Day 568 – Little Noises

I lie in bed in the dark of the early morning. I listen to my husbands light snoring and my daughter’s shuffling and I am so grateful and at peace.

This week, I’ve been at a school on uni placement. The days have been long, getting in for 7:30am and leaving most days around 5pm, and I feel like I’m failing my daughter. I’ve hardly spent any time with her and I’m so mad her nursery key worker gets paid to spend more time with her than me. On tuesday she didnt want to leave nursery and she screamed reaching out for this girl (who is lovely). It broke me. Old me would’ve reached for a bottle. New me booked a dance class early on a Saturday morning, one that we could both do together. And off we went, swirling ribbons to disney and running around a hall with other over enthusiastic mums with little toddlers. It was the best part of my week. After we visited my nan who is finally out of hospital and then went to a cafe for a cookie (for BB) and a latte for me. A whole girls morning. We had so much fun I’m going to make more of a thing of this.

Hope you are all well and resisting the drink gremlins. Mine came calling hard on Tuesday and I’m glad not to have stepped back into the land of sepia and instead stayed in the land of colour.

Lots of love

JS xx

Day 553 – Self care

I’m curled up on a grey, cold Sunday afternoon, with my gorgeous little girl sleepy in my arms. I love these quiet moments of reflection.

I’ve managed 16 days without chocolate and the cravings have been unreal. It reminds me of when I gave up alcohol and I’d have to white knuckle ride through each day. On days when the cravings have been overwhelming, I’ve told myself I can have some tomorrow and then the next day. So far this tactic seems to be working.

I know chocolate is probably not considered as addictive, but it’s like the gateway for me to have a binge. Every binge I have seems to have started with just one piece of chocolate- just like one small drink hey!?! So I’m trying to be more mindful, nourish my body and my soul.

I found a lump in December, a large terrifying lump in my breast tissue (well the size of a grape). The sort that keeps you awake at night feeling its contours, the sort my husband can see. I went to the doctors and got referred quickly to the breast clinic. Luckily I’ve been told its is a lump, but not one to be worried about.

The overwhelming feel of relief was indescribable. I’m a natural worrier and I’d spent so many early mornings, tears running down my face, husband asleep beside me, planning my daughters future if I couldnt be in it. It’s given me a massive, massive wake up call to take care of my body.

So I’m eating more plant based products, yogaing 5 to 7 times a week, drinking water and this week I’ve swam and ran 2x. Ive enjoyed the extra exercise and I’m excited to build it up again. Whilst in the midst of my teacher training, I’ve neglected my body. Ive been so focused on spending time with my daughter in downtime. Getting up at 5am to get some work done, then working late a night, squeezing in time with the patient hubby, I’ve forgotten myself.

So I’m sticking to my Jan resolution, reflecting in my diary most days, trying to exercise, destress, take care of myself so I can take care of others.

Any tips greatly welcomed.

Lots of love

JS x

ps check out my run yesterday

Day 500 something – Healthy New Year

I’ve been getting up early to squeeze my yoga in and Im really enjoying it. Yesterday I had a lie in and actually missed it. My yoga buddy appears to be enjoying it too.

My week has been a whirlwind being back at university. They are literally squeezing everything in and I’ve just been handed a 4000 word assignment to write. I’m excited to get started but also wondering when I’m ever going to get time to sleep.

Still commiting to my Jan pledges. The one which has helped me the most is weirdly wearing mascara everyday. It’s really improved my mood and helped my self esteem.

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with veggie recipes, but had a nightmare making a dhal. The girls at uni commented on my salad and have started bring their own too.

In toxic family news, we’ve had to deal with my mother this week. She moved out of her house 2 years ago and gave us a bunch of stuff to look after. We came across her old childhood toys when putting away the Christmas decorations. I said to my husband, I’ll let her know when she texts me. But he, being the bigger person, was like no, she’d like them back text her. He reminded me on being the bigger person and not playing games. I text her and informed her and she ignored me for 2 days.

