What do you actually want?

I’m having difficulty getting to the nub of this issue, which is actually the issue I guess.

This is the first starting point

Mothers’ Day is a funny thing these days. I find myself comparing myself to my mum more and more in terms of what she did, what she achieved, and what I’m achieving in the same time. She was a doer. She got a lot done, and I’ve felt a lot like I’m sitting on my hands since having children.

The problem is (and I don’t know whether this is me failing to cut myself slack) I don’t know which version of my mum to compare myself to.

I am racing pretty quickly toward 46 right now, and at 46, my mum had paid off her mortgage, she was elbow deep in DIY projects, she had finished a long career as a primary school teacher. She was starting a Fine Arts degree, and about to start a second life as an artist, and also about to hit breast cancer.

But at 46, my mum had a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old. She was at a more relaxed, less hands on stage of parenthood.

And she definitely did not have her shit together.

I don’t even remember my mum when she was where I am now, with a six-year-old and a three-year-old.

I was that three-year-old.

She could have been hanging on by her fingertips. I know she was a stay at home mum too, and I know from later on that that made a huge dent in her self-confidence. I know she struggled to make time and space for herself.

This is my second starting point.

I’ve been having a tricky time with the smallest small recently, where he asks me for something I don’t understand, and I try to work out what he’s saying, and he gets crazy frustrated and says ‘you know!!’

I don’t, but I feel empathy for that desire to express what you want, to understand it, and have others understand it.

And this is my third and final starting point

There’s a conversation I’ve been having recently with my dad, where we talk about his finances. He is doing pretty well. He’s having a comfortable retirement. As previously mentioned he paid off his mortgage by the time he turned 40, and he’s been saving ever since.

We discuss how he managed it.

He had a good career, but also it’s not as if he doesn’t spend his money. He enjoys holidays. He likes to eat good food, and he loves to buy books. His home insulation is mainly made up of books.

But crucially he doesn’t seem to want anything.

He never has.

And this is the thing. I want things all the time.

All sorts of things.

We have not a lot of money at the moment. Enough, but not much spare, for treats or frivolities. And that’s fine. We have made our choices, and we are where we are, but after six and a half years it feels hard. I feel like we deserve a treat.

There are things in the house we want to change, all the windows, the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom. I’d love to improve our insulation, get solar panels. I would love to landscape the garden, to set it up so that year on year it grows into itself.

I would like nicer clothes, I’d like my hair to look less grey. I’d like to go to the theatre, the cinema, out for meals.

And I’m terrible at knowing what I want.

Sometimes I’ll put something in my wishlist at a popular online store, and let it sit there until my next birthday or Christmas, when I sometimes have spending money, and I’ll finally buy it. It will turn up at my home, and I’ll instantly question why I wanted it in the first place.

I don’t think I really know what I want.

Do I want to be where my mum was when she was my age? Do I struggle to explain my wants? Do I want an unhealthy amount of things?

Recently I have started to write down the things that I want each month. Then I go back to them at the end of the month, and I ask myself what do I really want? What am I actually chasing?

Because nine times out of ten, I’m chasing a feeling.

I want to wear nicer clothes, or better make up, or get my hair to look less grey, because it means I get to control my appearance, to feel more put together, to feel in control, and to give an air of professionalism to the rest of the world.

And why do I want that?

Because I feel out of control, shabby and messed up. I brush my hair in the morning and tie it back and by the time we reach school and I’ve given a shoulder ride and a few cuddles, it’s half undone and everywhere. I’m wearing an ill fitting raincoat, and I’m a bit sweaty, and I feel unravelled.

I don’t know what actually resolves that feeling. It probably isn’t a moisturiser, but I think I’m on the right track. I’m asking the right questions.

And while I’m asking, I’m less likely to click on anything that says ‘buy now’. I guess that’s a good thing.

Posted in learn | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next week

Do you ever get so caught up in what you’re doing next week that you can’t really get anything done right now?

I can remember my mum talking about getting mental blocks on forward planning. She couldn’t possibly plan further ahead that a particular event booked into her diary, because it was taking up all her headspace.

That’s how I’ve felt this year.

I was supposed to be starting a training course this weekend to train for a new possible career for when the smallest small starts school full time in September, and last week it fell through. Dramatically and disastrously. It is now on the verge of becoming an ongoing adventure in the small claims court as I chase a refund.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

But the thick dense cloud of it looming in my future is still slowly lifting. The idea of leaving the kids for the first time ever, overnight, through Mothers’ Day. The hours of work I was going to have to do. The coursework I was going to be submitting. All those deadlines and new things to learn. They’re all taking their time to lift away and let me rethink the next few months with free time.

