Tag Archive | self-care

Moving on up through the tears

There has been a distinct lack of post from me lately and it probably won’t come as a surprise to some of you the reasons for this, but it hasn’t stopped me beating myself up about it. Yes! I know it is not helpful to anyone, me being so hard on myself, but as ‘Blame Honey for everything’ seems to be a common theme at the moment. I guess if I can’t beat them, I might as well join them. This way maybe I won’t feel the painful sting left by the unending feeling of desperation and isolation.

Last weekend was a difficult weekend.

NO WAIT! Last weekend was a complete mess! Decisions were made that I have resisted for so long, and as I sank deeper into the dark pit of failed attempts at trying to therapeutically parent an angry and emotional, vulnerable teenager, relationships and emotional health crashed and burned along with it.

I guess you would say…… We hit rock bottom! (I certainly did anyway).

hittherocks

Calling the police on your child was never going to be an experience that I could or would relish. After Waxy’s early life experiences, he is understandably anxious (and angry) with the ‘boys and girls in blue’, and for a very long time I have used this knowledge as justification for not drawing a line in the sand sooner – Some would say I was being too soft and making excuse for his actions, and in some ways they were right and I wish it was as simple as that, but as many of you will know:

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to living on ‘Planet Adoption’.

So if in the past I have been a repeat offender and tried to manage the consequences and restitutions ‘in house’, which has almost certainly backfired, what was different about the weekend this time that prompted me to change my mind and report Waxy to the police for criminal damage?

Was it, just simply I reached the end of a very long and crumpled straw and felt I was left with no other option?

Was it because this time it wasn’t just myself or an inanimate object of some kind that was at risk of harm? He had lost control and Buzz, Beedog and Waxy himself were all at risk of serious harm.

Or, was it the fact that this time Waxy had lost so much control that he was displaying everything for the world (okay neighbourhood, which he would never usually do) to see, and I no longer felt safe in my own home?

I could hypothesise and dissect the ins and outs of the events of last weekend but it wouldn’t help anyone.

Nor would be having a VERY long rant about Post Adoption Support, or should I say the lack of it (5 minute phone call, 5 days after the incident happened and complete disinterest from PASW about the impact the weekend had on Buzzbee or myself – she just wanted to tell me how she had had a lovely long and pleasant chat with Waxy and he only did what he did because he felt I was being too strict – Hmmmm so wanting to treat my sons to a day out with Nando’s for supper is being too strict is it?).

Anyway, this weeks’ WASO theme is ‘Moving on up’ and I suppose through all my waffling, I am trying to come to some kind of rational conclusion as to the fact that I cannot change what has happened in the past, and while it WILL this time take me some time to bounce back, we have hit the bottom so there is only one way we can now go and I need to move on and move up (and not move out as I was ready to do Sunday).

How I am going to do this?

I really don’t know at the moment.

I guess for now, all I can do is wait out the storm and not beat myself up so much for events and choices that are not in my control, and pray that one day our family’s equilibrium will be once again be restored.

lifeisabike

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Guilt free mummy time

*Stop the press*

I have managed to find myself in a position where I can write a complete post and upload it in time for this weeks’ #WASO link up – Okay maybe I should make a confession. The only reason I have a little time to myself is because I have had a toddler style tantrum over the fact the males in the hive seem to struggle lately with the basic concept of picking up after themselves, let alone helping out with minor household chores without spending double the length of time doing it because they are so busy attempting to annoy me so much that I take over the task myself (which I will admit is what usually happens in the end), however much to their dismay, their regular tactic backfired on them and mummy declared that she was going on strike and the 3 of them would have to fend for themselves.

Definitely not very therapeutic but miraculously the jobs were suddenly completed with little or no fuss and an hour later Bumble drew the shortest straw and carefully peeked around our bedroom door to waving the white flag.

I have been longing for just ‘5 minutes to myself’, so having a whole hour to myself was pure luxury (well it would if I hadn’t been so worked up about the males in the house).

The last few weeks in all honesty have been more than a little difficult and relationships with Waxy and school have been pushed to our absolute limit and Bumble and I are finding ourselves raising concerns and exploring painful questions about our family’s future if the current situation doesn’t change and support from Post Adoption and ASF is not forthcoming very soon, and as a result I have struggled to find opportunities to indulge in any form of self-care for myself and in the rare moments when I have found some space and time, something has managed to derail it.

