (most of the time.)

Whether they are Dyslexic, Autistic, or a little ditsy sometimes. They are all unique and amazing because we made them, I mean that's a miracle isn’t it.

We made 3 perfect lives- that’s enough legacy for anyone I'd say.

You see some things just won’t change Mr M. Despite all the crap that has come our way these last 23 years, I still love you with all my heart, and I am more proud than ever to strut around with you on my arm. Because you’re a wonderful father to our kids. I am so proud of the man my teenage first love has become.

So for now, I hope you can settle for an exhausted wife that would rather have an early night and a hot steamy bath, and not that youthful carefree bit of stuff you hooked up with all those years ago?

And like our wedding song says “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

Well we're already halfway there Mr M, where have the years gone? 

So as long as you’re not feeding me soggy chips, I’m up for the next 23 years adventures… are you? 

Mrs M x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

"You don't need the loo do you mum?"

Now this particular blog is a little embarrassing, and it’s of a personal nature.  So stop reading if easily offended, or you know me well and don't want to imagine me in such intimate details as I am about to now describe.

But I promised to always be honest warts and all ;-)
So look away, or read on, the choice is yours.... 

It relates to that unfortunate phenomenon that only women who have kids and have reached a certain age will relate to. You know the one; the sneezing, laughing, coughing = cross your legs, and needing the loo at the most awkward of times phenomenon.  You see it creeps up on you along with grey hairs, comfy knickers and  finding yourself all tucked up in bed at 10pm with a nice peppermint tea, and a good word search!! (When did I become my mother?!) 
Come on ladies I can’t be alone in this ..can I ?

So anyway, this 'cross my legs' issue is beginning to prove a little more tricky for me than most, due to my son. Let me explain. You see he hates public toilets. He really doesn't like using them and even worse than that he hates ME using them!!!

Well you can see how this poses a problem for me cant you. Whenever we arrive anywhere; cos I know I can’t, I inevitably need to visit the ladies room! And, I reckon he has some kind of sixth sense about it, cos the first thing that comes out of his little mouth whilst looking up at me with his little puppy dog eyes is “You don’t need the loo do you mum?"  Of course not son, I dutifully say through gritted teeth, whilst inside my little bladder is screaming.. Erm yes you do woman!!

So I have developed my golden toilet rules for whenever I go out and about with my son (I kid you not!)

1)     Absolutely no coffee or tea( of any variety) for at least 2 hours before leaving the house
2)     Double layer protection ( you get me don’t you ladies)
3)     Subconsciously avoid all taps/ waterfalls/ rivers/ basically anywhere within earshot of running water
4)     Think happy thoughts (“ reading a book, sitting on a beach, waves lapping the shore... ahh waves, water....STOP IT brain” )
5)     When thirsty I have a chewing gum ( it’s like having a drink with no liquid)
6)     Try not to think about the fact that my bladder is going to explode, use  SAS like distraction techniques to keep my mind occupied
7)     Think some more happy thoughts (“watching tele, eating Chinese food, with a nice long cold G&T..  ahh drink .....STOP IT brain!”)
8)     Undo my top button if getting really bad
9)     “Right come on son time to go home!” If all of the above has failed, and I just can’t take the pain anymore
10)Drive home thinking happy thoughts (“ I need the loo, I need the loo, I need the loo”), and then run in the house clambering up the stairs to the loo pushing my kids out of the way shouting “me first!!”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh  ... knock, knock, knock.... “Muuuuuuum!!”  

So anyway, this is all good and well. That is, if I remember my own rules.

You see yesterday I broke two of my golden toilet rules. I had a cuppa half an hour before going to the cinema to see ‘Inside Out’ with my son. To make matters worse once there, I was then fooled by the temptation of a deal in which I thought I was getting an amazing bargain on popcorn and a large coke. And it proved too much for my ‘oh I do like a good bargain’ mentality to refuse .......and I drank the bloody lot!!!

Well you can imagine cant you!

There was no escape for nearly 2 hours, cos I couldn’t pull golden rule number 9 out of the bag now could I? We were sat watching a film, and that would have been a one way ticket to meltdown city for sure!

So I sat, and I sat, and I sat, and trust me that drive home yesterday was a long one.

So OK OK...  lesson learnt, no more maverick rule breaking for me! I am happy to become my mum; drinking peppermint tea at bedtime and wearing comfy knickers. Cos my mum would never be dazzled by an offer that endangered her bladder and left her wishing she could actually tear her insides out..... Never mind sit watching it trying to remember where it all went so horribly wrong!

Mrs M
( all this talk of bladders ... I'm off to the loo;-) x