PS. You’re Beautiful…

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I have always been quite active, although not so much in the last three years, pregnancy does slow you down! (Cut to my Dad sending me an email attachment of someone who carried on kick boxing till the day she gave birth…) I’ll amend…pregnancy slowed ME down! 
Now we have completed our family with the two girls, I’ve been enjoying slowly but surely increasing my activity. However, as a result of a slow three years/quite a few health issues and a penchant for Thai food, I am not a small woman. I’m a generous size 16 with plenty of junk in my trunk! (Ironically I’m not at my biggest, that award goes to Danielle circa 2012 when several factors saw me at my largest, that’s not relevant but I’ve mentioned it all the same…you’re welcome!) 

Anyway, it is HUGELY important to me that my two daughters grow up happy and healthy. That they learn a healthy, active lifestyle; not as a punishment though – that part is important. I don’t want them to choose salad because they’re on a diet or go to an exercise class because they want to ‘be skinnier’. I want them to grow up with lots of activity as part of their every day so they stay active with hobbies they enjoy. I want to teach them about nutrition and help them explore lots of different/varied foods to be part of their diets. I believe that NO-ONE has the right to make any comment on anyone else’s body. No-one has the right to make anyone feel bad about the way they look. I’m not an idiot, or deaf. I’ve heard people make comments about me in the street, a group of young kids joking with each other that ‘who would sleep with me with an ass that big’ (referring to the fact that obviously someone had because I had a newborn attached to me in a holder). I’ve heard two women make a whale joke about me in a swimming pool changing room. I didn’t have the children with me at that point; but the fact that maybe they would have been more understanding if they knew I’d recently had a baby isn’t really the point. And in a way makes it worse, there shouldn’t be any validating reasons for anyone to make somebody else feel bad about the way they look. I’m not so thick skinned (pun not intended but a happy coincidence!) that the comments I overhear don’t hurt. I’ve spent many hours in front of a mirror wondering how and why my extremely handsome husband can ever bear to come anywhere near me. And it’s because I grew up it being ok for people (in the materialistic 80’s) to make comments about others appearance, 21st century ‘fashion magazines’ printing pictures with big red circles around imperfections (that kind of thing REALLY makes my skin crawl with despair at what the media does to society…ANYWAY!). My daughters are going to grow up (as much as I can help it) being confident about who they are, how they look and what they can achieve. 

I’ve spoken about this at length before, but to help them get to that point, I must lead by example and walk the walk as well as talking the talk. This means I must treat myself as kindly as I wish my girls to treat themselves and others. Not easy, but I’m faking it until I make it. 

Which means, this weekend, when at the beach, the knowledge that my thighs wobble a bit, and that I currently have an extra chin and a bit more tummy than I’d like HAD to be irrelevant. The important parts are the warmth in my smile and the sparkle in my eyes, that’s all my kids care about. 

Health isn’t to be ignored, and I am slowly but surely getting my health back which will most likely lead to a lesser weight. But it has absolutely no correlation to my happiness. Not really. My joy is in a fantastic swim in the sea, my first of the year; my glee is in seeing my daughters laughing and enjoying the beach, not a slight wobble in my sizeable ass! 

So I put on my swimming costume, and I proudly larked about on the shore with my two daughters in tow. Today I didn’t hear any comments, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any, or that I didn’t have any in my head. But it’s an important step. It gives me a boost, I did it and I had a bloody good day. So next time some kids in town make a comment they think is so witty or for no reason at all other than to impress their mates without thinking about how it might affect other people, I will attempt to concentrate on the lovely day I’m having instead of letting that unnecessary negativity have an impact.

My greatest triumph will be to see my daughters grow up confident, happy, healthy and unapologetically them. That’s the goal and THATS one hell of a motivation.  

Suspicious Silence…

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Short post today, but I had to share, I feel like parents everywhere will understand why this moment feels momentous.

I am…in the middle of a day out with both girls, sitting in a coffee shop, casually…CASUALLY enjoying my iced latte. With no screams, it’s not half spilt down my top as I try and juggle them both. Because, BECAUSE! And I can’t believe I’m saying this…they are BOTH asleep, at the SAME TIME!!! For, I thin, the first time ever.

I’m just sat here, latte in hand, I’m sipping it for crying out loud, like some carefree 20 something! I would have brought a book but WHAT PARENT EVER TAKES A BOOK SOMEWHERE THEIR CHILDREN WILL BE?!! If it wasn’t such a hot day, I’d be finishing a horrible while it still hot, this is the extent of this madness. I’ve written this whole passage without interruption, except to bloody sip my drink!!

To all the parents out there, it IS possible, and when it happens, take.in.every.second.

What a feeling…I don’t know what to do with myself…

….I think I might be bored. I’m not really prepared for an unscheduled bit of me time.

…we were having such a fun day as well.

…I sort of miss them.

