About 6 weeks ago now I made a choice to become a vegetarian, I was briefly a vegetarian in my early teens due to a friend who lived on a working farm told me how her and her dad slaughtered sheep and how this one time it went "wrong" and they had to repeatedly give a lamb the gun to the head, she went on in detail of the seizure's that happened as the lamb was dying. Yes we were teens, yes this may of been the norm for her, but me, I was traumatised by it and became vegetarian for 2 years.
I've always been a bit of a fussy arse where meat is concerned, I'd never eat fat, rind or gristle, the very idea of pork scratching turn my stomach! I wouldn't eat sausages, mince or burgers, if I had mince in spag bol it'd be the 5% fat version and if I found the slightest fatty lump, that would ruin the whole dish for me, I'd wretch my arse off. Same with cod or tuna, slightest bone and it'll have me running to the loo throwing up. Yuk Yuk Yuk.
So the meat in my diet consisted of chicken breasts, turkey steaks and rindless bacon and pork loins. On the grand scheme of things I didn't eat an awful lot of meat anyway and nutritionally I would get a lot of my protein intake from shakes and bars. More and more recently I've been hyper aware of what I'm eating and where my food is coming from having a tendency to overthink the meat that I'm eating, that this animal was born and bred to be killed to be eaten, and the guilt broke me, any meat food waste would really upset me as I'd feel that animal died so it could sustain us and we're just putting it in the bin, so they died for nothing. I could go on and on about my feelings towards no longer eating meat but I don't want to come across as preaching. The final straw for me was when I was sat eating a portion of my spaghetti Bolognese pasta bake whilst scrolling on facebook and I came across a news article about a man finding a calfs eyelid and eyelashes in his mince meat. Well that was me, I scrapped my pasta bake into the food waste bin and there and then made the choice to never eat meat again.
My choice was met with mixed reviews, some family members scoffed, some said they weren't surprised, my partner has been the upmost supportive as he knows me better than I know myself sometimes and he knew how important of a choice it was for me and to be honest I feel so much better spiritually for being a vegetarian, that guilt has gone and I feel a massive sense of achievement and happiness in my choice. At first I found it incredibly frustrating, I couldn't make all the usual family meals, eating together with my partner became a pain in the arse and for the first 2 weeks I was living off a bland carbohydrate based diet, which reflected in my body, I retained water and my skin became incredibly oily and spotty. Then I was introduced to quorn, which had been a god send! With that in my daily diet I have managed to maintain a nice healthy 100+g of protein a day which my body prefers. I find a similar amount of protein & carbs in my diet with roughly a third of that amount of fat works for my body, but everybody is different, so a typical day for me at the moment is 120g carbs 120g protein 40g fat.
Plus with the discovery of quorn mince and pieces I've found i can tweak my recipes and still do my usual cottage pie/spag bol, chilli con carne and pasta bake, I've also created an amazing cheeseburger omelette which is high in protein and super yummy and filling, today I also cooked up an amazing Cajun cheeseburger salad... nom nom nom. i will be trying to post a few of my own vegetarian recipes on my recipe page on the blog so please keep an eye out for them. Thanks for reading guys.
Hey guys, this is going to be a long one. I'm going to try and be as brutally honest and in depth as I can and if anyone has any questions post blog please feel free to email me them and I'll do my best to answer them privately.
So my journey with diabetes began 10 years ago now. My eldest son riley was 3 and just started school half days after being in nursery. He was a really good baby, walking by his first birthday, out of nappies at 2, stopped having night time accidents at around 3. Then he started education, he started wetting the bed, getting up during the night, a few nights I caught him in the bath drinking from the bath tap, I told him off and called him a naughty boy, "This is why you keep wetting the bed! What are you playing at? You go to bed with your juice bottle your just being naughty!" I told the health visitor on numerous occasions of his change in behaviour and his sudden bed wetting all of a sudden, she linked it with him starting school and maybe struggling to adapt to the change. It was so frustrating. It went on for about 6 weeks, and then 3 weeks after his 4th birthday, it was his little sisters first birthday and we'd had a nice day, went for a walk and riley was out of sorts, quiet, with drawn, he didn't look very well and had shadows under his eyes, we got home and he seemed to perk up a bit when we got the cake and party food out but after eating his slice of cake he vomited and said he wanted to go to bed as he felt poorly, it was out of character for him so I knew he must of been really feeling rough. So I took him up to bed about 5 ish and tucked him in.
It must of only been about an hour later and i had this niggling feeling in the pit of my stomach that I couldn't shake and went up to check on Riley, he was still asleep so i tried to wake him to see if he wanted a drink or some calpol and i couldn't wake him, i shook him and he wouldn't wake up, i turned his bedroom light on and my little boy was grey, like honestly I'd never seen someone that shade of grey before, he was grey, his lips were a blue colour, he had these awful dark shadows around his eyes and he was limp and suddenly it dawned on me how fragile he looked, like he'd lost weight and was all of a sudden a shadow of himself, I've never been so terrified in all my life. He was rushed to the out of hours doctors immediately, they told us to bring him straight down, within minutes of being there it was like everything was going in slow motion, almost like we were sat back watching everything happening around us in a dream trance being unable to stop it or do anything to help. He was put on a trolly and literally ran through the hospital car park, through the main hospital and to the childrens ward by these doctors, with us trailing behind him in a blur. Taken into this large side room in the childrens ward where they lay him on a proper hospital bed and all these nurses and doctors were back and forth fighting to save Riley's life, he had a drip in each hand and that was the only time he made the slightest noise was when they put the cannulas in, each hand bandaged up so he couldnt pull them out, he was on heart monitors, kidney monitors, he had a catheter put in, he was connected to so many machines, with wires everywhere and nobody spoke, it was just a flurry of people back and forth whilst you stood there numb watching. A doctor came over and said "you do understand your son is gravely ill, he is diabetic and in complete dka" (diabetic ketosis) our son was in a diabetic coma.
