A work in progress

I’ve been quiet on here of late.  Dealing with emotions and feelings that I couldn’t understand and didn’t feel comfortable expressing.  I lost the plot with D – why was he plodding along?  I didn’t want to plod along. Is this it because frankly you’re wasting my time. I shouted at him ‘If you die tomorrow I would never find out’.  I’m not part of his kids’ lives (they’re teenagers, I’m sure they’re not bothered about being part of my life but still).  I’ve been so busy of late with my own visitors, shuttling through end of term piano recitals, dance shows, sports days etc etc that we had started to see each other once a week.  It came to a head when one Thursday he’d been unsure whether he was seeing his son or not so I made the decision that me and the dog wouldn’t go to see him.  It turned out that he wasn’t seeing his son but I had to keep asking him questions to know he was sitting on his own and I was sitting on my own and that didn’t seem right.  Why did he want to be on his own?  Why didn’t he want to see me?  I came to the conclusion without speaking to him that we were essentially too different to be together.  I started off my tirade with him by saying ‘I can’t do this anymore’.

We talked and talked and he left saying ‘I don’t think I can change enough for you’ but then he had time to think and realised that he wanted to give us a chance – he didn’t want to set himself up for failure; he wanted to try.  And I realised that if I didn’t allow him this chance; if I didn’t try to work through our issues then I was just behaving like my ex – making my mind up that we were over before we’d even given things a chance. So, we’re attempting to work through our issues.  Our different opinions on what makes a meaningful partnership.  My alcohol consumption had crept up so that when we did spend the night together I would wake up groggy and fuzzy headed, not really remembering conversations from the previous evening.  This is something that I have to work on.  In turn he is being more enthusiastic about us, driving to see me more and making an effort to introduce me into his kids’ lives.  And also to not empty the clean cutlery into the cutlery drawer in any old fashion.  And to stir coffee with a spoon – not give it to me not stirred with ‘raw’ coffee granules floating on the surface – all of those little niggles that build up and eventually explode!

I’ve found myself getting so angry and upset every time the kids innocently gave me a titbit of information about their dad, C and the imminent new baby or when I see her out walking; her tiny frame and perfectly neat bump.  I am confused by my feelings – why do I still feel so strongly about them and their relationship?  As a friend said to me it’s really none of my business what he buys for her and anyway we don’t know why he’s buying these gifts.  But still the pain and resentment and hurt lingers on and has started to manifest itself in the way I felt about D.  And sure he’s not perfect but neither am I.  He was plodding along thinking things were okay and I did need to say something; the way we were going wasn’t enough for me.  I want and need more.  More communication, more honesty, more transparency, more affection but I have no doubt that the way I feel about us is tainted by my feelings about them and this is something I need to get to grips with and sort out in my own head.

I’ve signed up for more counselling, I may try CBT this time if appropriate.  The first course of counselling enabled me to navigate through the separation and the awful feelings of betrayal and abandonment.  The 2nd time round I returned to try and cope with the idea that the kids were about to meet the other woman.  In reality they had probably met her before this point but it was at that time that the kids started talking about her to me and that hurt big time, like a kick to the stomach.  I need to have some coping strategies around this anxiety and hopelessness I feel about things.  My constant worrying about my current relationship, how the kids are coping, my elderly dad, my single brother.  As my dear friend told me (who’s idea it was to start this blog and I know still reads – thank you, I love you!) “You can’t beat a bit of impartial listening/advice.  I know having me ready with a blade for anyone who does you wrong is useful, but sometimes a bit of detachment is necessary”.

I need to calm down and enjoy what I have and of course speak up sooner rather than later and try and be as truthful, honest and authentic as I can be too.  I’m a work in progress but I’m working at it.