It’s making me realise how much of my headspace it’s already taken up this year.

I started planning a new novel in September of last year, and I was happily starting work on a rough draft for it, but as of January, I just stopped, because in a minute I was going to have to start a course, and I wouldn’t have as much time to spend on it.

Instead I read six novels in a row, and faffed about. The kids got poorly one after the other. The car engine light popped on and off in an attempt to drive me a little insane, and I got easily distracted by all of it, because why not, I was only filling time until life started for real.

And now next week is wide open. I can do anything I like with it, within the tiny window of free time I have, and I’m oddly terrified.

Posted in learn, rant | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rising to the Surface

It’s been a while hasn’t it.

Sorry about that.

Although not sorry really. Kind’ve sick of apologising to myself for things not quite managed, hurdles not quite leaped.

I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon and I’m clambering gracelessly back on.

I have a friend, (a lovely friend who is probably one of the three people out there reading this) who diligently posts a new blog post every week. Every single week without fail. It’s incredibly impressive, and I love reading them every week, and I’m always surprised that an entire week has gone past already.

They are a fan of a wagon, not to be fallen off, and I, (I realise slowly) am in need of methods to climb back on to the various wagons in my life.

I regularly fall off the writing wagon. I’m just not the ‘write everyday’ type. I don’t think that means I’m not a writer though.

I’ve tried keeping secret about what I’m working on until it magically appears, and that sometimes works, but not always.

I’ve tried telling everyone what I’m working on to hold myself accountable, and that sometimes works, but not always.

And I’ve tried setting myself targets and deadlines I have to meet, and that sometimes works, but not always.

The only thing that always works is setting deadlines for myself and other people, and for that you need other people, which isn’t always possible.

Sometimes, life overwhelms me.

I don’t think I’m easily overwhelmed, but parenthood has completely overwhelmed me.

Or possibly losing Mum has overwhelmed me.

Or possibly losing Mum, at the same time as become a parent, at the same time as leaving my job, and moving 50 miles away from all of my friends during a pandemic. Perhaps that’s the clincher.

Whatever it is, the emotional earthquake of taking away so many of the things I’ve previously hung my personality on, has been life-altering, and is still playing out, in loneliness and having to find self-confidence, and rediscover self-worth, and knowing whether I’m any good at anything (children will never confirm you are a good parent).

Anyways, smallest of the smalls starts school full time in September, which means I am on the look out for actual work. Rising back up to the real world.

In other news I finally finished writing the book, The Book. The all-consuming thing that’s loomed over me for the past 11 years.

I immediately started another one.

I thought about writing a play, because I really want to write and produce a play, and plays are short to write, despite being hard, but this called to me.

Finishing the book made me realise that perhaps all of my methods for staying on the writing wagon actually do work, I just need to think long term, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that actually I am a finisher after all.

I haven’t written much this year. I’ve fallen off the wagon, but I’m climbing back on, knees and elbows bruised, painfully aware that I’m making life harder for myself, but that eventually I will get there. I’ve managed it before, so I know it can be done, and this might be the only way I can do it.

Posted in fiction, learn, make, project, rant, writing, writing lessons | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The three things I’ve learned from Russell T Davies this week

I think I’ve mentioned my love of Russell T Davies before, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been swept away by his recent Channel 4 drama ‘It’s a Sin’ about the 1980s AIDS epidemic within the London gay community.

I feel as though I should add a caveat here that it’s funny, and just lovely, and warm and poignant, and heartbreakingly sad, because I’m about to get all serious, and I don’t want to put you off it one jot, so there you are, watch it at your first opportunity, and be prepared for accidental spoilers ahead, because I’m tired and easily distracted.

Three things have lingered with me from watching it, one as a writer, one as a parent, and one as a (hopefully) conscientious member of society.

The first thing is a note for writers that the old writing adage of finding the story only you can tell, is far more complex than it seems, and for the white middle class British people amongst us, who have never felt in a position to have experienced anything unique or unusual, there is hope. In interviews Russell T Davies has talked about the way this story is personal to him. How he had friends in London in the eighties, when he had just come out and he would visit them, in their flat they labelled ‘The Pink Palace’ and enjoy parties and how he attended funerals of friends as AIDS swept through the gay community in London, but he wasn’t any of those characters. He didn’t live in London, he didn’t work his way through men. He was at Oxford University studying, trying to save his money so he could become a writer.

