A return to stressing less and the Bupa Health influencer blog awards

stressless-christmas

Can you believe November is here already? It’s the point where the silly season starts to hit full steam, but I’ve decided that this year will be different. So next Wednesday, I’d love you to come and join in the Save Mum’s Sanity #stresslessxmas.

I think as mothers we sometimes bear the brunt of the silliness of this time of year – organising the social gatherings, buying the gifts, endless food prep and we can easily start feeling the stress building in a time of year that should be enjoyable and about sharing love with our family.

I personally put alot of pressure on myself to provide the perfect christmas experience and it always leaves me feeling strung out. I figure what my family really needs at Christmas is not a strung out, hung up mother, but a peaceful, relaxed and happy one who’s not worrying about the details so much as the time spent together.

So that’s my aim this year, and I’d love if it was yours too!

Next Wednesday’s post will have some details about how to get involved and what to expect – I promise not to bombard you with lots of Christmas Stress Less posts, as it will kind of defeat the purpose! I’m aiming for once a week with some social media check ins to see how everything is going. I’m planning on ressurrecting Save Mum’s Sanity Weekly, which will be full of #stresslessxmas tips so if you’re not signed up, you can do so on the side bar.

The other exciting news I’d like to share is that Save Mum’s Sanity has been announced as a finalist in the Bupa Health Influencer Blog Awards 2014. I was so shocked to be a finalist I danced around my house saying ‘OMG’ for about an hour. I’m a finalist in the Family Time category, so feel free to pop over and put in a vote for me and have a look at all the other wonderful finalists.

Save-Mum's-Sanity_postcard

It’s really heartening to be recognised as a blog aiming to change to the way we think about health and wellbeing. I’m really passionate about mothers looking after their own needs as a priority, rather than sticking their goals, dreams, sanity and wellbeing on the shelf in the sake of their family. It’s not what your family want or need from you – there’s no such thing as a perfect mother, but lots of amazing, different ways to be a perfectly good one. This is what I want to celebrate and what I want for you.

Thanks so much for reading and being here. Feel free to tell your friends, so we can stress less and save our sanity together. Much love x

My boy with the crooked smile – Part II

It’s hard to believe my beautiful J Boy is five today. But here he is, all long limbed and boisterous, about to head off to school next year. I’ve learnt that’s it inevitable that I get a bit emotional and reflective around this time of year, as it also marks the anniversary of my birth as a mother.

This first born boy of mine has taught me so much – lessons too many to list. I’ve been thinking about my boy with the crooked smile post a lot lately and thinking it was time for an update. Reading it still makes me cry as I remember the raw emotion of what I felt then, and all the hundreds of comments from around the world that helped me feel less alone, but my feelings and emotions have stretched and molded with time.

Lately, J has become aware of his different smile. I talk to him about being different and that everyone is different in their own way. I tell him he has facial palsy and that his smile makes him unique and special. Usually he wouldn’t say much during these chats, but one night when we were talking about how special his smile was he piped up and said ‘not anymore’ and he was smiling a closed-lip straight smile and pulling up the corner of the right-side of his lip to make it even straighter. I felt that pang in my heart, the one I felt back then.

Keen not to overreact, I told him that I love his smile but I understand that he also just wants to be like everyone else too. All the while worrying that someone had made him feel self-conscious about his smile, or that I’ve talked about it too much and given him a complex. He doesn’t give anything away, but I realise that it’s inevitable that he’ll try and perfect a more symmetrical smile and that just like anyone, he’ll often hate the thing that makes him different. The thing that I most love about him.

As much as the past five years have had their difficulties, that I’ve sat in waiting rooms I never imagined sitting, doing therapy I never knew existed and googled names of conditions I had never heard of, there’s not much I would change.

My boy with the crooked smile has taught me to look past the physical, to persist when I would normally give up, to feel the true joy and heartbreak of unconditional love and the honour of being gifted such a life to guide. Our love is one of fierce protectiveness – and just as I would go into battle for him, I know he’d do the same for me. We’ve each made each other stronger just by being and that’s a pretty hard bond to break.

I wrote then that I knew we’d be okay, my boy with the crooked smile and me. I felt it then, even when I was not okay, when I worried so much about how he’d fit in, if he’d grow confident in his skin and if he’d find love and support from his peers. This year I’ve watched him blossom and form strong friendships, develop his own interests and a love of learning, show tenacity in therapy and now I really believe he will be okay. And I’m okay with letting him go as I watch him take that big step into school, even though it scares me half to death some days.

I’m scared that the world will make him want to change his smile, the smile we all adore, the joy that erupts from just one corner of his mouth. But something tells me deep in my heart that he will change the world with that smile, just like he’s changed mine.

Happy Birthday J Boy! xx

Photograph: Alicia Summer Photography