The End Of An Era

In 2014, I began blogging. It started on blogspot and it was a very helpful and healing hobby. I concentrated on blogging about my mental health, making updates on my life and occasionally, the odd adventure I participated in. I blogged pretty often throughout my pregnancy and tried to document the newborn days, before switching to WordPress less than a year ago.

But times have changed and I no longer want to blog. Privacy has become more important and over sharing isn’t my thing anymore. I write in a journal now, because it’s far more helpful than censoring what you write in a blog post. It means I’m free to write until I come to some kind of conclusion. It’s not the greatest of reads but it’s been allowing me to process my thoughts in a whole new way.

I didn’t think I’d ever want to stop blogging but lately, I’ve nothing to say that I’m actually happy to share so publicly.

Despite creating a Facebook and Instagram page for this blog recently, I have come to the realisation it’s just not for me anymore. That was a last hurrah. An attempt to encourage myself but lately, I haven’t seen the point in sharing things on here. I share what I want to on my socials and that’s about it. I guess it’s the end of an era.

I hope you can understand,

Thank you for reading this post,

With love, Rebecca ♡

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Single parent studying sucks.

Studying isn’t going well. I actually am experiencing quite a lot of regret about partaking in studies, and the only thing making me continue with my degree, is that in about 6 weeks, I’m done with the OU for the year. Yes, the year, I am not going to be doing my third of six years until 2020 because I simply cannot find the time or energy to get it done.

I’m very aware I am sat in a place of privilege and the opportunities I have, are not available to everyone, and so I feel very ungrateful when I say these things.

But all the same, I’ve only got me to pull me through every single week of independent study and every assignment. I’m trying to balance that with everything and truth be told, I can’t hack it. So to put it simply, I am waiting until Reuben is 2 and in nursery to continue with this degree.

I am considering going to an actual university. That would mean starting again, but doing a distance learning degree is way harder than I thought it would be. It was hard when I was working, and it’s certainly a lot harder now that I am a stay at home single parent. Finding the discipline within myself to get the work done is so hard. The motivation wavers away. I feel that this kind of studying is very lonely.

Currently, I should be writing up a paper but I’m finding it incredibly difficult to concentrate as I am overwhelmed and angered by the assignment itself. I just don’t want to do it. I have been trying so hard this year to achieve better grades and I haven’t been getting better. I’m truly disappointed in myself and thus, I am procrastinating. This is the second to last assignment of the year and there’s maths involved. It’s definitely not my strong point.

Anyway, I better just crack on with it. At this point, I just want it out of the way. I have two weeks to do it but next week is a break and I really do want a break from my studies (as if I haven’t been slacking with it for weeks on end). I recall, of course, why I want to do this degree. I want a better life for my son and I. I want to help others. I’ll get there.

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca xo

Hello Spring!

The blossoms, baby animals and flowers are appearing as the long dark nights turn into bright sunny days. It’s not that warm in Britain yet but the other day, I wore a sundress to dinner. That’s right, you guys, it hit over 10 degrees! It can only mean one thing; Spring is here!

I can’t really say I know what Spring has in store, it could leap up and surprise me before Summer, I might even bounce back, who knows? But like, Winter has been rough. I am adamant that it’s not seasonal depression, because I am depressed all year, it’s just that Christmas and New Year were particularly lonely and always serve as painful reminders (trauma! let’s not go there) so it was hard. But, alas, the earth feels renewed.

(I mean, not really, global warming is still a thing but hey, hopefully the world leaders are starting to do something about it… y’know, instead of wars and space programmes, but that’s just my two cents.)

Dare I say it, I have a good feeling about this year. I’m excited to see if Spring has any surprises in store for me and my little family.

Thank you for reading,
With love, Rebecca ♡

New Mama Tag

I got this idea from watching the new mum/mom tag videos on YouTube, which was created by the beautiful and inspirational Emily Norris, so without any further ado, let’s answer some questions.

1) Favourite Mum Hack?

This might not be too amazing but, I’d say teaching your child to perform basic clean up tasks as a game, has been my fave hack. Reuben loves wiping his high chair down and helping with the laundry for this reason.

2) Most Embarrassing Mum Moment?

I thought I could bottle feed in the nursing room in a shopping centre. I was wrong.

