time flies when you're being a mum

over the last 2 years

19 Feb, 2018

I started out to write 10 fun things that have happened but as you’ll discover this is quite a lengthy post so I’ve settled on

8 things (not necessarily fun) that have happened over the last 2 years

…they are as follows:

  1. We moved house
  2. Reuben started school
  3. We got MORE animals
  4. I got fatter, then thinner, then fatter, then thinner, then… you get the picture
  5. I quit drinking and got a bit happier (and fatter, then thinner…)
  6. I decided I wanted to have another baby but found I couldn’t (yet)
  7. I got a bit down and I got scared of the internet
  8. I auditioned to be a housewife and didn’t get the part

Feel free to skip to the bits you’re interested in!

1. We moved! Again.

Some of you may recall that we moved from the coast to the countryside – well, we lived in that house for a year and then my husband got itchy feet. A couple of miles up the road, his dream house was up for sale; a 300 year old house on the hill.

It’s a bit of a draughty do-er up-er but, man, the house is beautiful and the views are spectacular…

It’s taken a year to get planning permission and a further year to find someone to do the work within a reasonable budget buuuut within the next few months we’re hoping for the work to get started.

Fuuuuuuuck! The idea of making the house finally ‘ours’ and ‘just the way we want it’ and, arghhhh, ‘perfect’ scares the crap out of me. What if we pick the wrong fabric for the living room curtains?!

Times that by 100 because that’s how many decisions we need to make and you get the picture.

However, I have a glimmer of hope that when we finally move out of this limboland we’ve been inhabiting for the past 2 years, I’ll spring into action and everything will fall into place.

Isn’t it just the fear of what may go wrong that stops all the best ideas?

2. Reuben started school

When I finished blogging, Reuben was in his last term at pre-school. He’s now halfway through year 1! So much has changed it’s unreal. It seems a long time since we went Castle Hunting. In fact it was half his life ago. Waaaa!

3. We got more animals

Right, I’m probably not the first to want loads of animals, or any if I’m honest. So, the fact we got a labrador puppy in the last few years (who’s now a great hunking dog!) and inherited another cat, is a bit of a surprise to me.

But I do love them and I’d go so far as to say that looking after them has saved me on some of my darker days.

4. I got fatter and thinner and fatter and thinner…

It’s fair to say I’ve struggled with my weight for ages. I lost 20lbs, which I blogged about here.  I kept it off for 6 months, but it slowly (then quickly!) started to creep back on until the point where I had put on all 20 lbs plus another stone!!

I’ve done all the diets over the last few years and had some success with Slimming World. While I loved having LOADS of carbs, it was torturous and I felt deprived all the time. I went back to low-carbing and, despite drinking far too much, got back to a much happier weight for me.

Then I quit drinking and, as is common (on average a person who quits drinking will put on 30lbs*!), I put on a stone by replacing the booze with sugar. I’ve since lost about 10lbs, which ironically puts me back to where I was before I lost the original 20lbs! Oh, how we LOL.

The difference this time is I’m not so bothered. I have clothes I can wear that I feel good in, I’m exercising to improve my mental health rather than to punish myself and I’m back to low-carbing as that’s the diet that makes the most sense to me**. I feel in control and it reduces my mood swings and cravings. Win win.

* From The Diet Cure by Julia Ross, Introduction chapter.

** Books I’d recommend on low-carb lifestyle include: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes and The Diet Cure by Julia Ross  (they even have scientific evidence to back up their theories), and clinical psychologist, author, youtuber, Jordon B. Peterson promotes this way of eating, particularly to improve anxiety, in this podcast.

5. I quit drinking

As I just mentioned, I have quit drinking. I did a sort of coming out piece on Facebook 2 weeks ago, which really helped. Something about putting yourself out there with the potential for embarrassment and/or criticism felt petrifying and then liberating! The fact no one criticised me also helped. Phew.