It wasn’t his story to tell, it wasn’t the story only he could tell.

And it was.

Because he can write, beautifully, warmly, about these people, this community. He is a wonderful voice for an untold story. He can convey the fun of the moment, as well as the tragedy. On the sidelines, he saw things, heard things, he can use to share that world. We don’t have to be elbow deep in an experience to write well about it, and we have to assume, we might be the only one willing or able to give it a go, or to do it well.

The second thing, comes from two different wonderful speeches in the series, one from a teacher, and the other to the mother of a gay man.

The former is about section 28. (I remember a lecturer at my university in the late 90s about to talk to us about homosexuality in plays, and mentioning that what he was doing was illegal, that we were welcome to call the police, and he could lose his job, because he wasn’t technically allowed to do anything which could be construed as promoting homosexuality, which included talking about it. That was the first I’d ever heard about section 28, which had been in place throughout my entire education.) Homosexuality had been wiped out of children’s lives, and they didn’t even know it.

The latter speech was about not seeing your gay child right in front of your eyes, not looking properly, and it made my heart clench, because I want to look properly at my children, I want to be accepting of who they are. I want to know them honestly, but I was oblivious to gay people until I was about 15. I don’t think I even knew they existed.

Luckily for me, one friend came out, then another, then another, until I was surrounded by gay people and I couldn’t unsee it, but my parents weren’t homophobic, or prejudiced, they just didn’t think to mention it. They didn’t have any gay friends or relatives, and section 28 had seeped its way into their subconscious too.

I hope I show my children the world as it is, the full spectrum of humanity, so they see it, so they don’t slip into my blind spot.

The last thing, in this pandemic, was the lack of empathy for victims of AIDS, the lack of awareness of what was happening, and the assumption that whatever it was, it was due to a fault in the victims, something they had brought on themselves. We abandoned people in need, we decided there was them and us, and we shut them out in the cold.

And 40 years later we’ve told that story, but there seems to be another story every year. About people we’ve ignored who needed our help, people we’ve decided aren’t like us, so we don’t need to give them our empathy.

There are people right now, somewhere, that we’re ignoring, assuming their misfortune is self-inflicted, and we’re wrong. And it’s not enough that in 40 years time someone might tell brilliant heartfelt stories about them. It just isn’t, however glorious Russell T Davies might be.

Posted in learn, love, rant, writing lessons | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Am I saving the world, or making it worse?

I have a dread, that one day my children will ask me what I did to stop the climate crisis, and I won’t know what to say.

I watched the documentary ‘I am Greta’ over the Christmas break, and I was crying buckets, not because it was so well made, or even because Greta Thunberg is so inspirational, although she is pretty inspirational.

I watched her walk into her first climate conference, and sit down with a group of representatives from different countries, and I think I saw something that she didn’t, not back then.

Almost all of them looked as though they were still in their 20s. I’m sure there are people out there who get to the top of their field in their 20s, the Doogie Howsers of world leadership, but it just felt as though no-one was taking the whole thing seriously, they were sending the youngest person in the office, someone to be a seat at the table, but not anyone important.

I found that immeasurably sad, with hindsight.

That conference happened years ago, when we didn’t take climate change seriously, when it wasn’t a crisis.

Because we’re taking it seriously now right?


I have a dread, that one day my children will ask me what I did to stop the climate crisis, and I won’t know what to say.

I’m in my 40s. I’m one of the grown ups that Greta Thunberg is railing at, and I deserve it. We all deserve it, but I still don’t know what to do.

Growing up in the eighties and nineties it was simple.
1. Use aluminium drinks cans not steel because they can be recycled.
2. Don’t use CFCs in deoderant. It’s creating a hole in the ozone layer. It’s also in fridges, but you can’t do anything about that.
3. Get a catalytic convertor for the family car, and switch to unleaded petrol.
4. Replace the lightbulbs with energy saving lightbulbs.

That and turn things off at the plug, were pretty much our limit as to what we were being asked to do to save the planet.

Now I am overwhelmed on a daily basis with information on what I’m doing wrong. How I can or can’t do anything to influence my own or my children’s future survival; how world leaders aren’t doing anything; how I can do something, but it will cost me twice as much, or require at upfront investment I can’t afford, or involve me spending a lot more time I don’t have.

