On the cusp.

Hello,

As always, I am slightly late on this. I have been meaning to sit down and scribble but the moment has never felt right. And it has to right?

The moment feels right because of a few factors. New year, minus the ‘New me’ BS. I turned 30. Jake is about to turn 9. New job starting soon. So it felt like today was the time.

I was also thinking back to why I started this blog, and how last year it changed slightly when talking about relationships etc, and it had nothing really significant about Jake in there. This is crucial today, so prepare for Jake spam. Mind you, if you were to glance at my instagram Jake is pretty much all you see. He’s like the cat I’d have if I didn’t have him, keeping this single, crazy lady occupied.

Anyway, about Jake.

He’s turning 9 on Sunday. Now, granted 9 isn’t really significant, not in the way turning 1 or 10 is when looking at kids. But to me it is. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing Jake, you will know that he is quite a chatty, opinionated and articulate child. Biased I realise, however, I actually put this down to the fact that I sent him to nursery as soon as I returned to uni and he has been surrounded by adults for 80% of his life. He’s like me, comfortable around adults and happy to hold a conversation, but equally at home playing with his friends.

His ability to be so comfortable is what got me through 2018. I have to say, bar a few moments, 2018 was a shitty, mentally exhausting, crappy year. So much stress and drama, a lot of it down to me, my actions, my weaknesses, my stupidity, my inability to say no and my fragile mental health. There was a crucial moment though, two very clear weeks where I remember that if it hadn’t been for Jake, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed.

His little hands in mine, his cuddles, kisses, his funny moments, his thoughts and opinions… I really survived because a day without Jake is horrid. All this has of course, achieved the inevitable ‘Mothers guilt’. I mean, I feel like a lot of the time he’s older than he needs to be. He wants to be older than he is, desperate to be considered an adult and I’m left wondering is it my fault?

And here’s the really critical, crucial thing about why him turning 9 is so significant. I can see it. I mean I can literally see the last few bits of him being little, of still being my little boy and of the child like innocence (it really does exist) leave him.

His opinions are becoming stronger. His hopes and dreams are evolving at a staggering rate. His demands have changed and his need of me has changed. Things are becoming more black and white for him, which is something I hate. I had to really fight with him that Father Christmas isn’t fake, because I can’t deal with it yet. Everything is changing.

Jake is ready. And don’t get me wrong, I love change. Change scares me but it’s much more fun than playing it safe. But to turn round and suddenly see this… young boy rather than my little boy, is a change I can’t handle. Which is ridiculous after wondering if its my fault that he’s so comfortable with adults. How can I feel guilty for that but be proud of it, yet not be ready to see and deal with him actually getting older.

I know, mad rambles of a crazy mother. And just so you’re aware, I tell Jake daily he has to stop growing, and he rolls his eyes. I get a lot of sassy comments back. I have started getting slammed doors, comments on my inability of being a good mum. He’s wished he was dead (can’t think where he gets this dramatic character from) and he’s also stated on more occasions than I care to remember that he cannot wait to move out and leave.

I mean of course, that’s what you want your kids to be like. I never wanted a clingy child who couldn’t do a thing without me. He’s my twin in that sense. I like independence and I try hard not to smother Jake. I’ve been accused of still mothering him and treating him like a baby, which is not true. But I’m not ready now to treat him older than he is.

A lot of the lessons I’ve found myself teaching Jake involve consequences. He’s relatively free to make his own choices and decisions, but he now is learning that they all come with consequences. Trying to keep his world grey.

The other thing I’ve been trying to teach Jake is that my choices and decisions are equally as valuable as his. And believe me, when you’re raising a head strong boy who is literally you in character and mannerisms, this is not an easy task.

I’ve just told him off for screaming at FIFA and his response? It feels like real life mum. I hate football.

Anyway, as I said, I am starting a new job soon. When I told Jake, the opinions, demands and requests coming out of his mouth made it feel like I was discussing it with a much older person, rather than my 8 year old sidekick. But I need him. His opinion matters to me. I want him to be proud because if it wasn’t for him, who would I do this for? I mean obviously me, but once you have a kid, you do become slightly less important.