But I have to say, while I love not drinking, it certainly hasn’t been the answer to all my “problems”. People say “do you feel better for it?” and the honest answer is sort of!

I thought quitting would relieve my anxiety and help me lose weight. In reality, I felt more anxious and I started to have more panic attacks. I think this was partly because I couldn’t turn to the thing that was numbing my feelings but also I felt I was isolating myself from my friends.

I’ve already talked about the fact I put on a stone…so that didn’t work out so well either!

If you read any book about quitting, they will say that stopping drinking is just the beginning. You also have to square up to the reason you were drinking in the first place.

I think that depends entirely on who you are – My husband, who was an even bigger drinker than me, quit 2 months after I did, and he doesn’t think about it at all. It just is was it is. He has also lost 20lbs, has loads of motivation and energy and is in the best shape of his life. Of course he is!

I, however, am a big, annoying thinker. Which is why housewifery does not suit me (see point 8). Too much time to think and wallow. I need to be with people, or at the very least communicating with them. *Waves* Hello you!

So, did quitting drinking solve all my problems? Not immediately because I felt my anxiety more deeply as there was no off switch and put on a stone! But now I can honestly say I feel happier, more stable and more able to tackle the things I need to do in life in order to make me happy.

6. I decided I wanted another baby.

This has been a biggy for me for ages. I knew there was a little person missing from our family but I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel ready to be pregnant and give birth and look after a newborn again.

The trigger was my sister-in-law getting pregnant. Even before they told us, my other hawk-eyed sister-in-law spotted the signs (she literally misses nothing!) and got me thinking about pregnancy and babies. And I realised I was ready.

Get ready for some TMI.

This was May 2017 so nearly a year ago. I wanted to lose a few pounds (of course, story of my life) then I would get my coil taken out. However…when I went to get my coil out…

it wasn’t there!

An ultrasound and some other dildo-like contraption later, and it still wasn’t there. The assumption: it must have fallen out so start baby making!

My doctor wasn’t happy about it though, so a couple of months later she contacted me and asked me to go for an X-Ray ‘just in case’. I didn’t think we would find anything, the womb is a closed area so where else could the coil be?

I went anyway and imagine my surprise when the radiographer said “I can see it – do you want to come and have a look?”

Yes, I want a bloody look.

And sure enough, somewhere near my tailbone, sideways on, was my effing coil.

To cut a long story short, the coil passed through my womb and is now snugly wrapped in fatty tissues that, bless them, are trying to dissolve this foreign, plastic object.

I have to have key-hole surgery this week to remove said coil, and then maybe we’ll see about that baby…!

7. I got a bit down and I got scared of the internet

You may have picked up from what I’ve written that I’ve been feeling a bit weird, not quite myself and anxious.

I say I got a bit down but really the feeling was more, nothing.

Most of the time everything is normal, I’m laughing and having fun. But other times there is an underlying feeling of nothingness. 

I can’t put my finger on what is wrong per-say but I can’t particularly find joy in anything either. I don’t want to go out – sure I would pick my kids up and engage in lively conversation – but I wouldn’t really be all there. I would be going through the proverbial motions.

I’ve also started to have panic attacks and even had an entire day of sheer panic. The only way to describe it was that I felt in imminent danger. Think: end of the world, apocalypse, what’s the point in going on living or in fact in anything, I’m going to die.

I thought I was going entirely mad and I needed to be sectioned.

The next day it subsided with an underlying feeling of danger but I was able to function. Then the feeling left. Not completely, and I still have moments of immediately thinking the worst, for example, if Reuben doesn’t answer me straight away, but it’s not quite so dark and sinister.

I have barely used social media for 2 years, so coming back to it over the last few weeks has brought back those anxious feelings. Voices in the pit of my stomach (it’s probably my coil!) that tell me I can’t match up or even catch up – it’s changed so much, and do I really have anything of any value to offer?

