True Happiness…

I wrote this post in September 2014. One of my favourite bloggers Run, Jump, Scrap has recently (May 2015) set up a #bestandworst Linky. 

Becoming a mom was my best moment of 2014 followed by my sisters wedding but I wasn’t prepared for some of the worst things of the year. They both revealed some sad truths. 

I think this old post combines my thoughts on some of the best things in life and the knock on effect it has to some of the worst things so I think this will fit and hopefully others will relate to it.

I am a bit of a loner in the world of motherhood so I hope there is someone out there on my level! Here is the original post… 

True happiness…

…reveals true friends. Last Saturday, 9 week old Oliver attended his first wedding. It was my sisters wedding. The night before the wedding she was saying that getting married has revealed who her true friends are, at one end she’s had friends she hasn’t spoken to for years sending lovely messages and making sure they clear their diaries to attend then at the other end of the friend spectrum, there have been drop outs because they were invited to a house party and didn’t want to look unpopular. 

It got me thinking because I’ve had similar thoughts about having a baby. At one point I was considering deleting every Facebook friend (I only have 170 friends that are mostly family and colleagues) that hasn’t liked a single photo of Oliver, a bit dramatic I know but the fact that they have no interest in the happiest time of my life tells me that they fit into one of three categories:

1. We are simply not friends. Never have been really, just somebody that I used to know but don’t have any interest in each other’s lives. No hard feelings but also no need to clog each other’s feed.

2. The other person just doesn’t spend a lot of time online. Fair enough, everyone isn’t a Facebook addict, as long as I feel like I wouldn’t walk past these people in the street they can stay on the list.

3. Unfortunately I believe this is the most common reason for ignoring happy events… Jealousy. Seeing someone happy instantly makes people compare their lives. It provokes thoughts such as, “why can’t I get pregnant?” “I wish we were at the point in our relationship where we’re ready for baby/ marriage/ mortgage etc.” “She’s younger/ poorer than me – how has that happened!” “Yeh right she hasn’t paid for that mommy and daddy have!” I could go on but you get the idea.

The thing is, truly happy people see their friends happy and think, awww that’s nice. Truly happy people have higher self esteem and a sense of security so they couldn’t care less if someone earns more, or has a baby or gets married because they already have what they want to be happy and will reach other life milestones when they are happy to do so. I have heard excuses to try and justify the lack of interest in friends lives.

1. It’s a sensitive subject. For example, “I can’t have children so I don’t want to see pictures of my friends kids.” Isn’t that a bit selfish and childish?

First of all, it is not your friends fault you can’t conceive so stop being so self absorbed. We do not all possess the same level of health and wealth. We are going to come across situations when our friends do things we cannot do. Similar sort of things include, “I’m not liking their holiday photos because I can’t afford a holiday.” “I’m not liking their wedding photos because I’ve just been through a break up and it’s really insensitive to post your wedding knowing what I’ve been through.” Again, stop being self absorbed. True friends are happy when you’re happy regardless of their own relationship or financial status.

I actually went through a break up the week after one of my best friends wedding. I can honestly say, I couldn’t wait for her to share her wedding photos. I couldn’t wait to catch up and see how the honeymoon went. I know of a few people that would just ignore the happy friend and bitterly sit pondering, why didn’t I get married. How can they afford that…etc.

You can’t only be happy for someone if your life matches up. If you’re single and jobless you can’t cut friends off for getting engaged or promoted! You’re heading for a very lonely sad life. Snap out your own selfish world and be happy when others are happy!

2. “We weren’t that close anyway.” Some people reading this that haven’t ‘liked’ my life events might justify themselves by arguing, we were never close. 

If that is true, a content person will still be happy for their ‘acquaintances’. If it’s not true and you were actually friends at some point for some time, then we’re back to the old jealousy chestnut! These people are trying to justify why they want to phase their happy friends out of their lives. In either case, ask yourself why you are looking at the profile and photos of someone you barely know? (Jealous!)

3. They don’t care. Some people quite simply don’t care. That is fair enough I suppose. If you have no interest in kids my 121 newborn photos probably are annoying. However, if you like me then surely you ‘like’ that I’m happy even if you don’t like the photos. If you don’t like either then again, I’d question if we are really friends. So a baby is a good revelation… 

The truth is, seeing someone else’s life in tatters makes you feel a little bit better about your own life. Even if you’re not brave enough to admit it. If your friend goes through a break up and you’re engaged, on some level you think, phew I’m glad that wasn’t me! I’m lucky to have my partner. If your friend is constantly arguing with her boyfriend you might realise that you are not alone and you too, are always arguing. Hence, you feel better about your own life being a mess.

