Work & Family

Working Mum's, Real Life, Real Issues, Real People

It’s been a while…..!

Wow! I have just checked and it appears to be December of last year when I last wrote a post. I guess that’s the beauty of blogging though, once set up it can be added to as and when you feel like it. For me, it’s an online journal. So what’s been going on? Lots has happened since Christmas, most of it good. In fact, if I think hard enough, all of it’s good! I’m not however going to go through all of that during this post as I would prefer to focus upon the present. The one thing I will say however is that my sister has finished all of her treatment and is now considered cancer free! RESULT!

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I think today I may just ponder. Offer some ‘musings’ if you will! Let’s start with some lessons learned:

  • You can only help people to a point
  • Sometimes people just don’t like the decision you make
  • You get out only what you put in
  • Not everyone will like you all of the time

I think these above bullet points are quotes many of us spout perhaps on a daily basis. When you break them down, each one contains logic and common sense. As humans, we just forget.

Image I love helping people and to a certain degree I think many individuals thrive from this. It’s part of our natural instinct to please others by offering assistance as and where we can. This may sometimes be help offered in daily life, simply out of kindness. It could be that your job role requires you to aid people in order to fulfil a particular role. At times we go a step further in order to please others and to make sure they have the very best. We may even go two, three, four or more steps further, always wanting to please and to ensure the well-being of others. Over the last couple of months I have learned that in reality you can only do so much to help people and often, the more you give the more they are willing to take. As harsh as this sounds, it’s my thinking that these so called takers probably don’t even realise they are doing it and in that in reality, they never really wanted to be helped in the first place. After all….. it’s always easier to blame a failure on someone else rather than look at the actual root cause. My point is (I’m sure most of you who have read my blogs before are used to my warbles), I would hate to go completely the opposite way and become so bitter that I never offered anyone additional help but trying to find that balance can prove difficult. So, my lesson learned here is to remain professional at all times. Offer help where required, additional help if requested but don’t let people take liberties. I am one person. I can only do so much. Finally, DON’T feel guilty about others shortcomings – IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!

Wow – things got a bit heated there! Shall we move on?

Image Sometimes we need to make difficult decisions and on occasion we know that these will not please others. I love the above caption as it seems to engulf everything I believe yet find hard to practise (I am sure you will be familiar with the following)! So, ‘Own Your Decision’. I find that once I have considered my options and decided on an outcome or way forward, I am able to ‘own’ my decision and be confident in the reasoning behind it. I don’t necessarily sit down and create a spreadsheet listing all possible outcomes because that would just be silly and extremely OCD. Or do I….? Who knows! Anyway, decision has been made and owned. Information is passed along to all parties involved. Time to sit back and wait for the (dying to say s**t to hit the fan, but I won’t) people to voice opinions and concerns. To be fair, everyone is allowed their own opinions and should have the option to relay these – in my world, this should be done in a positive and ‘grown-up’ manor. Should two people not be able to agree then that’s ok – agree to disagree then move on! This is all about taking responsibility for the initial decision made. Believe in it, follow it through and be responsible.

Setting the Boundaries – something I do automatically (in other words, without the use of a spreadsheet):

  • Always remain calm during conversation
  • Do not be walked over
  • You have made your choice, stick to it, believe in it

Next on the list, ‘Face the emotion’ – eek! This is a tough one for me. Emotion…… ‘Will they feel bad’? ‘Will they still like me’? ‘What if they talk about me behind my back’? ‘What if they decide to plot against me’? Oh yes, there are a million possible scenarios that circle my brain during any one given moment. What I need to remember is that the answers to the above are all MY answers. MY thoughts and MY feelings. Not theirs. Theirs are likely to be completely different. Handle emotions by sticking to boundaries.

