Every day I am pretty sure I do at least one thing wrong. Most days I do more. I used to think I was alone, until I talked to other parents who were honest. Here is a place for more parents to feel less alone, and more "good enough".

Friday, 4 September 2015

What a difference a day makes...................

I have just put Toby to bed. He disappeared off to the kitchen and came back with the 4 pint bottle of milk and a beaker.....................I think he was tired.
However when I took him down to bed, he cried and pointed to the door and wanted to go "Back upstairs, wait Daddy!" His Daddy is out this evening. He will be back soon, but too late for this tired little man to stay up, especially seeing as 30 seconds later he was fast asleep so obviously very tired.

Earlier on today, I took him to coffee morning. When we arrived, it was quieter than usual due to some people being away on holiday. Toby did not want to go in. "Where's my old man Jack?" he asked. He took a bit of convincing, but once in he was happily playing away as usual.

Tonight, as he cried and asked to wait for his Daddy, and I remembered his reluctance to go into coffee morning because there were people missing..................I felt my own eyes beginning to fill with tears.

What if we had to leave our house, what if we had to leave everything he knew, with only what we could carry? What if we lost his Daddy, or his brother, or his sister, along the way? What if he was crying "I go home, I go church, I go Nana's", and I couldn't even find him anything to eat or anywhere warm and dry to sleep?

I cannot even begin to imagine what people are going through who are trying to claim asylum in Europe at present. That is what they are, asylum seekers. As quoted from my good friend - 
"Technically people are asylum seekers until they've had their claim investigated and been give permission to stay in a new host country, then they become refugees. Asylum seekers are looking for safety; a refugee has found it. Anyone has a legal right to claim asylum, you can't be an illegal asylum seeker."

There are also many people in the camps in Calais who are refugees, currently claiming asylum in France but still with nowhere to live or any other help from the state. I found this on this link -  a very good read - https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/introduction-to-calais/

People are starting to question whether the aid going to Calais is going to the right place/people. I don't think that is the right question. The right question is, how can we help everybody? The people in Calais, AND the people elsewhere. It shouldn't be either/or. Our government shouldn't be choosing between a short-term OR a long-term plan. They should be working on both, working with the EU to sort out the crisis right on our doorstep, AND a more long-term plan to help the countries figure things out and people be able to go home.

Sorry if this writing is not as fluent as normal. I've spent the last two days pretty much on facebook. I started a 'little' group for local people to collect items to arrange somehow to get them to Calais, maybe via a larger group somewhere nearby. It has now turned into a larger group, organising pick-ups from a local music festival, organising a big 'drop-off' and awareness raising event, sorting and collecting the donations at the Salvation Army that I go to and offering to store it all there. Obviously, there was a need. And for some reason, somebody picked me to fill that need.

I don't really know what I want to say tonight. In the context of this blog, I am being a pretty imperfect parent as my house is a tip, we had toast for tea, and in general this has taken over the last two days leaving the rest of the household fending for themselves.

In the context of everything else.............................people are people. Would you sit in a camp with a shortage of pretty much everything, despised by the locals, miles away from home, if you didn't desperately need to? When did we decide that men are worth less than women and children? For that matter, when did we decide that 13 year olds and above are all men?

What if we left our house, as above, but instead of us losing his Daddy, his brother, his sister........what if his Daddy lost all of us? Would that mean he didn't deserve help anymore? Would he be somehow less in need now that he had lost his entire family trying to get them somewhere safe? I don't think it should work like that.......................

In one day, 174 people joined our group and starting trying to form some sort of plan. The second day, today, we have 507 members (and counting), and many many plans.

I couldn't think of a song. Or an image. I'm all out.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

"I don't want to live like I don't care....."

I most likely need to update my blog. I don't feel like I identify with the background anymore and I probably need to have a good look through the lists etc. Ah well, another thing for the to-do list.

So here I am, another year, another life phase about to commence. I seem to have this happen quite frequently ;)

I have decided to finally step up and attempt to be and do the role that I think I am supposed to be doing. The role that all my mistakes and life experiences have been for, the reason that actually they were not all 'screw-ups', they were put there on purpose so that I would BE fit for purpose.

Right now, I could go and get a full-time job in child-care, on a decent enough wage, put the children with a childminder, and between us we could have enough money to most likely buy a car and go on a decent holiday once a year. I'm not sure that would make us all happy though. Not because of the working or the childcare, at some point that is going to happen and I don't have a problem with it if it's for the right reasons. However, I wouldn't be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. A parent unhappy with their role, is not the way to make a household happy, even if it means they have more money available.

I just played a song, and it made me cry. I don't even remember listening to it before but it was on my YouTube history so I must have done. I think, what has held me back for so long, is a fear of failure. I am, didn't you know, a bit of a perfectionist and a worrier. What, you didn't realise?? Sorry about that ;) I have a tendency to over-analyse what I am actually good at, what I am actually supposed to be doing, and all that jazz. I also know, as do we all, that it's a lot easier to say, "Well I did well at school and my teachers wanted me to go on to further study and so I know I can do it if I wanted to, it's not aptitude that's holding me back, it's a life choice and just the way things have gone here"..........................than it is to say, "Maybe I have used the fact that my life had a diversion as an excuse to not try and achieve the things I should, because I am scared that I will fail and then I can't say that I could have done it if I had had the chance".

I have the chance now. I have the chance to study, to learn so much more and then use that knowledge to make a difference. It may sound rather corny and rubbish, but I completely totally just love solving puzzles and situations and helping people. I love when people come and talk to me and I can help them figure out a way through the maze.

There are so many people stuck in the maze. I sometimes am stuck in the maze. Currently, my house is the maze. It is an absolute tip and at my Nana's funeral yesterday we were remembering how hard she worked and how she kept her house immaculate despite having 7 people living in a 2 bed-roomed house and no washing machine. So for the next two days, you will find me having a cleaning frenzy. Except for the fact that I am sat here writing this and listening to music instead of starting the cleaning. But after that. And tonight you will find me watching The Help (which I have just discovered is on Netflix) and eating the chocolate and wine that my lovely children and parents at my last job gifted to me. Feel free to come around if you live local. You can marvel at my half-tidy house.

Life is busy, it's full, it's always always crazy. Who wants to be on their deathbed wishing that they had done more, that they had actually stepped up and done what they were supposed to do? I keep looking at the toddler group bumph that I need to organise and set-up for September, the training for my volunteer position that I need to start sorting out, and the start date for my OU degree course, and thinking am I just crazy?? I have 3 children?? I'm nearly 33 years old.

That is the point. I am ONLY 32 years old. My Nana was over 50 years older than me when she passed away. Do I want to spend that time coasting? I don't think so. There is absolutely no point at all in having the experiences that I have had, for nothing. It is time to put them to use, to stand up and be counted. And I'm sorry if you are not religious and therefore find this song 'uncomfortable' to listen to. If I'm completely honest, sometimes I find it hard, I still need to allow myself to open up, I'm not really as open a book as I make out on here. For example, yesterday, there were only a few seconds that I let the tears come, and that isn't because I didn't love my Nana, it's just that I don't let people see my emotions when they are real, only when I am crying over stupid stuff like a cat stuck up a tree in Fireman Sam. (Yes, I really do that). So if you feel that way, then just listen to it anyway. It's a good song, and it spoke to me today when I just randomly picked it from an old history list. So it must have been there for a reason.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Whole Picture of a Lady

Today is going to be a strange day.
A day of dressing up and looking smart, to say goodbye to a lady who took rather a long time to come around to the idea of females wearing trousers. A lady who had a hairdresser come to her house regularly to wash and set her hair to make sure it looked decent.

Celebrating the life she had, the life she gave all of us, her big family that she was the head of. Former boyfriends were known to liken her to the Queen Mother - gentle and well-dressed, but ruled with a strong will. For me, I used to call her Beryl the Peril, and my Grandad was Dennis the Menace; it was the source of much amusement to me as a child that these were the names of my grandparents.

My Nana would mostly likely think she was an imperfect parent, as do we all. But she was perfect at being her. She was perfect at always having chocolate on her china tray in her living room, tins of Baxter's soup and Ambrosia Custard in the larder, strawberries and gooseberries in the garden, and always ALWAYS giving us elevenses at 11 o'clock in summer, with lemonade and biscuits at the table in the garden.

She was also perfect at knowing about nearly every single flower or plant, and getting her fingernails full of mud whilst she looked after them all in her garden. And then letting us make perfume with all of the petals from the roses that she had cut back.

She could give you just one look, or say your name in a certain way, and you would know that your skirt was too short, your top too low, or that what you had just said was not to be repeated in polite company. But she would have a twinkle in her eye when she said it, and you would remember that photo that your Mum showed you.............the one with 4 ladies on the lawn in extremely short mini dresses..............your Mum, two Aunties, and your Nana. And your Nana's dress was the shortest of the lot.

She was perfect at knitting matinee jackets for all of the babies, and we still have some tucked away downstairs for memories. When her fingers didn't work very well anymore, I bought a set of knitting needles and accessories with some money that she gifted to me, and taught myself to knit. I think it will be a while before I master her intricately patterned baby jackets, but it feels good to knit blankets and know that she would be saying "told you so" as I feel myself relax whilst doing clicking away.

There will be many things about my Nana that I don't know or don't remember. I was at the younger end of her grandchildren, and only vaguely remember some of the older traditions and things she used to do. There will be many things that my children do not know about her. We have a habit, as people age, of just remembering the last 20 or so years. We have a habit, of only seeing the bit of them that they showed us, as the 'real' bit. In reality it's a bit like a jigsaw. You need all of the people that she knew, or that knew of her, with their own little piece of the puzzle, to get the real complete picture. You need to listen and believe what other people tell you of her, even if it doesn't fit what you think you know. That is the way to respect and remember a life.

Hopefully, today, we can all sit together and all remember and celebrate the whole picture of my Nana. There's one thing for sure. She loved roses, Salvation Army brass bands, and this song. We will be singing it today, this afternoon, and I hope she will be listening and seeing all of the family she created, all of the friends lives that she touched. Jessica says she will be sat with "That man, that Grandad you told me about, and of course Baby Isaac, he will always be a baby you know, but now he has a Nana with him too".