Feeling lucky

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Life hasn’t been easy of late, for too many reasons to list here, but I will mention the IBS and living with a lot of pain on a daily basis. IBS has such a huge impact on me and living with pain every single day of my life, for almost three years, has affected me in so many different ways. So much so, that I frequently have days where I feel like I literally can’t carry on, if something doesn’t drastically change with my health. Here’s the kicker, it won’t, at least not for the foreseeable future.

So I try to carry on as best as I know how, the pain can sometimes be held at bay with slow release morphine and the ‘oh my god please hurry up and work,’ liquid morphine. I try not to cry (well maybe a little,) when numerous social occasions are cancelled at the last moment and look on the bright side wherever possible. That isn’t always easy and my poor husband has a lot on his hands, when it all gets too much.

I do have good days emotionally and I am able to accept that this is my life for now, pain is a nasty accompaniment, but try as I might I can’t kick it out of my life. On top of, or perhaps because of this, I can be a bit of a ‘Neurotic Nancy,’ I’m a self confessed hypochondriac and prone to panic. I also have bouts of mild depression. I am however, extremely grateful that things aren’t worse, it isn’t bowel cancer or Chrohn’s Disease. I’m also beyond happy and relieved, that I am suffering and not one of my children. Feeling rather sorry for myself, a couple of days ago, I stumbled across this blog post. I felt very humbled to read of this lovely lady’s heart breaking experience and at the same time it reminded me to feel lucky. I might be struggling at the moment with my health, but on the plus side I do have many things in my life to feel lucky about. From my husband, children and family to diet coke. Well it’s my only vice now that the pain killers have seen off my wine habit.

Of course you always know in the back of your mind, that whatever you are going through personally, there will almost always be someone going through much worse. I don’t for one minute, advocate stopping feeling sad or angry because of your own problems. I’m a firm believer in letting those emotions out and dealing with them. It is still your life and you are perfectly entitled to those emotions. That said sometimes reading about someone else coping with their tragedy, can be an inspiration and a great help.

I still hate that I am in pain for several long hours a day, but I feel lucky it isn’t worse and reading a complete stranger’s blog has helped me feel much better about things. At least for a little while …

 

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GENERAL PANIC DISORDER

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This blog could also be titled ‘you mean that literally anything, can set off my panic attacks?’ It would be an accurate description of my thought process, but sounds a little clumsy. On one of my previous blogs, I wrote about my panic attacks and using a low dosage of anti depressants to help control them. These panic attacks were always triggered by the worry, that my life was somehow in imminent danger. They initially started around 15 years ago. The first time I ever experienced one, was after inadvertently eating a chocolate brownie that contained nuts and having a sudden, illogical worry that I was fatally allergic to nuts.

I had read an article in a newspaper earlier that day, about a woman who had an anaphylactic reaction to eating nuts and had tragically died. I have never liked nuts and they had always made my mouth feel tingly and weird if I ate them, so I just avoided them. I wasn’t, to my knowledge, actually allergic to them. That evening I ate the brownie and had what I thought was an allergic reaction. My lips tingled, my tongue felt bigger than usual and my heart was racing. I was sweating, yet cold at the same time and I could not catch my breath. Alarmed P rang NHS direct and was told to get me to hospital immediately.

He jumped red lights, broke the speed limit and as soon as I arrived I was treated by a doctor, who gave me a dose of anti histamine and a shot of adrenaline. By this point, I actually feared the end was near. This was only exacerbated, when I managed to go to the loo. I sat down for a pee and nearly passed out, I felt even worse, than when I had eaten the nut. ‘So this is how it ends?’ were my thoughts, ‘in a dimly lit toilet in a hospital in Swindon.’ Swiftly followed by ‘sod that I am not being found with my knickers round my ankles.’ With a huge effort, I got up and staggered back to the ward to die on my husband, a much more pleasant way to go. Instead I was greeted by a Doctor who cheerily asked me how I was feeling. ‘Much worse, in fact I think I’m about to die,’ I added dramatically. She patted my head and apologised profusely, apparently it was just the adrenaline making me feel that way and someone should have explained that to me. Phew!