‘Bumps in the Road’. I refer to these as ‘Arghhhhhhhhhh’ situations. Those where you perhaps break down into floods of tears behind closed doors because you feel you are banging your head against a brick wall! Situations where you can’t always hold your tongue and a huge warbled shouting mess appears from your mouth that makes no sense but makes you feel better for just a second before realising how much of a wally you must have actually sounded! The point is, no situation will ever play out the way it does in your head. Keep your cool, own your decision and you can handle it. I know I can, and have!

The final part of the caption warbles on about perfection. I am guilty of trying to prove to others that I can be perfect. I can always do better, I can try harder, I can push for more etc etc etcet e ruddy raaaa, but I don’t need to prove anything to anyone! I’m ok. I have my strengths and weaknesses and aware of these. That’s ok – that’s being human.

Image You only get out what you put in. It’s so true. Simple, effective and correctomundo! So you don’t have the second tin of tomatoes to make a larger bolognese. Give everyone more pasta and less sauce! Grate some extra cheese! Do the best that you can with the resources you have at that exact moment. Obviously you can apply the bolognese rule to many life situations – even the less complex ones such as….. divorce?!

Image Well…… You Just Can’t! There’s always going to be times in your life when you unintentionally p**s people off. What you gonna do? Not everyone will like you and you know what….? That’s ok. Those who aren’t too fond of you – are they worth it? Does it really matter? Do you still have the love of close friends and family? Ask yourself what, or rather who is important then rid yourself of the rest!

All I need to do now is practise everything I have written and jobs a goodun!

Peace out peeps!

 

 

 

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Probably My Last Blog Post This Year

mendaz Me and Him, Him and Her 🙂

It’s almost Christmas folks and wow, what a year it’s been! For those of you who know me and know me well (there does have to be a certain amount of understanding when it comes to me), you will understand that I am inwardly positively bursting with excitement and doing everything possible not to break out into a rash! I love, love love this time of year. I love seeing my friends and family. Time off work. Giving presents and most of all……. come on, you all think it just daren’t admit it, I love receiving gifts! Now I’m not materialistic, but I do like something to open. The mere fact that someone has thought about me enough to buy me a gift is awesome. Roll back in time and Janet (the mother) once said to me “You only got a couple of gifts this year because your behaviour has been less than satisfactory” (or words to that effect). Quite harsh for a 13 year old to hear. I remember that Christmas well, especially because when I opened my few gifts I was utterly over the moon. She had bought me a keyboard and not one of those small jobs either. It was a super duper huge one with a whole range of different beats and sounds. By the end of Christmas day I was playing like Ross from Friends! If you want to find out the meaning of narcissism then just ask me (or click the hyper link of course) – I grew up with a Mother bearing a great likeness to such a personality disorder. Enough of her for now – except speaking of her does remind me to ask…… Did anyone see that programme on channel 4 the other night, ‘Psychopath Night’? Certainly some food for thought in there and I for one think I know 1 for sure – possibly 2…….. Scary!

Anyway, let’s review the year. Towards the end of 2012 I lost my job which was pretty pants to be fair. Depression set in and anxiety was at it’s peak. Come January I was dabbling with the idea of freelance work. By February I had an invested business partner who to date has proven to be encouraging, supportive, consistent and a complete pain in my ass! I won’t mention names – you know who you are and in all seriousness, you have helped towards me gaining back my confidence and plodding on. We now have a fully functioning business, http://www.viableseo.co.uk/ with office space and a heap of great clients. Balancing the business, the children and the Darren has been difficult to say the least but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. I am lucky to have monstrous amounts of support from every angle. So that’s the business in a nutshell. Moving forwards and looking forward to writing about it again this time next year – see how far we have come then.

Remember the sister with the boob cancer? She is well on her way to recovery. Chemo is now complete and her op is scheduled for early January. The consultants, doctors, nurses and randoms who have viewed her baps and bap results are all extremely happy with her progress. In light of this fantabulous news, we shall be throwing said sister a (wait for it) par-titty in March. Excited much! Going to make it a bit of a fund raiser with ‘boobie prizes’ and everything – inventive I know! Proud of her I am. Over the last few months, whilst she has been suffering, I have been swishing my long blond locks in her face whilst granting her every wish, simply because ‘I’ve got cancer Helen so you have to’! Sister and IEek – this is one old pictire – 1998 I think!

