Should i be having so much fun?

Writing this I am sitting in an apartment in Liverpool all alone and its beautifully peaceful.

I am here attending the Labour Party Conference and I am having an incredible time yet I feel so blooming guilty.

Is it just me?

Is it a woman thing?

Or is it normal for any parent to feel guilty for being away from their children.

Now I’m not talking about working parents and those that have to travel for business I’m talking (writing) about parents feeling guilty for being away from their children for the reason that they are doing something for them. My time here at conference isn’t essential, its not adding to my professional development and I’m certainly not being paid for it, but I am really enjoying every minute.

Yes I am missing my children desperately and even my husband now and again but over the last few days I have showered in peace, not played referee between arguments(well maybe i have but thats another post) and i’ve actually slept. Add to this the level of in-depth conversations i’m having,  I’m having a wonderful time. SO why in the back of my head am I hearing words like “bad mom”  and “how could you”?

Is it just a me thing, am I little obsessive as a parent stressing myself out that they cannot cope without me?

Is it a woman thing that we believe that every child needs their mother to be there 24 hours a day?

Or is simply that from the moment we become parents we feel we should be there for our children all the time and that having fun is only allowed with them?

To be honest I haven’t got a clue, whilst I am the first to speak to others about giving themselves a break I am rather hard on myself.

I understand that every parent needs time to remind themselves that there is more to life than cbeebies, school runs and nappies. That we were ourselves before we ever answered to mom or dad.

That time away allows you recharge and renew.

So why in the world am I giving myself such a hard time over this?

I am really interested in people’s responses to this, please tell me if it is a woman thing, a parent thing or just a Sara thing?

Let me know how you feel about it?

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A new-ish leader

Unless you have been living under a rock over summer you will be well aware of the intense battle going on within the Labour party. The resignations of members of the parliamentary Labour party and the calling of a new leadership vote. Its been a couple of hostile months with tensions flying high in both camps. Character assassinations, online abuse, and so much more has darken the Labour party . But hopefully today this battle came to its end with the membership voting greatly for Jeremy Corbyn to stay as their chosen leader.

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I know there are many who were disappointed today by this decision in fact this was obvious by the lack of sportsmanship showed at the announcement. The solid face forward lack of applause did not do anyone any favours, thankfully you were drowned out in your disgust by the enthusiasm that filled the room for Jeremy and solidarity won out. 

The Labour party has to make a decision today and it will be one that shows the MP’s for what they truly stand for. A new election was called Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected, a line now has to be drawn under this discussion and forward planning needs to happen. The Conservative party have loved the battles within our ranks as it has allowed them to pass motions that are devastating the lives of the people we should be representing.

This has to change, so I’m calling all Labour MPs to step up now and protect those who are vulnerable, protect the NHS, protect our doctors, our nurses, our schools, our social care….

Fight against the curtain of elitism Theresa May is trying to draw around our country.

Stand together next week as we campaign against the Tories plan for segregation in education.

Stand together to fight against austerity and for the vulnerable in this country and the world.

We cannot stay a party a of two halves any longer, it doesn’t work.

We need to unite to fight.

We can be the party in government in 2020 but we have to start fighting for it now,

 

Together.

My summer styling tips.

Summer has been crazy and add to that the stomach flu, adoption paperwork and meetings I am so behind on getting my blog posts written.

So this blog post has been a long time coming and a little late (whoops).

My summer styling tips

  • Be comfortable
  • Stay cool

I find summer hard work,  I actually hate being hot so light, cooling fabrics are a must.

The summer dresses from J D Williams are so worth a look, I loved this stunning blue beaded maxi. I got feel glamorous but also got to stay cool.  The detail  on this dress is incredible.

 

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** This dress was gifted to me for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

Feeling disconnected

Over the last few months I have found myself returning to a place I had worked hard to come from.

I was struggling and my “go to” was my return to my closed off world,

Here I was again detaching myself.

I heard myself turning away opportunities to connect, to be part of something, to be.

Disconnected

I hate this about myself,

I know the anxiety of the adoption approval was on my mind but I hate that I was letting fear win.

Fear eats you up inside, insecurity, distrust, lack of faith, all things of which I know better.

Yet sometimes even knowing better doesn’t help.

Growing up I often felt disconnected from this world, as if I was placed here from another planet. Yes, I know this sounds strange but I truly felt ,“Not of this world”. This didn’t mean I believed I was an alien with superpowers just that something was strange about me. This followed me into my teenage years in which I struggled greatly. Lack of self confidence, self belief, the rollercoaster of growth, the endless search for identity.

Meeting my husband and having my children allowed me to feel whole, to feel complete. From the f moment I first held my daughter in my arms I felt grounded, I felt true. Being a mom surprised me in more ways than I could imagine, the joy of having such a precious gift, the fear of keeping them safe. Motherhood, no parenthood is so frightening yet so rewarding. All you want in the world is to watch these gifts grow, to keep them safe, to see them realise their dreams.

Losing Olivia did take some of this completeness away from me.

I didn’t get to see her grow past 9 years, I could not keep her safe and I can only pray that she got to live some of her dreams.

This hurts and at times it’s this pain that returns me to my feelings of disconnection.

Anxiety rears its evil head and fear starts to play games with my heart.

Yet having Olivia taught me that fear cannot and will not win

Because even in the darkness there will always be light. 

I may have only got to hold Livvy for nine years

But I got to hold Livvy for nine years.

I got to be the mom of one amazing, incredible, inspiring young lady.

I get to be the mom of three other equally incredible inspiring young women

And one day soon I will get to be officially mom to one incredible baby boy.

Fear won’t win, fear cannot win because love will always overcome.

I may get lost at times and I may sometimes feel “ not of this world” but thats ok because I truly believe that our journey on this earth is only part of package. Maybe my heart has always been in two places, maybe my soul has always flew outside the gravity barriers, who knows.

What I do know is that love is the essence of life and whilst the ribbons of love are tied around my family I will always be connected.

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Sharing my secret

So over the last few months I have been struggling to write the truth.

Scared to lay my heart out publicly for the world to see.

Scared is an understatement I think petrified comes closer.

Ive attempted to try,

Writing about being vulnerable, stepping out, being brave but all really hidden in the illusion of no substance.

I just could not find the words, fearful that having my dream in written form would somehow not make it happen.

Jinxing it, sabotage it, all irrational fears but fears all the same.

Sharing my story with only those I knew would hold my heart.

Today is my truth day, 

My day of honesty.

I have a secret to share, a dream I’ve held so close.

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We have been going through the process to become adoptive parents,

and………….

We have been approved!

Did you get that ?

We have been approved for adoption. 

I am so excited,

I am so happy.

Over the last months we have walked this journey, each step walking in vulnerability.

Praying, dreaming, hoping beyond hope.

I have been sick with nerves, nauerous with fear but ….

We have been approved. 

Can I write that again?

Approved.

I cannot tell you how we feel right now,

up on cloud nine, on the top of the world, over the moon,

All these statements do not come close.

We are………

Elated

Excited

Ecstatic

Happy

 

We still have a journey in front of us,

Things to do, paperwork to fill

But one day soon.

There will be another in our family. 

Another, already in my heart. 

My list for friends of bereaved parents 

When I lost Olivia it created a wall of awkwardness which surrounded me. I wasn’t sure if people were just uncomfortable with grief or scared to reach out in case I broke. The outcome was that for a long time I was lonely. A few could cross the vast gulf of pain but not many. I not only lost a child but I also lost friends. 

Now I feel no bitterness to anyone who walked away. I cannot understand but I can accept, grief is a intense emotional vortex that no body enters through choice. Walking away may have been all some could do. 

Yet I do wish there was a list out there that I could have just handed out to all that knew me. Information to help them grasp what I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain. 

So after again watching someone walk through the loneliness of grief I decided to attempt my list. I emphasise my list because every journey through grief is unique. There is no right or wrong way to grief, it’s just your way. The way that helps you survive. I’m just hoping that even though it is my list in may help others a little. 

So here’s goes…,

1. The most important one, please say our children’s names. Our children have gone but please don’t make us feel that they are forgotten. I love nothing more than to hear my Livvy’s name in conversation to share memories or to comment how she would have loved this moment, this food, anything just say their name. They are still our children, still our lives. #saytheirname

2. Secondly please don’t tell me or any grieving parent that time makes it easier. Let me tell you that 8 years into this journey I know that’s a lot of tosh. I may have become stronger but I promise you it doesn’t get easier. I believe this statement also takes away from our children as if time fades away their memory. No chance. 

3. Thirdly Please don’t tell us it’s inappropriate to laugh. It’s ok for me to laugh, I remember not long after losing Livvy I was out with her sisters when something happened that was hilarious and I just laughed at laughed, I remember because someone who was with us commented that it was strange for me to laugh when in grief. Laughter is a wonderful thing it’s also a great release of pain. It also does not take away from the memory, it honours them. Do you really believe that being sad is what our child want for us? 

4. Number 4, It’s ok for parents in grief to be sad, their hearts has been broken and there is no time limit on grief. Don’t suggest they should try to be brave or pull themselves together, let them do what they need to do to survive. 

5. Still include us in things, ask us out for the meal to the cinema, anywhere, don’t be offended if we say No just always ask and continue to ask. Just asking let’s us no that you care, that you want to spend time with us. 

6. Never suggest that we will get over it. This should be a simple one but I can’t count on fingers the amount of times I’ve been asked, ” are you ok now, are you over it”. I don’t think answering WTF is inappropriate in these situations.

7. Be practical, offer to make meals, walk the dog,do the grocery shop. Just be there to help in whichever way we need.

8. If we have other children offer to take them out for the day. Take them to the park, swimming anywhere they can just be kids. They to will be hurting and sometime not thinking helps tremulously. 

9. If we need space please give it to us, everyone has there own way of coping. Some need people, some need space. Just respect this and give us the space we need to work through the pain.

10. Don’t give up on us, yes the friend you knew before our loss has gone but please don’t give up on us because whether we realise it or not we really need you to be there. Up front or in the shadows just knowing that we are not alone makes such a difference. 

Back to school with Maped Helix

Whilst we are only really half way through the summer holidays my daughter is already stressing about returning back to school. This is normal as she has always liked to be prepared and sorted before she relaxes into the holidays. This year it is a little more stressful as she is heading into her GCSE’s year.

Though thanks to Maped Helix her stress load has already been made a little easier. They sent us this fantastic selection of their products which are going to be perfect for both her coming study, revision and even exams.

Maped helix

We have been a fan of Helix for many years, their maths sets have been a staple for all my girls. When you send your children into the exam room you want to have confidence in the products you have given them, Helix has always given me that reassurance.

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I am rather impressed and envious of the goodies Brodie has been sent and I’ve already tried to liberate a few but she isn’t having any of it. They are all now hidden away in her bedroom waiting for the coming school year.

Brodie is the last of my daughters to face GCSE’S and whist this makes me a little sad I know I still have A levels and the older ones dissertation to face before my home becomes exam stress free.  At least with Maped Helix on hand I can help reduce the some of the forthcoming anxiety , it’s certainly going to be a busy year for the girls, I am still in shock that I have one starting her GCSE’s and one in her last year of her university degree, amazingly considering I’m only 20ish.