Self-doubt as Jasmine’s Mummy

Do you ever question yourself about the way your children are and whether you’re doing the right thing? I do it all the time with Jasmine and always have done, especially on those days that don’t go so well. I know it’s my personality to be sensitive, emotional and over-analytical and it’s also her personality to be highly sensitive, emotional, perceptive and unpredictable.

There’s more though….Jasmine is having some difficulties breathing properly which has been going on for some time now. She breathes through her mouth not her nose, is always congested, always has a runny nose, snores loudly and snorts all day to try and clear her nose.  She often sounds like Darth Vadar and you can quite literally see and hear her struggling to breathe normally. The winter weather seems to be exacerbating things but now our “bad” or difficult days are now far outnumbering the good days leaving me feeling full of self-doubt, sadness and guilt. It’s impossible to know which version of Jasmine will show up each day and it’s also impossible to know why that particular version shows up!

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Jasmine is a child of high highs and low lows, as I guess all children are really. She’s either dancing around the house to Lady Gaga spinning in circles and shrieking with delight, running to see who is at the door and eagerly asking to play with me, or, she’s watching TV for 90% of the day, crying at the mere site of a kind stranger and the most used word in her vocabulary will be “no”.

There are times she’s happy to try all sorts of new foods, eat fruit & veg by the gallon and enjoy avocado and quinoa but there are times the only things she’ll eat all day are a box of raisins, a snack bar, crisps and cake, with even her favourite meals being rejected. That day was today.

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There are times she has an abundant energy, bouncing out the door ready to go swimming or to a friend’s house to play but there are many, many days where leaving the house is as hard a task as climbing Mount Everest. No offer of going here, going there or going anywhere is good enough and she just seems in a constant state of fatigue or disinterest. There are days she wakes up in the morning and doesn’t stop talking and singing, or, there are days where she wakes up crying and keeps crying about everything that happens for at least an hour or more. There are times when we giggle, we run, we play, we jump and we explore but there are days when we walk on egg shells around her because if the slightest thing goes wrong, there’s a waterfall of tears ready to come flooding out. There are times when your energy seems abundant and times when you barely move all day. Is this just toddlers? Is this just Jasmine? Is this just me?

I worry when we have days like that. I wonder what is going on inside her body and her mind to make it a difficult day for her. Is she not feeling well but can’t recognise that sensation? Is she just really tired but no longer able to nap? Is she not able to breathe well enough to feel energised and healthy? Does she genuinely just want to stay at home all day to play? Is the unpredictability of random outings too much for her? Is she still adjusting to the arrival of her sister? Then I worry that it’s me. Perhaps I’m too soft with her or perhaps she has too much control. Perhaps she’s just testing me and I should “put my foot down”. Perhaps there’s actually no problem at all and I’m wasting precious energy worrying for nothing.

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I’m still learning to trust that much of all this is all OK and totally normal. The highs and lows and the roller-coaster are what every toddler and every parent experiences, right? I’m still learning to let go of that worry and go with the flow, knowing she is a happy, healthy, loving and thriving child. I’m still learning that she can’t always tell me how she feels using words so uses actions instead. I’m still learning all about her and all about myself at the same time. I’m still learning not to compare her to others. I’m still learning to focus on the positives, what we did do not what we didn’t.

I wish I could have a crystal ball to see into my children’s future. A way to look forward 20 years and see that everything turned out OK and that the “bad days” didn’t really matter at all, that maybe it was just her way of trying to tell me exactly what she needed, her way of showing me her unique way of learning and developing. For now, my job is to support her through the bad days and enjoy with her the good ones.

A bed time poem

Bed time has lost its loveliness

Bed time has lost its loveliness, I’m really sad to say,
I’ve started to dread that time that comes at the end of every day
I used to read books to you, sitting together on your bed
Now that’s been replaced with lots of tears instead.

I understand you find it difficult, I promise that I know,
It’s not easy going to bed and you don’t want Mummy to go
But even when I try my best, I’m patient and I’m calm,
You still won’t let me read to you, that book about the farm.

Bed time has lost its loveliness and I’m trying my very best,
I know you’d rather play than get that all important rest
Mummy needs some time too you know, to relax at the end of the day
But I feel all stressed when you don’t seem to listen to what I say.

