“I Find Pregnancy Fascinating…If I Could Do It Again I would”.

Not a day goes by where I don't look at my children and count my lucky stars. I completely acknowledge how blessed and how lucky I am that I have beautiful, healthy children. Never do I take this amazing gift of motherhood for granted. Being a mum was one of the biggest, if not the biggest dream I had as a child. I thoroughly enjoyed pregnancy and I thoroughly enjoy being a mum, but after being pregnant and caring for babies for 5 years how do you just stop? How do you just not do it anymore? How do you accept that your babies are grown and you wont be having anymore?

For those of you that follow me you will be aware that I have four children (9,7,5 and 4). Pregnancy was a joy for me, I have always said I could do it again and again. Of course I had to deal with feeling sick from time to time (thankfully I didn't suffer with morning sickness), occasional back pain, hips playing up, stretch marks, swollen ankles (my ankles were huge) and I had heart burn with my last baby but that was all. That's all pretty standard pregnancy stuff. I didn't have any complications.

I find pregnancy absolutely fascinating! Our body creates a whole human being in just 40 weeks...what is there not to marvel at? and if I could do it all again I would, but I can't.

After Baby No 4 came along my husband and I decided we weren't going to have anymore. The practicalities and logistics of having a 5th child doesn't bare thinking about; we would need a bigger house, bigger car, more money etc. And anyway after just having had a baby the thought of having yet another was far from my mind. The decision to have no more was 100% a joint decision and we had a lengthy discussion about just how final the change was that he would be making to his body. Only now I feel like we may have acted too hastily.

My writing of this post comes as I saw the UK's largest family, The Radford Family, announce the arrival of baby No 20. Yes I did get that right, 20!

I have been following The Radford Family on and off since they first made an appearance on a TV show called 16 Kids and Counting! and I absolutely love them. They work hard running their own bakery business to support their family. I am completely in awe.

Whilst 20 children is a bit excessive by anyone's standards it bought it all back to me how much I wanted a big family. To some that is exactly what I've got but to me I feel a bit empty like there is room for more.

Whilst I know my husband sometimes feels the same way I do I also believe it is easier for him to shrug it off. Whereas I find myself ruminating about how I didn't do beautiful pregnancy photos, or the cute baby photoshoots, or cake bashing on their first birthdays, or the framed hand and foot casts.

Then there's the knowing that I won't ever have a Moses basket at the side of my bed again, or skin to skin contact with a newborn during the wee hours of the morning, or will I smell the newborn baby smell again.

It seems to me that us mums spend our time in a catch 22 situation. We forever encourage our babies to develop and grow and succeed but the moment they move onto the next stage we find ourselves longing for our babies back. It seems we have to learn to let go of them much earlier than I anticipated.

It's almost as if it's grief I feel. Like I've lost a part of my life that I will never get back or experience again. Friends and family would joke calling me a baby making machine but I loved that! That was exactly what I was and I completely and utterly enjoyed it. That was all I knew from when I was 19 years old. Now I don't even have babies; they are children that don't even look back when they run through the school gates and my littlun waves happily good bye as I drop her at pre-school.

I blinked and they were grown! My youngest is the last one left in pre-school and I for one am most definitely NOT looking forward to her last day there. When the day does come round I would have been going to that nursery for almost 9 years. 9 years!! That's a huge chunk of your life over. Just like that. Done.

None of these emotions get discussed with you at any of your meetings during and after your pregnancy. No one warns you that you may feel this way.

However, it's no good dwelling on what I don't have. Now don't get me wrong I adore my children more than words can say and I am so incredibly grateful for what I have and I do feel a little selfish and greedy complaining about not having more. So with that in mind I'm going to continue watching with pride as my babies grow more and more independent, while I continue to learn to look at what I do have with gratitude and fully appreciate my children as opposed to being miserable about what I haven't got.

