Goodbye for now!

I started this blog when I was on maternity leave 18 months ago now. It helped me process certain events and has been almost like therapy for me!

However it has recently become difficult to keep up with increasingly busy lives juggling work, toddler and beyond and it’s becoming less like therapy and more like a chore and so I feel it is time to stop blogging, perhaps not forever but certainly for the time being.

It’s been a long journey, I initially started to help others with nutritional and allergy information with babies and toddlers and it just expanded into various random items.

I hoped you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing.

For now it is goodbye, perhaps I will see you again in the future.

Stay safe guys,

Claire x

Strength

I’ve written about male and female differences before in terms of cleanlinless and standards, perhaps female hormones are a factor once we are mummys and have extra hormones telling us to make the environment safe for our babies.

Strength of one major difference that will always amaze me between us. I run, I do yoga, I walk the dog 3-4 miles per day and have done for the last 6? years, I do boot camps and recently started climbing lessons. I am not super fit but I definitely consider myself as strong (ish) and fit (ish!). So to my annoyance I went to buy some compost and wood bark from a shop the other day, the bags were 500 litres and I could pull them into the trolley from above relatively seamlessly. The problem was after I had paid and then trying to get them into my car. I just couldn’t lift them up! I couldn’t even tip the trolley in an attempt to try to drag them into my car using the trolley as leverage. Luckily a man who worked at the shop saw how erratically my trolley was with these items inside and followed me to my car to help. He picked each bag up and placed them in my boot (trunk). I was very thankful, however this man was scrawnier than me, and I thought how can he lift this bag with ease and I cannot even drag it along the floor?! Obviously in his job he would be moving many heavy things, but I am overlooking his genes and that he is male and built to be strong.

I can train my hardest and try and be stronger, I am sure I am definitely stronger and fitter than a bunch of guys out there, but in general, men are stronger and there are vast differences between us, so why am I now wanting to be able to lift 500 litre bags as a goal?!

See you next week guys, stay safe.

Claire X

Are siblings over rated?!

I would describe myself as “the black sheep” of my family. I have always been the one with the dark sense of humour that no one else in my family thought was funny, my imagination was and is constantly running away with, my views on society and people in general, possibly my political siding with humanitarian/liberal didn’t help matters. When I was younger I was advised that my opinions and thought processes were different and so wrong; it wasn’t until later in life I started meeting different people that I realised my thoughts were not only valid but shared with others and definitely not wrong.

My upbringing affected me for a long time, so much so that I wasn’t sure if I could have children for fear of them also going through emotional turmoil for many years. Now I have a son, it is a daily struggle to try and remain balanced and calm whilst he runs toddler rampage, some days I manage, some days are more difficult. Now I feel is the time most others have more children, for me however I have been feeling that it would be too much for me to try and balance my already delicate state with another little sole. I work part time and look after my son part time, run the house and in all of this attempt to find some time for myself in the day/week. There is hardly any time to sit down and have a cup of tea, despite having another baby!

My husband is an only child and I have a brother and we have been discussing the pros and cons of each; I have asked my friends and researched online, my conclusion- are siblings over rated?! In society we are advised that siblings have our backs, however I know many siblings that have poor relations or no longer speak to each other. Siblings are normally very different from each other and spend years hating and fighting between themselves and I wonder if siblings can co-exist. I feel this is different with twins, twins tend to be incredibly close to one another. I wonder why so many people chose to have more children, stretching their already stretched time, resources and mental health. Of course there is the risk of them being spoilt and unable to process the concept of sharing or having others needs addressed first.

All of this, along with the world already being over-populated, our greater understanding about child development and less people involved in raising them may make this a more popular option for some (ME). There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child, sadly we no longer live in this community setting and are much more isolated and have many more things to juggle.

So I ask you, are siblings over-rated?!

Hope you’re safe and well guys.

Claire X

Are opinionated people more successful?

I recently listened to a free lecture from courser.org from Yale university- it was on psychology and it said that siblings, especially twins have the same values on the following topics (for example)- the death penalty, crime, divorce, music, gambling, religion. I immediately texted my brother and afterwards my husband for their answers.

