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Friday, 19 June 2020

Family | The Struggle With Co-Parenting

Co-parenting is something often talked about to describe how two people parent after they have split up but we all know the reality is, everybody is co-parenting even if the couple are still together. You're never going to see eye to eye on everything and like most things in life, it's all about compromise. I've talked about co-parenting at Christmas time and how P and I split our time with the boys fairly through the week since we separated 18 months ago but the struggle with co-parenting in any situation can be difficult. 

P and I always had diferent views on how to parent from the very start because he wanted to do everything by the book, which of course there's nothing wrong with that but we weren't even allowed to have music on in the house as it was "too much of a distraction when he's playing." In fact, I remember a girl coming to our house and commenting how quiet it was. I wasn't even allowed to put a Christmas movie on Christmas morning which caused murder on our very first Christmas as a three. 

One thing that has always been a struggle is getting the boys into a bedtime routine. I touched lucky with George in the fact he was a good sleeper from the start, a taboo subject to talk about, I know, but he was brilliant. He started sleeping through from 8 weeks old and you really do feel like a knew person after weeks of broken sleep. On the otherhand, Henry was not a good sleeper because nobody is that lucky and even to this day he doesn't sleep through the night. I wanted to introduce a proper bed time routine for George when he was around 9 months which coincided with the time I returned to work after maternity leave, however, P wasn't supportive of this. I got my way and things were going well until I went away for a few days for a friend's hen do and all my hard work had swiftly been undone. The sleep thing has always been an issue for us. 

When I moved out last year, I moved into a little two up two down with the boys, got their bedroom kitted out with bunks and new things to make it exciting for them. I was determined to stop them sleeping in my bed and to stop staying in their rooms until they fell asleep. For weeks I grafted, staying in their room until they were used to it, to sitting on the landing outside their door, moving to my bedroom until eventually they were okay with me putting them to bed and going downstairs. If they woke up and came into my bedroom, I would take them back into bed. Bedtime was strictly pyjamas, milk, story and teeth starting at 7 pm reading for them to be in bed by 7.30 pm. Their dad on the otherhand, again refused to support me on this and to this day he still refuses. 

Whilst they've been off school he said he "doesn't care that they're up late" when in actual reality it's affecting their day to day behaviour. They're tired, they're grumpy and they have no routine whatsoever. Co-parenting is actually really really difficult especially when you're being undermined all the time and you've worked hard to get something to work and sometimes I really do wonder if I'd be better off doing it alone. Of course I'd never punish P or the boys and stop them seeing each other but at the moment I think they need to spend more time with someone who will give them some structure.

It makes it really difficult to set boundaries for the boys when they're between houses where two people just do not make a good team whatsoever but I guess I have just go to persevere and hope that something sinks in for them. 

The struggle with co-parenting is real and I feel for all of you who are doing it whether together or separated. Stay strong, you're doing amazing! 

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Family | Protecting the Cubs

I wasn't going to write this post because it still angers me to this day what happened but a wise woman once told me "writing is therapy" so here we are. 

On September 11th 2017, the day after George's third birthday, we packed up the boys and the car and headed the 180 miles to Butlins in Skegness for their Just For Tots Week. I was already dreading another family with the in-laws, let alone with a stroppy threenager and nine month old in tow, however, I'd already survived the previous holiday without killing anyone whilst I was pregnant so it wouldn't be too bad right?

On our second day there we were in the main pavillion where they had a section gated off and inside was full of Little Tikes toys, cars, castles, you know that kind of stuff, with plenty of seats so the growns ups could sit back and supervise. George was off playing, Henry was in his pram asleep and I noticed George hit another child. With that I got up out my seat to go deal with himas any normal mother would but the next thing I knew some bitch of a woman was telling him off, very aggressively, pointing in his face and then she smacked him! No word of a lie, this fully grown woman smacked my child on the shoulder. 

Nothing ever prepares you for that kind of rage you know? I flew at this woman, heels ablazing and screaming "what are you doing? Don't touch my kid!" Actually, there was a lot more swearing than that as you can imagine. And you know what she said? "He's just hit him!" As if that defended her actions! Genuinely thought I was going to be inprisoned for battering a pensioner that day and if she hadn't picked her grandson up I think I might have caused some actual harm to her. 

I had to leave the pavillion because I was so mad and somewhat embarrassed of how I'd reacted but when someone hurts your child your natural instinct is to protect, just like a lioness protecting her cubs. Would the in laws think differently of me? Would the other parents in the pavillion think I was some common scouse woman causing a fight?  I rang my mum to let her know and started crying on the phone because I cry when I'm angry She told me to report it but I was worried I was going to be arrested for hitting a bitch so I left it and to this day I'm pissed off that I never. On my return, another mum asked me if I was okay, told me to report it and said I'd handled it well so I don't think I did too badly looking back. 

Kids are kids and they lash out at each other, it happens. And it's horrible when you see another child  hurt yours, it really is but it doesn't give anyone the right to slap your child, in fact, I'm pretty sure it's illegal. I have no probelm with someone telling my two off if they've misbehaved but there's no need to be aggressive in any way at all. Nothing excuses that woman's actions that day and perhaps nothing really excuses mine. I still maintain she deserved it and she was lucky she left when she did though.  