…maybe I’ll just nudge the baby a bit…!image

Lucky In Love…

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It’s gone 2.30am and I’m up with our youngest because the heat has made her very uncomfortable and she can’t sleep. Scarlett has stirred a few times for the same reason but is able to get herself more comfortable and therefore get to sleep. Being up at the time comforting our youngest is not a first for this week, the very hot weather is not as appealing to young babies as it is for a lot of people! 
Luckily, I know that in the morning, when at between 6.30 and 7am when Scarlett comes to her bedroom door & shouts out ‘Mummy, Daddy, where are you?’ I don’t have to get up and manage on only a couple of hours sleep. My husband will roll over, kiss me on the head (he thinks I don’t wake up but I am always aware that he does this) and he will get up. He does this most mornings. I get very little sleep overnight and as a result of some medications, I struggle with sleep and early mornings. He doesn’t love them, but he does them. And I appreciate it every day. And I know that when he is exhausted at night, and the baby is crying or Scarlett has woken up, and I tell him to go to bed and I’ll be up whenever I’m able, I know that he appreciates it. 

Every morning, on a normal day, there’s a cup of tea waiting for me when I get up, and on hot days, there is an iced coffee waiting for me. My husband does this for me as he knows how much I adore that small but significant gesture. Every day when he goes off to work, I tell him to go and ‘be excellent’, which is something I know means a lot to him, and at some point every day, I kiss him on the forehead. In general, I know that both of us make all of our decisions with the other in mind.

It has been a wonderful few years, but the two pregnancies were incredibly difficult (although our two daughters are the obvious highlights), we chose to build our business at the same time, (we do love a challenge!) and at the beginning of this year we went through the most difficult and traumatic period of our lives. There were times when we daren’t look forward, and just clung onto each other whilst taking one step at a time. The health problems, the epilepsy, the two pregnancies and building our careers have been stressful, fraught and a lot of hard work. And then the recent political situation threw more stress our way (can of worms which I won’t open now as how I was affected personally work wise by it is the tiniest of chapters in the overall scheme of things!) and our days threatened to be dominated by that for a bit.

But throughout all of it, still every day my husband makes me a cup of tea, and every day at some point, and still I kiss my husband in the middle of his forehead (for a specific and private reason). However, aside from those things, over the last few weeks, I have fallen in love with my husband all over again! Without the intense stress and worries, we’ve started having dates, we’ve started talking about the future without saying ‘once this is better/once we know if this is ok’. We cuddle in that rather childish but amazing bear hug way, we’ve been going on walks and adventures without them being before or after some kind of appointment! We’ve realised that all the work we’ve put in over the last few years is paying off. 

Our struggles are not over, things will inevitably smack us round the face when we least expect it. For now, we are enjoying many easier happy days; we always have enjoyed our time together but the inevitable strain lessened some of the magic, the same magic that drew us together in the first place. We dance together in the living room again now, we lock eyes in a busy room again (just for a cheeky wink, not just to check if the other is ok!). I didn’t realise it but I’d missed my husband! He’s extremely handsome and has a wonderful sense of adventure. He makes me laugh, I still have a slight awestruck crush on him, and I am extremely lucky to be loved in the way that my husband loves me.

I believe that a big part of the success of a marriage is being able to weather the storms together; I’ve also talked before about how important I feel having similar core values are to a relationship. And I think that another huge third factor is the little things, because they are in fact the big things. 

So it’s tough it being 2.30am and pacing around with the baby on one arm not knowing when she might be comfortable enough to sleep. But I know that when I do get to bed, my husband will ferociously guard the opportunity for me to get a good amount of sleep, in the same way that I have guarded his sleep tonight by being downstairs so he is not disturbed. And I know that when I come downstairs, depending on the weather, there will be an expertly made beverage waiting for me. And when he holds my hand when we go out with the girls, I’ll feel that electricity between us, rather than it being a nice supportive gesture in hard times. 

This post, I hope, won’t come across as braggy or smug, that’s certainly not my intention. It hasn’t been an easy road getting here, and we’ll certainly encounter more difficult periods in the future. But with two funny, clever, beautiful daughters who mean the world to us, and with a little reprieve in the madness (and, we hope, with a long period of good health to follow!), it’s been extremely worth remembering what we had been fighting for and working for all along.  

When we are 80, our grandchildren will joke about some bicker we have over a 50 year old argument or the like, because, knowing us, there’ll definitely be things we’ll never let go of (I’ll forever tease him about Christoph Waltz!). HOWEVER, I hope that the important things, the seemingly little things, will also be discussed even after we are gone. Because what car we have, what kind of house we live in, or what ‘stuff we own’, means nothing in comparison.

“They’d tease each other all the time, but Grandad would never allow a day to go by without making ‘his Lade’ a cup of tea. And Nan would always tell ‘her grizzly bear’ to ‘be excellent’.”

When I get into bed (hopefully soon!) I will cuddle up into my husband, I don’t know whether, like me in the morning, he is aware that I do this every night. I’m so very happy to be able to be by his side, and will continue to do so till the end of time…and in all that time, I’ll still not let him forget about Christoph Waltz!