May 2018

“It’s August! This year is flying by, isn’t it?!

Now that some areas of my life are starting to calm down, or maybe just get more settled, I decided that it was time to re-start this journal/blog/therapy, whatever you want to call it.”

This is what I wrote 9 months ago when I was determined to find time to write again… Since then there has been zero activity – well at least not here! Elsewhere there has been PLENTY! I read the words “Now that some areas of my life are starting to calm down” and had a little chuckle to myself…

New Challenges

So what has been going on for the last nine months, and why do I start writing again now? I haven’t had a baby or anything silly like that. Well, not a human one. I’ve had a digital one! My new business finally launches this month and I couldn’t be more excited. It has taken a year of development, money, stress and shifting goalposts but we are finally there.

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Check it out here

Family & Friends

Ah, the real reason for me writing here again… My girls. I don’t just mean my children, I mean all my girls. Family and friends who are inspiring me every single day.

The wee ones have been adamant that they want to start their own YouTube channel for a while now. I’ve not had the time or the energy but have finally relented! It won’t be pretty as my video editing skills are less than zero, but hey, we’ve got to start somewhere.

Millie is also keen to start writing too, she’s joined a book club and she loves writing reviews, so we’re going to set up a book and film review section for her and Ella to give their opinions on the things that really matter. Like Harry Potter and The Greatest Showman. Oh, and places that we go adventuring.

As for the older girls in my life, I’ve seen some incredible bravery being shown in the face of some major life curveballs, also quiet demons being faced and fought. Some don’t want to share, some do. It can be so therapeutic to write, so here this is a place for them to do just that. Who knows where it will take us, but expect thoughts and tales from age 9 up. The stories we share might be hard to read, they might be inspiring, funny, emotional or questioning, but they all share this: they are true and are what women and girls go through every day.

*** Takes Deep Breath ***

Health & Wellbeing

I’ll write more about this in a separate post, but this month marks the start of a pretty major life shift for me. The sun has come out and I can finally get a bit of clarity. The doc reckons I have to have my medication permanently managed to deal with the changing daylight levels, I think that if I change my lifestyle for the better then I can hopefully escape the constant cycle of 20mg, 10mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg…

I have great support at my second favourite place – Strength & Performance – so with a good dollop of determination and willpower, I will get there! Oh, and I’ll have a waist again…

Image Credit: Emily Quinton – http://www.makelight.com – find her on Instagram here 🌸

 

The New Woman

It’s taken a good while for me to write about this, The New Woman is now 9 months established, so I’ll be writing in retrospect. I think, with hindsight, that that’s a good thing as it’s been a very emotionally stressful time – for everyone. Much better to write with a clearer head, it’ll hopefully keep me out of trouble…

So let’s take it back. My first and last mention of the new GF was way back in The Day The Game Changed.

That was my first experience, post marriage breakdown, of how it felt when someone else was prioritised over me. After being together for well over 10 years, and despite being separated a year earlier, RB and I have maintained a close relationship since our split so I was used to still being the Significant Other. Yes, I know it’s weird. So, to suddenly find myself ousted from my position took a bit of getting used to. I had become settled in our new way of life and still relied on RB to be at the end of the phone or to ask a favour of. The introduction of his new SO changed all of that, seemingly overnight. 

Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) really happy for him. What I wasn’t expecting were my, totally unexpected, feelings of abandonment. I left him after all.

After that week it became clear that Miss A was going to be sticking around. Now, RB hadn’t had a string of short-term flings or one night stands. Miss A was the first date he’s been on since our split, so neither of us had experience of what it might feel like having a new woman in the mix, or what kind of emotions that would stir up. I’m not generally a jealous person and I was, and remain, genuinely happy for him. However, when it came to the kids, I was fiercely jealous. This new dynamic has undoubtedly been the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life – accepting that, for half the week at least, another woman would be taking part responsibility of my children.

