Changing my Perspective

It’s been such an interesting time for us recently and to say that I’m changing my perspective almost seems like an understatement.  Things have changed dramatically since I reached a turning point nearly 9 weeks ago.  April 2nd I was feeling horrendously low.  I was in so much pain walking, and just not wanting to leave the house.  It was getting worse.  Have you ever treated your body so badly that you literally get that feeling, ‘I’m going to die if I don’t change something soon’.  I had got to a point where I didn’t see a way out.  I didn’t feel like anything was ever going to change.  That we’d got to the point that I was going to be one of those people who just live in their bed and their husbands bring them food, and they start to become the bed as they are so huge and then magazines come and write articles about them.  I wanted to die.

Looking at all the things around me that I have going for me, my amazing husband, our beautiful children, I’m talented in a lot of areas, maybe a jack of all trades and a master of none, but there are many things that I could turn my hand to and do well.  There’s something horrendously wrong when my eating habits, weight issues, anxiety and depression are bringing me to the point of suicide.  I told James how I was feeling and said ‘we HAVE to go to church tomorrow’.  I was desperate.  Something needed to change, and I didn’t know where else to turn.

I’ve grown up in a christian family, I’ve always known Jesus, but over the previous 6 months I had got myself to a point where I was so low I was shutting out everyone and everything.  Cancelling everything in my diary, not wanting to see people because I was so aware of how much weight I’d put on.  I could barely walk at times due to my weight and declining health.  I was being tested for everything under the sun, cameras down throats, cameras needing to go in my tummy, ultrasounds, smears, blood tests, my body was telling me that something was wrong and the doctors were trying to figure out what it was.  Every test turned up nothing.  Constant vomiting, blood appearing in lots of places that it shouldn’t meant that they kept testing me but they weren’t finding anything.  Anxiety was not doing so well at this point either.  I just didn’t want to be around people, I felt a fraud around the children, I was avoiding the older ones as I felt they could see through me.  It was just an awful time, and it was getting worse.

James heard my cry and agreed we’d go to church the next day.  We went somewhere new, I didn’t want to see anyone that knew me, I’d closed them out.  I also didn’t want everyone gossiping about how much weight I’d put on.  So, we decided to try a new church in Manchester.  There was a visiting preacher that week who was a comedian.  He was really funny, but he also chatted about how he tended to be really introverted with his thoughts and get so caught up in his thinking he’d destroy an idea before it even had a chance, he was describing how I felt.  He talked about how he would tell himself ‘I need to be changing my perspective‘.  To have listened to this guy chat about life and be so funny, to then hear how down he could get if he left his mind to it’s own devices.  I just really related and felt a freedom for how I had been feeling and that I wasn’t so abnormal.

I realised that something needed to change dramatically but I didn’t know how to do it.  I just pretty much cried through most of his preach and most of the singing.  They did an alter call at the end if anyone wanted to become a christian.  This wasn’t me.  I knew Jesus, I’d grown up loving Him.  Then they asked if anyone felt distant from God.  I knew, I knew I had to put my hand up.  Some people came over and brought me a little pack, with a Bible in and invited us to chat to them at the end in the coffee area.  I chatted to a lovely lady who I think didn’t know how to deal with me.  Seeing a lady with four children telling her they’d got to the point of suicide the night before.  She could sense my desperation, and see how tragic it was with all these beautiful faces around me.  This lovely lady, her name was Janet, just prayed for me.  I cried some more and we went home.

Something changed in me that day.  That week, I attended a meeting in someone’s home that I’d never met before.  They invited us all as a family as we couldn’t get a babysitter.  I also took myself off to my Mum’s one of the days that week.  This was just absolutely unheard of and James didn’t know what was going on.  I can’t say that everything is magically better, but bit by bit, step by step I’m getting stronger all the time.  I attended a party this week to celebrate my Mum’s friends sixtieth (which I blogged about here) with people who’ve known me for years, this is something I doubted I would be able to do again, unless I somehow miraculously lost all my weight.  But because I’d been changing my perspective I just didn’t care anymore what people thought of me.  I realised that people can think whatever they like, they always will anyway.  I can’t let it stop me living my life.  This had definitely been a huge part of the anxiety for me.

