Parenting

Unrealistic new year’s resolutions and how to avoid them…

Hello fellow anxious people, 

A huge happy new year to you all! (Even though we are 13 days into 2019 already!) I hope all of you had the best Christmas with loved ones and were able to take a bit of time off work to relax and recuperate over the Christmas period. It’s so important to take some time out from the every day stresses of your life once in a while to allow yourself to chill out, physically and mentally. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, especially if you have a very demanding job – or in my case – very demanding children. But I really do recommend putting more effort into your mental health, and by that I mean taking a day off once in a while to simply do nothing! You’ll be surprised what a day off every now and then can do for you and the people around you. Try it! 🙂 

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(Ben and I this Christmas, 2018. By this point I was already writing my new year’s resolution list and putting a lot of thought into what goals I wanted to achieve this year, if I could realistically achieve them and how I could achieve them. I really recommend writing down a long list of goals you want to achieve, small or big, and then going over them, putting them in priority order and an order from most realistic/likely to achieve to least, and then thinking about how you would achieve them.)

“NEW YEAR, NEW ME”

That dreaded phrase we hear so often on the 1st January of every year!

This blog post is mainly going to revolve around those dreaded new year’s resolutions and how to avoid setting yourself unrealistic resolutions that end up doing you much more harm than good, causing you more stress. I get it, I totally get the excitement and desire of setting yourself new goals for the brand new year ahead of you – a fresh start and all that. I get excited about it every year too! I understand how you want to say goodbye to the stress and bad memories of the previous year and become this new, wiser, healthier and more organised version of yourself, learning from your mistakes and applying them to the new and improved you. However, you can still 100% be a new, wiser, healthier and more organised version of yourself without completely losing who you truly are and without setting yourself huge, unrealistic resolutions. You can still totally be this “new person” simply by setting a few little goals – goals that are easily achievable based on your lifestyle at the time. In fact, by setting yourself small goals that you are much more likely to achieve because they are small, you actually end up feeling a whole lot better than you would do if you had set yourself big goals that are quite unreachable and unachievable when you really think about it. You feel great about yourself and quite proud that you are actually getting through your new year’s resolutions a lot quicker than you thought – because they are realistic goals! So, even though it’s only a few small goals you’re achieving, you still feel so much better about yourself for achieving them nonetheless, and as a result it completely lifts your spirits, gives you more confidence and makes you feel good about yourself. I know a lot about this purely from personal experience — I made the same mistake once of setting myself big new year’s resolutions that were completely unrealistic based on my lifestyle at the time. So, I’m truly and genuinely speaking from the heart here! I’ve also witnessed first hand how much setting unrealistic goals can cause others more harm than good – friends of mine have also made this same mistake and it was really upsetting to watch. 

The KEY to setting achievable goals:

The first tip to follow when setting yourself a goal is to take a look at your current lifestyle. Ask yourself some questions about your day-to-day life and routine: how busy are you on a daily basis? What time of day are you busiest and least busiest? When are your days off? How demanding is your job or your family? What time in the evenings do you start getting too tired and need to head to bed? Do you have any disabilities or conditions that could make your resolutions quite dangerous or tricky for you? There’s no point setting yourself a goal such as running 5-10km every day if you work 10-12 hour shifts 5 days a week and don’t get home until late each evening. You’ll quickly realise you just simply do not have the time to run that much every day if you want to live a normal, healthy and sociable life. You’ll become very tired and drained afterwards, meaning you probably won’t ever want to do anything else after your run every day (e.g. seeing friends and family, making dinner, completing chores, doing coursework etc) so now you’ve completely lost your social life too. “Sorry I can’t make it to dinner this evening, I’ve just been for a run (again) and I am totally exhausted/running late/need to get the housework done/coursework done before I go to bed” – You get my point by now. On weeks where you may only manage to run 5-10km 2-3 days a week, you’ll feel crap about yourself and you’ll genuinely feel as if you have failed, when actually running 5-10km that much each week is amazing!! You’ll feel like a failure because you’ve set the bar too high – to run 5-10km every single day. Where as if you had set the bar a little lower, you would have felt ecstatic about yourself for running 5-10km twice a week and it would’ve boosted your confidence and made you feel great. It’s all based on your lifestyle, that’s what it all comes down to at the end of the day. So, before you ever set yourself any kind of goal, ask yourself those questions above and really think about what you will definitely be able to achieve – set the bar low to start with and if over time you realise you have more time in your days to achieve more than what you’ve set yourself – then and only then – set the bar higher.

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(Seeing the lights at Kew Gardens was one of my goals for 2018. I knew it would be achievable because not only do I live close to London so it would be easy to get there but also because I knew I would have the time to set aside an evening sometime near Christmas to go. Being able to achieve this goal made me feel great and I enjoyed the lights as much as I knew I would.)

My new year’s resolutions and why I made them:

After making the mistake of setting myself goals that were too difficult to achieve, causing me stress and feeling like a failure when I didn’t accomplish them to the standards I expected, I decided I needed to make my goals much smaller and more realistic. Small goals, but important ones, like making sure I drink 8 glasses of water a day and getting at least 7 hours of sleep every week night. Such important goals, but very realistic and achievable, therefore making you feel great 🙂 

I once read a book called 100 SMALL WAYS TO QUIT WORRYING   which gave me the inspiration for setting my new year’s resolutions for last year and again this year. This book lists 100 small every-day ways that will help someone stop worrying so much all the time – small ways that you probably wouldn’t ordinarily think of doing before reading that book, so I highly recommend giving it a read. You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link on the title of the book at the start of this paragraph above.

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I’m going to list my new year’s resolutions for this year below with the hope of it helping others who are in the position I found myself in a few years ago when I set myself unrealistic goals. I hope these give you some good ideas and inspiration for your own goals you can try and achieve this year. 🙂 

 1.) Drink 8 glasses of water every day. 

2) Do 100 squats every day – at home, at work, wherever! It only takes 5 minutes. 

3.) Put in more effort with friends & family – phoning them more often and seeing them more often.

4.) Start a degree in something I am passionate about, through Open University. (I have already achieved this and have just started my degree in Health & Social Care)

5.) Start going to a pilates/yoga class again as often as I can afford at the time and try my best to stick with it for the year. (I am in the process of finding a class close enough to me that I can afford)

6.) Put in more effort to actively meet new people and make new friends (This can achieved in many ways, such as: become a member of an online group and meet people that way, go to the Open University student get-togethers each month, strike up conversation with strangers when I am out and about etc.)

7.) Complete my first year of my degree – don’t give up no matter how hard it may get!

8.) Put myself first a bit more, give myself 1 evening a week of doing something purely just for me – my mental health and happiness matters just as much as everyone else’s. (I have a habit of putting my happiness on hold a lot so that my son, partner, friends or relatives are happier. I hate not being able to please everyone and I hate saying no) 

9.) Don’t be afraid of saying no and realise that I simply cannot please everyone. (If anything, this will also make people respect you a little more too. Saying yes to people all the time will give off the false impression that you are a pushover and will do anything that is asked of you no matter how difficult or stressful.) 

10.) Walk more! Now that I am unable to drive for the next 5 months due to a one-off seizure at the end of 2018, I will have to walk a lot more. As annoying as this can be, it’ll be great for my physical health and also my mental health – fresh air can do a person wonders! 

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(Walks along the beach are my favourite – whatever the weather! Some fresh sea air does wonders to your physical and mental health.)

I really hope this blog post has helped some of you in some way or another and given you a bit of inspiration to make your own realistic new year’s resolution list in the quest to start making you feel better about yourself and your abilities. 🙂 I will be posting a lot about my goals for 2019 on my Instagram throughout the year, so feel free to follow my journey with me along the way by following me on @secretlifeofananxiousmum .

Wishing you all the best of luck for 2019!

Lots of love,

Lauren! Xxxx

 

Parenting

Everything You Need To Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Hello!

Firstly, how is it November already?!?! I don’t get it? I was just in Spain a few weeks ago in August and now it’s November! I walked into my local supermarket yesterday and there were Christmas decorations everywhere! I mean, I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t get really excited seeing all the Christmas decorations up everywhere, in fact I think my exact words were “Oh my god, yay!!!!” However, apart from the joy of Christmas day and the Christmas build up, I tend to dread this time of year hence why it probably comes around so quickly every year!

Secondly, I hope everyone had the best summer.  But sadly (for those who suffer with S.A.D) winter time has rolled around yet again and it’s that dreaded time of year again. That time of year we really struggle with but have no idea why or what to do to cope a little better.

This blog post is going to be a bit of a long one, but bare with me, because I promise it’ll help you in some way or another. I’m going to talk in detail about Seasonal Affective Disorder – the science behind, the statistics, symptoms and ways to help yourself.

If, like myself and 25-30% of the world’s population, you start to feel down in the dumps, depressed, stressed, sluggish and much more tired than usual in the Autumn and Winter months, you could potentially be suffering with S.A.D and just haven’t realised it yet. A lot of people who have S.A.D can go years without realising they have it and just assume that everyone feels this way during the winter – wrong! Both children and adults can suffer with this disorder and although the word “disorder” makes it sound daunting and concerning, it’s nothing to stress yourself over at all. (Oh, the irony!)

As explained above, in this blog post I will go into detail about exactly what Seasonal Affective Disorder is, the symptoms, my personal experiences with it and ways you can really help yourself. If you haven’t personally been experiencing any symptoms related to S.A.D but you know people who do, continue reading further because it’ll help you to understand how to help and support!