I remember the first time it hit me. It was like a gut-wrenching feeling of sadness. RB had been telling me about how great Miss A is and how they had discussed plans for a possible future together, and how she might slot into our little nuclear family. I think he’d been worried about how to approach the subject. He was very careful to explain her feelings of what her potential relationship would be with the girls and he uttered the immortal words,

“She doesn’t want to tread on your toes in any way, you’ll always be their mother, she’s just going to be like their best friend”

I felt sick. That’s MY job. I’m their best friend. I’m their mother. In fact, I feel my emotions rising as I write this as the memory of that moment comes flooding back. The innate need for me to provide all the love and care that my children need was RAW.

I was a bear and these are MY cubs.

The following few hours are bit hazy, I vaguely remember having a big row and leaving his house in an angry emotional whirlwind. It was a bit like being in a crazy jealous rage. How dare he! How dare he assume that MY children would like her? How dare he believe that MY children would let someone take Mummy’s place? How could he possibly assume I would let that happen??? They would never ‘cheat’ on Mummy. They love ME, there’s no room for anyone else. 

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Obviously, all these thoughts were borne from a totally unexpected psychological trauma – I had been emotionally punched in the solar plexus by someone who I had never met – of course I thought those thoughts. I’m not proud, but I do apologise for them. 

Generally, I always try to see both sides of the story, and make assumptions based on the full picture but there I was totally blind. I had no mental memory to fall back on, nothing similar has ever happened to me.

What I should of taken from the conversation was the part about Miss A not wishing to tread on my toes in any way, a totally positive and mature olive branch.

Now, I have to point out that these feelings were in no way a reflection on Miss A’s behaviour. Thankfully she has the grace and maturity to understand the potential distress that her involvement in the children’s lives might have on me. Throughout the whole situation she has been kind, respectful and always thinks about how her actions might affect the status quo. 

9 months in and we’re all still finding our feet in this new arrangement, and I still struggle not to want to put my arms around the girls and say, ‘NO, they’re mine, you can’t have them!’. But, as we all adjust to the new relationships that are forming, I’m learning that welcoming a sweet, gentle and caring woman into our lives is a positive step for our girls.

Causing friction will only drive a huge ugly wedge into the heart of what RB and I have worked so hard to maintain – a stable, open and honest environment for our children to grow up in. There’s no place for jealousy in there.

RB and Miss A have recently moved in together and I couldn’t be happier for them. The girls love her and she loves them. What more could a mother want?

LB. Xx

A Fresh Start

It’s August! This year is flying by, isn’t it?!

Now that some areas of my life are starting to calm down, or maybe just get more settled, I decided that it was time to re-start this journal/blog/therapy, whatever you want to call it. There are a few reasons for this.

I ❤️ Digital Mums!

The first is undoubtedly thanks to my fabulous experience so far with Digital Mums.

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They are currently running a fantastic campaign called #CleanUpTheFWord – all about changing the the culture around flexible working in the UK and to “stop it being seen as a dirty word or an employee perk”. Get involved! Sign the petition here.

Anyway, I digress. I started their Social Media Management Course back in March. My original campaign was a foodie campaign that I was running with my girls to promote healthy eating and lifestyle for children. I switched to a different campaign about 8 weeks in as I decided to start a new business, more of that later… However, Millie and Ella really wanted to carry on the foodie campaign. As I can’t fit in three blogs, as well as actual real life, we decided to re-engage That Girl Thing as the platform for them to start writing, sharing and generally getting involved.

I’m well aware of the dangers of over exposure to young girls, so all their content (and what they are allowed to watch and for how long) will be fully monitored by me and their Dad. The way I see it, they are going to eventually get sucked into the world of social media whether we like it or not, so they might as well go in with their eyes open, knowing all about the dangers and delights shining back out from their screens.

The second reason is down to confidence.

