Friday 22 January 2016

Mum why do you look so sad?

“Mum, why do you look so sad?”

This was the question my 10 year old daughter asked me yesterday while we were sat on the sofa sharing a minute of calm in what is normally a pretty hectic mad house.

“Do I? Ah I’m just tired sweetie,” was my mumbled reply. It was a lie. I have depression and was having a really foggy day that day. She looked at me with a sort of puzzled yet knowing look that made me think she didn’t believe a word I was saying. I couldn’t take her gaze any longer so I jumped up quickly asking who wanted a biscuit.

Once in the safety the kitchen I grabbed the biscuit barrel down from the shelf, and it took all my strength not to blubber over the custard creams. Just breath I told myself, don’t cry don’t let the kids see you cry.

You see I thought I had been doing a pretty good job at keeping my depression from the kids. I have been holding things together and taking my tablets like the doctor said. I was getting through each day and gradually starting to feel better.

But my 10 year old daughter saw right through me. I was exposed. She could see a deep sadness etched in my face. Despite my makeup. Despite the home cooked dinner awaiting her after school. Despite the bedtime stories and snuggles we shared that day. She could see me.

It’s a strange thing really when I think about it. No matter how hard I try to paint over the cracks they are there. And people that know me well must be able to see them despite my best effort to hide it all behind my blusher. 

Even my 10 year old daughter sees it.

My depression is part of me, it doesn’t ever go away even when I am having a good phase. It’s always there. It’s etched in my every wrinkle and smile. And she didn’t know what is was, but she saw it.

So I have decided that tonight when she gets home from school we are going to share a slice of cake and I am going to talk to her. I will follow her lead and answer any questions she may have to ask me no matter how awkward I may feel about it. Because I know- that she knows I am hiding myself from her.

And I don’t ever want her to feel that whatever she is going through or however she is feeling is something that should be hidden away from others. My daughter has Dyslexia and this can really affect her self-esteem. So I don’t ever want her to feel that people won’t accept her for being honest with them. Our mental health and hidden challenges should never become something that can be brushed over with makeup like it doesn’t exist.

I am not ashamed of my depression. How can I be? It’s part of what makes me who I am. And in lots of ways it’s really helped me. Because there is real magic in speaking to someone who just gets it. Just understands how you feel and doesn’t need anything in return other than your understanding. It connects people, and it’s very powerful when you can make a difference someone else by sharing your own story. It doesn’t mean we are weak when we say things are tough sometimes, it just means we are human.
She needs to know that in darkness there is always light and true strength of character is shown when we accept and embrace the differences we all have.  She needs to hear the positive things about my depression. She needs to hear I am proud to be me, and maybe then she will be less anxious if she knows that I may look sad sometimes, but I am OK!

Sometimes in life as adults we feel bad when we don’t have all the answers and we want to magically make everything better for our kids, pretend like it is all hunky dory. But I don’t want any of my children to grow up ever feeling ashamed of who they are. I want her to be proud of herself, and proud to overcome any challenges that life throws her way. And I can’t do that by pretending it’s not happening to me in the here and now.

Her innocence yesterday made me realise that I need to be more open with my kids, In order for them to learn to love themselves I have to love me. They need to see that love means opening ourselves up to other people, not hiding how we feel from our loved ones, and being accepted for who you are unconditionally.

My depression will ease- it always does. And it may ravage me again at some point I am certain. But the difference is that next time when my children ask me why I look sad I will be honest with them. I am not ashamed of who I am, and I am going to try my hardest to help my daughter love herself for who she is and never ever to be ashamed of what makes her- well her- whatever that may be.

(This post can can be found on The Mighty)

Saturday 9 January 2016

Please excuse my appearance I'm still shaking off Christmas

Hi folks

Wanted to pop in and well- say hi really. It's been a crazy few weeks for us all hasn't it, well done for embracing the bonkers that is Christmas in an Autism house /school. And I hope you all managed to get some chill time too. And if it was all just a blur now the kids are all back at school hopefully you can start to recharge a bit- sorry teachers don't mean to rub it in.

It feels a bit weird this 'cos I don't feel like I have done a 'normal' blog post for ages. What with all the Christmas blogs I did, and the deadlines for other publications I have had to get done I've almost gotten out of the habit of writing with no brief to work to, writing just for me and you- so bear with (nod to fellow Miranda fans there) I'll soon get back into the swing of things.

