Sunday, August 4

Things I forgot

Racing home across the rectangular expanse of grass and getting stung by wasps on the bottom of my feet.

The smell of the Rhein, how clear the water is: that I'm scared of seaweed.

Reasons I learned certain German/Swiss words: I learnt the word 'bloed' because someone called me stupid because I couldn't understand them.

How mean 8-year-olds are.

The violent, pervasive rain that comes after hot, humid days and the relief that comes with it.

How good German bread is. Just bread. It's just good.

The kiosks selling Rivella.

How good french fries are here.

That fashion and hairstyles in certain parts of Germany have still not changed since 1992.

That languages come back to you when you're sat not even thinking of them. 

TBC.



Tuesday, December 4

Preggo


I have the pregnancy weeps today. That’s all I can describe it as. It’s a day where I need to just stay home, cuddle Milo and cry. A lot.

Instead, I’m at work tackling a really tough second week as a manager. I already love being a manager, I already love my job. Trouble is, I have what the director called a very ‘needy team’. One of my employees also went for my job and to say she is unhappy is an understatement. She is by far the most passive aggressive person I have ever known. And she used to be my friend.

This morning, I woke up to a less than cheery Milo. The boy is growing in his second molars, and the only way he knows how to let go of his upset is by having hurricane-sized tantrums for mommy. Not for daddy. Not for grandma. For mommy. He would not let me change his clothes. He would not let me make him breakfast. He wanted to scream and shout and throw his naked body around to the point I was scared he would hurt himself.

I am weepy today. I am overwhelmed. I have to be managerial and hard-headed. I don’t want to be here. I want to be home. Being a hard-ass superwoman is really difficult. I certainly am not one. You definitely can’t have everything.

I want to be 14 and be able to skip out on work, go home and wrap myself in blankets and watch stupid daytime television and only get up for snacks and provisions. I don’t want to go to meetings, plan strategies, go home and cook dinner for my son and his friend and his grandma. I don’t want to chat. I don’t want to clean.

I don’t want to be a grown up anymore. 

Thursday, October 18

Combustion

I'm officially about to combust. My brain and my heart can no longer hold all of the things in them that the need to. Right now I'm thinking about:


  • A work trip to India I will be taking in 10 days. Without Milo. I had to get a fastrack passport due to loosing my old one. This was stressful and expensive. I'm still waiting for my India visa, which is stressful and expensive (thankfully I'm not paying for that one). I will be without Milo. I have to book the flights, and at 18 weeks pregnant I do not want to do connecting flights to Dubai. Oh please help me Lord. The only other option is £500 more expensive - I can't get a charity to pay for that.
  • I am 16 weeks pregnant. I'm happy - but it entails migraines and sickness and fussiness and I am one hormonal mess. I wish I could be nicer to my husband.
  • My department is going through a massive re-shuffle. This means that I can apply internally for a manager job I have wanted for a very long time. This means I'm competing against one of my friends. This means if I don't get it, I could technically be managed by somebody I have managed before. This is not ideal. The application deadline is the day before I go to India. The job interviews are the days after I get back from India.
My brain is fried. I don't want to miss halloween with my toddler. I don't want to miss anything he is doing. I don't want to be stressed. I don't want to go away. I want to be seen as competent at work. I don't want to feel sick anymore. I would very much like October and November to disappear and get me to Christmas where I can concentrate on my family and be over all of these shenanigans.

More than anything, I don't want to be a selfish woman who cannot see all of the blessings and miracles she has in her life. I don't want to be a pregnant witch. But I am. 

Tuesday, October 2

Thankful


I am big worrier. Worrying can take over my life, my daily tasks, can take over everything I feel or think. When something is on my mind, it sets my day up. I can’t see joy, I can’t lift myself out of the slog that I am walking through.

This week I have been making a conscious effort to think differently. On Sunday, I heard something I truly needed to hear. Instead of worrying, lift up your thoughts and be thankful.

I worry my child doesn't eat enough nutritious food.
I am thankful my son lives in a home where he doesn't go hungry. He can ask for water, or juice, or milk and I don’t have to give him something I know will make him sick. He can ask for a banana or some toast and there is plenty for his growing bones to feast on. I am thankful.

I worry our internet has been cut off and we can’t pay the bill.
I am thankful we have internet at all. We know we will pay the bill at some point. We have phones to keep in touch with each other and with our families.

