Archive for the 'Random observations' Category

Mother Appeaser bids her disciples adieu…for now!

This blog may receive the record for being the shortest in existence ever but for various reasons, I’ve decided that things have run their very short course and I will be closing it down in the next few days.  May I thank the merry  band of readers who I have gained along the way.  When I blog again (it’s a filthy habit, I know I’ll be back lol!) I’ll find you and you’ll find me, I’m sure.  Life has shown me that the important people in your life are ever present in the most unexpected and wonderful ways.

The past week has been chaotic, catalytic and cathartic.  In that order.  I have had three huge realisations – nay epiphanies – bang bang bang, one after the other.  The net result is that despite my father’s continuing health problems and uncertainty over where I will be living once my flat tenancy expires, I feel a new life is beginning for me right now.  I’ve hit the emotional ‘reset’ button and am finally ready to begin moving forward and living my life again.  I shall now commence with a wonderfully indulgent ramble as to why this is.  If you’re interested feel free to read on.  But if not, mwah mwah, and see you soon…maybe ;o) Times are a-changin.

So back to it.  The cause of these epiphanies?  First up I’ve felt increasingly unfulfilled in my career of late.  I’ve felt trapped because I have a killer flexible working arrangement in a job that pays well but is ultimately not as challenging as it could be.  I’ve got bored and probably a bit disillusioned.  I started writing this blog as a way to try and spice things up and re-engage with the topic of knowledge management but I’ve realised that’s not enough and hasn’t had the desired effect as I largely rarely write about KM!

Whether it is coincidence or whether it is me making my own luck I do not know, but after sharing my discontent with my boss and discussing future hopes,  I have within the space of three little but HUGE days been given some tremendous opportunities to develop myself and work on projects that I never dreamed possible. 

I also have found myself an incredible and wonderful mentor.  In our initial conversations she has energised me, inspired me, shown an amazing confidence in me that has startled me and so is rebuilding and increasing my confidence hugely.   

I of course am now having a huge ‘oh shit’ moment but that’s good.  It shows you are stretching yourself and challenging yourself.  So I want the time back I was spending on this blog to spend part of which on my personal development.  And on really relaxing more away from the laptop screen in the evenings.

Second up the civility and politeness with ex husband is now paying dividends.  We’ve hit a sweet spot I didn’t think was possible.  Negotiations over holidays and changes to contact dates have gone swimmingly by email.  Collection and drop offs have become a breeze.  I would like to take a moment to thank myself for giving myself permission to be friendly with him.  It doesn’t mean I’m compromising my values or inner feelings towards him.  It just means that we’re building a positive ‘working relationship’ for our daughter.

I smiled earlier.  A friend was asking whether the finalising of the divorce, which is imminent in 2 months, will lift a weight from my mind.  He is convinced it will have a big impact.  I disagree.  I can’t deny there will certainly be a sense of relief but it won’t be a ground shaking me running around the flat in victory laps with my t-shirt over my head kind of relief! 

I’ve hit a positive equilibrium with my ex husband.  I suddenly realised when chatting to superwoman (aka my mum) this morning that my ex husband, the divorce, his partner – that they’ve not entered my head once over the past few weeks.  Why?  They have no reason to!  Yes it was stressful earlier in the year with the threats and counter threats of court action.  But that’s passed and the divorce is now just bits of paper flitting backwards and forwards between solicitors who are making pernickety edits to wording in a vain effort to screw us both for a last few quid before it all ends. 

Now it’s just paperwork and process.  There’s nothing more to agree or disagree over.  Pieces of paper will be filed and then another piece of paper will arrive which says Decree Absolute.  What changes though?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  For me the divorce was finalised and ‘over’ when I decided to stop behaving like a prat, rise above the childish behaviour of my ex husband and adopt a calm approach to dealing with him. 

At the end of the day the only thing that piece of paper will do is (a) empty my bank account when I pay my solicitors bill and (b) refill my bank account with equity so I can buy a house for me and my beautiful little munchkin.  So writing about ex husband, the divorce, his new partner and all things related on this blog is no longer needed.  That stuff?  It’s very last year, dahling. 

Third up I’ve accepted that I am single again.  I’ve spent a few weeks in denial, wondering how I would cope.  I was left reeling when my relationship with ex boyfriend fell apart.  I never thought I’d meet someone I connected with so hugely.  Once I realised this I let the brakes off in a way I didn’t think possible following the pain of my marriage break up.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the man I fell so deep and hard in love with, would leave my life.  I really thought that was it. A new and unexpected beginning.  We were making dreams and schemes and I felt sure that we could become a happily family, me, he and munchkin. 

