Family | Just the Three of Us

If you follow me on any of my socials you will already know that way back in January I made the decision to leave the boys' dad. It probably won't really come as much of a surprise to any of you considering I spent the majority of 2018 miserable as fuck. My mental health was at an all time low and at Christmas I just thought to myself "I can't spend the rest of my life like this." I'm not gonna go into detail about my reasons for leaving because they're quite personal and it wouldn't be fair to my ex - but get me drunk and I'll tell you everything.

The idea of becoming a single ma was so fucking daunting because let's face it, nobody really wants that do they but our relationship had just become so toxic and it got the point where it felt we were just co-existing. The hard reality of it was I was practically doing it alone anyway as we were living separate lives just under the same roof.

Anyway, I found myself a little two up, two down, scrubbed it because it was a bit minty and was excited albeit nervous to start our new chapter as a three. Things were really hard at first, which I knew they would be, I'm not soft. Henry would cry to "go home, not mummy's house" and George's behaviour was out of control and he'd scream for his daddy. Queue ultimate mum guilt (ballache that init?) and I'd be crying to my mum "I can't do this, they hate me, I took them out their home!" to which she'd usually just reply "get a grip, you're doing great!"

But you know what? As rough as those first couple of months were it was so worth it in the long run. The boys have settled in really well (we all have), they spend half the week with me and half at their dad's so the balance is just right. I miss them like mad when they're not there but the truth is the peace is really lovely. I love coming home knowing that whatever mess I've made is mine or being able to just jump straight into bed if I want to. I'm happier than I've been in a really long time, I'm no longer taking anything for my mental health (for now) which is great. Don't get me wrong I still have my off days but who doesn't?

Rachael xo

Life | The Mental Load

A few months ago someone shared a post on Facebook entitled "The Mental Load" and when I read it I couldn't believe how relatable it was, in fact, I shared it and when Pete saw it he laughed. I don't know why he laughed because i's actually scarily accurate. You see I think men think they do more than they actually do.

The mental load describes how women are expected to run the household, work a job and look after the children, while the men don't do these things unless asked. But who is asking women to do these things? Why don't the men in our lives know what needs to be done around the house unless they've been nagged at by their missus. 

Another week has come around when I've come home from work to dirty dishes sprawled across every kitchen surface, the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes to be put away and last night's pots and pans have been left on the draining board. I am annoyed. All weekend whilst Pete is away, I manage to keep on top of the housework, take both boys out and cook for myself and the kids. Yet I go to work for a day and Pete "doesn't have time" to empty the dishwasher and keep things clean and tidy meaning I have to come home from a full day at work, clean the kitchen, cook dinner and share bed time with the boys. 

I have whinged, complained, moaned, shouted more times than I can count but all to no avail. Nothing ever changes. It stays the same. It's got to a point now where I just think I'm going to have to put up or shut up but at the same time I'm thinking why the hell should I? We both live here. We both work. We both should share the responsibilities. Reliving the same argument over and over is incredibly frustrating but I'm exhausted. And yes maybe I should ask him to do things because he doesn't think to do them himself, but I'm stubborn and I don't think I should have to. It's a bit like having a third child sometimes. 

I'm going on strike.

Rachael xo

Life | Breaking Up With a Friend

Today is International Day of Friendship, is it just me or do they have a day for everything lately? Friendship is something I value very highly and you can read about my coven here. International Day of Friendship was created by the UN General Assembly to inspire friendships between people and countries which is brilliant as we can all use a bit of positivity in our lives. In light of today I thought I'd touch on something I've wanted to share for a while. Four years ago I broke up with my best mate. And you know what, it was fucking liberating! Now I know you're probably thinking, this doesn't sound inspiring and peaceful but trust me, I've got my reasons for writing this.

I grew up with this girl, lets call her Sophie, because that's her name. My mum and Sophie's mum were best mates for years so we spent a lot of time together as kids, eventually, my mum and Sophie's mum fell out (I swear this should have been a sign) and we lost touch until years later and we were reunited through Twitter. We grew closer than ever and she quickly became my best friend, we'd talk every day and do so much together.  When she broke up with her fella, she was heartbroken and I was on the very first train to see her. Then things changed. Very quickly.

