Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Going out!

Both my daughters are spending the night at Daddy’s house.  So I’ve been out – drinks, food at Tampopo, and a pink cocktail at The Cornerhouse. It’s been a lot of fun. Now I’m home in a very quiet house with the prospect of a full night’s sleep.  I like sleep – I crave sleep – I haven’t had many full nights of sleep for nearly 3 years. But it’s the first night I’ve been apart from Little Girl since she’s been born and it doesn’t feel quite right. There’s a good chance I’ll wake up at 3am convinced I’ve left her on a train.

Raspberry mojito

However, if this goes well – if she sleeps, if she takes milk, if she is happy when she comes home – it’s likely that she’ll spend more nights at her dad’s house with Big Girl.  I may soon find myself with every other weekend free.  This both excites and terrifies me.

Prior to getting pregnant with Big Girl, I’d spent two years studying while working, which kept me very busy.  So I’ve spent 5 years barely going out.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all these weekends.  I need to go out and see people – spending all day without speaking to another adult is not good for me. I could go out during the day and spend the evening watching films – the gap between Little Girl going to sleep and waking up for another feed isn’t always long enough to fit in a film. I could even go out in the evening.  But where would I go? What would I do? And who with?

I wrote this on Saturday night after I got in, and I’m pleased to say that Little Girl didn’t seem to be unduly scarred by a night away from me, so we’re going to try again. I spent the morning, after 9 hours’ sleep, cleaning and tidying. Partly I was trying to keep busy, to keep at bay that nagging sensation you get when you know you’ve forgotten something but have no idea what and, apparently, when your children are away for the night, but also it felt a bit like nesting – I wanted to prepare the house for my babies to come back to and I felt like I was caring for them even though they weren’t there.

As an aside, Little Girl went all night without milk at her dad’s house.  I have been trying to replicate this but with very little success.  She knows I have milk, she wants it and she’s not prepared to sleep without it.  I’m not sure whether, if I persevere, she’ll settle into sleeping all night or whether I should accept that we’ll all get more sleep if I just feed her.

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Loving my new life…

I promised to tell you what I am enjoying about my new life, so here you are:

Making decisions on my own. Having my own money. Starting to really enjoy being with my children on my own rather than just getting through it until Ex-Husband came home. Discovering quite how capable, strong and resourceful I am. Guilt-free mornings in bed with the paper every other Saturday. The chance in the future to discover what sort of person dating websites think I’ll be compatible with (I’ve always been curious). Having an attic and a cellar to myself. No-one nagging about the washing up or the pile of crap on the kitchen table. Not having to think about sex. Not having to think about Ex-Husband’s shifts except as far as it affects when he has the girls. Suddenly being the mature one in the relationship. Being able to put my foot down more over the girls where I think it matters. Finding things that I find exciting and which make me happy and planning to do them. Losing a stone and a half despite constantly eating chocolate. Picking up lots of friendships I’d just not had time for. Basking in everyone’s admiration at just how well I’m coping 🙂

What do you love about your life?

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Baby clothes and tears

I am sitting on the floor, surrounded by baby clothes, sobbing.  So many clothes, so many memories. Big Girl’s 9-12 months clothes being sorted for Little Girl to wear. Ex-Husband has asked for a few things to have at his house.  I recognise that this is an entirely reasonable request.  But I don’t want to. I can’t bear the thought of him having clothes from Big Girl’s babyhood at his house with his new partner.  I find a top that was our favourite and I can’t stop crying. How could he leave us?

I am fortunate to have so many friends, to be surrounded by love. But there is no-one who can help me with this grieving. No-one else shares the memories from these clothes, of these babies.  When Little Girl gets to two, it’ll be memories of choosing clothes on my own, of making my own choices, of how strong and resilient I have found myself to be.

Mostly, I am positive. It’s astonishing. You wouldn’t have expected it of me.  I certainly didn’t.  And I am loving sharing my journey with you.  But some parts of the journey are, quite frankly, shitty.  Today is one of them. In my next post, however, I’m going to tell you what I love about my new life – despite the sadness, there are many.

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Sew awesome

So you’re probably wondering when I’m going to stop going on about crockery and trips to A&E and actually do something – achieve one of these goals I set for myself.  Well, I have.

My parents came over a couple of weeks ago and my mum helped me to set up my sewing machine (it used to be hers and she made us all clothes on it when we were little, and I do get a sense of satisfaction from using a sewing machine with a history).  She also brought me some fabric to play around with until I decided what I wanted to make.  I’ve got into using Pinterest – it’s a website where you can ‘pin’ things you find on the web that you like and other people can look at them.  And of course you can look at other people’s and ‘pin’ a load of their finds to your pinboards, and try to fool yourself into thinking you’ll ever make them.  It’s a good way to pass the time while breastfeeding.

So I found this lovely skirt here:

So I made my own:

My ex-husband had both girls for the day, so it was a race against time to get it finished. There isn’t a pattern as such – more a suggestion for how to make a skirt.  Things I have learnt: a pattern is probably useful; zips are tricky; I am awesome.  It’s not the most professional skirt ever and I am clearly not an expert seamstress.  But it’s totally wearable and it fits me and I made it.