It was later explained, although I would be kept over night for observation, I had had, in all likelihood, a panic attack. I would need to be allergy tested for nuts, just to be on the safe side. Of course I was beyond relieved that my time wasn’t up just yet. What I hadn’t realised was, I had just inadvertently signed up for a lifetime of guaranteed panic attacks. For a good few years, they came only when I thought I had accidentally eaten a nut in any shape or form. It took over a year before I was tested for nut allergies and the mostly negative results did help a great deal (I had a tiny bump from Brazil nuts)

Unfortunately a few years ago they came back with a vengeance and any time I feared my life was somehow in danger, I went into panic over drive. Rationally, I knew that it was unlikely a tall building would suddenly collapse and fall on my head; but I still couldn’t control the symptoms. Even understanding that they were purely psychosomatic didn’t help, I felt powerless to control them. As per my previous post, they became so frequent and impacted on my life so much, that I took Citalopram for a year and that really did help. Right up until two months before my 40th birthday, when they returned but in a slightly different format.

Instead of getting a full blown panic attack and all it’s ensuing physical symptoms, I get a less physical, more mental reaction. They are harder to describe, but in short a terrible feeling of dread washes over me and although my heart rate increases, I don’t feel like I am going to die right there on the spot. Instead I just become hyper aware of my own mortality. Although physically it’s preferable to a full blown panic attack, mentally it feels much worse.

Before, I knew that I could wait out a panic attack and it would pass relatively quickly. Although it doesn’t feel like that in full blown panic mode, I think the body can only sustain such an onslaught of adrenaline and other symptoms for a brief period of time. This time however, the feeling of doom seemed to stick around for a good few hours and I’m at a loss as to how to distract myself from it.

So I turned to good old Dr Google and found that I now seemed to be suffering from a general panic disorder.  This means that I can feel panicked or extreme fear over just about anything. ‘Oh ruddy marvelous, how am I meant to make this one go away?’ Were my initial thoughts.After speaking to my doctor, I learnt that it is a not an unusual thing to experience at significant points in your life, ie turning 40. Great, so not only do I have to worry about wrinkles and my boobs hitting the floor, but now this as well? Fortunately a few months after my 40th birthday, these panic attacks vanished.

My mental health history isn’t that brilliant and I guess I’m probably just prone to these things. I am the first to admit to having a slight problem with hypochondria and definitely suffered with the baby blues after each of my boys were born. If I suffer a relapse, I would be happy to take citalopram again and would consider CBT. That said I would love some coping skills of my own. I don’t want these fears to carry on ruling my life and it’s time I tried to stand up to them. So if anyone has any coping methods, please do message me, I would love to hear about them.

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To blog or not to blog? My first few months as a newbie blogger.

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So far my blogging ‘journey’ has been short and not always sweet. I started a few years ago, a rather half hearted attempt, that lasted only four posts. Rather stupidly I thought it would be a good idea to post every single day, but with four boys to look after, I was being over optimistic to say the least. I also panicked that I was being too honest and open, was I really ready for the whole world (or the few reading my blog) to know about my struggle with panic attacks? This time, I ummed and ahhed for a good few weeks, before I decided to express myself in such a public way.

Being 40 years and 15 months old I had just (!) missed out on being part of the social media generation and for a long while thought that even Facebook was a strange phenomenon. I firmly believed that texting/tweeting whilst in the company of others was bad manners and nothing else. I couldn’t, and still can’t if I’m honest, understand why people would go on a day trip or night out and then spend the entire time on their phones; telling everyone about it or taking photos to show them. Why not let everyone know you are going somewhere, then put your phone down, enjoy yourself and tell everyone about it afterwards? That’s living your life, surely?

So to this Luddite, the idea of baring my soul in such a public way, was an anathema. Then I decided to research it, so I read a few blogs and joined Twitter and slowly I began to think that it might be a good idea. I enjoy writing and I could see how much friends and other bloggers enjoyed the process. Why not give it a whirl? It could be honest, but not necessarily completely public or so I thought ….

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I hit a few snags almost immediately, it is very difficult to keep things private online, unless you remain completely anonymous. To a newbie blogger/technophobe it was a big shock how easily you can be found, despite your best efforts. Your blogging life and real life should sometimes be kept separate, particularly if you intend to be honest as people will interpret your honesty in very different ways. In fact you can be blogging about one thing in your head and viewers can read it as an entirely different thing. For example, when I blogged about my religious views, or lack of them, I was careful to point out that they were my views and not meant to hurt anyone. I had to learn my lesson first though, mere weeks after I began this blog, my blogging life collided with my real life, in ways I had not foreseen. There was fallout and that was that, I wanted nothing more to do with blogging.