Maybe not, but I’ve got to try. Which brings me nicely to…

8. I auditioned to be a housewife

When I stopped blogging (failed at blogging is how I saw it) and got scared of the world, I auditioned to be a housewife. I feel like I gave it my best shot, but I’ve just had to send myself a rejection letter.

 

Dear Hannah,

Lol! You suck at being a housewife!!! 

This is one role that isn’t for you.

And, holding off on doing all the things that truly ring your bell because you ‘need to do the house up’ or you ‘might get pregnant’, ain’t gunna wash.

Please stop being a dick and go do something else.

Kind regards,

Hannah

p.s. sorry if that sounded harsh, you are good at other stuff and I felt this was the best angle to help you move on…

 

I know for a fact that many people would kill to be in my position and not have to work. The guilt I feel for being in such a privileged position and not having the decency to enjoy it makes me feel even worse.

But this is my life. My one and only life… The very same life that, if you trust my anxiety, could be over in a flash.

So, I’ve finally realised (thanks to this BRILLIANT interview with Sara Blakely of Spanx fame) that I’ve failed at being a housewife. So what?! It doesn’t mean I don’t love my family or I’m a failure as a mother/wife/woman/human. It just means I tried something that didn’t work.

And trying deserves a high five.

To quote Sara “I’m in the wrong movie” at the moment and it’s time to accept that this isn’t for me, to stop being scared and move on.

To what? Dunno! I’ve a few ideas but when the right idea comes I’ll be ready to pounce…!

 

Endnote

In my mind this post was a nice, light-hearted piece about what we’ve been up to. Funny what happens when you actually put finger to keyboard, isn’t it?

I have to remind myself that I started blogging again with the intention to speak the truth. And today this is the truth, which is probably why it’s taken me a week to actually sit down and write it.

Tomorrow I might be laughing at fart jokes (in fact, that’s what I intend to do next for a bit of light relief) but for now, this me.

*Waves again* Hello you! Thank you for reading – that deserves another high five xxx

 

10 comments.

22 months (or 100 internet years) later...

09 Feb, 2018

I’m back. I think I’m definitely back! I want to write again.

Back in November 2017 I got this same feeling and wrote a post (which I will share below) about not being so scared and all the reasons I should blog. Ironically I was too scared to post it!

But now I have the confidence to get back on the pony (think more beach side donkey than a thorough-bred race-horse – loveable but not so competitive) and write my silly, funny, sad, honest posts again. Whatever I feel compelled to write. But from now on it’s going to be 100% me and no more of this professional blogging stuff…and I’ll write more about why I really stopped blogging in due course.

But for now, I will explain why I’m starting again!

Earlier this week I was corralled by own brain (it had started writing a blog post whenever I went for a dog walk or was doing errands) to write a “coming out post” about my relationship with alcohol. I was then heavily encouraged by my lovely friend Emily (who I met originally through this blog – read her birth story here – and now our sons are besties and in the same school class!) to post this story on Facebook.

I'm back - I quit alcohol

I have felt every wave of emotion this week. From warm fuzzy cuddles via all the lovely comments to utter terror at being so open and vulnerable for all the world to see (oh god, even my postman has ‘liked’ it type feelings). But something about that vulnerability has given me the confidence to get going again.

That, and Emily…

“What’s the next steps then?! Don’t lose your momentum!”

So, Em, this is for you…my thoughts that I should have posted 3 months ago.

I’m Back – November 2017

When I wrote my last post 18 months ago, I didn’t think it would take me this long to decide to blog again. I’ve thought about it a bit but I’ll be honest, it really wasn’t that much. For ages I didn’t think I’d ever feel the urge to write again.

Top 5 parenthood highlights

But last week something changed.

I was lying on the sofa with a cold and feeling pretty miserable. I couldn’t face watching another movie so I decided to do some journalling instead.