I’m curious to know how other mums feel, is it just me? I appear to be the odd one out amongst my family and friends; they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind when I talk of wanting more children. So if you do get me or if what I have said resonates, or if you would just like to get in touch or share your story, please do 🙂

World Mental Health Day

So today, 10th October, is World Mental Health Day. Not many people are aware of this day nor are many people very aware about mental health.

I could go on and on about this topic as it’s something close to my heart but I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

Post-natal depression and anxiety is something I have first hand experience in. I suffered with post-natal after my second born and I am an anxiety sufferer - have been seen my teenage years when I used to have panic attacks.

There is such a huge taboo around these subjects when there shouldn’t be.

Not when something as simple as talking can help. Does help. Will help.

And those who haven’t suffered and who don’t really understand just need to be there, need to listen, need to care.

Talking, opening up, admitting you feel a certain way helps. It changed my life.

It can change yours too.

When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger!

Things have been harder than usual for me of late due to a change in personal circumstances.

My husband works away a lot now.

Which has inadvertently caused an upset to my usual routine and to the kids' usual routine.

Family dynamics have changed. We were such a tight knit family unit and now I often feel lonely...despite being busy with 4 children. So how do you get by and manage on your own when you're so used to being part of a team?

Well 'when life changes to be harder you change to be stronger'.

I'm not the type to be defeated so I'll find a way but, I kid you not, times are testing right now. But that said I do a bloody good job of it of it on my own.

I doubted myself the first few times the Mr went away. I had created a self-fulfilling prophecy by telling myself I can't do it, then after having had a really tough day I would say 'see, I can't do it'.

Well I recognised this early on so decided something had to give. My husband leaving this job and going back to his old job on less money wasn't an option.

So I adapted. I changed to be stronger. I stopped wallowing in self pity & pining over my husband and instead adopted a positive, can do attitude.

I've learnt that as much as I don't want to I CAN parent on my own when the time calls for it. I'm not prefect by any stretch but I am a great mum. And aside from reflecting on my parenting and observing what needs to change I have also set up my own childminding business. So it's all systems go!

We have found that the time we do get together as a family is of a much better quality and I also discovered that I'm stronger than I initially gave myself credit for! With all that in mind things are working much better.

There are days when we have to rush around after school and I mean rush. My son is a ballet dancer and it is currently the run up to his show so dancing is quite full on with longer sessions and dance routines to master. We have to have dinner at super sonic speed, we can't find dancing uniform or shoes then as we are walking out the door they all decide they need the loo!

Tension heightens and voices start to raise. Sometimes there's tears and my stress levels can go through the roof but we make it on time.

Then there is the task of keeping the others entertained and out of trouble. So I let them sit with their tablets. They sit quietly, they don't wind each other up or start fighting, stress decreases and everyone is happier...

Then I start getting looks across the room from other parents. You know the look, the look of judgement, the 'uh she's just sat her kids in a corner with screens' look!

At times like these I find myself putting my suit of amour on and blocking out the opinions of those who do not matter to me. However I still find those opinions incredibly frustrating.

***

To the person currently sat across the room looking at and judging my children and me as we sit here on our tablets, not talking to each other you have NO IDEA what things are like for me right now...

Running a house, raising four children, getting to school and various other places on time, cooking relatively healthy meals for us and so on ON MY OWN.

So no I haven't really spoke a word since I got here but I am 100% ok with that. And yes my kids have been sat on their screens for the best part of an hour and as this is the first bit of screen time they have had today I am again 100% ok with this.

***

To those struggling...Firstly know you are NOT alone. Secondly stop wallowing (harsh but that's what you're doing) pick yourself up, dust yourself off and change to be stronger. Find YOUR way. Thirdly talk to people and do not be afraid to ask for help or take it from those who offer.

It's not easy. No one said it was. But the reward is huge.

Keep your chin up.

***

To those who judge, my message is simple...

Stop!

You never know what is going on behind closed doors.

***

If ANY of this very raw and honest post resonates with you or has affected you in anyway I would love to hear from you.

Much love.

