Pride is a glorious thing!

Wow what a few weeks we have had for England, we have pride literally shining out of us at the moment, and everyone is happier, kinder and friendlier than I can ever remember.

The obvious pride moments have been watching the young England football team grow from strength to strength. Their calm, their mental maturity, their behaviour on the pitch even when faced with the dirty games played by the South and Central Americans…

HarryKane as Captain, actively encouraging his boys to have their turn, belief in their ability. Even the hubby who is West Ham to the core is now all over the Tottenham striker.

They have shown immense teamwork, they look like a team, they appear to get on well, there are no ‘superstars’ insisting on the limelight…. it’s very humbling to watch.

As is the subtle gentlemen that is GarethSouthgate. Not being a massive football fan I was delighted when the underdog was given the role he had be minding since Allardyce blew his once in a lifetime opportunity. The England manager role needed to be an Englishman yes, but also someone who could do something different, have real belief, and even more so make sure the players also held that belief. Gareth has brought the ‘team’ into the team without question.

There are clearly some superb psychologists working with the boys, but Gareth you are leading them fabulously, thank you for showing us kindness, support, faith and encouragement works….proud!

The youngest son is also proud his waistcoat wardrobe is in the headlines!

I’m afraid he wore it first Gareth! Proud!

Carrying on with the football theme, let’s think about Richard Stanton, Robert Harper & John Volanthen. These incredible divers flew to Thailand, and navigated through 5km of caves they had never ventured into. One section is only 3 mars bars wide (end to end). The footage of the young Thai football team all huddled on a side of rock made you want to cry at the knowledge they had been found alive, especially by English divers.

These incredibly talented and brave Englishmen did a phenomenal job. To have now got four of the boys out safely is a miracle, everything is crossed for the remaining boys to be removed safely today. Proud chaps, very proud.

I must now move to our fabulous NHS. 70yrs old last week. I have had my fair share of treatments on the NHS, with a couple babies, a poorly mother-in-law, a few cancer diagnoses amongst many other more minor treatments.

The fact there is not enough money in some trusts is appalling and if the best way to manage it is to give us a separate tax for NHS, I can’t see many arguing with that. It is the one thing the government offer that we are actually proud of.

Thank you nurses, doctors, porters and everyone one of you that contribute to the NHS, I am proud and grateful to have you.

Finally it was LondonPride this weekend, and I was super proud of the efforts different establishments put into celebrating it.

It’s good to have pride, it’s a wonderful feeling to be proud of something, and a I think we should all bask in it a little longer…..

What have you done today to make you feel proud…?

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Divorce happens, being an arse is an option….

As at today I have five different friends going through divorce, all at various stages of the process, all for varying reasons, and not one of them enjoying the horrible unwanted situation, but just about holding it together.

I have fortunately, not had to go through my own divorce, but I have experienced that of my parents, and I am a second wife myself, so I have a little understanding of the process, but thats all I’d say.  I have never experienced the pain, and seemingly shocking behaviour some people have to go through when a marriage ends.

The husband and I spend the last fortnight watching The Split (6 episodes).  Initially I thought this was about having affairs, it was not.  Then I thought it was about the split of a family business, it was not.  It was simply about splitting up in every manner possible.  It was very cleverly written, but immensely uncomfortable at times.  The sadness that stems from staying in an unhappy marriage, to the turmoil separation can bring children even years later.  If you’ve not watched it, do….it was very enlightening.

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The message really is that separation and divorce happens, a lot.  40% of marriages end in divorce compared to 20% in the 60s, and I think as a generation we are more liberated in marriage, thinking perhaps this coupling works for now…..but if it all goes wrong, I’ll get out.  Or do we?

Each one of my friends going through this today (you know you you are), please do not ever feel ashamed, or a failure for what you are experiencing.  Marriage was historically for couples to work through, but if it ended in many years of misery just to save face, what is the point of that?  Surely being apart is better…?  It is only if you start to act like an arse should you take a serious look at yourself.