My next project was going to be pyjamas. But then my best friend sent me Cath Kidson’s sew! book. It’s full of brilliant things to make: beanbags, cushions, bags, that sort of thing.  So, I’m going to make a bag.  And not just any bag…

My sister took me shopping yesterday.  We had so much fun.  I haven’t really had fun for a while.  We went into Jigsaw (which is more expensive that I realised) and seemed to convince the staff that I might buy a £98 skirt (I won’t). I discovered that one beneficial side-effect of being totally abandoned by my husband with two children under two is that I’ve gone down a couple of dress sizes.  I also rediscovered the joys of being able to try on clothes not in the maternity section.  We nearly ate sushi.  And we nearly got our ears pierced.  And my sister found me an amazing coat to replace my worn out old amazing coat.  My new coat is so amazing that I’m not going to post a picture of it until it arrives.  And I’m going to cut up my beautiful old worn out coat and make a bag from it. Pyjamas can wait.

So there you go.  I really am becoming awesome.

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Transitional crockery

I’m trying to adjust to being single and get used to making decisions on my own. So I’ve been making a few changes around the house to make it feel more like mine. I’ve taken down all the pictures of us and things from our marriage. I’ve bought some nice cushions for the lounge. Little things to make my house how I want it, without having to wave a paintbrush around. And I bought some new crockery.

A few years ago we went out to Indonesia to visit my best friend, who lived there for 3 years. As a souvenir, slightly unusually, we brought an 8-place-setting dinner service back in our luggage, with surprisingly few breakages.

The dinner service was nice but not the one I’d wanted – Ex-Husband’s choice. So I decided to replace it and headed off to Wilkinson’s, home of quality and value. As long as you’re not too fussy about quality.

I am known for liking bright spots – Mr Tumble would feel at home – and did find a spotty dinner set. But I wondered whether I should try something a bit different, if I’m trying to work out who I am and what I like. And then I saw this:

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It’s spotty, so that’s good. But it’s grey, so that’s different, right? I bought it and felt very proud of myself. But now, every time I look at it I see spots with the joy taken out of them, a bit drab and a bit depressing – a metaphor for my life, perhaps?

So I’m thinking this is transitional crockery – it’ll do for a time and then I’ll replace it with something a bit brighter, reflecting my new and awesome life. Expect to see a couple of dinner services on eBay this time next year.

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Our first trip to A&E

We’re in A&E. I spilled a cup of coffee on Little Girl at soft play. We’ve got matching scalded forearms. My ex is here too. It’s a little awkward to say the least, but there’s not been any unpleasantness.

She seems to be ok – her arm is uncomfortable and she’d just fallen asleep when the doctor came to look at her. The staff at the soft play centre probably saved her a lot of damage by getting her arm under cold water so quickly. Then we got a ride in an ambulance up to the hospital.

She’s had some cream and a bandage on her arm. She seems ok. A friend is coming to pick us up and then I can collect my Big Girl.

I wouldn’t have expected my first trip to A&E as a parent to be with Little Girl. She’s 8 months old and, while far from placid, she seems fairly content to watch her big sister. Big Girl, aged 26 months, is into everything as fast as she can go with an enthusiasm bordering on recklessness. But, as I’m learning, sometimes life doesn’t happen quite how you expect.

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Welcome to Project Awesome

In October, my husband left me.  Shit! Suddenly, unexpectedly, I found myself a single parent to a 4-month-old and a 22-month-old.  So I did what anyone else would do – I cried.  For four weeks, I cried whenever I felt like it: walking down the road pushing a pram and wailing; half way down the stairs in a church building, sobbing – fortunately I’m very good at crying and have little shame about it.

Then I stopped crying and started raging.  This felt better but it was quite tiring, particularly with a baby who liked feeding every two hours through the night, and didn’t like sleeping in her own bed.

Christmas arrived with the gift of laryngitis.  The New Year brought January and 2012 (Olympics! Woo! Yeah!) and the realisation that this wasn’t going to go away, and my husband wasn’t going to come back, and the life I thought I was going to have was probably not going to happen.

So I decided I’d have a good life anyway and after a little help from Psychologies magazine, I set some goals – thought about what I like doing; what I’d like to achieve; what I’d be doing if time and money were no object; what I’d be doing if I knew I’d be a success.

  • I want to get out of the house by myself, do some exercise, get fitter, meet new people.  Inspired by once free-climbing on the Great Orme in Doc Martens aged 17 and not falling to my death, I’d like to try climbing.
  • I want to use my brain again – I love thinking about and discussing ideas. I’m hoping to study something – and eventually finish the masters I was working towards when I found out I was pregnant.
  • I’d like to be more creative and to develop a skill, so I’m going to get out my sewing machine and make things. Probably not very well, as I’m not one for straight lines or anything requiring manual dexterity, but I’ve signed up for Pinterest and I’m collecting lots of inspiring ideas for things I’ll probably never get round to doing.
  • And I used to write. If I could do anything, I’d write a novel. A story that would make you cry and feel your life will never be the same.  If I could do anything, anything at all, I’d be Audrey Niffenegger and spend the rest of my life knowing I’ve written ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’.  However, as that seems unlikely to happen, I’m going to settle for starting with this blog and seeing where I go from there. I’m hoping that as I get more sleep and more practice, my writing will become more interesting – so bear with me.

So that’s Project Awesome – making my life the best it can be. Feel free to drop in, see how I get on, and maybe share your own ideas about what would make your life the best it can be.  Or even suggest things you think I might like to try – suddenly I find myself with everything* open to me and I think it might be fun…

*Everything subject to the demands and constraints of a toddler and a baby, that is.

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