Living with an Invisible Illness (or three)

Lifestyle

This post has taken me a long time to get round to writing. Believe it or not, I set up the title as a draft blog post back in June last year. I’ve opened it up so many times to begin writing and I just haven’t been able to. I began to wonder why. What is it about writing about this subject that gives me total writers block? Well, I guess it could be a lot to do with the fact that I never like to seem like I’m moaning or being ungrateful. It could be that I definitely don’t want people to think of me differently. It could be that I’m not really sure what constitutes too much information and don’t want to be an over-sharer. Most likely, it’s a combination of all of the above. Either way, here I am, nearly a year later, finally biting the bullet and giving this little post a go.

So what made me want to write it now (and actually follow through)?

Two things:

  1. I just came out of hospital having had abdominal surgery (not the one I went in for – story of my life!) and my recovery is proving more challenging than I’d anticipated thanks to my pre-existing conditions.
  2. I saw this incredible post on Instagram by @allontheboard and was inspired by the openness of it:

Having read that, it seems like a good place to start. I was diagnosed with endometriosis back in 2007, when I was 19 years old. It has been all of the above and more for me and definitely the most painful of the three autoimmune conditions I have been diagnosed with (this is a good place to mention that the other two are Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Coeliac Disease – I’ll come back to them later). I have had two thermal laparoscopic ablations of the endometriosis (the second of which was most likely what helped us to fall pregnant with our daughter) and was recently told that I will have to have a third, in the not very distant future.

So what is it like to live with endometriosis? Painful. Very painful. At least two weeks of every month, sometimes more, the pain is crippling. It has been known to have me bent double and it doesn’t pass very quickly. Once I even ended up being sent an ambulance after calling NHS 111 in so much pain, only to find out that it was ‘just’ the endometriosis. The trouble with a condition like this, is that you can’t really tell people what’s going on or how much pain you’re in. I personally feel that I don’t want unnecessary attention that surrounds being ‘poorly’, while also feeling that so many people out there have so much worse to contend with and that I shouldn’t be selfish with how I feel. When I get my period, it often knocks me flat for 2/3 days. And I mean literally knocks me flat. I struggle to get out of bed, I struggle to do normal tasks, let alone work a physically demanding job (albeit now part time) and look after an overexcitable and very active toddler. The tiredness and exhaustion is untenable and it’s practically impossible to explain it without sounding like I’m moaning about a heavy period. The trouble with autoimmune conditions, is that once my immune system takes a hit, it doesn’t just take the hit in the place it was targeted, it seems to take on a whole body response and can easily lead to me feeling like I’ve got the flu; full body aches and pains, headache, sore throat, insane levels of fatigue. Yet try explaining that every single month, in order for people to understand. I get bored of it myself, let alone how it must sound to others. So, I don’t. I crack on, do what I can, take it easy on myself at the times when I feel worst and learn to make up for it at other times.

I find that the hardest thing is comparing myself to others. I see my friends running busy lives, being on their feet all the time, working crazy jobs and bringing up their families as well as fitting in all their social engagements and more, and I know that I just can’t physically do it. My body literally doesn’t allow me to. And that’s really tough. Because my mind runs at 100mph and there are so many things I want to do, I just physically can’t do all the things I want to. In fact, at the end of last year it got to the point where I had to make the decision to almost entirely close the business that I had spent a decade (the whole of my twenties) building, because I simply didn’t have the energy and level of health required to continue running it. I don’t really ever say it, but that really sucked. I wish I could have kept all the plates spinning and still felt on top of my game, but my body keeps reminding me that for some reason it isn’t like that for me. And that paragraph is exactly why I don’t talk about it, because it sounds so self-centred and needy! Which is not how I ever want to come across. Eesh, I’m remembering why I keep closing this post before I start writing it!