Marriage is a wonderful thing when it works, but hideously toxic when it doesn’t.  Sadly, some people’s behaviour becomes even more horrendous after separation, even if it was them in the wrong…

I have one gorgeous friend who for the past 2 years has suffered nothing but psychotic bullying from her now ex husband, and he was the one who was unfaithful.  She has done nothing wrong, but his shitty behaviour keeps coming back to smack her in the face despite the legal formalities having been completed.  It is like he enjoys the control can he still hold, there is no other reason for his cruelty to continue.

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I have another friend who woke up one day and bravely thought I am simply miserable in this marriage.  She calmly said it couldn’t go on, and ever since has suffered verbal and physical abuse from her now ex, because he is angry about the marriage being over.

My other 3 friends are all going through divorce, due to infidelity, one of the exes is getting remarried, one ex continues to bring home his dirty laundry (literally), and only one is just moving on relatively calmly.  In 4 out of 5 cases, the police have been called, social services have been involved, and for what… because one side is angry and acting like a total arse.

Each one of these divorces has happened for a different reason.  Yes infidelity is no help in keeping a marriage together but it is usually a product of unhappiness not the cause.  Some people know they should never have got married, others pretend everything is fine for the sake of the children or everyone else.  Others have no idea the other half has strayed and then there are those who don’t even realise that the misery they are suffering at home is not normal in a married life.

Marriage should fundamentally be a partnership, where you strive only to make each other happy.  If you are ever with someone who does not want you to be your complete natural happy self……then there is a problem.

In short marriages do break up, my husbands marriage broke up when his children were both very young.  He however remained as present as he could when it came to his first family.  He never missed a weekend, a birthday party, gave distance when needed, took responsibility when asked, disciplined, and was always on their mothers side when it came to parenting decisions.  Both his kids, are now grown up and are a delight.  Polite, caring, loving, successful at school and utterly charming, yet they came from a broken home.  The difference was their parents continued to be civil to each other.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not always easy to put on a brave face, but if you have children you must.  Don’t ever regret the marriage, it happened, it must have been good at one point.  Hold on to that and know how you have grown because of it.  But when it ends….be nice.

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Never say things about your ex to your children even if true, it only confuses or upsets them.  Remember, they haven’t fallen out of love with either of you.  They may very well be struggling to see how you two no longer get along.  Don’t lie to them, just be very, very careful what they hear – it will stick with them – so don’t be cruel.

Remember there is nothing you can do if one person in the marriage wants it to end.  You cannot force someone to be with you, nor would you want to.  You cannot ‘un-know’ about an affair, and trust is hard to rebuild.

You need two people to be happy for a happy marriage, if YOU are not happy, fix it…….but whatever you do be as kind as you can in the process.

People make mistakes, but actively going out of your way to be an arse for nothing but self satisfaction is just spiteful, and unnecessary.

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So to you wonderfully strong people out there who are holding it together through these traumatic divorce days, keep going, you are doing amazingly! I promise you Karma is watching, and you’ll get rewarded for being such a decent and fabulous human being.  But to those partners who are vindictively causing aggravation, hurt and bitterness, stirring trouble at every corner, I’m personally talking to Karma about your ridiculous behaviour and guarantee you’ll get yours…..Behave, be an adult, be human, and please just be nice…..

Mind your language please….

It has been an interesting and exciting week in so many ways, however for me, it’s not just because of the royal wedding and the FA cup final.  No, for me it has been all about a war on words….and the misuse of them.

It started when the 9 year old came home from school on Tuesday a little battered and bruised. He’d been in a scuffle during football and had come off a little worse than the tarmac. This is normal for boys, and so he being a tough little soul, gritted his teeth and carried on. But then his ‘friend’ Wally (yes I’ve spoken of this charmer before), started calling him an “effing bitch” over and over and then started pushing into his shoulders. My eldest tried to back away, as he knows that being bigger than Wally he cannot always react. Wally then said “eff your mother” right in Noah’s face – charming. He held his own but continued to back away from the angry one, this carried on and the swearing increased until Noah had simply had enough and pushed back as hard as he could, yes Wally went flying….and then cried like a baby.