And I feel like a petulant child. And so so very guilty, every time I throw away plastic film, or get in my car. I want to be doing this stuff right, and I don’t even know how, practically speaking.

I write to my MP, to local councillors. I try to buy locally grown seasonal vegetables and fruit. I eat mainly vegan, but I don’t know if any of that does anything. We still have a gas boiler, and two cars, and I buy those tiny pots of yoghurt for the kids that are virtually encased in plastic.

And recycling is a myth, and my kids leave mounds of soggy cereal in their bowls, and we gave up on cloth nappies in the last lockdown, because we were just tired, and those are going to sound like pretty weak excuses, when I’m haunted by David Attenborough as we battle our way through the Staffordshire monsoon season 50 years from now.

I don’t have the answers, so I’m trying to find them out, make them simple and share them, whenever I can.

Would you like something? I made these to use as a Christmas gift for friends, but never had the money to make them up.

I was going to put them together as a calendar of seasonal fruit and vegetables in the UK, so people could glance up at the wall as they planned meals and see what was in season.

Feel free to print one up for yourself if you like. In fact please do. I would love that. I’d feel like I was doing something.

Posted in learn | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The photographs I’m taking for my children

I have to confess, the urge to stick a number in the title of this post and turn it into a listicle, is strong, but I’m powering through.

I was thinking about this the other day, because I had a few photos printed, which I print every year, and I wondered whether anyone else has the same problem as me.

I’m curating my children’s lives.

This might be because I lost Mum just before I had small no.1, or it might be because I was 39 when I had him. Either way I felt mortality tapping me on the shoulder, and I wanted him to have access to things if I wasn’t around to show him or tell him about them.

These things have included, interviews I conduct every birthday, and a letter I write to each of the smalls every birthday telling them about what they are like right now, and a photo album.

Each album contains: –

  • a photograph of myself and lovely husband from every year since we met
  • a photograph of all the grandparents from our wedding day (it’s the only photo there will ever be of all the grandparents in one place, and it feels important)
  • a photo montage of me pregnant with them, one photo for every month of pregnancy
  • a photo montage of them every month for the first year of their life with a stuffed animal we bought when we first found out we were expecting (I am so proud of myself for managing to do this twice, I cannot tell you)
  • a photo montage of 20-30 photos from each year of their lives (I do these through Snapfish, A4 photo made up of many tiny pictures)
  • a photo of our little family together from every year of their lives
  • a photo of them on their birthday every year with their stuffed animal
  • a photo of the extended family on every holiday we go on (we usually do a week with my family and a week with lovely husband’s, so it’s a nice opportunity to get a picture of the entire family)
  • any fancy photos we have taken for special occasions (this has included a maternity photo shoot my friend for me with small no.1 when pregnant with small no.2, and a family photo we organised for my Dad’s 70th)

Because I’m starting it now when they’re still so young I’m hoping it’s a small job that won’t feel too taxing, but will add up to something significant.

I don’t have a photo of my family from every year of growing up. I would LOVE to have them. Maybe my kids won’t care, but just in case, I’m willing to try and do this.

It’s also made me wonder whether I have photographs of me from every year of my life.

This has pulled together 11 of them out of 43, and I have a few school photos somewhere in my dad’s house, so I’m embarking on another project, to collect together a photo from every year of my life in the world’s strangest flick book.

Maybe one day, the smalls will be as interested to look through that.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A statement of intent

I made a resolution at the beginning of the year to live intentionally.

I’m really very tired. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since small number one arrived, which is coming up for four years ago, and I tend to wander off mentally, so it was a way of saying I should try not to let life drift, think where I want to go, and steer things accordingly.

The real question there is where do I want my life to go?

I took voluntary redundancy from my job in local journalism at the end of maternity leave for small number one, so I’m a stay at home mum these days.

The industry I left has shrunk considerably since then, and I’m not even sure I would go back if I could. I don’t think it was my kind of journalism. I think I could be better, and be more focused, looking at things in a different way.

I suspect that what I really should do, is not look for a job at all, but make one up, or make several up, and piece them together into a new work life, but I am terrified by that.

My usual approach to things that terrify me, is to walk slowly toward them, gauging what exactly is frightening me, and tackle it head on, but right now I have an 11-month-old baby, and it’s a long way from here to when I’ll have a chance to take on my fears.