We did see that family a day or two later in the playground and she swiftly left when she saw us, leaving her full pint of Stella (yes, Stella) on the table so I think justice was served that day. 

Just don't touch my kids yeah?

Rachael xo




Monday, 15 June 2020

Life | Lockdown Diary #003

When I started this series my intention was to blog weekly about our life in lockdown but to be completely honest with you, I haven't really wanted to document it. The truth is I have really struggled with being on my own in the house with the boys. I occasionally see my neighbours once a week when they take my bins out for me, the boys dad when he drops them off but he's a loner and getting conversation out of him is like drawing blood from a stone, and my parents when they've done socially distanced door drop offs. I used to consider myself quite antisocial, but I'm not really. I don't really like the general public or strangers (unless I've had a bevvy then I'm everyones mate) but it turns out in fact, I actually need people around me. I guess it's one of those things isn't it? Being left alone with nothing but your kids and your own thoughts can be hard and it's been hard for me. 

I've kept myself busy with projects around the house because I'm due to move house soon so I've given everywhere a much needed freshen up and upcycled some furniture ready for when I move in to the house. I've kept away from people I love, kept away from my friends, my family for 12 or 13 weeks or however long it is now and kept me and my boys (and the old fella who stands that little bit too close behind me in the supermarket) safe. 

When lockdown rules were lifted and we were allowed to see people from another household in a public space, I met up with my friend and her two boys which I'm not going to talk about too much because I wrote about it here but when I posted a photo I was scrutinised by people for it. Just this weekend I spent a few hours in the park with the girls were we all sat apart from each other and yet again people are quick to comment on how far or how close we're sitting. The same people are sharing cars with people from another househould to go for fast food or don't even actually live in mainland UK and are no longer socially distancing at all. One person on Twitter even called me vile and selfish. Everyone thinks they're the lockdown police at the minute. I've socially distanced, I've stuck by the rules and I now have one family in my bubble.

I thought that when the rules were lifted and I could see my friends and now I can even hug my mum, I'd feel great but instead I'm being made to feel like shit by people who can't just mind their own business. I guess there's no real reason for this post other than just needing a rant. Soical media is toxic and it's full of people with too much to say because they can hide behind a screen. People hate seeing others happy don't they? So that's why I've made the decision to come off Facebook and I'll be no longer sharing what I do on social media, so I guess I'm taking a hiatus from it all. 

Stay safe

Rachael xo

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Life | Lets Talk About Pride


June is Pride month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which occured at the end of June 1969. For those of you who don't know, the Stonewall Riots were a protest in response to a police raid that occured in a pub in the Greenwich Village of Manhattan. THE LGBTQ+ community fought back when police became violent (funny that, police getting violent). That was back in the 60s and although the community have come a long way, they're still fighting for equality. So lets talk about Pride. 

Pride is a huge celebration for the LGBTQ+ community but not only that it's a time for peaceful protests and raising awareness for policitical issues the community may face. Despite it being 2020 the community still face prejudice such as same sex marriage being illegal. It was only 13 January 2020 same sex marriage was made legal in Northern Ireland. It sounds unbelievable doesn't it? 

Whilst I don't identify as LGBTQ+ (open minded definitely) but I consider myself an ally and awant to normalise that being gay isn't something to be ashamed of or keep hidden. I talk openly to the boys about how two men can love each other and how two women can love each other too and I'll continue to educate them as they grow on other issues that should be normalised such as trans people, people who are asexual and even intersex people. The more we talk about these things, the more normal they become. 

We sexualise children from an early age and by that  I mean, as soon as George started school people would ask him "ooh do you have a girlfriend?" and that is teaching him boys can only love girls. Whereas, I will always say to him "when you grow up and fall in love with someone" or I'll say "boyfriend or girlfriend" to let him know that whatever he chooses and whoever he falls in love with is okay because at the end of the day love is love. Language is so important. We had a conversation this week actually, about growing up and getting married, and he told me he wanted Auntie Gracie (my best mate) to be his wife, I said "what if I want her to be my wife?" and he said "but she's a girl!" I just explained to him two girls can be in love and two boys can be in love. 

They're very accepting, kids, and he didn't question me further and this is how we should talk to our children. Be open with them when they ask questions or challenge you. Its how they learn. Hoimophobia is still so rife everywhere and it's because people are taught these things are dirty and they should be ashamed or it's bad to be gay. I never want my two to feel the need to "come out" if they are gay because it shouldn't be a struggle to be in love or accept who you are. 

So in June we celebrate Pride (July in Liverpool). I usually go to Pride Festival in Liverpool and it is one of the best days of the year, everyone all dressed up in whatever they want and drinking and dancing in the streets. But I also use it to educate the boys on different types of love and acceptance. I want to include more diverse books and movies to them with same sex families as well so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know in the comments below! 