I would describe my brother as successful- he is very high up in his company and is paid very well. I would describe myself, although potentially more “enriched” than my brother- I’ve spent a good deal of my 20’s travelling and seeing the world and in a variety of different professions, working with horses to teaching kids to people with addictions; I wouldn’t describe myself by societies standards as “successful”, however personally I wouldn’t change a thing, these experiences made me who I am today.

It was interesting when I asked my brother for a sentence on the above topics, he initially gave one word answers- yes or no- I asked him to elaborate and his answers were almost entirely contradictory to my own. My husband on the other hand gave very thoughtful, descriptive answers which were very similar to mine. I wondered if the contrasting answers between siblings was a “norm” and has he got these interestingly black and white answers from having to make tough decisions and being successful? By contrast I am a dreamer, a thinker, I reflect. I wouldn’t ever change this because I believe in growing and learning as much as I can do about the world.

Try it- ask your sibling what they think about these moral values and the people close to you.

See you next week guys for more reflections! Stay safe, Claire x

Can we ever be “balanced?”

I’ve been struggling for a couple of years attempting to be “balanced”, giving birth to my son knocked me off my seemingly perfect yoga pedestal and I’ve been trying to remain on it ever since. Some days I win, other days I’m on the floor. My ideal state would be to be perfectly calm about whatever happens in the day, but I struggle with this and end up letting my emotions own me; for a whole week a while ago I wasn’t sleeping or eating because I was so angry; Several years ago an event happened which left me not taking care of myself for about 6 months, I skipped meals and just withdrew from life. In general I am an extremely energetic, positive person; however when there’s a metaphorical “speedbump” it knocks me flying.

I try and practice yoga and always look after myself, eating good quality food and keeping myself occupied, especially during lock down- painting the shed and the fence, deep cleans and clear outs; my brain is constantly “on” like many people struggle with; balancing my work life with being a mum and also running the house. My husband, lovely and thoughtful as he is has no initiative, he could walk past a pile of rubbish and not think to clean it up- he would do this only when I ask him; his standards are not the same as mine but at least he tries. We have our own tasks to take care of and some we share, I have more to look after as I am at home more and sometimes I get overwhelmed which is why I try and give myself time every day and every week for myself. It is a constant uphill struggle.

I know I’m not the only one, this is why there are so many people practising yoga and mindfulness right now, our lives are so full there is no room to breathe and at some point something has to give.

Let me know your methods of balancing!

See you next week, Claire x

Parking in Disabled Spaces or Mother and Baby Spaces WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE BABIES OR ANY DISABILITIES!

I wrote this post quite a few months ago now, but it is along the same lines of ANGER so I thought it fitted nicely into last weeks rant!

My father is physically disabled, and only after this did I notice how many people used the limited disabled spaces because they are too lazy/narcissistic? to park a little bit further away. This is horrendous in itself due to vulnerable people really needing these spots to mobilise into the car/wheelchair.

Then after I gave birth; I noticed there were mother and baby spaces- pre baby I didn’t even know these existed!! I also noticed how many people parked in mum and baby spaces who didn’t have babies, sometimes they had older children and potentially this is a grey area because they may still need seat belt help and someone to lean across them which would mean a wider parking space.

I’ve noticed two people in the last 18 months using these spaces without children, on one occasion there were many other mother and baby spaces free so I didn’t say anything(but the principle is still there); however the first time I saw this happen I was so flabbergasted that I was speechless. The lady was middle aged, had no trouble mobilising, plus it was in Waitrose (a more expensive grocery shop in the UK where you would hope someone would not be an ars*?! Stereotypes again, apologies). I think at the time there were no other mother and baby spaces free and I always have to check myself before saying something because I tend to come off either aggressively or babbly, in fear of this I don’t say anything at the time and then fester about it for a while; thinking do I leave a note on their car? Make an announcement in the shop?!

