Mission Acceptance - Accept Five Minutes Peace

It's bit of a mummy mantra - I just want five minutes peace. I've written previously about how much I value solitude and this mission was about making time for something I value. My challenge this week was to spend five minutes each day meditating. No rules other than to sit, be and try not to scratch any itches. 

I've been toying with starting a meditation practise for fifteen years. At university I attended a meditation club - half a dozen introverted, young men, favouring a post goth aesthetic, sat in a small circle in a draughty church hall. Having never meditated before I asked them how it was done (meditation was not big in South London). I was told, 'You just sit'. We sat for seventy two days...Actually it was about fifteen minutes but man did each minute count! At the end I felt like that chick Cheryl Strayed. I wasn't sure how I had survived such an uncomfortable period of time. When I explained to the boys how hard it had been they looked perplexed; how could sitting in silence be such a hardship? I never returned. 

Over the years I kept going back to meditation in a theoretical sense. I learned that it could actually change the structure of your brain. Meditation would make me a calmer, healthier, less impulsive person - never had it seemed I could gain so much from so little. Of course I never actually did it, so I will never know. 

On day one of this challenge I didn't even think about meditating and on day two I thought about meditating and what I thought was, ugh. On day three I totally planned to meditate after dinner but then I had some work to do and the kid was a pain and basically I was too stressed to meditate, that's a thing right? 

So I got up this morning and I had done precisely no meditation IN A WEEK and I thought to myself, I will meditate for half an hour and I will make up all the time and I will write about how the smallest things are the hardest to start and then I thought - this is bullcrap of the highest order. 

I want to be a person that meditates but I don't want to meditate. And that's okay. Mission Acceptance is about embracing who I am and that is someone that does not want to meditate and whilst I might be happier if I did it, I certainly won't be happier if I stress about getting it done for the rest of my life. So I'm shelving the zen for now and although I failed in spectacular fashion I did gain something - an amazing mission for next week...

If you want to join Mission Acceptance and find out what my next challenge is, I'll be sending out the details on Monday night instead of Sunday, so there's time to sign up! 

February is blogger month on The Moderate Mum! If you're a blogger or similar student of creativity, head over here on Tuesdays for advice and inspiration and there will be a competition EVERY SUNDAY to win a awesome blogger related prize! 

Run Jump Scrap!A Bit Of EverythingKeep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Mission Acceptance - Accept your need for sleep

photo by Chris Schulenbeg at Cafe Noor, Brighton
It's weird, parents are so obsessed with their kids getting enough sleep but when it comes to themselves they act like it's optional. My mission this week was to accept that my body needs to rest if I'm gonna take over the world.

The plan was to go to bed early on night one and then make note of when I woke up naturally in order to establish my sleep needs. I stitched myself right up on that first night as it was my wonderful friend Adele's birthday. Adele is Italian and a wonderful host, I don't want to perpetuate stereotypes but I'm not sure the two things are entirely unconnected. At Adele's the food, booze and gossip is always flowing; of course I wasn't going to turn in early on her birthday! At the night's end as I wandered home through silent streets, I thought about why I didn't make a different choice. My friend wants only the best for me, so the question was - did I put my health above my friendships? And the answer was, absolutely not.

The next night, Roscoe decided to give me a real run for my money at bed time. He was fighting sleep like a mixed martial artist and cutting heavily into my mum time. He kept dozing off and then waking up suddenly and hitting me, as if it was my fault that his body had betrayed him. When he finally settled I realised I  had less than two hours to cook, eat, make my home resemble less of a flea pit, have a least a perfunctory catch up with him indoors, answer my email, complete my evening routine and of course Instagram it. As the minutes ticked by I grew more and more tense, I even resented my husband for being able to stay up as late as he liked but half an hour before my self imposed bedtime I started to feel a bit of excitment about slipping into a lovely slumber. I abandoned the cleaning, cooked something quick and got to bed feeling pretty smug.

