Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Incredibles 2 - a trip with my boys

Now that the older boys are a bit less feral, it's actually pretty enjoyable to be out and about with them.
All the little things that used to completely stress me out when we went places (escalators, negotiating car parks, toileting) are all a thing of the past, and I have to say - it feels so chilled to go out with my older sons now.

I feel like I have earned this.

I've been working pretty hard over the summer - which has given me massive mum-guilt.  The kids really haven't had the best of me this summer at all - even on holiday I still had to deal with work - so when we catch a few hours together, I try my best to make them as fun as possible.

Despite having our alone time yesterday and having filled my work hours for the week, I still had work to do and things to deal with, and the boys were yet again dragged along for the ride.  It was a hot hot hot day, and there was **SHOCK** NO INTERNET!!
(Which was the issue I had to deal with at work)
So while I spent a few hours dealing with being on hold to BT and sorting out various other issues which I always liken to fighting zombies...there's lots of them, they are relentless, and the don't care if you are ready for them or not; the boys were not up for quietly sitting.  There was no internet, therefore there was NOTHING TO DO.

They were annoying.  I wasn't listening.  We stayed way longer than I had told them we would.  I had been actively ignoring them for 6 and a half hours to prioritise work.

It didn't end well.  There might have been shouting from all of us.

I stopped.

We went out for lunch.  We got pizza together and I began to relax.  The pizza place is beside the cinema, and one thing led to another and....

Last night we went to the cinema together for the first time since I started my new job, which is MONTHS ago now.

We went to see The Incredibles 2.

The irony is not lost on me that this brilliantly done and seamless sequel to The Incredibles features Elastigirl, or 'Mrs Incredible' taking the lead as the breadwinner for her family.  She has to give up family life to prove herself and become the poster-girl for superheroes.

Ethan exclaimed at the amount of adults in the audience: 'Where are the kids?  Why are they coming on their own?!'

He was right; there were a lot of couples in the audience - notably women.  With plenty of references to parenting, life as a working mum, life as a stay at home parent, the dynamic between couples when one is out at work while the other has to take a back seat, I think this film has really struck a chord with many people in similar situations.

Life as a working parent is difficult - and especially for women, who often face the dichotomy between being the home-maker and nurturer, while trying to be successful in the workplace.
It was very refreshing too to see Mr. Incredible struggle, but also generally succeed in giving up his career to support his wife.  Pixar really didn't adhere to the stereotype of the 'useless Dad' which was lovely to see. Instead, we see Robert Parr struggle and then work out what to do - finding his own feet and his own way of doing things for the kids.

  It opened the door to speaking to the boys in the car on the way home about all the issues raised, which made for some interesting discussions.  It was kind of amazing to me, that despite feeling guilty and worried about having ruined the boys' summer, it seems they are very understanding of why mum has to work so hard.  Tom even surprised me by telling me that he was always amazed by how much I managed to do and how hard it is for me at home and at work.

I guess it was nice to realise that even though a lot of the time I do feel invisible, I'm not.  The boys still see me and they do see what I do - even if sometimes it feels as though they are completely oblivious.

It was also nice to have that time to realise that I need to work less and do more with my funny gorgeous, intelligent, and observant boys.

I am not Mrs. Incredible and yes, I do feel like Elastigirl - constantly over-stretching myself.

The small film at the start of the movie was even more poignant and actually had me in tears.


Bao is a mini Pixar film and focuses on mother-son relationships.  Sitting with my two boys watching a story about a mother who has grown older, raised her son and 'lost' him to teenage life, followed by the love of his life was emotional and difficult.  I'll not go into what actually happened so I don't spoil it for anyone, but if you are a mama raising sons, get out the tissues.

Another conversation-starter with my boys about how life is for women, and especially those with sons.  Their reactions?

Were beautiful.

They get it.

They understand.  Which makes me feel like I am doing something right.

This was an important and much-needed check-in.  And I will be doing it more often.  Too much work, not enough boy-time.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Passions and Indifference.

It's Friday.

It's middle May and I am plaughing through my life one screen at a time.

The last 3 years have been an incessant head-noise.

My ears have been so full of the hum of busy days, that I have barely had time to assess what's happening.

Life is nothing, if not always full of surprises.

Three years ago, I started working at a charity.  What started as a small piece of input turned into something amazing - something I really loved.

Through working up a sweat two nights, three nights, sometimes five nights a week after work, after long days at home with sick kids, after spending days fretting about finances, after arguments with the husband, after workplace bullshit, I found friendship, love and even confidence.

