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…

giphy

 

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…

The Boy – Second Date

Dating – The Boy – 2nd Date – 5th Jan/8th Jan

Does it count as a second date if it’s brunch the morning after a crazy passionate first night?

Surprisingly, the morning after the night before felt totally natural. The Boy is very easy to be around, and a total gentleman. After a lazy morning we decided to head out for brunch. The conversation continued to flow; we like a lot of the same things and have very similar values. He continued to surprise me with little things he would say, all adding to the ticks that were lining up in my head.

Tall
Funny
Gentle
Confident
Thoughtful
Ambitious
Intelligent
Slightly bonkers

Lot’s of ticks…

He dropped me off at home and we arranged our ‘official’ second date. Now I’m pretty well known for getting very over excited about positive things. Rose tinted love spectacles are firmly on at this point, but hey, who doesn’t like to get lost in a romantic idea??

Sunday evening, the date night, came around pretty quickly – the benefit of being a busy mama – and I got myself ready to go, and there they were, those butterflies. And questions…

What happens if he looks different to how I remember?
What if I imagined it all?
What if I’m not like he remembers and he pulls a face?

He came out to meet me and all the fears were dissipated, he was just as I remembered. Phew! We went for a drink, followed by dinner. Given that we had only met a few days ago, some pretty big questions were aired. Namely the ‘would you have any more children?’ clanger. This is a biggie for me. Having a baby is a massive deal for anyone, but for me, the two little darlings that I have came with crazy post natal depression; two years of having my head up my arse both times. Having another would take some serious consideration and stability, but I love babies, so it’s not totally out of the question. Despite this, the conversation felt OK. He sent me nice little text messages as the evening went on, made me smile and laugh and generally feel special. As the night went on he opened up a bit more. Behind the loud, in control, exhibitionist exterior I found a soft, adorable manboy. We were both totally ourselves and it felt amazing.

When I left, I couldn’t wait for the next time. All the heart eyes. 😍 😍 😍

 

 

The Boy – First Date

Dating – The Boy – First Date – 4th Jan

After my lovely time with Andy fizzled out, I had a bit more confidence in the whole dating game. He had been wonderful company, generous, loving and amazing in bed. We just weren’t compatible in the end, I think I was a bit too bonkers for him.

So, after a bit of a melancholy Christmas, I decided to give my nemesis, Plenty of Fish one last go.

And, after swiftly deleting lots of unsuitable suitors (learned that lesson before, time wasters need not apply), I was left with about four interesting, potentially eligible, guys. The one I was least interested in kept messaging me, but I was distant. He didn’t fit my ‘type’ at all, but he was interesting. He gave me his number after messaging a few times, but I ignored it. I kept him at arms length as I wasn’t really ready to date again, I made the excuse to myself that I just didn’t have time. I’m a mother, I have a new work project, I have a house to build, I need to lose 20lbs… I was pretty good at convincing myself.

I’d been chatting to a few other guys, but this one kept my attention. After the other conversations quickly got tired, he was still there, being funny and charming, and normal. He wasn’t risqué, or arrogant, or demanding. It was refreshing! By this time, I had become so bored of “How’s you??” and, “Hey babes, nice lips ;-)” from random guys, that I messaged The Boy and told him I was removing myself from POF as it was slowly driving my crazy, I didn’t have time and was generally disinterested. I gave him my number because, well,  there was just something about him. Logged myself off POF, and that was that.

Then what happened was quite unexpected. I was waiting for him to message me. You know that little frission of anticipation that you feel? I stalked my screen every ten seconds, and then,

Monday 2 Jan – 19:02 “Well good evening. 😊 Xx”

We chatted for hours about Disney, pizza, family, ambition, getting fit & fresh sheets. He was witty and intelligent, and knew the difference between there, their and they’re. We arranged a drink at my own First Dates bar.