She was quite jealous of my friendships with the coven. In fact, I remember buying tickets for a gig for me and another friend and told Sarah I couldn't spend much money that month because of it and she was really funny about it. The conversation went like this:

S: Where was my invitation?

R: Well, Grace invited me. 

S: If Grace invited you, why did you buy the tickets?! 

Then she became needy, f I didn't text her back, she would WhatsApp me, if I didn't reply to her WhatsApp she would get me on Facebook. It felt like I was in another relationship and it was just so intense. I was pregnant with George at this point, not far along, and I was doing some agency work when I'd been called into a job really last minute. She'd been texting me all day and I wasn't allowed my phone in work, so I replied when I got home, then she was snotty with me because I hadn't told her I was working. It was unbelievable. I thought maybe I was hormonal but she had become so entitled and everything was about her. Pete and I were in the process of buying a house which she had no interest in. I went for a scan after I'd had a bleed and she didn't ask me how I was or how it went. Everything was me, me, me. There were times when I'd just switch my phone off so I could catch a break and I thought to myself, this isn't how a friendship should be. 

One day when I was on maternity leave, I saw a status by her complaining about her pregnancy and I snapped. I was tired of her negativity, I was fed up of her selfish behaviour so I told her. She didn't like it one little bit and maybe I overreacted but it was one thing after the other and things got nasty really quickly. She told me I was jealous she of her and I was annoyed she had "stole my thunder" because we were both pregnant, which was ridiculous because we didn't even have the same circle of friends. She made it very public and posted our conversation on Facebook, her sister wrote a status about me, her mother joined in. It escalated so quickly and I just thought "wow!" She also did some pretty other disgusting things which I'm unable to talk about which just proved how malicious she could be.

It took me a few years to realise just how toxic of a person she was and I am so glad I broke up with her. I didn't want her to be around me and my family. There was a time when I'd think of the friendship we had prior to it all going sour and I did miss that person but then I would remember the nastiness and how much better off I am. Breaking up with a mate is so much different to breaking up with your fella, you no longer have that person to do all those best friendshippy things with but I am very lucky in the sense I have three other best friends who don't have a nasty bone in their body and I'm very lucky to have them in my life, but don't tell them that, they'll call me cheesy.

Remember, it's okay to cut toxic people out of your life and surround yourself with lovely people instead, just like I did. Just because she's been your BFF for years, you don't owe her anything if she turns into bitch!

Rachael xo

Health | Why I Chose The Coil

Contraception after giving birth is so important but you know sex is the last thing on your mind. The midwives mention it, the health visitors quiz you on it. I think we can all safely say after pushing out what feels like a football out of our fannies, we are swearing by abstinence for the rest of our lives! In reality though, we all have needs so eventually we're gonna jump back on that horse and ride! With my mum being a midwife she offered some advise and after some deliberation, here's why I chose the coil.

When I got my first real boyfriend at 17 I decided to have the contraceptive injection, I knew I didn't want to go on the pill because I'm proper scatty and would forget to take it. At first it was great, I just used to go to the doctors every three months for a needle in my bum and Bob's your uncle. A few months down the line and I was suffering from chronic abdo pain, it felt like I was being stabbed and I would literally be doubled over with pain. I went to the doctors, I had scans, internal examinations and blood tests but to no avail. I was undiagnosed. Nobody knew what was wrong with me. Eventually the lovely doctor I'd been under recommended coming off the injection which I was quite reluctant about because I liked not having to be responsible. I enquired about the implant but she advised against that as well, something about it working the same way as the injection or something. I can't remember, it was 11 years ago! I told her my concerns about going on the pill and she said to me "stick a reminder on your phone" so that's what I did and it was great, I took it regularly every day and my pains disappeared. I don't know why I ever shrugged it off, I guess I just thought it was an inconvenience. 

