Transition

People always ask if my Dad was in the services as we moved around quite a bit when I was younger. The answer is…nope! My Dad was a Minister who liked a challenge and took his family along for the ride.

In 1992, after 36 years in Scotland, my Dad decided it was time to move back to America. To Missouri. This was the first time we had moved overseas and, as a shy girl, it was daunting. Sure, we had family there and we had visited before but it’s much, much harder to live in a foreign place than visit. The day to day life can be hard, even if you speak the same language. My sister was more upset than I was but there really wasn’t anything to do about it. I wondered if the high school girls would be like the girls in Sweet Valley High or Saved By The Bell. Teenage culture in America would certainly be different than I was used to in Scotland!

We didn’t have that much time before we headed off to the States. It was a mixture of excitement and the unknown. We were, of course, devastated to leave my Mum’s family back in Scotland. We had a close family where cousins are like brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles are like second mothers and fathers. Sure, we were heading to family in America but everything would change, we knew this. It was before Skype and FaceTime…HECK it was before the internet! So calls abroad would still be high in price.

My parents definitely humoured my sister and I when it came to packing our stuff. We took things that probably we didn’t need but they knew that having those items would make the huge transition a little easier. So we packed random notebooks with random scribblings, toys we had grown out of, magazine of our favourite Brit bands and singers and posters that were on our bedroom walls.

I sit here in front of this screen and think about the emotions I had at this time. So much I have forgotten or blocked out. It was a traumatic move for me, not so much my little sister, she didn’t have to contend with a high school transition. I think, in some ways, it made me who I am today. I had to come out of my shy girl shell and just get on with it. Just deal with whatever rude comment or snide remark came my way. Deal with being the butt of uninformed peoples’ jokes. Laugh it off and move on. I don’t think I ever really fitted in, it did end up feeling like home for a while but fitting in? That never happened. I stood out and now I look back on it I wish I would have embraced that more. But when you are an awkward 14 year old the last think you want to do is stand out.

Don’t get me wrong I have made some of my best friends in my life during my time in America and have some of my most cherish memories from that period in my life. I know, never say never, but I don’t think I will ever move my children when they are in school. It would be nice for them to have the same friends all through school or the same consistency of school, friends and town. I know I miss that.

I believe that there is a reason for everything that happens to us. We might not know it at that precise minute but years later we can look back and think…ah that’s why we were there or that’s why I did that. I try to picture the kind of person I would have been if we had stayed in Scotland. Would I have been this outgoing? Would I have pursued a career in theatre and the arts? Would I have met my husband? Would I have travelled much?

My life’s motto is “No What If’s” and I feel that has come from my Father and moving us about. He also thought this way..what if he hadn’t moved us? What if he had never moved to Scotland? He didn’t want to have those questions, and neither do I. Although I have lived in the same country for over 10 years now and that, to me, feels pretty amazing!

This is not from when we moved but a picture of my family about….15 years ago! 🙂

The Journey So Far….

It’s been 6 months since I started my blog and YouTube Channel, so I thought I would take some time to reflect on the journey so far.

I’ve had my Instagram account for over two years now and it’s been growing very well over that time. I find that it’s nice to have this blog as an outlet when I want to write more than my little square on Instagram can contain and it’s a nice way to tie the two together.

I’ve found YouTube a little harder to get going. I’m not sure why except perhaps time? It’s find it’s easier to shoot a video but it’s much more time consuming to edit it down to something that others would want to watch! As an actress I’m LOVING being in front of a camera again (even if it’s just my iPhone in my kitchen!) so I’m hoping my videos are coming across as fun for you as well. I’m trying to show a range of subjects and topics and not just stay with motherhood and parenting (as there is much more to a mum than that!).

I’m hoping my YouTube Channel will grow into a one stop shop for people. A place where mothers can come and watch a video on a Primark haul and then one on me musing on the life of a 4 year old and maybe a review on a go to product that parents definitely need in their parenting arsenal!

I’m loving the fact that I am documenting more of my life as a mother and more of what we get up to a family. The good and the not so amazing. I want this blog, channel and everything that goes with it to be an honest documentation of our life. I know that the phrase honest parenting has been done to death but I believe that we all need to see that it’s not all rosy all of the time; it can’t be, that’s pretty impossible but I hope I can give my own take and account on this parenting malarkey.

Anyway, I’m enjoying my little corner of the internet more than I thought I would and becoming more and more confident with each video shot and each blog written. Thank you AGAIN (I know I say it ALOT) for joining me on this journey! I wonder what the next 6 months will hold!

Becoming Mum

I came late to the Mum-Party. I didn’t get pregnant with my first son until I was 35 and he was born a week after I turned 36. During my pregnancy (which was NOT the easiest!) I felt intrepidation, like most mums-to-be, but I thought..”Hey! How hard can it be?!” Women have been “Becoming Mum” for YEARS! I got this! It’s a natural part of life!

WRONG! Oh…haha! How wrong I was! After a VERY LONG labour and delivery my little son was placed in my arms and I thought…now what?! Oh! I had to breastfeed! What the actual HECK?! The only breastfeeding I had ever tried was during NCT class with a crocheted breast and a baby doll…this squirming new born and my massive postnatal boob was not cooperating with each other! There were tears (mostly me) and then there was some latching and HOLY HELL no one said it would be that painful! But my little man seemed to be getting milk so we were all happy (I found out about 5 days later that he hadn’t been getting any and then I had my first bout of “MUM GUILT” – that’s definitely another post!)

In those early few weeks and months the confident 30-something year old women who had lived abroad and performed on stage and relied on her belief in herself was reduced to a timid, second-guessing, weeping shell. I realised very quickly that it was implied that I should know exactly what to do in every situation, which I really didn’t and no matter how many books I read on “Becoming Mum” could prepare me for the little life that relied solely on me! I had held babies before in the past but was always very tentative with them…never wanting to break them 🙂 Now I was doing everything for the little man and everyone seemed to think that I should know what to do. That it was intuitive. To a point it was, I guess. I mean my mum instinct to keep safe, feed and take care of him came into play but little things like..how to bathe him, how to deal with a poonami nappy, how to soothe him, how to make bottles etc…was all new and at every turn when I felt I didn’t know what to do and had to ask for help, I felt like a failure.

The months went by, my newborn became more robust and his little personality started to show. I started to heal (physically and mentally) after a very traumatic delivery (another post!) and my confidence started to return. Now I’m a mother to TWO little boys and to tell you the truth I am still figuring how to navigate this motherhood malarky but confident Steph is emerging again and making friends with Mum Steph…I think we will be a formidable team!

Have you experienced the loss of confidence? If so, what were some lessons you learned? Comment below and share!