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Seaweed

I’ve just spent the weekend without the kids (their dad’s turn with them).  I had a mixed weekend really.  You’d think three and a half years in I’d be used to being without the kids but I often feel guilty spending time on myself, doing things for myself, making my own breakfast and nobody else’s…well apart from the dog’s I guess.  On Saturday I went to get my hair done (the greys seem to be coming thick and fast as I hurtle towards 40).  It’s an infrequent treat.  Sitting in the hairdressers, book in hand, cup of tea by my side, the hustle and bustle of the salon.   The pleasure in somebody washing your hair can never be underestimated; the scalp massage.  Utter bliss, I was so relaxed almost to the point of snoozing.  Anyway, came out of the salon and saw my kids in the car with my ex so I thought I’ll continue onto my friends cafe, have a flat white and give them a call.  I knew that they were heading to a family do later and I never like to interrupt these occasions with a phone call from me.

And then my world came crashing down and it seems silly about how upset I was now; now I’ve had time to digest things and think rationally.  I phoned my ex’s mobile and my son answered.  Had he had a busy morning?  They were out buying treats for C as she was having a baby shower today.  A pamper voucher for now and a coffee machine for after the baby arrives.  I felt winded.  I was speechless and ended the conversation quickly with silent tears spilling onto my cheeks’ trying to cry discreetly in the busy cafe.  Since when did he get so bloody generous?  And where is this money coming from?  Has he been saving up the £50 a month he doesn’t give me for the kids to purchase her gifts?  Has she asked for them?  Demanded them?  Is he buying out of guilt, fear or remorse?  I remember towards the end he used to buy me gifts.  I hadn’t asked for them, they didn’t have much thought to them and I remember saying I’d rather have his time and affection rather than things.  I’ve since sold most of these things (watches, shoes etc) on ebay; I’d rather not have things he has bought for me in my space, around the house.  And then I felt bad because again it made me compare this relationship, this spirit of generosity (if that’s simply what it is) with my current relationship.  I know my partner is under financial pressure with his kids and he supports me with so many other things that have a monetary value.  Things around the house which I would have no clue about and would probably buy in (we are embarking on a painting project this summer!).  I need to bare this in mind.  A sign of a good relationship is not showering each other with gifts, with things – it’s about being supportive, mutual respect, open communication.  And its all tied up with the baby too of course and how I feel about this.

I tried to speak to my partner about it.  Tried to convey why I was so upset, jealous even but I think it was so connected to us, or that’s how I felt at the time, that I really struggled.

On Saturday evening I went out with the local girls for pizza.  I ranted at them and got nothing but support – do you really want a seaweed bath, there’s living things in that seaweed that could crawl into your you-know-what!  And those coffee machines are shit anyway and real life will soon kick in when the baby arrives etc etc and I did feel better.  I also felt a bit foolish for being so materialistic.  I’ve always said I would never rely on another person to buy me things and make me happy (I must have been in a total Beyonce frame of mind when I made this resolution) and now here I was crying with jealousy.   I met one of his sisters and her husband in the pizza restaurant and again nothing but support (without me prompting it I have to add, I wasn’t ranting about my woes to everybody, honest).  I did note that they had drunk a bottle of wine each right enough but they bolstered me, told me how well I was doing, keeping things as normal as possible for the kids.  Not bringing them up with bitterness or hatred.  I started to think about how his sister feels too about this impending baby.  Especially comparing this baby to her little niece who has just arrived.  You can’t play favourites with children but it would be very easy to do so in this situation.  She reminded me of her father’s words to me at her mum’s funeral “we love you, we will always love you”.

Ultimately, it’s really none of my business what he buys for her.  Their relationship is none of my business and if it weren’t for the open innocence of the kids I wouldn’t hear about half of this stuff.  I would be oblivious and that’s perhaps a better place to be at the moment.

We need to talk about Diane Abbott. Now. (EXPLICIT CONTENT)

COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP

This is not a recipe. I wrote this as a series of tweets today and readers asked for it as a blog post, so here it is. Our politics may differ, so feel free to skip straight back to the recipes if that’s what you’re here for.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT DIANE ABBOTT.