GCSE Results Day – Exams Do Not Define You

This morning I notice my personal Facebook feed is full of well-wishing parents keeping everything crossed for their teenagers exam results today. Many of those teenagers are on edge while they wait, nervous for the outcome and desperate not to disappoint. So I have a message for all parents and teenagers who are anxiously waiting on said exam results.

My Story

I grew up with a vision that I would be a successful career women, I quite fancied the idea of working with children - maybe teaching - I wasn't really fussed if I worked for myself or for a huge corporate company, or as a teacher in a school but I was going to follow in the path of my grandparents. My career choice would earn me a mint, I would work up the ladder putting in all the hours god sent to have a good way of life.

I distinctly remember my dad telling me "I want you to do better than me", not getting to my 30's or 40's wondering where my life had gone and feeling like I've not achieved anything. My mum would tell me if you want to make it in this world, like really make it you need to get good exam results and go to university (although the idea of me leaving to live in halls she just didn't like) and my maternal grandparents would tell me the only way to make any real money is to work for yourself.

Despite my vision I wouldn't work hard at school, I was clever but lazy, and anyway I had a burning desire to meet 'the one', be married, settle down and have a family of my own. To be someone's wife and to be a mum was my only true dream.

So when it came to exam time why was I so pent up on the results?

Playing the cards you've been dealt

Having not put in the work I left school with only one GCSE, my parents were disappointed but loved me nonetheless. I wasn't gobsmacked nor was I jealous of class mates who had better results. I would just go to college to resit - simples!

I didn't let the results define me. It wasn't the end of said career. I played the cards I'd been dealt and found a Plan B.

I worked part time in a shop and went back to college.

At college I achieved the GCSEs I needed. Somehow! I'm not sure how, because once again I didn't work hard. I wasn't entirely interested in it all to be honest but nevertheless I went on to do a Childcare and Education Diploma. I was doing well, it was a subject that I loved but I didn't finish it.

I had met someone and knew he was 'the one'. I was just 17 but I loved him and college was a nightmare. I was having a hard time, socially and emotionally (which is a story for another day) so I left.

I quit.

Much to my families despair I called time.

I started work full-time and settled down with the guy I had met. Our relationship was frowned upon at the start but I knew he was the one so we fought and fought. It was a real struggle, a real test on our strength as individuals and as a couple but eventually we proved everyone wrong. I left home at 18, we started a family when I was 19, we became homeowners and got married when I was 24 and we had our fourth child when I was 25. All the while we were both working full-time, me in between maternity leave, to provide for our growing family.

Now I am a stay-at-home-mum, a housewife, who is financially supported fully by my husband and after 3 ish years of this lifestyle I am waiting for my certificate to arrive that will allow me to practice as a childminder.

My dream of working with children still very much in the pipeline. Only the path I took is just different to the one my parents and society had planned out for me.

My message

Remember at the beginning of this post I said I had a burning desire to be married, settle down and have a family of my own...

Well that's exactly what I achieved!

As well as a career in working with children which I cannot wait to get started on.

Now before parents reading this shoot me down, my point is NOT that you should quit your studies and run off with your teenage crush but instead IS if you truly want something, if you have that burning desire, deep down in the pit of your stomach, whatever it may be, you WILL find a way.

Your exam results DO NOT define you.

Find your Plan B and run with it, just as I have. Play the cards you've been dealt to the best of your ability and all will work out.

Whatever your dream is I wish you the best of luck and remember never give up on what it is YOU want.

Love to all xx

 

 

Feature Image - Source: Google Images.

 

 

 

You Always Have A Choice – Choose Wisley

I write this post this morning in a very tired state. I am all out of sorts.

Having recently returned from a fantastic family holiday, i am exhausted! Travel alone is tiring but as some of you will be aware travelling abroad with young children throws other challenges at us as well and the all too real crash back to reality hasn't helped.

The kids are off school for the summer so there is not much r & r time for me.

My husband works away at times making me an #occasionalsinglemum (or so it feels).

I had planned to wake early today and resume back to my routine journal practice, building on my mindset and working on my dreams...