I did start taking the pill again after George was born but then I got (stupidly) lazy with it (enter Henry). Not so much lazy but I hated taking tablets you see. I never used to have that problem, it actually started when I was pregnant with George, my antenatal vitamins turned my stomach, it was like swallowing a horse pill and on top of morning sickness. Not good. To this day I still struggle taking painkillers, I know it's all in my head but I can't help it okay? Anyway, after an unplanned pregnancy I knew my method of birth control needed to change. That's when my mum recommended the coil which I was 100% against at first. Is is just me that associated the coil with older women? Although at 28, I'm no spring chicken but I just think of my mum having it so it was a mumsy thing to me, again which is stupid because I am a mum at the end of the day.I ended up spending a lot of time thinking about it and doing my own research when I decided on the Mirena coil. I knew I didn't want the copper coil because the idea of metal irritating my body to stop me becoming pregnant just didn't appeal to me at all. So I just went for it and you know what? I haven't looked back. 

I'd booked my smear (seriously, I had my first at 28 so don't delay it for as long as I did - check your bits ladies) and had my coil fitted at the same time. Two birds, one stone. The insertion was slightly uncomfortable but nothing compared to child birth! At first I bled quite heavily for about 6 weeks and I thought to myself "what the fuck have I done?" but eventually the bleeding settled down and it has been a dream ever since. 

Having PCOS I used to really suffer with heavy, painful periods, I mean they were awful. I would be bent over in pain, unable to walk and having to change my clothes more than once a day. Since I've had the coil fitted I no longer get a monthly but in the beginning my periods were regular, light and virtually pain free. It's an actual life saver! 

Rachael xo

Family | Henry Hates Sleep

Henry hates sleep. Or me. Or both. Funny thing is on his first few days on earth he was an excellent sleeper, in fact he was that good of a sleeper I had to set an alarm on my phone to make sure he fed every three hours because he just would not wake for it. Fast forward a few weeks when we established feeding shit hit the fan. He just wouldn't sleep of a night, he hated being put in his cot (which come to think of it is fair enough really) but I tried white noise apps, rocking him, lying next to him and nothing would work. I was shattered and that's why Pete started sleeping downstairs with him because I'm a horrible bitch when I'm tired. 

Don't get me wrong there are nights when he does sleep all the way through (I think, there must be) but there are many a night (usually when Pete is away) and he is awake at all hours. The other night he woke up at 1am and didn't go back to sleep until 4.30am and this has happened on more than one occasion. It kills me because that's me awake then for the rest of the night, I'm normally disturbed by Pete coming home from work not long after Henry has gone back to sleep, the cats jumping about and then its 7am and both boys are awake again. 

George was an excellent sleeper. God he was such an easy baby. I remember clearly the first time he slept through the night, he was eight weeks and I woke up at 2am shouting "shit the baby hasn't had a bottle!" making Pete get out of bed and we stupidly woke him to feed him. You panic with your first born don't you? Thank god I'm over all that now! Anyway, from then we never woke him for a bottle after that night and I felt like a new woman getting chunks of sleep. We did co-sleep with him for months but he would sleep through the night and the progression to the cot wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. He would go to bed at 7pm and wake at 7am. 

I was one of those parents that everyone hated. The one who was made to feel guilty that my child slept through the night. The one who didn't feel like they were allowed to mention that they had a good sleeper without being accused of being smug. The one who was old they were "lucky" despite establishing a routine. 

Now I am the parent that is jealous of the good sleepers. I am very lucky that Pete does do bed time and he does sleep downstairs with the kidsfor the time being so unless he is working it doesn't fall on me but on those nights that it does, I struggle massively. No amount of coffee can save me. I end up being ready for bed around tea time because I just don't cope with no sleep. 

My goal for this week is to start decorating the bedrooms now they are 90% clear and as soon as that is done we can start sleep training again. I just can't wait to normalise our bed time routine and then hopefully Henry will start sleeping properly. 

Wish us luck!

Rachael xo

Family | Double The Tantrums

I thought as your kids got older the tantrums got better? I thought wrong, they just seem to get bigger. George is three and a half and although the tantrums are less frequent they just seem to be absolutely mega as of late. To make matters worse, we have double the tantrums now Henry has started to assert himself! Send. Help!

