#effyourinstagramstandards 

 

Isn’t Christmas just amazing? All that giving and luscious food. As well as the pretty trees and family time, right?

It’s pretty much rammed in our faces the second Halloween is over. Quickly our Instagram feed switches from the Autumnal pumpkin patches to picture perfect trees that wouldn’t look out of place in Harrods.

The Elf on the shelf. Don’t even get me started on that fucking elf. Who invented that smug little wank? Like we don’t have enough to do as parents in December. Let’s strategically place an Elf every day and take nice pictures. Fuck that I say! I’d rather have a snowball!

We all get so excited about making our families happy and understandably so but I really can’t stand pictures of piles of gifts. I’m sure it’s posted with the best intention but I can’t help how shitty that could make some people feel if they’re feeling the pinch. Also is it really wise to spoil our kids to such an extreme? it’s so easily done but we really need to be mindful that although they are sweet now there’s something particularly unapealling about a spoilt adult with a sense of entitlement.

I saw a post about a Christmas tree and how it was £15 and the lovely lady that posted it thought is was ‘not Instagram worthy’. Is that really What’s important now? Sadly I think it is for a lot of people. The tree was beautiful by the way!

Sometimes I think we get a little bit caught up in making a nice picture and forget to actually enjoy the moment. We all have such high expectations and it’s no surprise really when we’re surrounded by such perfect images.

Let’s not forget for a lot of people Christmas is time for reflection and that often means missing those who are no longer with us. A lot of the time we’re so busy putting on a face for the kids that we forget to allow ourselves to consider our own feelings.

The run up to Christmas is such a big deal it puts so much pressure on that one day. It can end up being a real anticlimax. Letting kids eat what they like and receiving lots of gifts can be confusing and overwhelming so we can hardly blame them for behaving like prized dickheads for most of it.

Last year Joy was tiny, clusterfeeding and colicy so Steve and I took (sober) turns at trying to settle her and ended up eating our stone cold Christmas dinner in front if the TV. Was it terrible? Hell no!  I mean it could have been better but we were together and let face it eating is a something most of us take for granted. Plus we can harp on about it in true parent style when Joy is old enough to care.

Even advent calendars seem to have lost their way. Gin advent calendars costing over £100? Really? I’m all about the cheap chocolate. I love a gin but come on! We seem to be losing our grip on reality here a bit. Or did child benefit go up massively and I missed the memo?

I’m a huge fan of Christmas and like a lot of Mums I let the boys do the tree then rearrange it the second their backs are turned. Although as much a I want it to look nice I really don’t want it to look perfect. We all need to stop striving for perfection or realising that perfect is different for everyone. I’ll certainly be checking out that £15 tree and there the only gin in here this year will be from Aldi. It going to be amazing!

I think we all just need to rewind a bit and enjoy this time of year. Bring back tacky (kitsch) 80s decorations, ignore the pressure and get stocked up on Lidls faux Baileys (£3.75 and amazing by the way!)

Take some lovely pictures but don’t let them get in the way of family time and don’t be disappointed when the kids have a tantrum or Grandad moans about the Queens speech for 3 hours. It’s just one day. Merry Christmas!

#effyourinstagramstandards

Yvonne

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Mothering without a mother 

Recently I’ve seen an influx of Facebook posts about always loving your mother as you never get another. Even when you dont see eye to eye. This may be very true but for some sadly it isn’t this black and white. 

My Mum isn’t dead. Not my biological one anyway. My Nan raised me and she was my ‘real’ Mum and sadly she’s no longer with us. My Biological Mum isn’t part of my life however and won’t ever be. 

I won’t go into it as I have no urge to publicly slate her and have younger siblings I wouldn’t want to hurt. 

She hasn’t met Joy and hasn’t seen Lewis in years. It isn’t a fallout or an argument situation but for the sake of my mental health she will remain an outsider. I wish her well. 

Do I love her? Yes! Am I sad I don’t have a mother around? Of course! This really is the best decision all round and I’ve made peace with that. That has taken a long time but I really have made peace with it. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t get a pang of upset when I see friends Mum’s coo over their gorgeous grandchildren. Or when I’m ill and I could really use a cuddle. You’re really never too old to want your Mum at times. 

I do love it when I see my friends with good relationships with their Mums. Over the years a few of them have played a Mum role to me and that’s helped me build a picture of the type of mother I want to be. 

Having Joy was bittersweet. My Nan died when I was pregnant and to not have a mother to show of my baby too… bloody hurt. I still look at my kids and think ‘wow! I made this!’ I just wish I had my Nan here to gush to at times. 

I’m fiercely independent and this is probably why. It’s a defence mechanism. I’ve not always had the choice. I’ve just had to crack on with it. 

The one good thing to come from the situation is my relationship with my children. I’ll always put them first, do my best to never let them down and love them with every part of me. 

I have a great support network and I’m so grateful. My Auntie Helen, my siblings, my friends, my cousins, my mother in law and obviously my husband. Having a big family does have its perks- sometimes! 

I’m not angry or sad at these Facebook posts. It’s a copy and paste type thing and people are more than entitled to celebrate anyone in their life that they wish. So long as we’re mindful it isn’t the same for everyone. I hope one day my kids can celebrate me in that way. Maybe even throw in a wee afternoon tea. 