Then I had the worst nights kip ever!

So when my alarm went off I shuddered and hit snooze;
Again and again,
until I eventually arose from my slumber an hour and a half later; with a child in my bed...who is still there now! Cheers 👍🏼

I was cross, my day was already deviating from my plan
AND
I'm more tired than I was when I went to bed!!

SO I started asking myself the following questions, acknowledging I had a CHOICE. Acknowledging I could CHOOSE how the day was going to pan out from here.

  • How do you deal with this?
  • How do you move on?
  • How do you let this shape your day?
  • How do you let this affect your mood?...

There are TWO options

CHOICE 1) You CHOOSE
To kick yourself,
Be miserable,
Be hard on yourself for not sticking to your plan,
Be cross,
Mope around all day feeling annoyed
Feel sorry for yourself...woe betides me!!

OR

CHOICE 2) You CHOOSE
Let yourself accept this happened
Understand why it happened - your knackered!
Allow yourself to accept it's ok to be tired
Allow yourself to be ok with the situation
Pick yourself up
Dust yourself off
And start as mean to go on...

even if it is an hour an half later!

So my message this morning is this...

YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE - CHOOSE WISELY

I choose happy. What about you?

xxx

What Does Art and Crafts Look Like to You?

What does an arts and crafts day at home look like for you?

For me and mine crafts usually all for fun (and learning, but shhh don't tell them). It doesn't matter if a certain craft is considered 'girly ' or 'boyish' I just encourage my munchkins to do what they want to do and leave gender out of it.

For some craft work is therapeutic...

I'd like you to meet Jaycob.

Jaycob making his Dad a cushion for Fathers' Day

Jaycob turns to craft when he is feeling down. He was severely bullied at school which started when he was just 6 years old, making him very depressed to the point he tried to hurt himself. He had a lot of time of school for various reasons but during his time with his mum he learnt to sew amongst other things. Crafts helped him to recover, it gave him something else to focus on and gave him purpose.

Jaycob is now back at school and is a happy young lad again but still likes to get crafty. In the picture above Jaycob is sewing his dad a fathers day cushion which he loved making.

Thank you to Chrissie Lowery for allowing me to share part of your story - it's fantastic to see his energy being channelled into something skillful.

***************

As I mentioned previously I encourage learning when we decide to get crafty (not that the kids realise it) and nine times out of ten it involves getting out paints and brushes, coloured paper, scissors, sticky tape, PVA glue and 'stuff' to stick.

Our craft box often 'stuff' like this...

Normally speaking craft time at our house is adult-initiated but quickly becomes a child-led activity and I love it this way. I try not to influence them in their craft making decisions but offer them a safe and clean environment in which they can let their imaginations run free. Child-led activities help the children to grow and develop by allowing them to choose the resources they use, promoting independence and decision making skills, to name just two ways in which they learn from craft time. So whilst they are having fun they are learning too. Learning through first-hand experiences, not forced information.

Sometimes I like to shake things up for them and show them a new activity. For example we did potato printing a little while back.

For this activity they decided what shapes they wanted and I cut the potatoes. Here is an example...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We left the craft box in the cupboard for this and got out the paints instead! Woooo paints! Who doesn't love paints? *cue rolling of eyes and anxiety attacks about the mess* This is why  I choose to use Crayola as it is washable. I always make sure the children wear aprons but, hey, they are kids and there is usually at least one spillage!

So there has it two very different takes but both with the same outcome - learning and happiness. Whatever your take is HAVE FUN with it!

Here are a few pictures of past arts and crafts activities from us...

Bottle Bottom Turtles

 

Glitter Card Making

 

A Beautiful Accident (we gathered the excess glitter together to pour back into the tub and this happened <3 )

Thank you for reading an thanks for using any of the links above, if you did. If you do we earn a few pennies which all help to keep this blog free at no extra cost to you. The products I have recommended are products I have used myself.