How to even process that information, i don't understand, i thought only unhealthy people, or fat people get diabetes, or people who ate too much sugar, Riley ate plenty of fruit never too many sweets, i couldnt comprehend it. "Does anyone in the family have Diabetes?" the doctor asked. "No." It was something I'd very rarely ever heard of in my life let alone knew about. "Has he been drinking a lot lately, weeing a lot, maybe lost a bit of weight?" And just like that the whole weight of the world comes crashing down on you as that little light bulb in your head illuminate, all three, all three. The immense guilt/hate/shame/anger/frustration i felt towards myself were overwhelming, I really didn't know of this disease, never knew anybody with diabetes my whole life, let alone be educated enough to spot the symptoms in my own child. What if he died, and all I'd done was tell him off for sneaking into the bath for a drink of water because his poorly little body was trying to get rid of the ACID in his bloodstream. I felt like I'd failed my baby. Full on ugly crying writing this guys, the guilt tears me apart to this day and i never realised how deep I'd buried it so it didn't hurt.
Riley was in hospital for 5 days, he was on fluids and an insulin drip for 36 hours, within the first few hours of receiving insulin Iv he came around to full consciousness and slowly you could see the colour coming back into his little face and his skin didn't look deathly grey anymore. He was moved out of the side room after 3 days and given a bed on a ward. I slept in a bed at the side of his and was educated by a nurse on how to inject him, I did rileys first injection whilst he slept. I was so so scared of hurting him. It is the most surreal thing having to inject your little boy (I HAD a phobia of needles so it was terrifying to me to have to do this to my BABY) I sat in the parents room with a brew afterwards and just cried. You blame yourself for their illness, as their parent you blame you and your genetics, it was extremely hard to not hate myself during this time and even though i did, it was always simmering beneath the surface because you were just so head blagged with the onslaught of information of carb counting, ratios, hypos, hypers, needle training, gluco pen training, sick day training, ketones, symptoms, there was just not enough time to process my own hate/guilt, you just had to muck on and take onboard as much information as you could to continue keeping your child alive, too much insulin, hypo, coma dead, not enough insulin, ketones, dka, dead.
Even now 10 years on it scares the shit out of me that this could kill them at any moment, that i work my hardest to weigh every morsel of food, to carb count, to calculate every single insulin dose to the exact gram. To be confident enough that if there is an undesired pattern in their readings that i can study them and calculate their new ratios and administer them accordingly. That i have to do this EVERYDAY or my child could DIE. That if my calculations are incorrect and i give them too much, my child could DIE. That one day it will be my child's responsibility to take care of their own ratios and carb counting and they could DIE if they did anything wrong. The weight of that, if i overthink it, is far too much to bear. A parent of a diabetic child i knew, she lost her daughter. She'd got accepted at university and set her wings and flew the nest, taking care of her own diabetes at uni etc, she had a hypo at uni (too much insulin or not enough food for insulin given) She was found dead in her room, with her hypo pen all set up beside her, she felt the low, she tested and it was confirmed, she set up her pen to administer the fast acting glucose straight into the muscle and she slipped into a coma before she could save herself. I'm ugly crying again, i've got snot on my hands, my face, my keyboards wet with tears. Its heartbreaking guys, I can't cope with these fears and these thoughts. I put a brave front on it because this is life, this is our lives, this is my babies normality. I don't want this for them. I dont want this for them. It breaks me. I'm going to stop writing for one night and get back to this another day as i'm struggling to continue tonight.
It's taken me just over a week to come back to this one as I've been massively overwhelmed with Diabetes since I started this blog post about it. Continuing where i left off. 3 years after Riley's diagnosis, Shelby started to exhibit similar symptoms over the course of a couple of weeks, It was a subject i bought up to her father a few time to be shut down. He had incredible guilt from Riley's diagnosis that he hadn't healed from and refused to believe there could be something 'wrong' with another one of his children. However after Shelby had been taken to a theme park by her grandad, he pointed out that all Shelby had done all day was drink after being bought a pack of sweets, so i bit the bullet and tested her blood sugars using her brothers kit and yep there it was, her bloods were 26, which is just over 5 times the normal range. So I phoned the children's ward and took her straight in, she was 4 also. It was an extremely difficult time for me mentally as i now had to accept another one of my babies had this life threatening condition, but now i had to keep two diabetics alive, count two lots of carbohydrates each meal, calculate two different insulin ratios, administer up to 12 injections per day and finger prick them up to 20 times per day. If i overthink the sheer workload of diabetes that i have to do day in day out, my head literally falls off, it's something i'm massively struggling with at the moment. Whist Shelby had knowledge of diabetes through watching her brother, she's a very emotional child and couldn't understand why she still had to inject when she got home, she presumed that because she went hospital and they gave her injections there, that she was cured, it was extremely tough as a parent to get her to understand and accept that this was her life now, when it was something that was breaking my own heart too.
