Friendship Lessons

20161217_151847Every afternoon as soon as she gets in the car after school, Baby Girl starts talking, nonstop, excitedly.  She tells me everything that anyone has said that day (the kids obviously, not the adults, they don’t count and aren’t important).  She then discusses what they meant by saying such and such and how that made her feel and where that person is in the pecking order of the social structure and why the other person said what they did and how it impacted her world.

It’s all so very, very intricate and messy.  Complicated Boy and I sit in silence until it ends.  If we try to offer an opinion or help, we are told that we “Just don’t understand!”.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s happy and doing well and has lots of friends and revels in all the nuances and details.  But me oh my it would make me so very confused and tired.

I have tried to think back to my school days and I don’t remember it being that complicated.  I can remember the “In” crowd and popular people and the different groups and gossip.  But I don’t remember the confusing details of the actual friendships.

As you get older I think you do forget how hard it all was, and you learn how to operate in circles of people to ensure a friendly atmosphere.  You draw around you the people you really like and let go of the people that you don’t.

So, I think that there should be lessons, especially for girls, on friendship.

  1.  If you think someone is nice, go and talk to them, be nice and friendly and invite them for a sleep over.
  2. If you think someone is nice, but not really your cup of tea, talk to them and be nice and friendly, but don’t invite them over for a sleep over.
  3. If you think someone is not nice and not your cup of tea, still talk to them if approached and be nice and polite, but definitely don’t invite them for a sleep over.
  4. When you are with your friends – ask about them and things that are important to them.  If they are good friends they will eventually ask about you, enabling you to talk about yourself.  Don’t go in straight away making it all about you.
  5. When you are with your friends – don’t talk nastily about other people.  You may think they will keep your confidence, but they won’t.  In fact, if you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all.
  6. If you are in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable and you know is wrong, walk away. Have a code that you can text your parents, so they will give you an excuse to go and to come and pick you up.
  7. When you are growing up, you are developing your own style and personality.  Big lesson – it doesn’t have to be like everyone else, you can be different, you can be yourself AND in fact it is better to be different. Don’t be beige and the same as everyone else.
  8. If someone says something to you – take it at face value.  Don’t read anything in to it.  Don’t make it more complicated than it is.  Because it usually isn’t complicated, most people do actually mean exactly what they say.
  9. And finally, don’t stop telling mummy everything, she may “not understand!” but she is listening, worrying and hopefully being helpful and supportive.

Good luck Baby Girl… I hope you come out of this with some wonderful, wonderful friends and a confidence and happiness to get you through life.

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Another Year….

New Year….New You???

No thank you…I’m just going to keep plugging away with the old me.  The old me seems to work okay.  She seems to be able to cope with most things.  So we will leave her as she is.

Although this year I hope to pour more of me into my fledgling business and maybe get some more customers and become so rich and successful that I could maybe get my haircut or buy some new bras – or even… if I become really, really, really successful…take a day off.  HAHAHAHAHAHA

Such simple desires. Sigh.

But I am looking forward to this year.  I have my gorgeous friend from Australia coming to visit at Easter.  So excited I keep giggling!!  And we have a trip booked to Santorini in Greece in the Summer with my mum.  Lots of sun, chilling and just being – can’t wait.  AND  I might even get a sneaky weekend away with my travelling friend (see my post about Italy) to Morocco in October.  I am busy searching good deals, so fingers crossed.

How exciting.

My mum’s plan for building a house in my sister’s garden have gone through – so that will be happening this year. It will be so fab for her.

YunoWe also have a new member of the household, who has won my heart and will make this year so much fun. Tiny little cheeky fluff ball called Yuno and she is such a loving, cuddly, little thing, that she makes you just sit down and be with her.  It’s great.

So I suggest to all of us – instead of looking to change for the New Year, I think we should just reflect on all the things we have achieved and how we are all surviving just fine and to look forward to the good things that are going to happen and could possible happen – like me getting some new bras!  Wouldn’t that be great!

Happy New Year gorgeous readers, all my love xxxxxxx

 

Wishes of a mother for christmas…

For all my darling friends, family and readers…

For Christmas I hope that you get all or at least some of the following…

  1. 30 minutes to sit down – without a feeling of complete panic that you need to be doing something, without someone saying – can you… where is…  Just 30 minutes of completely sitting down in one spot, uninterrupted and peaceful.
  2. A present just for you…. that you haven’t bought yourself, wrapped yourself, asked in detail for.  Just a small little present that is a surprise and that shows someone has taken a tiny bit of time to think about you.
  3. For everyone to see the nice clean, decorated house you have slaved over…before it gets trashed with piles of wrapping paper and miscellaneous plates and cups.
  4. For the children to actually be pleased with what Santa brought them, instead of just discarding them straight into a pile, that you will take up to their bedrooms later.
  5. For the left overs in the fridge to be actually eaten instead of thrown away in a week’s time – making you cringe at the waste and the cost.
  6. And most importantly – a peaceful, happy and healthy year to follow for you and all that you love.