She then tried again to invite us all over for a family meal. I politely declined but stated my husband would drop them over Sunday with our daughters around 10:30. I’m predicting she will have done brunch when he brings them today and will act hurt when he says they dont want feeding. Even though we had previously explained it was just to drop the stuff off. The mind games and politics are exhausting.

I hope everyones having a great Jan as much as possible. I’ve been trying to remind myself of all the good in the world and at home especially when the January blues become knocking.

Just a quick update today.

Love JS z

Day 540 – Self care resolutions

Trig point Arthur’s Seat

So I’ve decided on some January pledges and this is what Ive come up with:

  1. Stay sober (obvs).
  2. Wear mascara every day. I know this sounds like a silly one. But I find when I wear it, I’m more likely to make an effort with my hair and I feel more confident. So it’s on there.
  3. Start running again to get my run time down (10km under 60 minutes).
  4. Go sugar and dairy free for the month (the cravings are real right now).
  5. Write in my diary every day
  6. Do Adrienne’s yoga once a day. Starting move this evening, if anyone else fancies it reach out.
  7. Clear out my clothes closet. I’ve still got clothes from my (very early) 20s in there which should be rehomed. Realistically as a slightly overweight edging closer to 40, I’m never going to wear my black satin hot pants again…. am I?
  8. Take probiotics everyday

So that’s Januarys goals… what are yours?

Love

JS x

Day 539 – As good as it gets

Christmas eve

I keep meaning to update this, but one thing leads to another and another day goes by.

We’ve had the most loveliest sober Christmas. It is seriously what I’ve always dreamt of. It’s taken years of searching plus sobriety to realise everything I needed was right at home. We’ve made a lot of homemade gifts this year due to being a student again and then put them in hampers. Think lots of jamas, chutneys, personalised gingerbread and I’ve loved doing it with my daughters.
On actual Christmas eve we opened Christmas eve boxes (matching jamas and hot chocolates) and exchanged thoughtful cards. My step daughter (who tested me to the extreme last year) wrote the things she loved about me and I was seriously touched.

On Christmas day we opened up presents and had our favourite food (lasagne and cheesecake) instead of turkey. Then all cuddled up together reading books and watching films.
If old me was reading this, I’d have either given up by now or be seriously rolling my eyes. Christmas without alcohol would’ve been my worst nightmare and surely there wasnt a way out of spending Christmas with my toxic family? But sobriety and finding some boundaries has been the single best thing for me and my family.
Talking about extended family…. well my mum is still as toxic as ever. My toxic sister had her second baby (discovered this from my godmum) so my mum has moved in to help her like she did with her first. It bites as we never got that support.
My nan’s been in hospital and my mums been the named contact. I reminded her just because we have issues it doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to updates on my nan. Obviously she’s used this as a power move and restricted information. If I havent done what she’s wanted me to do (see her and sweep everything under the carpet) then I’ve not been kept in the loop. It’s sucked but I’ve stayed true to myself and not played along. Since my nans been moved to a rehabilitation centre, I’ve been able to drop things in and call her.
My mum asked to see my daughter, whos’ 2, at Christmas. My husband took her over a couple of days before at a prearranged time and she didn’t answer the door. My daughter recognised it was her grandmas house and cried outside when this happened. I felt awful putting her in that situation.
I reminded my mum we had arrangements and she hadnt opened the door. Apparently she was on the phone and she then text my husband demanding her took her back immediately. My husband, furious at this point, politely declined but offered to visit the following day. He’s more generous than me, but he did say he didn’t want her just turning up.
When he visited with my daughter she used it as an opportunity to tell him how hurt she was by my behaviour and had conveniently forgotten why I’d removed myself from the toxicity. She then got the girls lavish gifts, we popped a thank you note through the door when she was out to show good manners.
My wider family have now disowned me. My aunt I was once close to has pretty much cut contact and is curt with me. I’ve not been invited to my cousins 18 birthday party or the wider family boxing day bash. I’m hurt, but I know how manipulative my mother is and can only guess the web she’s been weaving with the assistance of my sister.
Although Christmas has been a crunch point, I feel a lot calmer without them in my day to day life. Day to day we don’t hear from them. This has been a massive emotional relief.
Not dealing with the constant negative, passive aggressive behaviour from my mum and sister; wondering where we stood, added with the hot and cold behaviour has been amazing for my mental health. I feel stronger, more self assured and my eatings been more under control.
Last thing, I found a diary from 2020 when clearing out a drawer yesterday. I wrote about my worry my drinking was out of control and kept justifying my intake throughout January. I wrote about the embarrassment of making an idiot of myself (again) and eating “humble pie” to my husband. If you’ve made it to the end of this rambling piece and unsure whether to quit, do dry Jan then go for it. It has seriously improved my life and it will seriously improve yours too.