My girls….. wow – they are now 11, almost 7 and 4.5. They continue to drive me to complete and utter distraction by winding me, each other and their dad up on a daily basis. Mornings continue to be a military operation that involve ‘put your shoes on, get your coat, have you brushed your teeth’, over and over again. As a family, we haven’t learned and still scrabble around making packed lunches at 8:15am each morning whilst cursing at the fact life would be so much easier if we made them the night before. Such is life…… still wouldn’t swap it. What makes me proud is little moments such as today. My youngest came over and looked up at me with her huge brown eyes (she looks like a Yoohoo) – yoohooshe cuddled my legs and said ‘mummy I really love you’ – what more could a parent ask for? My middle daughter who suffers with a bladder problem is now completely dry at night. Now THAT’s an achievement that makes me proud – let alone the fact she has been given a reading age of around 11! As for the eldest….. well, what can I say? She has almost completed primary school with flying colours. She is a polite, intelligent, beautiful girl who I hope will remain always happy. That’s all I want. When I look at these  girls, I know that no matter what else is going on in my life I have done 3 things right. Dead clever ‘me like’ (gotta ‘av a bit a boro in there)!

Friends – I think I may have ticked a couple off over the course of the year but my true friends have been here throughout. The friends I remain closest too are those who understand that constant contact is not necessary. I see some of them only a couple of times a year if that come to think of it, but always know they are there for me. All in all, I am, pretty rich when it comes to family and friends – one lucky gal!

I think that’s it for now – as ever I haven’t spell checked or re-read because my blogs are off the cuff. It’s my online diary that I write when I get two seconds to scratch my bum before I’m off breaking up siblings arguing, cooking, cleaning or tweeting for clients! Life is busy, life is full, life is fun, life is positive.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

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Depression Sucks!

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Every now and again it rears it’s ugly head, biting you right in the ass! I like the above image as it encapsulates exactly how I feel……

I’m no misery – I love life. Life is full of wonderful joys such as my children, my husband, family and friends. I have an awesome business that is growing day by day and a lovely home where I feel safe and secure. So why are there periods in my life like now where that silly black ghoolish thing in the above picture seems to hang over me laughing? I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to be sociable. I don’t want to put make up on and walk to the school gates and I feel completely exhausted, I shake on a morning like an alcoholic and my head feels like it is home to a fresh ball of cotton wool. In reality, I do get out of bed because I have to – my children need me. I talk because if I don’t I would be miserable 24/7 during these down periods. I don’t always put my make up on but I do make it to the school gates where I smile and make small talk because I have to. I need to – if I don’t it is just another self-indulgent excuse to be miserable! Feeling exhausted is down to the butterflies that live in a ball in my stomach and I guess it’s this tiredness that leads to ‘fuzzy head’ syndrome. Since I have accepted my condition (which is in fact more anxiety that leads to a slight depression) I do find it easier to cope with the low points (that and the copious amounts of prozac)! 

ImageFrequently! But it’s ok….. Darren, the children and my family help me find myself once again.

Image – Far fetched and extremely self-indulgent but also very true, very real feelings when bad days hit. 

Times like now I can sit and stare at my PC for ages and during this time I am telling myself what a bad parent I am. I am goading myself for not completing all the tasks for the business I should have done. I feel sad because the house looks a mess (we are decorating so everything is upside down). I feel sad because I want everyone else to be happy – ALL THE TIME! The list goes on but the depression does not. It does lift but only because I want it to. I no longer wish it to go away. I no longer look for cures and ways to be happy 100% of the time. Instead I accept what I have and deal with it every which way possible and that’s what makes me smile again – knowing that I have the strength to ‘get up and carry on’. 