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I started suffering with SAD from quite a young age – I must have been around 7 or 8. For a long time I thought it was normal to feel that way every winter – struggling to get up in the mornings, laying in til midday on the weekends (as young as 8 years old!) feeling miserable and negative about everything and not wanting to hang out with friends very much, but then feeling as happy as Larry whenever Spring and Summer came back around. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that my GP told me that what I’m actually experiencing are the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and he gave me some tips on how to help myself during the winter. Over the years I’ve learnt a lot about how I cope with my SAD – what works and what doesn’t work, a lot of it through trial and error. I really wanted to write a blog post about this because it’s something that is so common but hardly ever spoken about. It’s important to raise more awareness so that others can recognise their own symptoms and link two and two together and seek help. It’s also important for people to read this and realise they’re not alone in feeling this way during the winter. So, go grab a cup of something warm and tasty, sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of this post!


Seasonal Affective Disorder and the facts:

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It’s also known as a “winter depression”. It is a type of depression that is related to the changes in season and starts and ends at around the same time every year (October – February) It can be particularly severe during December, January and February. For some people, SAD is so disabling that they cannot function in winter without continuous treatment. Others may experience a milder version called sub-syndromal SAD or ‘winter blues’. It is recognised as a mental health disorder, but it does not mean that you have depression. SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes that people can get during the winter months, but not necessarily every year. If you already suffer with depression, having SAD can worsen your symptoms. Also, although much less often, SAD can be experienced in Spring and Summer instead of Autumn and Winter.

Most of us, if not all of us, are affected by the change in seasons. It’s normal to feel happy and energetic in the Summer and to feel more tired during the Winter. But for people who have SAD, they will feel a lot worse than is seen as the norm and genuinely struggle with day-to-day life during the winter months.

SAD is most common in countries like the UK where there are big weather changes and a difference in daylight hours in Winter compared to Summer.

A staggering 1 in 3 people around the world suffer with SAD, half of those people not even realising they have it and haven’t put two and two together. Approximately 1 in 15 people in the UK alone suffer with this disorder and 4 out of 5 people who have SAD are women. The main onset for SAD is between 20-30 years of age, however, anyone of any age can experience it. It is extremely rare for people to suffer with SAD in countries that are often 28 degrees or more, where daylight hours are long, constant and bright. Typically, the further away from the equator you are, the more at risk you are of suffering with SAD.


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Why do people get Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD is caused by the reduced level of sunlight in the Autumn and Winter months which can affect people’s serotonin levels. Lower levels of serotonin have been shown to be linked to depression. It’s also caused by a lack of vitamin D – which we naturally get from sunlight. With little sunlight during this time of year, our bodies start to lack that important vitamin D. Melatonin is also believed to play a role in the cause of SAD. Melatonin is a natural sleep-related hormone in our bodies which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. This hormone, which can affect sleep patterns and mood, is produced at increased levels of darkness. So when the days are shorter and darker more often through the winter, the production of this hormone increases.


Symptoms of SAD: 

  • Depression; feeling miserable and “down in the dumps” feeling hopeless.
  • Loss of interest in things that would normally interest you.
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep problems; over sleeping and struggling to stay awake or sometimes disturbed sleep and early morning waking.
  • Feeling lethargic and sluggish
  • General fatigue – feeling much more tired than usual and having less energy.
  • Overeating; particularly craving starchy and sweet foods that result in weight gain.
  • Social problems; irritability and desire to avoid social contact.
  • Sexual problems; decreased libido

How to help yourself if you have SAD:

Although there isn’t really anything to completely cure SAD, there are things you can do to help to make things easier for yourself and to lift your mood.

Photo-therapy or bright light therapy is the most common and effective treatment. Photo-therapy or bright light therapy has been shown to suppress the brain’s secretion of melatonin. Although, there have been no research findings to definitely link this therapy with an antidepressant effect, light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of diagnosed cases. You can go online and with a little google search you can find some SAD lightbulbs to help you and give you further info about photo-therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been proven to be effective in helping SAD too.

Doing little things you usually enjoy doing can help A LOT. Giving yourself time to not only have lazy days to rest and relax but also days where you complete a small list of things that will cheer you up and make you feel a bit better. This is important. It’s difficult to have the energy or motivation to do anything if you suffer with SAD but if you make yourself a little list of a few of your favourite things to do or activities you wish to complete which you know will make you feel less stressed. For example, a small list of small chores you want to get done by the end of the day (emphasis on the word SMALL) and a list of little things that will make you smile. For example, baking a cake, cooking or ordering your favourite meal, making yourself a cup of hot chocolate, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, painting your nails, changing the bed sheets (we all know how lovely it is to get into bed with fresh bed sheets!!) watch your favourite tv show/movie. Small but important things.


3 things people with SAD want you to know:

1.) This is real! No, we are not just dealing with “winter blues” and no I cannot just “snap out of it” for the day. I can completely empathise and understand why something called winter blues would sound a bit suspicious and questionable to some people. Is it actually a thing? Is it just an excuse to get out of plans or to stay in bed all day? Are people just over exaggerating the winter blues? These are just a few of the questions that can go through the mind of someone who doesn’t suffer with SAD. I can understand how it might seem like we are simply just going through a “rough patch” because this bout of depression only comes around for a few months at the end of the year. But we can all assure you, SAD really is a very real condition, we are not just going through a rough patch, we are not just simply being lazy, and no, we are not just dealing with a bit of “winter blues” and able to easily snap out of it and put it behind us. Please be patient with us and please at least be respectful if you can’t be understanding or empathetic.

2.) I will likely decline or cancel plans more often than usual, and I’m genuinely sorry. Once Autumn and Winter comes along, when the air gets colder and the sky gets darker, literally all I want to do is curl up on the sofa or in bed where I feel warm and safe. I have zero energy 80% of the time. I just want to be around my family and not have to put in too much energy and effort into anything during this difficult time. I’m not at my best during this time, which is why I often decline invitations to hang out or cancel plans. I don’t like to meet up with my friends and go out when I’m not at my best. It makes me somebody I am not. When I’m feeling crap, tired and under the weather the last thing I want to do is go out with friends because it sucks all enjoyment out of it. When I see my friends I like to make sure I’m in high spirits and that I am fun to be around so that my friends enjoy my company. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my friends or don’t miss them, because I really do.

3.) Yep, we are fully aware how much of a Debbie Downer we are right now and we feel awful about it! We do, as a matter of fact, feel incredibly guilty for the way we come across and behave during our SAD periods. Because it turns us into somebody we are not. Please don’t judge us on how we act at this time of year, because it’s not who we truly are. It’s a condition and a disorder that we can’t control.

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I hope I’ve been able to spread a bit more light on Seasonal Affective Disorder and how you can help yourself a little during this tough time of year for some people. 🙂

All my love,

Lauren xx

(All photos are not my own and found through Google images)
Sources: http://www.nhs.co.uk, http://www.mind.org.uk, http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Parenting

Interviewing people with mental health issues…(Emily’s Story)

A big hello to you all!

It’s been a while since I last posted as I am now back at work as of last month and my son is back at school too. So everything is manic and go, go, go from 7am – 8pm!! So I apologise for not posting anything for a while – the blog has still been on my mind a lot though because there are still so many people’s amazing stories I want to share with everyone on here.

When I first started this blog, I got a lot of people confiding in me and telling me their stories about their mental health or a loved ones mental health and every single person who has contacted me and shared their story with me is incredible, brave and inspirational.

I share other people’s stories for the sole reason of trying to spread awareness about mental health, show people that they’re not alone in their struggling and suffering and to bring comfort and reassurance to people. This is the whole reason I started my blog, to try and help people as much as I can who suffer and struggle with parenting, their own mental health or supporting a loved one with mental health issues.

I have another story to share with you from a lovely young lady who lives in my hometown. She explains in detail her traumatic labour with her first child, the painful and complicated aftermath of her labour, life as a young parent and suffering with crippling health anxiety.


Emily’s Story

I have two children Evie Anne-Rose who is 23 months old. And Daisy Mae who is coming up 6 months old. 


My labour with Evie was pretty traumatic as labours go I would say. I was induced so I didn’t go into labour naturally. The reason being a part of my waters had broken and because I had had b strep water infection detected in my pregnancy they couldn’t risk it spreading to my baby incase I did have it at the time of labour. I had a third degree tear as she was delivered by ventouse delivery (suction cup) and so I also had to have an episiotomy. And then on top of that I had to have 300ml of blood drained from a labial haematoma that was underneath the stitches in surgery a few days later. It was agonising I couldn’t get up to walk and I could not close my legs at all due to how swollen I was down there. So it was hard to get comfortable as I couldn’t lie straight. I was stuck in a hospital bed for just over a week in total. The worst bit was I kept having to be put of going into surgery as emergency c sections kept being put first so I was waiting a few days in the pain and also nil by mouth for all that time. But that didn’t stop me wanting baby number 2! I was so lucky with Daisy I had a first degree tear no stitches and she was born so quickly I only had time for gas and air. She was born in just over an hour with the third part of labour only lasting 15 minutes. The difference betweens the two just proves every labour is so so different and you can’t predict what will happen. Just because the first was awful doesn’t mean the second will be too! 


I suffer mainly with health anxiety. I always think there is something wrong with me. I’m a headache sufferer and had as many as up to 4 migraines with auras a week with both pregnancies. Getting migraines with auras is terrifying as you think you are having a stroke because you can’t see properly but what you can see is just wobbly lines and things which aren’t there. 


