Monday, 31 December 2012

Reflecting on a Rollercoaster Year of Emotions, Opportunities, and Moving House - Twice!

It seems strange to be blogging about the past year when you’ve only really been at it for a couple of months ‘The Mad Mummy Musings’ is very new indeed, but I think it’s important I do, if not for my own personal growth but also as something to look back on in another year’s time.

As you will be well aware by now if you’ve been reading my musings, I lost my Mum to lung cancer last September so as a family unit we began 2012 bruised, still in grief and confused as to how to move forward and make it all better again. It was one of those situations where placing a bandage over the wound wasn’t going to make it better or make it disappear. There are some things in life you just have to accept and try to move on from.

Mum & I on a girly holiday
It was evident that my eldest daughter wasn’t coping well and I myself just couldn’t allow myself the space to grieve as the girls needed me. My youngest was only a year old and I’ve found that the first 2 years of a little one’s life is the hardest for parents. They change daily, weekly, monthly. They have a great need for one-on-one care so throwing in a very emotionally needy 6 year old and a Mum who is desperate to grieve the loss of her own Mum but can’t, makes for a highly emotive situation.


I decided early in the year to focus on my eldest daughter and she had sessions in “Play Therapy” which allow a child to work through their feelings and experiences through play. She had several sessions and they were a life saver. I just couldn’t give her all the emotional support she needed so this allowed her space to focus on her feelings and work things out for herself in addition to my input. It comes highly recommended. As we are heading into 2013, she has once again begun to return to the little girl she was. This has relieved the pressure of an exceptional weight I’ve carried around with me for the majority of this year.

As the year has progressed, we have had to endure those “firsts” when someone close in your life disappears; my Mum’s Wedding Anniversary, my 1st Mother’s Day without her, my 40th Birthday, the 1st Anniversary of Mum’s death, what would have been her 70th Birthday (we always planned to celebrate “big” in 2012 as we had our important birthdays together in the same year) and then a second Christmas without her warm, loving presence. But now we have done that, and it will, I’m sure, make it easier as we move forward to 2013.

My 40th Birthday was a high point in 2012 and I made sure I celebrated it in style with those I loved around me. You realise that despite your loss there are many in your life who can help you pick up the pieces and re-make the puzzle. The whole thing made me reflect over the past 7 years and by the time I’d reached October and my mother’s birthday, I decided that it was time to move on. I finally took the plunge after completing a short story course to start writing. Sophia’s Choice blog was first to be created and I’m really looking forward to making something of this in 2013. My hopes are it won’t just remain a blog but will become the website I envisioned it to be long ago.

Whilst I began to plough my energies into Sophia’s Choice I also plunged head first into the world of Twitter. Twitter has always daunted me but I knew I had to get involved particularly with the blog etc. This made me tweet a little more on my personal account too and one evening whilst I was messing around I had a message from author, Charlie Plunkett, asking if I’d like to contribute to her new book, “100 Little Words on Parenthood”. Well, to say I nearly fell off my chair was an understatement. Me write for someone else who is already established? Well, um, yes ok then! So I emailed across some possible 100 words extracts and Charlie asked to include them all and bless her, complimented me on my writing style. Now for anyone out there who’s either not a writer or who has passed this very early stage, it probably means nothing. But for me this was bit stuff. This was a boost to my confidence and it spurred me on to finally think hard about writing the book that’s been in my head for a long time now. Also, it’s something to add to a portfolio – only small but still, perfectly formed. The book is now out on Kindle. Click here to take a look.

Our last upheaval of 2012 was to move house not once, but twice! Yes, the word “Nutter” springs to mind here. However, it wasn’t planned that way. When you rent, as we presently do, you are often at the hands of your Landlord and everything went pear-shaped. We had to move again after just 11 weeks from our initial move, and this was yet another test to our resolve as a family. However, we're now in our newest home, happy and feeling more settled by the day. In the greater scheme of things, it’s actually for the best so the Universe had a plan all along. Either that or my Mum was working her magic to make things right for us once again J

The girls and their Daddy on the Beach 

As I write this my youngest is celebrating her 2nd Birthday today. The time has passed lightening fast and if I’m honest in a bit of a blur. But I know that from this point on it gets easier. The tiny one is more independent now, the bigger one is more settled again, and I can now focus on getting myself back on track both emotionally and with my new ventures. I can finally begin to nourish both myself and my family again.

So it’s with a lighter, happier heart that I enter into 2013. I’m truly excited about what it will bring us all and particularly how things will develop with my writing and the blogs. If you’re reading this newest extract, “Thank you” for taking the time to do so. It means a lot and I hope to bring you lots more in the coming year.

Whatever you are doing this evening, whether it be a quiet night in or “raving” with the best of them, may I wish you and yours a Happy, Abundant, Healthy 2013 filled with love, many new opportunities and oodles of laughter. Here’s to a good one !


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Muddling through despite it all

Well, yet another Christmas has been and gone. This year it’s felt strange. Not only have we just moved house 4 weeks ago for the second time in 3 months (not planned but unfortunately forced upon us), but it’s also been the second Christmas without my Mum since we lost her last September to lung cancer.

Somehow her absence has been harder to accept this Christmas. Her presence has been missed far more than last year when we were, I suppose, still in shock that we had lost her. Her passing was to some degree unexpected in many ways. You always live in hope don’t you and I think for me having just had another baby 6 weeks before she was diagnosed, and with a 4 year old who absolutely adored her, it meant that I was thrown into a world I really didn’t wish to be in. She passed away 6 months later and I still battle with the fact that I wasn’t able to be with her as much as I needed and wanted to be at that time. I had a new baby to care for, a 4 year old who had recently started school and was experiencing separation anxiety for the first time, and we were living 3 hours drive away. It still haunts me today that I wasn’t able to be there for her when she needed me most. But you do the best you can given your personal circumstances don’t you?

Parenting is a tough job. We all strive to get it right and embrace varying styles that suit our lives, the people we are, our beliefs, hopes and dreams for the future. But when life strikes you with so many obstacles to overcome in a relatively short space of time, you wonder how you’ll get through to the other side and just hope to god that you won’t leave your kids scarred by your lack of parenting prowess.


For us as a family unit the past seven years have been challenging to say the least. I met my husband 20 years ago. It seems like only yesterday when we both met at college, and the time since has flown by. We married after 7 years of being together; a great way to bypass the 7 year itch ! And another 7 years passed before we were finally blessed with a beautiful baby girl. We tried for 3 years before conceiving her and then when it happened it was in France. The impact of not knowing we could actually have kids coupled with having my first pregnancy and birth in a foreign country away from family and friends meant that I sadly suffered both pre and post natal depression.

I wasn't really aware I suffered with pre natal depression at the time but looking back over the past 6 years, I can now see it was and this sadly developed into PND once my eldest daughter was born. This had a huge impact on us as a family and it took until I returned to the UK almost 2 years later before I was able to get the help I needed and it was another 2 before I was well again. During that time, we had problems with extended family members and then just as things looked like they were beginning to fall back into place and we had another baby to look forward to, my mother was diagnosed with cancer.

What scared me most then was would I once again succumb to PND after my second daughter’s birth given these new circumstances, particularly after my mother’s death. My eldest daughter was also struggling enormously with the loss of her beloved Nanna and nothing I could say or do seemed to make it better. My poor baby girl had not only started school a year earlier, she’d had to get used to a new sibling arriving, and was now coping with the loss of my mother after a 6 month long battle with illness. That’s big stuff for a 4 - 5 year old to cope with. To say we were in turmoil as a family unit was an understatement.

But you still have to carry on don’t you and it’s amazing how resilient you can be if you find the positive somewhere within the chaos. I long to spend relaxed, fun time with my husband and the girls. Stress, illness (like PND) and grief knock you sideways and it’s amazing how easily you can lose the person you once were. You become unrecognisable. You begin to run on autopilot and as a Mum you are constantly balancing everyone’s needs against your own. I know I've failed miserably over this time but I've never lost sight of trying to make sure my children know that I love them with all my heart and things will get better with time. As they say, “time heals all wounds”.

We are about to celebrate my youngest’s second birthday in 3 days time, and after our unexpected 2 house moves I’m hopeful that 2013 will begin to even out the ripples in our life and we can finally focus on getting some level of calm back into it. And the little one is such a bundle of joy, energy and love. As my Mum said, “she’s heaven sent”.

I always saw being a Mum as such an easy place to be. I've always wanted to parent in a gentle, conscious and empowering way that gives my kids the love, tenderness and balance they need to become the people they wish to be. I just never factored in the other bits life can throw at you along the way. So I've decided that for 2013 I’m asking the universe to cut me some slack and help me rebuild my family unit into a strong, happy, fun-loving, balanced place to be once again. It’s not too much to ask now, is it?



Friday, 14 December 2012

Hello and Welcome to The Mad Mummy Musings !

Well, I’ve finally got my act together to write my first blog post for “The Mad Mummy Musings”. Christmas is just around the corner and having moved house about 2 weeks ago, I’m feeling a little bit immersed in chaos ! I’ve a huge list of “To Do’s” waving frantically at me including making some yummy chutneys and marmalade for pressies, but at the rate I’m going everyone including my kids will be lucky to get presents or be fed on the actual day itself if I don’t get my act together. This is not my nature. I’m normally super organised, a bit of a control freak actually if the truth be known, so this is uncomfortable territory for me. So let’s hope normality and sanity of sorts returns to my household soon !

In addition to all this family chaos, I’ve been blogging since October this year for my other blog, Sophia’s Choice, which has been great fun and I’m loving sharing information with like-minded people. The blog is gaining in popularity and I’ve been able to link up with lots of fabulous companies so far.

But I always wanted to write another blog about the ups and downs of being a Mum of 2 spirited girls, life in general, my passions; cooking, gardening, writing, nutrition and health, anything creative, music. The list goes on. I could end up boring the pants off you or you may actually enjoy my inane ramblings about life. I’m hoping it’s the latter.

Before becoming a Mummy, I had my own business as a holistic therapist. I gave treatments in Reflexology, several forms of Massage, Reiki (I also taught Reiki I & II courses) and I also trained as an Baby Massage Instructor. One of my passions has always been health and nutrition and this hasn’t waned. Since having my own children I am even more passionate about how we can make a difference to their lives by making worthwhile, conscious decisions for them and ourselves.

In 2005 I moved to Brittany, France where I lived with my husband for just short of 3 years. It was an eventful time with many highs and lows along the way. It was also where I had my first daughter. It wasn't planned that way, but that’s how the universe decided it was going to be. It came with its difficulties, which we’ll save for another post but I did return to the UK 3 years later able to speak French a hell of a lot better than when I arrived. One plus at least.

I now reside in the West Country with my long suffering hubby, our two beautiful girls aged 2 and 6, and two neurotic cats. There never seems to be a dull moment in our lives and there are times when I long for peace, calm and balance in my life. That’s what I’m striving for. The past 7 years have been rather like a roller-coaster and there have  been many times when I've just wanted to get off. However, live doesn't always agree, so I've just learnt that you have to hang on tight and try your best to enjoy the ride anyway.

Through this blog I hope to give you a piece of me; my loves, my dislikes, my thoughts on life, being a Mum. I’m hoping it will be a delicious mix of all sorts of interesting things. I love to chat with others so encourage you to comment and get involved. Sharing is so important especially since we seem to live our lives these days separated from loved ones and close friends. Connecting with like-minded people even if it is over the internet can be inspiring and uplifting.

Thanks for reading my first installment. Do pop back soon to see what else I have in store. If I don’t see you before I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a truly fabulous year ahead xx.





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