ImageMy husband and friends remind me of this diagnosis frequently. “Yes Helen but you are bonkers – and that’s what makes you who you are”! I guess they are right. In a bid to better myself during the lulls I allow no more than 90 minutes on a morning of moping. This is the time where I sit and ponder, worry, chastise and play out every possible ‘what if’ scenario for the various aspects of my life. During this 90 minutes I sit, drink tea, shower, then put my face on, dry my hair and confront the world (via internet)! 

It’s hard. It’s self-indulgent. It makes me sad. It makes others sad but it’s me and I cope. I cope better every day and more importantly I plod on. I think this bout won’t last too long anyway – I have figured out where it has come from………

GARY!!!! He must have contained some of my happy! For those of you that don’t know, Gary was my pet ‘wrist lump’ (aka Ganglion – awful word) and he was recently removed! I guess I just miss Gary! 

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When Disaster Strikes We Pull Together

Time Flies

Call that person…… visit them!

Eeek! It appears to have been a while since I last posted on here…… May (I’m slightly ashamed). However, this is just one of the trials and tribulations of running a business, looking after a family including three girls (10, 6 and 4), a husband (our Daz – written boro style), two dogs – a cocker spaniel named Frank and a Jack S**t (shitzu named Dave), Haribo the Hamster, Maisie the Fish and of course the house. With all of this going on, my passion for writing slowly turns into the less able Helen that involves slumping on the settee with glazed eyes, a fuzzy head and a highly vacant look! Ok, so for those of you that know me well, this look is normal, but still, you get the general idea as to why I haven’t written in a while.

So what’s been happening? I guess my main news stems around my sister. Let’s set the scene………. It’s Thursday evening and has been a long week so far. The husband and I have decided to rope in a baby sitter (the ever faithful nephew) in order to take a trip to the cinema. We enjoy going to the pictures as it means we need not converse. Darren eats his popcorn way to loudly for my liking, I tell him off before moaning I’m too cold and he reminds me that I should have brought a jacket! Actually, that last part is a lie. Darren isn’t picky like me. He usually takes his jumper or coat off straight away and covers me over with it before I get the chance to say ‘I’m cold’ – he’s just good like that! This is our cinema ritual and I don’t think either of us would change it. Back to the scene setting……… My sister and her husband turn up out of the blue, summoning my nephew, husband and I to the kitchen. I’m busy racking my brains trying to figure out what I could have possibly done wrong (cause it’s all about me you know). Actually, no. This time, it’s all about my sister. Bloody breast cancer! Initial reaction from me…… ‘Well that’s the pictures cancelled – how selfish Sarah’! Humour = Defence Mechanism in our family. It’s what we do and you know what? It works. Obviously devastated, we discussed the situation as a family, talked it through with the children and took the time to listen to my sister in order to find out what happens from here in order to keep abreast (can’t claim that one for my own – stolen it off gammy boob herself) of the situation!

When it comes to blood relatives, closest of the close, in my family, there is myself and Sarah. Dad passed away 11 years ago and the mother has issues. Large helpings of narcissistic personality disorder with a side order of good old fashioned crazy means a non-existent relationship is the only way for us. Don’t feel sorry for us just yet though. What we have is blooooooming amazing! We have always been there for one another. Kept each other on the straight and narrow and been able to talk about and deal with any and every situation that has come our way (and believe me there have been a few). We have dealt with issues that I believe would break some families. Sarah and I? Still strong. Why? Because we communicate, talk about the problem and then move on. So many people are quick to dismiss others simply because an issue doesn’t go their way. Families are ruined by ‘who get’s invited to the wedding’, ‘who gets to be god parents’, ‘who spends the most time with who’…… in reality does any of this really matter? I can go a fortnight without seeing Sarah. I could cancel on her four times. She could turn me down for baby sitting duties (and let’s face it, who could blame her with my three), but are any of these things an issue? Of course they aren’t. We are there for one another when it matters and that’s what counts.