My reasoning for writing this blog stems from a hospital admission a week ago the day after shelby had spent a night at her fathers, her bloods wasn't cared for ass they should be and they had been high for an undesirable amount of time which had resulted in ketones building up in her bloodstream. The normal ketone level is 0.0-0.1. Shelby arrived back home at 6.2 (60 times what she should be!) vomiting and weak. The hospital admitted her immediately after a quick phone call from myself, She was on ward and hooked up to an insulin drip and fluids within 15 minutes. They were wonderful with her and within the space of 24 hours everything was back down to normal and other than being exhausted Shelby suffered no lasting damage.
Diabetes is not something i talk about regular as to me, its just the normal, this is our life, why would i feel the need to broadcast it when it's not something i even think about as its second nature to me. But after Shelby's admission I am struggling emotionally for the first time in 10 years with diabetes and i feel increasingly overwhelmed by the sheer responsibility i have weighing on my shoulders day in day out. This is just an example of a typical day for me/us with diabetes.
8am - Test bloods, carb count breakfast, administer insulin for breakfast. Rileys ratio 1-3.5 shelbys ratio 1-6.5
10:30am - Retest & snack 10g carb snack, if over give insulin, correct if needed. Correction ratios Riley 1-2 Shelby 1-3
12:30-1pm - Test bloods, carb count lunch, administer insulin for lunch. Rileys ratio 1-3 Shelbys ratio 1-6.5.
2:30-3:00pm - Retest & Snack 10g carb snack, if over give insulin, correct if needed. Correction ratios as before.
5:30pm - Test bloods, carb count evening meal, administer insulin for evening meal. Riley's ratios 1-3, Shelby's ratios 1-5.5.
8pm - Retest for lanctus, Riley 21units, Shelby 14 units. Correct if need, ratios as before. 1 biscuit as supper, no more than 10g carbs.
11pm - Retest before i go sleep to ensure bloods are a normal level before going to sleep.
If bloods are below 4 at any point this classes as a hypo (low sugar) and is to be treated with fast acting sugary carbs for example 3-4 jelly babies, then retest after 15 minutes, if blood sugars are still low, repeat until bloods are over 4 then give a 10g slow release carb, such as a bisuit or a small pack of mini cheddars.
At the moment i have to test Shelby at 2-3am as her lanctus ratios have been changed due to night time hypos, so at present this is the standard procedure for me until the night time hypos stop.
Meal Insulin Ratios eg: 1-3 so this means for every 3g carbs they need 1 unit of insulin, so if they were having 30 grams of carbs they would need 10 units of insulin.
Correction Ratios eg 1-2. So 1 unit of insulin will bring blood sugars down by 2 numbers. optimal range of blood sugars is 4.5-7.5 so if they are 9.5 on a ratio of 1-2 i would give 2 units on top of their meal time insulin to bring them down to 5.5.
It is advisable not to correct between meals as insulin has a 4 hour life span which hits its peak performance after 2 hours, hence the need to test 2 hours after every meal. If i were to test 1 hour after a meal it wouldn't be a reliable reading 1) because their meal insulin dose wouldn't be fully in their systems yet so if i was to correct at this point thinking they hadn't had enough insulin, the insulin doses would cross, resulting in a higher peak spike which could then cause a rapid drop in blood sugars/hypo.
As if all that information isnt enough to make your head fall off. I then need to take into account any physical activity they may be doing that day and adjust the insulin accordingly (usually by 10% so if they eat a meal after playing in the park say and they need 15 units for their meal, i take 10% off that so they would only need 13.5 unit) the other way of doing it, is to give an extra snack instead up to the amount of 10g carbs.
Then you have to take into account how stress, hormones and puberty can affect blood sugars too. Then there are sick day rules, so that if they are poorly and vomiting and unable to eat, you still have to administer insulin to counteract any ketones in their system from being poorly or dehydrated but the ratios on sick days are different from their normal ratios. SO... If ketones are below 0.6 use their normal ratio. If they're between 0.6-1.5 ketones you then have to give 10% of their average daily dose of insulin. If ketones are above 1.5 you then have to give 20% of their daily average dose of insulin.
So this is all going on, whilst being a mum. This is our normal. And I guess I'm writing this to explain to everyone that what you see with me as a mum of 5 is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak as underneath it all, I'm absolutely working my arse off, like a duck on water, there's always something going on underneath it all. My heads always full of carb counting, ratios, meal planning etc etc as well as being an average mama of 5 and keeping my kids healthy and happy without making a big deal about the diabetes side of things and accepting that it is just life for us.
The pictures below are Shelby in ketosis, as you can see she's very pale/grey looking with shadows under her eyes. You can tell as a diabetic mum just by looking at them when something is wrong. As you can see 24 hours later she's her perfect healthy self after being on insulin and fluids. This is our normal. This is TYPE1.
FOR FURTHER EDUCATION.
TYPE1 IS INCURABLE
TYPE 1 IS WHEN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ATTACKS ITSELF AND KILLS OF THE PART OF THE PANCREAS THAT PRODUCES INSULIN.