I woke up eight hours later and my first feeling was panic. Eight hours! I don't have eight hours to spend asleep every day! I was kinda banking on seven or even a super efficient six and a half. In order to get in all those hours and be up with Roscoe I needed to be in bed by half past ten every evening and so that's what I did. This is what I learned:

You need to give yourself a talking to. You know all the stuff you nag your kid about at bedtime - you won't be able to get up in the morning, you'll be grumpy, you won't have fun with your friends - all that is true for you too. When you find yourself staying up late with no good reason, remind yourself of how much better the next day wil be with bundles of energy.

Beware of frenemies. Friends and family that consistently try to derail your plans to look after yourself and sleep better by encouraging you to drink, watch TV or attend late night karaoke sessions, are not being kind. It's probably a very supportive act to stick to your goals and force them to face up to their own stuff.

Pick your priorities. When you have less time available you have to get really clear about how that time is used. Have a word with yourself about what your priorities are and these don't have to be same each day. For example Monday might be your exercise night and within reason everything else should come second to that.

Don't feel bad about your priorities. You don't have to shove it in your other half's face that jazzercise is more important than them on a Monday but it's okay to believe it. Say something like, 'I've promised myself I'll do this but let's have breakfast together tomorrow.' No one likes someone that breaks their promises. 

Rules are made to be broken. No one likes a martyr, it's good for the soul to be naughty sometimes.

In conclusion a week wasn't long enough to adapt my sleep habits permanently. Even with  more sleep I still felt a little bit knackered most of the time and perhaps that's just part of the job description*. What I did find was the more I slept, the easier it was to make healthy food choices the next day and the healthier my food choices the better I felt. The better I felt, the more likely I was to be productive the next day and the more productive I was the better I felt. The better I felt the more likely I was to indulge in some self care and..well you get the picture.

So how's your sleep?

Look out for another mission next week or sign up to receive the mission in advance here.

You can still win a Forever Memory Bear worth £80, just go back to my last post

*Parent - No leave, no pension, no lunch break
A Bit Of Everything

Cuddle Fairy
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Win a Forever Memory Bear worth £80 (IT'S A GIVEAWAY)

Marie Kondo is massive at the moment. You know the Japanese home organising guru who's turned perfectionism into an artform. Apart from her slightly creepy obsession with folding, I have nothing bad to say about Marie. I spent five days last summer reading and implementing her strategy and those five days were more refreshing and relaxing than a five day holiday. By the time I'd finished clearing the house of all the things I did not want or need, I had to hire someone to take it all away! I got rid of everything I could not find good use for with the exception of one box. 

You know the box. You've got that box. The one you move from house to house, from cupboard to loft. It's filled with things you cannot use but cannot bear to part with. A few weeks ago I asked my readers about their favourite keepsake and many people chose their child's first babygro. 

If you've had a child, babygros and tiny clothes make up a large proportion of the box contents and whilst these things can mean a great deal to us, do we really enjoy them when they're shoved under the bed? 

That's why Forever Memory Bears are giving you the opportunity to take those memories out of the box and put them on display where you can enjoy them every day! 

Forever Memory Bears take your much loved items and through the power of creative magic turn them into a beautiful keepsake for you to love twice as much. You have the chance to win one of these amazing bears by entering the giveaway below. 

Before you enter, check out what will be needed if you win. This competition is open worldwide but you may need to pay for additional postage costs if you live outside the UK. 

This is a very special prize so there will be lots of ways to win, including:

Visiting the Forever Memory Bears website and choosing your favourite bear 


The winner will be announced on the blog in two weeks time, along with a very special offer. 

Good Luck! 

Domestic Momster

Getting Married is Easy

I really, really wanted to get married. My husband was not so keen. I mean he loved me and he was completely committed to me but he didn't see why society had to get involved in that. Let's just say I prodded him once or twice and wed we did. I really, really wanted to have a baby. I know it sounds a bit fruit and nut bar but by the time the broody bus hit me, it felt like a physical need. Luckily my husband was on the same page, so along came Roscoe. That being said, I'm not proud of getting married and I'm not proud of having our baby because, for me, those things were easy. 

Recently I was talking to an ah-mazing woman who has done astonishing things and she was doubting her own success because some fella hadn't put a ring on it. Don't get me wrong I think you should embrace whatever ambition you desire - aim to get married, aim to have twenty babies but make sure those ambitions are your own and not ones thrust upon you by outside forces. 