3) Favourite part of the day?

Going to get Reuben out of his cot after any nap/sleep. It’s lovely. Bathtime is a close second, that’s always a giggle.

4) Worst part of the day?

Cleaning up after mealtimes irritates me every single time.

5) Worst thing someone said to you when pregnant?

“you got pregnant so you didn’t have to work” and “just another useless mum on the dole” and also “you’re absolutely massive”. Yay.

6) A baby name you disagreed on?

Reuben. But, I got my way.

7) Do you co-sleep?

It’s only occasional now, when trying to get extra sleep in the morning, or when Reu is poorly.

However, when Reu was a newborn, I didn’t want to cosleep, but often, it was very necessary. There was many ways to make sure it’s safely done. I panicked about SIDS constantly but I found many tricks for making cosleeping as safe as possible.

8) Baby products you never used?

I didn’t really have everything I needed when I had Reuben, but I never used his newborn clothing. My 8lb 6oz baby was too long.

9) Name 3 hospital bag must haves?

Comfortable clothes, painkillers, pads.

10) Are you a go with the flow or routine mum?

I’m a bit of both. I have routines but I’m flexible about when they begin and when naps occur. I would love to be more a routine mum but I’m too lazy. Or laid back, rather. I am really lucky that my child has always been a good sleeper.

11) What labour and pain relief did you have?

I was induced, I had gas and air and an epidural. It was traumatic. I wouldn’t opt for another induction at all if I could help it. Future me: if it’s not 100% necessary, don’t do it.

12) Have you ever been mum shamed?

Yes. By a midwife in the hospital on the post natal ward for giving in and giving Reu formula. By a few people I know for quitting breastfeeding three weeks in. And recently, an old women decided to say I was a shit mother who didn’t care about my baby because I was using my phone on the bus, instead ot interacting with Reuben.

13) What have been the biggest challenges?

Healing from trauma /going through therapy, whilst being a single mother. Especially when I am studying. It’s so hard.

14) What is the best advice you’ve had or that you’ve given?

“You’ve got to take care of yourself too” and “don’t compare yourself to other mothers”. Also, if you can ask for help, or are offered it, take it. You need to take some of that pressure off yourself, Mama!

15) Who’s your mum crush?

Britneyandbaby and Louise Pentland are my ultimate role models on Youtube, but in real life, I have many mummy friends I look up to.

That was quite fun. I will tag fellow parent vloggers in my insta post!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca x

Life For Us Lately

Hello again,

I thought today I would take a moment to sit and write about how life is at the moment.

Starting with Reuben, of course, my little buddy. He just turned 16 months old, and is a cheeky toddler, who’s currently a bit poorly. Poor mite has a cold. They’re not that bad, are they? But they’re not fun either. Who knew you could become an expert nose wiper in 1 hour? Not me. But I know now. And so do you.

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Parenting is rough at the moment. My mental health is a bag of… a bag of… not good things. The brain fog has been awful, which is a massive sign that the CPTSD has flared up once again, because I am too exhausted to think straight. Today, I’ve got a good few hours on my own so I have an opportunity to breathe without expectations.

I don’t know if that makes sense. But lately, I’ve not had very much time on my own and I have both yearned for it and feared it. I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts but feeling like I am suffocating all the time isn’t fun either. Flashbacks, low self esteem, sensory overload, brain fog, anxiety attacks, nightmares, self doubt… they’re just a few of the things getting to me lately. It’s been hard.

The hardest thing is that I should be happy. Matthew is amazing. I’ve never felt so well loved, never felt so sure about a person before. He’s loving, supportive, funny, handsome, and definitely, a very good man. I am happy. “Honeymoon period” or not, this one’s a keeper. And I feel like my mental health is trashing up my life like some sort of hormone tornado. It’s ripping through my ability to feel good, stomping all over my parenting, throwing my relationship through the air.

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I’m lucky though. Matthew isn’t the only one who’s been incredibly supportive through this hard time. My sister, Hannah, has also been making sure I am okay. She’s been helping mentally, and physically… babysitting, cleaning, being someone to talk to. We never used to get on, but now we’re best friends. And I trust her with my child. I trust both Matthew and Hannah with Reuben and that’s a wonderful feeling, to know that I don’t have to be alone.