Where do we go from here? Last Saturday, I sat down with my sister and asked that very question. If everything goes to plan (and there is no reason why it shouldn’t), in two years from now, I will be writing a blog with the title ‘Beating Breast Cancer’ and telling you all about a very brave lady who I have always looked up to that now has a stomach to die for and a fine pair of (as Sarah would call them) ‘bangers’ (!) due to the re-constructive surgery she plans on having. Family, life, hard situations + humour, support, talking and copious amounts of tea = the ability to defeat anything.

Heads Up – I know I have made spelling mistakes, but, seriously, who is going to point them out……? You have to be nice to me – my sister has cancer 😉

Comments welcome…….

Proper Love My Sister - me like!!!!!!!!

Proper Love My Sister – me like!!!!!!!!

 

Written by Helen Turley of Viable SEO

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It’s Just One of Those Days……. ‘Sad Face’!

You all know the days I’m talking about; you feel grumpy and snappy but can’t explain why. Speaking to people requires a huge amount of effort as well as motivation and it appears that anything and everything you turn your hand to simply doesn’t work out. Of course it’s not really as bad as this. A non sufferer of anxiety will just put it down to ‘one of those days’ and plod on. For others however, such as myself, the feelings are intensified by the knot of ‘murrness’ lurking deep within the pit of the stomach. It’s like it just sits there lurking in the wings, desperate to make an unwanted appearance, resulting in butterflies the size of bats fluttering around the stomach with a side portion of paranoia! ‘That client emailed me ‘this response’ so he MUST be thinking I am incapable’. ‘A particular company hasn’t got back to me so they MUST be choosing to ignore me’! ‘My husband has asked me if there is a clean dress for our youngest so he MUST be hinting at the giant washing pile I have discussed in a previous post’! And finally, ‘My friend has not replied to me for a couple of days so that MUST mean she now doesn’t want me in her life’! Let’s break it down……

Cranky Pants

Image says it all…….

So the client I have decided thinks I am unable to carry out the work due to a recent response has not actually said those very words. His emails are always short and to the point as is his telephone manor. I know him well enough to understand that any issues would be brought immediately to my attention. Situation and analysis of problem number one dealt with.

Let’s move on. The company that happen to have not yet responded or as I worded it ‘are ignoring me’. Three days waiting for a response is not a long time in the grand scheme of things. I am notorious for being impatient yet can seriously take my time when it comes to responding. My friends (the close ones of which I’m lucky to be blessed with a handful of) all understand that when I don’t text back or call it’s just because I am busy/useless (tongue in cheek). I have one friend who will text me the same message repeatedly, every day until I answer. Another friend will text my phone, call my phone, ring the house phone then bring out the big guns by sending a text to my husband who will say ‘Helen, can you call this person and let them know you are still alive please’! Getting back to the lack of response from ‘said’ company, businesses have a lot to deal with on a daily basis, not just me – shock horror I know. You mean I am not the centre of the universe? Second issue analysed to the max and dealt with. Patience is a virtue.

Worry number three – the washing….. let’s face it, this one doesn’t even deserve a second thought. Husband was not hinting, just required some form of clothing for the child. If he was hinting then tough boobies – he knows where the washer is!

Final thought swimming around my brain is the lack of contact from a friend. Given what I have just said about my response process I don’t think this one requires any further question! The real friends are those that you don’t speak with for months on end then run into whilst out shopping and chat as if you saw each other the previous day.

If I can part with any worthy knowledge at all it’s the fact that people are strange – myself probably more than most! I can just hear certain voices laughing hysterically at my last statement given some of the recent conversations I’ve been involved in regarding alien abduction and reptilian likeness for Rhesus Negative individual’s (I may expand on this in future posts but possibly run the risk of losing readers)! I think I shall revoke the word ‘strange’ and replace it with ‘unique’. Everyone has their quirks, their issues, insecurities, paranoia’s and anxieties. It’s how we deal with each of these that matters. A logical thought process requires many to take a step back in order to work through the problem. Good old fashion laughter is a great back up. Keep smiling everyone 🙂

Smiley Face

‘Ta Daaa’!

