The 8th February 2018. That’s when I last wrote a blog post. And it was about a ‘temporary blip’ in my mental health, the death of my cousin, the death of a close friend of ours, a car accident and the arrival of a rat had set my nerves totally on edge and I stopped sleeping, had panic attacks and didn’t feel safe at home. Especially as a week after the first rat had been ‘sorted’, another appeared.
In the eight months since, although it’s a lot less simplistic than I’m summarising it as here, we left that house, relocated to the South East of the U.K. near to family on both sides (and although that meant living further away from some family in our old town, excitingly it included family with children around the same age as our girls. Including children soon to join us all!)
I had some brain scans on relocating when I met my new neurologist, and it showed that the epilepsy during my second pregnancy had unfortunately left a little damage. Nothing life threatening, just enough to mean a change of career paths to a slightly simpler path for at least a few years. For now, writing is to be my main work, and I’ve stepped down from a few of the various roles including voluntary roles I’ve taken up over the last few years.
The anxiety and nerves have remained difficult, moving has definitely helped. We live by the seaside and as the UK has had such a glorious Summer, there have been many family beach days. The transition to moving work commitments from one side of the country to the other has been hard and has meant a lot of travelling, and even worse, a lot of time with my husband and I apart. But we’re starting to settle and the travelling has settled down to an extent that we now only travel for the work we’ve chosen to keep on.
Now to the more important, how are the girls? Scarlett is now 4, and Holly is now 2. One of the reasons we relocated in March was so that the girls had a good six months settling into a new home town before starting school/nursery. It was definitely the right decision. Both are very happy at in their new environments and have made friends and I’m so proud of them. We continue to explore as a four, and although times going really fast, we could not be more proud of them both.
I’ve thought a lot about privacy in the last few months. In fact a research project on links between social media and mental health, (that I have unfortunately needed to take a break on while my own brain gets a bit more sorted) made me think about how much more difficult and stressful life can be when it’s 24/7 accessible. If I had a bad day at school, I’d go home and be ‘safe’ from it. If my parents had a bad day at work, they could come home and forget about it, knowing there was nothing they could do until the next day. These days kids can go to school and then be tormented online until they return the next day having had no reprieve. They can not be on social media of course, but 1) that further isolates them from their peers, and 2) why the hell should THEY be the ones not on social media?! And if people have a bad day at work these days, you can take it home, you can receive emails to your work or personal accounts, your colleagues can tag you on social media. And again you can disengage from all of that, but then you will, in today’s society (generally speaking) find it difficult not to fall behind on progress, or be overlooked for promotion for not going ‘the extra mile’, which these days can often mean an extra marathon. I’m not saying that the days gone by were much better or easier, I’m not saying people didn’t struggle. With the advent of the internet, people’s career paths were suddenly opened up on a potentially international scale. If your childhood friend or family members moves away now, through social media, you can stay in touch and be a part of their lives. There are some huge positives. But similarly large negatives.
The point of this train of thought (plot twist, there is a point…!), is that I shared a lot about my two babies, my pregnancies and their first couple of years. I don’t regret this, as the two books the passages filled are a fantastic momentous of some magic moments. But they are both older now. Scarlett is becoming aware of how she looks and how she comes across, and although I have nothing negative to say about other people who continue to share their parenting journeys, I have made the decision not to continue mine. If there was a public version of my first years, I would love to read them, it’s not a time I remember and it would be amazing to have a glimpse. When I then think of the childhood I remember, there are many humiliating stories, I’m quite glad aren’t written in print! So for me. Personally, whilst I may share stories over coffee (or Gin!) with friends or family, or even in emails I send to both daughters that I set up for them when they were born (for the very reason to write to them I the future at various points, not even for them to use as they’ll be perfectly capable of picking their own!), my online record will cease to share personal details of my daughters lives.
However, I’m 33, and I am fully capable of making my own decisions about what I do and don’t share about myself. And I have decided that actually being open about my new ‘Bumpy Ride’ is right for me. So instead of the ups and downs of parenting (although I’m sure there’ll be cameos!), it will instead be the ups and downs of settling in a new town, getting on top of my nerves and anxiety, and finding a new career path and all that comes with that.
I realise this will not interest some, and for those that have followed my parenting journey, I apologise, I am aware I am not as interesting or as adorable as my two daughters! But I’m hoping that perhaps along the way, I will find that my own journey through this new stage of my life has its comrades old and new; as always I welcome advice from others, and I look forward to what the next year or so has to bring. To what’s next, to chapter three…!