A few years ago I kept thinking something was wrong with my heart and kept feeling my pulse I was so obsessed with it I couldn’t think of anything else but whether or not my heart was ok. It started to take over my life just holding my chest and worrying whether my heart will skip a beat, it really is awful having health anxiety because you can’t help but think about your health all the time and being constantly convinced something is wrong with you.  I even had an ECG due to being so worried about my heart and the palpitations I was getting etc I now realise that is anxiety in itself. I have also had an MRI scan for the cause of my headaches because I was also getting tinnitus and again I believe that was down to anxiety. 

When I had given birth to my first baby I was so so worried about getting a blood clot I made my sister and boyfriend move my legs up and down as I couldn’t feel them due to the epidural. So pretty much straight after giving birth one of the things I was most worried about were blood clots!


One good thing about having health anxiety I have to say is I am so knowledgeable about medical conditions due to googling everything I have actually educated myself about so much to do with health!


I have been suffering with health anxiety since I was about 13 I would say.


The symptoms are as I said above headaches, migraines, tinnitus, pins and needles, palpitations, sharp pains in head and neck and just a feeling of impending doom is how I wouldn’t describe it.


To cope I just listen to music as I find that relaxing to sing to myself especially in the car and try to get out to get fresh air which isn’t always easy with two young children though. And most importantly to see friends and family as that takes my mind of things. And I do like to meditate with crystal healing and angel cards etc I find this incredibly relaxing. I am quite a spiritual person too so really unwinding at night with some candles and time to reflect on things is my most best way to cope.


I have had a few sessions of counselling over the years and I would like to do it again although it’s finding the time due to having two young children.

It is incredibly helpful to talk to someone who doesn’t know you and would never judge your situation and who is just there to listen and provide guidance not advice I think we have to all remember that counselling is for ways to help guide you not advise you. I have made that mistake before asking them for their advice. But that’s more for what friends and family are for. 


My advice for someone who is suffering with mental  health and anxiety would be once you realise you need help that is such amazing progress already and to not be afraid to go to your doctors and ask for counselling. Counselling can benefit absolutely everyone at some point in their lives. To go to family, friends or even a neighbour or someone from a parenting group just to talk, everyone loves a good chat every now and then and if they don’t feel they can help I can guarantee they would try to help you another way by finding someone that can help or a different way to just talking and listening. If people are uncomfortable in these situations there are other things they can offer and probably will as most people do want to help in one way or another. 


I also think being out in nature is relaxing where you can unwind and just breathe in the fresh air. Take a walk in the woods and sit by water, I find that relaxing or even just lighting a candle and taking time to talk to your inner self. And maybe take up a hoobie can help take your mind of things and also reading is another that helps me.


My advice to someone who supports someone with mental health and anxiety is never say you know how they feel because I don’t think anyone knows really how anyone feels. My best advice is to listen intently, provide support and to help ease their mind. Do something fun, offer to take them out and just to simply say I’m here for you. Sometimes asking too many questions doesn’t always help I have found. Just listening is the best tool as it’s so comforting to have someone to just listen to how you are feeling and trying to get someone to see how you feel so you don’t feel as alone.


I would say suffering with health anxiety has affected my parenting because I am now constantly worried not only about my health but the health of my two daughters too. So it has probably got worse but I don’t have as much time to sit and think about it like I used to be able to so being busy I have to say does help take your mind of all those worries you have. Try and keep busy is my advice best of all but most importantly to not blame yourself because so many people out there suffer with anxiety and if we all reached out there would be so much more help and advice out there if people see it’s more common than they think.


A huge thank you to Emily 💕
Parenting

4 mental health warning signs you must pay attention to…

Did you know that 1 in 4 people will suffer with a mental health problem at some point in their life?

1 in 4 isn’t just a statistic. It’s me, it’s you, it’s your colleagues. It’s your family and friends. Please help me to break the silence, raise more awareness and support those suffering by reading and sharing my blog posts and my regular posts on Instagram. (@secretlifeofananxiousmum)


4 mental health warning signs you must pay attention to:

Have you ever suffered with depression and want to see if my “warning signs” are the same, or similar, to yours? Do you think you might be experiencing symptoms of depression for the first time but you’re not entirely sure? Do you not suffer with depression yourself but someone close to you does and you want to better understand it? If the answer is yes to any of the above questions then I really believe this post (and my entire blog, to be honest!) can help you. Below I am going to talk in detail about 4 main ways/signs/symptoms I experience at the beginning of a depressive period.

I don’t know about anyone else, but because I’ve suffered with depression on and off since I was a teenager (so, for over a decade) I know a lot about it and how it works. Well, I know a lot about MY depression and how my depression works. No one person’s depression is the same. But I know so much about my own depression that I can even spot the signs of it looming, ready to come and visit me for a while. If I’ve had a few months of feeling happier than usual, more “normal” than usual, like my true self, sadly I know it may not last forever. I know that I need to accept that my depression will come back after a few months or years because I think it’s just a part of me now and something I physically and mentally suffer with. A dysfunction in my brain that medication and counselling can sometimes help, but not cure permanently. So below I am going to let you all know the 4 main ways I know that my depression is on it’s way back. Paying attention to these warnings signs helps me prepare myself for the depressive period I’m about to endure for a while. Little things you probably wouldn’t really think twice about but are so important to look out for. I wanted to share this because I think it could help other people out there recognise their own symptoms and seek help if they want to.

I lose interest in reading:

I am a huge book worm. Usually, I always have a book to read, one straight after the other. Normally, I’m never not reading a book. I can get lost in a book for hours. I was once known in my local town as the “bus book girl” because I always used to read my book on the bus to work and back every single day for 2 years. The local people who also got the same bus as me every day began to recognise me and notice I always had my head buried inside a book so they started to call me the Bus Book Girl. Now that I’ve described just how much I love reading, you’ll also find it very uncharacteristic of me to not be reading a book for several weeks at a time, just the way myself and my friends and family find it uncharacteristic of me. This is the first warning sign that I’m not feeling my usual self and my depression is creeping up on me. This is the sign that, a lot of the time, other people notice first. Family and friends will comment on how they haven’t seen me reading a book for a little while and ask if I’m ok. That’s when I’ll realise “wait a minute, they’re right, I haven’t picked up my book for 2 weeks”. This is the subconscious sign that I’m not feeling right and just haven’t paid enough attention to myself to realise sooner. I haven’t picked up a book for 3 weeks and I’ve had zero interest in reading. I also know that if I force myself to try and get back into the rhythm of reading (because it’s something I usually love doing) I can’t focus properly for longer than 5 minutes. I find myself reading the words but not actually taking them in. I end up re-reading the same page about 10 times because I really struggle to pay attention or just simply understand what the words are saying.

I get headaches and stomach cramps:

I get stress headaches a lot during my depressive periods. Tension headaches, they might be called. Painkillers don’t work at all, nothing eases the headache because it’s caused by ongoing stress. I’ll have a splitting headache for about 10 days straight by the time I give in and go to the doctors. This happens once every few months. The doctor tells me every time that it’s caused by stress and that I need to relax more but that’s so much easier said than done!! My doctor usually gives me a very small dose of an anti-depressant that works very well, in small doses, to cure stress-related headaches. I take one a day for about a week and then they disappear for a few months, until next time!

I also get awful stomach cramps. I suffer with stress-induced irritable bowel syndrome. So, when I’m going through a very depressive or stressful period, I experience the same symptoms (and the same intensity) as someone who has IBS. My bowels start to painfully contract and cause horrible contraction-like pains as if I’m in labour again. I find myself on the toilet more often than usual too. This is usually the 2nd warning sign for me, when I start to get physical health problems due to mental health problems. It’s very unpleasant and painful. To help with my IBS symptoms I regularly take Buscopan during this period and this helps ease the pain and other symptoms of IBS. These can be bought at any pharmacy.

I am constantly exhausted:

During my depressive periods I feel exhausted 24/7. No amount of sleep helps me. I can sleep for 7,8,9 or 10 hours and it doesn’t help. Hell, sometimes even 12 hours and that still doesn’t help. I could easily sleep all day every day if given the opportunity (although that still probably wouldn’t help!) I wake up in the mornings and struggle a lot to get out of bed, it takes a lot of willpower to get myself out of bed on those mornings. Sometimes I’ll even have a little cry in the shower in the mornings because I am just so tired. My eyes sting, my vision goes blurry where I’m zoning in and out because I’m so tired. I wake up in the morning and 2 hours later I’m completely ready for a nap! I struggle to focus at work, I struggle to drive, I struggle to communicate with people and pay proper attention to what they’re saying and I struggle to simply function. It’s really not a very nice thing to go through but sadly something I experience a lot of during my depressive periods. To help with my extreme fatigue, I get an early night every night, I drink a lot of caffeine throughout the day (which I know isn’t the healthiest option but, unfortunately, sometimes it’s all that works for me and I’m willing to do anything to keep me awake by this point) I also take a strong iron supplement and drink a liquid iron formula called Floradix. This can help in the long run if I take it every day and stick to it. These can be bought at pharmacies and Holland & Barrett.

I lose interest in going out and seeing friends:

I love seeing my friends and family. I love to get together for coffee or dinner. I love going to the cinema with friends or going for a few drinks and having a good catch up and gossip. It’s my favourite thing to do and it’s one of the main things I look forward to doing. But sadly, during a depressive period, I can’t think of anything worse. This breaks my heart for 2 reasons:

1.) because it comes across like I don’t like my friends anymore, like I don’t care about them or love them anymore when actually that is the complete opposite to how I feel about them. As a result, this then upsets my friends.