Excited to catch up with others blog now

Love
JS xx

Day who knows? – Questions to myself

After pulling the plug on my relationship with my family, I have felt so much better. My mood is stabilising and I’m not bending over backwards to please people who treat me with contempt.

I havent heard off my sisters and my mother made no effort to see my daughter. That is until last week.

Last week my beautiful baby (2 year old toddler), was rushed into hospital via ambulance. She’d gone into respiratory distress. My aunt (who is lovely) texts daily and I told her. She updated my mother. Then the onslaught of texts started.

It added to a stressful situation. If I didnt reply they just kept on coming. I sent one text day to update her.

My godmum during this has been amazing. Like how a mother should be. She sat with my daughter in hospital. She cleaned my house so it was ready to come home to. She cooked dinners and left them in the freezer.

My mother also turned her attention to my godmum. Grilling her for information and confided in her we weren’t talking. My godmum apparently replied well I’m not surprised, you excluded her on purpose from a family holiday. She then justified it, saying it was a last minute thing (where they went gets booked up months in advance). That is was my fault, because I didnt go with my sisters to the theatre in london, which costed £200 for one day. My godmum pointed out I was a student and couldn’t justify the expense. She dismissed it.

It makes me so cross that she could even think that these 2 events are comparable.

My godmum suggested she hands out the olive branch and invites me for a coffee. She agreed. The olive branch must’ve been lost as since Wednesday this hasnt happened.

We came out of hospital friday, she asked to see her. I offered 9 until 10 on Saturday. She never turned up. I text and said if she hadn’t recieved it she was welcome between 3 and 4 today. She text to confirm she would be there.

She turned up at 330. She was curt to my husband as I hid upstairs. She grilled him for 10 minutes and ignored my daughter who was in the room. She brought her a (guilt) present, a Peter Rabbit, because her favoured cousin loves him. It makes my blood boil.

It’s made me rethink everything. Why am considering even meeting her, even if she eventually does hand out the olive branch? Do I discontinue her relationship with my daughter? I’m hurt she ignored her for 10 minutes whilst she criticised my husband.

If I accept the way she treats us (excluding us from holidays, treating my daughters cousin better, bending over backwards for my sister, treating me less favourably, openly criticising me and my family and the decisions we make), then I’m showing my daughter in accepting that behaviour, that it’s ok to be treated that way. By bending over to please her, I’m teaching her it’s ok, and this is how you respond. My letting them treat us negatively, I’m reinforcing it’s ok for my daughter and for me to be treated negatively.

Those are not the messages I want my daughter to learn. I want her to learn, she is cherished, she is strong, she matters. Continuing this relationship shows her none of those things, nor does it show the same for her mama.

It’s giving me food for thought and I’m grateful for sobriety bring a clear head and clarity

Love JS

ps my daughter is so much better xx

Day 457 – The aftermath

The title sounds so much more dramatic than it was.

Basically my family have ignored all my wishes to be left alone, they are acting as if the whole thing has never happened. As if it was a bad dream to us and swept it all under the carpet.