Ok, next! Coeliac Disease. This is a really weird one because all it means really is that I can’t eat gluten and there are much worse things really, aren’t there. That said, it took until I was 24 for this to be diagnosed, in which time a fair amount of damage had been done to my intestine. The good thing is that once you stop eating gluten (if you have coeliac disease), you start healing, so the long term damages that can occur (such as osteoporosis) are much less likely. The thing that no-one really wants to admit out loud, however, is that not eating gluten, ever, is really really pants! Every single menu has to be scrutinised when you eat out, at weddings you get the most random foods so that the kitchen don’t take any risks on cross-contamination (tinned fruit salad, anyone?), if you want to grab food on the go it isn’t always possible, sandwiches with gluten free bread just don’t taste the same and don’t even start me on the amount of coffee shops where you can’t get a cake! Now, I know that this all sounds very petty, but if you want to know what it’s like, I challenge you to go totally gluten free (no traces, no sneaky little biscuits, no oats, the list goes on) for a week or two. It’s just so frustrating! You can’t ever just be the same as everyone else and the perfect example of this is when we went to Disneyland a few years back. Literally the only thing I ate was boiled rice and salad. That is not cool. I’m a big girl and I can handle it, it gets me down from time to time, but largely it really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. That said, imagine what it must be like for a child to live with Coeliac Disease. Not really understanding why they’re different from their friends, why their parents send lunches to school and separate cakes or treats to play dates and birthday parties and why they can’t just order off a ‘normal’ menu. As I said, it’s pretty pants. Not awful, not life changing or life threatening, but a total pain and a lifelong thing to put up with.

Talking of lifelong, all of the conditions I’m talking about today are what’s considered to be ‘chronic’. That means that there’s no cure, there’s just management. The other major drawback is that they are really underestimated, misunderstood and mistreated. The GP doesn’t often think about them as having an impact on my life, although often the reason I end up at the GP is due to a response that’s happened thanks to one of the conditions. I’m lucky enough to have private healthcare thanks to my husbands work, but the major drawback is that it doesn’t cover chronic conditions. This means that any time I have a problem relating to them, in any capacity, it isn’t covered. No operations, no consultations, no diagnostic testing, ever. And this seems grossly unfair to me. Not because, as you might assume, I don’t want to use the NHS, quite the opposite. The NHS saved my life in 2016 and I think that many (if not most) of the best doctors work within the NHS and have no private practice at all. The reason is that part of the benefit of the UK’s private healthcare schemes is that it alleviates pressure from the already overstretched NHS. We know what the problems are with me, medically. Instead of taking up a large number of appointments, testings and a hospital bed to have something sorted out that is ongoing for me privately, I have to use all those resources on the NHS, because BUPA won’t cover me. Pre-existing conditions get refreshed every 2 years , but chronic conditions are exempt forever. How silly and frustrating is that.

I’m now at risk of writing an insanely long post that waffles and rambles and becomes entirely uninteresting. So, to finish off, I’ll say that there isn’t really anything interesting to share about the third condition, apart from that it totally messes up my thyroid, resulting in me being on a thyroid medication for life and struggling with a lot of fatigue and more flu-like symptoms. There was a 2 year period when the doctors thought I had Lupus (another chronic autoimmune condition) and this was due to having borderline results on all the relevant blood tests, as well as being symptomatic, however the diagnosis was removed after no change was notice over a two year period.

To summarise, living with an invisible illness is tough. You don’t want to moan, but equally it can make you feel totally horrendous. That not only has an impact on your physical health, but also your mental health. It can be quite demoralising and can bring you down a bit if you let it. In fact, it takes an awful lot of strength to not only fight through the tough physical times, but to have the positivity and determination to crack on again where you left off and continue living as much of a healthy life as you can. People often say ‘you look so well’, which is great to hear, but sometimes that is solely down to having a full face of makeup! In fact, just three weeks ago when I went for the consultation which ended up resulting in a pretty big abdominal surgery and being signed off work for six weeks, the consultant actually began by saying ‘well you’re a fit and healthy young lady with nothing else we need to be aware of’, only half phrased as a question due to the assumption of what the answer was going to be. When I explained to him about these three conditions, plus the 11 surgeries I’ve had in the last 12 years, he couldn’t quite believe it.

