Made by Hand

Stressful day at work? Do you come home and slip into your running shoes, put the beats in your ears and disappear into a world where the only thing that matters is the pounding of your feet on the pavement and the cold breath in your lungs? Maybe you prefer to turn the volume up loud, dance around in your pants and sing I Will Survive at the top of your lungs. Or maybe, it’s cracking open a bottle of something cold and inebriating, sticking your feet up and watching your favourite soap.

What ever your method, we all have a preferred way to unwind after a hard day. Sometimes that hard day lasts for more than 24 hours and you feel yourself becoming more wound up and disconnected with things. This, for me, is where making things comes in.

I have to be doing something with my hands. Not fiddling with something but doing something that has a purpose. It can be a task as simple and small as making a cup of tea. Holding a cup in my hands and then turning teabag and milk into the perfect brew.

Feeling something solid, like a cup, in my hand helps ground me and gets me out of the little world of lists and worries in my head. The act of making a cup of tea and drinking the final product is enough to allow me a little check off the list. I’ve managed to finish doing something I started. This may seem like a ridiculous thing to cheer about, but when you have eighty billion things to do and some of them take weeks or you keep getting interrupted, then it can be quite rewarding to take the small victories.

If I need more than a quick fix, I turn to crafting. There is something very therapeutic about putting pencil to paper or hook to yarn. The movements involved are soothing in themselves, the smooth application of paint to canvas or the repetitive click clack of knitting needles. You can’t really focus on anything else at the same time either, so it is a wonderful way of getting the mind to switch off and focus on just one thing. The end of your project could be hours, days or weeks away, but there is a huge feeling of achievement when you do finish. You can sit back and look at it and think “I did that and there isn’t another one anywhere.”.

Small person and I were chatting in the car the other day about things we like doing. I realised that nearly all of mine involve some kind of sensory experience and few of them were visual. Surprisingly (to me) they were nearly all touch based too, making things, baking things, walking on grass or paddling with my shoes off, hugs and a nice hot bath.

For me, a wind down/destressing activity should be something you enjoy. If you have to drag yourself to do it or feel grumpy once you’ve finished, maybe it isn’t the right choice for that particular moment. Make yourself a list of things you like doing and choose one off the list. Just ensure that you have some small, practical things on there as “jetting off to the Bahamas” when it’s Wednesday, you’re in the middle of a mammoth work project and it’s still a week until pay day is likely to just make you more grumpy.

Stick the kettle on, feel the weight of the mug in your hands and enjoy a little sit down. This too shall pass.

Kx

 

 

 

Ding! Ding! Round Two!

Morning all!

In my last post in October last year I made an apology for having neglected my blog due to having a small child. I then proceeded to do naff all about it for the next nearly 6 months.

These past few months have involved further neglect to quite a lot of aspects of my life due to extreme tiredness and a lot of throwing up. Two weeks after the last post I found out that I was pregnant! After 18 months of trying for our second child and having pretty much convinced myself that it was never going to happen we got our much waited for positive.

We’re halfway through now, the sickness stopped on Sunday and I had my first cup ( read bath) of proper English tea on Monday morning and failed to projectile vomit over the kitchen. One of my simple but very much enjoyed pleasures is a nice strong cup of tea in my favourite enormous mug and five minutes of quite contemplation.

I wouldn’t say that it is deeply philosophical thinking. If it’s the first cup of the day, it happens around half 7. Thoughts can include anything from ” How can someone watch the same Shimmer and Shine episode 4 times in a row and not have their brain ooze out from their ears? ” to “I’ve got a fridge full of veg that needs eating. How can I hide it in something edible?”.

Lately though it’s been more along the lines of “My house looks like a bomb’s gone off in it, there’s only three of us, maybe we should just move before the baby arrives and not unpack anything.” As tempting as a completely empty house with neatly stacked boxes sounds, I have had to remind myself that this is supposed to be a stress free pregnancy (unlike the last one, moved house, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, left work, had a baby).

So I’ve decided to get ruthless with our “stuff”. It’s actually a lot easier to do now I’m in the right headspace. The first thing I’ve hit is my crafting stash. I pulled out all my fabric and have given probably half of it to the local Cancer Research shop. I have no idea why I was so adamant to hold onto it as I didn’t like it. It seems I had gone through a bit of a hoarding phase and been oblivious to it. Three quarters of my craft magazines have gone too. A lot of them I was holding onto because they had pretty pictures in but unless I was going to plaster them all over the walls so I could admire them every day, it seemed a bit pointless keeping them. I took those to the craft group I go to on a Wednesday morning. Lots disappeared there, along with some books I no longer had need for.

I’m already feeling so much better for it, I just need to decide what to tackle next! Hopefully I’ve got a good couple of months now before I start to get too massive so by the time this wee sproglet arrives we should be sorted.