As I mentioned before, I have also decided to take the massive leap of faith and start my own business again. It’s back in the world of weddings where I once owned a very beautiful bridal shop, but this time on the other side of the screen. I’m setting up an online marketplace for bridal retailers to sell their sample stock online. High stock value is a massive problem within the bridal industry, and one that needs fixing. Hopefully my new venture will be the answer! Before joining Digital Mums I never would’ve had the confidence to do this, now on a wing and a prayer it’s happening!

What does this have to do with That Girl Thing? Well, this journal is, in part, a way for me to track my emotional levels throughout the year. Right now I’m confident, full of energy and positivity. Things are looking up! My good friend Adele Hartshorn is a life coach  and she suggests setting interim goals to break down the bigger picture. Weekly, monthly, every three months etc. So I’ve decided to make myself accountable. I’m going to set myself monthly goals and diarise them here. I definitely think that bringing method and madness together has some merit, so thanks for that Adele. To find out more about her work here.

Finally, accountability. There’s that word again.

I’ve recently been introduced to a gym. Not just any old gym, but Strength and Performance.

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This is a ‘proper’ gym. Not your half-arsed, ‘let’s take a quick selfie while I pretend to sweat’ kind of gym. These guys have got your back. Their main aim is to make members be accountable for their fitness journey and the successes or failures along the way. Nutrition is logged, sessions are led and monitored by the incredible team of coaches and the community that they have built there is truly inspiring. I’ll be writing a post about my 30 day introduction to S&P later in the week, for now just know that their approach to progress has rubbled off and I’m making myself accountable. Follow my monthly journals for goals, successes and failures – both of which there’ll be plenty I’m sure.

Goals for this month:

1 // Enjoy a holiday to France with my bestie and all of our children without any drama. Easy.

2 // Manage my time effectively to keep up-to-date with my DMs course and business launch timeline.

3 // Keep on enjoying my S&P journey, and lose another dress size.

Peace.

LB Xx

📷 Header image credit: Emily Quinton, Makelight.

NB // If you don’t know about Emily and Makelight yet, you should! She is the QUEEN of pretty and she’s also a fab teacher. Check out her website here.

Goals – January 2017

2016 had its ups and downs, generally a year of not much personal growth or development. High points were delivering a rocking opening night at my ex-place of work, buying a house and, in June, celebrating a year of amicable separation and co-parenting. Low points were having to pull out of Tough Mudder due to injury, arguing with the ExOH towards the end of the year and the mid-December realisation that I’m still coasting through life with no strong direction.

January 2017 so far has followed a similar pattern as 2016. Generally winging it through the chaos with no clear direction, polished off with a good guzzle of wine at the end of the day. What I don’t want to do is reach my birthday in mid-December, and again have that sinking feeling that yet another year has passed and I’m still in the same place. So, it’s time to change things up a bit. So, what are my goals for this year?

Family

Family comes first. Since our separation, the ExOH and I have worked hard to maintain our amicable co-parenting relationship. Things are changing now as he has a new lady in his life. I’ll be honest, it’s not been the smoothest of introductions, so this year’s challenge will be to manage this new dynamic in our lives, without causing friction or, more importantly, confusion or displacement for the children.

Oh, and we need to get divorced at some point.

I am also going to up my parenting game. At the end of last year I felt that the girls had not had the best of me at all. Homework had been missed, in favour of trips to the park. Playdates hadn’t been arranged, because my house was always so full of stuff. Bedtimes had been late because I favoured cuddle time on the sofa. I figured if I was only going to see them for half of the week, I was going to make sure it was fun time. I was a selfish parent. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t suffer. We had a great time! But this year the focus will be on what’s good for them, and not me.

Career

This year I want to focus on growing myself a new business. It’s always going to be a tricky one as I have two children and an ExOH with his own business. As their mother, I feel like I need to be the one to give them the stability and care that they need. So I’m looking for #workthatworks, and I’m contemplating taking on the Digital Mums course to boost my credentials. If it’s going to help me build something that I can do to fit around my life as a parent, then that’s a winner for me.

