Eventually, as a parent, we reach a point where we just aren't needed quite as much as before. Don't get me wrong, our children wi...

Eventually, as a parent, we reach a point where we just aren't needed quite as much as before.

Don't get me wrong, our children will always need us no matter how old they are but their needs change and evolve into something less physical as they become more and more independent and determined to find their own path.

Although my youngest is only 5 years old he is at full-time school now and growing up at a scarily fast rate.  

I have spent so many years raising babies and always putting my needs last on the list that it feels quite odd to me to have free time during the day and for the demands of parenting to be gradually becoming less and less.  
Regardless of their age I will always make myself available to my children whenever they need me but recently I have found myself in a position where I have a chance to find out who I am again outside of being 'Mummy' and I have to admit that it couldn't have come at a better time.

Over the last few months, I have been feeling as though I have been losing my identity.

It goes without saying that I love my children more than life itself and would do anything to see them happy but I was beginning to feel trapped and unappreciated.  The demands were constant and exhausting and I was beginning to resent the fact that my children will only let me do things for them and will refuse their father.  I was becoming short tempered and withdrawn.

Trust me when I say I am not proud of feeling that way, in fact, I am almost ashamed to admit it, but those feelings were there and they were very real.

Being a parent can be extremely lonely, even more so when you are raising a child with additional needs and face daily challenges that most people are completely unaware of.

I often hear things said like "Well, you chose to become a parent and stay home to raise them" 
or 
"It was your choice to have 6 children so now you just have to deal with it".

Yes, it was my choice and it is a choice that I will never regret but I also feel that we should ALL be able to be open and honest about our feelings without having to worry about any backlash that we may face as a result of that honesty.

I believe I was very close to becoming depressed, and that depression is more common than we realise for stay-at-home parents.


Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

Having children is a privilege but it also incredibly hard work.  
It is a 24-hour job with no holiday allowance and little appreciation along the way.

I'm sure there are many people who would say that having children is a reward in itself but realistically it is very often a thankless task.

It is a journey that I love being a part of, but also have conflicting feelings towards.

A big part of helping myself has been being honest about the way I was feeling.  Honest to myself as well as to my husband.  
And now I am sharing that honesty with you too.

It became apparent that I need to start making some changes, making time for myself and doing something that isn't children or household orientated, and so I have taken a part-time job.  
Just a few hours on the weekend that will enable me to get out of the house and be Missy instead of Mummy.  
I'm not saying that this is going to solve everything overnight, but I am already feeling more positive about things.

But life is a double-edged sword.

As I sit here writing this and getting ready to put it 'out there' I feel guilt, shame and embarrassment alongside the positive feelings I have about encouraging people to be open and honest about their own realities.

I am worried about the response this post will get; about people's reactions to my honesty.

But mostly I am worried about being judged.

And herein lies the problem.  

The biggest reason why so many people suffer in silence, many to the point where their feelings become all-consuming and overwhelming;

Judgement.

We are all afraid of being judged to some extent, but that fear increases with the knowledge that we aren't quite as perfect and happy as our outward appearance may make us seem and that we need to admit it so that we can get the help we need.

So, I am writing this post and sharing my own honesty and fear in the hope that it will encourage others to do the same.


Please don't suffer in silence!

Even if you feel (as I did) that your problems are insignificant and trivial compared to others'.

It's okay not to be okay.

It's okay to be afraid.

It's okay to admit that you aren't happy 100% of the time.

And most of all ..... it IS okay to admit you are struggling and to ask for help.


Missy x

In November Daddy D treated me to an early Christmas gift of an Apple iWatch.  We had just joined Slimming World together and I had been lo...

In November Daddy D treated me to an early Christmas gift of an Apple iWatch.  We had just joined Slimming World together and I had been looking to purchase a smartwatch so that I could track my steps and get back to running.  

I had been after an Apple watch for a while but they were always out of our price range.
But, as luck would have it, a friend of mine decided to sell her series one Apple watch and I was lucky enough to secure the purchase from her in double quick time before it got snapped up by someone else. (It was an amazing bargain).

Things had been going well with the weight loss and fitness plan with the pounds (lbs) coming off gradually each week (18lbs lost so far).  During the monitoring of my activity via the health app on my iPhone, I had noticed some dips in my heart rate.  Initially, I didn't really think much of it.  Even though my heart rate had been dropping into the 40's I had been feeling fine in myself so just assumed the watch hadn't been able to pick up an accurate reading at those times.

Around a month later I started to suffer from lightheadedness and dizzy spells and so I started to monitor my heart rate more frequently.
After monitoring it for a couple of weeks it became apparent that my dizzy spells were consistent with my heart rate dropping into the low 30's.