 

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Time to be Poorly…..?

ImageAs any mum will know, there is seldom time to be poorly when you are a parent. There is nothing worse than waking up with a stinking cold, a stomach upset or a rotten virus come bug type episode that knocks you off your feet for a good few days. Children are built with a finely tuned instinct designed to recognise any weakness that happens to crop up and have a magical ability to hone in on this almost instantly. ‘A ha…. mum is poorly – I will shout at the top of my voice in order to get my sisters into trouble’! ‘Mum’s looking peaky – perhaps now is the time to create that mural on the bathroom wall with that fabulous new lipstick she spent a fortune on’, and finally ‘Oh pants – mam’s not well – my P.E kit won’t be washed’! The latter comes from my eldest – I must teach her to use the washer! Let’s face it, as a parent we simply cannot afford to be poorly.

To be fair, I am one of the lucky ones. My husband will take care of the children which involves feeding them and getting them to school if any illness happens to be during the week. I can usually tell when his limits have been met as voices will raise a little, doors begin to slam and he comes in and out of the bedroom constantly looking for ‘washing’; and things to ‘clean up’- this is the danger sign telling me I need to neck some strong pain killers and get moving pretty sharpish! Once I am better I can then clean up after them all (a wink to hubby should he be reading)!

I can’t help thinking that the stinking man flu I have just endured is Karma giving me a kicking after the recent experiment I performed. Let me first just set the scene for you. It’s Saturday evening. The children are in bed and my significant other is at the pub. I am sitting in my office at home (whilst Harry Styles stares back at me on one of my three screens – not only am I far to old to like Mr. Styles I am a geek), in my P.J’s and am going to indulge you in a story about washing. Yes, you read that correctly – I am going to tell you all about the experiment I did with my WASHING. ‘Wowzers’ I hear you all gasp! ‘Things are about to get exciting’!

Where I live is home to five people and that makes five pairs of pants on a daily basis (minimum – if I sneeze it could be more [massive joke there, we have a six year old with bladder issues]), five pairs of socks, five tops, trousers, vests, bra’s and whatever else anyone decides to fashion that day. By evening time the wash basket is full. Washing goes in, comes out, get’s dried. Here comes the clever (or tricky) part…….. Each person owns their own basket which goes into the bottom of their wardrobe. Anything that needs ironing gets folded and put into said basket. Other items are hung up straight away or put into drawers as necessary. With me so far? This is the method I have always adhered to and you know what – it works. It really works. The amount of washing remains under control and as long as at least one load of washing is done very day, myself, husband and children usually have everything we/they need. If this routine is carried out by me and me only all is well. When others get involved (namely the male of the household) it all goes pear shaped. ‘Please can you put a load in today’ I ask. And that is what he will do. In the washer, out of the washer, socks and pants on the breakfast bar, trousers and skirts folded, towels and tops in disarray on the dining table. Do they move from their newly allocated homes? Yes! Who moves them? Me!

Let’s minus a wife & mummy altogether. What happens then? This is where my tactical experiment came in. I decided to do no washing whatsoever over the past 8/9 days. What a cafuffle! ImageKids were scrabbling around every morning for school uniforms, PE and swimming kits were nowhere to be found and socks – man alive – I have never seen so many people scuffling in the sock box to find a matching pair. One morning my husband told me he had no fresh socks…….. I diplomatically decided not to answer!

Thursday arrived and admittedly I caved. It had become too much for me to bear. Not only was the kitchen adrift in odd socks, pants and swimming costumes, the foot of the bed had become home to three overflowing baskets of items desperate to be placed. The wash baskets of which we own three of were overflowing and the floor was becoming littered. Three hours I spent sorting out what was what and what should go where. When I had finished I sat and realised what a waste of time it was. Those three hours I could have spent doing something fun with my children. Should never have caved!

Anyway, I got my point across and hopefully the washing routine will kick in. Either that or I will be writing the exact same blog in three months time! I am guessing the latter is far more likely!

