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Zooming in - and catastrophizing

For a while now on my Mum-Care Diaries Facebook page, I've been posting a picture or a couple of pictures after my school run. Each pic is a moment of 'zooming in', where I stop to breathe for a moment and notice something that makes me smile. There have been guest appearances by a teabag, a purse and a child's gift, but mostly I've posted flowers from my garden.

So here's the thing: I only just realised that some people now think I have an amazing garden! This is partly embarrassing and partly hilarious. I have some beautiful, beautiful flowers in my garden and we do get visits from wonderful bees and butterflies, but like the rest of my home, there's a whole lot of mess too. The flowers are grown in pots, as our soil is clay and flint and frankly I'd broken too many spades trying to tame it. There are more bikes than we can fit in our two sheds (thanks to The Cyclist/Husband with his four or five) and the grass is not cut as often as it should be. I …
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I changed my mind

A few weeks back, Facebook showed me a ‘memory’: a desperate post from the day The Cat was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

I haven’t been able to write about it before now, because what I wrote in the post gave me a real shock. I said something along the lines of ‘How am I going to cope now that I know [The Cat] will be 'difficult' forever?’

I feel sick.

No wonder he was finding life hard. Because let’s get this straight: he wasn’t ‘being deliberately difficult’, and he wasn’t ‘born difficult’ or ‘a difficult person’. He was struggling. He was finding life difficult and in a constant state of fear, frustration and confusion, and his behaviour was his way of telling us that everything felt wrong and he needed our HELP. And all we saw was a child who was not responding to the discipline that worked on his brothers, or acting in ways that - in our limited experience - did not seem age-appropriate. And the Health Visitors who preached Naughty Step and Time Out made…

Kindness (Trigger warning: suicide)

February the 17th was Random Acts of Kindness Day.

I'm a bit funny about official (or randomly made-up) 'Days'. I can see the point of memorial days, and days that give charities more coverage and a platform to draw attention to big issues, I guess. But at the same time, where those Days draw attention to, say, bereavements, I suspect they may be salt in the wounds for those who feel the effects of those bereavements every single day, not just on a day appointed by - well, by whom? A charity? A government? Greeting card companies? What proportion of people are thinking, 'Yes, blimmin' well think about what some of us have gone through or are going through, you lucky unaffected souls!' and what proportion are thinking, 'I really don't want to be reminded of the tragedy that befell me just so people can feel good about themselves by sharing awareness banners on Facebook!'? Or would there be more people just taking the moment to reflect, depending on …

Just a teeny bit decluttered...

I have to be honest. Nobody would walk into my house and guess that I'd even considered decluttering. Ever. At all. But I have actually spent more than a year making sure that one item leaves the house every day, and on some days, it might be three bin bags full of excess belongings. Does it still look like a hoarder lives here? I'm not sure. Maybe slightly less. Maybe not - especially if you never saw the 'before' shots.

We moved into our current home when The Cat and The Dog were almost two. They are now nine. Somehow, during those years, the mess just built up. I did try to keep on top of it, but we seemed to lurch from one emergency to another, and when you are exhausted and very, very low, a pile on a shelf seems entirely insignificant. In fact, it's a victory, because that stuff's not on the floor. My kids were also more than usually attached to the idea of the house remaining unchanged, and The Cat, with his Sensory Processing issues, loved the sensory …

The I LOVE YOU Mug

This mug is my most precious possession. Why? Because it was the way The Cat told me, very clearly and for the very first time, that he loves me.

Shortly before Christmas, my lovely Mum in New Zealand sent each of my boys £10. As soon as The Cyclist (my husband) got home, The Cat announced to him, in the most terrible stage whisper, that he wanted to go to town straight away and buy me a Christmas present with it. I don't think it had ever occurred to any of the children to give me a present before, although they were good at telling The Cyclist that I might like sharing-sized portions of their favourite sweets for my birthday. I had a slight dampness in my eyes at overhearing this conversation, (which of course I DIDN'T overhear, because that would spoil any later surprises) but assumed that as the shops were already closed that night, he'd forget his lovely idea and spend the money on Kinder chocolate in various forms. Or Lego. Or lose it somewhere in the house. Also, T…

Happy New Year!

As usual, I'm a little later than most in marking the New Year.  I'm also way out of date with blogging. So much for keeping a diary of my Mum-Care efforts in 2018! I made some real progress last year in terms of looking after myself and trying to put the 'Person' back into 'Mum-Person', but I was so busy doing all that and still frantically Mumming that I didn't quite get enough balance in my life to fit blogging in as well. I really, really wish I had, because I tried a load of new things, with varying levels of success, had lots of ups and downs with the kids, and came into 2019 with a totally fresh perspective on life. So, if I have any 'resolution' this year, it's to get writing again, because I love it and I'm determined to do more of what I love.

I don't know what the New Year holds for you all, but I know that for me it will be a happy one, even if not all day every day.

Why?

Because I'd rather laugh than cry, and that's …

The end-of-term endurance event

The last half term of school is very much like the last few weeks of pregnancy. There are a trillion out-of-the-ordinary things to do before a rapidly approaching deadline, you are emotionally wrecked, your brain has ceased to function and at the end of it all, when you deserve and desperately need a REST, you get a CHILD instead. Or if you are extra-blessed, multiple children. This year we have the bonus of it being too hot to sleep, reminiscent of those nights where the twins were having punch-ups in the bump that was so big it hung off the side of the bed, preventing even the notion of sweet repose. (Yes, the fights began before birth. We had the scans to prove it.) (I can't believe it used to make us laugh. Pair of innocent young fools.)

I can’t even remember all the things we’ve done since Easter, but over the last couple of weeks there have been Summer Fairs, a whole-school Charity Run, a 'Run to Russia' challenge, Open Evenings, Work Shadowing, Enterprise Week, a ‘…