Okay that is not entirely true. Last September as a birthday present, Bumble gave me a gift voucher for a whole day 1:1 photography lesson with a local photography studio in a picturesque National Trust village. Recently I have finally managed to make use of the voucher spent an entire day focusing on something that I enjoy and being able to switch off from being mum for a few hours safe in the knowledge that the boys were safe at school/forest school and Bumble has organised his work day around their timetable.

I had for the first time in I do not know how long, spent a complete day without any ties to ‘planet adoption’ and it felt wonderful. For one day I wasn’t someone’s mum or wife and the only person I needed to focus on was myself (oh and the wonderful lady who was providing my 1:1 lesson).

I surprised myself during the lesson by realising how much I already seemed to know about getting the best out of my DSLR camera and I lost count of how many times I sat listening to the tutor explain this, that and the other and my mind drifted off thinking about random photos I have taken with my camera over the time, while listening to a little voice in my head saying “oh so that is what happened, I didn’t even realise I could do that”.   Apparently each time I did this, the tiniest of a ‘shy’ smile kept catching the tutor’s eye.   At the time I passed it off as being amused at being “jammy so and so” and blindly blundering into lucky shots but in truth, the reason was so much deeper and more personal – I am not sure I can really explain it very well without coming across as wet or self-absorbed but I supposed after the rejection I experience day in and day out with my boys and the negativity that is projected at me from every direction over the years, my self-confidence and self-esteem has been all but destroyed and I now struggle to ‘sit with’ or believe positivity or praise that is directed my way (see I told you it would sound wet) but on the day for some reason my guard was down and my confidence was receiving a much needed boost (even if it was just for a few hours).

While the morning was focused on theory and a little bit of practical practise in the studio with my camera making exciting discoveries about the true extent of what it can really do and how some of the functions in it can do a WHOLE lot more than I could ever have dreamt it could.

buttonI don’t mind admitting I let out a little squealing of excitement to discover that a button which I had believe was only a zoom feature for viewing photos already taken, can in fact be used to take incredibly clever photos (I am still working on perfecting the skill of creating a decent photo using it for now).

The afternoon was spent strolling around the village and visiting the Abbey putting what I had learnt during the morning into practise and discovering that my amazing telephoto lens which only ever comes out when I am taking photos of the boys at the beach or when we are visiting the safari parks, can in fact produces absolutely stunning close up photos that even I would be mistaken for believing were taken with a macro lens.

blooming lovely

During the day I managed to get a few lucky shots, some that I didn’t quite achieve the composition that I had hoped for, and some…. Well let’s not talk about these ones and then we have the photographs that are still haunting me days after they were taken of a sweet elderly couple who I was mesmerised with as they walked through the cloisters together. I couldn’t help wondering about their story. Who were they? How had they met? How long had they been together? What had brought them to the abbey that day? – Okay I know I am a nosey devil but there was something about these two that was pulling at my heart strings and evoking bittersweet memories of my dear depart grandparents and the love and unconditional devotion they had for each other for nearly 60 years. In all fairness when they would come for a visit they did insist on taking an afternoon drive over to this village for a cream tea and a stroll around the abbey, so I supposed the place already holds special memories for me and the sight of this couple reignited them for me. (I really hope they won’t mind me including them in this post)

cloister

Listen to me jabbering on! What I have neglected to say is…… while the course was wonderful and I got so much out of it physically and emotionally. It wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t manage to take one single usable photograph because the biggest realisation of the day was not the fact that I can actually take some nice photographs.

LC

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Residents of the village including the most adorable puppy

 

It was the realisation that all this time, the answer to my self-care prayers has been under my nose all the time.   I have something that I can and already do uses as an excuse if I need 5 minutes to myself.

I can lose myself in my photograph and refill my tank before it reaches empty. We live in a beautifully areas, adorned with rolling hills, woods, rivers and meadows so while If I am lucky my four-legged and 2 legged muses will oblige and not run for the hills at the sight of the camera (okay maybe not Buzzbee, he only needs to spot the camera in my hand and he is posing away), I still have plenty of opportunities to find an excuse to escape the trauma and destruction that often fills my days living on ‘planet adoption’, for a few short guilt free minutes or hours.

Catch them before they fall

This weeks’ The Adoption Social #WASO theme is “So far, we’ve”. I could probably think of 8 or 9 different angles to write from for this theme and maybe I could have blended them all together in a single post but anyone who has regularly read my posts will know I am not known for keeping it brief. You could probably start reading it at breakfast time and still be reading it when supper time comes around, going on past experience.

Instead, I am focusing on one angle that is very current and important to us.

Earlier in the week I tweeted…..

sweettweet

I had dropped both the boys off at their separate holiday club and forest school. Bumble had gone to work and for the first time in weeks, I had the house to myself. Yippeee!!!!