Yesterday my mother sent a message detailing how she’d organised my daughter to have a birthday tea (which was news to us). That we needed to turn up at a certain time so she could share it with my sisters son (the favoured grandchild). I was offended that she was ignoring the issue and that the whole thing revolved around her having my sisters son. She wouldnt have bothered if it wasn’t a childcare day. And also that she thought we wouldnt have any plans for my daughter already.

I politely refused, stating we already had plans and I meant what I said. She wasn’t blocked from seeing my daughter but she had to arrange it prior to the meeting and not just turn up. I decided my boundary would be she could see her every 2 weeks for a couple of hours at my house.

This was then ignored and she turned up at bath time with birthday presents for my daughter. My god mum was there and my daughter was screaming grandma so I let her in.

We made awkward polite chit chat, my daughter opened her presents and she left. I am even more mad that my wishes and boundaries are being ignored. I spoke with my husband and he has agreed if she turns up again she is going to be reminded that she cant just show up. We think they’re now going away this weekend since it wasnt yesterday. So we could’ve gone. There was no reason not to invite us.

I feel really sad as I do love my mum. But like alcohol, I know the good times are an illusion and it is slowly poisoning me. I owe it to my daughter to protect her from the heart ache she could suffer too.

I just wish we could just move away as we literally live roads away from each other.

Before I met my husband I was actively planning to move 1.5 hours away to the country side. I spoke to an estate agent and had started to look at houses.

Then I met my husband and we are stuck due to my step daughter, well until she can drive. I accept this, but still dream of putting some distance between them so they cant just drop in.

I’m still sober which is a blessing as I can see things a lot more clearly. I’m in control of my emotions (mostly) and focusing on teacher training which I’m loving. I’m also trying out being a vegetarian and trying new recipes. I dont recognise myself anymore. But I mean this in a good way. The person I was 10 years ago would not be friends with the person I am today, they’d see me as boring. But I’m happy with being boring. I’m just happy with happy.

Love

JS x

Day 455 – Cutting the apron strings

I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally cut ties with my family. I feel a mix of emotions, relief (understandably after everything), hurt and anxiety.

My family and I have had an unhealthy relationship for as long as I can remember. My mother, bitter when my dad left, took it out on me. There were times when she would pick me up and shine her light on me. Then as fast as the light came, inevitably it would disappear and I’d be left in the cold, a confused child wondering why.

She would constantly criticise and compare me to my one sister (the other has learning differences and escaped most of this) and if one of our stars was rising the others would be falling. You would think this would bring us closer together, but in fact all it did was divide. If one of us was doing well, it meant the other one needed to do better and it was simply exhausting. Our feelings of resentment and bitterness grew and grew and grew. Until all we knew was this strange passive aggressive state.

My mum is scared of my sister. My sister cut my mum out when my mum was sick. It was me that moved back in, cared for her, paid the bills’ and organised the stroke team, speech therapy and activities to build herself up. I think my mum is scared that my sister will leave her again, as she walked away when she was most vulnerable. So my sister can treat the rest of the family to her choosing, sitting on a pedestal, dictating whilst everyone (including myself for a long while) bends over backwards to keep her happy.

I lost a baby before I had my beautiful baby. It was one of the most painful, saddest times of my life. I confided in my mum, hoping for understanding. I got none. 3 days later she brought my sister to my house so she could announce her pregnancy to me. I said congratulations, smiled and wished her well. Afterwards I confronted my mum privately. I asked why did she bring her over, when she knew of my own personal grief. She looked at me and told me it was only the same as missing a period and to get over it. Those words have rung in my ears for a long time.

Shortly after this we won our wedding. I was absolutely delighted. I then found out I was expecting again (which ended up being my beautiful daughter). The whole lead up to the wedding was filled with stress. My mum was refusing to come as she believed winning a wedding was tacky. Then she said she couldn’t leave my sister and her husband to care for their child who was 3 months at the time of the big day.