It was something of a knee jerk reaction, but I couldn’t have known the impact it would have on me personally. In hindsight, perhaps it was bound to happen. I am slightly naive to say the least and I should have gone for complete anonymity, if I had wanted to write with absolute honesty. I’m also something of a daft bugger, for want of a better phrase and these sorts of things do keep happening to me. From the relatively minor getting my knickers stuck in my skirt, a sadly quite frequent occurrence, to inadvertently offending people and I could go on; but the misadventures of Naomi are perhaps best saved for another post ….

How could I carry on then? I wanted to blog honestly and most certainly didn’t want to upset anyone further. Did I really have any other option other than stopping? My next thought, was to do what I should have done and blog under a nom de plume and tell no one. Yet I worried this still wouldn’t be a safe environment. I thought I had done a relatively good job of keeping this one under wraps, how could I be sure I wouldn’t be found again?

As time went on, I thought I would just carry on blogging and try not to upset anyone again. It hasn’t been easy, once bitten, twice shy! Would I upset readers, if I blogged about my loss of faith in Christianity? If you upset, offend or even annoy people with your posts, they won’t keep reading. Why on earth would anyone waste their precious time reading about someone, that has either annoyed them or simply has a viewpoint that didn’t gel with their own?

If no one reads your blog, are you no longer blogging but simply talking to yourself? I tried not to worry excessively, at least if no one was reading, no one could be offended. So I wrote a few more careful posts. Then I hit a few more snags, probably the same ones that almost all new bloggers have…..

What on earth can I blog about today? I have nothing to say! I’m a stay at home Mum with a chronic stomach condition, I don’t get out much. Who on earth wants to listen to my rants about IBS or whether or not I should be taking morphine for my stomach pain. Does anyone really care that sometimes my life is an endless round of child care and cleaning my house?

Then there was the problem that rears it’s head for many bloggers, or writers in general. You have a great idea, but you have absolutely no idea how to write about it – writers block. I’m normally verbose to say the least, but I want to write well on this blog and I want it to attract at least a few readers. Preferably not just the odd insomniac, who finds my blog so boring, it is more effective at sending them off to sleep than an entire box of Ambien! (Please don’t actually compare the two.)

Next I worried that my blog was too diverse, will readers who enjoy my weight loss posts, be equally thrilled when I write about being a stay at home Mum? Do I have enough time to devote to being a proper blogger, when my children, husband, friends and trash TV addiction take up so much of my time? Then I took a deep breath, calmed my mind and it’s often ridiculous worries and thought ‘balls!’

Big round bouncing balls to all of this! Does it really matter? If I inadvertently upset readers, I can apologise, realise that I may have lost a reader or two, but I will be more careful next time. I can blog about religion and it might be my least read post, but it was read and it did help me address my own feelings on the subject.

I may never have many readers or win any prizes for blogging but I really am starting to enjoy blogging and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world. Something I will blog about in my next post, because at least for a few blissful days, I won’t be panicking about having nothing to blog about!

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TOO SHY SHY

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To those of you who know me, I don’t come across as a shy person. I’m loud, talkative and probably appear relatively confident. The truth is, I’m really not confident at all, particularly when I meet new people. On the one hand, I love meeting new people, I always see the potential for new friendships and enjoy getting to know someone for the first time. Conversely I also hate meeting new people, I really have to push myself in new social settings and always worry that the new person I’m talking too, might not actually want to talk to me.

So I cover my nerves/shyness with a ‘bubbly persona’ and chat away as if I really am confident. Sometimes I’m glad I somehow manage to find the courage to talk to strangers and other times, I want to run away as fast as my little legs will carry me and hide under my duvet. This affects me even when I’m talking on the telephone and although the person on the other end of the line can’t see me, I still feel my legs start shake with nerves, even as I pick up the phone.

Unfortunately a great deal of my social anxiety, probably stems from a lack of self confidence. I dearly wish that I could just assume that everyone I met, was as interested in me as I am in them. I also wish, I could stop worrying whether they liked me or not and just let things progress naturally. Instead I have a small, but very noisy voice in my head, that constantly throws doubts into my mind. Then of course there is the fear of being judged and equally the worry of being too judgmental yourself.

