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Articles tagged with: Emotions

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #24 'An Out of the Blue Phone Call'...

on Sunday, 14 June 2015.

On Monday afternoon I was sat doing some work while the girls were napping when I got a phone call from an unknown number. I never answer these, which drives my Dad mad as his number comes up as withheld and I always ignore him, but most of the time it's someone trying to sell me something or help me claim compensation. I let it go to voicemail and then I listened to the message. It was from our county school admissions team saying they had some news for me. I rang them back, not sure what to expect, and after a few minute phone call I found out that Mads had been offered a place at our first choice school.

When I say first choice, technically it was actually our fourth choice. To cut a long story short (which you can read about here if you are even vaguely interested) in our first round of applications Mads got into a school that we really didn't want her to go to- a school we looked round and didn't think much of at all, a school with a bad ofsted and a school that just wasn't right for our daughter for a number of reasons. For a while I accepted our fate, thinking we would make the best of it, before deciding actually I would fight for what I believed was best for her. We looked up some different schools, visited our new first choice school and reapplied to three different schools, all further away, with our first choice being just three miles away and then the others being a little bit further still.

When it was due to be the day of finding out about our second application, I was straight on the phone to the admissions team, (annoying Mum anyone?!) but was told that I had to wait another seven days for our letter to be sent out. Me being me, and being really impatient, couldn't wait that long so I rang our new first choice school, only to be told that she hadn't got in. I actually cried down the phone to the kind lady in the school office, but to be honest that's nothing new, I am an emotional wreck at the best of times. I then rang up our second choice school, and after a bit of confusion, found out she had a place there. We were pleased, but so nervous as we hadn't even been to see the school, we put it down as a last minute desperate thing as the deadline was looming near. 

We arranged a trip to see the school she got a place in, and we were pleasantly surprised, we really liked the school and felt that Mads would be happy there. A reasonable sized school, about 250 children, and only six miles from where she lived. We accepted that it was fate and slowly began to get excited that she would be starting there in September. Forms were filled out, birth certificates handed in, and we started to tell Mads all about the school she would be going to. 

So when we got the call on Monday, we were honestly shocked and so confused about what to do. We really liked our second place school and had accepted she was going there. After a lot of chatting with friends and family, we decided to visit our original first choice school again just to have one more look, but we were leaning towards staying with our second choice. But upon visiting the school again on Tuesday, I just fell in love with it again. After much discussion back and forth, and changing our mind a few times, we decided to accept her waiting list place at our original first place school. We just went with our gut instinct, and the fact that our first place school had such friendly staff who were so patient and kind with us.

We subsequently found out that the parents induction evening was the next day, on Thursday. So Grandma came over to babysit for the evening and Mr E and I nervously headed over to the school where potentially we will be investing ten years of our family's lives. I felt like I was the one starting school sat there, waiting for the head teacher to begin her talk, glancing shyly over at the other parents. But as soon as she started to talk, I just knew we had made the right decision. I sat there with a smile on my face the whole time, in the little dining hall where my baby will eat lunch five times a week for almost every week of the year. We walked round her new classroom, where she will be in a tiny reception class with just 15 other children. We joked with the head, who told us she would be on hand with tissues on her first day. We met her teacher, her teaching assistant, the PTA committee, and we chatted nervously to the parents who we will be sharing just so many milestones with over the years. We left with a huge wallet of information, and with a comforting hand on the shoulder from that lady in the office who said she was thrilled that these things happen for a reason and after all my worries our baby would be joining them in September. 

And I just knew. And I could tell Mr E knew too. We had made the right decision. When we started this schools process way back in November of last year, never did I expect Mads to be going to such a tiny, small village school. But she is. And I couldn't be happier. It just all felt so right. As we walked back to our car at the end of the evening, Mr E took hold of my hand and said 'It was just great.' And I couldn't agree more. They say things happen for a reason. And I although I am nervous, although it's all been a bit of a drama, I know deep down that it was meant to be. 

