The Complicated Business of New Blogger Identity

It was recently my one year Blogging Anniversary. I was going to write ‘Blogiversary’ but not sure if it’s a real word? As is usual in my life, I let it pass without much of a party. Reminiscent of most birthdays where I don’t want any fuss, then regret it when I get the usual bottle of Cava and box of Ferrero Rocher. So in celebration of blogging for (just over) a year, I’m going to reblog two posts today. This first one was written a week after I began the blog. Was going to delete the final line because it looks odd, but I’ve kept it in because I am often confused!

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The Daily Word Prompt is ‘Confused‘.  This epitomises my blogger beginnings.

At a week old my blog is a newborn, but the run-up to the birth was more confusing than my actual baby pregnancy.

I had to come up with a catchy Blog Name and “walk a mile in their shoes” would fit the bill. The classic line about empathy to highlight the depths of thought I would go to in thinking of others. Perfect!

The problem was, this name was taken by 123,456 people.  This left the longwinded name walkingamileintheirshoes1234567.  No, that wouldn’t do at all. Could you imagine 100,000,000 followers trying to tell their friends to follow that?  After an eternity a while I realised I was going to have to walk a mile in my own shoes if I wanted something vaguely similar.

Wait, would that work? Would people think I was egocentric, walking a mile in MY OWN…

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Dear New Mum

 

Dear New Mum (me a few years ago),

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This new mum thing has come as a shock to the system. I’m sorry nobody told you how hard it would be. You expected to feel “overwhelming love and pride” for the new bundle. All of your friends told you about the pure joy and bliss of those new born days. You just feel sleep deprived and emotionally unstable. I’m sorry there seemed to be a blackout of any “this new born stuff is tough” posts on Social Media and you were bombarded with “feeling blessed” posts when people had a baby.  You feel like an inadequate mother because you are too tired to feel blessed.

I’m sorry you’re not able to tell anyone how you’re feeling. You’re putting on a brave face and the mask isn’t slipping.  You’re worn out after the C section and you just want to rest but your son will Not. Stop. Crying. It’s painful every time you bend over the cot to pick him up and I’m sorry you feel guilty about wanting the nurses to take him from you for just an hour or two. Your mum talks about her early days in the maternity hospital as a relaxing experience. Your experience is not like your mothers.

You thought your son had golden skin and now you feel awful because it turns out he is Jaundiced. I see you’re upset because you didn’t know the difference between a blanket and a sheet and you wrapped him in the wrong thing. I could see the look the nurse gave you too. I heard you ask to switch him to the bottle because he constantly wants fed. I also heard the midwife list all of the reasons why you shouldn’t do this. I know you could have listed them yourself because you’ve read enough books on the subject. None of those books explained how difficult it would be though.

You didn’t realise every cry from your new baby would be like a dagger through your heart. You never envisaged just how sleep deprivation could make every little thing seem worse.  You feel hopeless because you’re having difficulty showering yourself or fetching breakfast. It’s a day after your C Section and I’m sorry that you think you are supposed to be doing those things. It’s ok to ask for help – you are not a failure.

I’m glad you’re getting home and I can see you’re both struggling to get the screaming baby in the car seat. I know you are panicking that you’ll have to walk the 20 miles, but you’ll all get home in the car. Eventually. Your husband will drive at 7 miles per hour, just to be on the safe side. You’ll laugh about all of this later.

You think you’re not cut out for this mothering stuff and I’m sorry you feel like this. After a while you’ll turn a corner. Yes, you’ll cry more than you ever have but you’ll also begin to feel the “overwhelming love and pride” that your friends were talking about. Life will change beyond your imagination, but it’ll be a good thing. You will realise that NOBODY is a perfect mother and we’re all just trying to do our best. Oh, and after those first few months in a sleep deprived trance, you will have a new appreciation of sleep. A shame really, because 7am is now a lie in.