Having been erroneously judged myself, I am very aware of not doing it to others. I try hard to have the attitude, that I like everyone until they and they alone give me a good reason not too. It’s all too easy to allow yourself to be swayed by the opinion of others, so I try not to listen to gossip or speculation and form my own opinion. However that’s not always easy; I think to a certain extent we all judge someone within a minute of meeting them. It’s a natural human trait and at a guess, I would assume it’s some long lost instinct for self preservation; from way back when our lives depended on recognising, whether or not someone was a friend or foe.

I think some of that initial judgement happens sub consciously and can be wrong. How can we possibly know someone within such a short space of time? On my part I often reflect it back on myself and worry someone doesn’t like me because …. When in actual fact they were just having a bad day. Sometimes you think you have judged someone correctly and it can be years before you realise that you got it completely and utterly wrong. Unfortunately your gut instincts can fail you and even a friend, can turn out to be duplicitous and the last person on earth you should have befriended. Other times your intuition is spot on and it isn’t too long before you are proved right for having had your suspicions.

First impressions do count and unfortunately can be all too easy to mess up. I gave birth to my fourth child, ten days after moving to Gloucester from Devon and spent the next year practically housebound; tied to a grumpy, colicky, constantly breastfeeding little boy. I finally emerged from a very demanding year with an almost psychotic desperation to make new friends and finally have a social life again. As a result I drank one too many glasses of wine with a potential new friend and ended up telling her all about several skeletons in my closet. To my intense embarrassment she remembered everything the next morning, but kindly laughed it off and she is now one of my closest friends. Thank goodness she didn’t trust her initial judgement, as it was probably ‘who is this drunken lunatic?’

I’m still not sure I will ever lose my social anxieties but I have learnt to keep wine to a minimum when I am trying to make new friends. Maybe half a bottle of vodka instead?!

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Maintaining my four stone weight loss ……

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For a long time I misguidedly believed that maintaining a weight loss would be rather easy and the hard work would come from the diet and exercise. How wrong I was! Of course I also think when you are dieting, you do have to have some belief that it won’t be forever or you won’t get very far with the diet. Let’s face it if someone told you one month into your diet, that you can never ever go back to eating what you like, when you like; you might well be inclined to politely tell them to get lost at the very least….

Unfortunately they would be telling you the truth. At least in my experience. I have found that if I want to keep the weight  loss off, then I have to watch what I eat every single day. Trust me, I have lost large amounts of weight (four or more stone) three times in my life and plenty of smaller amounts and until now, every single time has resulted in the weight piling back on and more often than not, some extra weight too.

So I knew I would need to work hard at keeping the weight off this time. To start with, I went to the gym three or four times a week and that really helped. Unfortunately I no longer have a gym membership and due to my chronic IBS I can’t exercise at all, right now. This lead to a further reduction in how many calories I can consume in one day. Fortunately not exercising also meant a slight reduction in appetite too. Sadly it did nothing for my inner fat girl who was still demanding cakes and crisps.

So, much like my diet, my maintenance eating plan involves eating a small amount of whatever I want. In fact, if I’m honest, probably a good quarter, if not more of my daily calorific intake comes from chocolate, cake, crisps and ice cream. I just have a very small evening meal to compensate and keep the portion sizes of my treats small too. For example, three Cadbury’s Heroes instead of half a box.  Not particularly healthy BUT neither was being four stone overweight. Not to mention all of the emotional problems that stemmed from being a big girl.It’s not easy, always watching exactly what I eat and never allowing myself more, (Christmas and Birthday excepted) but it is far preferable to gaining the weight. 

I love being a slimmer girl, admittedly it doesn’t make you completely happy all of the time. Life has a sneaky way of reminding you that many of your problems remain the same, regardless as to whether you are fat, thin, or the size of a small country. Celebrities can make a fortune from their yo-yo weight battles, sadly the same can’t be said for our finances. But what weight loss can do, is make you feel so much better about yourself.

There are the obvious ways, such as being able to walk into any high street shop and know that as a size 14 there will be something in there that fits. Sadly the same can’t be said as a size 22, when I would go shopping with my best friend in the now defunct Etam. As a size 12 she would get to shop downstairs, while I would take my heavy heart to the plus size section upstairs. Perhaps situating the big girls clothes upstairs was a cunning way to get us to exercise, in reality it was demeaning and embarrassing. Why the sizes couldn’t have all been together, I don’t know. Maybe the brand would still be in business, had they not alienated a large section of their clientele?