Invisible doesn’t mean it isn’t there, it just means you can’t see it, and funnily enough that sometimes makes it all the harder to handle.

A Letter to my Daughter

Parenting

You are truly beautiful. Inside and out. Some people will say this doesn’t matter, some will say it’s all that matters. For me, it is important that you know I believe you to be perfect. I want you to be confident in yourself and feel certain that no matter where you go or who you face, you are enough. In every single way.

To my beautiful daughter,

As I lay here and watch you sleep, my heart bursts with love for you.

I cannot believe that someone so perfect in every way is mine. Mine to look after, to nurture, to teach and to watch grow.

I lay here wondering how I can make your path through life the happiest, most fulfilling and most satisfying journey you could possibly take.

There are so many lessons you will learn in life, so many experiences that I won’t be able to prepare you for, but there are also many wisdoms I can impart, many lessons I can share and some important affirmations you should start believing as soon as you understand what they mean.

Let me first start by telling you that you are strong, you are kind, you are clever and you are beautiful. You are my little warrior princess who, against all the odds, became everything we never knew we were missing. You are also very loved, by so many people and as you grow, so will everyone’s love for you.

Strength can be shown in many ways. We know already that you have a great inner strength; a determination that defies your tiny size and tiny age. And this strength will grow as you do. You must always use it to be supportive, to help others, to earn respect and to achieve wonderful things. Be strong in everything you do, but don’t be afraid to show weakness. Asking for help is also a sign of strength. Emotions are there to be shared and in doing so you will learn so much about both yourself and your friends and family.

Kindness is a trait that I will be reinforcing with you throughout your life. By being kind to others you will always be surrounded by love. Know how important it is to share, to listen, to talk and to be a friend. By being a friend to others, they will be friends to you. Our lives are enriched so much by the friends we choose to share them with.

Being clever isn’t judged solely on academic ability or the results you achieve in tests and competitions. Being clever is about finding your passions and pursuing them. Learning from everything you do and everyone you meet and taking a genuine interest in the world around you. Take pride in your achievements, no matter how small, while at the same time remaining humble and gracious. There are already so many wonderful people in your life who can teach you so much! Listen to what they say, learn from what they do and you will have a wealth of knowledge and a wider understanding of the world around you.

You are truly beautiful. Inside and out. Some people will say this doesn’t matter, some will say it’s all that matters. For me, it is important that you know I believe you to be perfect. I want you to be confident in yourself and feel certain that no matter where you go or who you face, you are enough. In every single way.

I will always be here for you. To hold your hand, to give you a cuddle, to sing you a song, to play games, to teach you to cook, to dance, to ride a bike, to plait your hair, to kiss it better when it hurts, to talk to, to share with and to love you with all my heart.

All I want for you is health, happiness and contentment and it is my goal, as your mummy, to help you find these things as you create your own path through the incredibly exciting life ahead of you.

Remember to always be true to yourself. Follow your own fashions and dance your own dance. There isn’t another you anywhere in the world, so show the world who you are and why you’re so special.

All my love, forever.

Your Mummy x

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CBeebies Bedtime Hour

Parenting

Last week CBeebies created quite a media storm by starting their bedtime ‘hour’ (now 75 minutes) fifteen minutes earlier, at 5.45pm.

Parents across the UK are up in arms because they cannot understand who is starting bedtime at this time or how.

So what do I think?

I love it!

Little V is allowed to watch a little bit of television after she’s eaten her tea and before she has her bath. Tea time is generally between 5 and 5.15 and we go upstairs for bath time between 6 and 6.30. From there, we don’t come back downstairs again as it’s the start of the bedtime routine – bath, pjs, story, sleep.