Yours faithfully,

 

you years later (a bit more awake)

 

Guest Post: How to Deal with the Dirtiest Places in your Home Effortlessly

Hello, today I have guest post from Sophia Evans. Sophia is enthusiastic about hygiene in our homes – so much so that she has made a business of it. Did you know that the toilet is not the dirtiest place in the bathroom? Eek!   Sophia is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding hygiene and cleaning in the comments section at the end of the article.

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You are probably wondering what is the dirtiest place in your home and how can you deal with it. The thing is that it’s not just one place, it is everywhere.  We inhabit our entire home and we touch everything. We are the ones who in fact contribute to these areas getting dirty. We carry bacteria and spread it unwillingly everywhere. What do you do before washing your dirty hands? You turn on the faucet and there, it has germs on it. Luckily, cleaning this up is the easiest thing in the world – you just need to get into a routine to do it.

Electronics

Everything we touch, if not cleaned regularly can become a hot spot for germs. Let’s start off with electronics. Everyone touches the remote control so just use disinfectant wipes and clean up all remote controls. And how about video game controllers. Controllers are even dirtier since one is in your hands for a long period of time. And when video games get intense your arms tend to sweat so there, grime and dirt piles up on remotes and especially game console controller, so clean them up regularly with disinfectant wipes or the intended product

What about a computer keyboard and a mouse? You are constantly over them and you don’t lift your hands from the things. For whatever purpose you use the computer, weather it’s work, computer games or aimlessly browsing the internet, you spend a long period of time on it and it gets dirtier and dirtier. So again, same way as the remote controls and console controllers, just regularly clean them with disinfectant wipes or a intended cleaning product that you prefer.

The Bathroom

People think that the toilet bowl is the dirtiest thing in the house when it’s not even the dirtiest thing in the bathroom. We clean these things so often that we forget about the rest of the bathroom, for example the shower or bathtub also need to be cleaned periodically to reach the high level of cleanliness. Clean these places up. Make sure to regularly clean up the inside and outside of your bathtub. Clean up the drains of the shower and bathtub, the faucet knobs and everything else you and your body touches. It’s not very hard to this this 3 or 4 times a week and it’s not time consuming at all.

Other dirty things in the bathroom are of course the faucet knobs, and get this, your toothbrush holder, make sure to wash it with soapy water once or twice a week to prevent germs from getting inside your system while you’re brushing your teeth. After that, make it a habit, after every time you wash your hands to go with a cloth and soapy water over the faucet handles.

The Kitchen
Now let’s move to the kitchen. We all have a faucet in our kitchens as well, so the same way you proceed in the bathroom, do the same for the kitchen. Regularly clean your cooker before it builds up too much grime. After every time you cook, wait for it to cool and run some soapy water and a cleaning product if necessary.  For your dogs and cats, make sure to regularly clean up their water and food bowls. If you use a dishwasher put it there, and if not, just wash it like a normal plate.

Doing little clean ups like these can go a long way to save you tons of time from when you do thorough cleaning and you will also have a far more healthier and germ free home.

 

 

Back to School Blues

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Sharpening his pencils;
ironing his clothes.
Wishing it would slow down –
how fast the time all goes.

Packing up his schoolbag;
new shoes up a size.
Seeing that he’s growing –
mammy wipes her eyes.

Every year he’s moving,
another step away.
Feels his hands in hers now –
he’s still a child today.

Trousers getting longer;
time can’t be ignored.
Although she wants him closer –
life’s there to be explored.

Today my boy returned to school today after an “awesome summer” (in his own words).  He is a home buddy and was terribly sad on the walk this morning. He’s also quite lazy so the thought of school work and homework and having to do any type of work depressed him. Fair enough; I get it.  He probably takes after me.