My health is perhaps the most important factor in staying a size 14. My fatty liver has disappeared, the fat not the liver that would have been a lb too far! I’m not as tired as I used to be and I can keep up with my active my boys. I also hope that I now set a better example to them, with my more healthy lifestyle. I no longer dread having my picture taken, the chances of my double chin making an unwanted appearance have lessened considerably. Although sadly not gone completely!

That said, this is my choice to be this weight and I loathe the fact that bigger people are sometimes viewed with contempt. Now I have lost weight, I see a different side to people’s attitudes regarding weight.  I hear the way big people are spoken about in a way that I hadn’t been privy to before and to be frank it has royally pissed me off. People almost whisper, when they mention a bigger person and they always seem to assume that the person must have issues with their weight.

Sadly, some seem incapable of accepting big people CAN be happy with the way they look. They wonder what has caused the weight gain and happily gossip as to why some people never seem to lose any weight. Others assume that they must be lazy and attribute any shyness to their weight. If an invitation to a social occasion is declined, it is assumed that it is because the person is self conscious about their weight (maybe they are just busy!)  I once even heard someone declare that a person possessed a caustic sense of humour, simply because she was over weight!

The terribly sad thing is, these were the very things that I feared people were saying about me as a size 22. It has shocked me to hear that it does indeed happen. Of course for every small minded person, there are dozens more that don’t give two hoots about the way people look – thank goodness. Not least because the odds are that one day, my currently restrained inner fat girl, will gain the upper hand and I will give into my piggy nature. So please don’t be judgmental of bigger people, being fat is currently not for me, but it may well be again one day and I will still just be me.

 

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Losing my religion

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I am writing this post purely to make sense of my own feelings on the subject of religion.

I have been wondering whether to write this post for a few weeks and thought it was high time, I sat down and got on with it. Those of you that know me, will wonder about the title, because I’m not really very religious at all. For many years I did consider myself a Christian, admittedly not a practicing one. Over the last few years however I would put myself firmly in the atheist camp and perplexingly, I’m still slightly at odds with that.

Even though I haven’t always practiced Christianity, it has been a part of my life, for a long time. I went to a fairly religious school, there was a chapel in the school grounds and attendance was compulsory once a week. This escalated to every day, during the sixth form. We always celebrated the feast of St Katharine and after mass the rest of the day was filled with fun activities. It was also a day away from lessons; rather annoyingly St Helen had her feast day during the school holidays.

When I was thirteen my parents moved to a small village in South Oxfordshire and as a means of joining the community, started attending church every Sunday. My sisters and I happily attended children’s church, which was basically Sunday school. Not only did you get to leave church, before the rather tedious sermon from the Vicar, it was always a lot of fun. Best of all, to a teenage girl, there were teenage boys also in attendance! So even when I was a practicing Christian, it was not necessarily always for the right reason.

Although I was annoyed that Divinity was a compulsory G.C.S.E. at my school and I was easily bored during church services, for me Christianity was a relatively benign part of my life. Until of course I grew up and started realising that my own beliefs were very different from those espoused by the bible. This is when Christianity and I parted ways.

This post is entirely my own viewpoint and I don’t wish to offend anyone with my interpretation of this religion. I also firmly belief, everyone is entitled to believe in whatever or whomever they choose. So I won’t be too specific with my disenchantment; but suffice to say I could no longer believe in a religion, that is both largely anti gay and misogynistic. I also found it hard to believe that there was a God, when many unspeakable acts of evil were occurring in our world, every single day.

That said, Christianity continued to be a part of my life for a while longer, my Father became Vesturer of Canterbury Cathedral and I even attended an Easter service there. Mainly to watch my Dad, but it was still a relatively enjoyable morning.

When my little sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found myself writing letters to people I thought might be able to give her good advice. I was lucky enough to receive a reply from Carly Simon, a fellow sufferer, which was thrilling. I was equally chuffed to receive a letter, from my favourite teacher at school. I had written to her because she no longer taught history, but had taken her vows and was now a Nun. In retrospect this seems a little hypocritical, was I hopeful that she might put in a good word with ‘the big guy upstairs,’ for my sister? Even though I had started to turn my back on Christianity, was I now reaching out in my hour of need?