2.) because it makes me lonelier than ever. It’s a horrible situation to be in – declining friends invitations and refusing to see them but then getting extremely lonely as a result. But then you have nobody to blame but yourself. It’s not your friend’s fault. And this then makes you feel even worse.

The thought of leaving my house during these periods makes me want to cry. The thought of going out and socialising and putting on a fake smile and fake happy attitude makes me feel queasy and uncomfortable. So I just avoid going out altogether! Things I once loved doing, people I once loved seeing, I don’t want to do or see anymore. This is usually always the final sign that warns me my depression is definitely back now. This can last anywhere up to a few weeks to a few months and during those periods I’m not myself at all. I am always apologising to friends and family about rarely seeing them. I like to reassure them that I love them and want to see them but I just can’t face going out right now, I need to be at home in my comfort zone until my depression subsides. It’s nothing to do with my friends personally, not at all. It’s because of me and my problems. And if you also experience this, it’s so important to tell your friends this. Reassure them that it’s nothing to do with them, it’s because you are suffering with depression or a mental health problem. Once this subsides and I start to feel like my normal self again, I see my friends and family a lot and try and organise as many meet-ups and get-togethers as I can.

I hope this post has helped even just 1 of you out there. If anyone can relate to this post on any level, I hope this has helped to reassure you or support you. I hope this has helped others recognise their own symptoms and made them realise that maybe they’re also suffering with depression and should seek help. Please always seek help if you want to. That is what doctors and specialists are there for.

All my love,

Lauren!

Parenting

Living with chronic conditions (Katie’s Story)

Hello!

I’m really glad to be able to share another story about suffering and living with a chronic condition and illness. It really puts the message out there to everyone that not all conditions are visible and so many of us go through this. It shows everyone that we are not alone and there are others out there who are suffering, and usually in silence. It helps to support and reassure people experiencing similar problems and helps to educate people who aren’t living with chronic conditions. The person’s story I’m sharing today is Katie Ayer (Instagram: _raisingwildthings) a woman who suffered with her mental health, chronic migraines that no treatment seemed to help or cure and then discovered she had cancer. This lady is an inspiration and so strong and her story is completely eye-opening and definitely worth a read. It puts a lot into perspective and I have faith it’ll help people out there, if only a little bit at least. I hope that by sharing her story that others can recognise their own symptoms and experiences and realise they’re not alone and to seek help if needed. This is her story:

“I was diagnosed with anxiety, panic disorder and OCD at the age of 12. Symptoms started when I was 8 but I held it in until I couldn’t anymore. Then around 15 I started getting debilitating migraines, muscle tension headaches. 3 times a week. Then as time went on it became almost daily. I saw physical therapists, specialists, regular docs, massage therapists. Nothing helped. Then I just gave up and decided it was my new normal. I ended up having times where it wouldn’t be as frequent but that never lasted long. Then 4 Year’s ago after I had my daughter I started having ocular migraines. My vision was gone then it would come back with a horrible headache. I started thinking if I had a brain tumor or something was seriously wrong. That totally impacted my anxiety and then made my migraines worse. Then in may of 2017 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have my thyroid removed and radiation which thankfully took care of it. However a month after my radiation my migraines were daily, my vision looked like objects were vibrating and my ears were ringing and I was incredibly dizzy all day and night. I then went to the emergency and then regular doctors. They told me I’d need a brain MRI to check for a brain tumor or cancer. And in all of my panic attacking life, I’d never been so terrified. Nothing showed on the MRI thankfully. So insane a neurologist who said I have a migraine disorder but just put me on so many awful medications. Eventually I got a second opinion in Boston at Tufts University and was diagnosed with vestibular dysfunction which can cause worsening anxiety and means my inner ear had severe damage which is linked to your eye sight and balance and can cause ocular migraines and daily migraines. Back to physical therapy I went and that is starting to improve. The doc put me on vitamins. VITAMINS!! and my migraines are nearly gone. I cut out gluten dairy and soy from my diet and that has helped with my anxiety. I am finally off my nasty migraine meds which Increased my anxiety with the withdrawal symptoms. But I’m in the mend but dealing with chronic migraines had and has a huge impact on my overall anxiety and panic attacks.”


A huge thank you to Katie for sharing her inspirational story. ❤️

Parenting

Our trip to Spain 🇪🇸

Hey everyone 👋🏼

I hope that anyone reading this is having a great summer so far. This post is a little different to my usual blog posts. If you follow my blog and/or Instagram you’ll know that most of my posts are about mental health and the occasional parenting tips 😊 but today I just simply wanted to share some photos and details of our family trip to Spain that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed.(I took a fair few selfies on this holiday – oops 😕)

Last Tuesday we came to Albir Garden Resort for a week of sun & fun. We hadn’t been abroad as a family since the summer of 2016 to Lanzarote (which was another lovely trip) so we were genuinely super excited. My son had already been in Spain for a week and a half with my dad’s side of the family and then Joe and myself eagerly met him out here. Albir Garden Resort also has a brilliant water park within the resort which we’ve spent most days playing in at some point during the day 😂 it is a 3.5/4 star family resort that has 2 large swimming pools, evening entertainment, kids club, a big lounge/game room, large restaurant serving breakfast, lunch & dinner (depending what board you book – half board, full board etc) and we’ve really enjoyed it. Below are some photos from the hotel 😊

It’s a great location as it’s right in the town centre of Albir and only a 15 minute walk from the beach (although, not a sandy beach. Pebbles! Still beautiful nonetheless) along the beach front there’s a ton of restaurants, shops and arcades etc. And if you want to walk a little further on from the beach (about another 20-30 minutes, or a short 5 minute taxi ride) you can also go into the Altea town centre which is even more beautiful, especially if you walk to the old town. Below are some photos from Altea town! 😊

So, all in all, a great holiday and great location. If you ever go to the south or east of Spain, Altea or Albir are the places to go. Albeit, very hot this time of year (late 30’s) I still highly recommend 😊 there are tons of local activities such as swimming with dolphins, a zoo, a huge theme park, rent a boat, snorkelling/swimming trips, theatre, shops & more. The locals are friendly and accommodating and speak good English.

I’m currently sat in the “lounge” area of the hotel where there’s lots of sofas and different arcade games to play, along with a bar. Ben loves it in here. There’s computers, an Xbox with a big screen playing multiple games, snooker/pool, air hockey, grab machines etc. Lots to keep you entertained.

We still have the rest of the day here as our flight home to England isn’t until 02:15am (Spanish time) which is great because it means we still get all day and evening here, but it also means we have no room to go back to now to take a little nap or get out of the sun and into the cool room when it gets way too hot around midday 😂 Please tell me I’m not the only one who likes to have a little daytime nap on holiday?! Am I getting too old before my time?

(Ben enjoying the Xbox in the lounge/game room)


Let’s talk kids on flights!

Luckily, a trip to Spain only take 2.5 hours from London so it’s much easier to keep the kids entertained and occupied on a flight this short. However, we have been on longer flights before. We make sure to pack crayons, colouring books, activity books, card games and the games consoles (we have a Nintendo Switch and a Nintendo 2DS) all of these things keep Ben entertained enough for the duration of his flights. We also play I Spy and games like that too. What does everyone else do to keep their kids entertained on flights? Do you have any tips? If so, please comment below! 😊


Finally – Ben’s ears 😢

Ben has struggled with problem after problem, infection are infection, glue ear that has lasted years on end. So taking him abroad is always a worry for me. The flights can hurt his ears and keep them that way for a few days afterwards and the water can also make them very sore for him. Ben’s ears were fine with the water up until about 4 days ago and they have since been very sore for him so I’ve had to keep him topped up on calpol to help ease the pain and I try to encourage him to either wear a swimming hat that will cover his ears or swimming ear plugs so that water doesn’t get into his ears anymore. I also ask him not to do any tricks under the water either as that can cause water to get right in his ears (e.g rolly polly under water, spinning under water, handstands etc)

What I usually do before I take Ben abroad is take him to our doctor and ask her to prescribe him some ear drops to prevent infection just in case he gets an infection from all the water (which is 95% certain to happen, and his doctor knows he is exceptionally prone to ear infections if water gets in his ears) and we make sure to take plenty of calpol to help with any pain he may feel. It’s difficult because I’m constantly in two minds when we go away on holiday – I don’t want to stop Ben from enjoying the water on holiday because he absolutely loves going under water and doing under water tricks, but at the same time I’m a concerned parent who doesn’t want his ears to get sore for him. So I have to come to some kind of middle. Hence the swimming hat, ear plugs and ear drops just incase! Better to be safe than sorry 😊

I hope everyone has enjoyed reading this post about our trip to Spain, I tried not to blabber on too much and in too much detail, just covering the main points as quickly as I could. I love reading blog posts about family trips away because it gives me good ideas and recommendations on where to take my family next ❤️ I definitely recommend Altea / Albir in Spain!

Lots of love,

Lauren x

Parenting

Living with chronic conditions (Dustin’s Story)

Hello everyone.

Following on from my blog post yesterday, I am happy to share another story with you all about people living with chronic conditions/pain.