Yet as ever life throws vicious little curve balls that clonk you on the forehead just when you’re not expecting it.  I’ve stumbled around the past few weeks in a daze.  I’ve felt so incredibly alone, with the London life buzzing around me.  I’ve wanted to just wail ‘why me?  Just for once, dammit, could it not have worked out? Don’t I deserve to be happy?’  Perhaps I should have done just that.  I’d have got a seat on the tube for once, at least!  (Sidebar: perhaps we should all embrace our ‘inner nutter’ more?)

With my dad’s illness what I’ve really, really needed is hugs, cuddles, kisses, a warm body to curl up with, fall asleep with, wake up with.  I’ve needed to feel loved, to be loved, to feel affection, to be wrapped up in someones arms and be told ‘it’s all going to be alright’.  I’ve needed that more in the past few weeks since dad has got ill than I have since my marriage broke up.  Instead I’ve come home every night to a cold, empty flat with a diary cleared of arrangements. 

Now the shock that dad’s life may never be the same again if his illness/condition stabilises but cannot be cured (and right now we still don’t know), the practical and rational me is taking over again.  I’ve cancelled my holiday so I can go on their holiday with my parents so they don’t have to cancel theirs as it requires driving and he can no longer drive.  I’m sorting out cabs when they need them and getting a routine in place to ensure they can get to the supermarket and still give the care that is required for my frail grandmother. 

The upshot of being left to sweep up the embers of the divorce proceedings, radically shifting things with my career (which I decided on and discussed with no one – a world first for little miss nervous old me!) and also dealing with dad’s illness, has reminded me I’m a tough little fighter who can cope and does cope on her own.

However it’s also taught me that I need to trust that whoever is in my life won’t run when the going gets tough because I don’t run away from the tough stuff.  I fundamentally believe if two people are meant to be together then they bond together through adversity, facing it together, using it as an opportunity to unite, supporting one another fully.  You don’t run when there’s a problem if you really want to be with someone.  You give.  You receive.  You work at it.  You share the load.  Ex boyfriend and I, for whatever reason, couldn’t.  We unravelled and are now face our challenges apart and alone.  

As I say I accept this now.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt.  Doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt for a long, long time.  But I’m slowly now getting my breath back, emotionally, as it were.  Inspite of this my little heart has now run for cover and got back in it’s cosy box where it will hide until it’s safe to come out again.  For now there’s just two beady eyes peering out from the corner where the box of the lid hasn’t been put back on quite properly.  That’s ok.  Little heart can peek away whilst it has some R&R.  When it’s ready I know it will nudge the top of the box off and have a proper look around at what’s doing. 

The warm winds of spring and of change are now blowing.  I know from experience that just when I’m not expecting it, something – or someone – good will come my way.  It always does.  Like a rather famous golfer once said, ‘”the more I practice, the luckier I get”.  We make our own fate, after all! 

Love to you all,


What every parent needs in their toolbox

Emergency Chocolate

This is now in a safe place behind glass in my kitchen.

Nuff said.

10 free things I like

I love Super Single Mum’s post 10 free things I like.  It’s amazing how money, greed, materialism can tie us up in knots and make us lose sight of what’s really important.  I’ve got to disagree with her on the dawn chorus though.  I’m a light sleeper and the tweeting sods, coupled with the brightness so early, is making me wake up at 6am every morning.  To say I’m counting down until the clocks go back on Sunday is an under statement!

So what are the top 10 free things that you like or love?  This is a great meme so here’s mine:

