2020 · Home Schooling · May 2020

Six weeks – 05.05.2020

Sending love ❤️, compassion 🥰 and hugs 🤗 to everyone doing their best……

Not my words but wanted to share! 💖

Dear parents in the U.K.,

Today marks six full weeks since our country went into lockdown.

You have had your children home for the same time now that you would if they were on summer holidays. People will say ‘but they are your responsibility’ and whilst that is true, no-one could be expected to have imagined this period before they chose to conceive.

You have protected, nourished, educated, supported and entertained your children during a period of national and international uncertainty and fear. You have experienced emotions for yourself and your family that you never knew existed, never mind experienced before.

Six weeks is a long time.

Think about how you feel at the end of the summer holidays, how ready you are for routine, how badly your house needs cleaned from children home, how much work you are ready to catch up on. Remember that exhausting feeling of having so little sleep, much less money and hearing ‘mummy/daddy’ every time you happen to sit down.

And you wonder why you are exhausted after six weeks of lockdown?

You are amazing! You have achieved something no other parent ever has during our time. You have faced six weeks unable to take your child or children anywhere, six weeks of no parks, holidays to break up the boredom, no day trips, no family to help. On top of that you have juggled work demands, loneliness on a level never experienced before, information overload from the internet and emotional turmoil of not being able to see people you hold dear. Even getting food to eat has been a major drama!

So it’s ok to feel drained. It’s ok to feel like you would sell your soul right now for five minutes alone. It’s ok to feel uninspired about another day of homeschooling, another day of never ending laundry and cooking.

It’s ok to be so very tired.

Six weeks is a long time.

But you have made it.

Be proud of yourself. Stand tall.

History will show you for your courage, your children will remember this period as a time knowing they were safe and loved and teachers everywhere are deeply grateful that you are there for your children when they should be but can’t be.

In short: you are awesome!

And so are your children.

2020 · April 2020 · Home Schooling

Perspective – 27.04.2020

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the negative view of quarantine. Home-schooling five daughters, spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the same people and minimal contact with people outside our household. Listening to the bickering, the power struggles and witnessing the actions of frustration. Honestly, it would be so easy to just say “f**k it”.

But then I see moments like this…. and I am reminded of the absolute beauty of quarantine.

I am a full-time Mum to five individual, creative and challenging daughters. My husband holds the responsibility of providing financially for us all. And that is very often a heavy weight.

This lockdown has forced him to stop working; it wasn’t a choice. There will be a financial impact, of that I have no doubt, but the family impact…. well that could have never been measured. You see, we have never ever, had this amount of time together as a family. And the benefits that our time together is having on us as individuals and as a family, is incredible.

It is hard work, not a day goes by where a someone gets upset, an argument happens over who’s turn it is to use the tv remotes, or who last used a hairbrush or even about breathing in the same direction of another person (yes that really is a case for an argument in this house). But, every day, there is always that one moment (some days a treat of two), where they’ll surprise us with their love, kindness, intelligence and their inquisitiveness.

And if all else fails, at the end of the day, if I’ve not seen “that moment”, I remind myself….. We’re all still alive and most of us are still smiling ❤️

Stay safe & stay home.

Sending virtual hugs to family and friends ❤️

April 2020

Stillness – 16.04.2020

We had such a calm and peaceful time at Sopers Bridge today.

Leaving the house, the big teen was still moody. She had decided to stay in bed all morning, refusing to join us for breakfast and not taking part in our normal activities.

It’s so hard to explain to our children that we can see their behaviour, we understand why they are behaving that way and actually the best thing to work through it is to talk, eat well, get some exercise, drink plenty of water and rest well.

When we got to Sopers Bridge, which is absolutely picturesque and so very calming, the big teen regretted her decision of not having any breakfast. She decided that her mood of not wanting to take part with her sister’s activities, was actually making her miss out on some fun. 5 minutes into our time there, she was running around, climbing trees and laughing with her sisters. It was lovely to see them all playing. They were absolutely filthy, they all had mud on their arms, hands, legs and bums; they loved rinsing their hands in the stream.

Four of the girls had took camera’s with them, I hope to show them tomorrow.

