Where have I been?

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Hi it’s me : She Makes Moments.

6 months is a long time huh? So where have I been? If I said I’d been changing my life that would probably sound a bit sensationalist wouldn’t it? ¬†But, it’s the truth.

In April, I found out I was being made redundant from my teaching job. This was the second time this had happened and for me the final straw between me and teaching so I decided after 14 years to retire my whiteboard pens and walk away from my career, the only work I had known.

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You see, I had already been training with @digtitalmums to become a Freelance Social Media Manager and although I may not have chosen to forge my new career path so soon it seemed that everything was pointing that way.

So, in September I set up Louise Upchurch Social and am now working as a Social Media Manager and Consultant. If you are in need of any help in these areas don’t hesitate to contact me!

Oh and the other life changing thing? A second pregnancy, bump is due in February and we recently discovered we are Team Pink.

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My aim to get my blog back up and running and re-connect. Turns out She Make Moments was a real indicator of things to come.

So how are you and what has been going on with you in the last 6 months?

A letter for you when you want to give up

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Dear you,

I have been wanting to write this for a while but I have as usual been procrastinating and convincing myself out of it. Have you noticed how easy that is to do? You wake up with the best of intentions but as the day wears on you lose your resolve, those thoughts creep in, they take over.

I need to tell you that you matter, you matter all the time, every day, even when you don’t feel it. I need you to know that those moments when you reach the end of yourself and you wonder if anyone will ever see the real you, or if anyone really cares about where you are right at that minute, or if you could ever begin to say it all out loud, that I see you and that I am ready to hear it all.

I want to thank you for every moment of yourself that you have given away to look after, care for and love other people. Every one of those moments matters and is noticed even if you don’t see it.

I know there are times when you question yourself, when you wonder if you will ever understand the craziness and chaos of this life, you feel you get it wrong more often than you get it right and at times it takes all that you are just to get out of bed in the morning and face the day. But you do it.

I want to ask you to be kinder to yourself, don’t re think every decision or replay every conversation and pick apart what you did and how you could have done better, the truth is you’re doing fine. All that time you spend focussing on pulling yourself apart you lose sight of all that you are, you dull pieces of yourself and every piece of you is essential and needed and beautiful.

You are loved, you are needed, you are wanted.

You – the you that you hide away,
the you that you try everything to avoid being,
the you that this world needs.

From me x

Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people please stand up

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I have noticed that more and more people are talking about their desire or attempts to live up to, become, be more like the confident people. The people who have it all together. The people who breeze through life. The ‘have it alls’.

You know the ones? They walk into a crowded room and can immediately engage and dazzle with their scintillating conversation. They are able to juggle every area of their life with ease and they are always happy. They don’t experience fear, doubt, worry or low self esteem.

The rest of us are constantly struggling with ‘ impostor syndrome getting overwhelmed with the sense that we are continually winging it and eventually we will be found out and exposed for the frauds we really are.

The things is… the more I talk to people and admit to the fact I feel I am perpetually winging it through life, the more I realise that most other people would say they are doing that too.

People I thought were confident and extroverted actually turn out to be introverts with a good amount of bravado. The calm, serene people who seem to breeze through life actually admit to being like ducks – paddling for dear life under the surface.

So, I’m starting to think it’s all one big lie. That the ‘have it alls’, the people who breeze through life – they don’t actually exist. It’s a facade. A facade that causes each of us to set ourselves impossibly high standards that we can never reach and therefore we can enjoy beating ourselves up about it for the rest of our lives.

I could be wrong of course. So, I am asking just to check, just to see –

Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people, please stand up?

Stand up and show yourself if you love introducing yourself to new people and making small talk – never doubting for a minute or being held back by limiting beliefs about yourself.

Stand up if life is a breeze, you never experience anxiety or worry, you don’t have stress.

Stand up if you have never once felt like to a certain extent you are just winging it and you will one day get found out.

Stand up if you have it all and you never feel guilty, or that that you compromised on something or that you sacrificed one area of your life to improve another.

Stand up if you are there.

5 things that prove you host a life group

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1. Mugs – yes, mugs – you have hundreds of them, in fact you have a whole cupboard full of them and none of them match. Also, you begin associating mugs with certain people in your group or you may commit the odd faux pas when someone asks which drink is theirs ‘You’re the cow…’

2. Beverages – for one you actually use the word. You have enough varieties of teas and coffees to stock the local cafe – decaf, filter, flavoured, caff, chai latte, hot chocolate etc. Oh and things you will never drink but you know others like – decaf early grey or lemon and ginger anyone?

3. Coasters – You have an inordinate amount of non matching coasters. These are not for your benefit but to prevent the mortified looks when you claim people can put their mugs directly on to a surface.

4. The 30 min dash – Half an hour before everyone’s designated arrival you run around hiding mess in spare rooms, re-cleaning the bathrooms for the 3rd time (just in case) realising you have run out of milk and that you are down to the ‘boring’ biscuits like rich tea (aaah, the quintessential Christian biscuit)

5. Slippers – You know you have definitely arrived as a life group host when people bring their slippers to wear to your group. You yourself should also wear slippers and perhaps have a few different pairs to spark conversation while everyone waits for drinks.

This is by no means a definitive list – please feel free to add to it in your comments.

How not to blog – why I won't follow the rules

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (dangerous I know!) about my blog and its purpose.

You see, I was challenged to begin it as a way of telling my story and stories online. It is if you like, my life played out.

