Making Fairy Potions

Having found this idea on Pinterest, I thought it would be a good activity for half term to fill some time and not have to spend lots of money!!
Inspired by http://www.theimaginationtree.com , I picked up the ingredients we didn’t have loitering about in the cupboards and we collected a couple of sticks to stir with the day before whilst out for a walk (to a local wood with some ‘fairy steps’!).

The girls really enjoyed this activity. Set up time was hardly any, longer because I was taking photo’s, and actual activity time, for us, was about 20-30 mins.

We used our tuff tray to do the activity on, but a small tray would work just fine- it’s basically to catch the overspill!
You need:image2
Some sort of jar to create the potion- we used a plastic cocktail fish bowl from Poundland (which is reusable for other activities).
Bicarbonate of soda
Vinegar- I bought a white vinegar spray bottle from Home Bargains.
Washing up liquid
Food colouring- we used pink and blue.
Glitter/ sequins
A magic wand (we used our sticks)

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The girls started off by getting dressed up in their fairy wings and tutu’s.

 

 

We then filled the cocktail bowl with the full bottle of vinegar- this was due to the bowl’s size- if using a smaller container or jar, just fill it half full.
Then add a large squeeze of washing up liquid and your glitter/sequins.
Then add in a spoonful (or so) of your bicarb and stir with your magic wand.

The potion should bubble and froth over the jar!
Don’t forget your spell or wish!!

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To keep the potion frothing, just keep adding more bicarb, washing up liquid and vinegar and stirring. Add more glitter if you want to!!!

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This activity can be adapted, whether you want to make a witches brew, a wizards potion or some other frothy, bubbly wonder!

Imagination is the key! 

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The Secret of my Anxiety | Part 3

The bottle scenario. My baby was weaned by the time I went back to work so I sent her food and her bottles she needed for the day- 2. One for morning and one for the afternoon.
Only, in the car on the way home (my mother in law dropped her off home) she was getting upset and crying. So my mother in law began saving her afternoon bottle for the car journey on the way home. Rather than just ask for extra milk to settle her.
I can’t remember if I asked or if she passed me the bottle on one occasion and I asked when she’d had it to be shirtily told she didn’t want it in the afternoon so she’d had it in the car. She never refused her bottles- not fully finish them, yes, refuse them, no.
My mother in law’s attitude- the way she spoke to me- also indicated that she knew what she was doing, that it wasn’t what I’d asked… it wasn’t my daughter’s routine.

Why not just discuss it with me? Instead it was secretive… behind my back, and left me trying to reinstate my routine every week. The routine that worked for us the rest of the time. The routine that worked the other 6 days of the week.
This wasn’t my mother in law’s decision to make.

One time when we were up at my mother in laws and my daughter hurt herself, it was like a race between me and her to get to my daughter to comfort her. I remember having to put my arms out and ask for her to be passed to me so that rather than sit there and watch my daughter be comforted, I could do it.
When a child hurts themselves, they want their Mam and like wise you want to be the one to make it better.
I was more than happy for my mother in law to comfort my daughter when I wasn’t there. I’d expect her to. But whilst I was there, it was my job unless I said otherwise.
That feeling of racing against someone to get to my child? That in itself is enough to make anyone anxious!!

Another time when they’d had her overnight, they brought her home and she’d fallen asleep in the car. They carried her in and tried to transfer her into the travel cot we had in our front room (we used it as a playpen). But she woke up. My mother in law stood in front of me, picked her back up and tried to rock her back off whilst I was hovering behind trying to get to my baby to settle her myself.
I was a first time mum and my daughter was under one. I hadn’t seen her since the day before and all I wanted to do was scoop her up and cuddle her.

I imagine in this instance that she had no idea what she did. But again it was that fight for my daughter. It was always there. Me fighting for my position as Mama.

I’m screaming at myself whilst I’m writing this, you stupid, stupid girl. Why did you not just tell her straight, why did you not scream from the rooftops.
But at the same time, I can remember the feeling I had in those moments. Always waiting for my husband to speak up because it was his mum. But he never did. And then afterwards we’d argue and he’d claim not to have noticed. He’d tell me it didn’t matter.

Only it did matter to me.