How To Feed Your Kids That Little Bit More Healthy – Change 4Life Top Tips

As a mum one of our daily struggles is ensuring that our growing munchkins have a healthy, balanced diet. But what with the busy lives we all lead; work commitments, different commutes and various after school activities, as well as the cost of food, it is a struggle that is hard to get on top of.

Today my son came home from school with a booklet from Change 4Life called Top Tips for Top Kids. I really rate Change 4 Life; I've had the the app on my phone for a while now and turn to it when I'm in need of some healthy food inspiration. It has some brilliant ideas as does this booklet.

The booklet has 8 top tips which give you fab ideas that make giving your child the healthy option that little bit easier.

Here I will summarise the tips but I fully recommend you find Change 4Life on the internet for more information.

Change 4Life Top Tips

 

1. Sugar Swaps

  • Swap sugary cereals for plain and serve them with fruit to add the sweetness.
  • Swap sugary drinks for diet options, sugar free, lower fat, or water.
  • And instead of sugary snacks swapto fresh fruit or plain rice cakes.

2. Regular meal times

  • Organise your day around theee regular meals
  • Eat together whenever you can
  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - it gives kids the energy the need.

3. Me size meal

  • Give them a child size portion
  • Start with a little and wait for ten to ask for more. Don't pressure them to eat it all up if they are full
  • Watch packaging sizes. A pot of drinks & foods are designed for adult or for sharing.

4. Snack check

  • Keep a count of what snacks and how many ray are having. You may be surprised and might be able to cut down
  • Sometimes it's kinder to say no. Find different ways to reward them - a trip to the park or stickers for example.

5. 5 a day

  • Fresh, frozen, dried, juiced & tinned fruit and veg all count
  • A 150ml glass of fruit juice counts as one - limit to one glass though as more than this can increase the risk of tooth decay

6. Cut back fat

  • Grill or bake instead of frying
  • Cut off any fat you can see on meat before you cook it & skin chicken and turkey first.
  • Drain off fat after cooking
  • Cut back on snack foods - crisps, cakes, buns etc should be treats only.

7. 10 minute bursts of activity

  • Get off the bus & out the car. If it's walkable then walk it.
  • Clock up 60 mins of active play each day - before & after school and weekends.
  • Splash about in the pool - lengths, widths or even just playing in the shallow end.
  • Check out 10 minute shake ups! By searching Change 4Life

8. Get going everyday

  • 2 hours max of screen time throughout the whole day. Including all tv, tablets phones etc. It all adds up.
  • Run around after school
  • Get them up and about after eating. Not sitting down on the sofa 

So here it is, I hope you find these healthy tips as useful as I have.

How To Keep You and Your Children Cool in the Summer Sun

Hoorah the sun is here!! If there is one thing us Brits' love it's the summer sun. Ahh, what a change from the gloomy mornings, grey days and cold, dark evenings. However, what us Brits' tend not to be so good at is coping with summer! And we seem to pass this inability down to our children while we worry about how to keep our little people cool during extreme heat.

 

 

Extreme heat? Ok well it’s extreme for us Brits' anyway...

 

All too often we make decisions that, unbeknown to us, are so dangerous and potentially fatal. With that in mind I have compiled a list of Do's & Don'ts, Fun Activities, Night Time Cooling Tips and Tips for Babies.

 

Do's & Don'ts

  1. Keep Hydrated

DO Make sure your children have plenty of fluids to stop them becoming dehydrated. Ice lollies, bought or homemade, diluted juice and flavoured ice cubes are a great way to do this as well as drinking water.

Diluted juice on tap. Perfect for older children as they can access this themselves. 

For breast fed babies you won’t need to give them water too but they may want feeding more often.

 

Bottled fed babies and babies whom are being weaned onto solids will be able to have cooled boiled water in their usual bottle.

 

Fruit and salad are also great for older children to help keep hydrated.

 

DO NOT wait until your child tells you they are thirsty. By this time they are already getting dehydrated. Keep their fluids topped up all day.