  • The expression of delight on my daughter’s face when she sees me at collection time at nursery.  Followed by the way she runs across the room shouting ‘mummy, mummy’ and flings her arms around my neck.  She isn’t talking properly yet but she doesn’t need to because I’m bathed in her love every time she does that.
  • Reading a book with my daughter before she goes to bed.  I sit in the arm chair and she goes to her bookcase and chooses a book, brings it over, I take it and lift her up on my lap and we have a nice snuggle with Pooh Bear, her milk and read together.  It always makes me giggle the way she’s so insistent on climbing down to go and get more.
  • OK, another the same as Super Single Mum here but you can’t be spending time with friends and family. 
  • Watching and listening to the sea.  No matter what country I’m in.  It’s so relaxing.  One of my favourite memories of this is being in Zanzibar on the final happy holiday that my ex husband and I had.  Despite the contempt I have for him now, nothing will take away my memories of that holiday.  There was a reef about a half a mile out and there was a constant roaring sound of the water breaking against it.  I stayed in a straw beach hut and at night, all you could hear was the wind blowing through the palm trees and this almighty roar of the water, intensified by the quiet of everything else and the darkness.  It was an odd and eerie feeling to hear the power of the water but know you were competely safe from it’s harm.
  • Meditation.  I’m rather rubbish at it and I don’t have the discipline to remember to do it despite setting myself a target to do 20 minutes every night before bed.  But when I remember and do it, it’s bliss.  I can’t recommend Mindfulness in Plain English highly enough.
  • Feeling the sun on my skin.  I love the summer.  I love feeling warm and not having to wear shoes.  I count down to the day it’s warm enough to wear flip flops.  
  • Eating outdoors, especially breakfast, which feels decadent for some reason!
  • Music.  It’s mood altering powers scare me every time.
  • Being in bed when it’s raining or stormy.  It reinforces the cosiness of being indoors.  It takes me back to being a little girl and being on holiday with my parents in our caravan.
  • Cuddles.  Needs no explanation!

The joy of sharing and learning together. Amen to fuzzy groups.

Part of my job is to review interesting knowledge management white papers and thought leadership and ‘socialise it’ (ha – 10 bs bingo points please), sorry, ‘share’ it with my team.  It’s a task I love.  I find it invigorating to reach out there and see what people are saying.  I get excited when some thinking prompts new insights or makes me question an existing approach with a client.

So I’d like to take a moment to enjoy the fuzzy, warm, joyous feeling I’ve just experienced.  Two colleagues have just thanked me for sharing two interesting papers with them.  They said they find it motivating and inspiring and critical to helping us take our thinking forward.  I’m all made up.  And we’re hatching plans for a fuzzy group lunch to knock some of the thinking and ideas around (I prefer fuzzy groups to focus groups.  There’s less pressure!)

I can bounce up and down on my tail like Tigger in an excited way about a new thought or idea but I soon run out of steam if I don’t have someone to take the discussion forward with.  Then I become a bit Eeyore about it when the new thought or idea runs out of steam.  There’s a real joy in sharing and learning together and I love the way someone else’s reaction can shed new light on something you thought you had understood or had your own take on.

Hattitude – you’ve either got it or you ain’t

Get ahead, get a hat.  I’m too young for that 40s slogan but in this chilly weather, I would dearly love to be able to wear hats.  I think my face is too round.  Or my head too big.  I pondered this with my esteemed colleagues recently and asked if, given as I blogged yesterday that  I rarely look in the mirror, then in theory what I actually look like in a hat shouldn’t matter any more.  If I like what the hat looks like when it’s off, then who cares what it looks like when it’s on because – wait for the genius here – I don’t have to look at it.

Much like the back of my hair and my backside.  I don’t have to ever look at them unless I’m in a particularly unfortunate changing room.  Which is rare these days considering most of my clothes are bought second hand on ebay, gawd bless yer.  Always BNWOT or BNWT mind.  Lady’s got her standards.

There is, however, one potential flaw in this plan and she is knee high to a grass hopper but has incredible super powers with this sort of thing.  You see sometimes when munchkin is splish sploshing in the bath I jump in the shower. This, for some reason, evokes gales of laughter from the 19 month year old guru who I have given birth to.  I say guru because she obviously has some magic sight that us lesser mortals do not have that leads her to see something so hysterically funny in my naked complexion.  Hence she will most likely have the same reaction to mummy in a hat.  Even if she is getting ahead.

However, as one my dear colleague pointed out, it’s not the hat but the attitude you wear it with that counts.  She’s one sassy mama.  So we christened it hattitude.  And I’m going to wear it from now on.  Even if I’m not wearing any hats.

Acknowledgement to Hattitude for the photo.

Single parenting: a different type of reflection

The reality of single parent life means that the majority of your time is spent rushing around and not thinking about yourself.  Your every waking second is spent either busting a gut at work to earn a crust (inevitably cramming a 5 day week into the 4 days I work to prove that my flexible working isn’t harming operations), then busting a gut doing the nursery run either side or work, then busting a gut to ensure you’re organised and one step ahead for bubba (is the nursery bag packed with spare clothes?  is stuff washed for tomorrow?  must remember to speak to nursery about where the missing grey sock has gone etc)  then finding the energy to have that precious quality time with bubba on the moments when you aren’t running around like a headless chicken. 