I worry I don’t have any clothes to wear.
I am thankful I have drawers and wardrobes bursting with clothes I CAN wear. I am thankful I have enough to give away.

I worry because we have to get a show-reel done for Conrad in the next 2 months.
I am thankful that he has the opportunity to get an agent. That he's had acting work. That there is progress. Thankful that he has a passion. Thankful that he works hard and focuses on family first.

I worry I won’t get the promotion I'm going for.
I am thankful I have a job. I am thankful I work in an industry that’s really pretty hard to get into, and hundreds of people work for free just to get a foot in the door. I am thankful I have a regular wage and I can pay rent. I am thankful that my boss believes in a good work/life balance and supports me having a family and flexible working. I am thankful I actually enjoy my job.

The list continues on, but I just need to re-shift my brain and heart and be ever so thankful. I live in a city that is amongst the richest in the world. I was born in a privileged position; I am not looked down on for my gender or for the colour of my skin. I have a loving husband and a healthy son, with a healthy baby on the way. I work and I eat well. My body is healthy, and I have world-wide family of love that I know I can count on for anything.

Thank you God for all you have given to me.

Thursday, September 13


I am getting to the age where a lot of my friends who I thought were in solid relationships are breaking up. And divorcing. The people I always counted on to be together are no longer together.

What I don’t get is – Relationships can be hard. Really, really, really hard. I love Conrad. I love him desperately. Some days are easier than others – some years are more difficult than others. We have been through times that people don’t know about, we have been through a lot of junk.

But we stay together because we don’t have a choice. We love each other so much that nothing and no-one else will do. We joke that if we split up, we’d still have to live together because we can’t live without each other.

It makes me so sad to see people deciding not to be together after decades of love and commitment, and sometimes children. I know that people have their private lives and things may not always be what they seem, but I just get confused – is our love stronger? I don’t think so. Do we just see our relationship differently?

Since day one our most important rule (there aren’t really rules…) is honesty. Brutal honesty. This has definitely helped through every situation. Rather than always questioning whether what he says is true, or hiding my true feelings, we both know what’s what. If there’s an issue, we both know about it and are both aware that it needs to get sorted. Sorting it is another issue entirely, but at least it’s all out there.

I just know we will be together, and there is not a doubt in my mind that we are both working our butts off to remain that way. 

Thursday, August 9

Here is the post where I need space to rant, whinge, whatever you want to call it.



Being a working mom is hard. I hate it for many reasons; number one is being away from my son in his most formative years.

Not far down the list is being completely out of the social circle at work. Because I am unable to go out and be young and irresponsible, I stop even getting asked. That hurts. I appreciate that people stop asking me to do things because they ‘know’ I’ll say no – but really – pretending I don’t exist is just worse.

And social office chitchat. I used to be the queen of chitchat. Now, I only work 4 days and I have to get as much done as I possibly can in a short space of time. And I don’t care where you went out last night or what kind of shoes you’re wearing or that amazing curry you made last night. I know I should care, but right now? I really don’t. People don’t even small talk with me.  I smile at people and it gets ignored. I feel like a social leper.

And on top of all this, I want to scream ‘I DON’T CARE!’ I’m here to do my work and to do it well. Why should being part of a clique be important to me? I don’t want it to be. At 30 years old, you think it wouldn’t be. But here I am again, feeling like the girl in the corner that no-one wants to talk to. And I want to say I WANT TO GO HOME TO MY FAMILY WHO LOVE ME! And screw all of you.

I am also tired. I got woken up twice last night, had to stop three tantrums before I came to work, snuggled my firstborn as much as I could so he knew I love him while I’m away, hold back a shedload of emotions and try and figure out what to do when I’m on work time. I should not care about this awkward pre-teen crap. And I don’t feel like trying to solve all these non-existent issues that you think are so important.

Also? When you ask how my son is? I can tell you don't care, so please don't ask so we don't have to have that awkward conversation where I tell you things and you stare blankly at me, trying to look interested. I'd rather not go through that charade.

Like I said, being a working mom sucks.

And I may be just a little bit snarky.

AFTERNOTE: As I read this, I realise how contradictory it is. I say I don't care, but I care. I say I don't want to hear about crap, but I do. I hope whoever reads this realises that I'm a confused weirdo who needed a good rant. 

Thursday, January 19

Note to me

You are more sure about who you are now. You know what you like, you know what you don’t like. Be certain and go forward with realistic ideas of what you want yourself to be like.

Discard the baggage: Get rid of all the crap. Clear out your wardrobe of all those things you think you might wear ‘at some point’. Get rid of your issues. You know your bad points, don’t focus on them. Throw them out. Have a moment and truly decide what you want to take forward. What did you not do in your 20s that you want to do still? That new tattoo? Dye your hair blonde? Now’s the time to do it. You’re a grown up. You haven’t changed your mind, it’s going to happen. Why wait any longer?

Cling to the people you love. Not ‘cling’ in that weird needy way , but hang on to those you love. They’re still with you, you still love them. They get you now. Make it so you will be friends for longer: Invest. Show them you care about their friendship and you’re a trustworthy kinda gal. No more game-playing, be a truly inspiring person to be around.

Make realistic plans but dream big. You know what you’re good at now, so focus on your good points. Those things you’re not so good at and you don’t really like doing? Maybe we get rid of those now. Spend more time focusing on what makes you YOU. What can you contribute? How can you help people? How can you make our world better? What makes you stand out? Do it. Do it well, and make plans for how to carry on doing it into the future.

Dream big and make it happen. You’re 30. You are an adult. You can do what you want. NO REALLY. You can do what you want. You choose to be with your husband, you choose to be a mother, you choose to live where you live. These are choices you made for a reason. Move on with these, don’t get complacent. You want a change? You make it happen. Realistically plan your big dreams. Step by step: Baby bites – what do you have to do to get there? You’re doing pretty well, but keep your dreams alive. Don’t get lost in the small stuff.

Work on the important bits. Your relationships, your health, your mind and your body. Be hard-working because you will never regret it. Don’t be a cheater, don’t be a liar. Live up to who you want to be and be the person you want to be proud of.

Talk to your parents, talk to your siblings. Make the time. Life goes on, but they are precious to you. You love them. They love you. Show it more.

It is never too late. Every year something new and surprising can happen. Live like you’re excited, look forward to every day. Don’t count down the hours. Every hour is special and only you can make it that way. Use your brain, use your feelings. Be sensitive, be wise. BE YOU.

Don’t be embarrassed. It’s time to not care. Stop trying to be cool. The coolest people are the ones who don’t have to try. So maybe you’re not the prettiest, so maybe you’re not the most intelligent, so maybe you don’t have the longest hair or the cutest butt. You will not be the one with all the cool dresses and the millions of shoes, you are not boho, you are not glamorous. If you dress up, feel hot. If you dress down, feel comfy. Take good pictures, spend time pampering. It’s not about what people think, it’s about who you are. Besides – your husband thinks you’re hot. That’s good enough. Be the best of who you are and there’s something in that. Nobody wants a carbon copy of a cool person. Besides, remember: You’re 30. We’re past that now.

Sing more. Run more. Buy more candles. Write more. Use longer words. Listen to more music. Laugh more. Relax more. Kiss more. Talk more. Buy nice pens. Acquire some art. Wear your hair down. Wear more nail polish. Bake. Think.

Breathe deep.

Tuesday, December 13

Last day of my twenties

Today is the end of my twenties. I feel a lot stronger about this than I ever thought I would. 30 is.... an adult. 30 is seriously an adult. I am not an adult. I seriously do feel like I'm pretending and the 14 year old teenager inside me is giggling away, excited that she's getting away with the pretense.

My 20s saw me starting and finishing university, working at Starbucks, solidifying my addiction to caffeine, meeting my best friend, working with my best friend, moving in with my best friend, having my best friend live in a different city, eating lots of chocolate, waitressing, moving in with my boyfriend, getting proposed to by my boyfriend in Paris, marrying my boyfriend, moving into a house with my husband, deciding to have a baby, having a baby, being proud of myself, cutting a fringe, growing my fringe out, dying my hair blonde, dying my hair red, gaining lots of weight, getting pale and pasty, losing lots of weight (post wedding..DOH.), learning that I enjoy cycling, cycling to work, moving to London, loving London, temping in the city, being a legal secretary, working for a national charity, being a trustee of a charity, attending interviews and breaking my heart, working for an international children's charity, going out, discovering how much I love eating out, wearing heels and walking home from nights out, wearing bangles, wearing massive hoop earrings, going to a family wedding in Japan, organising a work trip to India, falling in love with India, opening a school in Namibia, falling in love with Namibia, interrailing twice with my boyfriend, falling in love with red wine and duck in France, eating too much cream and wine in Italy, souvlaki and sunshine in Greece, taking a 24 hour ferry, honeymooning in Greece, holidayed in Tunisia, Gran Canaria, playing games to waste time, tapas-ing and sangria in Spain, camping, taking driving lessons, taking my driving test, passing my driving test, buying a Classic Mini, driving a classic mini, buying a Jeep Cherokee, driving a Hate Tank (Jeep Cherokee), visiting family in America, buying my wedding dress in America, carrying my wedding dress as hand luggage home, being pregnant, seeing many plays, watching my husband act, loving my husband, watching my baby grow, creating a family, wanting a dog, buying a dog, loving a dog, being annoyed at my dog, missing the Philippines, missing people, missing my family, discovering Skype, joining Facebook, writing a blog, taking millions of photos, learning I love to jog, discovered black eyeliner, stopped going to church, started going back to church, discovered the importance of extended family, trust myself, fell in love with folk music, watched lots of movies, watched Lost and 24, watched every episode of Friends, got bored of Friends…….

And here I am turning 30. A lot can happen in a decade.

Monday, December 5

Shallowness

Why, sometimes, am I weirdly jealous of people I have no real reason to be jealous of?

Why do I look at their pictures and get lost in a world of 'I wish I was....'.

In truth, I don't want to be anyone else or look like them, or have blonde hair, or have curly hair, or be short, or be able to wear 4 inch heels, or be able to lead a band as a singer, to be that confident or be outgoing and silly and whimsical and talented and .....

Oh yeah, I do.

Time to grow up? I think so. Just tell my juvenile jealousy that.

Wednesday, November 30

The job situation

I got an interview for that job I wanted. I didn't get it. Which is gutting, and demoralising, and all things that make you feel like crawling up in your flannel sheets and feather duvet and saying 'no' to life for a little while.

I had a week to prep, and prep I did. I gave a 10 minute presentation which I KNOW was amazing. The interview went so well. In my prep work, I covered all grounds for potential questions and what the best thing to say would be. I rounded the troops - gathered information from people who knew more than me. I had an army of 'you can do it's!' behind me.

I'm gutted because it was perfect. Well, at least right now I feel like it was. It was a huge step up for me, but one that I realise now I am MORE than ready to take. I want it. I want to work hard, to make a difference, I really really thought I had it in the bag.

A couple of things - I know that I gave them a lot to think about during the interview. I'm good at reading people, and they liked me. There was a vibe in the room. We were on the same page. We were throwing ideas back at each other, there was a buzz.

At the end of the interview, asking a few questions about the organisation and asking the trustee the reasons behind her working for the charity, I mentioned flexible working and family friendly policies. Their faces dropped. I know that legally they are not allowed to take motherhood into consideration while hiring someone, but I'm pretty sure the rejection of me had something to do with that. I do understand that whoever succeeded in getting the role will have had more experience, perhaps gave a better interview ---- but I just had the feeling the whole way through that it was going well. You know, when you know? I don't meant to be cocky. But then I came out with the mother thing and I could see it wasn't going to happen.

So I came home and held my son, cuddled him close and wondered if I shouldn't have mentioned anything. By law, if you are hired by someone and you apply for flexible working, they have to give it to you unless there is some reason they can't. And it has to be a pretty valid reason. I thought to myself 'should I have kept it on the down-low till they offered me the job?'..

I looked at Milo and guilt clenched my insides. How could I neglect to mention him? How could I pretend he didn't exist? I need a job where I'm not only allowed to talk about him, but they are more than willing to let my motherhood be a part of who I am and the job that I do. There's no way I'm keeping silent about my boy like there is something to be ashamed of. You know what? I'm a mom, and I can do this job, and I'm allowed to work different hours because I will rock at it, because I am the best candidate, and YOU KNOW WHAT? Milo makes me the better candidate and a better person.

So, yes the job was perfect. Everything about it seemed so right for me, and I wanted it so very badly. But this is life, and I move on and I get over it and I look at my family and my home and I breathe deeply and stop. Life is all of this that I have. Be alive and live in that.