George has started this god damn awful cry when he is having a paddy. I wish you could hear it - no actually, scrap that, I wouldn't wish that on anybody. You'll have to imagine it, it goes a bit like this "waaaahhhh!" Imagine a pterodactyl on steroids because that is the only way I can possibly describe it. He's unrecognisable when he does it. You know as a parent you can recognise your own child crying? I couldn't tell you it was him if I heard him. In fact, we were walking back to the caravan last week, Pete and Henry were inside and Pete didn't know it was him even though he had heard him. I want to rip my own ears off whenever he does it. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, Henry (15 months) has started the tantrums already. Of course he's at the age now where he wants to do things for himself, especially things his big brother does but naturally he still needs that extra bit of help. God forbid you help him or stop him doing something. We get smacked, he will kick and he just throws himself about. Honestly it's like he's possessed. His body contorts into positions I never knew possible. Regan MacNeil eat your heart out!

It is just so easy to forget how early the tantrums can start, you hear about the terrible twos all the time but nobody mentions that it starts nine months before they actually turn two. Nobody tells you how difficult it is to calm down a tantrum of a one year old who can't really understand a word you're saying. I can't ever remember George starting the tantrums this early but I guess my memory is pretty shit because he must have done. Both my boys are very strong willed and they definitely get that from me. When I had a second child I knew it would be challenging juggling both kids but it never even dawned on me that there would be double tantrums. You're probably reading this thinking "you silly cow " but it isn't something that ever crossed my mind. You worry about splitting yourself in two and getting out the house on time. 

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll see I uploaded a video of George's strop and loads of other people said they were in the same boat and said it doesn't stop. Even when they're five. Least I'll get many years out of my blog name ay? 

Send wine!

Rachael xo

Family | Hello, I'm Called George

My three year old is the most sociable person I know, he says hello to almost everyone he sees, and he will strike up a conversation with anyone who will listen. He certainly doesn't get this trait from me, I hate making small talk and children just seem to invite that don't they? Henry on the other hand is definitely mine and hates talking to other people as well. George could actually talk the hind leg off a donkey given the opportunity, he's happy, confident, outgoing and friendly. While all of these are great traits to have, it worries me.

It worries me because he will talk to ANYONE, and I mean anyone. Man with dog, he'll say hello. Woman with baby, he'll say hello. Look at him, he'll say hello. He has even started walking up to people and saying "hello, I'm called George!" Earlier this week we were at a park, it was quiet, it was early and we had the place to ourselves for a while so we were in our element. At most there were about three families there, including us, throughout the whole time we were there. We met one of these families whilst they were in the maze, Henry and I were sat on a bench stuffing our faces and George told the family "I can hear my baby brother Henry!" As they all came out of the maze, George walked off with them asking "are you looking after me?" George really took a shine to their six year old son so we did end up having a little chat with the parents for a bit while the kids played which was nice despite my earlier claims of hating people.

While I'm glad he feels confident to talk to people and has excellent social skills, I'm worried he'll befriend the wrong person. It only takes a couple of seconds and he could be gone in a blink. He only has to approach the wrong person and that could be it. I know this seems irrational, but I watched a social experiment where a man showed parents how easy it was for him to coax their children to go off with them. George probably wouldn't even need coaxing. And it's scary. 

I'm not a helicopter parent and I never have been, I like giving the boys some independence, I like encouraging them to explore and I believe it has definitely helped them to develop physically as they are both excellent climbers and will happily tackle a climbing frame, but these days I am scared to take my eye off George even for a second.

He has never been a shy child even as a baby but all of a sudden his confidence has rocketed and he has become so much more independent. Just recently in the ice cream shop he asked the woman who was scooping his ice cream if he could have the marshmallows from the top, and happily paid for a toy in a shop which is fantastic. I am proud of what an amazing little character he is growing into and it is my job to guide him. I won't teach him not to speak to strangers because he has witnessed me say "good morning" to people when we have been out and I enjoy seeing him talking to others. He can bring a smile to anyone's face and I love that about him. 

I just wish I could fit him with a tracking device! 

Rachael xo