Noah was then called the “c-word” a few times by another boy, fortunately then the teacher came over to sort the mess out.  Noah is not aggressive (unless it’s his little brother he’s trying to abuse), but he was indignant at the harsh words being thrown at him for no reason.  He knows all the swear words, and knows not to use them, not because of the words themselves, but because of the feelings you must experience to need to use them.

There was another occasion a few weeks ago when the 6 year old was in the school playground, being kicked in the shins by a 5yr old girl as she was calling him a “little bitch”…. nice. 5 years old really?

We’re not precious about swearing in our house, but certainly in front of the boys it is not common practice. I’ve explained to them both that 5 and 8yrs old only say these things because they have seen or heard them said themselves. The anger that comes with the words is what saddens me though, they are not said in jest, but in pure rage.

We then had the day Noah asked me what a ‘spastic’ was. A bit taken aback I asked him where he had heard it, and he explained his best friend had called it to him when they were playing a game. I carefully discussed the meaning of the word and the connotations implied when using it and Noah was visibly concerned. “Why would people be so cruel mummy?”  We both agreed his best friend, who is lovely, would not say it if he knew what it meant.

He went to school the next day and explained everything to his friend, who was very embarrassed and even sent an ashamed apology home to me.  But where did he hear that? It’s surely not been used since the 80s!!

Then there is the misunderstandings children pick up from adults. Whilst listening to Noah and his friend the other day, I heard his friend say “Well you are actually racist if you call somebody black or Muslim”. Noah quick to correct explained “No you are only racist if you tease or say something bad about them being black or Muslim…”. The other boy argued for a while, but Noah was clear in his case and was able to finally get the other boy to understand. I was very proud, I think this is a hugely important lesson to learn at 9, but even better to be able to explain it to others.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not perfect by any stretch, while in Mac the other day a bearded male with a full face of makeup helped me, and I referred to “him” at the till only to be corrected “yes she is very helpful”…  We will all make mistakes, I get that, and we should be allowed to, otherwise we’ll simply be fearful of speaking with people different to us in case we get it wrong. However, it is how we adjust our use of words when we know we are wrong.

The other day I was discussing our plans for the day with the 5 yr old and he was moaning about doing only what he wanted to do. “It’s not all about you Theo, there are other people in the house too”… And then it came straight back at me “Well it’s not all about you either mummy”. Ouch, immediate reflection of my words!!

My absolute favourite word misuse last week however, had to be the deputy governor of the Bank of England who referred to the British economy as being “menopausal, passed its peak”. That is a corker of a faux pas, if there was ever a population to piss off!!

My point is we all make mistakes and we say things we shouldn’t or don’t really mean, but when it comes to our children let’s take a little more care. Let us not swear in anger at them or in front of them, let’s chose our words for others wisely, let’s think before we expose them to a 15 rated film or a 15 rated computer game.

They have pure, beautiful little minds and to have them not only experience this rage but then use it themselves (at 5yrs old!) is just sad. I’m not delighted my boys have had this redirected anger focused at them, but they can handle it, but I do worry what a 5 year old has experienced when she calls another child a little bitch whilst kicking him.

Noah is desperate to watch Deadpool, Suicide Squad and pretty much every horror. Just because his friends talk about them. He knows he’s got about 5 years to wait. He has grown up so much already, I’m going to try to keep his “muchness” a little longer….. and he’s ok with that.

Looking for Happiness…

Isn’t that what we are all ultimately doing… looking for happiness? Some of us think we have found it and slip into a world of complacency, whereas others never seem to be content and cannot stop searching.

There must be a time when we go “Boom, I am exactly where I want to be…for now anyway”.  We all know change is constant and it is this change that brings both excitement and worry to most people. Whether you are an optimist or more prudent in your approach, change will either give you highs or lows, worry will be a chore or a brief encounter, but in the end we all just want to feel happy.

I watched Paul Lindley (founder of Ella’s Kitchen) speak last week about how we should all act more like toddlers, or 5yr olds. He has a book out Little Wins; The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler, which encourages us to think and sometimes act a little less grown up.

