The day I started writing this I was worried. Stressed. Panicked even.
I had been sent to a meeting in London for work. Usually, this would be the General Managers responsibility, but as my GM had resigned and would be gone at the end of the week, they wanted me there instead.
Somehow, in six years as Assistant Manager, I had never been called upon to attend one before.
All of this, combined with the new rules, regulations, targets, and budgets (being strictly enforced,) made me nervous about being the face of our store for the higher-ups.
I spent almost a week feeling stressed and scared about what might happen at this meeting. About being put on the spot, humiliated or berated in front of the other managers. I had even dressed up just a little and applied makeup that morning, something I don’t usually bother with but I felt I needed a little extra ‘armour’ to boost my confidence.
After discovering I was in fact at the wrong location and desperately making my way to the right place, (not the only one to have made this mistake, at least!) I stumbled in, late, shaking and convinced this would be the worst day of my life.
I was freaking out internally more than a little as I smiled and introduced myself. But, the meeting continued without missing a beat and as my heart rate slowed I calmed, a little.
During a break I apologised and explained. The person in charge was understanding if firm.
The day continued. The world didn’t end.
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In exactly 18 days, we are taking a family holiday.
It is our only family holiday this year. We actually take about four weeks of ‘holiday’ throughout the year, but usually, three of those are spent visiting my family in Wales. Which is, of course, a lovely time but not really a holiday in the same way. That time is spent enjoying the company of family members we don’t get to see often enough and visiting as many of them as possible. The boys love it, but we don’t get a moment of alone time as a family.
Which is why I am counting down the days until our humble, four-night adventure at Center Parcs. Husband and I have been to the Elveden parc several times before we had kids. We spent our hours idly cycling, swimming and chilling out in the spa. They were possibly the most relaxed, calm and content holidays I’ve ever had.
We booked this one on a whim because we realized, with much dismay, this may be our last chance to take the boys there, at least for a long time.
The problem is Gray is starting school in September. View Full Post
The other day I was browsing Pinterest (as usual) and came across a pin that appealed to me. It seemed to be advertising a post written on a parenting blog about raising kids that were happy, disciplined and well-rounded. Who doesn’t want that, right?
But upon visiting the site and actually reading more, I was disappointed. So much so I actually made a point of *gasp* unpinning it! (Pinterest lovers, clutch your pearls!)
The problem was the advice was simply at odds with what I believed as a parent. Do I believe that children should behave in public? Yes. Do I believe children should have a routine and chores around the house? I do. Do I believe that children should listen to their parents? Of course!
The advice I found, though, put me more in mind of a military boot camp than a loving home.
There was one thing that struck a chord; that was about showing authority and sticking to your guns, no matter what. Of course, this can be a very useful, even necessary tool for disciplining and teaching your kids, but I feel there is one big flaw here. View Full Post
A little while back, I did an interview with my cousin about her experience with Preeclampsia during her pregnancy. Unfortunately, it was severe and resulted in her son being born prematurely at just 29 weeks. Fortunately, he was a little trooper and is continuing to smash his milestones, now a happy, healthy little boy.
More recently, I wrote a post about Depression. A friend of mine very kindly got in touch after I published this, offering her support after her own experiences. Thinking back to the interview with my cousin and the amazingly positive feedback it received, it occurred to me that this was an opportunity.
My friend has Borderline Personality Disorder. This is one of those often misunderstood conditions that the general public simply doesn’t understand. There is just not enough awareness.
The only way we can change that is by raising awareness ourselves. We need to put the information out there, preferably with personal accounts to help people understand not just what BPD is, but what it is like living with it. View Full Post
So, you’re having a bad day. Everything is going wrong. Kids are being a pain. You’re done. Sound familiar?
Except you secretly know the world isn’t out to get you, the kids are just being kids and almost every problem you’ve faced today is all in your head. Also sound familiar?
This is often the case when there is something bigger at play. Something bothering you on a subconscious level, hovering at the back of your mind like a dark shadow.
The worst thing is, most of the time you might not even be able to figure out what exactly is bothering you.
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Welcome to the second Guest Post here on A Life In Practice! The lovely Zara Lewis has kindly returned, with another excellent piece of parenting advice.
This post really struck a chord with me, last year was particularly stressful, being reminded of ways to chill out a bit is something I needed!
Something, I might add, I felt particularly strongly about as a mother. I can’t stand losing my cool with my boys, sadly it happens more than I’d like. Fortunately, these pointers are good advice to help me (and hopefully you!) to find a little Zen in the day to day grind.
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The ‘Bucket List’ is the idea of having a list of accomplishments/ experiences you simply must do ‘before you kick the bucket’. I think this is a pretty great idea, I know personally I have several things I would consider bucket list material!
But in more recent years I’ve been introduced to the idea of the ‘short term’ bucket list. One that you can use for smaller, more immediate goals.
So, I figured this year, why not give it a go?
I’ve never been very good with resolutions. I think I’ve never seen much point. I’ve always been of the mindset that if there is something I need to change about myself/my life, I will deal with it as it comes, not wait for the start of a new year to address it, just because.
With young kids, there are a lot of obvious things that spring to mind. Disney is one of ours, but that’s a long-term goal! When we do Disney, we’re heading to the US to do all the parks, all out, which is going to be best done when both boys are a little older.
So, this year, what do we want to achieve? As parents, individuals and as a family? After all, Gray starts school (!) in September, after that, everything changes! Eeek! View Full Post
This post is a departure from my recent cheerful Christmas crafts and activities. But I think that it is a necessary one.
The problem with certain illnesses is that they can be too easily trivialised. So many people have such a poor understanding of mental health that mental health care is still one of our biggest failings, not just in the UK but worldwide.
This is demonstrated in ways you don’t even notice most of the time. For example; you still hear people use mental health illnesses to express things like; ‘I just have to eat my M+Ms one colour at a time, I’m so OCD!’, or ‘My favourite celebrity just quit my favourite show, I’m so depressed!’
Let’s be honest here. We’ve all heard this done. I have even done this myself. And I don’t mean ‘before I was enlightened’ I mean I still do it even now, without thinking.
This is because mental illness has been such a taboo and a non-subject in society for so long that even now we are finally making strides in understanding, it is still trivialised.
Because this is how society has been programmed.
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As adults, we are emotional equipped to handle stressful, worrying and frightening situations. We can recognise, compartmentalise and logically engage these situations. Certainly, we don’t want to; but as adults, we know that it is our responsibility to do so.
Can you imagine, though, how it would feel to see these negative events going on around us, affecting our entire world and the people we care about, but not being able to truly understand what is happening or why? To feel like you have no control, no stability and no end of this upheaval in sight?
For many children, it can feel this way. The upheaval itself could be something as unthreatening as moving house or a routine change due to a parent getting a new job. Or, it could be far more negative, such as a family member needing to spend time in hospital.
This is what recently happened to us. View Full Post
I am angry at the world, and that makes me tired.
In the past, we have been through difficult situations. I remember when we got our first place together. Our yearlong contract turned into a trap, there was mould in the walls and under the floors which the landlord couldn’t care less about. I felt some nights like I’d suffocate in my sleep, it was affecting my health so badly.
This was about the same time I was being bullied incessantly by my insane manager at work. I felt depressed, certainly. Some nights I’d sit in the bathroom sobbing uncontrollably, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop crying from exhaustion. Every shift made me sick with dread at the thought of seeing that maniac. View Full Post