It’s not your fault you get upset at every tiny little thing,
I’m sorry I didn’t let you watch yet another episode of Bing
You need to wear a nappy and your teeth need to be brushed
I do all these things playfully, I know you don’t want to be rushed.

There are lovely moments too sometimes, in amongst the tears
I wish you could tell Mummy more about your fears
One minute you’ll be crying and then the next you’ll say,
“Mummy, I like your plait,” and those things really make my day.

You want me to stay for cuddles, to hold you nice and tight
So why does everything up ‘til then, feel like one big fight?
I’m only trying to help you, to make you feel safe and ready
I even make you giggle when I pretend to speak as teddy.

Bed time has lost its loveliness, it’s not how it was before,
I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore
I’ve read the books, I’ve tried to learn how to help you to unwind
And even when I want to scream, I try my best to be kind.

I suppose this is another phase, one that too shall pass
I’m reminded every day that you’re growing up so fast
For now you need your Mummy, and although I’m tired too
Of course I want to be there, to give my best to you.

Light on, light off, light on again, please just go to bed
You’ve had your drink of water, I’ve done everything you said
Mummy needs to go now but you wrap your arm around me
You pull me down to stay with you, I can’t just leave you be.

Bed time has lost its loveliness, we are all beginning to struggle
All we want to do is a have a lovely cosy snuggle
I love you, I love you, I love you, I say it a thousand times
I hope you can tell that from what’s written in my rhymes.

I kiss your cheeks and stroke your hair and comfort you in the dark
I wonder what you dream about, maybe our trip to the park.
Sleep finally finds you and you drift off for the night
And I’m just left to question whether anything I did was right.

I’ll see you in the morning when you wake up with a smile
The night before forgotten, at least for a little while.
Bed time has lost its loveliness, I miss how it used to be
But I trust we’ll get it back again, Jasmine, you and me
I’ll focus on those cuddles, on the way only Mummy will do
It’s worth it a million times over because of my love for you.

New beginnings

Jasmine fell asleep ridiculously early tonight and Summer is currently in her Daddy’s arms so I’m using this rare moment to sit here, and write. I recently came across several posts online that all carried a very similar message and one that spoke so strongly to me, I couldn’t ignore it. This message was one about doing the work in order to manifest your dreams and working out what may be blocking your ability to expand and achieve the things you can so clearly visualise but never seem able to do. Of course with a toddler and a newborn ‘time’ is not something I have a lot of, however, sometimes you can’t ignore signs from the Universe that all the right things are coming into alignment just at the right time so what better time than now to begin.

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In recent months I have written enough words to fill an entire book but the problem is these words are just stored in my head, the odd note written in my phone or as pages in my journal. They are words that have streamed out of me in a moment of pure emotion, in a moment of clarity or in the moments that follow a particular experience or conversation. Every single day I think about writing them down ‘properly’. I think about saving them somehow, sharing them with others, getting them out into the world. I think about whether my girls will read them one day and whether they would want to. Then something stops me. It’s not that I don’t want to share these words because I desperately do but there’s something there, something I can’t quite pinpoint, that holds me back. Perhaps it’s the fear of being so vulnerable, opening my heart up to the world? Perhaps it’s the work and time it will take to write these things in a way that can truly portray how I feel? Perhaps it’s the fear that it’s really just a pointless exercise and I should keep these things to myself? Perhaps it’s the fear of what people will think? Perhaps it’s everything.

I don’t really understand why my desire to share such personal things is so strong. Why do I feel that my words belong anywhere other than in my journal? What makes me someone who has an experience in life no different to that of millions of others, but one that comes with a whole narrative of its own? A narrative about my daughters and about motherhood. A narrative about women and our experiences. About feminism, about learning. About veganism, spirituality, personal growth, marriage, relationships and life. Narratives come to me almost every day and I now feel that if I do nothing with these words, at the end of the day, that would be just a big waste.