He tells a great story of him hard boiling an egg for his 4 year old son who had seen, and wanted to copy a girl in his class crack the egg she had for lunch on her head. Wanting to be a fun dad, Paul prepared the egg, but at the last minute swapped it for a raw one. A long moment of silence ensued as his 4 year old smashed the raw egg on his head….moments later he was roaring with laughter, as was Paul.  All very silly, but a memory both will cherish for a long time…what joy!

It’s a great concept I think we should all follow at least once in a while. I watch my 6 year old, his enthusiasm, laughter and joy at the most basic things I take for granted. A worm, a bug, a spiderweb, a funny line or dance in a film. But it is his beautiful, simplistic, untarnished view he has on the world I am most jealous of. That innocence, and feeling of living in the moment and seeing only what is in front of you, pure emotion, and most of the time it is happiness.

With everything happening in politics right now, (how much bigger can Trumps head get?), the commonality in the way the public are fed what they want us to hear by papers and social media, the infighting, lack of money everywhere, over administration of every single thing, compliance, arse covering, the lack of trust I have in “the truth”, I wish I was 5 again and didn’t know any of these things.

I wonder, by knowing them am I happier…? Not in the slightest, it is information overload, and sometimes I think we should allow ourselves to grow down and ignore the noise.

So this week, being mental awareness week, you need to take care of you, and those around you. Live in the moment, the now.  94% of the things you worry about, will never ever happen. Worry is a totally wasted energy, happiness is where you should be heading.

Seek it out, get on your hands and knees and play with your kids or your dogs, have a water fight or even a food fight (!!) with them or just do something ‘crazy’ for no other reason than to make them laugh, forget the mess and unshackle yourself from the restraints of adulthood.

Rio Ferdinand really impressed me at the Baftas on Sunday night when he explained how happy he was now with his new girlfriend and that his children were finally healing from the loss of their mother. She would have wanted him to find happiness again, there is no shame in it and no guilt or worry should be associated with moving on for your own happiness. Live in the now.  Anyone who watched his heartbreaking documentary could not be anything but delighted for him.  He has once again found his happy place.  You need to find your happy place…. here’s mine.

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Or of course with my boys, depending on their mood (and mine).  The point is happiness needs to be looked for, you cannot wait for it to happen.  It can drift away as quickly as it came to you.  Don’t settle for just anything, don’t suffer people who don’t make you happy, don’t stay in a relationship or a job that doesn’t make you happy.

You deserve to be happy, and if you are happy it can be very infectious, I assure you those around you will be happy too….

I’ll leave you with a clip from a very funny lady who left us too soon, as she ‘discusses’ the inflatable school…. enjoy, have a laugh and be happy

YOU TUBE : Inflatable School

Homework Hell….

My weekend was the usual fill of flitting from one activity or event to another, always something different, until the hell that hits Sunday afternoon.  It is the same every week, and I don’t seem to learn….why??!!

I used to insist on doing homework Friday evenings, as I was taught at boarding school.  But as I don’t collect the boys until 6pm Friday evening, after a long week at school think they are so tired, even the required 10 minute read is a challenge.

So Sunday morning comes around, and I tell the boys it’s time…..I then suffer a good 10 minutes of stalling, moaning, challenging, until I find myself shouting to just get in the kitchen or I will sell their entire toy collection.

We start with maths, as that is usually a little easier for them to self administer…..Number bonds anyone?? Didn’t exist in my day, I did maths a-level yet I had to google number bonds for my 6 year old!

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We just about get through it, so attempt to do english before lunch…..  This is when my children think they deserve a breather or at least 10 mins on their ipad as they have worked so hard.

“I hate homework” says they eldest, “I hate homework” I reply, ‘Well you don’ have to do it, you don’t have to work at the weekends at all, it’s not fair”  the eldest foolishly challenges me…..

Off I go into my tirade of ‘work’ I don’t have to do at the weekend, including of course not having to do ‘homework!’.

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Winding myself up, we break for a roast (which I have not had to work to create).