I think the fetishisation of marriage and popping out babies is a subtle form of misogyny used to limit women and it's one that works. When George Clooney was single he was known for his work as an actor and director and sometimes given a ribbing for being a bit of a cad. When Jennifer Aniston was single at a similar age it was all - POOR JENNIFER, SHE IS SO ALONE, SEE HER EMPTY WOMB.

It's shameful and degrading because where is the skill in getting married or having a baby? By that I mean it's fun to snog in public and eat a bit of cake; it's easy to have unprotected sex with someone you love and fancy but keeping a marriage healthy is a challenge and raising engaged and secure children is a job; co parenting successfully with someone you might prefer never to see again is high five worthy indeed. 

When your mate got married I'm sure you laughed and cried and spent half a months wages on a hotel room and a dress in the Oasis sale but at her four year anniversary did you take her out for lunch and tell her how much you admire her commitment to making it work? When a baby is born there is, quite rightly, much fanfare but when a year rolls by no one remembers to say - happy mummyversary, you're doing a sterling job. 

By celebrating the status and belittling the progress that follows we're still saying to women your goal is to be a prop, a human representation of someone else's worth. Yes I'm a prize, I'm sure my husband wakes up every day, giddy at the fact that he gets to be married to me; I certainly feel lucky to have him. Along the way, however, my feelings of good fortune have given way to pride because of the effort I put into making and keeping our family happy. I don't want another generation to aim to get married, I want them to aim to create the most wonderful, honest, empowering experience for themselves and for others that they can, because nothing worth having is ever easy.

Do you think getting married is easy? 
If you liked this you might like this


Cuddle Fairy

photo credit: Lyndsay & Neil via photopin (license)

Happy Feet - with Happy Mama Happy Baby (Giveaway)

I have ugly feet. I know you're not supposed to say such things about yourself, we're all God's creatures yadda, yadda, yadda but I have conducted a lifetime long independent study and it's true. Even my husband admits that they're odd. He calls them my trotters; one of the things that he teases me about is that fact that such a lovely lady has such monstrous paws. I love this because I'd rather someone see and love the truth of me even if that's an ugly truth. 

I wish I could transfer my unconditional acceptance of this part of me to other parts of my self image - my slightly crooked smile, my broader than average shoulders and my 'girl you done had a baby in there' belly, perhaps one day I will. 

My mother was obsessed with feet, not in a slightly creepy, facebook spammer way, she just believed that if you took care of your feet they would, in future, look after you. This meant very regular trips to Clarks to stand in their insanely exciting mechanical foot measuring machine. It also meant that I sometimes had to forgo the shoe of the moment (Remember magic steps!) for their more sensible and comfortable counterpart. I have a distinct memory of my mother marching me back to a shoe shop because the pair we had recently bought had given me a blister. Even today she will sometimes surprise me with a new pair of shoes and unfailingly I know she will say she had to buy them because, 'the leather was so soft.' 

This story could end with me walking happily off into the sunset in a killer pair of boots but from everything a lesson can be learned and this lesson was a doozy. I learned from this process that love is an action. I love my feet because all my life I have shown them love. If I'm feeling low the first thing I do  is go for a pedicure and if I want to feel confident I dress my feet first. My mother never told me I had cute feet because, quite frankly, that would be a lie; what she taught me was to love them anyway. She told me and showed me that my tootsies were worthy of care and the care I have shown them through the years has allowed me to look past their 'imperfections' and accept them as the useful, valuable, shoe displaying things that they are. 

So I'm working on loving the rest of my body in the same way - not forcing my thighs into too tight jeans; actually using the tubs of moisturiser that I buy every month. If I'm diligent maybe my fullback shoulders stand a chance of being adored, if there's room in my heart for them too.  

This post is part of Happy Mama Happy Baby's 'Body Positive January' head over and see what else she's up to and be sure to join her Instagram party #realhappymamas

And now for a cheeky little giveaway! Look after your little ones feet with a pair of Dotty Fish, Starry Starry 
Night soft leather shoes (size 12-18 months). To win: 

Comment below telling me about your favourite pair of shoes 


join Mission Acceptance and learn how to love yourself from head to toe. Sign up here.