Obviously, I am fully aware that smartwatches are not a diagnostic tool but I also knew that the readings seemed to be consistent and the fact that I was experiencing symptoms meant that it was not something that should be ignored, so I booked an appointment to see my GP.

The GP agreed with me that the readings seemed to be accurate and sent an urgent referral for me to have some tests and see a cardiologist.


A few weeks later I was given an appointment to have a cardiac monitor fitted, which I would have to wear for a month, so that whenever I experienced a symptom I could push a button to take a reading of my heart rate and then send those readings straight to the hospital via our landline telephone. (I know! Very clever stuff).

Once the monitor was removed and the results were analysed by a cardiologist it became apparent that there were some obvious abnormalities (which are now become more frequent).

During the month of wearing the cardiac monitor, I also had an echocardiogram which shows that there are no obvious issues with the structure of the heart, which is obviously very good news.

There are no definitive answers at the moment, but what we do know is that it is the right ventricle causing the issue and that lots more tests are now needed to get to the bottom of it all.

I have been referred to a consultant at Harefield Hospital, which is a specialist heart and lung hospital, as well as being given appointments for a cardiac MRI, a continuous 24-hour recording of my heart (to see how many times the abnormality occurs in a 24 hour period), a stress test on a treadmill (to try and establish whether the abnormality occurs more or less when my heart rate is elevated) and it is being recommended that I am tested for a rare condition called Brugada Syndrome (because of where the abnormality is and the pattern it gives on the ECG).


The dips in my heart rate (and dizzy spells) are becoming more frequent, the lowest so far has been 32bpm, but I am also now experiencing elevations in my heart rate (the highest of which has been 170bpm) which have occurred even when resting.  Not to mention the heart palpitations which I also experience on a daily basis.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried.

As much as I keep telling myself not to stress about it (until I have to), it is always there in the back of my mind.  
Each dizzy spell has me wondering if this might be the time where I lose consciousness and I have developed an unhealthy fear of going to bed and not waking up in the morning, which is making it virtually impossible to get a good nights sleep.

Unfortunately, all I can do now is wait. 

And hope that everything turns out okay.

Let's hope I get some answers soon.

Missy x


This summer CJ has signed up for a 3-week course with the National Citizen Service (NCS) where she will get to take part in a week of advent...

This summer CJ has signed up for a 3-week course with the National Citizen Service (NCS) where she will get to take part in a week of adventurous activities, a week of living on a university campus and then she will help to coordinate and complete a project in our local community that will be beneficial to its residents.

She found out about NCS, a government-backed programme, through her school and jumped at the chance to take part. 

NCS is open to 16 and 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland who are able to complete a two to four week programme during their school holidays, including outdoor team building exercises designed to put them through their paces and take them out of their comfort zone whilst having fun, a residential stay where they can learn 'life skills' and responsibility, a community-based social action project where they can develop leadership skills and connect with their communities, and an end of programme celebration event.




CJ has already started mapping out her future and is extremely focused when it comes to her studies. 
I couldn't be any prouder of her and her incredible ambition and this course with NCS will give her the perfect opportunity to have some fun after completing her GCSE's, as well as experiencing what it will be like to live on a university campus and being completely independent and responsible for her own survival.

It's pretty scary to think that we are only a few short years away from that scenario and anything that will help to build her confidence is very welcome.

She is really looking forward to experiencing all of this with some of her friends from school but also about making new friends along the way; something which she has already been able to do at a pizza and quiz night which was hosted by NCS for that exact reason.

Another great thing about NCS is that they offer several different dates for each course, so even if you already have plans for your summer they will do their very best to accommodate your child.

It is easy to see why more than 100,000 teenagers, from many different backgrounds, will be coming together in common purpose with NCS this year.

By breaking down barriers and bringing together teenagers from different backgrounds NCS are encouraging them to strive to be better adults; to be more accepting of the people around them and to be prepared to tackle any challenges that come their way in the future.


I'm starting to wish NCS had been around when I was a teen!


There are still places available for year 11's to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer.
To sign up now, go to the NCS WEBSITE.


You can also find out more by visiting NCS on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM


Missy x




This is a paid collaboration in conjunction with National Citizen Service (NCS) and Tots100.
All opinions are my own.

As a parent things are constantly changing. Recently the years seem to be flying by in a blur, and we have just started a pretty signifi...

As a parent things are constantly changing.

Recently the years seem to be flying by in a blur, and we have just started a pretty significant chapter in our lives.

For the very first time, all of our children are at school. Full-time school!  (With the exception of Boo who continues to be home educated).