Right one of us political writer people needs to do this and it looks like it’s me. Grab a seat. I wanna talk about Diane.
Diane was first elected as an MP in 1987, the year before I was born. She has been dedicated to serving the British public for longer than I have even been alive. Hold that thought. Understand it.
Diane was the first black woman to have a seat in the House of Commons. She MADE HISTORY. Her father was welder, her mother a nurse. How many working class kids do we have…

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The hospital bag

I’m not sleeping.  Is it too light (I’m thinking of investing in one of those oh-so-chic eye masks)?  Too warm?  Or are there too many thoughts in my head?  Yesterday I saw the hospital bag packed, ready and waiting at the door.  I saw the nappies.  Did I imagine the tiny white baby-gros?  Not yet permanently marked with sour milk.  The hand knitted cardigans and tiny hats, socks and mittens – it must be so cold and frightening for babies when they leave the womb and are rudely thrust into this world.  The feelings I had walking away from his house with the kids and dog in tow are hard to put into words.  There was definitely jealousy and sadness and a realisation that the kids are going to be part of something that I can probably never give them.

I started thinking about how he is feeling.  Does he have to keep biting his tongue in conversations with his girlfriend?  His head must be filled with birth stories and experiences – one emergency c-section following 48 hours of labour and one planned after what felt like an eternity of bed rest.  I’m presuming he probably feels like he can’t share these tales.  Has she actually gone so far as to say to him ‘I don’t want to hear any more about your experiences?’.  I wouldn’t put it past her.  And there must be a little bit of mansplaining on his part.  After all a man can never know what it is truly like to give birth in whatever way, shape or form but I’m sure most men can’t help themselves.  Okay, I know I’m generalising but in this case I’m pretty sure it’s true.

Has breast feeding been discussed?  Has he regaled her with tales of a fridge full of savoy cabbage leaves? Has she had a baby shower – not something that happened in my day – but I know she’s had her last day in work. A make of pram decided upon and purchased, bottles, teats, sterilisers.  What make of back-up formula have they gone with (if she is planning to feed herself)? All those things that you think you need as a first-time mum but are left unused in their box and all those emergency runs to the shop for things that are invaluable that nobody ever tells you about.  That only comes with experience.  I remember months ago a colleague overheard her sister chatting to a friend in a cafe.  The conversation or rant went along the lines of: ‘and who does she think she is giving my sister advice.  I mean what’s a woman of her age doing getting pregnant anyway?’.  She was bitching about one of my ex’s sisters who is also pregnant and due to give birth any day now…and is my age.  So my ex’s girlfriend is obviously not welcoming any help or advice, most certainly not from his family it would seem.

I can’t stop thinking about whether this experience will feel completely different for him.  Third time around, nearly 8 years after our daughter’s birth.  Will the guilt he must feel over the past ease when he holds his baby for the first time?  Will he weep for his mum and wish she was here to meet his baby?  Will his family forgive him for all of his past misdemeanours when they arrive up at the hospital?  I mean it’s not the baby’s fault is it?  But then I keep thinking will she let his family come to the hospital at all?

I passed her the other day.  I was walking the dog with my boyfriend early on Sunday morning.  She was walking with her sister and her husband.  She’s obviously been told to stay active.  I didn’t tell my boyfriend who she was until we were passed, carried on with my conversation about my brother and his rant about how three of his shirts felt too small on him and he would need to up the exercise.  It was the first time since before my ex left – when she was just another girl in the gym and I had no clue about how she would become part of my future – where there was actual eye contact.  No pleasantries were exchanged but she looked at me and  I can’t stop thinking about that look and what was behind it.  Would she have said hello if I had?  This woman (or girl? She’s not even 30 yet) after all essentially parents my two for part of the week.  She plaits my daughter’s hair and holds her hand, she supervises home work, laughs at appalling jokes, buys clothes for them.  Is it ridiculous that we walk past each other on the street?