TYPE2 IS CURABLE WITH A HEALTHY DIET AND MEDICATION
TYPE 2 IS WHEN YOUR BODY DOES NOT PRODUCE ENOUGH INSULIN FOR ITSELF FOR VARIOUS REASONS
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN CHILDREN ARE BELOW ALSO.
So I've been pondering my mental health a LOT lately, like I know I have a few conditions so to speak and if I'm brutally I actually focking hate putting a label on who I am, to explain the way I am or the way I behave/act/perceive things. So here's the list....
GAD (generalised anxiety disorder)
More recently added to the list...
OCD. Now when I think (or previously thought) of OCD I would think of somebody cleaning all the time, a germaphobe, Having to wash their hands a gazillion times, switching plugs on and off, that sort of shit. After speaking to my therapist about my thoughts over the past, not only my own but my boyfriends past behaviour and girls etc she explained to me that my type of obsessive thoughts and behaviour is actually a form of OCD and it massively shocked me.
Ref his past I would get really obsessive and need to know every minute detail, then obsess over the details and need to know more, we'd have a great day then all of a sudden I'd think of something, over think it a million times and wind myself up to the point I'd snap and it'd cause an argument. I'd keep myself awake at night thinking about it, I'd often wake up thinking about it. This destructive cycle went on and off for a few months and really put a massive strain on our relationship. Now I'm extremely lucky to have a partner who's past hasn't been so rosy either and emotionally and mentally he is 110% understanding and supportive but it would get extremely frustrating for him and get him down too.
Who the fock wants to keep reliving/retelling their past, going back to a person they no longer are, thinking about things they've not thought of for years, things that are totally not even relevant on their now chosen life path. I told him many times, I wouldn't of been able to personally cope with me, I'd of left my ass! It's not as straight cut as it sounds, there were a few on going issues in our relationship reference the odd white lie about things spiralling my trust issues down a mountain again and I honestly think that's what set it off. However owning up to my own shit, I had to do a few exercises at home to rewire my thinking so to speak and I would say the last month or so has seen a massive improvement in things and a good few steps forward back in the right direction. I still have the odd moment where the thoughts creep in but I'm much more educated now and better equipped at shutting them off and rationalising with myself to remind myself what's relevant, what's important to my chosen path and what I can control and what I cant. If you're ever struggling with anything mental health wise please speak out, seek support, be it from your spouse, your best friend, your partner, your doctor. Seek help, we all need a helping hand sometimes and even a different perspective/set of eyes to help us see the light.
The other thing I want to discuss in this post is something that I think I may possibly have but am a bit scared about. Now I know mental health issues more than likely run in families, now my mothers side has a history of depression and substance abuse and my mother herself has bi polar. Whilst I myself would never abuse substance as I'm a fanny and struggle to take my daily medication that actually keeps me ticking, I am prone to spontaneous and unnecessary spending but that is linked with ptsd too. Anywho the thing I'm trying to get at I can have a really good few days, I'm upbeat, laughing got a stupid sense of humour, want to go out and visit family and friends etc take the tribe on an adventure, then all of a sudden for some reason I have a bad day/days/week where I struggle to motivate myself, I don't want to go out, I can't be arsed with humans, I just want to be left alone. And although I know this could potentially be ptsd or gad I'm terrified its more leaning towards bipolar as I recognise a lot of behaviour in myself that I see in my mum sometimes and just the thought of having another label slapped on my personality/who I am actually cuts to the bone guys.
I'm a bit late to my own party guys as my birthday was over a week ago now haha But. Wow. Wow. Wow. Where to begin. I had no feelings whatsoever towards my birthday this year, not put much thought into, didn't want or need any pressies so to speak. Unless a genie in a bottle could grant me a few hundred thousand pounds in the bank and the ability to eat cake and not get a phatter booty I'd be good haha seriously tho, if i'm honest the thought of it made me really meh and down for whatever reason and i felt people wouldn't really care it was my birthday, i was in a self pity pit i guess. It's been a mentally tough year on many spectrums of my life (relationship, finances, parenting, this whole covid shit, having no routine or normality) I just felt it wasnt worth looking forward to i guess.
However there are a few very special people in my life who really pushed the boat out and spoilt me, i got lots of birthday spends (always great when you're a grown up as when the bills are paid there's fock all left to show for it or treat yourself with) So thanks guys, i got to treat myself to my first pandora braclet and charms and a new coat! Winner. I got plenty of cute presents too, lots of chocolate (mainly reeses nom nom nom) and i got a special delivery of birthday do-nuts which were absolute food porn man. Ummmm i also had the most amazing fox birthday cake made for me which made me squeal as foxes are my fav!! Bunches of flowers.... and i got took away to grasmere in the lake district for a few nights, where i got to recharge my batteries and re-evaluate a lot of things in my life, it was fantastic for my mental health and well being to get away.
Honestly if you've never been, head to the lakes, its very similar to my soul place (betws y coed) but much much bigger haha, I fell in love with grasmere, the feel of the place was just perfect. I felt so relaxed and like the whole weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders, which technically i guess it was as I'd been in lockdown with my 5 children for 5 months, i was mentally, emotionally and spiritually done in and needed a break man. I've not laughed so much and felt so free in a long time, literally up until 1am gabbing in bed and full on mutley laughing till my eyes were streaming and my tummy hurt.
