time flies when you're being a mum

20 Oct, 2022

Competition time!

Mums’ Days is relaunching in a matter of weeks, so I wanted to ask for your help with coming up with a tagline and run a competition to give away some vouchers to you lovely lot!

The resounding feedback I got was that you wanted Amazon vouchers so I’ve got a £100 voucher for the winner of the tagline comp and £50 vouchers for two runners up (drawn through rafflecopter).

There are lots of ways you can enter using the Rafflecopter below but the one you have to do is come up with a new tagline for the Mums’ Days rebrand!

So what is the rebrand?!

Well, first off, it’s going to be more of the same. I did a survey a few weeks back (please click here to answer a simple question if you haven’t already!) and also asked for testimonials about Mums’ Days over the years.

I love this quote, it’s exactly why I’m here.

“Brutally and beautifully honest. Saying things out loud we all think and fear”

Mums’ Days reader

I want Mums’ Days to continue to be a place where you can just show up as you are and not feel judged. I share my ‘dirty secrets’ so you can show up with yours and feel part of an honest community.

In the survey I asked you to tell me the two things that you are struggling with … they have ranged from parenting guilt to money to exhaustion to boredom and these struggles will be the themes for Mums’ Days going forward!

Of course with a positive spin.

 “You can look at the darkness but don’t stare … the solution is to create magic … create environments where you can find joy because you can create joy.”

RuPaul

New branding

We’ve also asked your opinion on what you’d like the new branding to be like … here are the options! So far number 3 is by far the most popular. Have your say on Facebook.

Community Stories

Back in the day I used to share birth stories.

I want to share your stories again … but on everything!

Many of you have been following Mums’ Days since the start. Many of you have written articles and Birth Stories for MDs! And, while the births are amazing and I’d like to keep sharing them, we’re all evolving.

We’ve all got stuff to say and share and talk about. Maybe it’s even your ‘dirty secret’ (anonymised if you wish!) …

Either way, if you have something to say about parenting, your struggles, or anything else, I would LOVE to hear from you. Please email me hannah@mumsdays.com.

We need your story.

MD Tagline Competition!

So, that’s what we’re all about – an honest, open, non-judgemental space to share the darkness and the magic and the joy.

To enter the competition, leave your suggestion for a Tagline in the comments (don’t worry if it doesn’t show up immediately, I might need to approve some of the comments) and fill in the rafflecopter below.

The competition ends on 29th October at 11:59am and I will announce the winners on 31st October!

As a reminder, and as chosen by the MD community – the MD Tagline winner will win a £100 Amazon voucher and two runners up will win a £50 Amazon vouchers each.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy tag-lining!

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13 Oct, 2022

It’s October. Lots of chat about Sober October soooo … you might be feeling a bit sick of the preachy vibe that can come from the sober. 

I quit drinking 5 years ago on 21st October. Five. Whole. Years! But please let me assure you that preachy vibes is not what I’m here for!

Dirty secrets, alcohol, sober

Yes, I flipping love the freedom and confidence I have gained from being sober. It has literally changed my life but if you’d told me five years ago that I would probably never drink again, I’d have reached straight for the tequila bottle. 

It was just a try. To see what it was like. To prove that I could do it.

Partly motivated by a desire to lose weight … I’ve had chats with many of you since about the benefits of giving up booze on your waistline and I can assure you it did nothing for mine! In fact, I put on at least a stone when I quit because I replaced alcohol with sugar!

Partly motivated by a sober curiosity and the knowledge that booze had a hold on me … I wanted to see what life and my brain would be like without the constant pull of alcohol.

I will talk about my own experience with sobriety more next week but today I wanted to talk about the impact alcohol can have on relationships.

Alcohol, Abuse and Relationships
Since talking more about divorce and the transition from relationship to single life/single parenting, a BIG thing that has been coming up from this lovely community is the impact alcohol and addiction can have on relationships. 

The stories I am hearing about what some of you are living through and enduring is nothing short of devastating. And, the crossover to abuse and narcissistic personality disorders is stark.

I’ve done a number of courses over the last few years both with domestic abuse charities and family support for the loved ones of addicts. I wanted to further understand and connect with the nuances of being in an abusive or alcoholic relationship.

There is an incredible array of support out there but still such a huge stigma around reaching out. Getting help. 

I think an even more common issue is not even knowing you need help or support. Life feels normal. Addiction, abuse and the aftermath is just another thing to deal with, like making tea and washing the clothes.

Please, if you aren’t sure, reach out. Your relationship doesn’t need to be violent to be abusive. Speak to your local domestic abuse support. At the very least, they will be able to assure you everything is ok and, if it isn’t, they will be able to help you.

Dirty Secrets Podcast

I answer some of your questions about addiction and domestic abuse on this week’s Happily Ever After, which I’ve called Dirty Secrets because we all have these secrets. The ones we feel alone with and worry that if anyone found out we’d be cast out of society … to live an isolated life … probably in poverty. 

If you are living in a relationship with an addict and/or abuser, chances are you deeply love them and the addiction just happened over time. You’ve been slowly trained to put up with things, endure stuff, put out fires, protect your children and your families from their behaviour, etc, etc. 