 

  1. Sun Cream and Sun Hat

 

DO apply sun cream. According to the NHS children should be wearing a MINIMUM of SPF 15 sun cream, that said many manufacturers have a children’s range of sun creams with much higher SPF with better protection from UV rays.

 

DO make sure your child is wearing a sun hat. Hats with a large brim or a long flap at the back are ideal as they provide cover for their neck.

 

It is NOT recommended that babies under 6 months old should be in the direct sun light. Ideally we SHOULD NOT be outside in the sun during the hours of 11am and 3pm as this is when the sun is at its hottest.

 

  1. Light Clothing

 

Keep shoes on. Flip flops, sandals, jelly shoes or similar are ideal. The floor will burn.

DO Dress your children appropriately.

 

They DO NOT need layers on in the hot weather.

 

Fitted, tight clothing can be stressful for us grown-ups when we are hot yet we are able to adjust ourselves and get comfortable. For children this is more difficult and for babies impossible. Light, loose and floaty clothing is perfect.

We all like to kick our shoes off in the heat but DO NOT let your children run around outside with no shoes on. Floor coverings such as tarmac, paving slaps, concrete and decking will be too hot for the delicate skin on their little feet.

Allow young children to have as much nappy free time as possible.

 

  1. Sun Parasol

 

For those with little ones in pushchairs or pram’s, investing in a parasol is invaluable. It’s more than your monies worth. They keep your littlun out of the sun and still allow a breeze to get to them. DO purchase one.

 

DO NOT put a blanket, muslin cloth or any other type of covering over the pram or pushchair. The heat that generates underneath it matches that of being left in a car in the sun with the windows shut. It is incredibly dangerous.

 

  1. Paddling Pool

 

DO allow water play in a paddling pool. Children can have hours of fun splashing around with the water keeping them cool the whole time.

 

DO NOT put the pool in the sun. The water will get too hot for the children to play in.

 

Fun Activities

Here are 5 water-and-ice play ideas

  • Paddling Pool
    • Add ball pit balls to the water
    • Buckets
    • Fishing or hook a duck games are also great fun (these can usually be purchased in pound shops)
  • Sprinkler
    • Turn the sprinkler on the kids will love running in and out of it
  • Homemade splash pad
    • Put the sprinkler on some tarpooline (do you see what I did there ;)) and they have their own splash pad to slide around on.
  • Surprise Frozen Eggs
    • Hide small dinosaur toys, some plastic jewellery (almost anything goes) and freeze them.
    • Once frozen, help the children peel the balloon off and leave them to work out how to get the toy out.
  • Water Balloon Piñata
    • As well as the old school water balloon fun try tying a few full balloons to a piece of string, give the children a stick and, well, let them whack the balloons till the pop!

 

Evening Tips

Sleeping in the heat is borderline impossible. Then just as we get to sleep a child strolls in crying because they too are sticky and hot and can’t sleep.

 

Here are my 3 tips to a little more comfort at night:

  1. Take the duvet out of the duvet cover. Leave you and your children with just the sheet.
  2. Keep windows open. I know this can be a worry in children’s rooms so if you are able to lock them open this is what I recommend. If this is not possible, leave their bedroom door open and invest in a fan. Whilst some can give off a bit of noise this is normally more bearable than being too hot. Let’s face it, when kids are tired they will sleep through most noise.
  3. NO pyjamas. No shorts, not vest tops, just pants or a nappy will suffice.

 

 

I hope you have found these tips and pointers useful. If you think of anything I have missed or you have your own special way of doing things please feel free to share in the comments. Your thoughts and responses are greatly appreciated.

To My Darling Girl

Dear Noonoo's,

 

You came to me with your troubles today. It makes me sad to see you so down in the dumps but I was chuffed you came to me. You finally found it in you to see that I, as your mummy, can help make you feel better.

 

I should say that I love your relationship with Daddy. It's beautiful and makes my heart melt. I would never ever try to come between you both but I just want you to know that mummy's are pretty damn good in these crappy situations too so whenever you want to talk again, I'm all ears.