I've decided I'm longer going to acknowledge being another year older, not because i'm in denial of my age or anything, i fully accept that I'm 34, however rather than counting the numbers I'm going to count the memories and the experiences, the growth spiritually and mentally, that extra step in life towards my full purpose.
I've also decided that traditional new years resolutions are dead to me and instead i am going to work by my own rules and run from birthday to birthday, making new goals and running towards them with purpose to ensure by my next birthday i can proudly say I've smashed them and added to my memory and growth jar. Life is ugly and beautiful, happy and sad and all that crazy shit in between but i fully intend to live it with purpose and feel every damn second of it. YOLO.... like literally!!
Thank you so so soooo bloody much to all my family and friends who made my day of birth so special, i honestly feel like my little jar of love is bubbling over its that full. I'm so blessed and thankful for you guys. A special thank you to everyone whom took the time to wish me a happy birthday through social media platforms too, it means a lot that you've took the time out of your day to send me some love and positive vibes, you guys rock.
Much love all,
So my eldest turned 16 on the 1st July and It's a pretty big milestone isn't it 16?? Makes you ponder life, how fleeting it is, how quickly time passes. One minute ago it seems I was being rushed down to emergency theatre for a csection and poof now she stands in front of me a beautiful 16 year old with her whole life ahead of her. It makes my heart ache guys.
I was a year older than her when I fell pregnant and had her. She's a baby to me!! I was a baby when I had her. Still very much a child myself. I wasn't ready to be a mum, I'd barely lived and enjoyed life myself. It was my becoming though.
I met her father when I was 14 on a family holiday in Palma, he was two years older than me and lived in Scotland, me in wales. Long story short we stayed together and kept it going for 3 years, we lost our virginity to each other and were sweethearts, but we were babies and it was a big distance, he used to see the odd girl to neck off with etc and I used to see the odd boy too, we were young knew not much about love, relationships or respectful boundaries etc and decided to call it quits just after my 17th birthday in the july 2003, however we had a holiday booked for the October together that we'd paid for so agreed to go on that together as friends...… hahahaha yeh I'm laughing too!
We went to Nerja in spain and it was some sort of festival in the October, anywho, we got drunk, had fun *nudge nudge and came home. Boom 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant *smh we decided to be responsible and get back together to raise our child jointly.
The pregnancy was amazing! My easiest by far, no sickness, no stretchmarks, nothing. Just a love for naps, eating mango chutney out the jar and drinking milk out the bottle. Then at 36 weeks, my legs started to swell, then my thighs, then my face... I felt like the michilin man off the tyre advert. I think over the course of 2 weeks I visited the doctos/midwife 4 times being told its normal to swell in the last trimester... Guys I went from a size 10-12 so a size 18-20 from having no stretch marks to looking like a roadmap. It was awful. One doctor finally listened took my bp which was 180/110 and rushed me to hospital. I was in for a few days, all attempts at inducing me pretty much failed, after being in back labour for what felt like forever, I'd only dilated 1cm, my blood pressure kept rising, my kidneys were failing, my body was not urinating, the swelling was increasing, I was on the edge of fitting, so the decision was made to have an emergency C-section.
Terrifying, it was all a blur, it happened that quickly and she was there, right in front of me. Eyes wide open taking everything in. I briefly remember trying to breast feed her and borderline passed out, someone took her from me and a midwife checked me over to find I was hemorrhaging under the covers, nightmare. I ended up staying in hospital for 10 days until my bp returned to a good level and my chance of fitting had passed. I was on blood thinning jabs everyday, I was connected to all sorts of machines, I had these weird pump things on my legs to reduce swelling and help blood flow. Absolutely horrid. And to think I was just 17. It still bewilders me now, I could not imagine my baby, going through all that next year. It just puts everything into perspective.
Becoming a mother at a young age was something I had wanted, I'd always wanted a big family. I remember in health and social care when I was 14 we had to do an essay about the life path we wanted to take, our goals and dreams etc. Mine was to have 4 children, my own car, a nice big house and a loving husband. I wanted a nice simple life, no grand dreams of a career or fame, I just wanted love and happiness. So as far as them things go, I've had to go along a bit of a bumpy path to get there but I achieved what I set out to do in life. I have my tribe. I feel like I made up for something my own childhood may of been lacking, I wanted that family closeness, the love. After everything, being a parent gave my life purpose, they are my reason to keep living, my reason to keep strong, they are by far and always will be my greatest achievement.
I don't feel like I was a very good mother to Summer because I was so young, there are a lot of things I would change, a lot of moments I would of cherished more, different choices I would of made for us both, the older I've gotten the more I have grown to appreciate how precious our babies are and how fleeting the time is that we have with them. I've become a better mother with experience. I'm a strong believer in that everything happens for a reason and Summer though a typical teenager at times, makes me extremely proud and I know for a fact I've done something right so in that sense I wouldn't change a thing, maybe go back to the past to feel a few things again, hold her longer, watch her more whilst she slept, read another book at bedtime. Cherish them whist they're young guys because I know better than anyone the days can seem bloody long and you're counting down the minutes until bedtime but trust me when I say the years are short.
