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

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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.

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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…

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And so we grow up

Hello,

I do appear to be becoming a bit crap at remembering to write things up. A lot has happened since the christening… I think? I don’t know… Oh I’m rambling. We have all been busy that’s for sure; Mike with work, me with work and Jake with just general things going on. But I shall talk about the biggest thing.

So, on Wednesday 23rd July 2014, exactly three years and eight months after Jake began his life within the world of child care, it came to an end. I mean like preschool and nurseries obviously. Which to some won’t seem like a lot. But, this is it. This is the start of his life. This is where he will start fine tuning his brain, becoming good at some things and bad at others. Where he will try to test out things he thinks he wants to do and will refuse to try the things he should do. He will make friends that he will fall out with a week later, and friends that he will have until the day he dies. He will be naughty, push the boundaries, worry us, test our patience, do a lot of stupid things. He will do everything and anything that will eventually shape him into the human he was born to be. If he is anything like me, which at the moment he seems to be, he will surprise all of us. And without a doubt, make us proud.

What all this means for me though, is that it is finally time that I live up to reality. Which you may find weird but honestly, last week I was still in denial and convincing myself that my son was no more than a slightly taller than average two year old. Because as I face reality, I also have to admit to myself that I missed a lot. I have quite literally blinked and he has gone from the tiny, bouncy eight month old baby I brought back to Bangor with me, to suddenly being this four year old with constant questions about the world. Who, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, was to just be bigger. He is like me. Always looking forward, wanting the future before the present has finished, and because I am like that, I missed out. I can’t give clear details about the first three months of his life. I can’t give clear details of him getting his first tooth, or how our days were spent when it was just us two. I can’t remember the world clearly enough because I was looking forward. So now my son is four, not two, ready to take on the world and everybody else in it. And I am not. I am not ready for him to become embarrassed to be seen with his mum, for him to hold my hand less and less, for him to  ONLY be interested in bloody sport, for him to really become independent, which let’s face it, he has been for a while because I made him that way.

He is currently lying next to me fast asleep, and if I put my finger in his hand, he still squeezes it like he did when he was a tiny new born. He is my baby but he isn’t. Preschool teach your children everything they need to move on to primary school. But there are no classes for parents, no words of comfort for when it is time to realise that your child is growing up.

So… I need to stop blinking. I need to take in every day of the next six weeks, so that I can remember this when I’m grey and old. So that I can tell him what he was like before he became who he will be. I will however, strive to embarrass him in every way possible until the day I die. Because that’s an important factor of being a mum.

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A lack of common sense

Hello,

 

Sorry, i realise that it has been a while but I have been busy with work and we have also just moved house. As you can image this means a slight upheaval. As we have had to move house, we decided it would be best if Jake was taken out of the nursery he was attending because it made no sense him going, whilst we had moved, and it was also slightly pricey. We have been sending him to a child minder who is THE best person in the world.

I am slightly baffled by child care however, and the government. I mean, whether you have kids or not, live is generally tough. I think this to be true even for those who have lots of money, because I’m convinced whilst it is nice to have it, it comes with a lot of its own problems. Thus, everyone is struggling in some form or another. Kids are just a way of making it more fun. But, I don’t think that the government can sit there and talk about doing all they can to encourage people to go back to work, when the cost of childcare is just so astronomically expensive. I mean, people just can’t afford to be spending this much, especially if they have less money in the first place. Before we started getting his 15 hours a week, our nursery bills were averaging £1,400 a month. And just so you know how nurseries work, you pay whether they are there or not, including bank holidays and I’m told, Christmas and Boxing Day too. Also, if you have more than one child at the same nursery, you pay £1,400…. per child. Have you fainted yet? No? Good, I need you to pay attention. 

Now you know me, I don’t want hand outs. I don’t want benefits and money from government and tax payers, as I’ve always said having Jake was my decision. I didn’t go round asking the nation if they would be okay with it. So when I heard about the fact that when children turn three, they start getting 15 hours a week free, I thought ah… our prayers have been answered. Not so. Because there is a catch to these hours and how they are used. You won’t get the full 15 hours if your child doesn’t go to the nursery full time. They start using the phrase up to a lot, and you start losing hours you are supposedly entitled to. But Mike and I figured we would be fine because we were both working full time, so with the 15 hours we would be fine. We have worked out that even with the 15 hours, to be able to afford child care, especially it appears here in the south, you both need to be earning a minimum of £30,000 a year. Oh and that’s each by the way. Pick your jaw off the floor.

So we needed to make changes. I was lucky enough to find the perfect job and part time, and Mike was happy to become the main bread winner. And we thought, okay well the child minder is fantastic and cheaper than the nursery, plus we will still get our 15 hours, so it just makes sense. Except, the government, because they are so kind and generous, no longer allow child minders and nannies to be allowed the 15 hours…. They have to take an extremely expensive course that takes anything from 15 weeks plus to carry out and then pass an exam… and if they don’t then you’re a bit buggered aren’t you? So we now have to reconsider everything, because whilst the child minder is not as expensive as the nursery, its still £800-£1000 a month we just don’t have.

So my point is this, if you want the people of this country to go back to work, and to stop pissing people off by giving out so much benefit pay outs, why not ban nurseries and child care providers from charging so much money? If you go out and speak to people, there is actually only a small handful that are happy to just be given money, to a lot of people its disgusting and degrading. I also know that to those who really need it, its a life line and that is fine. But I know there are people out there who want to work, who like earning their own money. The government are still making it too easy to stay at home. Be honest, if you knew that you could earn more by staying at home with your family, then wouldn’t you want to do that?

This subject annoys me a lot. I’d be interested to see what you thought.

Anyway, aside from that, we have just moved into a cheaper and just utterly perfect house. with a garden that Jake disappears into every day. It’s amazing! I also realised that, despite the fact that Mike and I have been going for nearly eight years, this is the first time that we have gone house hunting together. And we didn’t kill each other! It’s our anniversary in just under two weeks and I am hoping for flowers. Lilies to be more specific, I love lilies and perhaps a box of Lindor chocolates. Oh and perhaps a ring of sorts… who knows hey? 😉 

 

Right, I suppose I best go. Hope you have been enjoying the sunshine!

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