It is a very strange feeling not having any little ones at home with me during the day anymore.  Having a baby at home has always been the norm for me.  And now they are rapidly growing up and finding their independence.

It is a new and strange situation for all of us. 

CJ is busy making plans to move on to a college education, which absolutely terrifies me.  
I'm pretty sure she just started nursery 5 minutes ago.  
She has even started looking in to which universities she would like to attend and has a career plan mapped out for herself. 

I love that she is so organised and driven, but I kind of wish she would just slow down and stop growing up so quickly.  

Emotionally I'm just not prepared for being the parent of a young adult.


Boo continues to be home educated and is so much happier.  His anxiety levels have decreased, almost disappearing completely, and he is revelling in the one to one attention he now receives.  
I have to admit he's not the only one enjoying the mother and son time we are able to enjoy now that Bubba is at school, and seeing him happy and relaxed makes it all so worthwhile.


Roo is in her last year of Junior School!  
We have completed the applications for her high school placement and she is extremely excited about the new adventure that lay ahead of her.  
I wish I could say I was as excited as she is, but it is yet another step up the ladder to adulthood, and it seems to be approaching us way too quickly.


On top of Roo finishing at junior school Little Man is also in his last year at infant school.  He is such a bright little boy and the teaches often pass comment on his ability to teach them new things and his pure joy for learning.

Next September I will have one child finishing infants and moving to juniors, one child finishing juniors and moving to high school, and another finishing high school and moving to college.

I have a feeling I am going to need a very large supply of tissues.


It really is scary how quickly they are all moving through the school system, but at the same time, I love seeing their characters develop outside of our little family unit.


There have been more than a few bumps in the road at the opening of this new chapter, which is one of the many reasons why I just haven't had the time, or the drive, to be here updating you all.


Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

It took Bubba a couple of weeks to adjust to being at school all day after having been at home with me all to himself for a whole year.
There were mornings where he had to be peeled off of me by his teacher while he screamed and sobbed for me to take him home.
These were the days on which I had to hold in my own tears until I had left the school so that my baby didn't realise that it was hurting me too.

Those days were absolutely heartbreaking, but now he has adjusted to the change he is really enjoying school and we are seeing a new side to his cheeky little personality.

Lots more has happened in the months that I haven't been able to write.  
Too much.

But this is yet another new chapter.
One that will have as many ups and downs as any other, but that's what life is all about... the challenges.


I feel as though we are on a completely new journey now.  
Finding ourselves in uncharted territory all of the time... and I find myself juggling with my feelings about it all.

Feeling such joy that my babies are growing into happy individuals, and yet feeling sad that they don't need me quite so much anymore.

I guess it's normal to feel this way, and I'm sure we will eventually find our feet.

But for now, I will continue to feel my sadness and joy and wonder what on earth I'm going to do in a couple of years when my biggest baby leaves me to go to university.

Love Missy x

Having 6 children can make life rather hectic, trying to keep up with the extra curricular activities that everyone wants to take part in, t...

Having 6 children can make life rather hectic, trying to keep up with the extra curricular activities that everyone wants to take part in, the mountains of laundry and dirty dishes that are created, the constant stream of "Mum..... Mum..... Mum" in my ear, so finding the time to cook meals from scratch can be quite tricky.

Luckily Dolmio have made it a lot easier for me to be able to prepare a healthy meal for the whole family, by ensuring that their jars of Dolmio sauces are 100% natural; 



Thanks to Britmums and the Dolmio #ThankGoodness campaign I was sent a brilliant hamper of food so that I could try Dolmio for myself, and see just how easy it is to make a deliciously healthy spaghetti bolognese for the whole family.




I decided to stay fairly traditional and make spaghetti bolognese with my Dolmio sauce, but created a chunky vegetable sauce to see if the children would notice the extra vegetables that I had 'hidden' in there.

I even used courgette, something that my children have never eaten before, and NO ONE noticed!




In my sauce I also included red pepper, mushrooms and sweetcorn.  
People often think I am a bit odd for adding sweetcorn to my bolognese sauce but I find that it gives it that little bit of extra crunch and sweetness, and the children love it.






We served our spaghetti bolognese using the wholewheat spaghetti, which had been sent in our hamper, and with grated Parmesan cheese.
Everyone cleared their plate which is practically unheard of in this house (lots of fussy eaters), and they have even said they would eat it again! 
I'm taking that as a win.


This is definitely a meal that I will be preparing again and again, and I am loving some of the recipe ideas that have been featured by other families taking part in the challenge. 

You can find those recipes and ideas by clicking HERE.


If you fancy getting creative in the kitchen with Dolmio then I would love to see your creations in the comment section below.

Missy x


This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.