All this time, all these situations were making this anxiety that I had no idea I had worse. That feeling of having to fight for my position was always there hovering around in the background. I felt trapped in a situation I had no idea how to deal with because I was dealing with it on my own. I was just an overprotective, controlling mother.

Only I wasn’t.

The Secret of my Anxiety | Part 2

So I imagine the first things you’re thinking are Did you tell her? Why didn’t you say something? And that is my one biggest regret that I didn’t nip it in the bud immediately.

I’m not a person that can deal with confrontation. I hate it. I can’t stand arguing with people, hate falling out with people. Over analyse every situation. And I was also super conscious that it was my husbands mum. I was scared to upset her- because she was his mum and because I didn’t have his backing I was made to feel that it was just me being a overprotective, controlling mother.

I wrote my baby’s routine down and put it in her bag. We encouraged her to walk before she was fully ready so that we could be the ones to get her first steps (I can’t even bear to think that we weren’t). I hate myself for having to do that. I eventually stopped sending spare clothes. I cried. I tried to make the things I didn’t like known by talking through my baby… “Oh we don’t do that do we —–“.
I think the only thing I didn’t do was abruptly tell her, until too late anyway.
And every time I did this, usually by text so I had proof of exactly what I’d said, I was told I’d been rude to her and I shouldn’t of spoken to her they way I had.

I was in a catch 22 situation. If I was ‘polite’, I got ignored or told it was alright. (One example is when my husbands sister was carrying my daughter round when she was more than capable of walking round… we’ve always encouraged independence rather than ‘mollycoddling’… and I said to my daughter “you don’t need carrying do you, you should be walking” to be told “*** likes carrying her”.)
If I was assertive, I was rude, out of order or my mother in law got up in my face with her retaliation.

The Secret of my Anxiety

When I had my first baby I fell in love with being a Mama. Yes it was hard but it was the best thing that I’d ever done.

Then I had to go back to work. I didn’t want to go back to work, I didn’t want to leave my baby to go and look after other people’s, I didn’t want to miss out on all the things she was just beginning to do.

I had to entrust other people with the care of my baby when I went back to work and at first I was fine with that. I’d shared the childcare between my mum and my mother in law so she’d been left with these people already, she knew them, they were part of her life. It’s not like I’d never left her, despite not having left her on a regular basis before.

So back to work I went. And not quite immediately, but almost, things started happening that made me feel like my baby was being taken away from me. That I wasn’t part of her world when she was with this person. When she was with my mother in law.

That still makes my stomach flip over when I write that.

It started off gradual, just little things that most people wouldn’t even bat an eye at. Things that people would think god, what an overprotective, controlling mother she is.
‘It doesn’t matter.’ (Which is my husbands favourite line.)

Things like not following her routine, letting her sleep when she shouldn’t and not when she should, changing her breakfast cereal without telling us, trying to get her to take her first steps without us there, changing her clothes and redoing her hair within a couple of hours of me dropping her off. Coming to the car when I was dropping her off and getting her out of her car seat so that I couldn’t give her a cuddle and a proper kiss goodbye.

All these little things put together started snowballing and became big things. My husband didn’t believe me. Said I just wanted my baby with me and my family. Said it was because it was his mum. So I kept quiet. We kept arguing.

And that’s how my anxiety started.

The reality of being a working Parent.

I’m a working Mam with 2 children.

The ‘norm’ these days is you take a period of maternity (usually 9 months) and then you’re back to it.
Just as your child is starting to hit all those ‘big’ milestones. Crawling… Walking… Talking.

For me personally, I didn’t particularly want to go back to work but I ‘need’ to work to use my brain. To give me a purpose other than being Mam. So I can have a sense of self.

Only it’s not as simple as that.

If like us, you don’t have family support… any support… when it comes to childcare then you’ll know the pressure of being a working parent. Maybe you’ll still know it even if you have support with your childcare.
Not only does the cost of childcare so you can work weigh heavy on your bank balance but the juggle can weigh just as heavy.

You need childcare to work but your childcare bills takes most of your wage. If you’re child is sick they can’t go to childcare and you can’t go to work. There’s a pressure of appearing unreliable. For some people, you wont get paid.

How many jobs work round school hours? Extra childcare to cover breakfast or after school clubs cost more money. Breakfast/teatime sessions at nursery cost more money.