 

You told me you had been left out by the people you were playing with outside. And you cried telling me it's like they don't like you. It was only a few days prior to this you told me of little girl that hit you and asked if you wanted more! My god it makes me mad to see you like this, or your brothers and sister. I feel like a lioness with her cubs ready to pounce on any fucker, adult or child, that upsets my babies but you see the thing is, part of growing up is learning how to overcome difficult times like these. And you will get through them sweetheart I promise. I know you will because I did too, as did nanny and her mummy before her. It's just part of life.

 

Sometimes your friends will do things that annoy you and you will do things that annoy them but more often than not you will make up again. Sometimes life seems unfair. No, sometimes life IS unfair but by pulling through you will become that little bit stronger, giving you the extra courage to break down the next barrier you are faced with.

 

My job as your mum is to help you grow into a strong young woman, who is independent, who isn't a push over, who fights for what she thinks is right, who believes in her dreams and who can look fear in the eye and deal with it. But if I were to fight your every battle you wouldn't learn these things and my darling girl you are stronger than you think because you already are and do some of this!

 

I know kids can be cruel with things that they say, especially girls and there is no doubt you will find yourself saying nasty things to people too (that doesn't make it right by the way) but you have to learn when it's worth fighting and when it's better to walk away. Just know that whatever you choose to do, in any situation I have your back and I always will have. We can deal with whatever life throws at you together.

 

So, my point in writing to you is so that you know you can always come to me. You can come to me with whatever is on your mind, however big or small it may seem because together you and I will find the way. I will always do my best to turn your frown into a smile and I have a torrent of hugs waiting for you when you want them again.

 

I enjoyed our mummy daughter moment yesterday. It was magical for me. By the look on your face I did a pretty good job at turning things around for you too.

 

There is plenty more where that came from 🙂

 

Sweetheart, you are more like me than you will ever realise and I love you so much more than you will ever understand.

 

Forever and always

Mummy

xxx

 

 

So it’s time to declutter, but where to start?!

For a while now I have been feeling like I need to declutter but I had no idea where to start or what exactly needed decluttering; My mind? My possessions?

 

Or both?...

 

Anxiety

 

I am an anxiety sufferer. I'm no where near as bad as I once was which is down to being able to recognise the signs and triggers, but nevertheless I still suffer with anxiety. Mentally decluttering was a huge part of my recovery process at a time when I hit rock bottom. Carrying this on beyond recovery once I felt ok proved to be a new challenge.

 

Challenges are good though! They take us further than we thought we were capable of, they push our boundaries and encourage us to achieve. A challenge I set myself was a promise to myself that I would never sink that low again. I won't put myself or my family under that kind of pressure; I can't and won't affect them like that again. In order to achieve that my mind has to be clear. I have to keep it decluttered.

 

Just recently I have once again been overthinking, ruminating, worrying, judging myself, putting my appearance down and so on, so my mind has been far from clear. I'm not sure WHY I do this but what is important here is that I know I AM doing it. Whereas previously I did not know and in turn and I did not deal with things and eventually I hit rock bottom. I was ill, really ill. Suffering bad with anxiety and mild depression. I was, in my doctors words as unwell "as someone with all their limbs in plaster"...I couldn't do anything! But this time it is different, I know I am overthinking so I just have to find a way to deal with it.

 

Moving forward

 

After reading a post on Facebook all to do with Attaching ourselves to stuff that my beautiful friend Samantha Alice of Living365 Coaching wrote I felt inspired. Samantha is currently living her chosen freedom lifestyle and while traveling Thailand decided she had a rucksack full of 'stuff' she didn't need. So Sam made the decision to give it to charity. All the items in the bag can be replaced if need be but they are items that she just didn't need on her travels making them more of a hindrance than a benefit. Samantha wrote "The more stuff I let go of, the more space I feel I have, not only physically, but mentally too". Then it dawned on me...perhaps I needed to declutter some physical items in order to clear my mind.