The main difference between this pregnancy and the last is that I also have a 3 year old to keep entertained which, when all you want to do is sleep with your head in the toilet, is no mean feat. On Monday I’ll be sharing my favourite recipe for cheap homemade playdough. This has kept Elsie entranced for hours and, most importantly, doesn’t stink like proper playdough and cause Mummy to vomit all over her small person’s carefully crafted snail farm. Stay tuned for further kiddie activities suitable for poorly mummas and papas.

You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. That’s my limit for social media and Snapchat just confuses me. Hop on over and say Hi!

Kx

 

A little catch up

Evening! I’ve been hugely neglectful of my blog since having had my small person. I most definitely haven’t been meaning to but somehow life just gets in the way. You think you’ll have a few hours free next Tuesday or tomorrow evening and the small creature decides bedtime is a no go or you forget you have to go shopping and all of a sudden there’s no free time.

A couple of months ago I asked a large group of ladies to share their baby feeding journeys with me. The response was incredible and the stories more so. Over the next few weeks I hope to be able to share some information with you around feeding and the impact it has on us mummies. If anyone would like to share and has not done so, please do contact me at katie@buttonsandpickles.com . I want to hear from everyone, whether your child is 1 week old or 50 years old. 

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some pictures of things I’ve been working on. (FYI, that’s not my bump!)

You can catch up with the day to day goings on on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/elsieandbear and also on Instagram @buttonspickles

Much love,

Kx

Where’s the village?

Last year I wrote a post about me and motherhood. If you haven’t read it then you can take a gander here.

I was astonished by the amount of positive responses I received and the amount of women that contacted me to say that they were feeling the same and had no idea that other people were too. And that got me thinking.

Mental health is at last becoming a more talked about subject. But, that seems to be as long as you are talking about someone else’s mental health. Start talking about your own and the person opposite you will probably start looking a bit uncomfortable.

From an early age, when we tell someone that we are a bit sad or that we are angry, we get all manner of phrases lobbed at us and not a lot of listening happens. “Don’t be sad, it’s sunny out.” “Oh don’t be silly, man up!” And the WORST possible thing that can happen to an English person is someone answering anything but “Good, thank you” when you’ve asked how they are.

There is still a huge social stigma attached to sharing your feelings and “diseases of the mind”. You can be off work with a broken leg and no one bats an eyelid but heaven forbid that you are off with stress. The sad thing is that because of the way we are conditioned, that person who is off with stress will be instantly labelled by the majority of their peers. They will question what he has to be stressed about, “seems alright to me”, why he needs time off work to “deal” with it, maybe she’s just lazy? Why did they employ her in the first place, she’s clearly not cut out for the job.

Why do we do this? Why don’t we help to support that person rather than rallying the troops to vilify them?

Forgive me for a couple of minutes as I now appear to disappear off on a slight tangent and please, do NOT take this as a sob story. It isn’t.

When I was pregnant with Elsie, I was really looking forward to how close to other women having a baby would make me. You are supposed (that was my impression and expectation) to get this wonderful supportive village of women when you’ve had a baby. Almost as soon as it comes out, boom! Instant support and community. Some people get this, I didn’t. To say I was disappointed was the understatement of the century.

My nearest family/friends were over an hour’s drive away, there was no practical support. When my husband went back to work it was just me and the baby. All. Day.

I tried to go to baby groups, to find my village.  In my sleep deprived, highly emotional, no-one to talk to state I was now being told that my 3 week old should be having a nap right now, I should have got over my baby blues, baby X doesn’t feed that often, baby Y doesn’t need to do what your baby does, how can you not find the time for a shower everyday? Someone mentioned post natal depression, they were told it was just their hormones and because they were breast feeding. I didn’t feel supported. I didn’t find my village.

Slowly but surely it dawned on me that I hadn’t broken my baby and I wasn’t a dreadful mother because I did X instead of Y. I realised that most of what was being said was lies. It was mostly a cover up because no one wanted to be seen to be a bad mother. I got cross. Why were we putting each other down to make ourselves feel better and WHY were we lying to each other when we’d all had awful nights? Why was post natal depression such a taboo subject and why weren’t we helping each other?

When we become mothers our whole life is pretty much turned upside down, for every single one of us. It is, for most of us, for the better but it is a hard and bumpy ride. It would be made an awful lot easier if we helped each other through it.

Family life is busy. It’s noisy, screechy and full of washing and cleaning and work and bedtimes and dinners to cook. It’s splitting yourself between your work and your home, your husband/wife and your kids, your friends/extended family or trying to run everything single handedly and at some point trying to shoehorn sometime in for you. This can make us overwhelmed, undervalued and hugely resentful, of everyone and everything. I’ve even been jealous of the cat. True story, sooooooo much sleep and belly rubs.

All of us are busy trying to juggle things (and sometimes dropping them) and all of us have things going on that other people can’t see. Most of the time a you don’t need a solution to baby’s sleep problem or the fact that Oscar won’t eat his pees or will only wee in the vegetable patch, it’s a phase. Sometimes a mumma just needs a wee in peace and a hug. Hold the baby and give the hug.

Let’s build our villages back, ladies.

Kx