Over time, this becomes your very own dirty secret that you have to protect at all costs. You are complicit. You didn’t say no years ago. When the first awful thing happened. 

And, because of the nature of addiction, abuse is very common (although it’s worth baring in mind that addiction is not a pre-requisit – alcohol and drugs is often blamed for abusive behaviour but it’s just that; an excuse). Gaslighting (manipulating you so you question your own reality), emotional and psychological abuse, financial, sexual and, of course, physical abuse is all a possibility when you are dealing with a person with addictions.

Perhaps you drink a lot too. And, you’re worried you’ll have your children taken off you. Or end up penniless. Or both. You can feel trapped and alone.

What if you do leave?
When someone has left a person with alcohol or drug issues, I often hear that the leaver feels guilty because ’nothing happened’ to end the relationship. No one cheated or it wasn’t that bad.

But that’s not true. Living in fear of ‘the next time’ (and let’s face it, who knows what is happening if your partner is staying out all night) is a real-life trauma, which can lead to PTSD.

Managing your partner and the aftermath becomes a subconscious thing. The duck on water. Calm on the surface – everything’s fine, great even … but below the water the legs are frantically flapping, preparing to change direction, pivot, dive to protect their young.

How to get help
I should state that I am not a therapist or expert. I have done some courses and these are my observations but, if this is you and you are living this life, I urge you to reach out to the myriad of non-judgemental, FREE support out there. This is not just your dirty secret. Millions of people live this life too. From all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. 

You do not need to struggle on your own.

You might not even need to leave your partner. The free course that I did with Escape Family Support was all about positive communication skills. To communicate in a way that encourages your partner to get the help that they need.

Escape is a local (to me – Northumberland) charity so if you are not from up here, reach out to your local domestic abuse support service, they will be able to help you track down the help that you need. All the links are in the show notes for Dirty Secrets episode here.

Equally, you might not be sure if this is you. 
I mention in the podcast a few resources that might help to identify if this is you.

The most recent Tina Turner Documentary is incredible. She’s a wonderful, inspirational, strong women but she lived this life for years. She talks openly about her relationship with Ike in the documentary that may help to identify elements in your own life.

Another brilliant book is by Liane Moriaty, called Big Little Lies (made into an HBO series) – the nuanced relationship of Nicole Kidman’s character with her abusive husband was incredibly insightful and brilliantly handled. It may help shine some light on your own relationship.

Remember, there doesn’t need to be violence for there to be abuse.

I really hope this has been helpful either for you, or maybe a friend that you are worried about. You can always email me, completely in confidence, if you’re not sure – I’d love to hear your story and support if I can. Email me hannah@mumsdays.com or DM me through facebook or instagram.

Have you read or seen any good depictions of addiction or abuse? I’d love your recommendations if you’d like to comment below or come and join the conversation on Facebook or Instagram

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26 Jul, 2022

Last week I sent out a newsletter for the first time in yeeeeaaaars! It felt so nice to have something to say and the response has been overwhelming so thank you so much for everyone who has emailed, DMed and generally sent some love. I’m sending it right back to you.

If you missed the newsletter (don’t miss this week’s Newsletter – subscribe here), the general gist was this…

I messed up. 

I stopped writing and sharing and I’m really sorry about that.

The thing is, and I’m going to be honest here, two things happened. 

The first was that my husband sold his company for a lot of money. I had always prided myself on being honest about my struggles with life and everything else, and I didn’t know how to be authentic if I didn’t have money worries. I was worried I’d come across as either an ungrateful, whinging tw*t or a showoff.

The second was I got depressed. We moved to a big house on a hill and I became a housewife. I stopped writing and sharing with you all. And, stopping doing the thing I loved, the thing that was my purpose in life, was a huge mistake. 

However, I now know this was the path I had to take and learning to shift out of this depression is what led to the wonderful life I’m now living.

Divorce 

During lockdown 2020, Mike and I split up. In fact, it was two years ago last week. Two gruelling years of heartbreak, hurt, frustration and fighting. I’ve had to be very brave and stand up for myself. I’ve also had to dig really deep and work out who I am and take responsibility for my part in all this.

I’m happy to say we will soon be divorced and we have come to a place where we are friends again. I’ve also moved through so much stuff that I feel confident enough to share again.

If you would like to hear more from me in your inbox, please do subscribe to the Mums’ Days Newsletter here – they’ll be a new email dropping on Friday!

If you are also in the process of divorce, please do check out my new site specifically for supporting women through divorce: Hannah Harvey. I have a free e-book on the site at the moment which is all about ways to boost your mood during your divorce.

AND, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m hosting a divorce retreat, called Heartache Hall, in September in a castle! (You know how I love a castle)

Come and join me and the same team that helped me to thrive through my divorce.

Finally, I’VE STARTED A PODCAST!!! I’m so excited. Come and have a listen to Happily Ever After… and I’d be eternally grateful if you could leave a review and subscribe.