So now we enjoy our Summer. That last lovely Summer, of having our girl all to ourself just for a while longer. Where her world revolves aorund us and where we know almost every aspect of her life. A Summer of making memories, of enjoying having no routine and structure. Because September will come around really rather quickly. Growing up is inevitable, and I know that it will hurt when that day comes that I have to leave my girl in that sweet little classroom ready to start the next chapter of her life. But at least we can relax knowing that these things are meant to be. And that she is in a place where hopefully she will thrive.

IMG 4038

I love this iPhone snap of them from this week.

 

 

Contentment, Yellow Fields and Motherhood Ramblings...

on Tuesday, 02 June 2015.

I don't know what it is at the moment, but I just feel happy. I am a slightly strange person because I don't actually like typing those words, I worry some how I am tempting fate by saying it out loud, or that something will happen by me declaring how I am feeling. I realise how ridiculous that sounds, but I think as a mother you are only too aware of the fragility of things. When you have a child it's magnified, it seems. Sometimes you ignore it, and sometimes it's all you ever think about. 

There's no particular reason for this happiness. In fact perhaps it's not even really happiness at all. It's contentment. I just feel content. Life has it's stresses, sure it does, but for the most part those worries that seem so big at 2am, feel better by the next morning. There's the odd day where I feel on edge, where parenting has been at it's most difficult, where the girls drive me mad, but being positive is the best therapy of them all. We are busy, life is hectic, but at the same time our routine is solid and our children are at an age where things just seem to be getting that little bit easier. We can take them out for a meal without them screaming the place down, or we can let them have the odd late night without them being grumpy monsters the next day. They play nicely together for the most part (although fighting happens regularly too), the iPad is always our saviour and if we are having a day where they are excessively hyper we can guarantee that half an hour snuggling on the sofa will quieten them down. The daily doldrum of our routine comforts me in a way- the nursery run, the same things for dinner every week, the set your watch by them wake up's in the morning. I thrive on our mundanity. 

I struggle with a work life balance. That's something I need to work on. Last week I had so much piled on top of me that I felt exhausted and unmotivated just thinking about it. I actually cried a couple of times because I just wanted to stop feeling so on edge with the amount I had to do. But once I have cleared my workload a little bit, I see things a lot clearer, and I feel really thankful that I am able to work from home. It's the hardest work I have ever done, way more hours than a full time job, and it means 2am bed times some evenings, but deep down I do love that I have the flexibilty to bring up my girls how I want. Even better is that my best buddy has joined me now, and I now have Mr E working at home too. I have no doubts that it will be stressful going forward, especially when his current contract runs out and we have to find new clients, worrying about what money is coming in each month. But I love that we both are raising our children equally as a partnership. I love that he is there, just a comforting cuddle behind our office door if I need him during the day.

Anyway, I have gone off on somewhat of a tangent. Back to this contentment. What I am trying to say is that day to day life definitely has it's stresses and can get on top of me at times, but for the most part we are ok. We are doing ok. We are happy. I often feel this ache. An ache that my babies are growing up so quickly. An ache that I can't slow life down but I can only enter it, hold it, and be thankful for it. I am painfully aware that life will change come September when Mads goes to school, that we will reach the end of an era, that while I have no doubt it will still be wonderful, a little part of all of us will have to let go and embrace this new chapter. 

So for now I am basking in this contentment. The days where I look at my little family and get tears in my eyes because I am thankful. The days where I feel I have this motherhood lark sussed. Yes LL is going through a phase where the only food she will eat is nutella sandwiches and  plain rice. But I have hindsight on my side. It doesn't matter in the long run, she's not going to be an eighteen year old going out on a date with her first boyfriend and ordering chocolate sandwiches for her main course. Or if Mads has a day where she is obnoxious and tires me out, I know the next day she will be sat on the sofa telling me I am her best friend while she plays with my ear and snuggles in close. Sometimes it's all consuming, they are highly emotional and constantly needy. Sometimes it feels demanding, complicated and all those other tiresome things that I wished it wasn't. I am a very different person to the one who I was four and a half years ago before I became a mother. Much more sentimental, yes. But also far less selfish and one who appreciates things a lot more. Sometimes you have to have the odd day where it feels all a bit much. If you didn't feel empty every now and again, you wouldn't feel that satisfaction that comes with feeling full and happy.