I just think, HOW RUDE! Just park a few feet away, you don’t need to open your door to the max to get your child out so stop being so selfish; I would never do this (see my previous post on rule following!) due to common decency for my fellow humans. Again, I do believe this argument may conclude with capitalism and communism and so I’ll stop here!

If you are one of these people, STOP BEING A D***! Where is your integrity?

Please, share what grates your cheese, I’d love to hear it! Until next time, Claire X

Rage! The art of managing emotions…

Today I’m going to talk about my anger. I’ve been super annoyed/angry/irritated the past few days, too emotional to post anything worthwhile.

I’ve been reflecting and trying to work through this. I won’t go in to too much detail, but essentially it involves in-laws/grandparents and boundaries being crossed. I do think my anger is going outwards because I am actually angry at myself for letting these boundaries be crossed.

Since having a child, my emotions are much more extreme; my son is nearly two years old and it still must be hormone related, essentially to keep my son safe. If I’m in flight or flight mode, I can protect him. It makes sense when I think about this rationally, however as we all know humans are not always rational!

I have googled all sorts of advice and read some hilarious memes- these actually do make me feel better as they make light of the situation and make me realise I am in no way alone having these problems with the in-laws. I have great mum friends and a supportive husband who I essentially bitch to about his parents, which can’t be easy for him to hear, but it helps him to see my side of things and why I am so frustrated. I have also signed up for counselling, as I need to learn how to deal with this effectively and not scream into my pillow! I actually did do this! I haven’t been eating well, exercising or giving myself time- I haven’t been doing yoga or even reading books and this definitely has something to do with it; Covid doesn’t help as I’ve been isolated and loads of social events have been cancelled which has made me spiral lately. I’m putting things in place to counter this, but it is a work in progress!

There’s been a lot of change recently with everyone around me; I think this also makes me feel strange as normally I am the one who is changing things- job, house, etc, so I am also feeling stagnant; and I am not the stagnant type.

Next week I hope my post will be more inspiring and positive, but sadly this week that’s it from me!

Take care of yourselves guys, have a good week.

Claire x

The problem with being a human today!

Historically we have spent our days scavenging, not eating for a few days and then eating again; this is why certain high calorie foods taste so good to us- it’s in our DNA for survival. However, in the Western World this has now become problematic in that we have so much food available to us, the high sugar and fat foods are marketed so well to us and we consume, get addicted to these and repeat. We get fatter and sicker and we definitely no longer need our body and brain telling us that we need fatty sugary foods!

It’s the same with our mental health, historically this kept us alive- being constantly anxious, awaiting our next predator and arch nemesis human tribe (we used to fight over wheat! Of all things…!) to kill us, or our families and take our homes; however now, this doesn’t happen. Sure, there are murderers out there and accidents waiting to happen, but generally these are less frequently and so we are left with feeling constantly anxious and then worrying because we’re anxious and feeling like we must be the only ones feeling this way (you are totally not alone!)

I also feel this is where racism has come from- people who are different from ourselves- from a different tribe (not necessarily skin colour, in the UK people in different counties “hate” each other! Nottingham/Derby; There are issues between England and Scotland, England and France) we used to live in tribes and protect our own for survival, again we no longer need to do this and so there is no need to be like this- and younger people are changing their view points on this- yet it is still definitely still an issue. I feel also sexism might be similar- again historically, men have done the fighting and woman made the babies; noways woman vote and have careers, yet biologically and socially the differences are still apparent. Ageism can also be explained whereby the elderly can no longer fight or make babies and so are a drain on the tribe. Most other isms (heterosexism, ableism, etc) I also feel come from the historical social “norm” and any variation to this is seen as a threat to the tribe. However the tribe no longer exists, we are a society and we need to start working together and not against each other. Ignorance is no longer acceptable.

So how can we “fix” the above issues? There is no easy answer obviously. Talking to people, sharing viewpoints, reading, learning and helping each other. It will take a few generations to make these changes for the better, we can begin today. Our children mimic how we talk and act, we need to be mindful about what we pass down to them, let’s pass down love.