The year starts with a business project with a friend of mine, building their brand and helping launch their new business. How much of a part of it I will become as the project continues is currently unknown. But for now, it’s looking good!

Home

My house is currently a bit of a shambles. I was granted planning to extend it just before Christmas. So this year, I’m part building project manager too! At the end of it I will have a fabulous great big kitchen which, after two years of attempting to cook in a cupboard I can’t flipping’ wait! Pinterest goals all over it… The challenge lies in living through the mess in an organised way with as little disruption as possible to the girls. Wish me luck!

Health

Well, first of all, I want to shift the extra pounds I put on due to aforementioned injury and lack of exercise. So, I’ve entered the Wilmslow Half Marathon. Nothing like a challenge to get me motivated! It’s 8 weeks today and I’m terrified. I can currently run about 3 miles before I’m done in! Gulp. 18lbs and a hell of a lot of training to go…

I’m also going to address The Wine Problem. I, like many other parents I know, am more than happy to get stuck into a bottle of wine of an evening. It’s a widely known fact that alcohol and depression are not happy bedfellows. If I’m ever going to quash my nemesis, then the wine has to be significantly reduced. A necessary evil.

Friends

I have an amazing group of friends. We are all very busy with children, babies, jobs and businesses and it’s difficult to see each other a lot. After years of not being able to have them around for dinner (In the large part due to my ExOH not being very sociable, more recently due to my cupboard-sized kitchen(s) and teeny tiny house situation), I want to build my kitchen and be proud to have them all around for a party – in six months time I’m hoping there will be lots to celebrate!

 

 

The Boy – End of Dates

For my friend at the school gates who was eagerly awaiting the next instalment in my dating saga; I have been ghosted.

Oh! The shame!

So it turns out that The Boy was exactly that, a childish boy. I’ve never been on the receiving end of a ghosting episode, I always thought it was for the very fabulous, busy millennial types who have grown up with this world of uber-efficient mate choosing. I mean, who cares about the feelings of one potential lover when there are another ten queueing up?

However, I didn’t expect to be cast into a black hole by a fully grown, 40-year-old, man.

For those of you who are unaware of the ghosting phenomenon, it is a very harsh and unspeakably rude way of being dumped. Basically, if you want to cut ties with someone you are dating, you simply stop all communication. Delete their number, WhatsApp conversations, facebook friendship etc. etc. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

No, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’. None of this, ‘I’m just not ready for a relationship’, or ‘I really like you, but…’. Not even a slow fizzle out, without ever having to explain. It’s brutal.

Ghosting – Urban Dictionary
The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject’s maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.

Carmen: How was your second date with Kyle?
Beth: I thought it went well, but I’ve texted him a couple of times since then and he’s been ghosting me.
Carmen: What? I thought he was more mature than that.

So that was that! And then, to add insult to injury, when I shared my tale with the ExOH he said, “Awww”, (side head tilt) “I bet that was a knock to your confidence?”. Pffft! NO!!! It was far more indicative of his immaturity, lack of respect and, for me I suspect, a lucky escape…

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The Boy – Fourth Date

As Date 4 with The Boy approached I was feeling more and more nervous. Or maybe excited? I couldn't quite put my finger on what the feeling was.  I think it's because I'm pretty wide of my norm with this one. He's loud and confident and has no filter whatsoever, what's in his head comes out of his mouth. Don't get me wrong, it's refreshing, however it can be a little surprising sometimes, and takes a bit of getting used to.

In the days before the date I started to get the impression that he wasn't really that interested in me. He'd been chatting to girls on Plenty of Fish, or at least thats the assumption I made when I'd stalked him to see if he was online. Now, I'm a pretty simple girl. If I'm dating someone, I don't chat to other guys. I'd rather build a relationship with the person who I'm sharing a bed with. Is that just me? Anyway, We've already established that I'm pretty useless at this whole new world of online dating. I have no idea of what the rules are… I decided to put my concerns to the back of my mind, marked Over Thinking.