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Post Comment Love

What can I do when it's cold? - Holly

I struggle with the weather being crap if I have my son all day. I never struggled with this when he was little but now I've been surprised to find I sometimes hit a wall - Holly


I think all parents feel the impending sense of doom when the clocks go back. Being at home with a young child is so jolly when the sun is shining and the days are long. Oh the many hours I spirited away lying on a blanket reading newspapers as my son chased unfortunate pigeons. When you can go outside the time flies and the crumbs don't matter. Most importantly when you're running around all day, sleep comes that little bit easier for the little one.

We all start the winter months with fierce ambitions but when your carefully planned biscuit baking holds their interest for four and half minutes and you're faced with another 660 minutes of unstructured toddler time, it's time to keep your head and show that boy who's boss:

Have an activity box. I always dreamed that when I was a grown up I would have a drawer filled with wrapping paper, sellotape and bows. Looks like I'm not an adult yet because I don't have this but I do have a rainy day play box. You know those craft activities you get all excited about and then ten months later you chuck out 58 empty loo rolls? Stop banishing those dreams to the recycling and keep all these projects to hand for your first miserable day.

Hide some toys. When you're a kid, a month is a major chunk of your life and feels like a ridiculously long time. Anyone remember how heartbreakingly slow the pace of the days leading up to Christmas felt back in the day? Keep some toys in reserve somewhere to buy you some time in an emergency. After a couple of months your son will have all but forgotten about those once loved favourites. When the dark days set in make like Paul Daniels and pull one of those bad boys out of your hat. You'll be the best mummy ever. 

Get the plan right. How many times have you spent the entire day wafting around aimlessly pretending to be deciding what to do? We always underestimate the amount of energy that goes into making a decision, often more than the task itself. Anyone that's ever tried to decide on a take away with more than two people involved can attest to this. Do yourself a favour and plan your day the night before. Not only does it cut down on the faffery but you're much less likely to let a little thing like the weather put you off when you've got a clear picture of how the day will play out. 

Face the elements. We don't live in Antarctica. As much as we love to blather on about the weather in the UK, the climate is pretty vanilla. A few rain showers won't do the tyke any harm. There is no such thing as bad weather only unsuitable apparel. Invest in some good quality, waterproof clothing and you may not be ready for a picnic in the park but I'm sure you can make it to the supermarket. 

The dreaded groups. As people return to work after maternity and paternity leave the mother and child groups tend to tail off but there'll still be a few around for older children. If you really don't feel comfortable attending them re frame it as access to parents that are also available in the daytime. Get in, find a new friend and get out. Job done. 

Suck it up. At the risk of sounding like your great aunt Gertrude, what is it with us parents trying to spare children the horrendous indignity of boredom? As a child I was bored frequently, for great chunks of my childhood in fact. If I dared mention said boredom, I was done for. I learned to tolerate it and then navigate it and finally face up to that bad boy and knock the sucker out. What I would give for five minutes to be bored these days. Boredom is a privilege, any good parent will offer it to their child frequently. 

Do you have any tips for parenting on rainy days?
p.s. If you've got a tot under 18 months come back for a little giveaway on Thursday.

photo credit: Snowy via photopin (license)

Mission Acceptance - Set an Intention

I wanted this mission to feel like a Beyonce video  - bold, beautiful and far too bootilicious but actually I've ended the week feeling rather weary. I think because it's cold and serotonin snatchingly dark and also because I have a toddler that is somehow appropriating Red Bulls and chugging them when I'm not looking and also because this mission seemed small but it was really kinda heavy. 

The mission was to set an intention and make it public, an easy one to ease into the year but actually there was a reason why I hadn't really done it before and it was not because it was too easy. Somewhere along the way I had received the memo that telling people what you want was a baaaaad idea. As if making your desires public somehow robs them of their power. Throughout the week I felt real and readily accessible anxiety about the process. 