I had an email discussion with my ex last night about childcare over the summer.  He is a teacher and has the whole summer off.  He would usually look after our two Monday to Wednesday whilst I’m working.  I asked if there are days he wanted me to arrange alternative childcare.  My boyfriend felt it might be a good idea to involve his two daughters in providing childcare.  A way of them getting to know my children and lets face it earning some money over the summer months, giving them a bit of focus and keeping them occupied.  I love this idea.  Especially since one of his daughters is a trampoline coach.  My daughter would have a ball perfecting her moves!  Anyway, my ex said he thought it would be okay.  There wouldn’t be too many ‘disruptions’ but if there were any he would let me know in advance.  This, again, has stirred emotions in me that I’ve never felt before.  I don’t want my two in the thick of it, fetching nappies and entertaining the baby.  Is that selfish of me?  And anyway how does he know how his girlfriend is going to feel?  Will she want my two hanging around?

And I’ve also started thinking about them bringing the baby home for the first time.  I wonder will she feel absolutely petrified; that fear that defies description when you realise you’re solely responsible for another human being.  Will their house be filled with flowers and dishes of lasagne for the freezer?  Will he ration well wishers like he did for us, wanting to stay in control.  Will he resent her mum hanging about like he did for me or will he welcome the help?

Why am I torturing myself like this?

Teeth & Bones

The Renegade Press

“You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

  • Walt Disney.

One of the most universally recognised concepts of ancient Chinese philosophy is the idea that all things exist as contradictory, yet inseparable opposites. Commonly known as the Yin and Yang, the principle states that there can be no light without darkness; no man without woman; and no joy without sadness. The earliest known depictions of the Yin and Yang characters are found on the skeletal remains of animals that were used in divination practices as early as the 14th century B.C.E. The Oracle Bones were carved with various symbols that served as questions to deities, before being subjected to extreme heat until they cracked. Those cracks were then read by diviners, and interpreted as the word of their gods.

Interesting, right? But completely irrelevant…

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Now to name change

Today I signed the divorce petition.  I made an appointment with my lawyer, kept my appointment, signed the document and had a quick update on next steps.  First of all there was a comedic episode where he got me mixed up with another client.  I’m not sure why…was it because I wore my hair back today?  Or is it because he’s merged with another firm and is in a new shiny office and is a bit confuddled or have I aged years since I last saw him – I’m hurtling towards 40, I noticed distinct turkey neck this morning.  He ushered me into his office and said ‘so you want to discuss divorce?’ and I replied ‘Eh no, you have paperwork for me to sign?’  the penny then dropped and normal business resumed.  The first step in a three part process as far as I can understand.  I should be divorced by the Autumn.  Forty & divorced.  I actually had to sign in two places and my main worry was that my signatures looked different, particularly the surname.  See, when you’ve fallen out of love with your surname you tend to avoid situations where you have to use your surname and you quickly forget the signature you spent hours, days even, perfecting. Big tip, major even, to all those nearly-weds – don’t take your partner’s surname.  Keep your surname, your identity.  For me this isn’t even a feminist thing.  The faff of changing it is immense (all those debit cards and the like) and now I’m going to have to change it back to my maiden name – or, if I follow my mum’s wishes, go double-barrelled – and that’s going to be a huge pain in the arse.

Anyway, it was pretty horrible thinking this is it.  It’s all over (nearly). All those years of marriage just dissolved with money and a couple of signatures.  I’m lucky in that my ex has to do the leg work.  He has to go to court and prove that we were married (with the marriage certificate) and that we have children (with the birth certificates) and that I agree to divorce (with the shoddily signed documents).  This is just and right.  It is him after all that’s pushing for divorce .  I guess he will remarry in the foreseeable future – another hurdle for me to cross as I’m sure the kids will be involved in the ceremony.