Just to be clear, comments I make in my blog posts are done so ‘tongue in cheek’. I wouldn’t change what I have for anything in the world. When it comes to daily life and relationships, everyone ‘goes through the motions’ from time to time. It’s how you deal with certain issues that counts. Humor certainly helps in our house. We manage to laugh about most things and I think this is the best medicine for everything – including those rotten times when you feel poorly.

Take vitamin C, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. If, like me, this proves to be too much of a chore, enjoy your family and friends, eat nice and naughty food sensibly, try and get decent sleep and have a drink once in a while! Each day is what you make of it folks! Plod on and don’t let the washing rule your life!

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Three Missing Cleveland Women Discovered a Decade Later

ImageLook at this innocent girls’ face – pretty, happy, full of life – Amanda Berry, lost a decade ago and found just this week by a neighbour. Ok, so this post is quite different from my first two but it’s a story that has touched me. I cannot comprehend what this young lady along with the other two missing for 9 years have endured. My heart goes out to each and every one of them, along with the 6 year old girl also found and believed to be Miss. Berry’s.

My thoughts move onto the family and friends of the three involved. How would you cope with this? Fingers crossed, touch wood and pray to whatever you may believe in that such a tragic event NEVER happens to anyone you know. I am lucky enough to have no experience on either side of this awful truth and am not even sure I could imagine the turmoil experienced on a daily basis. Lost, never found, no trace, how would I cope? You have to cope – it’s what we do. We get on with things yet never give up – not really. I am fairly certain there will always be that ray of hope lingering somewhere.

Just a short one today as I really must get some work done. I would like people to think about this story, look at friends, family and loved ones and appreciate them. We all have bad days. A bad decade does not bear thinking about.

To Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus, my heart goes out to you all. I hope you can learn to deal with past events and move on with your lives in the best way possible.

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Where’s Your Happy Place?

Image Good morning campers! The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the view of the waterfall is nothing shy of perfection. In reality the wind is a’blowin’, the clouds are grey and I am sitting in my dressing gown at my office desk! Just to be clear, I am fully dressed and have not been on the school run in my PJ’s – this would simply not be acceptable.

The picture I have included today is just one of my many ‘happy places’. It is a waterfall in Kildale Forest, North Yorkshire. I adore this place and visit often. Not only in person but in mind alike. Places like this are great if your day isn’t going all that well. Set aside five minutes to relax and take stock. Sit back and think of the place you love. If it’s somewhere you have visited, feel the air on your cheeks. Take in the outdoor scents typical of a dense forest. Allow your mind to wander for just a small amount of time. It works wonders!

My youngest turned 4 yesterday. I remember bringing her home from the hospital when reality suddenly hit……. ‘Uh oh – what have we done’ I thought (or similar words to that effect)! Three children – two of them under the age of two. Perhaps this is where my anxiety all started! As most parents do though I (we) muddled through and did what was necessary to ensure the girls were fed, watered and happy. Back then I said to my husband ‘Give it 3-4 years and things will be easier’ – wishing my girls lives away! Sure enough it is easier today. I can now take a shower without wondering if one child is busy decorating the wall with nail polish whilst another gives herself a fancy new haircut – both of these scenarios have occurred by the way!

The birthday girl had a fantastic day and I realised just how lucky I am when all three sat together at the breakfast table opening gifts, giggling and being kind to one another. To me – that’s family life. Those snippets of unconditional love and acceptance that seem to pop up just when you need them. As a mother, you take a step back and admire your creation(s), feeling extremely proud. Back in the real world it’s all ‘put your washing in the basket’, ‘have you fed the dog’, ‘who’s turn is it to load the dishwasher’, ‘please don’t push your sister down the stairs again’, ‘stop fighting over that spec of dust on the carpet’ and such like. When it all comes together, the laughing, smiling and kindness makes it all worthwhile. Who’d have thought it – my kitchen, that scene – another happy place…….