What began as something which was only supposed to be a dip-in-and-out, a break from daily grind, a chance to work of some of my excess frustrations with other aspects of my life turned into a passion and a duty which I was proud to carry.

I gave up my time, my heart and my soul.

And as always, when I enter so thoroughly into some kind of devilish contract - the one that operates loosely and without any tenure.  One that my heart takes control of way over my head...

My passion bit me on the bum.

Things changed and I found myself naturally pushed out as things progressed.  Suddenly, I'm in that all-too-familiar situation of being left out in the cold.

I feel like I've had a really horrible break up - or my best friend has ghosted me.

Suddenly, I can't share the posts from the charity looking for help.

It's ridiculous.

I feel lost.

I've had to pretend to myself it doesn't exist without me - which I am hating, because it does and I so really want to be a part of it.

It's sink or swim time for my passions.

Every time one gets destroyed I feel a little harder, a little colder.

Life is full of disappointment.  Why do I take them so personally?

I think it's because I constantly do the hokey cokey - I always put my whole self in.

I gave up the one job I loved the most in the whole wide world for the one I have now.  And it's odd. I could have talked all day about the merits of the library, I could have made even the most dispassionate person interested in books, I loved nothing more than inspiring young readers and organising the library.

Passion, passion, passion.  Heart-bursting-with-joy passion.

And now?

I've become someone I don't recognise.  I'm not thrilled, I'm pro-active and hard-headed. I'm enjoying the challenge.  I am being a manager.

I'm working harder and more efficiently. I'm tougher. 

Is this who I am now?

Like being disappointed by someone constantly over time, I have become the opposite of love - I have become indifferent.

And it's such a dull and empty feeling.

Protective, maybe?

I'm so fed up of being hurt that I've become indifferent.

If I cared, I would have to face up to the fact that there are people out there who would kill my passion without a thought and leave me heartbroken.  Which is a rough thing to do to someone.

God - do I ever do that to anyone?

I hope not.

I seem to be the common denominator: a silly wee lassie with her heart on her sleeve.

As for this job, I suppose I am wary. So wary of my passions.  My ability to be hurt.

I can track it back to so many things.

Have I ever fit in?  Will I ever have a 'safe' group?

I thought I'd found it.

And again, here I am - on the outside, looking in.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Post-Holiday Dread

I've been on annual leave for a week and I don't want to go back to work.

Work is stress.  Work is trying to figure out the impossible with both hands tied behind my back.  Work is unfriendly. Work is crumbling and broken and needs so much more than little old me to fix it.  Work is constant criticism, and juggling, and managing time I really don't have.

Do I have to go back?

I keep having mini-stress attacks; my heart starts rushing, I get the sicky feeling in the pit of my stomach and I can feel my adrenaline starting to course through my veins in fight-or-flight; a response which is unwarranted (as I keep having to try to tell my brain, which seems to want to do anything but be calm about all of this).

I'm worried about so much; taking myself off social media so that I wasn't tempted to look at anything work-relates mid-week has the downside that now, as manager of this service which is supposed to deliver STUFF in the next few weeks is making me feel very disconnected indeed.

What am I going back to?

What has or hasn't been done?

Will I be surprised (pleasantly or otherwise)?

We've had a lovely week.  We took a much-needed trip to St. Andrews together to look at bookshops, eat Italian paninis and indulge ourselves with rich cake.
On Tuesday we shopped for new flooring and started some DIY.
Wednesdy was the day we built a kitchen unit - finding (unbelievably) a piece of worktop in the garage so perfect, that we didn't have to cut it.
Thursday we wenyt shopping and had brunch at Wetherspoons, enjoying our child-free time.
On Thursday I also had to sit and pay the wages, which took a few hours. 
Friday, I had plans with a friend.  Calamity Jane at the cinema in Perth, followed by lunch and a spot of shops. 
On Saturday, the dread close to Monday.  My girlfriends had plans to go out, and I guiltily held back until committing myself to go about and hour before we were due out.  I could quite happily have stayed at home - the thought of work starting made me feel sick and depressed.
I made plans to come home - I didn't want to waste any of my last day making my way home from a night out.
Today I woke up and it was sunny.  Really sunny.

I was a little hungover from the night's ablutions, but I was keen to not waste the day.

Suggestions of going out - it's a sunny day, we should 'do something'.

