15 December 2019
21 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety | Family
Our littlest monkey.
Stanley arrived in 2017. The youngest of our four, there is an age gap of 12 years between him and his next brother, 14 between him and his sister and 16 between him and his biggest brother. Age gaps seem to be a point of preference and disagreement, but for our family, this is perfect.
Lee and I were lucky enough to meet when we were young. We’ve spent our entire adult lives together. We’ve had struggles, things weren’t so financially secure for us in the beginning as we didn’t have years of savings behind us, but every struggle we have had has made us stronger. We had our oldest children Joe, Katie and Barn quite soon. There’s not a big age gap between them as we wanted them to be close. It was important to us that they were. Joe and Katie share the same birthday but two years apart and Barn is 23 months younger than Katie. It was full on when they were small. It was brilliant, but we didn’t get much time to ourselves and when Lee was working long hours, to get us extra money, it all fell on me. We had always wanted one more to complete our family, but the time wasn’t right, it wouldn’t have been fair on the kids or us to have another one then. We wouldn’t have had enough time or space to make sure they had all they needed. So we didn’t, and they grew.
I can’t believe how quickly they grew to be honest, I still feel the same age I was when I had Joe, but he is 18 now. It doesn’t seem possible. Life flies by. It seemed we had waited too long to expand our family. The kids were too old and we worried it wouldn’t work, that they would resent a new little person in the house.
Things have changed for us over the last few years, we started a family business and began working together, which was strange to start with but wonderful in it’s own way. It comes with a lot of challenges, but obviously provides us with a lot more flexibility. I don’t have to work five days a week now, which is nice, and we realised if we put off having another baby any longer then we wouldn’t ever do it. So we did. The kids were all teenagers (or almost), and we did wonder how they would take it, but they were all excited, once they got over the surprise.
When Stanley arrived we joked that he had been lost in the post, and that’s why there was such an age gap. He was always meant to be here, we just had to wait for the right time, and when he did arrive it was perfect. There has never been a little boy so loved. He is adored by the whole family, and always has someone to play with. Everyone has time for him, and no one feels left out. The bonus of the other kids being older is that when they go out, it’s almost like having an only child for a minute. It is so different from having the chaos that came with having three kiddies under four years old. Not better, just different. An experience I didn’t think I would have. To a family that is close anyway, he just brought more love. I’m careful not to ask too much of the older kids. I’m often told I’m lucky to have three built in babysitters, but I wouldn’t ever want them to think that was all they were. I wouldn’t want to take advantage of them, but it is handy to be able to pop to the shop when I need something without having to drag them all out!
I don’t think there are any rights or wrongs when it comes to family dynamics. For us this works, but if you’d asked me five years ago, I would have told you the gap between the kids would have been too much. There just came a point when it didn’t matter any more. Several people have told me we should have one more so that he isn’t on his own, but he isn’t. He might be the smallest, but he has the love and attention of all of us, and for that, he is one very lucky little thing. I knew the minute he arrived, that our family was complete, and perfect and that makes me one very happy Mummy.
Thanks as always, for reading this.
18 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
It’s getting towards the end of the year and I’m feeling pretty grateful for all that I have and for how far I’ve come. I feel like I’m getting myself back if that makes sense. There are so many big things, but here’s a little list of the small things that actually really matter…
Since being sober I have never…
• Hidden my recycling.
• Taken my recycling to the dump in between collections to avoid embarrassment of an overflowing box of glass.
• Snuck to the fridge to have a sneaky extra glass of wine, when I thought no-one would notice.
• Had to cover up a hangover or sore head, and actually allowed myself to be genuinely poorly.
• Wondered what I said or did the night before.
• Forgotten what I watched on TV the night before. (Okay I might still do this sometimes!)
• Known that during an argument or cross word it was me talking and not the wine.
• Not had to make extra trips to the shop because I might run out of wine.
• Felt like I had a constant need for something.
• Avoided going out because it was more ‘fun’ to stay at home with a few glasses of wine.
• Felt the need to argue with myself and convince myself that my behaviour was normal, when clearly it wasn’t.
• Worried excessively about my health. (With good cause).
• Felt completely out of control.
• Felt caught in a losing battle between myself and alcohol.
What do you think? Is there anything else would you add to this list?
As always, thank you for reading.
17 December. 2019 • Category: Thank you
I’ve been writing to you all for a few months now and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for listening. As I’ve said before, I’m quite a private person, so the fact I write a blog about personal things is really quite bizarre.
I’ve noticed as I write though, that it seems to really help me process things. I feel like I am finally unpicking my thoughts and feelings and am able to pack away that old part of me to a certain extent, without the sadness and shame I used to hold on to. Don’t get me wrong, I still wish I’d never got to the place I was in, but hating myself now won’t change that. It won’t undo the past, and as I have been told, that past made me who I am now.
It really matters to me that what I write here helps people. I know how isolated I felt when I was in the middle of it; non-drinkers and non-addicts, for all their kindness don’t understand quite how it is, and how can they when you don’t understand yourself? How is it possible to have such a strong hatred for the same substance you want so much?
Anyway, I don’t want to whinge on, I just wanted to say thanks for reading and messaging me. Isolation only feeds addiction and I know connection helps me, it makes me feel happy to think that reading my blog might help others on their way too.
Take care and thanks again.
15 December. 2019 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Yoga with my littlest one.
I used to have a friend, (I used to have more than one, but that is another story), we used to take it in turns to pick up our boys from primary school a couple of days a week to give us both a little more time. She’d pick her son up from mine when she was done, it was her other half’s day off so she often didn’t stop long, and I’d do the same, picking mine up from her house when I was done at work. It was nice, they used to play together and we used to chat. One day her sister joined us. I didn’t know her well, but she seemed nice, and the bonus was instead of being offered tea, I was offered wine instead. This was great as it meant I didn’t want to rush home. One week rolled into the next and we joked, while chatting and sitting out in the sun in the back garden as the kids played, about ‘Tuesday Night Wine Club’. This was during the time I was beginning to get concerned (again) about the amount I was drinking, but here I was being offered wine by two other mothers, surely that was proof that everyone else drank as much as me? At least on some days?
I remember being pleased that I had found a little loop hole in my plan, I had an excuse to drink somewhere that wasn’t at home, and of course, seeing as it was after 5pm, that meant as soon as I got home, I could carry on. Another glass as I was cooking, another one with dinner, and so one, until bed time.
The problem was of course, this was another friend I couldn’t talk to about it. Of all my close relationships, the only person I ever spoke to about drinking was my husband and even then it was tricky. If I was feeling vulnerable it was almost easy to admit I had a problem, to ask for help, but I was afraid to, because I knew that the minute I really admitted to it, beyond the wondering stage, I would actually have to do something about it, and I wasn’t ready to do that. In fact, the thought of doing something about it terrified me. As much as I was beginning to resent the hold wine had over me, I also loved it, and in the end it was like saying good bye to a best friend. One I wanted to kill.
For something that is marketed as fun and relaxing, the opposite happened to me. I know I’m not alone, but I have never felt so conflicted in my life. It is a battle at times, one I wasn’t sure if I’d win. Anyway, in the end, I won, I’m still winning and I guess that is the point?
Thank you for reading.