• Motherhood without the manual

    Toilet Training Troubles

    One year. That is how long we have been toilet training, or attempting to, our youngest son for. Charlie has just had his fourth birthday and it was just after his third birthday when, after an earlier unsuccessful attempt, we decided to really crack on with it. I didn’t expect that we would still be doing this a year later! There have been many times during this year when we thought we had finally conquered it, and numerous occasions of wanting to give up and just stick a nappy on him. Today was one of those days, irrespective of our reaching the illustrious one year milestone. Upon picking Charlie up…

  • Food and fatness

    Food as a form of…

    Self-harm. I know that today’s plate of beige mayonnaise covered shit is not good for me. Nutrients in the food are minimal, salt and fat are copious, and the authenticity of the ‘chicken’ in the nuggets is questionable. The humongous dollop of mayo foreshadows an impending heart attack, and to top it all off I accidentally spilled too much salt all over it (but will eat it all regardless). I would not say it tastes sublime, but the effort to taste ratio is favourable enough. I’ve started to wonder if consuming this type of ‘meal’ almost daily is a form of self-harm, a way of punishing myself for pushing my…

  • Work, Careers and muddling through

    Impostor Syndrome at work

    I know a lot of women like myself suffer from Impostor Syndrome, that constant nagging doubt about our skills, knowledge and abilities which affects various areas of life. This can be to a moderate, significant or debilitating degree depending on the scenario, how we happen to feel that day, or what comment someone might have made about us in passing. Sometimes it is just our own devilish thoughts about ourselves which get blown out of all context and proportion due to raging hormones, the pressure of societal expectations or an unexpected problem we can’t seem to solve. For me, my Impostor Syndrome manifests mostly at work, rather than at home…

  • D for Depression (eek)

    Mental health and physical health

    I’m sure there has been much written on the effect of physical illness on mental illness and vice versa, but having been unwell (albeit not seriously) for a few days now, I’ve been noticing how much my mental health declines when I am under the weather. For some reason, everything else spirals out of control when I’m ill, a tsunami effect over which I feel I have no power. When I’m physically ill, even if it’s just an annoying lingering cold and rattling cough (like now) or a sickness bug which will no doubt be short and not so sweet, I begin to catastrophise for some strange reason. Everything else…

  • Self-development

    Self-help madness (and realisations!)

    I wish to make a confession; I think I am addicted – to self-help books. The latest incarnation is in the form of a small manual on my bedside table on how to live by the principles of Ikigai, a Japanese concept focused on finding your life’s purpose and adhering to it daily. This follows a long line of well-thumbed books promising to help me: live more authentically push past fear be more assertive and confident embrace uncertainty connect with others pause and live mindfully. And on a more practical level I am guided on how to: start a business be an effective leader/manager be a good feminist and a strong…

  • Motherhood without the manual

    Febrile Seizures

    Febrile seizures are not something I had heard of before my five year old Dylan had his first one at the age of two. He had had a temperature overnight and I, my husband Mark and Dylan were dozing on the sofa the following afternoon after a sleepless night. I suddenly woke to the sound of my husband calling either mine or Dylan’s name (I can’t remember which) in a frantic manner. I looked at Dylan who had been cuddling in to me and he was slumped and dribbling, his lips blue and his breathing laboured. We had no idea what had happened, but as I ran 999 in a…

  • Food and fatness

    Emotional eating alert

    I am an emotional eater, an overeater, a binge eater, food addict and general greedy guts. Morbidly obese (I might actually be super morbidly obese which is quite something) at 5ft 2ins and a size 24, I can’t even see myself anymore. But I think that is the aim actually, to be invisible, which seems ironic given how much space I now take up. I’ve written about my half-hearted attempt to lose weight in my previous blog, Finally Stuffed, and detailed my struggle to overcome emotional eating (which predictably ended in no actual action on my part to make the weight loss occur). What is emotional eating? For me, emotional…

  • D for Depression (eek)

    The real face of depression

    So, here is the post I’ve been unsure about writing for a while now but, in the interest of keeping my writing always real and honest, here it goes! I am depressed, I think. At some point a long time ago, perhaps in my morose mid-teens, I saw a doctor and discovered I was depressed. I don’t think at that point I was offered any medication, perhaps just some brief counselling which I have no recollection of attending. I’ve worn the badge of depression ever since (only visible to those close to me), almost defensively lest anyone dare challenge its authenticity. Having sampled several different antidepressants and types of counselling…

  • Work, Careers and muddling through

    Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

    I still don’t! I recently found an old notebook from when I was about fourteen years old, and it was all very serious stuff; full of sage musings about the state of the world and my quest to right all the wrongs therein, it also contained a dedicated careers section. Here I listed all the pros and cons of each potential career choice in great detail, as if there were no barrier to any of these potential paths except in my ability to sufficiently weigh up said pros and cons. My top four career choices were: astronaut, marine biologist, vet and geologist. I laughed at some of my derogatory ‘con’…