This isn’t something I do. For starters I can’t write with a pen anymore! Do you know what I mean? After about 5 minutes my hand cramps up and the words become unintelligible. That’s probably fortunate because I also can’t spell.

Anyway, I sat and wrote some stuff. 3 whole pages of stuff! And, when I came back to reread it, I liked what I read. It brought clarity to my thoughts, the ones that normally swim around my head in a random fashion.

The next day I was poking around on Pinterest and came across an article called “what living a simple life has taught me“. It really made me think about my life, what I spend my time doing and what I’m interested in. So I wrote some more stuff.

I realised I have no hobbies beyond reading diet and self-help books!

I have so much opportunity around me and I just don’t make the most of it.

This naturally brought me to blogging.

I used to love blogging.

Reading things (diet and self-help books, of course) and then sharing my take.

Making little videos.

Trying to take decent photos.

Documenting my projects.

It motivated me to get things done and try new ideas. Even if I sucked at them.

I realised that the only reason I’m not blogging is because I’m scared of what people will think of me.

That’s a pretty dumb thing to be scared of.

All I can be is myself and not everyone can like me. PLUS NO ONE REALLY CARES!!

(While looking for a no-one cares quote I came across this fantastic article, No one Cares, So Do What You Want. Sums up and quashes my fears perfectly!)

So, I did a pros and cons of blogging.

The pros list was a hell of a lot longer.

Cons involved things like having to make some space on my hard drive because my laptop is full. I believe that’s just called laziness?

I have so much to gain from blogging

From motivation, to clarity of thoughts, to connecting with my friends, to accountability.

And, I realised that I’ve missed it.

There’s so much that I’ve forgotten (up until an hour ago I’d forgotten how to even put up a post) but I can relearn along the way.

For now I want to do some writing and to put it in my husband, Mike’s words ‘nothing bad can come from writing’.

10 comments.

Blog break!

30 Apr, 2016

Hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.

At the moment I am taking a break from writing Mums’ Days but please do explore the 750 articles I have written here over the last 4 (+) years!

I started Mums’ Days when I was pregnant, so you’ll find articles relating to pregnancy, health and fitness, the new born months and much more as I’ve explored my new role as a mother. Hopefully you’ll find something that tickles your fancy!

Taking a break

Anyone who blogs (professionally or otherwise) will tell you that blogging is brilliant and exhausting!

I’ve decided to take a break as we’ve recently been through some big changes as a family and I’ve been doing some soul searching to get my head around it all (I did an online course called Life with Intention by my favourite podcaster, Jess Lively! I’d highly recommend it if you can get on it).

I realised that I’ve lost sight of what it is I want to do with my life. What truly gives me meaning, a purpose and makes me happy. I’ve been allowing blogging (namely stats, my tots100 score and likes on Facebook, etc…) to define me and my sense of self worth, and it is a recipe for never feeling good enough.

About a month ago I was completely done with it all. But I’ve had some time off and I’ve started to miss it, so I don’t think this is going to be a forever break anymore.

For the next couple of months I’m going to basically hibernate away from the internet so that I can focus on Reuben (can you believe this is his last term before he starts school? He’s not 4 until August. Sob!!), do some gardening and reading.

If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can do so on hannah@mumsdays.com.

Thanks for all your support!

10 comments.

Let me tell you my tale of laser hair removal…

24 Mar, 2016

Do you remember when you were a kid and you used to see the big girls at school and want to be them?

laser hair removal with Saks Beauty in Gosforth

They were always so cool, calm and collected, and gorgeous. So, you’d buy Just 17 and wear your hair just so and buy ridiculous clothing (just me? Kudos to my mum for letting me express myself, that must have taken restraint).

Well, I don’t think I’ve ever grown out of that. I remember at about 21 I saw some chic looking women (in New York) with deep pink nail varnish and as soon as I got back into that departure lounge I made a beeline for the beauty counter to find the exact shade. Chanel, of course. I thought it would make me look cool and NYC chic too.