If you haven’t had a chance to read my first story by the wonderful Hannah Gerken suffering with chronic conditions and how she lives with it day-to-day then please feel free to scroll down and give it a read. It’s an eye-opening read and shows how brave these people are out there in the world who suffer every day with a painful and debilitating condition every single day – an invisible condition. I feel so passionately about this because not only do I currently suffer with an invisible condition – severe chronic back pain that has so far lasted over 8 years and I have had very few people around me truly understand and support me, but also because for years I couldn’t find any support or reassurance online either. I didn’t know anyone else who suffered with chronic pain or a chronic condition so I felt completely and utterly alone and this made everything so much worse for me. I couldn’t find any support groups or blogs online either talking about chronic pain and/or conditions and that, too, made everything seem worse for me. So, I want to be able to share as many people’s stories on my blog as possible so that people can read them and feel less alone in their suffering and people who don’t suffer with a chronic condition can read these stories to become more aware and educated on the subject to help others.

As I have said in my previous blog post, I want to completely dedicate these posts to the heroes who wrote them and shared their stories with me. None of this is my doing, none of this is me, it’s all completely them and if it wasn’t for these amazing people I wouldn’t have a blog post in the first place. This is all down to the bravery of these people who want to share their stories purely to raise awareness hoping to help, reassure, support and educate others.

My second story is written by the incredible Dustin Steeves. He suffered with severe, debilitating, chronic back pain for a few years. Here is his story:


My story started in 2014.

My back had started bothering me at work, but since I work in construction I had just assumed it would pass. I was already no stranger to bumps bruises and aches in the workplace.

A few weeks later, the pain had t subsided, so I went to my Dr, who immediately referred me to a spinal specialist.

From there, I went to the Spinal Pathways Clinic in Saskatoon, Canada and was slated in for a CT scan.

They had found severe herniation between my L4 and L5 vertebrae and the two vertebrae themselves had begun to degenerate and rub against each other, cutting into my sciatic nerve.

A short while after this, I was declared unfit to work due to waking up and not being able to feel my legs, and I couldn’t walk. That day was one of the scariest of my life.

I was sent to a chiropractor, sent for spinal injections, and after a year of trials and experiments, was finally advised to start thinking about surgery.

Because my condition was so advanced, surgery was not initially recommended due to the amount of trauma in my back.

I was made aware that there was a chance I may not be able to walk again if anything went wrong while I was under.

In spite of this I opted for surgery, as I hadn’t experienced a day without excruciating pain in nearly two years.

Waking up the day of surgery was absolutely terrifying. I thought that may be the last day I’d have control of my legs.

Luckily, everything went fine. I was in the extremely capable hands of my surgeon and woke up from my surgery without pain in my back and legs for the first time in ages.

I immediately went into tears of joy.

The road ahead was long, and I had to basically learn how to walk again.

I had my L4 and L5 vertebrae shaved down, and had an artificial disc injected in between them.

Eight weeks later I was cleared for work and sports, and jumped right back into everything I loved.

It was the most satisfying feeling in the world being able to play hockey again. Being able to work again. Being able to take care of myself again.

My back will never be as strong as it once was, and it may cause me problems in the future, but I would highly recommend surgery to anybody experiencing even an eighth of the pain I was in.


A big thank you to Dustin for sharing his story. 🙂

Parenting

Living with chronic conditions (Hannah’s Story)

Hello! 👋🏼

The next few blog posts are going to be solely about other people living with chronic conditions or chronic pain. I recently set out to reach out to people through my Instagram (@secretlifeofananxiousmum) to find people who are, like myself, also living with a chronic condition or chronic pain in the hopes that they would be ok to share their story on my blog. I feel very passionately about this “project” because I truly believe it will help others who read this. It’ll help other people living with a chronic condition/pain by showing them and reassuring them that they are certainly not alone in their suffering, other people out there all over the world are also living with a chronic condition. It’ll also help those people out there who aren’t suffering with a chronic condition or chronic pain because it’ll help to educate them a bit more on the subject so that if they ever need to they can help people living with a chronic condition or pain. 😊

I’m sorry it’s taken so long to start posting these amazing stories onto my blog. I’ve had a hectic few weeks, mentally, emotionally and physically! If you follow my blog or my Instagram you’ll already know that I suffer with depression, anxiety and I live with severe chronic back pain which I have to take prescribed painkillers for on a daily basis. (I talk about this a lot on my Instagram and a blog post explaining my chronic pain will be posted soon)

Sometimes I will go through phases (usually a few weeks at a time) where my back pain will get really bad and my mental health will take a tumble and I just need a few weeks to recover and get myself back on track 😊 if you suffer with depression you’ll completely relate to me on this one – it becomes too damn tricky to concentrate on anything long enough. I haven’t had the mindset whatsoever over the last few weeks to properly sit down and write on my blog, the concentration went out the window and unfortunately that’s a big symptom of depression and a very common one too! I’m feeling a little better now, still not 100% but I’m definitely on my way there, so I decided to kick myself up the butt and get posting this amazing story from a fellow chronic-condition-sufferer.

These next few blog posts I would like to completely dedicate to the heroes who wrote them and shared their stories with me. None of this is my doing, none of this is me, it’s all completely them. If it wasn’t for these amazing people, I wouldn’t have a blog post in the first place. This is all down to the bravery of these people and these people only who share their story hoping to help, reassure, support & educate others.

My first story is written by a woman named Hannah. (Instagram: @reframingbirth) Here is her story:


Exhausted. In agony. Can’t think straight. Constantly anxious. No sleep. Too much sleep. Can’t move. Don’t want to move. That is where it all started.  For as long as I could remember, this was the life I was living. I must have been around 10 years old when I first realised I felt awful. Cue back and forth to the doctors, being told I was just growing and had anxiety. Referral to CAMHS who told me it wasn’t anxiety and back to the drawing board. This must have gone on for 4 years. Shit got real when I was going to the doctors atleast once a week, to try to get some help. The pain was making me bed-bound, I’d sleep for over 12 hours at night and nap during the day, barely doing anything at all and skipping school constantly due to how awful I felt. My first glimmer of hope was upon meeting a nurse practitioner, who did a lot of tests and told me I had very low vitamin D levels. Okay great, I had a course of supplements and that went up to a normal level. Did I feel better? NO. So I went back. She then mentioned the f word. I’d been suspecting it for a while, I’d researched it and it sounded right. She then told me she had it too. Fibromyalgia. The illness with no cure, little medical research and barely any clinical guidelines. Great. So then I waited. Enduring this pain, fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, anxiety. 31st March, 2015. The day I was diagnosed. Aged 17. 7 years since it all began. It was a no brainer for the rheumatologist. I hit all of the tender points, had all the symptoms and arthritis was ruled out by a blood test. So we had the name. What the hell do I do now? They referred me to the pain clinic, who told me I was too young for this and discharged me. I was told to take co-codamol, but only the strength you can buy over the counter, which I’d been having religiously anyway. I went gluten and dairy free, which did help, I’ll give it that. But I was still in agony, trying to do my A Levels. Barely attending sixth form, thank goodness for supportive tutors. My parents didn’t know what to do. My friends didn’t get it. No one got IT. So, back to the nurse practitioner. She decided to send me for a pelvic ultrasound to rule out anything that could be causing issues there. Surprise surprise, all clear. Back to the drawing board. This backwards and forwards with different tests, scans and no support went on for another year. Until one day.  April 2016. I was still at college and I had a place to study midwifery, starting in the September. I was sitting there in a lesson and my whole body just went numb. I couldn’t move. My pupils were dilated, my heart rate was through the roof. Straight to hospital and that is where I stayed. They ruled out MS, did loads more tests and concluded..migraine. These episodes happened frequently and I have had 4 further hospital admissions due to them since. September 2016. I started uni. How? Living off the strongest codeine, tramadol and a cocktail of various other things. To be honest, things were ok at this point. I mean, the pain was still there and I was tired as hell, but I had a goal. I didn’t want to give it up, so I just carried on. Faking the smile, wanting to cry. Time went by and I was still trying to find answers, but it all came back to ‘you have fibromyalgia – deal with it.’ By the end of the year, my heart was causing me some issues. Symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, nausea, fainting. It kept happening.  I found an amazing doctor. He was willing to try anything. We started trialling drugs. Gabapentin, amitriptyline, naproxen, pregabalin. Unfortunately, none of them worked very well, but he believed there was something happening. He got me. We did more blood tests and my liver function was not good. I’m guessing due to all the painkillers, but he wanted to investigate that too. Then stuff messed up with the doctors surgery and he left. My one chance, I felt shattered. Wanted to give up and entered a state of depression. I almost left uni,but needed that drive to get through.  We’ll fast forward again to January 2018. This is all still going on. The pain is severe, but my worst symptoms now are with my heart and digestive system. I had 3 more hospital admissions. They were questioning everything. They were taking me seriously. I saw a gastroenterologist who did an endoscopy and colonoscopy. I saw a cardiologist, had an echo, heart monitor for a week and we finally found some ‘proper’ problems.  Firstly, my stomach is severely inflamed. Possible crohns. Waiting for biopsy results to confirm, but for now, medicated to try to reduce it.  Secondly, my heart. Supraventricular tachycardia. It goes too fast for no reason, which is the cause of the episodes of numbness, fainting etc, previously classed as ‘migraine’. The echo also queried a hole in my heart which should have closed when I was a baby, so I’ll be going to a specialist unit next month to have a cardiac MRI. For now, bisoprolol is my friend. The cardiologist said he would never prescribe this for someone my age, but my heart is ‘out of control’. It is nice to see someone who understands.  Me, I’m ok. The drugs are kind of working. I don’t want to be on them, but they let me get out of bed in the morning. I think it is a mindset thing too, I have worked hard with mindfulness and reducing anxiety. I’m still studying and will qualify as a midwife in September 2019. I’m running my own business, teaching hypnobirthing to expectant mothers. I am holding down this job, I have never been able to work before. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard work, doing all of this. But I just can’t sit here doing nothing, in self pity that I’ll never be normal. I know my limits. People around me know my limits and I do what I can. I work from home. I sleep when I want. I work short shifts and no nights. I do what I can and I am happy for the first time in 10 years. I know I still have a long way to go and there will be many bumps in the road, but for the moment, I am able to function and I couldn’t be more grateful. I realise that so many people with fibromyalgia are completely debilitated with no quality of life and trust me, I have been in that place and expect to be at any time, but there is definitely hope.