For 5 blissful hours, it was just Beedog and me, oh and a nice big slice of chocolate cake.

While I have to admit that by lunchtime I was starting to miss the noise and chaotic mayhem…….. I know what you are going to say “why on earth would you be missing that? Have you lost your mind?” The few short ‘child-free’ hours I had were most definitely needed and gave me some valuable breathing space to regroup after a tricky week before, and more importantly it is giving the boys the space they need from each other (or in Waxy’s case – space from the pressure of the intimacy of being part of a family).

To be fair, Buzz’s plan for the school holidays hadn’t changed. He was always going to be continuing with his regular forest school day throughout the holidays but as usual we had taken the opportunity to increase it by a day because they run daily holiday clubs during school holidays and the blend of new children with some of the regulars has been great for Buzz, as well as the relationship he has begun to build with the staff.

Now Waxy attending a holiday club was never originally in the immediate plan – lingering in the background – but never a direct plan of action. Now the he is 14, I have found we have come up against some tricky hurdles…

  1. Waxy is 14 years old and doesn’t want to be doing something ‘babyish’ (his words not mine).
  2. There are very few daily holiday club activities that are available to 14 years olds in our area and many of the ones that there are he, has either pooh-poohed our suggestions or they are just a REALLY BAD IDEA FOR HIM.
  3. A couple that we have thought were possible and had caught his attention were either cancelled due to lack of numbers or they suggested they may not have the right staff to support him – just to point out A) He only plays Bumble and I up and would have been a perfect attendee, B) Just because he attends a specialist school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties does not automatically mean they need 1:1 support (that would be a bad idea for him anyway).
  4. Finally, understandably Waxy wants to be like the other teens in the village and do the stuff they do. The problem is… he wants it, but cannot cope with it and lacks the social skills and confidence to successfully achieve it – even with our support and encouragement.

And it is the final hurdle that in fact has been the catalyst for what had been up until recently a positive start to the school break with the boys.

We’ve come ‘so far’ with the boys in the last year in terms of their ability to spend time together without it falling to pieces and Waxy had made huge leaps in managing his discomfort and distrust of being part of a family and at the beginning of this years’ school holidays, he was almost always a joy to be around – something that I haven’t been able to say very often in the past couple of years.

Anyway, getting back to my point. Over the past 10 days or so, Bumble and I couldn’t help noticing that Waxy was slipping back into his old ways and his interaction and responses were rapidly becoming negative and volatile, and this change in mood in our opinion could be directly linked back to his attempts at independence around the village, which have not gone how he hoped they would, or he had pushed himself so far outside of his comfort zone that he couldn’t cope and his frustration was taking over.

if you fall

Watching the boys slowly unravelling with each other (Waxy particularly), my instincts were telling me that I needed to metaphorically ‘catch them before they fell’ or maybe it was just my own ‘secondary trauma’ speaking, but rather than allow Waxy to carry on the path he was on and just wait for him to completely self-destruct before trying to pick the pieces up, Bumble and I agreed that we needed to give Waxy a break from independence and insist that he attended a multi-sport/activity holiday club twice a week and to my surprise he agreed – although he claimed it was because he would rather do that than sit in a waiting room, playing on his phone while Buzzbee had his appointment and then afterwards “drag him off to adventure playground so Buzz can run off his nervous energy”.

And, guess what! He enjoyed his first week so much he has asked to attend 4 days next week. He says he is enjoying the structure, but after meeting the staff, and listening to him talk about a couple of them, I suspect there is a touch of teenage male hormones coming into play too – he is 14 after all – SO not ready for the relationship stage! And neither am I!

Almost guilt free self-care

This weeks #WASO theme is ‘Taking Care’ and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate theme to write about on the eve of the first The Open Nest conference.

One evening last week I had a lovely long chat with a wonderful and amazing lady who has not known me for an age, in fact I have only met her once and all our communication up until that point has been through Twitter, Email or this blog (Oops I forgot more recently Facebook).
I am sure this wonderful lady will not realise how much her words have resonated with me since our talk and has, along with reasons outside of my control, made me sit up and look at what I have been doing and how damaging that it is for me – you only have to see me hobbling about on my crutches to realise this.

Has my biggest coping tool turned into something destructive? Have I kept my ‘perky’ persona up for so long that it is now my default mode the moment I feel I am moving into a point of uncomfortable emotions and now people struggle to see through it – or at least they minimise situations if I have dared to be open with them? – completely my fault, I know!