Fast forward to 32 and I still have friends a few years older than me that I hope I’ll be like when I “grow up”.

I’ll have great hair and overall be much better presented.

One particular thing that has stuck with me over the years of knowing these friends was a particular conversation about bikini lines….

I was going for yet another excruciatingly painful bikini wax whilst pregnant, which is one of the most painful things (aside from labour) that I’ve ever been through, and my friend said, “You know, laser is the way forward.”

Well, it’s stuck with me, always something on the beauty to-do list that will transform me into one of my glamorous friends. I will exude confidence when I no longer have fuzz poking out the side of my swimming costume during an impromptu swim with the kids.

And, never has laser been more needed – since giving birth, waxing has become too much to bare (pun intended and I wrote about my waxing revolt here), so things have become a bit unkempt, shall we say?

As a slight aside, I do know really that I will never be “put together” in the way I’d like to be and I’m OK with that, it’s probably why my friends like me in the first place. Maybe a bit of goofy goes a long way?

Laser Hair Removal with Saks

But that didn’t stop me jumping at the chance to finally give it a go when Saks Beauty in Gosforth approached me to try out a course of laser hair removal in my nether regions!

I knew they had some of the best equipment in the area (it costs them a fortune to maintain but it has the best results in the quickest time, so it’s really worth the investment), so if anyone was going to ‘have at it’, it was going to be them.

After a quick phone call where I asked the owner, Nic, a million stupid questions (“can we do all 6 treatments in a week?” “No, hunny, you need 6 to 8 weeks between sessions”), we were ready to go.

All you have to do before your appointment is to shave the places where you don’t want hair to grow anymore (you may need the lawnmower to begin with).

I arrived to a really warm welcome and Nic immediately put me at ease. Which was good because shortly after she was face to face with my intimates. About 5 minutes and a few zaps later (a bit like being twanged by an elastic band), I was done. And I could walk out perfectly comfortably.

This was new.

I was used to leaving a salon John Wayne style, wincing in pain!

Since then (it’s been about 7 weeks), I’ve been diligently shaving the area. The only issue I’ve had was a bit of irritation to begin with from shaving. But with some post shaving cream (I’ve got some The Cool Fix Targeted Gel Lotion, which is awesome) it’s been sorted out a treat.

Already, after only 1 session, I can tell that the hairs have drastically changed! I’m telling you this is the way forward.

Perhaps, once I’m hair-free and confident of no further swimming costume capers, I’ll be able to turn my attention to more items on my beauty to-do list!

Laser Hair Removal Costs…

A single laser hair removal treatment on your nethers at Saks Beauty in Gosforth costs £45 and you will need between 3 to 6 treatments, and maybe the occational one or two after having another baby or any other hormonal changes.

To put this into context in contrast to Waxing…

The difference between a lifetime of waxing (£250/year for 20 years is £5000!) compared to a course of laser hair removal treatments (£270 for 6, plus the odd one here and there) – you’re looking at a saving of £4730.

Winner!

Give Nic a call on 0191 340 0420 and she’ll see you right.

one comment.

...sneaky veggies for your fussy eaters!

09 Mar, 2016

This is a delicious, nutritious Spaghetti Bolognese recipe with a twist…hidden veggies!

Hidden Vegetables Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

I’m all for introducing whole vegetables to my fussy eater.

I wrote about how we’ve been using a sticker chart with some success to get from NO VEGGIES to licking a pea to eating a carrot, and I think a love of veg is hugely important. I am their biggest fan.

But the going is slow and in the mean time, sometimes (especially on a school night or after a busy week) I just need an easy win and to know my fussy boy is getting something really good and wholesome inside him.

Hence this Spaghetti Bolognese recipe with hidden veg!

Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe with Hidden Veg

Here’s a quick 1 min video to give you an idea of what’s involved and scroll down for full recipe details…

 

(more…)

3 comments.

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