To The One Who Kicks Me

It’s a totally bizarre feeling to completely and utterly love someone you’ve never met, but that’s the current situation.

I’m now 34 wks pregnant…time flies right? I’m in this very weird place of wanting to meet you so badly, but not wanting this bit to end. You see, you might be the only time I do this, the only time my body works actual miracles, let’s face it ladies that’s exactly what we’re doing here.

Every little move you make pulls on my heart strings, you make me feel superhuman, I know that whatever lies ahead, you will always be the thing that I am most proud of. I never thought I’d get here you see. For a long time I convinced myself that you were not part of the picture, and that I was okay with that. That’s a big fat lie your Mums just admitted to.

You were always in the picture, in the background or on the edges, it’s just meeting the right person to help get you here was the hardest part, and letting myself believe that as a result of that you could actually go from a picture in my head to an actual little person was no easy thing either, I’ll explain all that to you someday.

There was the tick tock of time too, we don’t get an endless amount of it to do as we want, but fortune favoured us and now you are on your way. In no time at all you’ll be out in the world and not warm in my tummy.

I do wonder what you are doing in there. You feel like a little Octopus sometimes with kicks being felt in all directions, like there’s a rave going on…now I’ve been to a few of them and I know what goes on – just saying!

What do I know about you so far? Well you’re very contrary, you’ll kick the bejesus out of me but the minute your Dad touches my stomach you’ll play musical statues. That’s something else I know, you like your music. You seem to favour Mumford & Sons, Offspring and the Foo Fighters in particular. This pleases me – these are good choices, although there was that one day you went wild to Whitney Houston…there will be none of that under my roof. Your Dad thinks/hopes/prays that you’re a budding drummer, he’ll show you the drum room soon enough. He’s getting pretty good. If ever I can’t find the pair of you, that’s where I’ll look first.

You like to keep me awake, and do you know what?  That’s absolutely fine. In those wee small hours when your Dad is snoring his head off next to me, I lay in the dark and think about how lucky I am, what a phenomenal, wondrous and huge privilege it is already to be your mum, so you kick away my little one. Right now, I am solely responsible for you, Dad looks after me and therefore you, but making sure you get here safely is down to me, and I want to do what’s right by you.

Oh, you should also know that Dad and I have nicknamed you Norm, and I’m afraid that no matter what goes on your birth certificate, that’ll probably be what you are called the most. Look you might not like it, but there are far worse things to be called, you can trust me on that….

It’s impossible not to imagine what you’ll look like, we both have our theories on this, will the ginger gene win through and you’ll be a redhead like me? Here’s hoping! You are likely to be tall though Norm, it runs in both families. You could be a long baby as well, both of your parents were.

We love laughter and silliness in our house, and we both have everything crossed that you’ll inherit my sense of humour, as I am blatantly the funnier parent. Your Dad is the brains of the operation, full of so much knowledge and an unnerving number of random facts. If you ever play against him at trivial pursuits…well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In all seriousness though, we don’t want to push hopes and dreams on to you, because they are ours and not yours. I don’t want to steer you in a certain direction, or to tell you which path to follow. I will never make you a promise I can’t keep. All I want you to know is that your Dad and I will be by your side in whatever you do, we’ll teach you and arm you as best we can. When life hurts you, and it will my darling, we’ll be the arms that will make you feel at home. Now, whilst I am always available, may I suggest that you go to your Dad for the greatest hugs – top tip there. Above all else, we will love you, without condition, for all of our days.

It’s not going to be plain sailing, we’ve never done this before, and neither have you. Plus, we really like our sleep, so if you could keep that in mind it would be appreciated. However, we are already a family, and you are the best addition we could have ever asked for.

So, you keep on doing what you’re doing, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and soon enough we’ll get to meet. Soon enough two will become three and life as we know it will change forever. May you stay safe in there for a little longer Norm, I don’t want to see you for at least 3 weeks okay?! You do as your Mum tells you, for the time being anyway.

Before I sign off I just wanted to say thank you, I can’t put the reasons why I’m thanking you into any logical order, or even into words, but one day perhaps I’ll be able to, right now all I know is that you are bringing me, well us, to the start of something that we are beyond excited about.

With untold amounts of love to you my baby

Mum xx

PS when you arrive it’ll be bright and loud and scary, but we’ll both be there with open arms for you. There could be a few people around, I’ll be the one looking like an exhausted mess, and your Dad will be sobbing in a corner. X


The Parent Trap

We always think our parents know it all don’t we? When we are small we look at them in awe and wonder about the way they are handling the world, assuming that because they are adults, never mind parents, they will have their shit well and truly together.