 

Maybe the organised chaos that I am surround by is a life like reflection of what's going on inside my mind?!

 

OR maybe the 1001 things circulating my head is mirroring the physical clutter...

 

I had already started clearing out my daughters' wardrobes... there was no real thought process behind this, not a conscious one anyway. I had filled a bag to take to give to a friend and a bag to give to charity and it felt great (they still have way too much 'stuff' but nevertheless its a start). Then I moved on to my wardrobe creating another bag of clothes to give to charity.

Doesn't look like much but there are about 60 odd items to go here

 

It felt amazing! Like some kind of release, like a small pressure had gone.

 

My decluttering thought process had became a conscious one. We do not need hundreds of possessions to make us feel good but we do need a clear mind and by clearing 'stuff' you DO clear your mind. Therefore, I have started a much bigger decluttering project!

 

Now don't get me wrong I am not about to become a minimalist but I am aware I have a lot of stuff around me. So if I declutter the physical things, you know, the possessions that are not needed such as items of clothing and shoes that haven't been worn for years, or books that have been read once then left to collect dust on a book shelf, bits of paper and other general cr*p that is laying around the house then I will inadvertently declutter my mind too. Thus making me feel great!

 

Winning

 

Clearing my mind will enable me to make sense of the nonsense flying around my head.

 

It will make me feel like I can conquer the world and believe me, after a good nights kip and with a clear mind I will take any shite that is thrown at me. And I will deal with it! But you see, half my battle is I am always trying to get EVERYTHING done NOW. Take it from me, this doesn't work you need to go slow and things will happen faster. Therefore, I need to strip things back. Declutter the physical things. Taking small but productive steps.  Then everything else will  fall into place because it will have the space to do so both mentally and physically.

 

Just remember, we must not kid ourselves that suddenly we won't have bad days any more because we have cleared all our possessions!! As wonderful as that sounds it is totally unrealistic!

 

There will still be days where the kids drive us mad and where we feel exactly the way I felt when I wrote An Ode' To My Kids but because the mind is clear you will be able to deal with these days much easier...

 

There is plenty more that needs to be done but I have started my huge 'decluttering journey' ( I don't know if that's a thing but I'm making it a thing). Especially seeing as I counted 40 dresses that I put back in the girls' wardrobes never mind their tops, skirts, shorts, leggings etc!!!

 

Yes I hear you! What has she done exactly? Well, I have made a start, a small one granted but a start nevertheless and by doing it this way the whole process doesn't seem overwhelming.

 

I have set myself an achievable challenge and I will achieve it. One step at a time!

 

Here's to a clearer future 🙂

 

Update

Since I started writing this, as part of my 'huge decluttering journey', Mr B has made a start on the loft.

 

A while back we bought a conservatory off eBay then for one reason or another we changed our minds. So rather than getting rid straight away the bulk of it ended up in our loft! But what on earth for? Why?! Why not get rid straight away? What good is it doing up there?

What were we doing...saving it for a rainy day? My word!!

 

Anyway its gone now and so has a load more stuff we didn't even realise was up there. And you know what? It feels great.

Actually watching things leaving feels like another part of me is able to breathe. I had no idea that 'stuff' could hold you down so much, almost like an anchor!

 

 

So my overall message to you is this. If you have started to feel like you need to declutter and like a good clear out is needed, but you feel overwhelmed by the process when you look at how much 'stuff' you actually have, you need to take a step back.

 

Take a breathe. Choose a place to start. Anywhere. It doesn't matter where. Just go with what feels right and, well, start!

 

You do not have to conquer your whole house in one hit come on guys Rome wasn't built in day! You do not even need to do a whole room; I started with one cupboard. That way when you haven't cleared the whole room you can't be hard on yourself for not completing what you set out to do. I give myself small manageable chunks, if I do more great if I don't that's fine.

 

Your decluttering journey...

 

If this has helped you it would be fantastic to hear about OR you have something to add OR a similar experience to share please comment below with your response.

 

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