The only reason I think this could have been is the fear of others seeing me fail, not just seeing me fail because, welcome to my life, but seeing me fail at something I've said I really, really wanted. I don't know what I imagine will happen, perhaps this conversation at the scene of my deathbed...

Great Grandchild 1: It's so sad Granny C has gone. She was so sweet.
Great Grandchild 2: (She becomes a doctor) And kind.
GGC 1: And funny! Remember that song she used to sing?
GGC 2: Oh, yeah! How did it go..I can't take this?
GGC 1: (Tears silently rolling down her face) You can't touch this.
Both together: (Mournfully) Na, na na na, na na, na na, can't touch this.
GGC 2: But didn't she say she was going to write a book? 
GGC1: Yeah! I think Dad said she wrote a blog post about it in like 2019 or something.
GGC 2: What's a blog?
GGC 1: Oh I don't know but it's not a book and the point is she totally said she was going to do something and she like totally didn't. 
GGC 2: That's megatron crap. I don't think I even love her anymore. 
GGC 1: I know right. 

An intention, failed or realised, is not and will not be the sum of who I am and spending time thinking about it and having some helpful chats about it has helped me to see something very important - people don't really care that much about your goals. As long as you're healthy and reasonably happy they tend to care more about what you can do for them than what you're doing for yourself and with that knowledge comes a lot of freedom. 

You'll notice earlier I mentioned the B word - yes book. You see for the longest time I thought I wanted to write a book. In fact I sent a book to a publisher aged ten and I'm still grateful that they wasted their paper and postage rejecting me. I wrote another book in my twenties which has since been shredded and was read by only one other person who has been sworn to pinky swear secrecy about its contents. 

Other than those two novels my authorly ambitions amounted to taking courses, reading about other peoples successes, writing first chapters and daydreaming about book launches. And then my husband wrote a book. An excellent book (available in all good bookshops). And it was if my soul truly believed that there could be a limited number of authors in the world and our family had had our quota. I let all my ambition drain away with my next lot of dirty bath water and forgot about it, until this week when my friend Hannah asked me, 'Why did you start your blog?'

In that moment I realised that whilst on paper I had started in order to share my experiences, deep down I had started because I want to write. I don't even think I want to write a book, perhaps a book was just my clumsy representation of what being a writer is all about. In fact in writing this blog I have realised that what I love is communicating in all it's glorious forms - in 140 pages or 140 characters. 

Therefore my intention, my public intention, is to make a living from communicating with people. I'm not attached to the method by which I do this. Whilst I realise could do it in a very noble, very private way, I would like to do it on as grand a scale as I can because I want to communicate with as many people as possible. I want to talk to all of the people, all of time! 

I'm going to honour that intention by writing every day this year even if it's only a sentence. I'm going to set a schedule for writing on this blog and stick to it as closely as I can. And when I write, I'm going to own my truth and write like no one's reading, but I very much hope you will. 

What is your intention for 2016 and beyond? 

Did you join in with the mission this week? Sign up for email updates to find out the next mission a week in advance. 

My Random Musings

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
My Petit Canard

Creating Smooth Transitions

When I'm faced with a challenge with my son, I try to relate his experience to one that I might have. Imagine you were in the middle of a brilliant book and then someone picked you up, plonked you in bed and demanded that you to sleep. It would be infuriating. Hence why I try to sympathise with my son's intense reactions to transitions. We are currently waiting for a diagnosis of autism; children with autism often struggle with moving from one task to another. Of course he could be suffering from another common condition 'being a toddler' so I think the tips I use could help any parent. 

Add an hour. I like to plan my day the night before. Not only does this keep me focused but it means I look forward to the day ahead. When planning I estimate how long each task or activity should reasonably take and then I add an hour. I call this hour the black hole of toddlerdom. You see the more anxious you are to get something done within a specific amount of time the more your toddler will feel the need to run round naked with Playdoh up their nose. Giving yourself a bit of leeway helps to hold off a mummy meltdown and means if you're lucky there's time for another cup of tea. 

Give them a cue. A day is a year in toddler time. Anyone who has seen the look of surprise on a toddlers face when they return to nursery after only a weekend off will understand the need to give our little ones a clue as to what's coming next. I try to get Roscoes shoes on a little while before we leave the house so that he starts to associate the action with leaving soon (Disclaimer - this does not work but A for effort right). 