Finally after sufficient break to recharge so we begin the challenge.  This week the eldest has to use a dictionary to re-spell words, look up their meaning (16 words), and explain what type of words they are.  Off to buy a dictionary then…

First word HILL.  “Well I know what a hill is mummy its a bump in the ground”, “But you need to look it up in the dictionary”, Why?” “Because thats the homework“, “That’s stupid”….well…….er …..

2 hrs later we completed it, there were strops, sulks, tears and frustration, but I’m pretty sure he knows how to use a dictionary now.  It was good homework.  We have had worse…

I challenge you to find the answers to the following:

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CONTINENTS FFS!!!!!  To this we wrote a whole paragraph to the teacher explaining how impossible the task was so we opted for countries instead.  At least he practiced his argument technique!

Anyway, a total of 3 hours was wasted today coaching and then arguing with my boys to get their homework done.  The youngest thought I was joking when I said I would claim back his £1 pocket money, until I went for his wallet then the tears started.  I ended up timing him with the oven timer just to give him a ‘stop dawdling’ deadline.  My worry is we are 6 and 9, we’re not even getting much homework.  I dread the future.

Books packed away and the torture over for another week.  Then the eldest asked me if he can do a powerpoint….”Err why?”, “because I love powerpoint!!”.  He’s kidding right, who says that – the youth of today.

So I set him up with a new power point slide deck, and he sat there studiously for over 80 mins, creating a beautifully worded and constructed side show about superheroes.  I may even use it in my day job.

Next week he can do my homework, and I’ll just do his – save all our tears!!

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Choose their names carefully…

Anyone who has had a child (or even a dog) will know that torment you go through trying to choose a name for your new baby.  No one tells you when you are growing up with those ‘perfect’ names in your thoughts, that not only will you have to get the approval of your partner, but you will also have a number of ‘out of bounds’ names of ex-partners and ex-friends, both yours and your partners that must be discarded along the way..

Amazingly we agreed very early on our first ‘boyname.  Having discarded a few of my favourites, as the hubby claimed they were dogs names – shame we weren’t getting a dog!  The ‘girl ‘name we were searching for however, was much harder.

Everything I liked he hated.  Everything he suggested, I discarded  in remembrance of some utter cow I had met along the years.  I remember one day the hubby coming home and announcing he had it!  “It suddenly came to me at work………Delilah-Belle!!”.

I nearly choked on my tea.  Unfortunately for him, I couldn’t suppress my hysterics – All I could see was some overweight trailer trash, in too small daisy dukes, screaming at her ferrel, grubby, daughter “DELILAH-BELLE!! Get yer assss in ‘ere!!”.  “No chance!” I protested a little too quickly, blatantly laughing at him.

It was a very insensitive moment of mine, his face fell, he really thought he’d nailed it…the realisation we were not getting closer in our search but actually much further away was painful, and so the search drifted off for a bit.

As fate would have it, we had a boy, and then during the second pregnancy, once again we nailed the ‘boyname in days…..the ‘girl’ was still an issue.  Nine months later thankfully we had another boy and, marriage back to full ‘team Foy’ strength our name choosing days were over – phew!

My delight in this selection of ours has never been more apparent to me than this Monday.  On our way home from school, my eldest, Noah was telling me how there was a boy who was constantly swearing at him, trying to fight him, and generally being a bit of a dick.  Noah, quite nicely means rest, peace & comfort. 

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He’s nothing like that at home, but his calm and patient nature when his peers are trying to fight him has served him well.  He has taken to holding this boy back with his palm on his forehead as he lunges at Noah and insists Noah fights him.  Noah stays calm, and inevitably this boy gets more and more annoyed, goading Noah .   The boy’s name is quite aptly…….Wally.

So I asked Noah if he knew what Wally meant?  “No idea mummy”, “Lets google it when we get home darling you’ll see”….

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We researched all his friends names in turn, and he delighted in their different meanings, all remarkably accurate.  He could not wait to tell everyone what they meant the next day.  We did discuss the subtly of him knowing the meaning of Wally’s name without sharing that knowledge – I hope it worked!