In our family, I’m responsible for the kids 95% of the time even when I’m working. I took the maternity, I work ‘part time’ round our childcare.
My husband’s self employed. My job’s flexible.
I took the paycut. And instead took on the responsibility and the pressure of being a working parent.

But this isn’t a dig at my husband, this is about what’s expected of parents.

We take maternity and then we’re back off out to work. Often our ‘babies’ are still waking in the night. Tired but still determined to prove ourselves.
Other people getting glimpses of our milestones, getting to share the best of our little ones.
The rush. Getting us ready for work- having to look presentable. The pressure of getting the kids to eat breakfast before we deposit them wherever they’re going. Gettting them dressed. Getting them dropped off on time so we can get to work on time. The pressure of not being late. Preying any little ones don’t get upset and drop off take longer than you’ve got time for.
Clocking off on time so we can collect the kids on time… and not be late.
Walking through the door from work, with the kids already in tow. You want to hear about their day but you also want to get out of your work clothes, get a brew.
Then you have to pick up the housework somewhere in between- put a wash on, get the tea on. Fit the food shop in.
If you’re not careful your days off can become catch up days rather than quality time with the kids. Because isn’t that why you work part time… so you get quality time with the kids?!
Having to cover school holidays. 6 weeks in the summer- I mean c’mon?!

More and more I’ve found myself resenting the pressure of being a working parent recently- and my job is flexible!
It’s virtually impossible to keep all the plates spinning without burning out.
And I can’t help but think is this really how it’s meant to be…

Life Goes On

The last time I saw my Grandma was on 30th July. Four months ago. That was also the last time I heard from her.

It was my birthday and she knocked on the door mid morning. Stupidly, I’d been looking forward to seeing her. I thought we’d finally turned a corner.
As I opened the door and asked if she was coming in, she gruffly told me “I’m not coming in, I’m going to town”, handed me some flowers and a card and said “are the girls still in bed!?”.
Well considering it’s 11am on my birthday- a Monday morning- and they’re 2 and 7 years old. No Grandma they’re not. “No, they’re upstairs” I reply puzzled by this question.
We say bye and off she goes. And gets into her other granddaughters car. No doubt with her other great granddaughter in tow.
As my two peer over the bannister shouting Grandma.

I feel that pain I know so well creeping in. Rejection. Inadequacy. Hurt.

My husband comes out of the bathroom and angrily says “that was so f**kin rude”. Amongst other things of what was her problem, was she not even coming in.

I can’t even bear to put the flowers in a vase or put the card up. So they go straight in the bin. She would view that as ungrateful but I couldn’t bear that feeling of hurt every time I looked at them.

I don’t even sugar coat it for the girls. But they don’t feel the hurt I do because she’s just Grandma to them- their Grandad’s mum who we see when we decide to go round. The one who feeds them fudge bars. There isn’t a close enough relationship with her that would cause them any hurt. I said from day one I’d never let anyone- family mainly- hurt them like mine hurt me. And she never even attempted to create a close relationship with them.

That hurt is there burning away for the rest of my birthday. It still burns now. My husband and my parents tell me not to even think about it… which is easy for them to say. I can’t stop a feeling. I can put on my brave face, which I do, which I wear so often that no-one has a clue. But that doesn’t stop that feeling.

I haven’t made any sort of contact with her since. She hasn’t been in touch since.
And so life goes on.

 

I Resign.

Dear Husband,

Please accept my resignation of all duties with immediate effect.

Whilst I adore my role of Mama, I did not sign up to undertake this role on my own. The additional responsibilities have become suffocating and I am unable to cope with the pressure.
Despite repeated discussions surrounding this and me clearly outlining what I needed you to do, you have still failed to provide me with permanent support.

I am not asking for separation, although this may be imminent if you decide to ignore the seriousness of this resignation, I am simply resigning from all household duties that cause me undue stress and do not benefit myself or the children.
I am also resigning from 50% of parental duties. The split of this is non negotiable although how it is split is open to discussion.

Whilst this initially seemed like a hard decision to make, unfortunately your ridiculous comments this morning have pushed me to take matters into my own hands and (for once) prioritise my own needs before I crumble under the pressures of daily, modern, life.

Regards,

Your over worked, under appreciated, weighed down by responsibilities wife
Emma