She then decided a month before the wedding she would come, but wanted to review my dress. I allowed her to come to a fitting (I’d chosen the dress with friends) and she told me it wasn’t too late to find another dress. She kept screwing her face up and other disapproving tactics. I brought the dress and I loved it.

On the day of the wedding thank god she behaved herself.

Since my daughter has been born (3 weeks after the big day) she has blown hot and cold with us. She cancelled her first time babysitting for us hours before because my sister needed her helping putting her 6 month old son to bed.

I asked if she’d have my daughter one day a week so I could think of work options and she refused. Months later she started caring for my sisters son one day a week. I asked why and it was like I was being unreasonable. Obviously that conversation never happened.

She regularly has my sisters son over at the weekend for sleep overs, lunches, day trips you name it. I have asked her to treat my daughter the same. Not once has she taken her.

In the mean while my sisters behaviour towards me has become more and more passive aggressive and at points volatile like she’s trying to cause an arguement. Silly things like I turned the tv off as neither of the kids were watching it and were playing in the other room. Mum asked me about my daughters tv habits (bc she wouldnt know as she never has her) and I said we didn’t let her watch it past 5pm so it wouldn’t affect her sleep. A minute later my sister calls them both in and sticks the tv on. Its 5:30pm.

I know this sounds so petty, I feel petty as I type this. But it’s a million and one different ways like this that happen every time I see my sister. My husband and I joke she has a radar as every time we turn up and mums she arrives 5 minutes later or is already there.

Her son is adorable and my daughter loves him. But my mum ignores my daughter and focuses fully on him when they’re in a room all together. At first we thought it was us being over protective, but my mum’s friend commented to us and had a word with her. She mocked her friend for suggesting it.

On her birthday during lockdown last year we made arrangements to bring over a birthday garden picnic. She pushed it back 2x at short notice so I had to feed the girls at home. We turn up with her present and the girls and she’s too busy with her friends to see them. I comment “You would think you’d like to see your grandchildren on your birthday” and leave. She turns up the next day full of apologies apparently there had been a “miscommunication”.

In lockdown in England you could pair up with another family as a grandparent. I had excitedly thought she would pair up with us. I mean I had 2 children at home, one I was homeschooling. I had a painful operation to deal with post birth complications and was suffering with a heart issue awaiting a heart procedure.

She chose my healthy sister, her husband and their one child.

Which brings us to this weekend.

It’s my beautiful daughters 2nd birthday this weekend. I leave my placement, skip to the shops to buy the food for the little family drop in I’ve organised, excited and happy.

I come home, and my husband says “You didnt tell me all the family were going on holiday”. That’s because I didnt know. My family have organised in secret to go away without us. I’m heartbroken and can’t understand why would be excluded.

My mum came over knowing that I was out the house to use my husband as the messenger. They’re going away on my daughters birthday (tomorrow), so my mum obviously wasn’t going to come and see her on her actual day.

I speak to my aunt and understand this has been organised since the start of spring time. My aunt lives out of town and knew all about it. She never thought to mention it because she thought I already knew.

I ring then message my mum asking why we weren’t invited. No reply. I message the family whatsap group. My sister instantly responds saying she’d organised it, she did it to thank mum and my other sister for everything they have done for them over the last 2 years. And if I’ve got such a problem with it why don’t I take mum away to thank her. I know messages can be read in a million different ways but I feel the tone is mocking, taunting even. she is fully aware we don’t get the same treatment.

I say I’m upset and feel excluded and I get more back around the same sort of lines- my husband and I never invite anyone when we go away and other incomparable things.

I cry most of the night, i feel like this is the final straw. a break up. The next day I see my nan so she can see my daughter and give her, her pressie. Then I cancel the birthday drop in, giving them 24 hours notice.

I just couldn’t bear being polite and pretending to be ok, whilst they use my daughters birthday get together to plan their holiday for the next day. The holiday my beautiful daughter has been excluded from.