I have a MASSIVE amount of weight to lose.  So much weight that a brand want to work with me, and if we collaborate together they want to get my story into the press.  I’ve decided not to shy away from this.  I don’t know if it will happen, I don’t know what people will think when they read the article.  I know there will be negative comments, but I’ve determined not to let this be something that stops me encouraging other people that it’s never too late to change, to make a difference.  Changing my perspective has saved my life.  Looking outside of myself, and for me personally, looking to Jesus when I’m feeling low is getting me through.  The difference in who I am now is gigantic.  My husband can’t believe the difference.  It’s been two months and I’m living a completely different lifestyle.

Is everything magically better?  Is it heck.  I still have about two people’s worth of weight to lose, my home is still messy, it will take me time to sort it all out while doing all the other things that I need to do in a day, looking after two toddlers, preparing meals for my family, cleaning up after preparing the meals, getting back on top of my blog as I have deadlines and contracts to live up to (more about that to come soon).  I read the Marie Kondo book ‘The Life-changing magic of tidying‘ last week and we’re working our way through the decluttering stage.  I’ll write more about that sometime in the near future also.  Nothing happens overnight, but I’m changing my perspective and slowly I’m getting there.  I’m feeling excited for the future and I hope that this general blurt about where I’m up to at the moment can encourage somebody else.

There are so many people in this world with real, life-altering problems, and I don’t want to be someone who destroys their own life with their negative mind when I am so blessed to have my health, and my family.  When you’re feeling down choose to look above your circumstances.  Focus on other things.  You’ll soon realise how insignificant the thoughts that captivated you are and start to live for the things that make you feel free.

changing my perspective, I'm Every Mum, focusing on the future, Wayne Dyer quote quote by Wayne Dyer

7 Steps to Simplify Your Life

7 Steps to Simplify Your Life

Before I start I just want to point out that none of this is my original thought although I wholeheartedly agree with it 100%.  I was visiting a local church Sunday evening as they had a visiting speaker that I have LOVED for the best part of two decades.  Paul Scanlon is an amazing teacher, trainer and fantastic communicator.  When he said that he would be talking about how to ‘Simplify Your Life’ my iPad notes were even more ready to go if that was possible.

Now I’m not one to just regurgitate things that I have heard, but this was so helpful to me.  I felt that it would be almost criminal to not share this information with the majority of my audience that are busy mothers trying to juggle a life/work/blogging balance.  As a race we crave simplicity but we’re moving further and further away from it with each generation.  It’s true that complexity is costly…the more we have, the more we need to maintain.  Makes sense doesn’t it?  So, with all this in mind I’m going to pass on these little nuggets of wisdom.

If you would prefer to listen to the podcast for yourself then click here.

1) Try to reduce Drama in your world

For there to be drama you need a victim, a villain and a conspiracy theory.  When I was struggling with depression this was so true for me.  I was often the victim, and I would believe that people didn’t like me.  Usually I just had too much time on my hands and I’d decided that they were doing it on purpose.  When the reality was, they probably weren’t giving me any second thought.  I saw some of the people at the weekend who had often made me feel so small, and I had determined in my head, that it would be lovely to see them now that I was happy.  I wouldn’t be searching for little things that backed up my once conspiracy theory.  In this case, it turns out, it actually was them.  I was crazily happy and tried to chat away as normal, they switched on their ‘mean girls’ act and genuinely were as rude as I’d convinced myself they couldn’t be.  I cried for an hour, as it took me by surprise. You know what though, in those scenarios, I have now removed myself.  I will not put myself in their company again.  It is not worth the time, drama, it is not worth risking going back to that place of feeling down, when I’ve been doing so well.  So to reduce that drama, I simply will remove myself from that situation as it isn’t somewhere that I ‘have’ to go.  In our family lives, it’s not always as easy to just cut people out, but if you reduce the drama in your life that you can control, it makes it a lot easier to cope with the real dramas that life throws at us and our loved ones sometimes.

2) Learn to say No

This is so vitally important.  I guess when it comes to the blogging world, you can compare this to linky’s, reviews and projects that really you don’t have time for.  When I first started blogging I was so enthusiastic and wanted to do so many things.  I had so many ideas.  I knew Morgana at ‘But Why Mummy Why‘ from outside the blogging world and I would text her asking if she wanted to join in with these linky ideas that I had.  She would respectfully decline as she already had a lot on that she was trying to keep up with.  I may not have understood it then (I certainly do now, with blogging etiquette, trying to improve readership and lots of commenting) but I 100% respected her decision.  It’s so easy to say yes to things, especially reviews when you’re starting out, but if something is not worth your time, or doesn’t fit in with the ethos of your blog then feel free to say no.