I have surrendered to the fact that motherhood isn't always plain sailling. Life isn't really either. And I have that sussed now. For all those 'bad' days, there will be a hundred more good ones. There are moments where even the best laid plans go array and others where it all just goes the way it should. 

And that's ok. Motherhood has never claimed to be easy. Only worth it. For that I am happy.

And that right there is contentment. 

 

*****

took these photos a couple of weekends ago. It's become a bit of a yearly tradition to go to the 'yellow fields' and also to the 'purple ones' a little later on in the year too. When I look at our photos from last year, I can't believe how much we have changed. I say it every time, but I couldn't love these photos anymore and I think they might be my favourites I have ever taken...

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{The Ordinary Moments 15} #20 'Motherhood Right Now'...

on Sunday, 17 May 2015.

My motherhood journey seems to be broken down into stages. There's those big stages- the newborn days, the baby days, the toddler days and the days before school, the big milestone days that get ticked off one by one. First smile... check. First tooth... check. First time in a big girl bed... check. First time on a play date without Mummy... check. Every stage that passes and every milestone reached, however great, I seem to mourn. I mourned the day LL stopped wearing babygrows, I mourned the day Mads no longer called me Mama but Mummy and I mourn them getting older on a regular basis. I am an emotional sap and I find the slightest thing about my children can set me off. But at the same time I find myself saying 'This is the best it's ever been.' 

And it's true, for every stage that passes that feels so utterly bittersweet, there's actually a better stage ahead. The newborn days, they are oh so delicious, with those soft baby heads and endless hours breastfeeding, snuggling and marvelling at this little person you created. There's those teeny tiny onesies, washed over and over again, the night feeds where although you are exhausted you feel like it's just you and your baby against the world. But as much as I love to look back on them with fondness (and remember the hardness at times), each stage that we get to really is the best of all the moments that have been before it. That's the beauty of watching these girls grow up. 

So what is motherhood like right now with an 'almost four and a half year old' and a 'turned two a couple of months ago year old?' Well of course, yet again, it's the best it's ever been. These days being a Mum means going from moments of utter frustration to just absolute proudness and love in a few moments. Sometimes I feel like the days are never ending- hour upon hour of constant questions, grumpy children or just the daily humdrum of life. Life can be tedious at times, of course it can, routines and structures set in place, eating the same thing every week, going to the same soft play and playing the same games over and over. Sometimes I go to bed in the evening and feel so incredibly guilty- I feel guilty for not giving them my full attention, not fully participating in the same boring game of making plastic pizza with olives and tomato, of not being completely present. Or I will feel guilty for losing my patience too easily, for shouting over something that didn't really need to be shouted over. 

But for the most part, motherhood just feels good to me. Of course it's always felt good, it's a blessing and for the most part I've been lucky to have it pretty easy all things considered. But this stage we are at right now? It's fun. Mads is on the brink of going to school and I know life will change dramatically then, but for the next few months I have her all to myself bar the days she's at nursery. She's like a sponge, she wants to learn, she wants to understand about the world she lives in and above all she is just the most funny little character. She's a joker, she is never serious and she always has a smile. Yet she is incredibly sensitive, affectionate and loves to be near you. At times that can become a little stifling, she is constantly asking questions, wanting to play, but she's also pretty easy. She knows the consequences of her actions at four, she knows how to behave. You can tell her to do something and she will do it most of the time. Of course the odd meltdown can still occur, but for the most part she is such a well behaved little girl.

And then there's LL. My baby. Who actually really isn't a baby anymore. In the last couple of weeks all traces of baby have gone. Instead we have a little girl, a happy, cheerful little girl whose character develops on a daily basis- we are loving to get to know her properly and find out who she is and who she is going to become. Her speech has exploded and we love her feisty little personality. She's more stroppy than her big sister, who often gives in to her for an easy life. She has the occasional serious temper tantrum, of course we are well in the 'terrible twos', but I have the benefit of experience this time round. It doesn't phase me. Yes that person just had to step over my wailing, screaming child who has just thrown herself on the floor of Tescos because I wouldn't let her hold a pack of frozen chips. (true story) Do I care? It doesn't phase me in slightest. The second time around you know that you haven't given birth to a wannabe sociopath just because of a few tantrums. You know it's just a stage and that she will grow out of it soon enough, hindsight is a powerful tool in this motherhood journey.