So really apart from paying half the costs (why did I agree to that again?  Oh yes, that’s right because I’m a fucking pushover, excuse my language but really I’m tired and cross today and if you can imagine this being said in a Scottish accent you will get the full effect) my work here is done.  Depressing really.   Now I just have to wait I guess.  Divorce will mean one less tie.  One less thing for him to hold over me so that’s all good.  But then it’s one less tie to his family.  My support network really when my family are across the water.  I definitely need them going into this period of uncertainty (his girlfriend’s baby is due at the start of July) and the kids need them but then I guess its up to me to keep that connection so that the kids have their granddad over here and their aunties and cousins.  It’s like a parallel universe.  One where I have to act all nice and smiley like everything is grand even though I feel so aggrieved by their son/brother.  But I have to do it.  I can’t have the kids sensing my ill-feeling.

I also have to wait until January 2019 for his name to come off the mortgage and give him the princely sum of £5000 .  I wanted to rant the following at my solicitor today.  I wanted to ask him to include the following in his reply correspondence to my ex’s solicitor:  What exactly is the £5000 for exactly?

  • Is it for abandoning me and the kids?  Lying about your feelings.  Making me believe it was all my fault for being a shoddy wife and mother but then, surprise, there’s a younger model waiting in the wings!
  • Leaving us to fend for ourselves?  Not to put to fine a point on it but I fucking hate bin day.  I hate emptying bins – that’s when I miss my ex-husband the most – which is pretty telling in itself right?
  • Is the £5000 I have to give you to cover gradually reducing the amount you contribute to the mortgage on a house you claim to still have ‘an interest in’ so eventually I have to cover the whole mortgage plus oil and electricity (I paid £230 to fix my boiler yesterday so this one in particular is a sore point).
  • Is it to cover sending the rates bill in my name?
  • Forgetting to tell me that you had cancelled the house and contents insurance until I casually asked if this was still something you were covering?  Thank God I didn’t walk out of the house one day and leave the front door wide open…oh wait…
  • Is the £5000 to highlight the fact that you reduced your child maintenance payment because I had the cheek to claim all of the child benefit? For our children.  You know, because they need shoes and stuff.  It’s very selfish of them but their bodies and feet miraculously continue to grow and it’s our duty to clothe them?

Now to name change…apologies for the bullet-pointed rant.

Two homes

Nearly four years ago, when things had gone belly up in my marriage and my husband had moved out to his parents’ house I was given a book.  A dear family friend who had experienced this awful, horrendous situation before me actually gave me quite a few books.  Some for me and some for the kids (her son was the same age as my daughter when she separated from her husband).  Last night my daughter unearthed one of the children’s books; Two Homes.  She announced she was going to read it.  I thought nothing much of it.  It’s a fairly decent picture book about a child having two homes (hence the title :)) and how sometimes the child will spend time with their mum, sometimes their dad, but they can still speak to the absent parent and both parents still love them despite living under two roofs.  The theory seems simple and straightforward as an adult…unless you’re going through it and this is your real life and every morning when you wake up you want to crawl back into bed but you can’t as you have two young children depending on you.  I remember reading this book to the pair of them when things were so raw, swallowing back tears and putting on that brave face that I’m oh so familiar with now in order to let them see that everything would be fine and this was the way things were now and they were still as loved and cherished as ever.  I think I even put the book in the bag going to their dad’s so he could read it to them too.  I’m not sure he ever did that however.

We were all fairly restless last night.  My son crawled into my bed at 5am.  Shortly after I heard the soft footsteps of my daughter looking for a glass of water.  The alarm was due to sound at 6.30am so a glass of water was retrieved from the kitchen and she was returned to bed.  At this point the dog was up, wagging his tail.  He too was sent back to his bed.  At 6.10am my son decided the dog should join us in bed.  I must admit I was cross and cranky.  I turned my back to both dog and son and tried to get a few more precious minutes of sleep.  The alarm went off.  Both dog and son now fast asleep again; the cheek!  I woke everybody to start the day.  School mornings are frantic.  Don’t get me wrong I love nothing more than squeezing both children tight in bed in the mornings, nuzzling into their bed heads as they paint pictures about their dreams or nightmares and I soothe them with cuddles and words but this morning we had to get up and start the day.