Happy Christmas lovely ones and let’s all have a glorious New Year.tree

I used to dance….

I used to go to dance class when I was young.  I went 3 to 4 times a week from the age of 4, until I was about 13.  I did Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern.  And I was very, very bad at it.

And no, I am not over-exaggerating. I was the tall, gangly, awkward girl in the back row, who always got the award for “Tries Hardest” or “Most Improved” (which frankly was a lie, but I think my teacher was trying to be encouraging.)

I was so uncoordinated, and I knew that I would never be like the pretty, perfectly proportion girls in my glass.  For one thing my feet were the size of plates of meat.

But…I really liked it and although sometimes I cringe thinking of myself flailing around, I do have fond memories.

My mum put me in dance class because I was extremely shy and slightly pigeon toed.  Well I’m only a little bit shy now (new people make me babble :)) and I am still slightly pigeon toed.  It was also excellent child care, as I could walk straight from school to the community centre (stopping off for a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds from the health food shop – gosh the things you remember heh!). and then Mum would pick us up on the way home from her work.

So, when my daughter had a choice of Brownies/Guides or Ballet class – I pushed her into Ballet class.  I hope that she will have fond memories like me and I am pleased to say she has her father’s genes and is quite good (phew!).

AND……..

20171207_182853I have started dancing again.  On Monday nights I join a bunch of lovely ladies and we do half an hour of Tap and half an hour of Ballet.  It’s glorious.  It’s hilarious. It’s good for me and it is so much fun.

It doesn’t matter that I am really bad at it.  It doesn’t matter that I am tall, gangly and awkward – because nobody cares, and I won’t need “Most Improved” certificates to keep going.  I love it and it makes me smile and that’s all that counts.

To be young and ill…….Remember when?

bedRemember when you were young and single…. remember when you were feeling poorly…. you would crawl out of bed and phone work and say you weren’t coming in that day and then you would crawl back into bed and go back to sleep.

Sigh…..

Remember when you got out of bed…nothing had happened.  Absolutely nothing had changed.

The house would be exactly as you left it when you went to bed.  No cupboards would have exploded their contents all over the kitchen. And no miscellaneous shoes, bags and crap would have appeared anywhere!

The washing pile may only have a few more PJ’s in and not have got so big it started walking itself down the stairs.

The fridge and cupboards would still have the food in it that was there before you were ill.  The junk food would still be there.

The dishes in the sink would maybe be a tea mug and a plate, that you used to have some toast. Not a pile so big that it rivalled the Himalayas.

Nobody would really even have noticed that you had disappeared for a bit to recover. Nobody would have needed you to drive them anywhere, or cook them dinner or do anything.  Everybody would have left you completely alone, they wouldn’t have talked at you incessantly through your pounding headache.

The house would have been silent, completely silent.  No TV, no Tablets blaring Youtube, no shoot’em up computer games.  Silent…very, very silent.

And the most amazing thing is that you would have fully recovered, because you had done the sensible thing that your body needed.  You had rested, totally rested. You would bounce back to normal because you were young, and your body had been given the blissful time it needed to heal.

Sigh….

I miss that…..

I could cry that I miss that so very much….

Are we alone?

WhatsApp Image 2017-11-16 at 1.48.02 PMToday I had lunch with the gorgeous ladies that I did my study course with.  We talked and talked and talked.

We dumped all our worries, complaints, moans, triumphs and highlights for each other to hear.

“Oh my, I am so glad you feel like that, I do too!”  “That happens to you too?  I thought I was the only one!”

It is such a wonderful thing to be able to share our load with each other.  We all feel so supported and understood and relieved.

I have other friends that I am able to do this with as well.  And I couldn’t survive without any of them.

We all scurry and hurry along in our life coping and stressing and doing and sorting out, and seemingly doing everything right as a woman, wife, mother etc etc.

It is only when we take time to get together and really be honest with each other, that we can help each other.  Sometimes things are crap – and we don’t need to be pitied and patted on the head with “Poor you!”  What we need is a hug and a cup of coffee and a bit of woman talking and love.