Not to mention trying to keep the flat tidy and organised after the trail of destruction that munchkin can leave within seconds.  Cue picking up the wet flannel from the floor that she’s pulled down from the sink and mopping up the water so she doesn’t slip.  Rolling the toilet paper back onto the roll (I swear she’s auditioning in secret to be an Andrex puppy).  Putting all the grill trays back that have found their way from the kitchen into a toy box somewhere and removing the shoes and Happyland characters that have been stacked in their place.  And repeat.

Anyway I was absent mindedly brushing my teeth at boyfriends house the other day whilst munchkin was off visiting her dad when I noticed a woman looking at me.  I jumped for a second, heart pounding.  The startled on her expression was almost comical.  There she was.  And no he hasn’t been hiding a secret bit of female fluff in the bathroom.  It was me.  It was my reflection.  In the huge mirror hanging over the bath. 

I suddenly realised that in my world of rushing around I never actually stop to notice what I look like in the mirror any more.  Not in a vain sense.  I just don’t think about me and what I look like.  I don’t give a second thought to the image I’m projecting with my clothes.  I couldn’t tell you what’s in fashion.  It’s enough to get out of the house with no snot, dribble or toothpaste wiped on me. 

Nor do I give a seconds thought to my hair other than to run a brush through it so there’s no tangles.  Hair that through being studiously ignored has now got so long its tumbling down my back like it used to when I was 18.  Except now it’s now got some imposter grey hairs and is lacking any lustre despite an almost daily dose of Pro V. 

So I stopped and actually spent a few odd minutes looking back at me.  I think the twinkle in my eyes is still there.  Or perhaps it’s the glint from the metal off the shopping trolleys that are now parked under each eye.  I’ve got an alright figure.  Probably half a stone heavier than I’d like to be but I’ve been eating properly for some time now and close friends will tell you when I’m not eating it’s a fair signal I’m very stressed.  I’m curvy.  I like curvy.  Sorry Kate Moss but there’s plenty of things that taste better than being thin.  Treat yourself to a decent cheese board, love, and a glass of port.

In the end I smile.  Because although I look after myself and I like to think I dress nicely, and although I definitely look more haggard than I used to thanks to the strains of single parent life, actually none of that matters.  This face, this tired, tired face, is the one that smiles ecstatically when I collect munchkin from nursery every day.  This beleagured face is the one that makes munchkin’s beautiful little face light up like a Christmas tree, makes her drop whatever toys she’s holding, and run with her arms in the air, barreling through whoever or whatever is in her way to be swept up into my arms to be smothered in kisses and hellos when I appear at the nursery door. 

I may be starting to resemble Cousin It but it’s liberating nonetheless!

Acknowledgement to Susie B for  use of the photo.

Single parenting: love is…

Valentines Day prompts me to consider what love is in the broader, not necessarily romantic, sense.  Since my marriage fell apart 2 years ago I have been blessed to be surrounded by supportive and loving friends and family.  I’d like to take a little opportunity today to thank them, tho most do not read or even know about this blog, for the little big things they’ve done in moments that show their love for me and for my beautiful daughter…

  • For fixing the things that become broken, sometimes without telling me, sometimes when I’ve been too busy to even notice that something needs putting right.  For being objective when I’m too emotional to be able to step back.  Thank you Dad.
  • For saying ‘you are so, so lucky’ and smiling at my daughter, when I’m finding it really tough going.  It so simply reminds me what’s important when I’m caught up in a swirling moment of pressure.  For nodding and agreeing even when I’m talking rubbish more often than I like to admit.  Thank you Mum.
  • For always making me laugh.  For showing more strength in overcoming an unspeakable pain than anyone I know.  For sharing pointless obssessions with points lifestyles that we’ll never have the money to live.  God bless all the Laura Ashley chairs we shall never afford.  Thank you sis.
  • For giving the best bear hugs in the world and for always knowing who played that song.  Thank you SJR.
  • For being the big sister I never had.  For always stopping to think deeply and always responding in detail to my periodic cries for advice.  For always having a new great book you are reading, to share.  Thank you AK.
  • For all the clothes and toys you’ve given me over the months for munchkin.  You’ve saved me a small fortune.  Thank you LW.
  • For 32 years of friendship that we now see replayed as our daughters play together.  Thank you CR though you’ll always be CM to me.
  • For putting your thoughts and your love and support ‘out there’ for the benefit of us all.  Thank you to all the bloggers and forum lurkers.

Acknowledgement to Graur Razvan Ionut for use of the image.

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