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.

S&Ptribe

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!