As I got ready, I was excited! He’d admitted that he didn’t usually go on dates and was pretty nervous, setting me perfectly at ease. Being at least a stone overweight and pasty as hell wasn’t even getting me down. I threw on my best ‘cover all sins’ reasonable outfit and off I went. It was just a drink, nothing was going to happen, I was taking this one sloooowly.

As I approached the nerves kicked in. That awkward split second when you are looking around for someone you’ve never met before. ‘I’m the dude in the hat’ was all I had to go on. And then I spotted him. Tall, louche, casual, and sexy as hell. Our eyes met and he smiled the best cheeky smile, and that was it…

No awkward conversation, lots of gin and a few hours later and we realised that we were both really hungry. The kitchen had closed so we left to find somewhere that would feed us, we stepped outside giggling like children and then he grabbed me and kissed me, totally out of the blue. He was big and confident and Alpha. That was it, I was hooked. We found somewhere willing to feed us given the late hour, and spent the rest of the night laughing, talking and being silly. Perfect first date.

As the night drew to a close it became abundantly clear that neither of us wanted to leave, and I woke up the next day wrapped up in his arms. Damn. That was not supposed to happen…

The Beginning, the Middle, the End. In Short.

For me to write about my experience of divorce and co-parenting, I guess I should give you some history?

It all began way back in January 2004. I was 24 and had been happily single for two years but had come to the decision that it was time to think about meeting someone to share the fun with. Nothing serious. I was heading out with K and casually joked to The Mothership that I was off to find a husband. Little did I know…

Later on that very evening I slipped over on the dance floor and landed right in front of him! He was out with a couple of mates and we spent the next few hours chatting, dancing, laughing and drinking, then all went back to K’s house in the wee small hours. The party carried on and we had secret sex on the sofa.

{Note to Children – If you read this when you are older, don’t ever sleep with someone on the first night that you meet them. It’s very bad behaviour.}

The morning after we swapped numbers and arranged to meet up a couple of weeks later. Now, despite being a sensible girl, we didn’t use a condom. I was on the pill, it didn’t matter, right? Well, I thought to be doubly sure I’d get myself the morning after pill, Just In Case. Life went on, we met up a few times, things were going well! Until a few weeks later. Yep, you guessed it, no period. Shit. What??? Oh. My. God!!! I was so careful!

I told RB and he was a dream. From that moment on we were thick as thieves and quickly fell in love. We had made the decision to terminate the pregnancy very early on, but then that decision was taken out of our hands anyway. The foetus wasn’t growing properly and I had a lot of pain. I had a miscarriage at about the 6 weeks mark.

Had we not had this massive emotional journey at the very beginning of our relationship, who knows what would’ve happened. Maybe we would’ve stayed together, maybe not. It may sound odd, but I’m glad I had that very early pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, as it meant that we stayed together and now have two beautiful children who we both adore.

Skip forward a few years…

2007 – Marriage

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2008 – Baby Emilia

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2012 – Baby Ella

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And that’s how it all began.

About a year after Ella was born, the cracks began to appear. If were are honest with ourselves they were probably always there, but life moved so quickly that we didn’t notice the flaws in our relationship. Small nuances in each others characters that were previously accepted, gradually became very clear differences in our personalities. We ignored it, we didn’t really discuss it, just hoped it would go away. But it didn’t.

Over time it became glaringly obvious that we just weren’t compatible. I feel pretty emotional writing this down, as I’m really proud of how great our relationship now is, compared what it would’ve undoubtedly descended into had we stayed together.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a more in-depth explanation of the process that we went through. I call it a process because thats what it was like. Once I had made the final decision to end our marriage, things just happened. It was devastating, emotional, terrifying, and guilt ridden. However, we both made it to the other side of our personal Armageddon. And, although we both sometimes have to bite our tongues, and there are usually a few incidences a month where either one of us will quietly tolerate a gripe, things are good.

I am not an expert on ‘how to leave your husband’, nor am I a psychologist. I appreciate that everyone’s relationships are different, so I hope my stories don’t come across in any way other than the way that they are intended – as honest tales of my personal experience of marriage breakdown, and how we make co-parenting work.