So it's been a wee while since I've blogged on here so for that I apologise to my regular readers..... the world as we know it is upside down at the moment and I've been trying to keep my little tribe safe and healthy, home schooling went out the window a wee while ago now to be honest, I have a new found awe of school teachers, honestly you guys are super hero's and I take my hat off to you!
The uncertainty of what the future may hold and how different of a place it may be has caused me much anxiety lately that I've been keeping a lid on and plastering a smile on my face as not to worry the children as god knows what they think of it all. Even though they're taking it all in their stride and are adapting to social distancing and regular hand washing etc I still worry about the possible impact it may have on their mental wellbeing and intellect with being out of school though I've tried my absolute best to home school 5 of them admittedly it's been difficult to keep up with everything required of us as parents and therefore I have prioritised what little school work I can squidge in whilst keeping them happy and safe.
So with all that in mind it has been difficult to blog because at the end of the day, I'm wiped out, I want to relax with Netflix binging and a tub of ice cream. The postives to blogging and getting my thoughts out there is that 1) it gives me a place to vent/a person to talk to and 2) It helps my mental health massively by getting it out there, like a weight lifted and what thoughts I didn't even know I had come pouring out and in that sense gives me clarity.
This Blog was my "safe" place, my truth, my go to when the world gets hard and it's come to my attention lately that my ex partner has been visiting it on a regular basis and seemingly misreading the word "finances" as fiancé and going on some sort of jealous binge filling my tribes head with bullshit of me being secretly engaged ffs, which caused me to have a slight blip and I very nearly deleted this whole blog on the simple truth he doesn't deserve that kind of exclusive access to me/my thoughts and my life anymore. But in that same respect neither does he hold that sort of power over my life anymore. So I'm going to keep on blogging and telling my truth, keep on living my life best I can for me and my tribe and just incase you forgot pal, this is what happiness looks like on me.....
Anyhow..... I feel like the older I get, the more spiritual and more of a wild woman I become. I have more of a zest for life. A greater appreciation for living. More grounded. I'm taking better care of myself physically, and trying to be more kind to myself mentally and emotionally. I'm more mindful of my food and try my very best to eat as little meat as possible out of personal choice and if I do, try not to be wasteful and give thanks that another life has sustained mine.
I'm investing in crystals as I greatly believe we are more at one with the earth than we realise, tides, moons and weather, changes in humidity, it all affects us physically and mentally. I smudge to clear bad/negative energy where possible. I am in the process of turning my bed room into a minimalistic/decluttered place of calm, my "zen" room, full of creams/light browns and forest greens, with peace lilies to help clear the air. I've got a beautiful green yoga matt on my watch list for when I've redecorated. I don't do it as often as I'd like and it is something I'm going to try and change as yoga and meditation have not only massively helped with my back and hip issues but they've helped calm my mind too. The inspo picture above is what I put together of the space I'd like to achieve, hopefully in the next few weeks I can give you an update on the finished look. Well that's me for today guys. Much love and peace, Steph aka TheWarriorLady x
A pivotal point for me as a parent is a memory I hold of my own mothers journey that I can really relate to.
She was sat on the top of the stairs and she was breaking down, she'd cut her finger on a metal tape measure and was just sat there, defeated sobbing her heart out. Now as a child I just seen all the blood and my mum crying and thought oh my goodness mums really hurt her finger and that's what is making her cry so much.
The cut probably wasn't that bad for her but I imagine it was more of an accumulation of quite a few things and that cutting herself was the straw that broke the camels back. Now as a parent myself in hindsight, I see a woman, working two jobs, raising two children, painting, decorating, doing it all mostly alone and the build up of it all just sent her emotions reeling. My mum is a stubborn mare! She'll admit that herself so i'm good, shes not gonna kill me for saying that but she is. She's a perfectionist/ocd and likes things done right or the way she would do them so I feel she finds it difficult to ask as watching others do it will make her tick knowing she can potentially do the job better and quicker herself.
As a mum myself I know full well I can fold the washing and put it away better myself etc but I've literally got a 5 aside football team and if I done absolutely everything myself I would mentally and physically go man down. So I delegate jobs to the tribe to do. Their main responsibilities are their own bedrooms, I expect their beds made, clothes away, dirty clothes downstairs and pots bought downstairs. 80% of the time they're all over it. Secondly is their landing and bathroom, towels/clothes downstairs and kept tidy(ish) I'll bleach and scrub the loo though. Lastly is to keep their living room tidy, put rubbish in the bin, sweep, dustpan and put toys away etc, they have theirs and I have mine as I feel as an adult its important to have a chill kid free zone to relax in and recuperate, where you can light a yankee candle, whack some piano music on and have a brew!
I wouldn't ever say my mum done it wrong as every parent has their own way, but god I wish she'd relegated us with set jobs to do etc so that she didn't get so bugged down and overwhelmed by it. Family are a team, not a one man band and everyone has to play their part for it to run smoothly. Mum is the head of the family so if mum goes man down, the whole ship goes down with her.
Anyway I think what I'm getting at is that if you're getting overwhelmed with being in isolation with a young family. Try handing a few of the reigns over to the kids, if they're at an age where you can openly communicate with them, tell them that mum is getting a bit bogged down by it all and needs the help of her team to keep the ship sailing. You'll find once you explain to them how you feel and that its all getting a bit too much they'll be more than happy to help. Children are precious like that, they WILL offer help and make more of an effort if they know its affecting their mums mental health. Be open with your little people, get them on side, get a good routine and chore strategy in order and I promise you'll feel so much better for it. People are not mind readers, they don't know when you're struggling and what with, reach out because 90% of the time people are more than happy to help as nobody likes to see anybody struggling, especially not someone they love.