Even with all the laughing, it was still peaceful. I was able to hear the stream running over the stones and a woodpecker in the trees; it really was beautiful. We are so very fortunate to have this on our doorstep.

April 2020

How are you? – 15.04.2020

How are you? Just wanted to check you’re ok? How are you getting on? Are you ok?

Me, I’m fine

.

.

.

Actually, I’m not fine. This is really hard. I mean, really really hard and it’s taking every piece of my patience, love and soul to keep it together.

Nearly four weeks ago, I sobbed. I was an absolute mess. It had just been announced that schools were closing for at least two weeks and the idea of being at home with five daughters, who depend on structure, stability and routine (as much as they may say they hate it) scared the shit out of me. My anxiety went into overdrive, my old insecurities resurfaced and opinions of others crippled me. I tried to keep it away from Peach as I knew he had his worries about our uncertainties and I couldn’t turn to my core friends, as I felt they had their own stresses to deal with, so I crumbled. At 7.30pm on Friday 20th, I sobbed. And when Peach came to find me curled up in a ball on our bed, my thoughts, my worries, my fears – they all came out. I shared them all with him and he held me.

Over three weeks into this pandemic and I still sometimes think that I’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will go back to “normal” – kids will be at school, Hubby will be at work, I’ll be back running the groups supporting families and the local kids and I’ll be able to give hugs to my extended loved ones.

But then I ask myself, do I really want it back to “normal”?

Our daughters have never had this time with Peach and I. We have never before been able to spend this length of time with them and just find the best way to enjoy each other’s company. We may never get this time again and we can learn so much from this.

The financial side of this scares us. My income is extremely minimal; Peach is our breadwinner. He is also self-employed in the construction trade and is not able to carry out his work safely. We have applied for support from the government and have been told that we qualify for the help.

We are now working on our family. Finding ways that we can grow as a unit. Become the best versions of ourselves and help others around us. And as beautiful and inspiring as this may sound, reality is – it’s flippin hard!

5 kind, caring, funny and intelligent young ladies, can also be 5 little witches. Witches that don’t want to do as they are being asked to, don’t see why they should clear up after themselves and don’t see why they should have to do the adults jobs of cleaning or cooking. 🤦🏼‍♀️

As an adult I’m struggling with not being able to see my friends as freely as I would like to, so I completely understand their frustration of not being able to spend time with their friends. As Peach said to one of them tonight, the whole country has been “grounded” and told they’re not allowed out for the foreseeable.

We’ll get through this, hopefully, we’ll all have a stronger appreciation for key-workers, we’ll appreciate those nights out with mates, and the freedom of being able to walk into a shop at will and maybe we’ll all have tidy gardens and houses to come home to, having spent weeks and weeks being told to stay at home. But most of all, we’ll have a more sincere, a more meaningful and a stronger relationship with our children. So that in years to come they know how to love one another, how to laugh with each other and more importantly, how to help each other.

That’s what I keep telling myself. ❤️

Thank you for checking in on me, I really do appreciate it. And thank you for inspiring me to write again. 💞

2020 · March 2020

Help is on it’s way – 04.03.2020

This is the folder of Pops. All documentation that relates to appointments, doctors notes, scribbles of conversations, leaflets and reports.

Around September 2016 Pops started to display what I then called twitches. The first one I remember noticing was her eyes, she would move them side to side like on an action man doll. Not fully understanding what the situation was, I used to get stressed at her doing it all the time. After the action man eyes, came the bunny nose twitch, we’ve had the clearing the throat, we’ve had the raising the eyebrows, we’ve had the constant blinking and now we have the eyes wide. Over time and with a fair bit of research and diagnosis; I have come to discover these actions are all Tic’s. Our baby girl, then aged 6 years old, had developed tics.

Pops has always been our precious; since she was little we’ve mentioned numerous times that she’s in cloud cuckoo land and she was/is happiest when there.

I have been uploading some of my old blogposts recently, and reading them now with the knowledge of where we have been in terms of her medical and mental situations, I can see we have had our concerns with Pops since she was very young. But at the time, it was just Pops, that’s how she was.

Our little Pops is such a caring, kind and clever young lady. She’s a people pleaser and so dainty that she can win over anyone.