Overlap. Bedtime has always been a pressure point in our house and I can understand - one minute we're laughing and playing and rowing our boat all over the shop and the next I've stuck him in a dark prison like the evil cow that I am. In order to keep the transition smooth I try and overlap our activities during the wind down routine. After his bath we go upstairs and play in the bedroom, then we read stories in the bedroom, then I read to Roscoe with him in the cot, then he can 'read' to himself for a few minutes before I turn out the light. I call it stealth bedtime and it's a real fist pump moment when he falls for it. 

Don't sweat the small stuff. In the world of parenting it's so important that you separate the needs from the wants as quickly as possible. If your wee one has a day without socks, it's unlikely any long term harm will be done. Call me slack but I try and conserve my energy for the big things for example aggressive or dangerous behaviour and let go of the less significant issues. My husband and I even had a discussion that made clear what our dealbreakers are (his is not supporting Aston Villa). Yes my son occasionally gets one over on me but sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win the war.

Do you have any tips for creating smooth transitions with toddlers? 

My next post is on Sunday and I'll be revealing how I got on with the first week of Mission Acceptance! Want to know what the next mission is a week in advance? Sign up here.

Post Comment Love

What did you part with? - Mum for Fun

What is the one thing you gave up when you became a mum that you wish you could have back? And what is the one thing you gave up that you willingly parted with?


What a brilliant time of year to talk about giving things up! It's the time when we're dropping habits like coins in a slot in Vegas. Of course deciding to give something up is very different to being suddenly forced to part with your entire way of life, as is the case with parenthood. When I was pregnant kind strangers were always pressing upon me the things that I should be doing,

'Make sure you take a holiday!'
'See loads of movies!'
'Get your hair done!' 

It was very odd, I don't go to the hairdressers - I barely have any hair. It took me a while to realise they weren't telling me what I should do, they were telling me what they wished they could do. The one that made me laugh the most were the ones that implored me to sleep, as if there is some sort of sleep banking system and reserves can be pulled from savings when you slip into your sleep overdraft. Of course I do the same now - telling people that have never read more than Heat magazine to spend every minute with their nose in a book. You give up a lot but as you've highlighted many of it you're happy to see the back of.

What I love about this question is that both answers are ones I never would have predicted. I'll be honest and say that part of my motivation to have a child was to quell the tiny nugget of loneliness that had taken residence in my soul. I had a wonderful partner, many inspiring friends and more family than I can count but there was a certain something missing, a niggling darkness, a sort of background anxiety that I could only categorise as that. Becoming a stay at home mum certainly ended any stints of being alone and there was never a second of not being wanted. After only a few days what I missed, more than anything, was solitude. I had never valued how restorative being completely alone was. With a newborn, even if someone does allow you time off, your mind is constantly tuned into the needs of your child. This feeling has faded somewhat but my boy still always occupies a little corner of my mind. Beautifully and terrifyingly I wonder if I'll ever be completely alone again. 

What was I happy to shelf? Without question, Saturday night. Saturday night and Friday night and Thursday is the new Friday night and all the other tenuous excuses for celebration that I used to partake in. For a long time a voice inside me had been telling me that I didn't want to stand in a crowded bar, shouting at people I didn't know and spending money I didn't have but I extinguished that voice with sambuca. I never really thought about not going out but I'm sure if I did I would have felt like I was betraying my friends and my youth and the FOMO is real peeps. With my son came a ready made, catch all excuse for staying in and chilling out and I love it. I really like communicating and it's so much easier to do that in my living room over a cuppa than when trying to project my voice above banging toons. 

This question came from Katrina. Katrina is a full-time working mother. She works as a speech-writer for the second in command at a University, so has to balance two demanding jobs! She lives in Milton Keynes with her 4 year old son and husband. She is obsessed with travelling, audiobooks and going to the cinema. Check her out over at Mum for Fun (www.mumforfun.com).

What were you happy to give up and what were you sad to see go?

A Bit Of Everything
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