My day today mainly consists of writing, writing and then some more writing whilst drinking the tastiest coffee in all the land! I shall elaborate on this in further posts. Anyone who has a love for coffee should certainly try the blend I drink which comes from a temerarious coffee baron I recently discovered!

Business is certainly taking off, keeping myself and partner in crime busy! Our partnership developed towards the end of February this year and so far we are working extremely well together. His strengths are where my weaknesses lay and vice-versa. Straight talking and honesty works well for us and I am quietly confident this venture will be a huge success. For the first time in a long time I feel I’m doing something worthwhile that impacts mine and my families lives positively. Life is good. In fact life is great at the minute – I still enjoy visiting my happy place from time to time though.

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My First Post

Hello one and all. I’m Helen and this is my blog (my blog says hi too)! I have decided to start writing about work and family life and the issues surrounding its balance. I am confident that many of my readers will identify with a whole host of the comments and points raised over the coming weeks, months and years.

Family Life

I guess I should start with an introduction. I am 32 years old (soon to be 33 – eek)! I have a wonderfully supportive husband and three beautiful children. Our eldest daughter is 10 years old, laid back, clever, friendly, sensitive and a pleasure to be around. The middle girl is 6 and owns the biggest pair of blue eyes the world has ever seen! Stunning she is. This one is highly intelligent, bossy, loud, full of attitude and hilarious – great sense of humor (wow – I sound like I’m advertising my kids on eBay – they are NOT for sale)! Our youngest girl is 4 on Wednesday and the size of a 2.5 year old. Considering her size she is VERY loud! Her volume button seems to be broken and the decibel’s she can reach make for painful ears. Sporting huge brown eyes and a killer smile along with a ‘bolshy’ and determined personality, she will most certainly break some hearts. Her dream job is to be a ‘tooth fairy’. Failing that a ‘police dog’ will suffice. Yes – we were surely blessed with three girls and this is why my husband insisted we at least own male dogs! I fear for his sanity in later years.

Career

I’m not high flying and have not made my first million. Does this matter? To me it used to, yes. I wanted it all. I wanted to have the perfect career, earning the best money in order to provide my family with the moon on a stick. What have I realised? I bet many of you know what is coming…… I have learned the hard way that my children come first. I can’t get the first few years of their young lives back – I worked right through them. Luckily this concept raised itself to me back in November. Sometimes bad things happen but all for the greater good.

I have set up business in partnership with a close family friend and will comment in further blogs about how this is getting on. So far I am loving it. Good days, disappointing days, all in all a great move for me personally. I don’t have to answer to anyone other than my business partner and my own harsh rules and regulations. I’m a perfectionist unfortunately – something I always thought was a strength but have realised is in fact a curse – to be continued……. I take the girls to school most days and collect them every Friday. I am at home working. I am relaxed and at 5pm I step out of my office before making my way to the kitchen for a catch up with my favourite people.

Personal Life

My sister is my world. She is my family (outside of those living at home). Dad passed away almost 11 years ago and the mother – maybe we will elaborate later – maybe we won’t. This blog is about subjects and people that matter.

I live with anxiety and bouts of depression. No sympathy or ‘ooooo’s’ and ‘ahhhhh’s’ required – it’s manageable. The anxiety is like a larger dose of butterflies – large moths if you will. This in turn leads to slight depression. Learning to recognise triggers and deal with symptoms has been a learning curve but one I have mastered quite successfully. Over the last couple of months I have learned to control an embarrassing neck twitch and have just about stopped shaking on a morning. Healthy diet and exercise……. I’m working towards these. Friends – I’m lucky to know a handful of truly beautiful people who have always been there for me. They know me and understand me. We can go months without contact then turn up at the door – it’s fine. That’s what friendship is about. Highly important to me.

This is a snippet of me. I have lots to say. Plenty of opinions, stories and tales to tell. I am planning on writing at least twice a week so come back soon and read my blog again! Feel free to leave comments. It would be great to know how other people cope with work, family and a busy life in general.

 

 

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