Rachael xo

Friday, 12 June 2020

Mum Steez | Lockdown Looks


Lockdown has got us all cutting about in joggers and active wear hasn't it? Nothing fits me at the moment because I haven't stopped eating and drinking whatever I look at for the past twelve weeks. I haven't felt too bad about it because at the end of the day we're in the middle of a pandemic but with lockdown measure's being lifted I need to shift these extra pounds. None of my cute things fit and I am sick to death of living in leggings and oversized hoodies tbqhwy. Going to be living my cute outfit fantasies through the internet until I can fit back into my size 12s again! 

Rachael xo

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Dating | The 10 Types of Guy You Find on Tinder

Tinder is probably the most used dating app out there at the moment and when I first ventured into the world of online dating it was a minefield. I feel like I've learnt a lot in the past year and a half of swiping left and right so I've put together a list of the 10 types of guy you find on Tinder: 

THE GYM GUY

There will be multiple selfies of him flexing in the mirrors at the gym showing off his gains. The gym guy wants a girl who lifts 🍑

THE WHICH ONE AM I GUY

Every photo leaves you guessing who this mystery person is as he is often posing with the same mates in every photo. Spoiler alert: he's never the fit one.

THE MARRIED GUY

The married guy never shows his face of course but instead there will be a close up picture of a suit that he's robbed off Google Images. His bio reads "do not judge me" but guess what mate? We're judging you. Hard. 

THE FUCK BOY

Okay so not a guy but he needs to be included. The fuck boy has only shirtless photos and over use of the 😜 emoji. The fuck boy isn't looking for anything serious but he won't tell you that directly because that's not how he works. He wants to charm you into bed and ghost you. 

THE ADVENTURE GUY

Adventure guy has picture after picture of him on a mountain, or on a bike and is looking for his travel buddy. He wants an "outdoorsy" girl with the same interests only. Anyone else need not apply. It's a no from me, hun. 

THE INAPPROPRIATE GUY

Beware of the inappropriate guy, he seems normal at first but really he's luring you into a false sense of security before he starts sending detail messages about what he wants to do to you. 

THE NOT MY CHILD GUY

He'll pose with his niece, nephew, godchild, brother's girlfriend's sister's child but make it clear it's "not my kid!" He does this to prove he's responsible, he's cheeky and he's charming but his intentions aren't always clear. 

THE NO HEAD GUY

He's got a bird. Or he's really, really ugly. It's most likely the first one though, let's face it! Nobody ever swipes yes for the no head guy. 

THE TRY HARD 

Who's got time to make a Powerpoint presentation? Upload your best angled photos and write a funny bio like the rest of us! 

THE FIT ONE

The fit one is all looks and no substance. Making conversation with the fit one is like pulling teeth, he may look the part but he will bore you to death. It's true what they say, god doesn't give with both hands.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Family | Becoming a Better Mum

Two years ago I was in such a bad place mentally that I just had no time for the boys at all, which sounds awful doesn't it? But I've always vowed to be completely honest in my little space on the internet and it's time to tell that story. You see the thing is, when your mental health is at an all time low the last thing you want to do is play games or head out to soft play. Two years on I'm in a much better place and even last year I felt like a totally different person so here's my story on becoming a better mum. 

I've always suffered with my mental health even as a teen but it was never something that was discussed openly and it was something I got on with on my own. There would be nights I would cry myself to sleep for no other reason and I never understood it. It was only when I reached my late teens/ early twenties that mental health became a thing that was a bit more talked about but there was still a stigma attached to it, bear in mind this was ten years ago. At the time I never seeked any help, I just went through it alone but it was manageable. After having George my anxiety worsened and my mood swings were the worst they had ever been and it was only then I went to the doctor and was prescribed sertraline. 

Things were shaky at best, I'd have good days and bad days but the truth is I used to take the boys' dad for granted and he would do almost everything for them when he was home. I know how unhealthy that is and how unfair it was on both him and my babies, but that's what it was like. My patience was always thin, I was still moody and still snappy and would spend my evenings hiding out in the bedroom. There were many things attributing to my mental health at the time and the main one was my strenuous relationship with their dad. It was a really dark time for me and I'm not proud of it. 

Christmas time 2019 I made the decision to change my life around. I knew I couldn't carry on living like that forever and I've mentioned many times how happy I am for doing so. Obviously being a single mum means I have to do everything for the boys now but I no longer begrudge them. I know the fact I'm happier in myself has a lot to do with that but the time on my own helps. Time I never used to get. I was a working mum who would have to come home, clean, cook and help with the kids bed time. I would work Tuesday-Thursday and then all weekend I would be home with the boys. There was no balance there at all and something I struggled with for longer than I should have. Now, I go to work and have three evenings a week to myself and that time when the boys are in school on top of that. It does wonders for the soul.

It is so important to be able to recharge. Self care isn't just about baths and face masks you know? It's having the chance to catch up on your favourite TV show or something as simple as not having to answer to anyone. I am so much more appreciative of my time with George and Henry now and I love playing with them, taking them on days out and all the other lovely mum stuff you're supposed to enjoy. I've got so much more patience for them - that's not to say there's days when they don't test that - but it's what they deserve because they really are little belters. 

I've learnt a lot this pat year and I'm still learning and growing as a person and as a mum but I'm proud of how far I've come. Afterall, we're all just winging it aren't we? 

Rachael xo