Hey! Me again.
How you all baring up?? I want to talk to you all about parenting during times like these and how it can take its toll on you mentally and emotionally. Like in everyday life we have our self esteem, I believe as parents we have something called parental esteem, cut short it is how we feel about our parenting.
For example with self esteem, we may loathe a particular part of our body and compare that part of our body to others. In parental esteem we may feel because we work so much we don't spend enough time connecting with our children, finding yourself comparing your parental skills to say a stay at home mum and all her Instagram pictures of her and her children together baking or doing arts and crafts. But what you don't see on the flip side is that the stay at home mum may be secretly losing her shit behind the insta perfect pictures and be desperate to have a wee in peace without hearing muuuuuuuuuum for the 100th time, or they may feel like they're letting their children down by not going out to work.
This all came about as I had a spectacular meltdown the other day in which I screamed in frustration at all the tribe as they were arguing over the bloody xbox AGAIN (right on top of bed time) and just sent them all to bed with no films etc then I went and sat in my shower for a good half an hour and bawled my eyes out. I'd been baking orders all day, whilst trying to mum, human and deal with the house. I had my physical health on my mind. My relationship. My finances. This car crash claim, which I'm honestly losing sleep over as I have no solicitor or legal aid at present due to the current pandemic and the not knowing and no finances is making me ill. It just all got too much. I felt like everyone would be better off without me, I'm a burden, I have nothing to give, I'm a shit mum etc I tore myself apart.
Then I seen a post circulating about a young mum whom had taken her own life during lockdown as she had no income and was overwhelmed by it all and wasn't coping with the loneliness. And sat there in the shower bawling my eyes out, all the old and anger and frustration and thoughts of self harm allowed themselves to creep back into my consciousness, I could really relate. She felt she was doing so poorly with her children's home schooling. She felt she wasn't enough, because social media told her so. Because she was seeing posts from other parents whom had it all sorted and planned. Let me tell you, from experience, most of what you see on social media is a lie. It's a lie of omission. It's half truth. It's a well timed, well angled photo. Those mums gushing over how much they enjoyed baking with their kids wont tell you about them going bat shit crazy over a bit of shell in the mix or their frustration that their kitchen now looks like a cocaine den with all the flour and icing sugar everywhere.
The mothers bragging about how much school work their kids have done? Their perfectly coordinated time tables? They probably only followed that once or twice, because I know I have before often giving up and allowing them all on their Xboxes. The kids are just as feral as me at this point.
Don't ever compare yourself to other mums on social media. They're falling apart just as much as you are. And if they tell you otherwise? Just nod, call them Mary Poppins and unfollow the smug fockers.
Your kids ate pizza and chips again today? Well done. They got fed.
They only did one bit of homework? Its fine. Well done.
Your house is a bombsite? So focking what, you're not alone. Mine genuinely looks like I'm losing a round of jumaji.
We all go through the same things but differently. Do not take permanent action over a temporary problem. Please reach out because honestly you're not alone. We all have days where we lose our shit and it is so important and so nice to know there are others feeling them feelings you are too and that you're not going crazy for feeling that way.
You got this mama bear, your little tribe love you.
Literally that. Just sayin…..
Woke up with this morning with a whole going to save the world kind of vibe (well my world anyway) the last few weeks have been so tough haven't they, this year has been a difficult one for me, my mental health has took a beating (which I'm going to be discussing in a separate blog on my health page btw) so anyway, I had a light bulb moment last night, in that its kind of up to me isn't it to deal with the cards I've been dealt and I hadn't been dealing with them very well. I'd not home schooled my kids in nearly 10 days, my house looked like I was losing a game of Jumanji, my head was up my arse, there was no routine at home, the kids were starting to argue more, I was losing days, couldn't remember the last time I had brushed my hair..... you get the picture.
So this morning the kids awoke to routine. No technology whatsoever until I said otherwise. They done maths work in the morning, followed by a bit of English work involving research of mini beasts and writing poems about them. We then did children's yoga, followed by read write ink, followed by story time and lunch.... then a bit more work. 15:30 they were allowed on technology until tea time, then it was tea, showers and bed with a film. Winning! Barely any arguing today, lots of playing out in the garden in between school work, its been a lovely day, so much less stressed for having a routine to go off rather than just cuffing it or sitting them in front of tech, not even ashamed, we've all bloody done it at the end of the day, can't be blue peter parents 24/7 we're just focking humans winging it at the end of the day and as long as our little humans are happy, loved and have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies at the end of the day, then we're winning!!
On another side note, I whacked a load of crazy colour in my hair, lockdowns got me impulse buying what can I say!? For those of you interested the colour is called "Bordeaux" So in a nutshell, I put my war paint on today, I revamped my Barnett and I felt ready to take on the world again (my little world and my little tribe).
So today I re-activated my facebook account and posted my first post in 6 months!!!
Was it scary- Hell yes!!
Was I expecting the support and comments that I got - Hell no!