Why was I so sad though? He’s eight and going into primary five. I’ve been through the back to school ritual a few times before. I think it’s the realisation that the clothes are getting bigger, the work is getting harder and my little boy is taking another step further away from me.  If I’m honest though, I’ve enjoyed the peace and quiet today and managed a personal best on my run. It’s not all doom and gloom 🙂

 

An Update

Hello internet friends. I hope you are all well and many apologies for my prolonged absence. The combination of college work (which ended in June), continuously being around family during the summer and NOT writing, has led to my difficulty in writing. It’s not like I’m out of ideas; it’s more like my confidence in being able to write anything fluently and entertaining has dwindled. I read somewhere that writing is like exercising a muscle and must be prescribed regularly. My writing is unfit and in need of some regular exercise. It’s also that feeling that if I wrote something every day, then it wouldn’t matter if something was occasionally mediocre. But now that I’ve waited for weeks to write anything then of course I have to write something MONUMENTAL.

Sorry to disappoint, but I feel just getting something down on the blog is a start in this juncture. Below is a list (because those are easy to write) of what I’ve been doing and thinking about writing (but didn’t) and plan to:

  1. I’m enjoying the long summer holidays with my son. This is an unpopular thing to say and it’s usually best not to admit it. Why? Because other people think: a. I’m lying or b. I have an easy life because I work part-time (I’ll give them that) c. I’m being the intolerable smug mum (nobody likes them) d. It’s more popular to say that I need wine to get through the holiday’s with children. This leads on to an upcoming blog I’ll be writing:
  2. I need to write a blog post celebrating one child families. I tend to steer away from ‘bigging up’ my life because I can see how wonderful it can also be to be single, partnered or with several children. This diversity makes for an interesting  world and it really is different strokes for different folks. That said, as I’ve been questioned, pitied and ridiculed for having one child in the past I think it’s right I get to celebrate what is good about my life too 😊 A little family wasn’t the original life plan. I had visions of large family gatherings around the Christmas table but this was not to be. Now that the judgemental fog has cleared around my family dynamics (by myself and others), I’m happy and satisfied with my lot. This summer has highlighted all of the reasons why (for us) it’s good to be a family of three.
  3. We went on a budget holiday to Edinburgh for two nights for under £100. We climbed a famous mountain (well, two big hills really); held artefacts from ancient Egypt whilst questioning an Egyptologist; visited Greyfriars Bobby (have you seen the film?) and the café where JK Rowling penned the first Harry Potter book. FYI they are cashing in on Rowling and so we bought a sandwich from a supermarket nearby! Most activities were free and myself and son had a lot of fun. I should write about it really, but my photos aren’t blog worthy and I’m inexperienced on the Travel Blog front. I’ll probably not write about it but if you’ve any questions for me please let me know.
  4. I realised how much I love Scotland. I also holidayed down the South Coast of England. It was lush and green and I could see their flowers were slightly more tropical due to the warmer climate. The hills weren’t as high and bumpy, the beaches weren’t as soft and sandy and the green didn’t seem so vivid as it does in Scotland (but that might be my imagination). I realised that of all the places I’ve been (apart from the Yorkshire Dales), there really is nowhere like home. More sunshine would be nice though!
  5. We’re skint. I’m watching every penny because my work has been more part-time than usual over the summer, with an average of 11 hours a week. My husband bought the MR2 convertible (car) to play with a few months ago and its taking a chunk out of our monthly outgoings. Having always paid for cars upfront, I’m not enjoying this debt. Which leads me on to the next thing:
  6. Children need to exercise more during the summer holidays and it doesn’t have to cost you anything apart from your time. At the beginning of the summer I read an article stating that the youth inactivity pandemic stems from inactive summer holidays. Children are recommended to have at least 60 minutes activity every day but the majority of children in the UK are not achieving anywhere near this amount. This worried me. I always try to ensure the children in my care play active games and get some fresh air every day. As I don’t drive (perhaps for another blog post) we walk everywhere. However it’s often raining and given the choice, my son would be glued to his Playstation. Myself and husband are both readers and food lovers and I’m trying to change it around a little and instil a passion for healthy living and exercise!   I am lucky to be at home with my son and can therefore have some control on his activity levels. I wanted to start jogging again and my son said he’d like to join me. I’ve had to think of activities that a free or cheap (see point five) and also enjoyable. This is what we’ve been doing: 5km walk/jogs twice a week; weekly 10-15km cycling trips; weekly swimming (free for children during holidays); putting (free with own golf club and ball) and tennis (also free in local courts). Additionally, he’s been out in the garden playing with friends and children I mind. I’m aware that next summer it is likely I’ll be working away from home and in this case I’ll be sending my son to summer club for a few days a week. This isn’t free, but as it’s run by the council it’s reasonably priced.
  7. My dad was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and was there for a week. We’re still awaiting tests and so far all we know was that a Polyp was mentioned. My parents didn’t get to go on their much anticipated holiday to the Italian Lakes. I’m supposed to be dog-sitting at the moment. I am telling myself not to worry and not google his symptoms. It’s difficult.
  8. I’ve been blogging for a year! I may write about that, but it might be a “what not to do” type of post, given my recent absence.
  9. I still haven’t worked out how to properly format text in WordPress. I realise that point six above is a very long paragraph and I know the number formatting above isn’t consistent but I’m unable to fix it – sorry.