Last week’s episode was all about what to do in the aftermath of your relationship ending! New episodes every Tuesday.

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21 Oct, 2020

3 years ago today I woke with the most brutal hangover. I had had SO much fun the night before with some lovely friends (@debs @Laura @jo) but in my wisdom had drunk a whole bottle of tequila. To myself. It was my drink of the moment because it was “low calorie”…not at THAT quantity!

Sober

I had no idea when I woke up that I was about to embark on a t-total lifestyle. I was sick of feeling like shit, having THAT conversation in my head about when to drink, how much, who with, etc. So I decided I’d give it a whirl.

I’d read an article called Are You Afraid to Quit Drinking and it had been percolating around my brain. I desperately didn’t want to drink and yet stopping felt like the hardest thing in the world… 
My friends would reject me, I’d be boring and never go out…what do people who don’t drink DO anyway?

But I had to try. Over the course of the week I read This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, I slept a lot and the song “I feel free” went around my head as I slowly started to see the light. I AM free.

I missed my first 2 soberversaries, busy being preggers or looking after a small child, so this is the first year I’ve acknowledged it.

It’s not all been a walk in the park – it took a good 18 months to not feel self-conscious. And new scenarios (being single for example) often make me question the choice but generally I don’t think about booze. 

I do things like go to bed on time, and get up early so I can write. I have written a WHOLE kids book (40k words). And kids I don’t know have actually read it and told me THEY LIKE IT!!!!! I would never have done that if I was still drinking. I’m also really into yoga and connect with people properly (rather than assessing their party-going potential and then ditching if I don’t think it’s good enough…)

So this year I wanted to give myself a wee high five because it has been the hardest and best thing I have ever done for myself.

Lots of you have messaged me about drinking in the past, so I want you to know that I’m here if you want to talk. Whether you stop or not, I’m happy to talk about it!

Cheers!! (mine’s a fizzy water, thanks!)

3 years sober

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Weird links

08 Jan, 2020

After I wrote the start of Frog Boy (a girl finds some frogspawn and one turns into a boy and whisks her out of the bathroom window on a magical carpet of tiny frogs – you can read about the start and ideas here), nothing happened for a while… I had no more ideas and I didn’t know what happened next. Until I ran into friends, Richard and Yvonne, at our local village pub and we got talking about Bobby Shafto.

Bobby Shaftoe - staff notation

They told me all about their recent visit Shafto Crags, which is just up the road from us, and their unsuccessful hunt to find the cave. Their friend had drawn what looked like a pirates map, to show them where Shafto cave was but they couldn’t find it.

I had heard of Bobby Shafto because he’s featured in a popular nursery rhyme in the North East but I had no idea he was from around here. Nor what the story behind the song was, which they also enlightened me on (it was a very useful conversation!). This is the nursery rhyme…

“Bobby Shafto went to sea,

Silver Buckles on his knee

He’ll come back and marry me

Bonny Bobby Shafto.

 

“Bobby Shafto’s bright and fair

Combing down his yellow hair

He’s my love forever-more

Bonny Bobby Shafto.”

The legend behind the song was that it was about a woman called, Bridgette Belasyse, heiress of Brancepeth Castle in Durham. However, Bobby didn’t come back and marry her. He married someone called Anne Duncombe and Bridgette died of a broken heart.

During the conversation I realised that was where Frog Boy was going with the girl – to sea, and that the whole thing was wrapped in telling this story.

Shafto by Sir Joshua Reynolds

I’ve trawled the internet since to try and work out who Bobby Shafto was, when he was alive and what the story really is but it’s hard to actually pinpoint which Bobby Shafto the song is referring to (although this is probably closest courtesy of Mike Rendell) . Bobby was a given family name (along with John), so both his grandfather, his cousin, his son and his grandson are all Bobbies! And they all seem to be MPs who used the song for their campaigns.

There’s also links to Ireland.

Some people don’t think the Bobby from the song was from around here but there are definitely links to Bavington Hall, which again is not far from where I live (although not actually next to Shafto Crags), which was taken by the crown during the Jacobite raising of 1715 (that’s Bonnie Prince Charlie stuff). The Shafto’s were given it back not long after (by the person who bought it from the crown) and the family had it until the 1990’s when they finally sold it! I want to go and stay in the holiday cottages there.

Anyway, regardless of the actual story, and who Bobby was, I’ve made an executive decision about when MY Bobby was alive (1730-1797) and using artistic licence to make up my own story, inspired by all this… so things like the family home is in a different location and I’ve purposefully not been to Shafto Crags yet (it might ruin/alter my imagined crags).

If the tadpoles were the seed ideas for my Frog Boy story, Bobby Shafto and Shafto Crags and cave are some sort of massive egg that’s hatched and turned the story into quite a different beast altogether! I’m really enjoying it.

_______________________________

Weirdly, I have since discovered that the guy who built our house, William Dixon, was one of the first people to document the Bobby Shafto tune in the 1700s for the Northumbrian pipes. And, my Christmas Pudding tea cosy (recently put away until next year), is from a market held every year at Brancepeth Castle. It’s kismet.

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