Sometimes we are struggling with our relationships with our children or partner – it doesn’t mean we want to give them to social services or get a divorce.  What we need is good old raucous bitch session with our friends.

We need to connect to realise that we are perfectly normal feeling like a failure and in fact we are not a failures.  We need to express things in a caring and safe place and know we won’t be judged.  Otherwise I don’t think we can survive this mad hectic life that is womanhood.

So if someone asks you to have coffee with them – make time.  If you can organise to have a girly lunch – do it.  We need each other and we need to be honest with each other.  Because we are all just winging it and trying our best and feeling crap sometimes and feeling a failure sometimes – but do you know what…actually we are doing okay and we are nice people and it will alright in the end.

Love you ladies xxx

 

*Hidden* Changes

butterfly-2869792_1920In my young single days, I was probably a bit of a butterfly – flitting from country to country, job to job and relationship to relationship.

Then…..

I got married and had kids.

I reverted back to a cocoon – the cocoon that is motherhood.  It’s a very insular world, smothered in nappy bags, school bags and plastic toys  The pretty butterfly clothes were put away and replaced with comfortable clothes that were able to withstand baby vomit, sticky hands and playdoh.

As the children got older and became more independent, I started see the light at the end of the cocoon tunnel.  The children still needed me, but not in that all-consuming way.

I realised that my time in the cocoon was coming to an end and I could emerge again – maybe not as a pretty butterfly – maybe more as a battered moth, blinking at the light.

But I have also realised that during my time in the cocoon I have changed in other ways. I have survived 2 small children and they are still alive, healthy and not too messed up.  I have learnt to deal with so many different things on my own, under pressure and with no rule books.

I think I have come out of my cocoon, more independent and more sure of my self-worth.  I have added to my CV – time management, prioritising, working under pressure, conflict resolution, learning on the go, and working independently.

There has also been a change in what I want to do with my time. I want to learn, to grow and develop.  I want to do interesting and creative things – I want to fly.

Hubby is all a bit bemused by all this.  You see although he is a great dad – he wasn’t in that cocoon with me. He was just plodding along beside, not changing much, and he hasn’t had that life changing light at the end of the tunnel moment.  He’s just got a bit older – bless him.

So those of you reading this with young children – have hope.  And those of you in my position – join me…let’s put our butterfly clothes back on and take over the world!!

*Hidden* Danger

downloadOver the last couple of weeks, you may have seen woman putting in their Facebook or Twitter status #MeToo.

If you missed this, it was women sharing that they had been subject to Sexual Harassment.  What I got from this was that it wasn’t about the big stuff – domestic violence, rape, under age marriage etc etc.  I felt it was about women expressing the everyday harassment that we all live with.

When I first saw this, it immediately crossed my mind that every woman could put it in their status.  Even me – a middle class, white, educated, privileged woman.  Although we may not have experienced the more violent side of harassment (although many have) we still live in a society that is permeated with a sense of worry and unease brought about by inequality.

I wasn’t going to write about this in my *Hidden* series, as it’s such a big and ugly subject, but I couldn’t ignore the trend and it has taken me 2 weeks to build up the courage.

We all know about the big stuff and we all know about the visible stuff – whistling building site workers, wandering hands boss, etc etc.  But I want to talk about how we have absorbed it as women, without even thinking about it.

Keeping ourselves safe becomes second nature as we move into womanhood.  We learn from our mothers, our peers and from our experiences how to react to harassment and how to avoid harassment and how to keep ourselves from being beaten up or raped.

Have you put your car keys in your hands when walking to your car in the dark?  To not only use as a weapon, but also to get the car door open.  Have you ignored whistles, comments, and just walked faster or even crossed the road before the building site, to avoid the whole situation. Have you been shocked by a comment of a senior colleague at work, but just lowered your head and not called them out, because you need the job. Did your older relatives speak a load of sexist crap, but you were taught to hold your tongue?  Do you see young girls in skimpy clothes and bemoan your middle aged body, but then think, oh dear, hope they keep themselves safe?

Think about it.  Think about how we are always assessing the situation for danger and how we modify our behaviour to keep ourselves out of conflict or violence. It is another thing we pile onto ourselves – along with all the other things that are whirring through women’s brains.  And we don’t realise how much a part of our lives it is.