This is why I’m confused, why am I sad to completely sever ties with a religion that has played a small but significant role in my life and yet I can’t share many of the philosophies preached? Am I clasping at straws just in case I’m wrong and there really is a God? Or is it just that I miss the sense of having a faith to cling on too, when times are tough?

I think maybe I would like a faith to believe in, preferably one that doesn’t start any wars. I could quite happily pay my dues to a Goddess who believed in world peace, sexual and racial harmony and a big old glass of wine at communion, instead of one measly sip. Chocolate cake could replace those rather tasteless communion wafers too. Sadly I think I may have to start my own. The cult of Naomi anyone? Ha ha.

 

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No more Stay at Home Mum v Working Mum – please!

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My decision to become a stay at home Mum was not an easy one, there were so many factors that needed to be taken into consideration. In a nutshell my internal monologue sounded a little like this:

Is this the best decision for my child? Yes, he needs to be with his Mum. Is this the best decision for me? Yes, I gave birth to my son, because he was wanted and not to hand him to a professional to look after. Best decision for my husband? Yes, bless him he agreed with my beliefs 100% and whilst it hasn’t been easy, neither of us would change that decision we made nineteen years ago. I have blogged about the financial implications of being a stay at home Mum, in my very first post. So I won’t go over them again, needless to say from a purely financial basis this was not the right decision to have made. I would imagine financial implications are one of the strongest reasons, why some Mothers decide to go back to work. Of course there are many other valid reasons, the desire to have a career. To be a good role model, especially to their daughters, to demonstrate that women can have it all.

All perfectly valid reasons from both sides, so why are we constantly at war with one another?

I admit that there have been a few times in my life, when I too have judged working Mums. Occasionally when I have heard that a Mum’s main reason for going back to work is financial, I have found it hard not to look at their large house and two cars and think that if they moved to a smaller house and only had one car, surely they could stay at home with their child? That said I have been careful to keep that opinion to myself, I would never say that out loud to any working Mum. As I have grown older and hopefully a little wiser, I have became less judgmental.

In my humble opinion, both sides have equally valid reasons for the decisions they have made. No one should be judging women for what is, let’s face it, an extremely hard decision to make. We certainly shouldn’t be judging each other. We both do marvelous jobs, neither of which are particularly easy. We both often want what the other has. I would love a high powered, well paid job where I get to use my brain. One where people remembered to say thank you or compliment my skills. Feedback from my teenagers is never the kind I was hoping for. Most of all I would love to never have to clean a toilet, belonging to not one but five boys! Speaking to my working Mum friends, I know that sometimes they would dearly love to attend every single assembly/sports day/school play that there little angel is starring in. Without wondering how on earth they will pluck up the courage to ask for yet another afternoon off work. I know that they dread phone calls from school to say their child has fallen ill and please come and pick them up immediately, do not attend any meetings and do not return them until at least 48 hours after symptoms first occurred, even if you have to use your precious holiday time to do so.

So why do we judge each other, why do we each think that the choice we made, was the correct one? Giving little thought to how hard the decision was for all of us. I think it’s because we are always a little worried that we made the wrong decision and spend a lot of our time defending this choice, even at the expense of others. A quick search on Google revealed a vast amount of blogs devoted to why being a stay at home Mum is the best and of course an equal number extolling the virtues of being a working Mum.

From my own point of view I constantly fear I made the wrong decision. Do my children suffer because we have little money to spend on them? Would they have preferred me to have gone back to work, so that they can always wear the same clothes, have the same must have gadgets or go on foreign holidays as some of their more privileged friends. Has my brain withered away to the size of a raisin, because I rarely get to use it these days? Will anyone ever want to employ me after this very long career break? Or if I’m being completely honest, apart from a brief stint as a trainee manager at Tesco, I have yet to have an actual career. Getting pregnant whilst still at University put paid to that one.

I’m almost positive that working Mum’s have cried many tears, when leaving their precious babies in the hands of others. Will this somehow harm them in later life? Do they worry about being too tired to play with their kids at the end of a long and hard day at work, followed by making meals and cleaning their houses? Quite frankly I don’t know how they do it all, I’m not sure I could.

I have oodles of admiration for a working Mum, a fellow sister who is busy proving to the world that we women can and do have it all. It wasn’t the right decision for me, but it certainly was for them and I salute that bravery. So I hope others will do the same, let’s agree to disagree and support each other’s difficult decision!