Then a little voice piped up from the dinning table….  “What does my name mean mummy?”….so dutifully I google “meaning of the name Theo”.

“Oh dear Noah, I’m so sorry Darling, this could not be worse for you…”, “Why Mummy, what’s wrong??”

“”I’m so sorry darling, brace yourself………Theo means………GOD’S GIFT!!!!”

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“BOOOOOM!!!” come the sound from the corner of the room, the 6 year old beam visible from space, as poor Noah buried his head in his hands.

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As if my 6 yr old needs any more to love about himself…..Choose wisely…

 

 

 

 

‘Mothers Day’ letter to my boys

Dear boys

The all encompassing feeling you experience being a mother and parent is indescribable. Everyone tells you this when you are pregnant, but until you can actually call yourself a parent you can never know.

Having babies is wonderful, but having two little boys is simply awesome, so I want to take this mothers day to thank you for the gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you both for your innocence, your unstoppable questions, your wondrous minds and their unconstrained thoughts.  Every day you ask me something that makes me laugh, smile, wince or question my own understanding.  I wish I could box your youthfull minds and remind you of these when you are 40yrs old and more judgemental of the world.

IMG_2595.JPGI love your total lack of discrimination and your disgust when I explain its meaning.  Colour, religion, sexual preference, disability, height, wealth, is not even something you see.  How wonderful it is to observe you accepting of everyone in every circumstance, many adults could learn a great deal from watching you.

Thank you for your desire to please.  Yes, you can both be little buggers and thoroughly exhausting, but you wouldn’t be my boys without an occasional challenge.  The way you can reflect, apologise and amend your behaviour when you understand it has hurt me or someone else, is commendable for your young ages.  All children are naturally selfish and this is accepted, but you both surprise me with your willingness to share your last chocolate, or compromise with friends over toys or games.  Your desire to please your dad and I with your school work, makes us so proud, and will serve you so well in later years, but you’ll not appreciate that now, but I thank you for it.

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I could not be prouder of your politeness.  Always saying ‘Good afternoon” to your teachers when you leave school, rarely missing a thank you, always remembering a please.  Then there is your loving natures.  You both always ask how my day was, and ask why it was good or bad.  You hug me and your dad when it’s been tough, and you encourage family hugs to ensure everyone is included.  You both tell me you love me in a variety of ways throughout the day and never go to bed without giving me at least 3 kisses each.

I love the way you remember all the silly things I tell you to make you better and stronger people.  Noah I know you store these on your hands, and can recite them at any time.   The fact you genuinely think I am wise and live by our family lessons, enthrals me.

I thank you for still holding my hand, and telling me how nice I look.  Theo for your clothes, makeup and jewellery sense.  Noah for just noticing a slight haircut or change in lipstick –  never ever stop this.

I love your love of nature and all things simple, I pray one day I will be able to surround you with a life full of simplicity, beauty and nature.

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I especially love your brotherly connection.  To an observer you fight and struggle and bicker, but internally you are thicker than thieves.  If anyone crosses the other (including me) you have each others back.  That support and bond can never be bought, don’t ever let it go, you will always be brothers, nothing else matters….

I love the fact you try all my cooking, dance with me on a Friday night, and are never afraid if I ask you to trust me….

I could go on and on about how you delight me every day, but ultimately I want to tell you that being your mum is all I want to be, it has made me whole and I would chose you over everything in my life.  When you get older and find me tedious and embarrassing I will cling to these times, and know deep down you’re still in there, and hope that the grounding we have shared will if nothing else, make sure you are the best grown up a man can be.

I am already envious of your future wives, but know if you continue as you are you’ll not only chose an awesome partner, but you’ll not forget us parents and your family will continue to be the most important part of your lives, as it is mine and your dad’s currently.

I love you boys, you are simply fabulous and I want you to always be proud of yourselves, trust in yourselves and in your immense capability.  No one is better than you, but you are not better than anyone else…..be awesome, be caring and be forever my babies.

Mummy xxxx