I want to keep these words for my daughters and my family so that one day they can read them and not only be able to learn about me as their mother but about themselves as young children and my experience raising them. They will be able to learn about the world as it is now with all it’s problems but all it’s beauty. The journey of motherhood, of which I am just really at the start, has truly been transformative in so many ways and to capture that is beautiful and has become my passion. It is my life and my experience on this planet and in so many ways being a mother, being your mother, is wrapped up in everything I do.

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The experience of Motherhood is a universal one. My girls, Jasmine and Summer, are unique in themselves and unique to me but my experiences as a mother are shared by millions. The highs and the lows, the struggles and the doubt, the learning and the reward and above all the love. Oh, that love!

So it’s time to start the work. I don’t want these words to disappear from my head. I want to capture them now, as they are, real, raw and authentic. They are me being vulnerable, emotional, unsure. They are me seeking growth, guidance and connection. They are me being passionate, brave and truthful. With all that, and all the fear, I question again why I feel so deeply compelled to share but then, I do know. I know the power of sharing because words others have shared have helped me. I know that words I’ve read about motherhood have brought me to tears, have made me feel less alone and part of something bigger. So part of me, a big part of me, believes that my words might just be able to help someone else too. Perhaps also, one day my words will help my daughters to carve their way through their own motherhood journey and know that I came before them just like my mother before me. If that’s not a reason to write, I don’t know what is.

This is for you my girls, my daughters, my heart.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Jasmine!

Dear Jasmine,

Being your Mummy has been very special for me since the very first day you were born but today it’s extra special because it’s your second birthday! Two whole years have passed since you came into my world and every single day I am overwhelmed by my love for you. This year, although it might be an unusual birthday present, I’ve decided to start a blog for you! A blog is something that wasn’t even invented when I was a two year old and no doubt at one point when you read this in the future, you’ll probably laugh at me for being so old fashioned!

Since becoming your Mummy, my life has changed so profoundly and my head is full of a million things that I long to share with you, many of which you’re too young to understand yet. There’s so much I want to tell you but I also want to keep everything in a way that can last you forever. I want to share things with you about yourself so you can have stories about times you won’t remember, like today when you asked a random lady on the train where her glasses had gone. You notice everything! I want to tell you about being your Mummy and everything that means to me, including the mistakes I’m making along the way!

I want to share all this with you because, in truth, you and me are connected little girl. Ever since the day you were born, I’ve felt a deep connection with you. Mother to daughter, female to female, human to human. It’s so strong and full of energy that I almost don’t have the words for it. But this connection and this love I have for you is driving me to write. To share. To create. To give. I recently read a book that said, if you want to be a writer, write every day. Now, I’m not sure I want to “be a writer” but there’s certainly no better time to try writing than right now.

It’s now 15th March 2018 and the world is changing at an incredible pace. There is brilliance in our world. There is change, there is beauty, there is art, there is laughter, there is feminism! There is also some not so good stuff but it all makes the world we live in what it is today. I want to tell you about it all. I want to capture what it means to live in this time for you as a 2-year-old girl and me as your 30-year-old Mummy both growing up, just in very different ways.

One day, I want to share your birth story with you and tell you about my first few weeks as a new Mum. I want to tell you about the time I had a miscarriage and about being pregnant again with your little brother or sister. I want to tell you about your family, your Grandparents and Great Grandparents, your Aunties, Uncles and cousins. I want to tell you about the world, about important things that are shaping your future. I want to empower you as a female and help you navigate life’s challenges. I want to teach you to be open minded, to be kind (you are already so kind), to challenge injustice (I have a feeling you’re going to be great at this too!) and to give back to the world as much as you get from it. I want to answer all your questions and ask you some back in return. I want to tell you I don’t know all the answers but that together we can find them out.

Mostly, I want to be honest with you. Being your Mummy is my number one job and my most privileged one but it doesn’t come without its challenges. I’d never been a Mummy before you came along and so, quite frankly, you’re teaching me everything I know!

I’m starting this blog for you now because I am trusting that this instinct I have to start writing, really writing, could be something special. I sit down sometimes with the thoughts in my head and honestly feel I could write a book (not yet)! The words pour out of me and almost always, I find myself writing them to you.

Happy Birthday, Jasmine. I hope you can enjoy this gift for many years to come.

Love from,

Mummy

xxx