We have tried to raise our concerns with Pop’s behaviour time and time again. We have been to the GP and been referred to a Paediatrician. The Paediatrician has referred us to a Dietitian. We’ve seen a Neurologist, ENT Consultant, School Nurse, Health Visitor, various class teachers, School Head, Play Therapist, CAMHS and have lost count of the number of blood tests she’s had. The number of times we have been told, “You need to speak to your GP” to then be told “you need a referral from the school” is just crazy!

Our little precious has anxiety, she is 10 years old and since she was 4, she has had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). She has rages over what would seem to us as a small everyday task, like having a shower, that shut down any rational thought. Her mind is constantly thinking of all possibilities to every situation and how best she can please those around her.

But all that comes at a price. And more often than not, if it’s not Pops that suffers physically, it’s Peach and I that pay the price.

You see, Pops likes to wear a mask. When she is at school or in new situations, she puts on the mask and to outsiders she lets them think that everything is ok. But if you sit and watch her when she doesn’t know you’re watching her, you’ll see it. You’ll see the little girl that’s trying her hardest to keep everything together. The little girl that’s battling with the voices in her head, the emotions running around her mind and body and you might just get a glimpse of the little girl who’s struggling.

I’ve attended the Positive Parenting Training recommended by the Health Visitor and School Nurse. I’ve gone along with their recommendations of behaviour management and positive praise. And whilst that may have helped with my methods, it’s not helping Pops.

Her school reports show that she is a clever student, they have no reason to believe there is a cause for concern. She’s either at age related or working towards greater depth. I have been left with feeling like I’m banging my head on a brick wall. Questioning myself as to whether I’m making too much of a fuss, is it my parenting? Am I imagining it? Am I making it a bigger deal than it is? Am I being over sensitive? Why is no-one else seeing this?

However, I have a feeling that we are now talking to someone who has the ability to see what we see, to look behind her mask. Hold tight Pops, help is on it’s way…..

2020 · March 2020

I see you – 01.03.2020

I see you. I see how hard you work for our family. The journeys you make, the hours you work, the early mornings you wake. I see how physically tired you are when you get home and then get straight on with cooking fresh food for your family. I see the fun you have playing games with the girls, watching their characters, chatting with them about their strengths. I see your tension lift when you listen to music; you search for the right tune to clear your mind and relieve you of your thoughts. I see your enthusiasm when the girls ask your advice with homework and I watch your face light up when it’s science related. I see your excitement for all things music, car or Star Wars related. I see you pick us up a treat each from shopping every week. I see you get wound up with my desire to always help and my obsessive overthinking. I see your organisation and admire the time you take to make the packed lunches for yourself and all our girls everyday. I see your dreams of what was once had. I see the girls smile when Daddy’s home. I see your pride with all that you achieve at home and at work. I see the absolute pure love you have for me and for our girls. I see you ❤️
2020 · February 2020

The calm of the storm – 25.02.2020

Today I have been left with the aftermath of a migraine. I am very fortunate to have only ever experienced 3 migraines in my life, and last night was one of them.

I pulled on the drive last night and realised that I couldn’t see clearly. I couldn’t focus on my centre vision and around what I can only describe as a black hole, looked like the effects of a kaleidoscope. As I walked in the house, the bright lights of the kitchen made me squint and made my head hurt. Thankfully Peach clocked me straight away and noticed something wasn’t right. I sat down and rested my head on the cushion, closed my eyes and couldn’t move.

My speech became an effort and I was feeling dizzy and nauseous. I spent an hour sitting in the dark while the girls had their showers. Peach wanted me to rest in bed, and it wasn’t until TwoTone sat with me, that she realised just how much noise they all make when they’re all upstairs either getting ready for their shower or for bed. TwoTone was so attentive, a side of her that I don’t get to see very often, and is beautiful to be a witness to.

Once the girls were in bed, I too, took myself up to bed and hoped to sleep off the rest of the migraine.

Today I have been left with a dull reminder of last night. A reminder to take it slow, stay calm and don’t bend down; as every time I did bend down, my head throbbed.

Peach and the girls have been checking up on me several times throughout the day, which I am forever grateful for; especially knowing how unsympathetic I often am when those closest to me are ill.

Another good nights sleep and all will be rested ❤️