That’s all for now. Despite being skint, I’ll be away for a few days next week staying with friends up in Aberdeen. In my previous life, I was a HR manager for an oil company. I studied for a post graduate degree in the evening and when I handed in my notice (heading back to home town and pregnant) I had just been offered a promotion which would mean more money, responsibility and international travel. I know my trip will remind me of what I could be doing had the other life continued, but I also know I’ll be glad to return home.

 

Luv u

Warning: some may find distressing

“Luv u much. Turn up.”
“Um…”
“Such spurn! Cut up ☹”
“Unjust! But just strut up?”
“Yup!”
“Just us?”
“Yup. Mum’s suburb stuck.”
“Um…”
“Luv u much.”

Dumbstruck?
“Nup. Luv u.”
“Truth?”
“Yup.”
“Such luck 😊”

Tug
“Mustn’t!”
“Fun. Much lust.”
Rub
“Nup!”
Suck
“Pull plug!”
“Shut up.”
Bump. Thump.
“Stuck!”
Crush
“Nup! Hurts!”
Burst.
Thrust.
Grunt.
Burn
Sunk
Dull
Numb

“s’up hun?”

“U hurt.”
“U turn up. U push luv. U strut stuff. Ur push-up bust; u suck up. But duck? Pluck up! Unjust!”

NO (and any variation such as STOP, NOT NOW etc) means NO whether in a relationship or not. Doesn’t matter how much a person wears, if they drank or flirted or started something and changed their minds. NO means NO.

In 2002 the UK Home Office published the findings of a British Crime Survey to which 6,944 women had responded. Nearly half (45%) of rapes reported to the survey were committed by perpetrators who were victims’ partners at the time of the attack. Strangers were responsible for only 8% of rapes reported to the survey.

 

The Love Affair

Wants a mate –

thinks she’s found

one that’s great.

Get him round,

offer bait –

common ground.

Make a date.

Gaining ground –

Eyes dilate.

Words profound.

Fast heart rate –

they’re spell bound.

Gain some weight.

Tightly wound.

Much debate.

Heads will pound.

Must berate.

Fights compound

Irritate.

Fool around.

Feeling hate.

Come unbound.

Clean the slate.

Apologies for the punctuation or any errors. I’m writing this on my phone as I travel from Glasgow to London on the train. Things have been quiet on my blog because I’ve been on a couple of short breaks. Was near London with my mum last week for the Hampton Court Flower Show. It’s beautiful there and the palace is where Henry VIII lived. A couple of days later I went through to Edinburgh with my son for his first hostelling experience –  a cheap break away. My husband and son joining me on this trip and we’ll be exploring some of the South Coast of England.

In other news, I’ve taken up walk/jogging again. Most folk call it running but it’s more of a walk/jog that I do. My son is joining me once or twice a week too. I reckoned I could use him as an excuse not to jog (because I’m looking after him) or I could take him with me. He complains for the first km but then he’s racing ahead for the rest of the four km. Might even try some walk/jogging during this holiday. Or maybe not!