The new show that is being broadcast on CBeebies at 5.45 is absolutely perfect. It’s a sweet little puppetry story called ‘Moon and Me‘ all about going to sleep. Now, call me crazy, but that is exactly what I want Little V to see before she heads upstairs to start her own little bedtime ritual! It’s calm, it’s child-friendly and it’s very gentle viewing. A stark comparison to some of the other programs in the so-called ‘bedtime hour’ which I’m sure were created to get little ones overexcited and dancing around the room.

Of course, it is every parent’s choice what time they put their little ones to bed, but I personally value an early bedtime.

We have lots of fun during the day, my little girly (who has just turned two) has a nap just before lunch and isn’t allowed to sleep in the afternoon. I then find that by the time bath and bedtime comes round she is more than ready to settle down and welcomes the calm routine that we have established.

It’s just one point of view and by no means are any of the stances on this right or wrong – children’s routines (or lack thereof) are very personal and we all have to do what works for us, but I have to say I’m thrilled with CBeebies new scheduling and I will welcome the addition of Pepi Nana, Moon Baby and their friends as a new part of our bedtime routine.

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Who is Little V?

Parenting

IMG_1879Here she is! My raison d’être, my little ray of sunshine and the sparkliest thing in my entire life.

Little V arrived two years ago on a cold night at the end of January and turned my whole world upside down. I have never known such a feeling of complete fulfilment and cannot imagine a world without her in it.

She is so full of life – the epitome of ‘vivacious’, she is dramatic, talkative, creative, brave, adventurous, sociable and incredibly caring. Her wit, understanding and eloquence is far beyond her two tiny years and she can already command a busy dinner table and cheekily joins in with conversations that we don’t even know she’s listening to!

What is this feeling called love?

Whether I’m cooking, cleaning, tidying, working, chilling out or just going about my every day life, Little V is right beside me wanting to learn, copy and join in with everything I do. She helps me makes the beds every morning, she wipes round the bath and rinses down the sink, she tidies up her little kitchen and makes sure that the Play Doh goes back in the box so it doesn’t dry up while she goes off to play with something else. Yet, on the other hand, she’s quite wild! She’s so free spirited and most definitely has mind of her own. I can tell that there will be many battles of wills ahead – we already lock horns on occasion and she’s hardly turned 2!

So there we have it, Little V. My miniature bestie, my mini-me and the sunshine that lights up every single day.

A Big Bed for a Little Girl

Parenting

It’s no secret if you follow us on Instagram that we’ve been having a little bit of trouble getting Violetta down to sleep recently! 

With the arrival of the heatwave came the demise of her incredible bedtime routine. My calm, easygoing girl who was being popped in her cot awake and seeing herself off to sleep suddenly became clingy, unsettled and impossible to leave at bedtime. To begin with I put it down to the heat and we tried all the usual suggestions, but absolutely nothing made it possible to put her in her cot without total hysterics and my fear that she was just getting herself too worked up. So I got her travel cot mattress and popped it next to her cot and she fell asleep there before being moved across. 

I kept telling myself that everything with children is just a phase and that this one will pass, but it was getting harder and harder to loose my evenings to laying on the mattress until she fell asleep. I do most of my work after she’s gone to bed and that time had gone, meaning I was having to work while she occupied herself during the day. 

So something had to change. I thought about it long and hard before realising that it was the constraints of the cot causing the problem, not the falling asleep. 

So yesterday Violetta and I went shopping together. We bought her a special cot pillow and some new pjs and then we went home and took the side off her cot, together. 

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She was so excited by the time the cot was a bed that I had barely got the duvet and pillow in place before she was climbing in and role-playing bedtime! She went to bed. All her toys went to bed. Mummy didn’t get a look in! Then when Nana arrived for tea, Violetta proudly showed her new bed and how it was to be used. IMG_8519

We also decided that yesterday was the day to say bye bye to the bedtime bottle. So Violetta had her bath, popped on her new pjs and came downstairs to a very special cup of warm milk with a paper straw. She absolutely loved it and straight afterwards said night night and headed off upstairs. 