We go out of our way to teach our children that it’s ok to say no.  No if they don’t want to do something in particular, no if they don’t want kisses.  Sometimes in life there are things we just have to do, and we teach them that too.  Other than that I am a firm believer in establishing personal boundaries for myself and for our children.  I was a yes person for far too long and as lovely as it is being the person that people can rely on, it is the fastest way to burn out.  Take the time to love yourself and learn to say no.

3) Try to control your media intake

It is everywhere.  There is so much information flying at us from everywhere all the time.  It can be a distraction and often it isn’t the best information for us.  The internet for one can be an amazing resource that serves us in many ways, but also, in today’s society trial by media is now a disgrace.  It used to be innocent until proven guilty, now the media determines what they think about something and drag names through the gutter to the point that the innocent will probably take their own lives before they even get to trial.  It’s so sad.  Remember to take a step back.  Have a time that you put the phones away.  I love what Katie at ‘Mummy Daddy Me‘ says about having a no technology rule when they go to bed.  It makes it so much easier to switch off, converse with your spouse, have quality time, and actually get the sleep that we need without a twitter message demanding our attention.

4) Get Organised

I love the quote that he used here ‘it’s hard to change the world when you can’t find your keys’ haha.

I’m married to a dyspraxic so I’m very aware of how being disorganised can affect our world.  I love organisation, that doesn’t mean that I’m blaming everything we do wrong on my disorganised husband, it means we just have to work harder together to be organised.  To be fair, James doesn’t ever know what’s going on, I just tell him what we are doing that day.  He has to work extra hard at work to keep track of what is going on.  It usually means for him that he doesn’t leave something until he has finished the task at hand, otherwise he will get sidetracked too easily.

Being disorganised brings complexity and stress into your life that you don’t need.  It affects your own self-confidence, it can cost you financially (yep, disorganised people are the ones who end up paying the late fees).  This doesn’t mean that you need to become OCD, he stated it as a commitment to live well, not live tidy.

The truth is we can only really do what we can organise.

5) Get some Margin in your life

Margin is the distance between you and your limits.  This was so helpful for me.  I have recently been feeling so much better that I have been looking at things around me and wondering what else I can start doing.  Hearing this was literally like a light bulb moment for me.  I felt like God was going *nudge* ‘listen up here’.  I start work in 13 days, I will be working night shifts.  Martina will be going back home at the end of September.  I felt like God said to me, ‘that’s enough for now’.  There is enough change coming into my world at the moment.  Just because I am feeling great doesn’t mean that I’m yet in a place to be offering my services to every man and his dog because I love helping people, and I feel like for once I can.  (I mentioned that I was a yes person for so long).  Through my depression, I learned that there are times I just have to say no.  It’s great that I’m feeling good now, but if I keep piling up then I’m going to not have much distance left between my feeling great and being stretched to my limit.

I love being busy but I have certainly had to learn my limitations as a Mother of 4.  It was all well and good trying to do things for the church, but when I wasn’t managing to cook dinner for my own family or keep on top of the washing then it wasn’t really helping anyone.  Being that way can start to build resentment, and really, it’s only brought on by yourself.

6) Learn to play

This was my favourite point.  I absolutely loved learning this next information.  Now I am by no means a scientist or biologist, neurologist, but I found this fascinating.  He talked about how there are divinely superfluous neurones in our brain that are fired up when we play.  Stimulating these keeps us young.  This will be my biggest reason for doing the crazy challenges with the children on our YouTube channel.  He talked about Grandchildren and how they remind us of the importance of play (I can’t wait for Grandchildren haha, but I would like to keep our little ones small as long as possible first).

He chatted about people who had been through horrendous circumstances and families dealing with cancer and how when they engaged in play, you could see the shift on their faces, because play helps us momentarily forget.  It has the power to shift you, to reintroduce you to fun, joy and happiness.  I discovered this the other week (and I wrote about it ‘Sun, Sea and Sinking Sand) when we decided to venture dangerously off to the sea despite having no changes of clothes.  It was so much fun.  I felt like me again.  I realised the depression had finally lifted and I was beyond happy again.