A really mundane example happened to me when I went to Italy.  I had to be at the airport on the other side of London at 4am in the morning.  So, I left the house at 2am. Driving along, the signs on the motorway declared that the junction I needed to exit was closed.  Well I got a bit freaked out, as I have no Sat Nav.  I decided to pull off the junction before and pull over and set my phone up to find my way.  When I did this, I discovered that all the places to pull over were full of trucks with truck drivers sleeping.  This worried me, so I decided to go further to find a place with no trucks.  I didn’t notice the speed sign and as I was slightly panicking I got flashed by the speed camera and have ended up with a £100 fine.

I was telling this to the young 20-year-old man next door, about how I was frightened, and he didn’t understand – he really, really, really couldn’t comprehend it.  He said that it was unlikely that anyone would have come out to beat me with a baseball bat.  And I tried to explain that it wasn’t anyone beating me that I was worried about, it was someone harassing or raping me.  And my ingrained built in self-preservation said that it would be stupid to pull up in a little blue car covered in flowers as a single woman at 3am beside a whole row of truckers.  Probably nothing would have happened, and the truckers were probably very respectable men – but I could not put myself in that vulnerable situation.

Because if I did and something did happen, then I’m sure someone would have said it was my fault…..

*Hidden* Workforce

Have you noticed I have a theme going at the moment? *Hidden*.  There are so many things that women and society don’t know or discuss and I have a burning need to have a little rant about them.  If you can think of anything that you would like me to bring up – please message me.  I am quite happy to have a good old moan about most things!

This week I want to talk about the women you see standing at the school gates.  Did you know that majority of them used to have careers?  BIG careers.  Some were Financial Controllers, some were Managing Directors, some were Creative Account Managers – I could go on.

I was a Business Systems Analyst!  Woohoo get me. Sounds a lot posher than it was.

Then I and the rest of the women at the school gates had kids. Whether we chose to stay at home with our kids or it wasn’t financial viable to pay child care or whether the option of flexible part time work wasn’t available – the result is the same, we became the most underutilised resource in the country.

Highly experienced, trained, educated woman going to waste.  Flexible part time jobs are an option, but they are usually junior positions, badly paid and soul destroying.  Or working in schools and nurseries as lunch supervisors or teaching assistants.

Now I am not saying that lunch supervisors and teaching assistants are bad jobs, I am just saying that if you were formally the Finance Director of a large London firm, then it’s not really using the skills and knowledge that you have.

Don’t you think that this is sad for the country and the economy and for the women?

There are big movements going on now in the world of women and working that I think are really important, and if you get time, go have a browse of Facebook and Twitter for the following:

#workthatworks and #cleanupthefword (f being flexible)

You might think that I would be passionate about this because of the kids. But I am not – I do think kids benefit from having mum at home, but I think kids in a good child care situation with a happy mum also thrive.

No, I don’t care what the kids think or society thinks.  I want women to be happy. I want women to be able to utilise all those wonderful skills and experience and feel mentally fulfilled.  I want society, the community and the economy to benefit from what these women can do.

I want this *hidden* workforce to come forward and demand to contribute meaningfully and most importantly to be happy.  So I shall be joining the movements and I hope that eventually truly flexible, adaptable, remote, exciting and fulfilling work will be available to all mums.

*Hidden* Pain

20170529_171514My Baby Girl has been getting tummy pains.  It usually coincides with a pimple breakout and an irritable mood.

She feels dreadful and doesn’t understand why I am not really sympathetic.  She hasn’t entered the full **joy** that is womanhood, but she is definitely on the way.

I should be sympathetic.  I really should.  It’s awful to feel like that every month.

But we are taught that it’s just part of life and being a woman and we just have to get on with it.  We don’t even really take anything for it.  We may get the hot water bottle out and curl up on the couch, if we have time, but we don’t go to the doctor or anything.

We don’t stop doing anything and we don’t usually mention it.  We just live with it.

But did you know that it has now been shown that the period pain can be as bad as a heart attack.  EVERY MONTH…..and we just get on with it, with a hot water bottle….EVERY MONTH.

I read this article about the new findings and I did shed a tear for my Baby Girl as she embarks on her journey and felt thankful that I am hopefully ending mine.

Please read it…it says so much.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/period-pain-is-officially-as-bad-as-a-heart-attack-so-why-have-doctors-ignored-it-the-answer-is-a6883831.html

What really startled me is the lack of research that has gone into alleviating the pain. And what is more frightening, is the lack of anyone really caring enough about the pain to do anything about it.

It is also a little our own fault.  We don’t sympathise with each other, we don’t sympathise with ourselves and we don’t demand help from anyone.

We just get on.  We shouldn’t.