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I wish that enthusiasm continued. Despite being happy to get into bed, she wasn’t so happy to stay there, but with some gentle persuasion and cuddles from Nellie, she eventually settled. And guess what, she did a solid 12 hours! The longest she’s slept in such a long time! Even after she woke up she waited nicely in bed until we went to get her. 

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And this evening? After a ten minute story and a little back tickle from Mummy, this little dolly was asleep in her big bed and (touch wood) hasn’t moved yet!

I don’t know how tonight will go and I know that some people will think I’ve done this too soon, but I know my little girl and I know she was ready. Here’s hoping the 12 hour nights continue!

ps. Just look at her first pair of slippers!!

Cot Bed: Mamas and Papas

PJs: White Company and Mothercare

Slippers: Mothercare

Bedding: White Company

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It’s the Summer Holidays!

Child's Play, Parenting

It’s the summer holidays! Shout it from the roof tops!! This is my first real summer holiday with a little toddler in tow (last year I worked throughout – and while I plan to work a fair amount this summer I will be limiting it to 2/3 days a week and giving my little one my undivided attention the rest of the time).

So we’re one week in and already having so much fun.

The funny thing is that we haven’t actually gone out and done a lot yet, but we have just really really enjoyed each other’s company.

We’ve planted some little flowers in our garden, re-organised her toy room and nursery to make them the ultimate play spaces for her, done some drawing, cooked dinner together, gone out for coffees, seen friends (old and new!) and family and played, played, played!

Violetta’s language skills are changing every single day and it is truly incredible to witness. She takes absolutely everything in and suddenly comes out with something totally unexpected. Today, for example, she came and asked me for a cup of tea. I was in fits of giggles, but she must have heard the adults around her talking about having a cuppa and decided that she wanted one too, at a later date in a totally new context. When I declined the cup of tea, she just said ‘ok Mummy, sandwich please’. She’s got a seriously fun little personality on her and a really wicked sense of humour.

I’ll keep you updated as to the fun and games we get up to over the summer, but for now here’s a pretty little picture of Violetta with some of my favourite flowers.

My Little Water Baby

Child's Play, Local Things to Do

We started taking Little V to swimming lessons when she was 12 weeks old. We found a wonderful little swimming school called Turtle Tots, which ran classes in a local hotel’s swimming pool. It was such a lovely introduction to the water; building up our confidence and hers, understanding good ways to play in the water and a lovely environment with small classes and a clean and classy changing room! Not only did V find her feet in this class, learning to love the water, hold onto the side, kick, splash, go under water and blow bubbles, we also made some amazing mummy friends with similar aged children. We only did two sets of these lessons, but they were such a valuable learning experience for us all.

Ever since her swimming lesson days V has been a huge fan of the water. Whether it’s a swimming pool, the bath, a shower, a fountain or the bubbles in Mummy’s washing up sink, she can’t get enough of it.

She’s absolutely fearless too – loving it when the water is poured all over her face or she gets splashed by her over-zealous Papa!

This summer we are hoping to spend lots of time swimming at Nana and Grandpa’s house. We will practice everything we learnt at swimming lessons (V can independently hold onto the of the pool for nearly a minute!) as well as having lots of fun with balls and inflatables.

I was never especially confident in the water growing up, so it’s even more important to me that this little girly is happy in the pool from a young age.

 

The Baby Show – Photoshoot

Child's Play, Parenting

A couple of weeks ago we were in Italy on holiday and one evening, while in the apartment earlier than everyone else thanks to a sleeping baby, I started browsing Facebook.  Scrolling through a lot of noise, my attention was drawn to a post from The Baby Show (who I have been following since falling pregnant with Violetta) regarding a competition they were running to find the face of The Baby Show 2018).

We’ve dabbled a bit in baby modelling and Violetta is represented by Kids London Ltd. She’s attended a couple of professional shoots for Baby London Magazine and Children Salon and was down to the final two for the new John Lewis advert, but we don’t push it and just take things on as, when and if they come up.

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Photographer: Sue Greetham

This competition seemed like a fun one to enter; simply sending off two photos of Violetta with a little story about her. I checked hubby was happy for me to enter her and sent it off. To be completely honest, I didn’t give it another thought as out of all the entries they were bound to receive, I doubted Violetta would be noticed.

I was wrong!

I received a call saying that she had been selected as one of nine finalists and we were asked to attend a photoshoot from which the winner will be chosen.

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Photo Credit: The Baby Show instagram account

This was such an exciting phone call and I was beyond excited to take Violetta along for her big opportunity. I was also acutely aware that the last time she had a photo shoot she could only just sit, there was no fidget-bottomed, dance loving, into everything toddler to contend with!

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Baby London Magazine Photoshoot

We had an early start and had to ride a rush hour tube across London. Violetta decided to start her shmoozing early; making choo choo train noises, waving at all the commuters (and lavishing big smiles on those who waved back) and saying ‘bye bye everybody’ every time we pulled into a station. It was pretty amusing. After a false start getting on the wrong train and then ending up on a platform in the wrong direction, we made it to the studios and headed down to meet the lovely team.

There are a lot of people involved in a baby photo shoot; more than you’d imagine! After introductions to the ten or so team members we were invited to make ourselves comfortable. We were given a wonderful goody bag with a toy dragon from Mamas and Papas (which on the train home I discovered Violetta had named Peter, I’m guessing after the photographer1), a Mam bottle, a railway book, a flannel and a huge bottle of aloe vera moisturiser. What a lucky girl!

Violetta made sure everyone said hello to her on a cheeky little set walkabout and then it was time to see the stylist. Fitted out with a super cute JoJo Maman Bebe outfit which fitted into the theme of the shoot (top secret at the moment, so I promised not to share that bit!) she was ready to go.

Now, as I mentioned, I had no idea how Miss V was going to behave on set, but I had my fingers crossed that my usually well behaved girly would be on top form for the lovely photographer.

Thankfully, she was, although we had great difficulty trying to get her to sit still in the middle of the set and smile. Who knew toddlers find it somewhat tricky to do that when surrounded by new and exciting toys, a white canvas and a very flashy camera!

We had 45 minutes to see if we could get a good picture and believe me when I tell you that Violetta tested out every single part of the set; the toys, the props, the adult sized hat, the tripod, the backing and even the photographers very expensive professional camera. He was incredibly kind and they had the room in fits of giggles when she worked out which button took a photo and then went on to take a whole series of selfies!

About half way through the shoot she snuggled down with a pillow and said ‘ni-night everybody’ before pretending to be asleep. A cheeky snack break was in order followed by more fun and games, songs, dances and twirling. I had a little peek over the producers shoulder and saw a fabulous photo of her reaching up to the sky (something she’s learnt to do in Mummy’s Tiny Feet dance classes).

Photo Credit: The Baby Show instagram

We were made to feel so welcome and involved and I absolutely loved the positive attitude of the team who were running the shoot. Believe it or not, I was even asked to take part in an interview for The Sunday Times news review magazine about parenting in a digital age. Who knows whether I’ll make the final piece, but what a wonderful opportunity to be given nevertheless.

If you are thinking of entering your little one into a competition or pursuing some baby modelling for them, I would say go for it! Violetta loved her experience today and had a fantastic time meeting new people and experiencing something very unlike her usual everyday. Whether she wins or not, I’m proud of her for being the sweet, fun, cute, giggly and forthright little toddler that she is and for confidently playing up for the little crowd of onlookers at the shoot.

If you are wondering where I stand on bringing my child up in a digital age of parenting, I’ll blog about that another time and I’ll let you know if I make it into the article and how Violetta gets on with this competition too!

Feel free to ask any questions, especially if you are thinking of getting your little one involved in something like this!

 

 

Travelling with a Toddler

baby, Parenting

Violetta is now 16 months and travelling with her now is a whole new ball game!

Her Papa’s extended family live in a rural town near Rome in Italy and it was finally time to take our little lady our there to visit everybody.

Before we left I decided it would be best to pack a capsule wardrobe of clothes for her that she could wear whatever the weather. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as while we were away we ended up treating her to some new clothes and my careful packing meant that we had plenty of space to bring things back where her nappies had been!

The other sensible thing I did before leaving was to ensure that all our things fitted in two suitcases and two backpacks. This left us hands free for the airport and meant that once we’d dropped off the suitcases and car seat (I’m very particular about car safety and would never travel without this) we were able to focus on Violetta and letting her have a lovely wander around the airport before being confined on the plane.

In my hand luggage bag I packed a lot of nibbly healthy snacks for Violetta to occupy her during the flight, as well as a book with lots of flaps, a soft toy bunny, some wooden zoo animals in a tin and my iPad which I had downloaded a couple of fun children’s programmes on that didn’t require the sound to be too loud for Violetta to enjoy watching them. This was all we needed for the 2 hour flight, as by the time we took into account take off and landing, we really only had to occupy Violetta for 1.5 hours, which was easily done with snacks and games along with a little bit of screen time.

Being in our own home in Subiaco was an absolute blessing as we had everything we needed on hand and were able to be independent about food, bedtime, chill out time, etc. Sleeping in a separate room to Violetta also meant that she was able to sleep through the night and follow roughly her normal pattern (although the day she decided to lay in until 9.45 was particularly wonderful!).

While we were away Violetta was an absolute star; walking everywhere, chatting to everyone and generally fitting in with what we wanted to do. I am always quite strict about her routine and we loosely followed it while we were away – always ensuring she had her nice long nap in the afternoon and didn’t go to bed too late (although of course later than normal as that’s part of the fun of being on holiday!).

By the end of the trip our little pickle was saying hello to everyone in Italian and had developed a new self-confidence with her walking and communication.

Our mini Italian adventure has definitely given me a new level of confidence with regard to traveling with a child and I’m already planning our return visit!

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The Quest for the Perfect Work/Life Balance

entrepreneur, Lifestyle, Parenting

What do you do when you know you have it in you to do great things, affect people’s lives in a positive way through your work and build a successful company that can grow as you do, but you can’t work out how to find the hours in the day to do it?

If you know the answer to this, please help!

I chose to start a business from scratch in my early twenties, in order for it to be sustainable when I went on to have my family. I know I am capable of growing it to a fantastic place as I have done that before. I had a set back when I fell pregnant as I also fell ill. At that time things changed and I had to dramatically scale back.

Since having my daughter just over a year ago I have worked slowly but surely on the business and focused on making sure that what is on offer is exceptional quality for my clients.

So why this post? I know I can do more. I am capable of it and I am ready for it. I want to do what I used to do; I want to grow the business, I want to inspire more children to realise their passion for the arts and I want to be respected in my field for the work I do.

I am not alone, I’m sure (I imagine many other working mums feel this way too). I just can’t seem to work out how to balance everything to the best effect!

I have taken the choice not to put my 14 month old in a nursery 5 days a week as that’s not what I want for her (or me) at the moment. If you follow my Instagram account you’ll know that we have an absolute ball together and I cherish being able to be there with her so much of the time. I do have childcare 2 (sometimes 3) days a week from her lovely grandparents, but I seem to find I have to use that time for a million and one jobs on top of working and the teaching I do on those days.

So I guess what I’m wondering is; how do I do it? How do I achieve the perfect work/life balance? How do I give everything I want to to my young family while putting everything I can into my established business? How do I make the most of my natural maternal instinct while also using my intellectual capacity to achieve in the workplace? How do I juggle being the best mum, wife and company director I can be, while still having time to be a good friend and be good to myself?

The answer is I don’t yet know.

But I plan to embark on a bit of a journey of discovery as these things all mean a lot to me and as we only live once I am determined to give it my best shot.

I imagine some of this reflection has come about thanks to my imminent thirtieth birthday! Maybe soon I’ll be older and wiser! I’ll keep you posted 😉

Victoria x