I have to admit the first week in Jan has been a killer in our blumin' household I can tell you. I had this lovely vision of 2016 starting with a bang and being all positivity and renewed energy. Serves me right for wishful thinking doesn't it- I know I know I never learn, things never go to plan!

My girls have been really ill with a virus, so the doc says just suck it up and they'll fight if off themselves. We've had raging temps, hallucinations and emergency 3 am trips to the out of hours half way across town. I've had insomnia for weeks now (it's currently 2.45 in the morning) which is frustrating to say the least, and my hubby has now resorted to sleeping on the sofa downstairs 'cos I've picked up this bug from the girls and he's sick of  being kept awake by my coughing.

I've got a Mount Everest pile of washing to somehow plod through, and my housework- well let's not even go there with that one. To top it off my hair is so grey I could get a bus a bus pass, and my legs can't make an appearance this side of spring for fear of someone reporting a Yeti roaming the streets of Cheshire.

I literally look and feel like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards.

Well actually I almost was- as getting the fattest Christmas tree in the world out of the front door was like dragging myself through a blumin' hedge the other day. Stupidly I attempted this when my hubby was at work. You know like we do us women- we get sick of waiting so we just think "ah it easier to just do it myself!"(I have the spike marks to prove my stupidity.) Oh it was fine getting the fattest tree on the world into the house 'cos it was all nicely wrapped up wasn't it! But when we snipped away the protective layer holding the tree together well it just plopped down its huge belly with a flop and took up half my lounge.

So when the day arrived that I decided I wanted rid - well it looked like a pine needle massacre had taken place in my house as I dragged this tree kicking and screaming across my lounge, the water spilled out everywhere and little man was guiding me around the obstacles in panic as he watched me wrestling the giant Christmas tree half way up the stairs to get it to the right angle to then shove it out the front door with a loud pop as the pressure of the tree stuck in the doorway released and I fell out in a heap on top of it.
                                      (They never seem quite as big out in the field do they?)

Well the spiky little green needles of pain were in every crack and crevice of the house, they were everywhere- and I mean everywhere! I am still finding tiny green devil needles poking out of my bra even today. Waiting for me silently in disguise for days and days and then all of a sudden they strike with no warning. Like when I'm sat in the doctors surgery surrounded by a room of people who don't want to make eye contact. So as discreetly as I could I reached down into my general boob area and had a fumble around. Gotcha you little *bleep*  I blurted out uncontrollably. Only to then look up and see the look of horror in the poor little old lady's face sat opposite me as she wondered what the heck I was doing.

And then this week with immaculate timing as ever little man has sensed my vulnerability, and he has got an idea in his head about a game he wants. And my goodness we all know how persistent our kiddos can be don't we- well we're currently on day 7 of mithering now with numerous meltdowns to boot. Plus it's been raining all week so we have been stuck in the house like a bunch of grumpy snotty gremlins driving each other round the twist every night.

So a great start to 2016 eh ! No matter how many 'blumin feel good blogs I do about New Year the reality never works out as planned does it ha ha!

...I don't bloody believe this as I just looked across my bed as I live and breath, what's lay there? There at the end of my bed taunting me.- a pine needle!

No matter how hard I try I can't quite shake off Christmas yet. The pine needles and coughs are actually a good reminder to me that it took monumental effort to get us all through the season and it's gonna take a bit longer than the first week of January for me to get back to any kind of normality and fighting fit, never mind positivity and renewed energy!
And trust me I will get all those darn needles- one day soon, just you wait and see. I'll find every last one of you!

But for now my quest needs to be sleep. So it's time for me to switch off and try and get some shut eye now - and if nothing else hopefully I have made you think maybe your week wasn't so bad after all. 'Cos at least you're not being stalked by killer pine needles every hour of the day- I'm off to bed now and I may just sleep with the light on tonight!

                                                                         Mrs M x

Friday 8 January 2016

Just another New Years Blog


Such an insignificant little word. One that we never really think about because we just take it for granted. It’s just there in our word bank to pull out whenever we just happen to feel like it. But we don’t even realise we need it so much.

I am just a mum. A busy mum to three wonderful kids. I am just a housewife and a full time carer to my 11 year old son who has Autism. I am just trying my best to get through each day.