If you have your Mum in your life then give her a kiss from me. This mothering lark isn’t easy but a kiss from your child always helps. 

Yvonne x 

 

Life after death

IMG_20160202_193038Recently I’ve suffered a loss. I hate that stupid term. She’s not lost is she? she’s dead. My dearest Nana. Who raised me along with my Grandad so they were my parents.

My Grandad died almost 4 years ago and that was the first death I’d had to deal with. Quite lucky that I’d got to 26 and not had someone close die. Not so bloody lucky it was my Grandad. I didn’t deal with that very well. I didn’t really deal with it at all truth be told. I’m not the best with feelings to be honest. So I swept it under the carpet and acted like a fool mostly. Then boom. One day about 2 and a half years ago I though right. Let’s do this. I had some short term counselling. How American does that sound? No offence to any Americans mind. I was dubious but it really helped. So much so that I recommend it to anyone who mentions so much as a headache to me. It’s not for everyone but it done the trick for me. I’m not over it. Of course not but I can speak about it and be happy and also be upset like a normal person. There are so many memories I have. All good. Worth having and not sweeping under a carpet. I miss my Grandad every day. He was poorly and he was ready to go. None of us wanted him to but that wasn’t for us to decide sadly.

My Nana coped so well. She was a tough bird. A bit like myself and not the most open with feelings of sadness but she was affectionate and loving with me always. I told her everything- like everything. She wasn’t a prude. Raising me made sure had no choice and she loved a grotty conversation almost as much as she loved Jeremy Kyle. She often heard things and asked me to explain. Ever explained sexting to and 80 year old? Nice eh?

She was so full of life and she didn’t want to die. Absolutely not and I was not ready for her to go. She found out she had cancer just before my wedding and was so upset in case she ruined my big day. So selfless but she fought it off quicker than most deal with a common cold. She was really remarkable.

Recently she had been ill with some stomach issues. Nothing serious she was told but it went on too long. I was starting to panic and kept at her to get to the hospital. They did tests and tests and kept saying it would just go. I think she knew it wasn’t a bug. I did but I’m a pessimistic bugger. The next thing she was in hospital. Within 24 hours she was gone. I won’t go into the details as it’s a bit much. One day she had a bug and the next she was gone. I’d joked with her a few weeks prior that she better not dare die while I’m pregnant and she did. The cheek of it? She had a bit of a sick sense of humour, like me and our banter was something many could never understand. I didn’t want them too, it was ours.

That was 2 months ago nearly. It feels like ages ago and 5 minutes ago all at the same time. This time though I made a promise to myself. To grieve and I did, and I am. Someone and I wish I could remember who told me to “be kind to myself”. I’m was 24 weeks pregnant and the time and that made perfect sense. I took time off and by God did I need it? After my Grandad died I went right back to work and that was the worst move ever. I wasn’t doing that again. I didn’t just have myself to think about but a baby as well as a 6 year old and a husband too.

L and my Nan had a truly beautiful bond. They adored each other. She said to me just before Christmas that when she did die I’d have my own feelings to deal with and his. Imagine pointing that out eh? She was right though. I feel terrible for him. He forgets and he’s confused, but generally he’s OK.  It’s amazing how resilient kids are and he’s a happy go lucky wee soul so he content thinking she’s watching over him and goes to the cemetery to talk about what he’s been  up to that week. His attitude always helps as he’s mostly so accepting. There have been times he’s just insisted on going to see her and got angry that he can’t see her or have a two way conversation with her. I know how he feels and that’s the worst bit.

She wouldn’t want sadness or anger at all and that’s what keeps me going. I’m also mostly ok but there are the days the even getting out of bed is an issue and not just cos of the growing bump. I’m being kind to myself as advised and some days I think wow! I’ve done loads and I am supermum and others I think shit all I did was put on some clothes, but those days I’m still like “well done you!”. It’s the little things. I’m doing my best and that’s fine.

Check me? Taking loads of credit for how well I’m doing. Truth is without my friends and family I wouldn’t have at all. My husband is pretty amazing. He’s much better with words and feelings than me. We’re a bit like my Grandparents in that sense. He’s my biggest supporter and backs me up always. We really are a team and recently he’s stepped up while I’ve quite often been just useless. He’s forced me to take time, take it easy and sometimes eat cake for breakfast. He doesn’t judge at all and for all I’m shit at talking I can always talk to him and he always listens. This is more cringey than I’m used to but I couldn’t have done any of this without him. I mean just keeping on.

I’ve went off on so many tangents and what I’m really trying to say is that it does get easier. Then you have one shitty day and it feels like it doesn’t, but it does. Life goes on and I really hate that saying. So blasé and cliché and probably other words that end in é like dické. It does though whether we like it or not. I really am OK too and it’s nice to be able to say that. I’m coping and I’m looking forward to so many nice things. It’s terrible my Grandparents aren’t here but I am just so grateful for the years I did have and that will never go away.

Hopefully my Nan can tell my Grandad that I’m happy and settled. He would love that and that pleases me.

I didn’t want this to be sad and I really hope it’s not. I’m happy as I type and I’m sorry if it seems at all self pitying but I’m also not sorry. I suppose it’s just nice to write this down. Therapeutic almost (here I go again with the Americanisms).

As they say in showbiz: The show must go on.

Yvonne x