A huge thank you to Hannah for sharing her story on my blog in the hopes to help others suffering with chronic conditions. ❤️

Parenting

Genius lazy parenting hacks everyone needs to know!

Hello fellow parents, or parents-to-be, who have clicked on my blog especially to read this post because, like I was, you’re desperate to find easier and quicker ways of doing things. Just because I’m writing, and you’re reading, a blog post about lazy parenting hacks, that doesn’t make any of us lazy parents. Let’s throw that misjudgement from others, or guilty feeling from ourselves, out the window before we start. No matter how much we love our children and no matter how much time, effort and energy we put into bonding with our little ones and raising them as best we can, we ALL definitely have our moments where we just wish there were easier and quicker ways of doing some things. This is where this blog post will come in handy 😊

Over the last 8 years I have picked up on (and maybe even invented – if anyone else out there hasn’t already beat me to it without realising yet) a ton of genius lazy parenting hacks. I’m not a lazy parent but I have my lazy moments where I think to myself “ugh, how could I make this situation a little bit easier and quicker so that I don’t have to do quite as much work?” 😂 who else admits they do this too? I feel for you! This post is especially for parents like us! (And there’s A LOT of us)

Before I list some of my favourite parenting hacks I would first like to state that some of these hacks I picked up from friends and/or family, and some of these hacks I thought of by myself, however, I am aware that there can of course still be people out there who have also thought of something the same or similar as I have. I’m not taking credit for any of the hacks below 😊 Some of the photos posted below will be from myself and some will be from other websites, those of which I will state underneath which website they are from.


Lazy hack 1: frozen sandwiches

(photo taken by me)

I’m not the kind of person who enjoys getting up that extra 15 minutes early in the morning to pack my son’s lunch box. I used to do it for a couple of years, but being the kind of person who thoroughly appreciates their sleep and needs a good 8 hours sleep every night (when my son was a newborn, I was a walking zombie!) I don’t really do well with early mornings that require a lot of effort and thinking first thing! I was getting a bit tired (although, mostly just lazy) of getting up a bit earlier than usual in the mornings to make time for making the packed lunches for my son and I, so instead I started not only making our lunches the night before and putting them in the fridge ready to take out the next morning seconds before we leave the house, but I started making our sandwiches for the week and putting them in the freezer. I make 5 portions each of sandwiches (enough for both of us from Monday – Friday) wrap them in cling film or pop them into a sandwich bag and I put them in the freezer. When you take them out first thing in the morning (around 6:30am usually) they will be defrosted and completely ready, safe and yummy to eat by lunchtime. This way, the sandwiches are safe to keep in the freezer for up to 4-6 weeks. Granted, I don’t do this every week because sometimes, believe it or not, I don’t mind making them individually the evening before school 😂 but if I’m having a week where I’m feeling extra lazy and sleepy (usually when my anxiety and depression flares up) I will make the sandwiches the week before and put them all in the freezer! 😊

This hack was a self-taught one, but if you also do this or know anyone else who does this, give me a little thumbs up in the comment section so I can meet some fellow sandwich-freezers!


Lazy parenting hack 2: yoghurt lollies

(photo taken by me)

This one is already a pretty popular one in my family and we’ve been doing this for years! But there are still a lot of parents I talk to who have never thought of doing this when I mention it to them so I just had to share it again because of all this hot weather we’ve been having at the moment. If your children are anything like my son, then they will spring it on you last minute that they fancy an ice lolly because it’s hot. There were many instances when Ben would suddenly come up to me and say “mummy, please can I have an ice lolly because my mouth and throat are hot from the sun?” hmmm nice try, Ben! This kid makes up the strangest excuses for things 😂 but, nonetheless, I would always sympathise because it was usually always boiling hot outside when he would ask me for an ice lolly and me being my typical self I would usually forget to buy ice lollies on my food shop. This is where I would often realise we had no ice lollies in the freezer, BUT, we had tons of yoghurts in the fridge that I could adapt to make into perfectly yummy ice lollies. Me being in my lazy mood, I wouldn’t want to get in the car and drive all the way to the shops and spend a fortune on ice lollies when I had very cheap yoghurts at home that could be frozen in the freezer and eaten as ice lollies. As the picture shows above, simply cut a small hole in the yoghurt lid, insert either a lollipop stick or even a straw, pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours and voila! This hack is perfect for when you’re feeling too lazy to go to the shops OR if you’re a bit skint. In previous summer’s I’ve spent a fortune on ice lollies, quickly becoming skint. “There must be a cheaper way of eating ice lollies?!” I would think to myself, so more recently I’ve been buying super cheap supermarket own-brand yoghurts and freezing them instead. 😊


Lazy parenting hack 3: Measuring feet!

(photo taken by me)

This hack is also something I thought of myself, however, I’m sure others have done it too. Who else HATES taking their children to get their feet measured?! I definitely do! It’s the biggest nightmare, especially when they’re younger. Not only does my son just end up running around the shop knocking stuff off the shelves like a bull in a china shop, but he also used to struggle to sit still for the shop assistant when he was younger. He would cry, he would get angry, he would get impatient and he would get bored. All of which would cause havoc in the shoe shop which wasn’t pleasant or fair for anyone involved. A few years ago I knew I had to buy him a few pairs of new shoes because his feet were growing, and I dreaded taking him to the shoe shop as I knew it would just end up in chaos again. Not only that, but I knew how much my son used to hate it and I didn’t want to ruin his happy mood, so instead I got him to stand bare foot on a piece of paper and I would draw around the outside of his feet (you don’t need to draw around each individual toe) as accurately as I could, left my son at home with relatives and I took that piece of paper to the shop with me, showed it to the shop assistant who then measured the drawn feet 😂 and she was able to tell me not only his shoe size but the width size of his feet too. Perfect! I was in and out in minutes, there was no screaming, everything remained on the correct shelves and I didn’t have a headache by the end of it! The shoes fit him perfectly too when I took them home.


Parenting hack 4: making breakfast

(photo taken by me)

When my son got to about 3-4 years old he became fiercely independent, well he wanted to become fiercely independent. He hated me doing things for him and absolutely insisted on doing things for himself whenever he could, including making his own meals. He asked me one day if he could make his own breakfast and of course I took the opportunity to teach him how to carefully pour the milk into the bowl and how to carefully pour the cereal into the bowl. He nailed it! But he could never reach the bowl from the cupboards high up, and he could never lift the large, heavy carton of milk for himself and this used to really frustrate him that he could make the breakfast himself but just couldn’t get the ingredients himself. So I started putting his dry breakfast in a bowl and popping it on the bottom shelf of the fridge, along with a cup of milk next to it so that every morning he could just go into the fridge, pull out his bowl of cereal and pour the cup of milk into the bowl and viola he has made his own breakfast (in his eyes) this also meant that in the mornings I could leave him to make his own breakfast and eat it, whilst I got other bits and bobs done around the house, saving a lot of time! It’s a winner all around. 😊 which brings me to my next hack…


Parenting hack 5: making a drink

(photo taken from a BuzzFeed post)

As my son’s independence grew, the more he was wanting to do for himself but unfortunately his height wasn’t growing as quickly as his eagerness to do things by himself was. Just like the hack above, my son wanted to make his own drinks but couldn’t reach the cups in the cupboards high up. So instead I put a little magnet on the back of his favourite plastic cup and I stuck it on the bottom half of the fridge, within his reach, so that whenever he wanted to make himself a drink he could simply take the cup from the fridge and pour himself some water from the tap 😊 this meant that I didn’t have to keep going back and forth to the kitchen to make him a drink I knew he could easily make himself. I haven’t got my own photo of this as we don’t do it anymore – my son is now a lot taller and can reach the cups in their cupboards, but I was really glad to have found on another blog that someone else does it too!


Parenting hack 6: wetting the bed

(photo taken from BuzzFeed post)

When I was potty training my son through the night, it proved difficult. During the day, he instantly learnt how to use a toilet and how to hold in his wee wee and poo poo until he reached a toilet. It was great! 1 day of potty training and he was there! However, night time was a completely different story and he quite often wet the bed between the ages of 2 and 4. It got to a point where most nights, in the middle of the night feeling exhausted, I would be turning the bedroom light on, getting my son out of bed and changing the bedsheets which is possibly the worst thing you can do in the middle of the night when you’re super tired. I used to think to myself “how can I make changing the bedsheets as quick and easy as possible?” I was desperate for a quicker solution. And that’s when I thought of the idea pictured above (again, I’m glad other people also do this and I was able to find a picture related to it on BuzzFeed, because I don’t have my own photo) simply put 2 layers of bed sheets on your child’s bed, separated by a big puppy pad (or any other big pad you can find) that way if they wet the bed, all you have to do is take the first sheet and pad off and then the sheet underneath will already be there nice and dry for you 😊 this made changing his bed sheets in the night so much quicker and easier and I no longer dreaded this situation!


Parenting hack 7: bath time

(photo taken from Google images)

Sadly, I don’t have a photo of my own son doing this but it’s something I used to do with him all the time in the bath so that he wouldn’t fall back or try and climb over the top of the bath and climb out.