The abuse starts. I’m selfish, I’m gaslighting, I’m using my daughter as a pawn to hurt my mother. This is all being hurled at me by my sister. My mum, my sisters husband and my other sister stay mute. I tell them I dont think our relationships are healthy and it feels toxic. I state as a family we wish to be left alone for a while and I’m leaving the whatsap group (something I’ve wanted to do since around 2017 and never had the guts to do).

I leave the group. My sister messages me privately saying I cant stop her coming to my house. That I’m a selfish mother ruining my daughters birthday and she will be over to ensure she gets her gifts (which is laughable when last year her gifts came 2 weeks late).

I state 2x I wish for her to stop contacting me and she’s not welcome. She can either leave the gifts at my nans or return them. We’re so lucky, luckily many of my friends kids are older so my daughter has plenty of toys.

Today I felt on tenderhooks when she had her little friends round to play for her birthday party. I kept watching the window waiting for my sister to come down the drive and make a scene.

After her party she napped and woke up earlier than normal so we left the house and took her to the park with more friends. She loved it and ran around in the Autumnal air, kicking leaves and bombing around giggling.

We arrived home to her presents left on the door mat after we have explicitly asked her not to come over. It feels like she’s trying to assert her dominance over us, it feels so weird.

I’m worried I am selfish cutting ties and cancelling my daughters family drop in. But I know in the long run I’m protecting her from what I experienced. I’ve already watched her deflate constantly when my mum ignores her for her cousin and I’m fed up of begging my mum to spend time with her when shes on a cold period.

In 2 months time I’ll feel less anxious, more settled and I won’t miss the toxicity. My husband says I should be proud of myself. I didn’t rise to the name calling, I merely acknowledged that was their opinion and restated my boundaries.

If my mum wants a relationship with my daughter, then she can have one. But it will be on my terms away from my sister. She will have to pursue it though as I am sick of begging her to spend time with her.

My daughter is a happy healthy nearly 2 year old. She is a joy and I’m so so lucky to have her. It’s my job as her mother to protect her from toxicity and show her it’s ok to say somethings not ok. Even if it is your family.

sorry for the long post. I just needed to get it out to process it. It’s helped massively with the anxiety.

hope you’re all well and if anyone else is going through toxic family issues, I feel for you.

Love

JS

xx

Day who knows?

I deleted my day app so I’m not sure how many days it’s been now. I do know however on Tuesday it’s our 2 year wedding anniversary and 1 year gotcha day for our cat Dexter (still the best anniversary present ever).

I’m so proud we’ve made it to two years. I thought for a moment as my drinking escalated at a frightening pace, we wouldn’t even make it a year. I was miserable, toxic, and dragging my family down on the depressing cycle with me.

I’ve started my PGCE and I’m really enjoying studying something new and using my brain again. The days are long and I miss my beautiful happy toddler whilst she’s at nursery, but I know it’s a short term slog for a long term gain.

Last night we went out for lovely food and (mock)cocktails. I went to my old haunts and felt pangs of missing out. How I’d love a chilled glass of white or a cocktail, the relaxing rush running through my veins, that amazing giddy feeling.

But I’m so glad I didn’t drink. That my husband supports my sobriety and didn’t make a deal out of it. We just really enjoyed the evening reflecting on the year.

How is everyone else? Sorry I’ve been absent,

love

JS xx

Day 365 – A whole year sober

I like this photo as it feels like when drinking there were bars preventing me from accessing my real life out the window

I wanted to post something profound today, about how much better I feel. How much stronger my relationships are and how much more healthier my boundaries are.

However I feel really emotional and not very eloquent

So I thought I’d leave you with some lyrics from one of my favourite musicals which sums up a lot of how I feel…

“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?In daylights,
In sunsets,
In midnights,
In cups of coffee,
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?”

Seasons sons of love from Rent

Have a good day everyone.

love JS xx

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