2018 was a year in which I was incredibly selfish. I mean I really pushed boundaries and did things that if I could take back, I would. There are so many things I would do differently, I’d say no more. And I’d have stopped to really look at Jake and essentially grow with him. Go through his changes with him. Then maybe him turning 9 wouldn’t be such a shock.

Like I said, I do not believe in the whole, new year new me thing. I believe you change when you’re ready to, not because of any other factor. But I am going to pay more attention to Jake. Be more aware and a better teacher, hopefully. You never get it right with kids, especially your 1st.

We will both be facing new challenges and new moments, and it’s better to do it together rather than apart fighting our own minds and souls.

Oh I sound preachy don’t I… disgusting.

He’s happy, healthy, tall and as obsessed with football as he’s always been. Can’t really ask for more than that can I?

Maybe the football thing…

Xxxxx

Advertisements

Swinging pendulum

Hello,

At what point in life do you finally say to yourself, what other people think of me really doesn’t matter. Or are you just born that way. Or do you just wake up one day and think – f**k everyone, I am happy so surely that’s what matters.

It really baffles me. I mean, I have a severe fear of what other people think. What they might say. What they might be thinking. Would they do whatever I am doing? Would they handle things differently? If so, how would they handle it? Does it make me a bad person that I am not doing or thinking along the same lines? Does it mean that there is something wrong with me, that I am a bad person for not reacting the same? For acting in a way that someone else may not?

God, that was torturous just typing it. I can imagine reading it might be the same thing. I mean torturous in the sense that you are rolling your eyes and screaming – of course you’re wrong! Well, I guess that is what I am hoping for. Because in truth, the above is really my day to day. Sometimes, I keep it at bay and it doesn’t trouble me that much. Sometimes, like today, it is almost crippling. It can completely stop me in my tracks.

Here is the other crazy thing. I’d imagine you might be reading this and be thinking – well, she has a fear of what people might think of her, and she’s typing it out to the entire world to read. (I mean the web by that, not the idea that billions of people are reading this)

The thing is, it is much less frightening putting something like this on-line, than actually having to sit down, face someone, look them in the eyes, and try to explain all of this. It is much less frightening not saying these words out loud, and watching people’s faces, desperately looking for a reaction and trying to decipher their true feelings. I don’t know what it is. But my god I could never say all of this to an actual person. I mean, I know I sound crazy but I am not sure that I could have anyone else tell me.

The pendulum bit comes in because on the other side of all of this, I need the opinion of family and friends and loved ones. I crave the need to know that maybe someone at some point has felt what I am feeling at any given time. Surely someone else near me gets scared like this? Or over thinks about everything like I do. Or is just plain scared. Scared of taking a step. Wondering if it is the right step. What will the consequences be of the step. Who will judge me? Who will I loose? Who will stay?

It is exhausting. hence the question of when does it end. I do think some lucky buggers out there are just born with a f**k everyone else attitude. Not in a horrible way, just they are strong and confident in their choices and their actions, and don’t always need to have the reassurance of someone else. You know, the whole black and white, and not so grey. I mean everyone at some point needs a little reassurance?

My other question is, or rather, the other thing I wonder about it – how long until this kind of way of thinking wears thin? At what point do family, friends and loved ones go – enough. Enough of your needs, enough of you wanting answers. Just live.

That’s the answer isn’t – just live Emma. Jeez Louise just live. Stop thinking. Stop worrying. Trust your gut. Trust your heart. Live.

And then I ruin it, I think, by saying – well, that just sounds kind of selfish. Because you can’t just live can you. You have to think how you’re living moment might affect someone. And what if they don’t react well to the way you live.

Oh good lord, I have lost the plot haven’t I? I swear as well, I wasn’t always like this. Well, I don’t think I was anyway or not this badly.

And if any of my friends were saying this to me, I would be screaming at them and telling them – go live! Fuck everyone else. You have to be happy, because the people who love you, and I mean really love you, won’t care if the choices you have made aren’t choices they would have made. They wont care that maybe actions you are taking aren’t ones that they might take. They won’t care, it will not matter. They will love you anyway, they will want you to be happy. Because you won’t remember this bit, you will remember the happy stuff more.

Mind you, who on earth takes their own advice hey? Not me apparently.

So, all that aside. 2018 thus far has started well. We celebrated Jake’s 8th birthday. Can you believe he’s 8? Well, actually he’s 8 going on 58. He’s a perfect mixture of child, adolescent teenager and little, old man. He also has a crazy sense of humour, comes out with things I could never in a million years think of, and is rather cool.

2018 is going to be great. I am determined to get to 31st December 2018 and be able to say that I lived a bit more, had a little more of a f**k you attitude, and enjoyed every single moment that came my way.

I would say that’s the plan, but maybe not making it a plan and just enjoying the moment will help me achieve the goal? Who knows.

xxx

P.S. I realise a swinging pendulum may well have been the wrong metaphor for this particular post, however it felt like the right one at the time… Judge away, I am doing the same.

To all the dads

Hello,

Apologies for taking so very long to post. It has been a slightly long time, but we have had a lot going on. Firstly, we moved. Finally got out of East Sussex and are now settled into Oxfordshire. Mike was head hunted for his dream job so off we went. It has been the best decision for us; it wasn’t that East Sussex wasn’t for us, and leaving friends and family behind us has been really difficult, but I think I can say with some certainty that we have found the place where we will settle down for the foreseeable future. Jake is incredibly happy in his new school, and I managed to find a fantastic job in the same town as Mike and just a field apart, so pretty perfect.

You will remember than it was well over a year ago that I asked Mike if he would like to adopt Jake. At the time, it seemed like a very straight forward process. Of course because it is us, it never got done. Not because he didn’t want, but because life got in the way. So we decided that as we were now fully settled, we would start the process again.

When I phoned the Oxfordshire council to give them the details they would need, I was told that it would be a relatively quick process because Mike and I have been together for so long, because Mike has been there from the word go, and because most importantly, Jake’s birth father has never EVER had anything to do with him and nor have his family.

We went to meet the social worker to be talked through the way step-parent adoption works and everything that would be needed. It turns out that the way step-parent adoption works is far more complicated than we first thought, and we are looking at something that will take at least a year to complete. More interesting is the way the law works for step-parent adoption, and the way in which it works with both the birth and step-father.

It feels weird to refer to Mike as the step-father, because as you well know, he is a dad. He has been a dad for six years, and he will be a dad till the day he dies. The law and the process that comes with step-parent adoption however see him somewhat differently.

Firstly, they will make it extremely clear that the courts see step-parent adoption as a last resort; they consider it a way of severing the child from the birth family and if they can find a way of ensuring that this doesn’t happen, they will do so. I find this incredibly odd regarding our personal situation, especially as Jake’s birth father has never had anything to do with him.

Secondly, you have to tell the birth father exactly what you are planning on doing. In fact, you have to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you have done everything physically possible to get in touch with them and get their consent. Be aware though that if they don’t answer the social worker will give a final attempt and leave it; if the birth father contests the adoption, then they have to come to court and explain their reasons.

I’d like to point out that this was slightly shocking but the very least of our issues. We have been in touch with the birth father and he completely agreed within an hour of sending the message. This was slightly painful for me; not because I wasn’t aware that he absolutely didn’t care, but because it took him no time at all to make the decision.

The biggest shock for us was when the social worker informed us that they would not accept our application until we had told Jake. This they are extremely strict on. Please don’t get me wrong, we knew we would have to speak to him at some point to tell him. But we thought we had more time. On top of that, how on earth do you explain to a five year old about birth fathers and step parents and make it understandable?

Most importantly, how do you explain to a child that there is someone out there who doesn’t want him? I know what you’re going to say; that this isn’t what you’d say to him, that he has Mike who’s better than anyone, that he has a great family and he’s gained so much more and you know, make it suitable for a five year old to understand. But you are still having to explain that deep down, someone didn’t want him.

That’s the bit that I found hardest to stomach. Mike on the other hand came away feeling slightly like the last six years he’s spent as a parent haven’t technically counted. We understand that these laws and regulations have been put in place to protect the children and families who are in difficult situations and legal battles. However, our case is just incredibly clear.

Mike can tell you what it was like to feel Jake kick inside me.

He can tell you what the birth was like and how he got there and how it felt.

He can tell you what Jake looked like when he was born.

He can tell you about the first time he smiled/learnt to hold his head up/rolled over.

What it was like the first time he changed him and put his baby grow on the wrong way round.