I hope you guys have had a good week. Claire x

Sources:

Uncertainty and Anticipation in Anxiety-

An integrated neurobiological and psychological perspective (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4276319/)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind- Yuval Noah Harari

False Economy

I’m going to attempt to write this blog without sounding like a massive snob, it may not work but I am aware!

So although I am very careful/tight with my hard earned money, nowadays I do buy quality items and less of them. I haven’t always been this way and certainly I am sometimes tempted by cheap things which don’t last and then I am reminded of why I don’t buy cheap. This goes for clothes definitely; cars since I could afford better and since I was driving my pets and son around with me, safety becomes priority; more recently it’s been jewellery- this used to be cheap rings which turned my fingers green! Then it was Stirling silver, now it’s gold and gold plated bracelets- but even gold plating at the better quality end- Vermeil plating- still comes off and I’ve certainly started to reconsider not buying anything but solid gold now.

Of course, the better quality items are more costly, but they last and they fit well and they have guarantees most likely better than less quality items (I am speculating…?!) I recently bought a cheap mop from B&M bargains (cheap pound type shop in the UK), it lasted a year and felt cheap from the start and broke very quickly, it spent it’s last few months being wrapped and re-wrapped in duct tape. I now have a better quality mop I bought in the sale for literally a few pounds more than this cheap terribly made mop. Convenience certainly plays a part in our desire to consume but I also believe it goes deeper than this- a lot of my friends struggle to manage their money effectively, they don’t save much and in their own words buy too many clothes etc… it’s easy to fit into a stereotype here so I won’t go there. Buying things at a time of distress is comforting, it is something we can control and look forward to in these times of uncertainty, currently all economies need this boost as well; however I do think it’s something people in general need to be mindful of- buy what you need, think about the rest and have savings- you never know when you will need them.

Stay safe guys and I’ll see you next week,

Claire

Have we monetised childbirth (yes!)

My son is two next month! TWO! I just don’t know where the time has gone. I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing, but he seems to be developing well so I’ll just continue!

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, there a hundreds of things I could have purchased or worried about, luckily I had a dreamy pregnancy and so only took multi-vitamins; I didn’t bother with any paid for pregnancy groups or fancy clothes, I lived mainly in clothes that were a couple of sizes bigger than I was- maternity clothes are shockingly expensive!

When my son was born, luckily he had so many presents- toys, clothes, books etc that we didn’t need to buy him any clothes until he was about 9 months old! He had the basic nursery items and a good quality buggy and car seat and slings as mainly we were out and about, all the clothes I bought him were second hand. I didn’t bother with anything to “boost” his development or things that seemed a bit strange to me- the “bumbo” being one of them- a seat designed for a baby to sit up before they are ready to. I propped my son up on cushions and he learnt how to sit up by himself, when he was ready.

There’s a concept named “tummy time” where you put your baby on it’s tummy for x amount of time a day, most babies hate this because it’s uncomfortable for them, yet there is advice to do this to “strengthen their muscles”, I forgot to do this most days, and when I did do this he could stand maybe a minute or two before crying… it was a ridiculous cycle and I felt like a bad parent when he didn’t have daily “tummy time”. Looking back this seems so silly, babies develop naturally at their own rate of doing things. There are so many theories and social constructs and PRODUCTS that are invented to make your baby develop the right way… parents are so exhausted they don’t see the bigger picture- that not all these products have been around for very long, yet humans have managed without them thus far!

Another concept is “sleep training” where you let your baby cry for x amount of time so it “learns to soothe itself”. There are theories both for and against this, for me and my husband, we chose against and around 18 months old he started sleeping through the night. It was a long 18 months, but we felt this was the right approach for us- to pick him up when he cried. I believe there are huge cultural differences to this and it is a very emotive subject because it involves the idea of attachment theory and that if you let your baby cry, they won’t have a secure bond with their parents and it will affect them later on. There is research proving both method is feasible, I feel it what is right for your family. But again, the PRODUCTS that are sold around this- sleep training classes, books, etc.

How have we made such a simple, natural thing (pregnancy, birth, child rearing) so complex and monitory?

Tune in next week for more musings! Stay safe guys and have a good week, Claire x