Its so shitty being your own worst enemy honestly, you could find someone who hates me and listen to them say awful things about me and I'd probably sit there nodding like "yep, yep I know". Because honestly I've most definitely said worse things to myself than anybody else. But it was actually lovely to hear from those who had noticed my absence or thought/wondered about me, It makes me extremely grateful that in amongst all the craziness in the world at the moment that somebody has taken the time to allow me to cross their mind. Blessed!
Scary to put myself back out there verbally again when I've been in my own little world for the last few months. So why now? Why did I leave in the first place?
Why did I leave....
I found myself seeking approval, a lot. Being incredibly insecure and having low self esteem, putting yourself out there on a social media platform is massive if you don't have the correct mental mindset to back it up. Nobody likes your post.... nobody likes me. Nobody comments on your post.... nobody cares. Nobody laughs at your meme.... I must be boring. Honestly that shits a killer!!!
I found myself comparing my relationships. *Susans* fella always posts about her and tags her in stuff, you never post about me/us... you mustn't love me, you must be ashamed of me, why are you hiding me away, do I not make you proud, do you not care about all the amazing things we do?? Massive headfock.
I found myself comparing my parenting skills. *Debbie* has posted her crafting with kids, her house looks spotless, she looks amazing, her kids are well dressed, they look so happy..... Whereas I haven't brushed my teeth that day, I'm still wearing yesterdays makeup, My hair resembles a birds nest, the house is upside down and looks like I'm losing a game of Jumanji, the kids are arguing like cat and dog and I want to go and lock myself in the ensuite loo with a brew and a twix. To me, I was failing at parenting.
Comparison is the theif of joy.
Then, my physical health has been taking a battering. Mainly in the form of vestibular migraines. There was talk it could be menieres but my hearing hasn't been damaged so that's been pushed to the side. Imagine being fine one minute, then all of a sudden feeling like you've just come off the waltzers, everything is spinning, your vision goes blurry, you're sensitive to light, sound, smells, then nausea and vomiting. The anxiety that comes with it is exhausting, not knowing when its going to happen, being scared to go out in the car alone, no longer going for nice long hikes. Not being able to work. My social anxiety started to creep back up on me massively, I no longer take the kids out like I used to, I'd say I'm slightly aggrephobic because of it all. I've been on a few different medications, I'm currently trialling one that seems to be helping and having a review once a month and upping my dose as needed, the pills I'm on a short lasting but if they continue to help there's the option of a long lasting 24 hour pill, but I need to build up my current dose before I can switch.
Somewhere among all of this my thyroid went out of sync and I slowly gained 2 stone tipping the scale at 12stone 8 which for my hobbit height was not good at all. My self esteem and negative thoughts just loved that!! Since January 1st I've lost 1stone 5lbs, halfway to my goal weight of a much healthier 9 stone 7lbs. Not by any way have I found it easy with having the chronic conditions I have. For example a heavy workout makes me bleed like i'm having a period, a heavy session on my exercise bike followed by 60 sit ups... bleeding. Single legged deadlifts with my 16kg kettle bell tweaked my lower back (degenerative disc disease) so I couldn't walk properly for 4 days, haha its sucks but it's not stopping me, slow progress is progress and being halfway there makes me incredibly happy and even more determined to smash my goals.
So yes my mental health has taken an absolute beasting to be honest, there's been a lot going on in my personal relationship too which have also been a massive massive strain but hopefully behind us now and has helped to strengthen us. Then there's finances which have been difficult to balance being out of work so I've had that added stress. It's been shite!! I've found myself lost on my journey. What the fock am I doing with life. Its flying by me, why on earth am I not grabbing it with both hands!? I felt stuck, not moving forwards.
What do I want to do with my life? What is my purpose. I want to teach, I want to work with children. Being a parent gave me purpose, a reason to survive, its challenging but ultimately rewarding. So I'm going to college in September to do my cache teaching assistant course. I want to travel, I want to take my kids abroad and adventure not only with them but my best friend too. So Novemeber just gone I took 5 children abroad, crazy stressful mind but it made me proud as fock!! I've got a few adventures in the pipeline, I want to travel, I want to document it, I want my children to see their mum full of zest for life and give them something to aspire to so i have 6 adventures planned in the next 18 months and i can't wait, it gives me hope. I want to learn to paddleboard, have done for ages, so I'm getting a board, I want to embroider, so I've started building my kit up and have embroider designs ready to go, that I'll hopefully be selling on here very soon!!
I've taken lots of backwards steps mentally but I'm still fighting. I'm still putting that war paint on most days and facing things. I'm trying to think of all the positives and give myself reassurance that way, so...
I'm still here, still alive, still living this beautiful life.
I have 5 amazing children whom make me so proud and are a credit to me because of the parent I am, even on the days I feel like a crap mum.
I have a roof over my head and a lovely home.
I have a car which gets us from a -b
I have somebody who truly loves me and he really does regardless of what the self doubt in my head tells me.
I have a small but close knit circle of family and friends around me whom I love and cherish that I know will always love and support my craziness.
Not every day will be a good day, but there will be something good in every day I promise. Who gives a fock if you've not had the energy to brush your teeth, some days just getting through the day is a massive achievement, so if you're here, present, fighting, even on the days you dont' want to be. Know that, you are absolutely bloody amazing, you're loved, you're enough, you're not alone and you've got this!