He can talk about him crawling, walking, talking and his favourite laughs and giggles.

He could list his toys and the funniest moments we have had together with Jake.

He was there when we took our first family holiday.

And then there’s all the recent stuff; tackling Jake and girls this early on, taking him to school for his very first day, getting him into football, buying him his first Brighton kit and teaching him the offside rule.

There isn’t anything in this world that Mike couldn’t tell you, and in just one two hour session, he felt like this didn’t count. Because the birth father, even though his only connection is genetic, could walk in and demand to have some part in Jake’s life, if he chose to.

Again, I know. I know that we are fortunate because we have Mike and the birth father is not making things difficult for us. It was just a shock.

So. This message is to the dads. Whether you are related by genetics or not, if you are the man who can give the same information that Mike can give about Jake and more, then you are the definition of what it means to actually be a DAD. Thank you for working 24/7 365 days a year to raise beautiful, wonderful children and making mothers proud. You deserve all the recognition. Nothing should be going to the people that walked.

Raising children is never going to be easy, I will hold my hand up and admit that. But if it is something that you think you could easily walk away from, then you’re not a dad, you’re not even the birth father or worthy of the name of sperm donor. You are scum.

Keep up the good work dads, keep raising children the right way. You’re doing an amazing job.

xx

 

A hiccup

Hello,

Again, been a while. Always the way, and there was me thinking that life would become less busy once Jake started school.

I’d always planned to ensure that once Jake started school in September, I would really push my business and start getting more work. I thought this would take a little while, and Mike and I agreed that if it wasn’t going well, I would put it to one side and get a proper part-time job. Fast forward to the end of September and I have work coming out of my ears, which is great! This isn’t the hiccup, the hiccup is Jake.

I have to admit, that I was almost sickeningly smug of the fact that Jake had started Primary school and didn’t show any signs that he didn’t want to go in, wasn’t having nightmares or crying at the gates. There was me thinking ‘He’s been going to nursery and school since he was eight months old, he’ll be fine.’ Of course I didn’t act smug in front of others, but mentally I was thinking thank goodness I don’t have to worry.

So of course karma caught up. Forget total breakdowns at the gates, waking up having nightmares, or demanding to stay at home rather than go to school. Instead he decided that what he ought to do is punch someone in the face and throw a water bottle across the playground, smashing it to bits. Thus total panic ensued. You know Jake, wouldn’t hurt a fly and knows what it’s like to be picked on. He was also known for doing the right thing, so if he was hurt, he would go to the teacher rather than take matters into his own hands. I was horrified and so upset. Mike on the other hand, whilst he was concerned, also felt that ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘he’s not going out of his way to attack people’. But of course, you are going to worry. On top of this, I am my mother’s daughter, which means I have inherited the ‘Hayward Guilt’ gene, so essentially I am always guilty. I started thinking, okay, what are we doing wrong that he suddenly feels like he has to hit out? Do we need to stop reading Horrid Henry books, do we need to change what he is being allowed to watch on TV, has it come from him seeing us argue, is it because he’s an only child, etc. Think of a reason and I will have covered it by blaming myself. It’s actually frightening. This idea that something is happening to our son that isn’t in our control, something is affecting him so much that he feels he needs to lash out. How can you help? On top of that, he is only four, so his understanding of what he is doing and what you are telling him are quite limited. Of course he isn’t going round randomly attacking other children, there appears to be a group of boys all just being slightly boisterous with each other. But it is slightly disconcerting. What’s more, if I can barely cope with this, what am I going to do when he becomes a teenager?!

Anyway, there you are, that’s the current hiccup.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Surviving

Hello,

So… We made it. Mike and I managed to get Jake to Primary school. Can you believe it?! This really is it, it’s the start of the rest of his life, and though to start with I was incredibly worried/sad/unwilling to let our baby grow up, now I am so very excited! He is thriving of course, loves having his uniform and seeing all his friends. In turn, we are excited about seeing which subjects he will enjoy, whether he will be sporty, or into arts, or something new entirely. He already seems like a new person, which is hard to accept sometimes. 

All we can do is wait and see! I am wondering how long we will have to wait for the inevitable excuses that will come for avoiding having to go…

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Previous Older Entries

Blog Stats

  • 4,423 hits
%d bloggers like this: