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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Insert metaphor here

Hello,

Been a short while has it not? Life has just gotten in the way. I have been mentally writing this post for months, but as I am currently on holiday, I figured now was the best time. It is hard to switch off though right? I know I am going back to carnage and I want to savour every last drop of these seven days, but I find my mind can wonder…

Anyway, this post is definitely not about work. I suspect I owe you an update on the friend and her three weeks of utter joy.

I don’t really know where to start there. The week it all ended, the first few days were torture. She told at times she felt like she could feel her heart breaking. Then other times, she would go back to saying how lucky she was that she got that time with him. Madness to me. They are back to being best friends. I mean literally couldn’t find two people closer. They can look at each other for less than two seconds and know what they are both feeling and thinking. I know she sometimes will try to persuade him that they should just give it a go and be together, and he tolerates it because deep down it’s what he wants, but he can’t give it to her. I sometimes look at it and wonder if they aren’t both just torturing each other. Being so in love but not being able to just be together.

The point is that she lived – for three weeks she lived. And I think I said this in my last post, but just in case, it definitely showed me something. And this sort of takes us into this post. Just remember to bear with me, I do so love a tangent and going off on one.

So a few months before my friend went through her three weeks, I was driving back from my mum’s. Out of nowhere, I had an attack of – OMG what the f*** am I doing with my life? I’d come out of a relationship of nearly 11 years and had gone into another relationship which was slowly dwindling. I don’t own my own home, I am definitely not earning the millions Jake wishes I was, I couldn’t take us on the one trip he had asked for… I mean just the list of things was endless. And I topped it off with this final thought – OMG I am nearly 30 and look at everyone else around you Emma, they are miles ahead and you are failing.

I know, everyone, literally everyone in the world at some point in their life will have this exact thought. Maybe not near to 30, but the point is, we all look around us at some point, pop our heads over the fences and look at the colour of everyone else’s grass and think – oh s****, I am failing.

I am surrounded by people who own their own homes, some are on to their second homes. Friends are getting promoted, getting engaged, getting married, having kids, going on their 100th holiday of the year, their kids are excelling at everything and there was me. In my f****** VW Polo on finance that was in hindsight, a mistake. Driving back to an empty house, because Jake was at his dads, and I hated my then partner, and I was nearly 30 and omg… You got your violin playing? I know, it is so pathetic! Like I said though, I am 99% sure you have had this moment, and if you haven’t yet, you will.

What was really weird, is that as quickly as I had this barrage of negative thoughts, it went. I talked myself out of it. I was seeing a very good therapist at the time, and I thought through it all.

I was nearly 30, a lot of people don’t make it that far. Yes, my ultra long relationship with the father of my child had ended, but we were all happier. We are still friends, and most of all, both still working together to raise Jake. He’s found someone who makes him really happy and is great with Jake. Huge bonus for single parents around the world, to find someone who gets it and accepts this extra part of your life.

No, I didn’t own my own house, but I reminded myself that I still have these dreams of disappearing into Europe and getting a house in Copenhagen or back to Italy and my old family home. So sod it, I have no savings. I mean literally nothing. Jake asked me the other day how many ££ I had saved as he wanted us to look into buying a boat… He said you literally have nothing mum?! Yep Jake, nada. But. Every month, without fail, I pay my rent on time, I pay my bills, I buy food and I put petrol in the car. I have some left over so that we can do things. Occasionally this stretches out to cocktails. The main thing is, we are managing.

Yes, a lot of my friends are getting new boyfriends/girlfriends, getting engaged, getting married or having babies. I also know a lot of friends who are holding on to relationships because they too have been bitten by the fear of being nearly 30 or have just hit 30, and are worried that they won’t find anyone else. I am surrounded by friends who are loving their single lives and are able to go out and serially date, just like I am doing, and going on the odd trip, and loving life.

I am not getting paid millions, but in all honesty, I have no idea what I would do with that much money anyway. Plus, my job is amazing! I get to travel, I work with very cool people, and my work allow me to swan out the office whenever I need to go and be a mother. There was a time when I had the balance of work and home life really badly wrong, now home time is home time. Work waits. Don’t get me wrong, speak to my friend Ursa and she will tell you that at least once a week I have a meltdown and she has to slap me. But otherwise hey, work is good.

The biggest thing that kicked me out of this spiral was something my therapist said. She said she was excited for me hitting my 30s. Emma you have almost lived your life backwards, she said. I was settled in my 20s. I had the baby, the amazing relationship and a budding career. And now? I have the entire world. I am nearly 30 and no, I don’t have someone waiting for me when I get home from work every night who can share a glass of wine with me. I do have Jake though. I have friends that get it and support me and come to visit whenever possible. I have an amazing family.

I know what you are all thinking. Isn’t this a really obvious post? I am not sure it is though. Recently, the amount of people who have pointed out that I am nearly 30, that I am not married, that I have a child, that my job means I am not capable of being the ‘little woman’, that I shouldn’t be chasing dates, that I should be saving my money to buy a house… I mean opinions are thrown at me a lot. Apparently, I am very intimidating for men because I have my s*** together… Do I?! And intimidating? Why? I don’t know.

Anyway, I kicked myself out of the negativity, I got home, I eventually got rid of the bad partner and embraced freedom. I embraced turning 30. I will be honest, it’s August and I don’t turn 30 until December… but I am definitely not dreading it as much as I was…

Then my friend went through her three weeks of bliss, and I thought you know, if it takes me another 20 years to find that, I will wait. If I don’t buy my house until I am 60 right before Jake shoves me into a nursing home, that’s okay too. And my best childhood memories of holidays are the ones my mum would do in the garden for us, because she had no money either. You make life what it is.

I sound very preachy don’t I. I definitely in no way have my s*** together. I am muddling through and I love it. I told you I would go off on a bit of tangent.

The last few months, even before the post about my friend, I have been thinking about this post. The entire world expects you to be at a certain point in life at 30. There is so much pressure on having your own home, of your kids being perfect and of being supported through it all by the perfect partner.

Christ, I tell you now, I would rather be single than be miserable. I would rather be single than settle for a life with someone who doesn’t make me happy. I would rather spend hours with Jake playing football than spend time with someone who can’t hold a conversation.

I love that I don’t own my own home, though at one point I wished I did. But I fixed that by getting an allotment, because all I actually miss is a garden.

Jake is slightly over sensitive, but he is amazing. He is so funny, so clever and able to hold his own in a room full of people.

F*** society. F*** the people who are throwing pressure on you to be at a certain point in life. Grab life by the balls.

And here endeth the lesson. I promise no more preachy posts… for at least another few months.

Enjoy your summer kids and do all the things I would do.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

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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Moving

Hello,

Moving sucks. I mean it really, really sucks, and I don’t care if you are moving half way round the world, or simply switching rooms with your sibling moving sucks. End of.

I have cleared out and given away as much of my stuff as I can, yet I still seem to have accumulated enough crap to last me at least another year. I don’t get how I manage it because with age, I have found myself being less messy. However, I am also a bit of a hoarder. Now when I say a bit, I mean I still have love letters and photos and birthday cards that most people might have chucked by now, so it is sort of my own fault. But mainly, I blame Jake and his need for toys, and clothes, and just general rubbish that inevitably comes with having a child. People think that having two children or more would also mean that you have to accumulate more crap, however when I have another child, and even if I will finally get a girl, they can share Jake’s toys- I refuse to add to the collection of crap.

Anyway, that rant is over. For now anyway. I feel so weird not having university work to do. I sort of *looks around nervously and whispers* miss it. The routine more than anything and also, the security of knowing exactly what you are doing. Today, has definitely not been my day and it has shown me how insecure things can be. Firstly, Jake called me a munter, twice. Secondly, my estate agent turned up and claimed that apparently I was supposed to be paying the water rates all year, so I may get a nice heafty bill even though the water company haven’t been in touch. And to gently place the cherry on top, man with a van cannot move me this weekend. So you know, just a very slight glitch in the whole ‘moving on from university plan’. But as I say only tiny. This is why I hate moving.

I did however, proof read a piece for a my regular and he is going to self publish, so that is exciting. And my brother got me a job, full-time work I will have you know. If you are ever in Tunbridge Wells, pop into the Bar and Grill and come say hello.

Must dash, I need to get my beauty sleep… I’ve been told I need it.

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