Maybe I should have called this post ‘The madness of Honey’ because to be honest I wouldn’t blame anyone for believing I am loosing the plot at the moment.  Here am I going through yet another difficult time with Waxy but what am I doing?
I am more perky than usual – almost manic you could say, at times!
I know this is probably what I need to do at the moment or at least I believe that is what others need from me, but it isn’t helping matters because at a time when I quite honestly am questioning whether I can keep my family together for much longer or support Waxy in a way that means we are all safe, I also need to be completely honest with several people about the impact recent events has had on the household. The only problem with this is getting over the hurdle of being afraid of what might happen or is said if I do this – my own worst enemy, I know!

So what is with the perky persona?
Ok first of all, I have always and will probably always be someone who is far better at caring for others than she is at looking after herself, but to hear the words I heard from someone who I barely know (but who understands how much you need to put in for our children), to say that I needed to ‘stop what I was doing and slow down before I make myself ill’, hit me hard but in an oddly positive way.
Other than Bumble it has been a long time since anyone has noticed things are not as they seem and have been honest enough to tell me what I needed to hear, and while I must have seemed so rude to her when I struggled with her praise and found myself lost for an appropriate response because like my boys I find it very difficult to accept (but there is nothing new there, I always struggle with this).

So while I know that it is hard to break a habit of a life time, this weekend I am child and husband free, owing to the fact that I am heading north to ‘the open nest’ conference, and I am going to take this time to truly take care of myself and try and relax – so far so good, despite my train being late, I have managed to turn it into positives with some wonderful eye candy on the train (community police officers) who were more than accomodating helping me hobble off the train with my case and crutches and then back onto my connecting train but not before I managed to grab the biggest slice of chocolate cake I could find, and now I am lied here writing this post while snuggled under a cosy duvet, in a giant double (maybe king size) bed, after my first undisturbed bubble bath in…. heaven knows how long.

Still I am already missing my 3 gorgeous men and have rang a couple of times this evening to check on them all – hey! I can’t switch off completely.
After a wobbly, emotional start for Buzzbee when I left, he and Waxy are wrapping their dad around their little fingers and are having a ball already down at ‘Nanny and Grandad’s caravan’ and Buzz has gleefully told me has made a new friend already and can’t wait for the Halloween party tomorrow afternoon and for their cousins to join them too – Good Luck Bumble!

So while the boys will be having the time of their lives tomorrow (I hope), I am looking forward to tomorrow myself and all that it brings.

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Loosing yourself

Last week I managed to loose myself and I LOVED IT!

So this week I am going to share it as part of the Adoption Social’s ‘Weekly adoption shout out’.

I spend almost every waking hour at moment feeling lost for answers/solutions to help Beeswax through his current difficulties and I am completely lost on how to get the professionals to listen and take our concerns for Buzzbee seriously – I hate that they always use Beeswax as the excuse for Buzz’s difficulties (mimicking, learnt behaviour). I have recently reread Buzz’s CPR in hope of some answers, and….. Well, I found them but that is another post.

Anyway, this post is not a rant about how frustrated I am. No it is about loosing myself both metaphorical and (ahem) literally for a few hours and taking the advantage of having 6 hours actually completely to myself with absolutely no interruptions.

Part me was tempted to take the opportunity to give the house a good going over and tidy but or glue myself to my laptop and continue trying to find solutions to the brick wall I am hitting all the time. But, the gorgeous sunshine and blue skies were calling me, and Beedog really needed a good walk. So I took myself (along with Beedog and my camera) off to one of our local estates to visit their beautiful gardens (I have lived here for more than 13 years and never visited it once).

Oh my goodness, how could I have missed this place for so long. It was breathtaking – the dynamic and vibrant colours of the foliage and flowers, and the heavenly aroma of the magnolia that wafted in the air (Beedog’s nose was in over drive with all the new smells).  It is rare that I have the opportunity to have a good play around with my camera but on this occasion and with such perfect surrounds, I think I got a little over enthusiastic and poor Bumble was made to endure ever image that evening – all 120 of them.

I could send hours writing about my day of freedom and describe every detail of Beedog and my adventure but I will leave some of the photos to tell that tale. What I feel is more important for this post is, using it as a reminder to myself that I need to find more opportunities for me to do something for myself and not feel guilty for forgetting about the day to day drudgery for a few hour so I can relax – and boy did I.

Oh! As for the getting lost literally – well, at the entrance they gave me a map of the Rhododendron trail around the estate so I could find my away around but lets just say I never found the same path TWICE (usually this would have had me in a complete flap but on that day, it really did not matter).

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Resolutions – No Turning Back

The week sees the first ‘The Adoption Social’ #WASO for 2014 and so they have aptly chosen the theme of ‘Resolutions’.

Like clockwork every year, I end up having the same conversation several times with several people and the dialogue never really changes.

Friend: Happy New Year! Soooo! Have you made any New Years’ resolutions?

Me: Yes!

Friend: Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What are they?

Me: Like last year and the year before, and the year before that. I resolve to not make any ridiculous New Year’s resolutions which I know very well I will not keep.

The conversation usually very quickly moves to their long list of resolutions about going to the gym more or finally sticking to a diet. The best one I have heard this year has to actually come from my dad – he is talking about taking up Yoga (if you knew my dad you would know that he is more likely to start avidly supporting Manchester United before he would manage to seriously take up Yoga).

Anyway, this year I am breaking with my own tradition and have made a private, personal New Year’s resolution (although now it is going to be written here it is not so private. So, step 1 is already complete).

This year I will try to stop letting my fear of the past stop me from opening up and accepting people’s support, without all the negative, self-destructive thoughts about the implications of this support sending me running for the hills and so falling into an even deeper hole of despair (although I am not sure I can fall any further. I have already reached the bottom of the well).

OK so that is the easy bit. I have said it! Now can I truly stick to it?

Honestly! I don’t know.  But, what I do know is I am the only one standing in the way of me feeling like my old self again.

I know that what I am asking of myself is not going to be easy but:-

  • I have to stop letting the past hold me back from being the mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister & friend, I should be. This scares me more than anything because I know to do this I am going to have to first find the courage to ask for the support I need to finally revisit and put the past to bed once and for all.
  • I have to accept that everyone has an opinion and I shouldn’t allow other people’s ill-informed, negative views of me as a mum/individual to damage my confidence and self-esteem.
  • I need to be kinder to myself. If I am having a tough day with the boys and I succumb to their ‘button pushing’ attempts and I respond in a less than therapeutic manner, I have to stop beating myself up over it and remember I am a human being and parenting 2 extremely frightened, traumatised (and currently testosterone fuelled) boys takes a lot out of you.

This list could go on forever and there is a big part of my avoidant personality that is saying “finish it in full and then throw it away before anyone sees it and holds you to your promises”, but I can’t!

I can’t keep being a ‘hypocrite’.

I am expecting my sons to do what I cannot do myself.  I spend my days trying to help my boys learn to trust me when they have been so hurt/let down by adults in their past. I am constantly trying to encourage them to open up and not keep all their fears, worries or problems all bottled up. But that is exactly what I do.

What kind of message am I sending to them?

I can hear Beeswax right now. – “Mummy would love us to learn to trust her to help us with our problems, but she gets to just bottle everything up and not let anyone help her just because people have hurt her and betrayed her trust recently and in the past. How is that fair?”

It would be easy for me to sit here at my laptop tapping away on the keyboard, writing lots but not really ever saying anything and over-analysing everything I have written worrying that it sounds too ‘wet’ or ‘pathetically self-indulgent’, and allow those negative thoughts to take over again and delete this entire post without anyone ever seeing it and so freeing myself from the commitment/promise of my own New Year’s resolution.

But, this year I need it to be different. Up until now the boys have not really noticed anything. They still have had their ‘bossy boots’ mummy who has:-

  • Fed them when they were hungry
  • Tucked them in at night when they ask for it
  • Hugged them when they are sad (or mad)
  • Been there waiting for them to come out of school with a non-judgemental smile (I am getting quite good at that one).
  • Played silly games and tells the ‘worst’ jokes on the planet.
  • Etc……..

But, there are chinks showing in my amour and the boys are starting to notice and so are others (including some I wish hadn’t) and I need to fix that before it becomes a problem. I want to say that I am doing this purely for myself and not because I hate that I am not the mum and wife that Bumble and the boys deserve at the moment.

I don’t have a magic wand and neither will the person(s)/agency who I seek support from. It will take time (if I can muster the courage) and in the meantime I need to start being nicer to myself and practise what I preach all the time to the boys.  I need to stop looking at all my mistakes and celebrate my achievement and start enjoying life again – although I still need to make sure that my family is my first priority and that I am still being the best mum, wife, daughter -that I possibly can be for them.

I suppose what I am trying to say as I come to the end of this #WASO post is…. This year my resolution is to start taking better care of myself so that I can be the person I want to be and start to  feel a little more like ‘Tigger’ rather than ‘Eeyore’.

eeyore

 

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out