I went down to make multiple breakfasts (we can never agree to eat the same thing like those picture-perfect Instagram accounts) and my son announced he was going to read Two Homes.  Again, I thought nothing of it.  I’ve never hidden the book.  It’s sat gathering dust on a bookcase.  Time passed as I boiled the kettle, popped the toaster, washed the dog bowl, I even managed to hang a wash on the line.  My daughter arrived downstairs. She announced her brother had gone back into his own bed and he was crying.  I took a break from morning chores and went to console the now inconsolable one.  He couldn’t articulate why he was upset but he was definitely upset.  I’ve known for a while that he was holding things in, letting thoughts and feelings and emotions build up inside even though I frequently encourage him to speak to me.  Yes it was horrible to see his little blotchy face and watch the tears dripping from his chin but it was needed.  That release was overdue. The house move with their dad, the separate bedrooms, the imminent arrival of the baby.  The confusion in his head as to what family he belongs to, where do I, his mum, fit in all this?  It’s all built up and this morning it proved to be too much for my first born.

By the time we started our walk to school his face had returned to normal; the blotches gone.  He announced he had used the last of his hair gel and that he would actually wear school shorts if I bought him a pair (previously he had decided that he was far too cool for such a garment) .  He pondered on whether his fidget spinner would be delivered today and he asked me when I would be finishing work and what was for dinner.  I shouted I love you as he ran off to class.  He shouted it back.

Upbeat

I’ve just spent the weekend with the best bunch of women ever.  Girls I grew up with.  Went to school with. Danced with (on a stage, in various clubs, at various house parties, inebriated or not).  We’ve kissed the same boys, made the same mistakes.  We’re grown up now.  Some of us are mums, some aren’t.  Some are fulfilled in our careers, some aren’t.  Some earn enough money and have loving supportive partners, some of us don’t.  But above all else we are here for each other, supporting each other, rooting for each other, cheering each other on and empathising and offering advice and guidance (and at least a glass of fizz and a hug) when things seem to be spiralling out of control and going horribly wrong.

We spent the weekend drunk, dancing, singing, destroying our skin in a hot tub.  We bathed in the unseasonably warm weather, got patchy pink bits which we hoped would miraculously turn into golden tan.  When we ventured from the safe haven of our secluded lodge we giggled at our Italian waiter.  So young, so handsome!  We quickly realized we were most probably too loud and lairy for public consumption and we high tailed it back to our blissful lodge where we reminisced over photos taken in the early 90s.  Laughing at our eyebrows (you’d pay for eyebrows like that now OR why did I pluck them all out?!), our hairstyles, our fashion sense (I spent hours customising those green denim shorts!), our attempts at painting on make up.  Our school crushes, first kisses, big mistakes, first forays into drinking brightly coloured alcohol, experimenting (with various degrees of success) with drugs and the messy aftermath of both.  Things got emotional.  Dangerous situations with over-eager teenage boys were analysed and the mums amongst us planned ahead for our children and how we would deal with these situations when they arose in the not so distant future.

Above all else, when the weekend was over and I reluctantly re-entered real life (a bit hoarse from over-eager karaoke, bleary eyed and, I admit it, sporting a 3-day hangover – ouch!) I felt elated and content with my lot.  I woke up every morning of that far too short weekend, cocooned in a crisp, white duvet feeling so lucky.  So lucky that I could still call these women my close friends.  That I still felt so safe and secure in their company.  That I could share my true, authentic, emotional self with them and that they would offer their advice and support without condition or judgment.

I don’t see these women everyday.  We don’t even get the opportunity to speak every day but as we all leap over that 40th birthday with gusto and enter into our middle age (gulp) I can safely say that I’m in the best company ever.  These women have my back and I have theirs and simply put that feels amazing.