Both my girls are so much fun to be around. I think it's even better because they compliment each other so well. They are learning to play with each other properly, rather than simply co-existing and being sat there playing next to each other with separate toys. Sharing a bedroom together has made them even closer and I hear them at night chattering away, of course a lot of time LL doesn't make a huge amount of sense, but judging by the giggles, it's non stop fun. And quite simply it's fun for me too. I am the lucky one who gets to take part in these adventures. To experience their imaginations and the way they are with each other. To experience the cuddles, the kisses and the happy smiles. I get to experience the days where I cannot wait for them to get to bed- where I breathe a sigh of relief that they are away from me so I can get some peace, only to go upstairs and see them fast asleep, their bodies contorted into funny positions because they have obviously been getting up to mischief and I get to feel that emotion of pure love that comes with watching my sleeping babies. All parents must get that feeling when they check on them at night- that feeling 'These little people are mine', the way the love just rushes through you and you want to wake them up.  

I have no doubt that there will be more stages in the future. Harder stages, stages where it all goes a bit difficult, I remember in the early days my Mum used to ring me to check in and say 'How's it been today?' because Mads was going through a stage of having tantrums and LL was teething and grumpy. I had days where I would pace the living room just waiting for Mr E's key to turn in the lock. But those days rarely happen anymore, sure I have bad days where I say to my husband 'Please let me go and have a bath for an hour just to have a break' but they are few and far between. Parenting is tough, those stages will come back, periods where Mads drives me mad, where she tests the boundaries again, or where LL repeats them all just a couple of years behind.

But motherhood right now? It feels good. It's always good but it feels really good. 

'This is the best it's ever been.'

may 2015 mads ll

 

We Didn't Get The School We Wanted.

on Thursday, 16 April 2015.

Until you become a parent you don't know the true emotion that comes with truly knowing you would do absolutely anything for another person.  That overwhelming feeling of raw love that meant quite simply life wouldn't ever feel the same again.  Of course, it doesn't come instantly.  When my eldest daugther was born and was placed into my arms on that cold Christmas Eve morning in 2010, yes, I had never felt anything like it.  But that true love, that fierce, protective motherhood instinct- that develops over time.  It happens quickly and you only really notice it unless it has reason to show itself.  It may not even be over anything particularly worth being concerned over, perhaps your only just toddling little girl may get pushed over in soft play, but even that stirs a tiny feeling deep down inside.  Those butterflies, that raw emotion, that protectiveness that comes wtih being a parent.  The one that you can't quite put into words, even if you tried.

As parents we just want the best for our children.  The very best.  We want them to be happy.  We want them to have the best start in life.  Ultimately it's about choices.  Do we breastfeed or bottle feed?  Do we sleep them on their backs because that's what they tell us to, even though they go down happiest on their tummy?  Do we give them 'food from a jar' when all their friends are being baby led weaned organic vegetables?  More often than not it's about guilt.  The guilt is a constant part of being a parent.  Are we doing it right?  Are we being the best we can be?

We all have that dream for our children.  That dream of them doing the things we didn't quite manage to do.  The things that may have made us sad in the past, we don't want them to have that.  Name calling, teasing in the play ground, the bullies at school- we pray that they don't go through a similar fate.  We want them to fly.  To soar.  To be the very best they can be.  We want them to have the opportunities that we didn't, whatever those opportunties may be.  Way in the future, I have a funny vision of sitting round a table somewhere with my girl's, just as I myself do with my own Mum today.  We are chatting over a glass of wine, and there are little grandchildren running around our feet.   Of course, that might not be what they want.  Their dreams may be different, they may pursue a completely different path.  But whatever happens, whatever they want to do, as a parent ALL we want is for them to be happy.