I know that I should attempt to find a niche, a topic, a neat little box to fit into and by doing so I could use numerous techniques to develop a following. The things is, that’s not going to work.

I write my blog about my life and my life doesn’t fit into neat categories or a niche. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher ( maybe ex?), Christian, book lover, product reviewer and occasional ‘Ooh an opportunity to blog’ type of person.

This isn’t a Christian blog but I will discuss my faith, this isn’t a mummy blog but I will talk about motherhood and baby products, this isn’t a book review blog but I will review books, this isn’t an educational blog but I will talk about teaching, students, young people.

This is my blog, about me, showing how my life is a number of different facets and aspects of a whole. I write from the heart and want to be me.

You are very welcome to join me in my journey, join me as I turn the pages and play out my story, but I won’t fit neatly into a category and I would love to apologise for that but I can’t.

Ever had a 'should I have got out of bed?' day

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So today didn’t start well. Had a row with my husband before church and made him late for serving on PA ( am sure no one ele has ever done this, I realise I am a complete minority in this)

At this point, the day could have been a write off. Mainly due to my mind continually letting me know what a screw up I am and how I had ruined everything (my mind is a drama queen – anyone else’s?)

I managed to stop sobbing and text a few friends, telling them exactly what had happened and how I was.

I then partook in a bit of blowing raspberries therapy, which if you haven’t heard of it involves blowing raspberries at your small child to make them giggle. 15 minutes of this and I was semi normal again – enough to make it out of the front door and head to church.

I arrived and was happily greeted by a friend who chatted to me and gave me a hug. Got a bit teary again but then felt ok.

The thing is, the last place I wanted to go was church. I was feeling a bit broken and vulnerable and yet my natural reaction was to hide.

This is not a comment on my church or my church family. It is recognising the fact that there is something a little inherent in me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, that makes me feel I have to be perfect and smiley and raring to go on a Sunday and quite frankly that’s the biggest lie we can hold on to.

Jesus himself said he did not come for the righteous – so why do I aspire to be like that on a Sunday.

Church should be a place of refuge and yet today I was afraid of judgement of appearing a failure and that has nothing to do with anyone or anything said. It has to do with my own battle with perfection and owning up to the fact I struggle.

Right now, I don’t feel I am a good enough mother, wife, friend or family member. That’s my own journey and it’s ok for me to be on it, there isn’t a quick fix in all this.

I cancelled going to my son’s swimming lesson today ( Mum guilts kicked in big time) but some vindication came in the fact he napped for over 2hrs in the time we would have been. Sometimes, I really should trust my instincts and stop using the selfish word when I make these decisions.

Friends invited us for lunch, and I was nurtured and refreshed and offered a place of safety where I could be just as I am.

So, even though it was tough today, it was also important as I learned how to share those parts of myself that I would rather hide, I realised it’s not so bad saying it how it is and feel a little more confident in my messiness but still have a way to go – work in progress right?

Tonight is the church prayer
meeting and I am sat instead at home in my pyjamas. Another chance for my mind to tell me I have my priorities all wrong… at one point someone told me ‘Sometimes the most holy thing you can do is rest.’ and I am very good at saying this to other people but right now, I think I need to say it to myself, believe it and remember that there is no condemnation.

To all those suffering with 'mum guilts'

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To the mothers reading this, I want you to know that you don’t need to feel guilty.

We all do it to ourselves, we all allow those thoughts and feelings to build up and overwhelm us – usually at 2am and it leads to a restless night.

The ‘mum guilts’ I have named them. The I should have, shouldn’t have, could have etc…about any situation to do with our children.

Mine tend to focus around photos and momentos. I should have had casts made of his hands and feet. I should have started a memory scrapbook by now, I should have taken more photos.

I had a revelation this evening that all my ‘should haves’ have nothing to do with my son. None of those things are detrimental to him. They are about me and my needs.

What he needs from me is for me to focus on interacting and enjoying him. He doesn’t need a lens stuck in his face every five minutes. I have very few pictures of me as a child – it doesn’t make me feel deprived or affect my memories of my childhood. I don’t hold my parents accountable demanding why they didn’t take more photos!

I tie myself up in knots about it and I don’t know why I can’t be rational but I’m going to make more of an effort to try.

I get ‘mum guilts’ when he is awake too long and gets over tired, when he wakes in the night and I feel shattered in the morning and am grumpy, when I don’t live up to the expectations I have set myself as to what a mother should be.

I hesitate about going out to Zumba or for a meal if he is not settled before I go.

A week ago I went out to see a comedian and he cried for the first 45 minutes I was out but then slept until I was home. I battled and won against the ‘mum guilts’ then. He may have cried if I had been there anyway. He was fine when he woke up – he wasn’t holding grudges!

That’s the thing, that’s what I want you to remember. Ultimately your child wants to be loved. You are doing that every single day. You are loving them in the best way that you can and they don’t hold you even a fraction as accountable as you hold yourself.

So, whatever your ‘mum guilts’ are about. Whatever triggers them in you – let it go.

You are a mother but you are not guilty.

Guilt is such an ugly, all consuming thing and frankly you don’t have time for it. You are far too busy loving your child.

So tonight, get some sleep while you can, don’t re assess the whole day picking on your faults but instead remember the smiles and laughter that were just for you, remember the hugs, the holding of your hand and know your little one sleeps feeling cherished by you.

You are loved. You are not guilty.