That’s what children really want, not endless toys and sweets, but love, encouragement and guidance from the two people that created them. Parents aren’t gifted a manual to be parents, and children don’t get one to help them find their feet either. Instead they look up, look up at the faces of their protectors, their providers, to give them all the answers.

But what happens when those parents don’t have the answers? What then? My parents divorced when I was 6 years old. They were both 36 when that happened. That’s a whole year younger than I am now, and confession time…..I definitely don’t have my shit together. I’ve talked a lot about my parents with my coach. About how they let me down, how those fundamental things I needed were sorely lacking, and I have felt angry, with both of them. Angry with my Dad for being absent for so much of my life, and in my eyes being inconceivably selfish, and angry at my Mum for not being stronger with her future choice of partner and for not standing up for herself, or for me whenever he decided I had done something wrong.

Over my coaching sessions I have explored these feelings of anger, and had the sad realisation that this particular emotion, this particular feeling had made me as an individual bitter and toxic. By looking back into the past and having those difficult conversations with my coach I have moved forward to a place where I view the situation in a different light.

My Dad was my hero, I’m sure the same can be said of most little girls. When the spilt happened the bottom dropped out of my world, but I still had him in my life. However, as the years rolled past and he went from one relationship to another, the bonds between us weakened, in fact I would say they snapped completely. I didn’t know him anymore, I still don’t. I couldn’t understand why, in my eyes, he didn’t want me around. My Dad has openly admitted he has ‘been pretty shit’ at Dadding (totally a word) and yet, that’s never been good enough for me. For years I wanted a grand gesture, a moment of revelation from him where he would realise that I was the most important thing in his life, get down on his knees and beg forgiveness for the pain and damage caused.

My Mum was my motivator, she stayed at home with me until I was 3 years old, but prior to that time and forever after, she always worked, always made me aware that you can’t rely on anyone else to look after you financially. That is something that has stayed with me ever since I can remember; the thought of being ‘looked after’ by a man was abhorrent to me. I am getting better though; the passing of enough time and the love of a good husband can do wonders for a girl. I was always cross with her though, cross that she had no voice, cross that she went on to marry a bully, and stayed married to him for 20 years. Why was she weak?

The questions that I have for them will remain unanswered, not because I am afraid to sit them in the glaring spotlight and demand to know WHY, but because I don’t need to know anymore. I’m done with it, done with holding on to the pain and disappointment, and I’m done with punishing them for not being perfect. I don’t want to walk round with the weight of something that happened 30 years ago on my shoulders. There is one truth in all of this, my parents are just human, they are real people who fuck up, make mistakes, say or do the wrong thing……just like I do, just like we all do, on a regular basis. When I was young and their marriage was breaking down I didn’t feel loved by them, even though I was loved. Because they were busy desperately trying to figure out what the fuck to do, they didn’t have the answers.

I sent my Dad a card today, that one action from me has started us on the path to reconnection. I haven’t seen him since I got married over 2 years ago, and honestly, I’ve liked the distance. It makes it easier not to deal with something when it’s not staring you in the face. I was scared of sending that card, partly because he could ignore it, but mainly because he might not. He might pick up the phone, we might have a conversation and where could that lead? I could have kept waiting, I could have waited until the possibility for me to wait any longer had been taken from me, and I guess that’s what frightened me the most. There was never going to be a right time, but with the work I’ve done with my coach has come a level of maturity I didn’t know I had, and I now see him through eyes that aren’t angry anymore.

This post isn’t about slating my rents, far from it, but it is about me finally finding the ability to open up my narrow childlike view of them, and see them for who they are, warts and all.

We generally don’t know our parents as anything other than parents, we are unaware of the anxieties that may have crippled them before we came along, and of the heartache they may have endured over the years. We weren’t there to see the way they looked up to their parents, and what they saw. We don’t necessarily know the dreams they had for themselves, and the sacrifices they had to make along the way. We see them in their role and that’s it, almost like they aren’t mere mortals at all. They should be above all that normal stuff, they’re super heroes right? Except they’re not, they’re not even close. They are simply just Mum & Dad.


Not That Special

During my life coaching session a couple of weeks ago, I was referred to as a special Snowflake. Now we know that all snowflakes are unique, just the other  week Prof Brian Cox was telling us that on the Beeb. We too are all unique, but are we all that special?

I’m not taking about “look at me I’m the dogs danglies” kind of special, but the “I need to make everything right” kind of special.