Seeing someone else’s life going well makes you assess your own life. If your life is also going well, you don’t care/ you are happy for them. But if one of your friends gets pregnant and you’ve secretly been trying for months, their happiness makes you feel bad about your own life! This makes it difficult to be happy for them and transpires in bitchy comments and results in losing friends. You can’t be annoyed by baby photos just because you haven’t reached that stage in your life!

If you want to test my theory there is a simple experiment you can do. 

Week 1 : update your status to something positive about your life. A simple 🙂 will do the trick or try a “OMG I love my life!” Something pretty vague but that says, I’m happy. Your mom will definitely like it followed by your true friends/ content friends who are happy for you. (Possibly a few gossipers too!)

Week 2: update your status to something negative. A simple 🙁 will suffice again. Or try something like, “Why can’t anything go right in my life?” Sit back and watch your unhappy/ fake friends suddenly wanting to feel better about their own life. “What’s up Hun?” “PM me if you need a chat!” Of course, your real friends will still care if you’re sad! But see how many people suddenly pop up. When I went through my break up three years ago I had too many people taking an interest. They didn’t really care how I was coping, it’s just a relief that they’re not alone with relationship problems. I know this because the ‘friends’ disappeared when I was happy again.

When you are truly happy… Your true friends will show!


Best of Worst

Full Time Mother?

Oliver is seven weeks old now and I will be back at work in two weeks. I’m lucky that his dad works midweek days and I work mostly evenings and weekends. I also have close family to help out.

I’ve always been frustrated by women that refer to themselves as “full time mother”. It is even more annoying when they list it on a Facebook profile or even worse, a CV! (Yes that happens!) First of all, why the full time? Is there such thing as a part time mother? Self employed mother? Christmas temp mother? It doesn’t make sense to align occupational jargon with motherhood. It’s not a job. If we insist on using occupational jargon the only word I’d be tempted to use is vocation. It is a calling for most women and most women adapt very well and are therefore ‘made’ for motherhood. (Evolutionarily speaking, aren’t we all? That’s a rant for another day.)

I do not consider myself to be a full time mother. If I were hiring full time staff I’d be looking at offering 40 hours per week. Staff also need 11 hours break in between shifts and shouldn’t work more than 12 consecutive hours and are entitled to a break every 4 hours. Who do I sue? My mothering hours do not match the full time working regulations. I do not clock in and out. I am constantly a mother.

I believe there are two categories of women who refer to themselves as full time mom. You will fit into one of them…

1. This is a genuine belief. Some women seriously liken motherhood to a career. They find it hard and stressful at times. They feel entitled to a break. They feel hard done by if they don’t have a holiday. They like to share the workload. They compare their ‘career’ to other mother ‘colleagues’. They believe that being a mom means you don’t have to go to work.

2. It is a justification. Unfortunately, in our modern society, if you didn’t have a salaried career pre-pregnancy then it doesn’t make financial sense to return to work while you are mothering a baby or even toddlers. If you have an entry level/ minimum wage job you’ll be earning approx £250 per week before tax. That isn’t even a set figure because hourly paid staff are subject to having hours cut or shifts swapped. The statutory maternity pay is currently £136 per week, guaranteed. So you can return to work for a poxy £100 extra and miss valuable bonding time. Oh wait, if you’re at work, who is looking after your baby? If you’re lucky enough to have reliable grandparents or partner that works opposite hours then great, £400 a month is worth it. What is the other option? Daycare! Which will cost around £150 per week. So it really isn’t worth going back to work. (Obviously this is a rough calculation. This is not taking into account any benefits that the mother receives or the fathers employment status.) The point is for a lot of women it isn’t worth going back to work. I feel like many mothers feel they need to justify their lack of employment by listing their ‘job’ as mother because the fact of the matter is, they are unemployed. Once again I will say, value has nothing to do with money! Why should anyone be embarrassed that they’ve chosen to raise their own child? Concentrate on your own life and ignore negative opinions. Ok, if you’ve never had a job in your life and keep having kids to get benefits then maybe be embarrassed about your scrounging state. Normal working class mothers, you don’t have to justify anything. Stop likening motherhood to employment and get on with enjoying it!

I was lucky enough to have a salaried career at 21 and waited until I was 28 to have a child. Personally, I feel your employment status is quite important when you choose to have a baby. There are obvious financial implications, it’s not cheap having a baby. I spent all of my savings in a matter of weeks on baby essentials. You need a stable home and need to be able to pay your bills. Babies aren’t like shoes, you can’t just have one because your friend had one. It is a long term thing and you need to be ready. However, the main reason I will go back to work is I want to be a role model to my children. I want them to learn that we go to Disneyland because mommy and daddy work hard. I want them to learn the value of money. I want them to think about the kind of job they would like when they grow up. I can teach them all of these things alongside my full time job as a bar manager.