I mean, I still feel isolated. They’re being as supportive as they can, but I am too afraid to speak about half of the things that are going on my mind. I try sometimes, but sometimes I can’t find the words. I have done before, in therapy, but I knew that my therapist is a person who is trained in knowing what to say, how to react, how to help. There’s no guarantee with that in real life, no matter how much the person cares about you. I hate when I’ve opened up about something big in the past, and I’ve had a “is that all?” response (usually in their facial expression), and it’s hurt. I wonder; did the words not do the trauma justice? Am I just pathetic? I guess ultimately, I’m worried that I’ll be seen differently if I open up about things.

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I’m not weak because I am struggling. I am strong because I am fighting. This is another storm that I can and will sail through, no matter how rough the tides are, and I am not afraid of it. I am not alone. There is hope.

Hope, such as, that house move I am hoping for this year. If you don’t know, I am bidding for council houses so I am on a waiting list to be moved. Every week I bid on available properties that I am eligible for, and every week I do get closer and closer, looking at where I’m ranking at the end of the each week. I reckon I have maybe 6-9 months of waiting. It would be less but I am trying to move to a much better part of this city, where the housing and schools are better, so I am prepared to wait a bit longer. Even if living here is literally a source of stress and anxiety, I know holding on for the best is worth it. I want to give Reuben, and myself actually, a better life.

So I guess I really better pull my socks up with my degree. Studying has been bothersome lately. Mentally I’m not doing so good (have I… have I mentioned this?) and the last thing I feel like doing with any available time is opening my textbooks. I have been doing it here and there, but I’m definitely struggling to find the self-discipline to get the work done. Hopefully it doesn’t cost me too dearly in the next assessment. I did really want to get a First this year but it seems like it’s out of reach due to my first two assessments. I’m awaiting my third one to be marked but I really hope I’ve done better because I tried so hard to improve. As you can imagine, a blogger’s style of right doesn’t fly with the tutors, so it’s always a challenge to be concise and formal in my essays. I am trying though, isn’t that what’s important?

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I know that my mental health isn’t great but that’s all under the surface stuff, I still feel really appreciative. I still find myself having moments, hours, or the odd day where I feel truly happy. I’m still pushing through. I’m still making sure I go to the gym once a week, laugh whenever I can, and cry whenever I need to. Right now, despite knowing I’ve a huge list of housework to complete, I am okay. I am happy I have found love, support and gratitude this year.  And I’m sure when my skin clears up, and this sad phase ends, I will truly find myself blossoming. Life is changing, everyone, and I am really delighted to say that.

Thank you for reading,

With love,
Rebecca x

A Roadtrip to Bridlington.

Yesterday, something exciting happened.

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An actually it was decided the night before. You see on Wednesday night, I was not in a good mental place and I joked that I wanted to go to the seaside, mainly to get away from these four walls, but my partner was like “why not?”. So at 4am on Thursday morning, we were all getting ready to race the sunrise to the coast.

We (referring to my sister, Hannah, my partner, Matthew, and my son, Reuben) were all pretty excited by this little rather impromptu adventure we were going on. I couldn’t believe my luck though. I haven’t been to the seaside since August 2017 and I’ve barely left Leeds in what feels like forever. The main reason for wanting to go to Bridlington was because I had it in my head that it would make me feel closer to my Nana, with all those memories, and that I’d feel more at peace.

At the city streets, turned to the familiar country roads, I felt a sense of ease. Memories of listening to Ronan Keating in the car with my Nana flooded my mind as we drove through the little sleepy seaside villages. I felt so much thankfulness in my heart that I was getting the opportunity to do this. There are many times I look at Matthew and think “how lucky am I?” but yesterday, I thought that so often.

Unfortunately, the sun kept the sunrise on the low down. The cloudy sky meant it just got light, albeit many shades of grey, and it was raining a lot. But in seeing the sea, I was happy. The ocean always makes me feel better. I know this isn’t an uncommon reaction, but it’s one worth mentioning.

Matthew wanted to nap as we waited for the town to open up it’s doors, so Hannah and I bundled Reuben out into the pram, thinking it would be a fantastic idea to have an early morning stroll by the shore.