7) Learn to manage your expectations

This is something I again had to learn the hard way when I was depressed.  Depression is very selfish, it just is.  It is all consuming, and you struggle sometimes to see where everyone else is coming from.  There were many times I wondered why person ‘x’ wasn’t doing what I would do in that situation if I saw myself struggling as an outsider.  People have their own lives though, their own struggles and I am not the centre of their universe, even though I was unfortunately my own.

James could not meet all of my needs, it would be impossible.  If we expect too much from people then nobody ends up happy, they feel stretched trying to make us happy but will only ever fail, and then we feel disappointed.

Paul Scanlon put it like this ‘if you don’t learn to manage your expectation you will have to manage your disappointment’.

Learning to manage your expectations is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

quotes about play, don't call me step mummy, simplify your life, mummy blogger

Let's Talk Mommy

Fraud, Failure, Focused?

Fraud, Failure, Focused?

So, life has been really difficult the last few weeks and for those that follow my blog normally you may have noticed holes in the usual series’ that I partake in.

When I was pregnant with Eden I stopped blogging as I was so depressed (hormones) it would’ve just been the most miserable blog ever. I have noticed the same pattern the last three weeks. I really don’t want to stop blogging, I want to be continuing especially with the linkys that I love being part of. I was so deliberate with the blogs that I wanted to write and my purpose for blogging this time around that I have felt like a complete failure for being unable to keep up with some.

Our ‘Me and Mine’ portrait this month for example, I was so disappointed that we didn’t manage to have a picture to post at the end of the month. I was just far too unwell and then this week when I was finally in a place where I could travel somewhere to grab a snap (one where I’ve at least managed to brush my hair) it wasn’t our days to have the girls. So we’re now waiting to get the photo this weekend.

I don’t want to pretend that life is always perfect on the blog, far from it, I just have always been taught that if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything. So when I’ve been struggling with feeling low because I was unwell, then the children unwell, then me again. I just didn’t want to be writing about it. I also didn’t want to just write about the positives and pretend the bad wasn’t happening as I don’t want it to be an untruthful representation of life.

I guess this is where I am still figuring out my creative voice on our blog. I have lots of exciting news to report and am looking forward to sitting down with the laptop properly now that my head can think clearly and write about all the great things that are happening in our lives. At the moment I am sat at the dentist surgery waiting to have my wisdom tooth out as it is very heavily filled (thank you pregnancy for the constant sugar cravings and the hyperemesis for not being able to brush the back teeth properly without throwing up). They knew when they filled it, it may create problems but it was worth a try to avoid extraction.

As an ex dental nurse I am well aware this problem could’ve been avoided had I been more vigilant, but when you become a new mum, self-care tends to go out of the window, there were days I was lucky if I’d managed to get dressed and brush my hair. Not saying I don’t brush my teeth *ewww* it’s the first thing I do in the morning, I just could’ve been better at flossing, making sure I cleaned the gaps at the back properly to avoid food packing. Should’ve laid off the sugar but I didn’t. When I wanted energy I went straight for the fizzy stuff. Not good for the teeth or the waist line.

I have a baby that is about to turn one next week and is not happy at all for me to be typing on the laptop without wanting to join in with me.  I have a husband that I hardly see and it doesn’t seem right to be sat blogging all evening when he is home, although I know he doesn’t mind.  He is gracious like that.  It’s just difficult when I’m behind with things that are important (like washing, cleaning) to be sat blogging.  I could’ve been up to date with blogging the amount of time I was stuck unwell in bed but as I said I didn’t want it to be sad blogs and I’ve never been good at being fake.  What you see is always what you get, and I try to be more gracious with this when it comes to being a parent.  I am definitely learning this skill, I have become older and wiser over the years, but could definitely always use some more wisdom.  Well, couldn’t everyone?

It took me over a week and two sittings to finish this blog and I will be aiming to get back on track with the blogging, it just isn’t as much of a priority as some other things are in my life right now as you can imagine.

We have started trialling ‘Infantis’ from Bio-Kult and I’m hoping that we will all inherit stomachs of steal as a result and be able to avoid so many bouts of illness going forward.  Look out for the review it will be coming once we have been using it for a while.
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dontcallmestepmummy, the baby, blended family, mummy blog, soft play
one next week – can’t believe it