As I write this post it's 1.10am.  A few minutes ago I tiptoed into my girl's bedroom, as I have done almost every evening for four years.  Nothing out of the ordinary, except this time I pause a little bit longer when I kiss my biggest daughter.  She has kicked off her covers and her legs are contorted into a funny shape.  Her arms are thrown over her head and her wild, unruly curls are splayed out across her pillow.  I place my hand on her chest and feel it rise and fall slowly.  As I often do, I marvel about just how much she has grown up, it's hard to fathom her as that tiny baby we bought home from the hospital that day.  I remember being absolutely terrified of putting her in the car, even though we live about five minutes drive from the hospital.  We must have checked the car seat about ten times, and I hobbled my post c-section body into the back of the car, just 'in case'.  I didn't even want to let her out of my sight for that five minute journey and sit in the front.  It felt a strange mixture of emotions- utter joy and sheer fear, taking this little being home to start our lives together.  

That strange mixture of emotions is back again.

Like countless parents up and down the country, I have waited up to check on our primary school application.  Refreshing the screen about a hundred times even though it wasn't yet midnight, that strange feeling of emotions that so often comes on my motherhood journey is there again.  And after one more refresh, at 11.57pm we were told the news.  We didn't get her into our first choice school.  Nor our second.  We got into our third and final school, our catchment school, one that we really only put down because we were told not to waste a choice.   My intial reaction was disappointment, real disappointment.  So I cried.  That feeling in the pit of my stomach knawed away at me, making me feel truly upset.  Because yet again, it comes down to that same old thing- we would do anything for our children.

It was inevitable we we were going to get that school.  Deep down I knew we would, but I was still hoping and crossing my fingers that we would at least get our second.  We are lucky to have an education system in place for our children, I know that.  We are lucky for a lot of things.  This isn't about that.  But walking through that school a few months ago, both myself and my husband didn't think much to it at all.  It's under achieving in all areas according to it's reports, but again I don't know enough about the education system to know what this means.  All I know is walking around there, we just didn't get a 'feel' for it like we did with the others.  There were parts we just weren't keen on at all.  It just didn't feel like the vision I had of my little girl going to school, I couldn't imagine waiting at those school gates for her to come out, in her little school uniform, her hair blowing behind her, and her face all flushed red with excitement as she ran to me at the end of the school day.

But fate has done it's thing and Mads will be going there in September.  It's the next morning now and I am a little embarrased to admit that I have shed a fair few tears.  I know deep down how lucky we are that she even has the opportunity to go to school in the first place, but I can't help but feel a huge amount of disappointment.  I have spent the night tossing and turning, discussing possible solutions with my husband- but deep down realistically I know that I need to resign myself to it now and accept the fact.  I need to start seeing the positives.  

Because that's the thing.  That little girl asleep in the room next to me- she doesn't know all of this.  She doesn't know that her Mummy spent half the night crying.  She just knows that come September she is going to 'big school'.  We drive past the school that she got into every morning and she always points out 'the big boys and girls'.  She doesn't know what the future holds for her, what school entails, what she will do all day.  She just is excited and happy about the possiblity of going.  She's completely innocent, unaware of the bad in the world, and just perfectly happy to give anything a go.  She sees the joy and positives in everything.  

So that's what I need to do.  I need to suck it up and see the world through my little girl's eyes for a change.  To be excited about the next chapter of her journey.  Yes it's not quite the journey we had planned for her, but she will continue to make us proud as she does every single day.  I will stand there with all the other mums, waiting for her to excitedly to run out the doors and tell us what friends she has made.  She will pull artwork from her bag that she has done that day and we will display them on our kitchen wall like they are masterpieces and works of modern art.  We will help her with her writing, her reading and her maths, and do the best we can by her, just as we have done every day since she was born.  We will have life experiences, make memories and raise her the way we are already doing so, outside of those classroom walls.  

We will continue to be the proudest parents alive.

Really, I think I am just feeling a little nostalgic and sentimental right now.  These milestones are passing us by at a rapid rate and it's hard to fathom that it wasn't yesterday that we took her out of that car seat on that first trip back from the hospital.  When school seemed like an eternity away.  I'm not entirely ready for this stage of our lives to be over, and I am not sure I ever will be.  But that's life and we will enjoy this Summer and make it a happy few months of memories.  Although I am a little sad about it all, I'm also incredibly excited too.

And come September we will start this new chapter in our lives.  And I know my little girl will soar and grow in whatever environment she is placed in, of that I am confident.  

Because we will continue to support her always.

 

the grove hotel 26

 

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