Wrong. It was blistering cold. Raining. I had forgotten the raincover to Reuben’s pram. Fail. Terrible. Cold. Very, very cold. But still, we took some photos, and then literally ran back up the hill to the car. Honestly, I know the sea air makes it colder than it is inland but that was ridiculous, it felt quite Baltic.

8am wasn’t too far off though, so soon we went for breakfast. Good ol’ Spoons. Or not, honestly, breakfast at Wetherspoons lately has gone down so much. Supermarket cafes are easily outdoing them. Sorry ‘Spoons! Still, can’t complain. Breakfast is breakfast and we needed to eat.

It was after that, however, that Hannah and I got our step count up and Matthew got his much needed nap in the car. Hannah and I took Reuben in the pram along the promenade as far as we could walk on South Beach. It was really nice. The skies started clearing and it got a little warmer. And it was during this walk that I had my first of two epiphanies of the day:

First of all, that Nana is wherever I want her to be. She’s in my heart, she’s in my head. She is in the memories, the ocean breeze, a warm day, a good cup of tea, a song that I haven’t heard in a while… The people we love and lose never really leave us, because as long as we remember them, they are always, always with us.

The other thing I realised that is, no, I don’t want to live here. I felt like if I moved to the seaside, to the place where all my memories are, that I would feel complete. But being there as a new person, as a mother, I decided that there’s nothing here for me like that. I can get the feeling that I get by the sea at any coastline, looking at any ocean, and to be honest, Bridlington just hurts a bit because of the memories. I think my Nana would understand these feelings.

Anyway, we didn’t stay long after having a fish and chip lunch. Come on, you can’t go to the seaside without going to the chippy, can you? I really liked what we got too. But by 3pm, we were already going home. All knackered.

The rest of the day went kind of sour. A mix of feeling mentally unstable (let’s not mince our words here, I was literally found holding back tears on the kitchen floor because I couldn’t figure out how to make dinner due to mind fog) and being sleep deprived really wasn’t working in my favour. But that’s not what this post is about. And I feel a lot better today. Honestly, my mental health has been rocky lately but I just have to sail through the storm. What matters is that I have such amazing people supporting me through rough tides. I couldn’t be without Matthew or Hannah. I’ve been laughing a lot more lately, I’ve been smiling a lot more too.

Hope you enjoyed my blog post, thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

Things Will Change.

Reuben is my little best friend.

He drives me nuts on the regular, but he’s pretty awesome. I’m lucky that he’s well behaved (most of the time) and I know that this could change (he’s only 15 months old) but I appreciate the way he is now.

I try not to look too far forward into the future, and lately, I’ve been trying not to think about the baby he once was. The past has gone, the future isn’t here yet, but the present? That’s very much at my fingertips.

And tonight, Reuben cuddled up to me to watch one of his favourite baby sensory videos after his bath. With his bottle cooling and his sleepsuit soft and snug, I am reminded of his younger days. I’d put baby sensory videos on a lot when he was a baby. They were both easier and harder. It’s relative, I think. For instance, he was much easier to take care of (e.g. no running about after him, and was very content no matter what) but he also had more needs (e.g. Needed more supervision eating, and not to mention endless bottles… And endless bottle washing). Anyway, the video in particular, sent me hurtling into a nostalgia that is almost too bittersweet.

I often forget though, that these days are special too. He’s not as small as he used to be, but he’s smaller than he’s gonna be. I have a toddler. A toddler that will turn into a child. A child that turns into a teenager… Shiver my timbers, that freaks me out. I honestly don’t look ahead like this because it scares the bejesus out of me.

I guess what this post is, is another little reminder to myself to remain grateful for my little boy. Because sure, motherhood feels like I’m being constantly run over by a herd of geese, but you know… There’s moments between getting run over where I’m astounded at how beautiful it is. And I suppose I’m feeling that way now, hence the soppy post.

Lately, I’ve been really focused on creating a better life for my little boy. I’ve been exploring my options to see if returning to work is a viable option. I want to give him more, I want us to have more, I want more as well – I’d be lying if I didn’t say that.

So many changes are coming, I feel them, mainly because I’m making them happen. So keep your eyes peeled because I have a funny feeling *wink wink* things are going to get interesting around here & as usual, I want to blog the journey :).

With love, Rebecca ♡