I stepped into the garden to take the dogs out...windy, cold...nope.

I came back in - "we can go out, but somewhere inside please".

So: Ice Skating.

Hilarious.  The boys loved it - all three.  Tom was his usual uncoordinated self - he made Bambi look like a tightrope walker.  He refused to hold onto the side and instead spent most of his time crashing into peaople, the floor and doing his best pratt falls, which meant he garnered huge sympathy from pretty much everyone, who then tried to help him, which was really nice.  He bumped into loads of school friends and they were all great, giving him little hints and tips.

Ethan gingerly stepped onto the ice and then slipping too much, he pulled himself back into the hole he came out of...hilariously, comedically.  He soon got the hang of it though!  He was proudly stumble-skating around and even remarked 'I never even cried once, mum!'

Owen had a penguin, but struggling with the concept that the blades he could barely walk on on firm land would work for him on this new slippery terrain, he wrapped his legs around said penguin, and waited for it to move.  Of course it didn't.

He then proceeded to do 'snow angels' and holding onto the penguin, dragging his feet while waiting to be pushed.  One woman had been round twice and asked if we were okay - offering to help us off the ice, as he just stopped point blank.

Having had 3 c-sections, my core isn't what it was, and my balance was completely out of sorts - I intend to rectify this asap.  I properly struggled to find my centre - it was quite disconcerting and debilitating for someone who was quite balanced before.  I'm really keen to sort it out!

The boys really want to do more, so I think we will take them to lessons every week.

Which are pricey, and something we could never even begin to contemplate before.

But now am earning a much better wage, so....

Ah, shit.

You see what I've done here?

Back to work tomorrow.... :(

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Catching Up


It's been more than a while, so I suppose I'm just going to blether a wee bit.

I left my job at the library.

I am devastated!

I have however embarked on a new adventure and am now working as a Project Co-Ordinator for a community project in Dundee.  It's a bit scary - people say things like, "ask the boss"  and " my manager" while referring to me and I am now accountable for things like paying the wages on time and making sure that there's funding available - as well as everything in between.

It's been a bit of a chaotic and rough ride so far - it's a small project and there's been a lot to do - and will be for the forseeable.

Someone told me that I should keep a list of successes.

So, for posterity, I am reminding myself that I can be successful sometimes.

It's far too easy to rest on the negatives and important to remember how much I have done in such a small space of time with it so far.

Fingers crossed it continues and that I don't die for some kind of stress-related illness in the interim.

I stopped childminding.  Hooray!

It was fun, but kind of all-consuming.  It's really nice not having to constantly panic about doing daft things like risk-assessing my own house daily.  My whole house is one big risk and actually, it's a lot better for everyone's health if I never have to think too hard about it.

The house is coming on, if albeit a bit slowly.  We are finally getting somewhere with the dining/kitchen thing, and slow improvements are being made.

It's very very difficult with two full time jobs, three kids and two dogs to get anything done quickly!

There's always someone who wants to sit on your knee.

The kids are all good. 

Tom is older than I ever wanted him to be - he will be 10 this year and I'm starting to see wee bits of 'teen' in him.  He asked for deoderant, has started 'doing' his hair and has stopped taking any real interest in toys and so on, favouring computers, gaming and anything Mario.  Which is cool.  I kind of always imagined my son would be into all of this stuff.  He has stopped reading so much, which is frustrating - I thought I had him!  But hey, he's replaced it with being a coding wizz, so swings and roundabouts!

Ethan is Ethan.  He is getting a little bit more savvy.  He is full of personality and has such a funny sense of humour - sometimes a little bit older than it should be, but we'll blame his dad for that!
He's figuring out the world at the moment and it is as complicated, scary and worrying for both of us I think.  He has such a literal point of view which can cause him so much anxiety, but he is getting there.

Owen - well, where do I start?  He's so chatty, so funny, so full of energy.  A definite character and going through some kind of oedipal stage at the moment (which as a mum I love - what mother doesn't love being the centre of a wee one's world?)  He makes me so happy and sad at the same time - we have this little blonde whirlwind of a creature in our lives and one day he will also grow up....

Ah, Kids.

And Dave is doing good.  He is also working in the community - working hard as usual.  He's really found his feet and continues to be my bestest buddy through everything.  He's really helped me survive these last few months at work and at home and everything in between.

So that's it from me for now...

...more to follow?

I hope so.  I have certainly missed blogging.  I should definitely do it more often.

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That time my Dad left