When my son started sitting up at about 6 months, he wanted to sit up in the bath too, but I quickly realised that he struggled to sit up in the bath and would often fall back which would result in me having to catch him every few minutes so that he didn’t bang his head as he landed and go under water! The thought really worried me. I kept wondering how I could get him to safely stay sat up in the bath without spending a fortune on something from Mothercare or Baby’s’R’Us. That’s when I realised I could put our plastic laundry basket to even better use by putting it in the bath and then letting Ben sit up in it, leaning against it to keep him upright. He used to love sitting and splashing away in the laundry basket at bath time and sitting upright all by himself (in his eyes) and it made bath time that little more enjoyable and a little less stressful! 😊


Parenting hack 8: eating messy ice cream

Sadly, I don’t have a photo for this one and couldn’t find one anywhere online, so I can only assume not many other people do this (or at least don’t post about it) This was a self taught hack because I was sick and tired of Ben making such a mess whenever he ate ice cream in a cone. The ice cream would always melt all down his fingers and then onto his clothes, the floor and the furniture. It was a nightmare! It was shortly after his 3rd birthday party and he still had some paper party plates leftover from his birthday party. My son and I were eating ice cream in cones for pudding one evening, the mess was quickly forming around his face, down his arms, hands and on his clothes and I suddenly had an idea. So I poked a hole in the middle of the paper plate and pushed the ice cream cone through it just enough so that the scoop of ice cream was still sticking out the top for him to eat, but anything that dripped would drip onto the plate 😊 super easy!


Parenting hack 9: sandy feet!

A lot of us will be going to a beach this summer, whether that’s in the UK or abroad, and every single parent and child DREAD the moment the sand has to be wiped off their body 😩 it’s sticky, it’s sore and it’s just a nightmare. It seems no matter how much we scrub the sand with a towel, it doesn’t all come off, especially on our legs and feet – the parts of the body you wish it would come off the most. Recently I found out that if you sprinkle a bit of baby talc powder on the sandy legs and feet and then rubs it off, all the sand comes off so much easier and quicker! Give it a try 😊

(it’s all thanks to this little rascal that I was able to think of these lazy parenting hacks, so a big thank you to him!)

I hope you enjoyed reading through these lazy parenting hacks and try some of them out 😊 let me know how you get on or if you already do some of these!

Lots of love,

Lauren x

Parenting

5 unique ways to de-stress…

If you’re ever feeling and looking like my son pictured above 👆🏼 then you definitely need to keep reading this blog post about my favourite 5 ways to de-stress, and I call them unique because they’re not your typical ways to de-stress. It’s none of that “take deep breathes, get into a relaxing bubble bath, go for a walk in the park” etc. These are ways that genuinely really help me to de-stress when I’m feeling very overwhelmed, lost, stuck, suffocated, hopeless, unorganised and a bit all over the place – you know that kind of stress?! Oh god, the worst kind!! I wanted to share these tips with you in case they also really help you the way they’ve helped me over the years. I first started doing these 5 things to de-stress when I was just 14 years old and at first I didn’t realise that they were ways to de-stress, I didn’t look at it in that way, all I knew was I felt much better after I did them so I continued doing them each time I felt very stressed. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I took a step back and realised that I had been doing the same 5 things whenever I was having a really stressful week/month and not only were they quite unique but they genuinely worked and helped me. So, without further ado, I’m looking forward to sharing this with you!


1.) Re-decorate / re-arrange a room in the house: so this is the one I’ve been doing the longest. I started doing this when I was 14 years old and it started when I had been going through such a horrible few months at school, I was being profusely bullied & beaten up by the School bullies and I was just completely fed up with coming home and feeling depressed in my bedroom. I wanted to be able to come home and de-stress and be in an environment that made me feel safe and happy. My bedroom, at the time, was filled with bad memories of me coming home and crying on my bed for hours because I was sick of being bullied. So every time I went into my bedroom, the whole room just felt very depressed and sad because of those memories. The bad memories had left a sad feel to the room. So I asked my mum if we could re-decorate my room and, luckily, she said yes. We went to Homebase and bought some paint, and then to ikea to order some new furniture (a new bed and wardrobe specifically) by the end of the week my room looked completely different and I no longer felt sad & depressed when I was in it because it no longer looked or felt like my old bedroom that I cried in every day. It was a completely new room and I loved it! It made me feel happy, safe and hopeful. It was like I was starting a fresh! The actual process of decorating and re-arranging a room is therapeutic too. I tend to re-arrange or re-decorate a room about once a year and it keeps me feeling de-stressed, safe and happy 😊 I can’t recommend this enough!


2.) Adult colouring book/dot-to-dot book: A few years ago I was introduced to adult colouring books and adult dot-to-dot books by friends of mine who just did it for fun. And I don’t blame them, it really is fun. So I jumped on the bandwagon and ended up finding that it helped with my anxiety and stress so much more than a lot of other things I have previously tried. It relaxes me so much, and most importantly, it completely takes my mind off of whatever it is I’m currently worrying about or getting stressed and anxious about, because all my focus and concentration is on the colouring / dot-to-dot book. Next thing I know, 2 hours has flown by, I’m still sat on my sofa colouring in, and I’m feeling as relaxed and peaceful as ever. I really can’t recommend it enough.

(Above: my dot-to-dot book that I spent my Saturday morning doing yesterday. The perfect way to de-stress)

3. Watch oddly satisfying YouTube videos: So this one is a good one! I started doing this most recently, about a year ago. I find that if it’s late at night and it’s too late to start re-decorating or colouring in, I get into bed and I watch YouTube videos on my phone. But not just any video, oddly satisfying videos. My most recent favourite is titled “Most Satisfying Soap Cutting” <— click the link to see for yourself 😂

There’s not much I can say on here that will explain just how oddly satisfying AND relaxing these videos are because not only are you watching and listening to something that is pleasing you, but your full focus and attention is suddenly on these videos and you completely forget what you were worrying and stressing about. So it honestly works wonders for me. I’ll just let the videos do the explaining. I’ll post a few links to my favourite videos below (my favourite is the soap video posted in the paragraph above) :

“Try not to get satisfied” 1.3M views

“Very Satisfying Video Compilation Sand Cutting” 298K views

“Top 100 best shredding moments” 20M views


De-clutter the house:

This one is for when you’re so stressed and fed up you almost just want to start all over again. You want to start a fresh. You want to reset! I personally find that the best way to “reset”, or at least get a similar feeling of resetting, is to completely de-clutter my house. It gives me that sense of getting my shit together, starting a fresh, organising the hell out of my life, not just my day. I get 2 big bin bags for each room in the house. 1 bag is for rubbish and junk that I’ll never want to use again and will be no good at a charity shop or selling online. That pile goes in that bag and then into the bin. The 2nd bag is for bits and bobs that I will never use again, but would be good to sell or send to a charity shop. I go around every room and completely de-clutter so that my house feels like a fresh new home, like I’ve reset the house. It’s such a fulfilling feeling and like a weight has been physically lifted off my shoulders once I’ve finished. I can’t recommend this enough! Little tip: be strict with yourself when de-cluttering. Don’t keep anything that you really don’t need or use anymore! I’m a huge hoarder sometimes (hence why I regularly need to de-clutter)


Knitting: Last, but definitely not least, is knitting. Simply, knitting. To anyone who doesn’t knit and has never even picked up knitting needles before, this is definitely for you! Starting a new hobby can be daunting, especially to people who have anxiety and/or depression. A million questions start going through your head. “What if I’m no good at it?” “What if people judge me?” “What if I make mistakes?” If these are the type of questions that go through your head, then this is just proof you definitely need to start knitting. Knitting is one of the most relaxing hobbies ever. Actually, it’s the most relaxing hobby ever. Being able to just simply sit in a quiet room, or even a semi-quiet room with the tv on low in the background for a bit of company (c’mon, admit you do that too!!?) is just so calming and tranquil. It’s even better if it’s a nice day outside and you knit outside. And the best part of this is you don’t even need to be good at knitting to do this, you really don’t. You don’t have to knit a jumper or a scarf. Just knit a square. You don’t need to make a masterpiece at the end of it! Not at all! The whole point of this is to de-stress, it’s the actual movement of your hands whilst your knitting, the gentle clicking sound of the knitting needles tapping against each other, and your mind completely focusing on what you’re doing – that’s the calming part of it, not what the masterpiece is going to look like at the end of it. So if you’re sat there reading this biting your nails and worrying you won’t be any good at knitting..please don’t worry any longer. Simply knit a square 😊 it’s the principal behind the knitting that helps you, not what you’re knitting!

Parenting

Supporting a loved one with mental health issues…(Dustin’s Story)

Hello everyone 👋🏼

Today I’m posting the 3rd interview of “supporting a loved one with mental health issues” and this one is a BIG one! It’s probably the one interview that had me close to tears half way through and my heart broke for the man I was interviewing. Dustin is a man in his early 20’s who is talking openly and honestly about his ex-fiancé who suffered with manic depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. I am so grateful for Dustin opening up to me in the hope to help others who may be going through a similar situation with their loved one and I can’t express how much I respect him for not only sharing his story with us all but for everything he did to support his ex-fiancé through such a traumatic time for them both. Please read the interview below with an open mind, but more importantly, empathy.


My interview with Dustin:

Me: How long have you known the person close to you who suffers with mental health problems?

D: I had known her since we were 15 or so. At 18 we started dating, were engaged at 21, and it ended when I was 23.

Me: How long has this person been suffering with a mental health problem and what do they suffer with?

D: She was initially diagnosed at 20, but we had suspected that something may have been amiss a few years earlier, as thyroid issues and depression both ran in her family. She was diagnosed with manic depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Me: When did you first realise they were suffering with mental health problems?

D: At first it started slow. A lack of interest in partaking in anything social, a want to stay in bed all day. Zero motivation to go to work.

Initially when I approached her about it she had just said she was tired a lot and that she “just isn’t up to it”.

Having suffered from depression at the hands of medication in my own past, I recognized these symptoms as being a part of something larger than just fatigue.

After a few talks I had her convinced to get checked out.

Me: What has it been like for you personally being close to someone who suffers with mental health problems?

D: It was hard. I was initially unsure of how to handle it. Unsure of how to comfort her. I was determined, but needed to educate myself. I would’ve moved mountains for her, so I learned that some days, no matter how hard I tried, it was going to be a bad day. I had to learn that it wasn’t my fault if I couldn’t cheer her up or comfort her.

I had to learn how to cope with her lack of interest in everything around her, and some days, even a lack of interest in me. It broke my heart, but I hid it well. It wasn’t about how I was feeling, to me at least. It was about making life as comfortable and tolerable for her as possible.

Eventually, nothing was enough. There were three suicide attempts, and she was admitted to a mental health facility by her family. This family also blamed me as being the cause of her depression.

After this, she stopped taking her medication against her doctors wishes, and got violent. On more than one occasion I fell victim to physical abuse at her hands, and after one particularly bad night, I ended it.

I realized that no matter what I did, I couldn’t be her saviour. I realized I had to put myself first for a change. Making her “better” wasn’t in my control, and she wasn’t in control of herself. I called off our wedding, and ended our relationship. That’s, for the most part, the last time I talked to her aside from a brief stint where she was in the mental health facility again and reached out to me to talk to her because she felt I was the only one who could ever get through to her.

Me: If you could give any advice to someone else out there who’s close to someone with mental health problems, what would it be?

D: My advice would be to support them however and whenever you can, but to put your own health first. If a situation becomes too much to handle, or even dangerous as mine was, there is no shame in getting out.


A big thank you to Dustin for telling us his story ❤️

Parenting

FUN and CHEAP places to go with kids this summer..

(My son and I strawberry picking at Boxted Farm)

Hello everyone! 👋🏼

The weather over the last 2 months has been SHOCKING to say the least. Hot, sunny weather every single day, not a drop of rain, England did well in the World Cup, Love Island is on, everyone is happy and in a good mood – what the hell is going on, England?! I thought summers like these were just a myth in England! Weather like this brings great opportunity to take your little ones out to enjoy the weather and have some fun family time together. Today, I wanted to write a post about a few of my favourite things to do with my son in this warm weather, based in England 😊 so, below, I’ll be listing just a few things we enjoy doing.


McLauchlan’s of Boxted Farm, Essex:

My son is getting to an age now where I sometimes have to bribe him to leave the house 😂 but once he’s out of the house and doing things, he absolutely loves it! Last weekend, for example, I took my son berry picking at a local farm called “McLauchlan’s of Boxted Farm” in Essex. The weather was beautiful and the berries were so juicy and yummy!! It’s not too expensive either, very reasonable. Upon arriving at the berry farm, you grab a box or two and make your way around the farm picking a variety of summer fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and even broad beans!

The farm is open from 9am – 6pm seven days a week and there’s no fee for picking the fruit, you just simply pay for the fruit you’ve picked at the end when you weigh it at the Farm Shop 😊 the Farm Shop also sells other fruit that isn’t currently growing on their farm along with jam and cream. Below is a link to the website if you’re interested! I definitely recommend.

McLauchlan’s of Boxted Farm


Frinton-on-sea:

This wide, sandy beach and seaside town is one of my new favourites! It’s located in Essex and it’s not too touristy or commercialised either and prides itself in being a quiet, family resort. The seaside town is a few minutes walk away from the seafront and has lots of lovely little shops and cafe’s/restaurants. The BEST thing about this beach (from a parent’s perspective) is the fact that there’s nothing on the beach/sea front that children can ask for and nothing that will distract children. I hate it when I take my son to a beach and right on the sea front there is sweet shop after sweet shop, arcades galore and ice cream vans everywhere! Don’t get me wrong, I love a seaside town to have all of those things, but not right on the seafront, mainly because otherwise all it does is distract the children all day. Frinton-on-sea has a lovely quiet and empty seafront so that the kids can play and swim on the beach for hours undistracted and my son’s full attention will be on building sandcastles and paddling in the sea instead of seeing the flashing lights and music from the arcades from the corner of his eye every few seconds and the smell of sweets and ice cream 😊 all in all, this promises a great family day out.


St Nectans Glen:

(photos taken on my trip to St Nectans Glen, 2016)

Based in Cornwall, this is nature at its finest. There isn’t much I can say about St Nectans Glen that will do it justice or truly explain how beautiful it all is. It’s truly magical. I’ll let the website do the talking and persuading (although it won’t take much persuading) it really gives you that fairy feeling, as if fairies could totally live in St Nectans Glen for real!! It’s really THAT magical. This would be great to take your little ones to if they enjoy nature.

I visited St Nectans Glen at the end of 2016 and have been desperate to go back ever since. Below is a screen shot of a page from the website describing exactly what St Glens is and what you will see and experience there, along with the link to the main website. Please check this out, I highly recommend 😊

St Nectans Glen website <– click here ❤️


Black Park:

(Above, photos of one of my many trips to Black Park with my family)

Black Park has long been a favourite place of mine to go when the weather is nice since I was a small child myself. Black Park is located in South Bucks and covers 500 acres of woodland. With free admission, and only a small fee to pay for parking, it’s the perfect place to take your kids and the dogs too. It has family friendly attractions such as a big adventure playground and Go Ape! It has a huge lake where you can feed the ducks or even take a little remote controlled boat for a spin! There are often people fishing by the lake too. With miles of woodland tracks and trails, it brings plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting. 😊 Black Park is also situated right next to Pinewood Studios and is great for celebrity-spotting due to the park often being used for movie sets such as the Harry Potter films. I can’t count on both my hands, or on the hands of all my relatives and friends, the amount of times I’ve gone to Black Park and I’ve had my fair share of picnics there as well. It’s perfect for a family day out in the warm weather. If you forget to bring a picnic or would prefer a cooked meal, that’s completely fine because there’s a lovely cafe in the park serving hot and cold food and drink. 😊

(A photo I recently took of an area in Black Park where some scenes in Harry Potter were filmed)

I hope you liked the look of a few of my favourite cheap and fun places to take my son in the warm weather. Where are your favourite places to take your kids in the summer? Comment below or head over to my Instagram (@secretlifeofananxiousmum) and tell me there! ❤️

Lots of love,

Lauren x

Parenting

WTF WEDNESDAY

Hello 👋🏼

As you’ll already know if you’ve been following my blog, most Wednesday’s I try and write a “WTF Wednesday” post on the blog about my most WTF moments so far as a parent 😂 we all have them, sometimes they’re hilarious and sometimes they’re infuriating but we all have them! When we had a baby we automatically signed up for this for the rest of our lives! There’s no avoiding them. My WTF moment today is something that literally just happened and I’m still giggling away about it.

This WTF moment involves a very annoying little game called Fortnite! FYI, before I carry on with this post, I would just like to salute any other parent out there who has also lost a child to this bloody game!! My 8 year old son has become addicted to the extent I now have to regularly monitor him on it and limit his time on it!

Earlier today, my son approached me and politely asked if he could have some money to buy some vbucks. (Vbucks is like fortnite currency for money you spend on Fortnite in order to buy things on there such as new characters etc. E.g. 800 vbucks is roughly around £8) I told him no because I don’t have enough money. I explained to him that if he did really well at school for the rest of the term and did his chores around the house then he could have some money for vbucks in the summer holidays. He accepted this answer (or so I thought) and went back to his bedroom. Now, before I talk about the next bit, which is the funny bit, I’ll explain that on my son’s 8th birthday my partner and I gave him a phone. Mainly so that he could play on it instead of always playing on ours and also so that he could FaceTime his family who he doesn’t get to see often and his old friends from where we used to live who he always rarely gets to see anymore. So far, he’s only ever used his phone for those purposes 😂 until today! (His phone is closely monitored by me.)

My son then secretly text my mum from his phone asking if he could have some money for vbucks, probably knowing that she would never say no to him, and inevitably she said yes! He then came running to me all excited and said “yay!! Nanny just said she would give me some money for vbucks! She is transferring £8 to you now and I’ve just bought some vbucks!” A big part of me was angry at the cheek of him for doing this without telling me. But a small part of me was trying so hard not to laugh. It was one of those moments where I had to pretend I needed the toilet so I could go and giggle in the bathroom without him seeing me 😂 that was when I whispered to myself “wtf!?”. Like I said, most of me was angry at him, but a small part was impressed with his thinking skills to ask his grandparents instead of me because he knew they’d never say no! 😂 Kid is going places.

It’s safe to say, my son won’t be going on Fortnite for a little while so he learns his lesson. I explained to him that what he did was naughty and he mustn’t ever do it again. He told me he was sorry and explained he didn’t realise it was naughty. 😂 let’s hope he learns his lesson!

If you’ve got any WTF parenting moments with your little ones please feel free to leave them in the comments below or head over to my instagram (@secretlifeofananxiousmum) and share them with me on there. I would love to read them 😊

Lots of love to you all,

Lauren ❤️