Stability

There are a lot of uncertainties and unknowns going on in my life, and the kids’ lives, right now.  The role I’m currently doing at work is only meant to last until the end of May (although I’m covering part of the duties of somebody who is on long-term sick leave and it’s doubtful if she’s ever returning to work).  I know if I go back to my visitor-facing role I’m not going to be working to the best of my ability.  My mind will be elsewhere, I won’t be able to focus on the person in front of me.  I can’t physically work until 7/7.30pm in the evenings anymore and more to the point nor do I want to.  I would also be going back to manage a team who have been managed by somebody else for a period of time whilst I’ve been working on some amazing projects.  These projects will not be completed by the end of the month and I would really like to see these to completion.  I really want to be with my kids (and my dog!) being a mum, checking in with them, making sure I’m there for them when they need me.  And I’m more and more aware that they won’t always need me.  My son will be going into his last year of primary school in September.  Soon, I will lose him to secondary school, his friends, girlfriends (or boyfriends I don’t mind either way), his ipod, his phone and whatever else.  I need to spend what time I have left until that time, squeezing him tight and ruffling his hair and generally embarrassing him.  But ultimately I know a job’s a job and I need to be working at the moment.  The mortgage needs to be paid, I need to put food on the table (which they usually accept without moaning) and I want them to be treated as I was by my parents.  Not getting everything they ask for but also not worse off because their dad walked out on us.  It’s not their fault that he met someone else and they shouldn’t be punished for it.

The kids are feeling a bit shaky.  They moved house with their dad at the weekend.  I think everybody was under pressure, stressed, tired, the kids (7 and 9) were packing their belongings and unpacking, hoovering the old house.  I think my daughter actually refused to go back to their ‘old house’ for the last run.  She was probably scared of her feelings, didn’t want to cry or cause a fuss when tensions were running high.  I felt like saying to her ‘darling I know how you feel, I spent the last year or so when me and your dad were together doing just what you’re doing and it’s not right, you have to let your feelings out.  Tell him how you’re feeling, cry if you need to cry’.

But obviously I didn’t say this.  It’s not something she would understand at the moment and it wouldn’t be fair on her to hear this so instead I cuddled her and told her everything would be okay and things would settle down again.  The house is still in our hometown and actually closer to my house (which I see and I hope they see as their proper home) but I think the imminent arrival of the new baby and the fact that they’ve moved into their own bedrooms (with double beds!) at Dad’s is probably all a little unsettling.  So much so that my almost 10 year old lynx-smelling (or stinking?!) son climbed into my bed last night almost as soon as lights were out as he just couldn’t settle. His mind racing with what’s going to happen in the not so distant future.  And I know that he worries about me, how I’m feeling as I put on a smile and pretend I’m okay with everything.  Maybe it’s the wrong thing to do but I try to be honest with them whilst following the age-old rule of never badmouthing their dad in front of them.  I save that for when I’m with my friends fuelled with wine and pent-up rage.  Oh I did let it slip that I describe his new car as being jobby-brown in colour but they just thought this was humourous.  And yes, they probably have told him I describe it as thus.  Oh well…

I think some stability is needed and soon.  For all of us.  This need for stability has probably impacted on the way I’ve been treating my boyfriend of late.  Why can’t you commit?  How do you really feel?  I’m also aware that going into the summer months has always been like this since the separation.  He has the whole summer off, I have to work my normal hours so there’s always tension in terms of will he agree to look after his children on ‘my days’?  Will he cut the child maintenance down even further?  When are my parents (who are getting older and aren’t as fit as they were) free to come over and look after the kids.  If I knew what my hours of work were going to be that would be a start and then I could plan accordingly.  Maybe a one-to-one this afternoon with my boss will shed some light on matters and give me a way forward.  I’m really hoping so.  In the meantime I just need to keep working away and doing the best that I can in all areas of my life and hope and pray that things will all work out for the best.