We (I) decided to meet close to me, at this point I wasn't sure how the night would end given the lack of communication during the week. If I was going to call time on our little fling, I have a lot more ways to escape closer to home. However, during the day we'd been messaging and the friendly, flirtatious, happy Boy that I was used to had reappeared, things were looking up! As I waited for him to arrive the nerves and anticipation of earlier had vanished and I was just really looking forward to seeing him. This time, I was early. Sure enough, as he walked into the bar, those same feelings reappeared. The walk, the attitude, the smile.

My rose-tinted love spectacles were firmly back on.

The date itself was easy, we went to a few bars, bumped into some of my friends and had a good laugh. It was nice to see him relaxed and happy. For the first time I could actually see what we would be like as a couple, and I quite liked what I saw. I want to be with someone who will look after me. Not in the sense of being the Little Woman, I'm far too independent for that, but in a protective, alpha male, mutually respectful way. Does that make any sense?? Anyway, I was pretty happy with date 4.

The next morning we went for breakfast and he dropped me off at home, everything was just as it should be. The Boy was back with me and I was feeling positive about a potential future for us.

That was Thursday morning. Today is Saturday. In the 48 hours in between The Boy has gone quiet on me again! I just don't get it and it's driving me slightly crazy!!

I think I'm at the point now where I either need to accept that he is just busy, and not a prolific communicator, or he's only interested in seeing me for the sex. We're both busy people and finding time to see each other can be tricky when we're juggling his rota and my days and nights with the children. Maybe it's just too much like hard work for him and he doesn't know how to tell me, maybe he's just hoping that the lack of communication will send the message for him?

I think the best thing for me to do is just stop thinking about it. If he wants to get in touch he will. Quite frankly I don't have the headspace to be screwing over a boy, or the time to sit around waiting to see if he likes me back.

And then I think, 'What would my Mum say?'. She'd tell me to forget about him, put my invisible crown back on and wait for someone who appreciates me, and isn't afraid to show it. I'm with Mum.

 

 

 

 

The Boy – Third Date

Dating – The Boy – 3rd Date – Tues 10th Jan

It’s date three! Hurrah!! Now, after a pretty intense first week, I have high hopes for The Boy. He ticks a lot of my boxes, and quite a few that I didn’t know I had.

I arrived at his flat, having had a pretty crummy afternoon. I had mentioned to him in passing that it hadn’t been the best day, and when I arrived I found he’d been out and got us a really lovely bottle of wine. The Boy likes really good wine, so this was a really good bottle of wine. I melted a little bit more.

We sat and chatted, and that’s when things changed. He’d had a pretty stressful time at work and vented his frustrations to me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that at all, I know what it’s like when you don’t have anyone to share your shit with, so I was happy to listen. But for the rest of the evening he was on edge, a bit grumpy and generally out of sorts. This was a massive difference to the crazy happy Boy I’d met the week earlier. Still, we went for dinner and had good time, conversation was easy, we had a giggle, but he was still distant. The next day, he was still on edge and I left early.

And I’ve not seen him since.

To be fair, we’ve both been under the weather, him more so than I. But his messages are fewer, and a bit distracted. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been driving myself slightly nuts over this one.

What did I do wrong?

Did I not do enough?

Maybe it’s not me?

Maybe he’s just ill?

Head:   “He’s probably just busy, stop over analysing”

Heart:   “I need feedback…”

Head, again:   “I don’t have time for this, I have waaaay more important things to do.” 

Heart :   “But I like him!” 

Head:   “Forget about it, he’s clearly not interested, don’t lose your shit.”

You know the drill.

We have arranged to see each other again, I’ve got no idea what to expect and I’m really, really nervous – in fact – my stomach is in knots.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…