I am in the process (in my sleep-deprived state) of breaking down each element of my potential (slightly pretentiously labelled) portfolio career, and then slowly researching how interested I am in it, whether it’s a crazy idea, not really for me after all, or something I might love but not be able to make any money from.

The other thing I’m doing is trying to create space, and time.

Counter-intuitively, this involves watching a lot of You Tube videos about domestic faffery, cooking, cleaning, budgeting and such, but I think it’s useful (please tell me if I’m delusional).

I think if I can pace the everyday, always there parts of life well, I can steal back minutes, hours, and then use them to start working on the important things.
If I can cook in batches, meal plan and clean systematically, I can carve out Virginia Woolf’s Room of One’s Own, that my mum was always banging on about (I think – reading that this year – I might start banging on about it too then).

So, I’m wondering really, whether anyone else is out there, trying to do the same, whether, since I’m putting all this effort in, you might like me to share what I find with you, so we all have a little more time to live intentionally.

Let me know.

Posted in learn, rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My mum still has cancer

Today is Mother’s Day and I was looking around my hard drive, searching for a photo of my sister and I with her, wondering what she would make of this global strangeness, when I realised something.

90091093_10157008821397045_3744544018424397824_oIn all my thoughts, I was protecting her because she’s vulnerable. Over 70 and immune-compromised by chemotherapy. My imaginary living mum has aged, but she’s kept the disease that killed her.

In my dreams too, on the rare occasion that she visits (and I’d love to see you more often Mum) she wears her wig, she talks about the disease. It has become a part of her.

Mum discovered she had cancer when I was 18, just off to university. She had just started a degree of her own in Fine Art, and chemotherapy cut through her new-found enthusiasm and energy like a sucker punch. She had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The people treating her were my dad’s colleagues and they were going to nail this one, so they could look my dad in the eye. They knew Mum from parties and meals out and they didn’t want to let her down.

We had one lonely Christmas, quarantined from the rest of the family because my cousin had chickenpox and we didn’t want it.

And then she was fine.

For years.

For a decade. Mum was one of the NHS success stats.

It came back when I was 31, just months before I met Lovely Husband, just before another Christmas, just weeks before I was made redundant from my job, but to be honest it didn’t seem like a big deal, because everything had changed, and now there were new drugs, and although it was technically secondaries, which technically you can’t really treat all that easily, and they were just slowing down the growth, they might slow it down for years, and she was older now, so they could stretch out her life for as long as it would have stretched on the regular elastic we all get.

I used to have nightmares about it, losing her. I knew it was a nightmare. I knew it was coming, but still, it snuck up on me.

I was 38 when Mum died. She lived with cancer for eight, maybe nine of her 67 years, and my subconscious can’t see fit to cure her of it. Frankly, it’s rude.

Sorry Mum. Happy Mother’s Day xx




Posted in love | Tagged | Leave a comment

The well is deeper than you think

We had a scan yesterday for our second pregnancy, and we’re having another boy.

This made me a little sad, which made me feel more than a little guilty, but the more I think about it the more I think it’s about something more than it seems.

I think I need to be honest with myself about this stuff.

At first I was sad because of a promise I made to my mum when she was dying. I promised her I would name my baby after her. Our exact conversation led to her saying it might be a little more difficult if it was a boy, but she wasn’t taking herself seriously. I don’t think. Anyway, I’ve tested out the idea with Lovely Husband and it doesn’t fly.

I was happy to do it with a girl though. I had a name lined up and agreed to with Lovely Husband.

So I think I was a little sad that I couldn’t keep my promise.

And then as the afternoon progressed I found I was sad that I couldn’t pass on the information I’ve learned about being a woman.

I’m not very good at it. Being a woman. But that’s a learning experience too right? The number of bad outfits and bad haircuts and bad jobs I’ve experienced. My inability to talk to boys and then men. My lack of knowledge at how to respond when people told me I had a man’s name, that I looked like a man. My inability to do my hair or apply make up properly. I’ve got some of the answers to all of that now, in my 40s. I feel like I could help steer someone through some of that stuff.

And then when I thought longer about it and considered the fact that I don’t know what kind of sons I’m going to have, how I’m going to be a female role model for them, how I might end up giving them my feminine advice on fashion, and make up application, I found it wasn’t really that which was causing the sadness after all.

At the bottom of it really, was grief. These days it feels like it’s always grief, the well of grief is deeper than any of us can comprehend.