Of course I need to put this into context. The subject we were talking about was ‘how to cheer people up when they are feeling down’ Now I am obsessed with this. I am what’s known as a ‘fixer’ I don’t want people to be down/sad/miserable *delete as applicable* I don’t think anyone does really. But what drives people like me to try and fix others? Is it to help our loved one(s), or to help ourselves?

The title of ‘Fixer’ however, isn’t valid. As nobody needs fixing, nobody is broken…..I have literally stolen that sentence of out my lovely coaches mouth. But its true, it might well be my favourite Coldplay song, but “Fix You” is a fallacy. I had never realised this before, perhaps because I have used the term ‘broken’ to describe myself in years gone by, and nobody has called me out on it.

To see people struggling makes me hugely uncomfortable, and in that sentence lies a truth I had never realised about myself in my 37 years. I’m making other people’s problems my own. I don’t like them being in any form of ‘negative’ mood because it makes ME feel bad.

But so what, this is their stuff, not mine. I have zero rights to try and get anyone to ‘cheer up’ it’s not my place, and by making it my business, I just make the whole situation worse.

This all stems from a somewhat dysfunctional childhood, where many of the fundamental things that I needed, were not supplied. That’s a blog for another day, actually that’s probably about 17 blogs worth………..

When I was little my parents didn’t argue EVER…..nor, now that I think of it, did they ever seem happy either, but I digress. They never rowed, and when they did finally fight (so that I was aware of it) they ended up divorcing, and everything turned to shit for me, for a very long time. Ergo arguing = fucking bad times. So ever since then I have been hugely anxious in any kind of negative situation. This has led me to make many a poor life choice along the way (Oooh more material)

My husband is a wonderful man, he is my best friend and we laugh every day, he’s the coolest person to spend time with, but man alive, he can be a moody shit too. We have been together nearly 5 years now, and I am only just, and I mean literally in the last week or so, learning how to deal with that without making it about me.

Invariably the conversation between us will go something like this

Me: Are you okay babe?

Him: Not really, don’t know what’s up though

Me: Is it work/money? Are you tired/ill/hungry?

Now in my defence I should say at this point the man does get massively hangry and tired, and many a mood has been rectified by a nap followed by some peanut butter bagel, or a slice of fruitcake. What I’m saying is, he’s really a bear.

Anyway, back to our ‘discussion……

Him: No, it’s none of those, I just, dunno

Now I start to change, as this lack of explanation is unacceptable, I’ve listed all the obvious reasons, which leads me to one shining conclusion….IT MUST BE ME!! After that I can no longer communicate verbally, instead I take on the persona of a Labrador puppy. I cock my head to one side, and give him the biggest saddest puppy dog eyes you can imagine, whilst also making odd whimpering noises (so attractive) I do refrain from sniffing his crotch, or weeing in his shoes, but we may only be one ‘mood’ away from that.

This is textbook Special Snowflake behaviour, I don’t actually have that particular text book, or know if it exists, but I am pretty sure that’s a damn fine example of acting like one.

Now, isn’t that a totally ridiculous way to behave? My husband is in a bad mood, so I should just let him be in a bad mood, and the fact that I can’t, or previously haven’t been able to says a lot more about me than it does about him. I consider myself to be a fairly level-headed, rational person. But in those moments, all that disappears, in my head there are sirens going off, flashing warning lights and a tannoy shouting “Danger, danger, you must fix this or shit is going down”

In case you are wondering, yes I do realise as I am typing this how pathetic I sound. The problem is this, this behaviour is almost as old as me, my parents parted ways acrimoniously when I was 6, and that seed of “It must be me” has been in my head ever since. I shudder to think how many occasions in my life I have acted this way, and not just with my husband, its friends, family, work colleagues etc.

What’s wonderful is the realisation that I now acknowledge this, my thought patterns surrounding this are changing. I’m not saying I’ll never go all Andrex on him again, but something is definitely shifting. Who else out there reading this exhibits the same behaviour? I know I’m not alone.

He has, as we all do, every right to have a ‘down’ day, to want to come home and kick the cat, put on our fat pants and sulk…and we don’t even need a reason, its just one of those things. The people around us, can’t make it better. Only the person going through it can do that.

It’s a hugely liberating thing for me, embracing my flaws, of which there are many. I love it, I’ve been in coaching for two months, and so much has changed already. It’s a cliché to say it but I feel so different to the person I was at the start of June. Its also made me aware that I want to do it too, I want to coach, to help people shift their shit. If I could help to get someone feeling as awesome as I do right now, that would be amazing. Feeling like you are a record on repeat is a horrible thing, a waste of time. However, it turns out you can teach an old dog, or in this case a Labrador puppy, new tricks.