But I just reckon it’s such an undervalued word that really doesn’t know its worth. I know this to be true as it’s a word I use all day as I go about my jobs, without even giving it a second thought.

“I’ll just pop the kettle on” I shout upstairs as I am trying to rouse the sleepy heads from their beds every morning. “I’ve just got time to pile a quick wash load in before I do the school run” I think to myself whilst shoving the mountain of the laundry fiercely into our battered old machine “I had just about enough sleep last night to get me through the day” I tell myself as I am scraping my hair into ponytail whilst dashing out of the door clutching the car keys, school bags and trumpet just about still under my arms.

“We should just  make it on time if we hit no traffic” I tell my daughter as she scoffs her cereal bar in her mouth whilst fiddling with the radio stations to find her favourite song on the way to school. And then my day really begins as I just have to dash to the shops, hoover the house, walk the dogs, order the meds, clean the bathroom, make the beds, email school, phone’s Camhs and write a social story for swimming after school. And I then I might just about have time to eat, gulp some cold coffee whilst opening the mail, if I’m lucky.

Before I then wash the pots, polish the table, empty the bins, fill out the DLA forms, iron the shirts and all this whilst trying to catch my sons therapist in her office at some point on the phone today- I’ll just have to keep trying on redial ‘til I catch her.

Then its just about time to head off to do the school pick up and hope there’s no delay so I can get back for my son arriving home in his taxi, who will be ready to just run through the door and have his snack there waiting for him as he does everyday.

And so this just continues day after day after day after day. I just plod on.

You see really I am just like the word just. I am always there. Always holding things together. I just get on with things despite how tired I am or how much I have to do.

But I am not ashamed to say I am more than just a mum. A Mum who’s always there to love and nurture, yes that’s a huge part of what makes me – well me. But I am so much more.

I am Michelle. I am not just a tired thirty something mum with grey hair wearing comfy knickers. I am funny and loyal, and by the way I make a mean chicken curry!  I have depression and yet maintain a deep faith in life and love. I hold my friends and family so dearly that I would do anything to protect them from harm. I enjoy baking and reading and history- and so much more! (I secretly wish I lived in the 40’s and drank from a china tea cup, whilst wearing floral kitten heels and a spotty head scarf too if truth be told.)

However I think I may have fallen into the trap of having so many just moments throughout the day that I take myself for granted now too. I need to reclaim my fabulous justness back!

So as we face this New Year I will try to have just one selfish moment all to myself each day- just for me and no one else!

I will just have half an hour reading a magazine. Or I will just try and drink my coffee hot today. Or “I am just going upstairs for a bubble bath children, the TV is on in the lounge.” Or even better still- we need a few hours together could you just sit for a bit for us darling sister of mine?

This New Year is the time to just say enough is enough, I am more than just a mum, I am more than just a middle aged woman wearing slippers and drinking tea from a chipped Whispa mug from Easter 2002.  And in order to be all those things for everyone else I first need to just to look after me every now and again, even if it’s just for 10 minutes every day. It doesn’t mean I love my kids any less, it just means I love me too.

So let’s stop neglecting that insignificant little word and just care for it- let’s care for ourselves and realise that we are so much more than just our jobs, whatever that may be.  I am gonna start by pulling out my nan's old fine bone china tea set, putting on a bit of lippy and some killer heels  ( well I can sit in them at least ) and just for 10 minutes each morning watch a bit of Philip Schofield on the tele sipping my tea in style!

Now who’s with me- one lump or two?
                                                                    Mrs M x

Saturday 2 January 2016

Why I write

My children are my world
My love for them is endless

They make me so proud
And inspire me everyday 

But the world we live in can be so cruel
And some people just don't understand 

So I wrote about
Our ups and downs

Our laughter, our worries, and our joy
In the hope that it will touch others

Others like us
So they know they’re not alone in this

Because it can be so confusing
And maybe, just maybe

Someone who may have judged us before may stop and think to themselves
Ahh now I understand

That we are just a normal family doing our best to muddle through
That I am just a mum doing my best for my kids

And that my son lives in a world that can be so unforgiving and harsh
So I share our story

In the hope that people will view the world through our eyes
And feel the unconditional love form a mother to her son with each word I write

And if it touches even one person in this world

Then to me, it’s all been worthwhile.