I am not a girly girl. My sister told me this in a text message today in response to the fact that I’m about to be living in a very boysy household. ‘At least you’re not a girly girl’.

She’s right. And she’s wrong. I don’t wear particularly feminine outfits or a lot of make up. I don’t spend much time on my hair. I don’t go to spa days or out for drinks with the girls. I don’t know if I even have ‘girls’ like that.

I have female friends. Beautiful strong-willed women, who are funny and intelligent, and I love them.

Some of them dress stylishly and wear beauty products from department stores and look excellent in make up and hold down families and jobs and femininity equally well. We laugh and we talk politics and we talk about the things that feel important…

But we don’t talk about any of that. We don’t discuss make up tips, or go shopping together, or to spa days. We don’t catch up over cocktails.

When I think about doing any of those things, the only person I’ve ever done them with is my mum, and since she’s been gone I just haven’t done them at all. And they weren’t a big part of my life, but I can’t work out if they were an important part of my life.

At the moment we have no money to speak of, so my clothes shopping consists of the few items of maternity wear I’ve had to buy since I’m two stone lighter than I was last time I was pregnant. Shopping trips involve a two-year-old, or a fatigued husband, and the desire to get whatever it is out of the way.

Self care is occasional moisturising and a daily shower. I cut my own hair. I watched a video on You Tube.

I used to do these things, not often, but I did, browse clothes shops, buy beauty products. I went for cocktails, I even went to a spa once. I did it all with Mum. We were never sure if we were mocking or taking ourselves seriously, but we did them.

Now it feels like a world I don’t get to go back to. I can’t buy my way back in. I don’t have the time, or the freedom or the finances or the support.

Because being with her was my support, my encouragement that however dubious I was about my own femininity, she was there for me, we were cut from the same cloth, and no-one was judging.

God I miss her.

The well of grief is deeper than we can comprehend.

Posted in love, rant | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Knowing someone

Someone I know died this week.

I would love to say a friend of mine, but I’m not sure I ever earned that privilege. Social media has created a situation where you can be constantly in touch with someone and still not be sure whether you are a friend, or just a voyeur.

She took her own life.

I feel like a voyeur, not a friend.

I was with my dad when I heard, and he said (as he has many times before in similar situations, where we’ve heard news of a suicide amongst colleagues or distant connections) “It’s so awful for the family, and for her friends. I always think it’s such a selfish thing to do”.

But I was thinking. I knew this person. She was not a selfish person.

She was a happy positive person. She talked about friends and family. She empathised. I was also thinking that the person I knew would not do this.

Which raises two points. Firstly that I didn’t ever know the real her, and secondly that I am not good at seeing beyond the cheerful disposition people show to the world, because clearly there was more.

There have been several articles on the radio recently about the harm of our social media image. That fictional us we portray to the world, showing our best selves, our cheery dispositions. I don’t know how guilty I am of that (my sister helps keep me real by posting unflattering photos of me eating or talking with uncanny regularity).

She had reached a point where suicide felt like the logical thing to do. Life had concentrated itself down to one option.

I have no idea what that feels like, but I know this. I have felt down. I have felt lonely. I have talked about it here, and on social media, and endlessly to unsuspecting new mothers in my village, and people have offered me help. A coffee date, an offer of a visit or a playdate with children, the freedom to call them at any hour.

I haven’t taken up any of those offers, because somehow they didn’t fit in with the gap I was trying to fill. The quite probably Mum-shaped gap.

I have really appreciated the very good friends who just turned up, or emailed, or called, but most of my very good friends have small children of their own, and full time jobs, and live far away, so this is understandably rare.

The point is that these cries for help, and responses, my rejection of those responses and sulky petulant wish for better, closer connections with the people I love, made me feel like a terrible person. Like I couldn’t mention it again.

My cries for help led me to feel worse about myself, and not find the help I was after. I can see how that spiral can start. I have never been anywhere near where it ends.

I’ve been considering recently whether I should reduce the number of connections I have on social media, because the idea saddens me that I might meet (one day in real life) someone I haven’t seen since university, and I might not ask how they are, how they’ve been, what their life is like now, because I already feel like I know, because I’m keeping a low level background surveillance on them, checking in from time to time. I already know all about them.

And really, obviously, I know nothing.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to actually know nothing, and to ask, and to listen to the response?

I can’t decide.

Someone I know died this week. I’m not even sure I can claim that.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in rant | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment