Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

To my sweet little Ellenah,

Did you know that once upon a time, the thought of having a little girl absolutely terrified me? In a time when so much comes down to who we are on the outside… and comparison (the thief of joy) plagues so many. It’s a scary time to be a girl or a woman, let alone to raise one.

It was hard enough when I was younger. People made comments about what I looked like, all of the time. I would return home from school on the daily and try to think of ways that I could make my legs shorter, ways to looks shorter…to blend in with the other girls my age. I would stare at my face in the mirror, for what felt like hours. Sometimes I would stare at it for so long that it would eventually distort my reflection and then I would walk away, happy. It was my way of hiding from myself. I did this because I was not happy with my outside and at the time, to me… that was what mattered the most.

I felt that because my outside didn’t please others, somehow it made who I was on the inside lesser, unimportant, less worthy.

I was wrong!

I was wrong about that and I was wrong to be scared of raising a little girl.

I was wrong about me because regardless of how I felt about myself back then, I always tried to be kinder than I felt. I always tried to treat people how I wanted others to treat me. I always tried to prevent others from feeling how I did. In that time, bit by bit… I learned about the things that actually matter.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

I learned that your heart should be the most attractive thing about you and like any muscle, the more you use it in the right way, the stronger it will become. In life, if you are using your heart to say kind things to people (and of course, to yourself!), if you are using it to treat everyone as the equal, important humans that they are, to accept people for everything that they are, to love and to forgive, even when that feels hard… Your beautiful heart beams from within and becomes everything that you need, to be ‘beautiful’ on the outside.

And this is what I try and show you, every day.

Being beautiful, being perfect…These are not aspirations. Perfection isn’t real and beauty is skin deep. These goals are a waste of time, energy and nothing good can come from trying to be them.

If you were to ask me, when I feel most beautiful, my answer would be this…

It’s early in the morning, as the sun beams through the bedroom window. I hear the door squeak as it opens and you appear. Your big, blue eyes are heavy and your soft, tiny hand is crunched in to a ball, trying to rub the sleepiness away. Your dainty little footsteps pad along the floor and then from the side of my bed, you roll over me. You snuggle beneath the duvet and rest your head in my arms. And, your eyes meet mine in this secret moment between a mother and her daughter, before the world wakes up… I feel beautiful. I feel beautiful because as you cup your hand on my cheek and stroke my fresh but slightly ageing face, the look in your eyes reminds me that I am loved by you, no matter what. Despite the fine lines that appear when I smile and laugh, despite my messy hair, despite any of the things that mean that I am not perfect. You don’t care about those things… You see me and they don’t matter to you.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

I feel beautiful because the ability to love from within, gave me your dad, gave me your brother and it gave me you.

I so desperately hope that you are the kind of girl who isn’t defined by what make-up you put on, how shiny your hair is, how much you weigh…who you appear to be.

I hope that in the future, any body shaming, mean words, comments designed to make you feel bad or doubt yourself, do not land. I hope they fall, like water off of a ducks back.

I so desperately hope that you have the courage to stand up and be you, unapologetically. I so desperately hope that you stand up and fiercely protect your right to love yourself.

I hope you don’t spend your time trying to adjust yourself to fit in, change yourself to please the world. Be brave, have confidence in exactly who you are and you may just end up changing the world.

Forget fad diets, forget what the media portrays, forget the filters that make you look flawless. That is not real life.

Be kind to yourself…eat the foods that will look after you. Don’t punish yourself though… eat the cake.

Don’t hate your body sweetheart. You are so blessed to have it. Run as fast as you can, dance in the rain, skip when you are feeling happy, climb trees, hike through forests , breathe deeply and feel gratitude for each and every day that you get to have in this world.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

Of course, if it takes you a little time to become you, like it did me and you listen too much to those who try to bash you… I will always be here, loving you so hard, until you love yourself.

Because, you are a beautiful person Els. You are a sweet, kind-hearted soul. A diva…Yes! Fierce… Definitely! A force to be reckoned with… Absolutely! An absolute blessing to the world?

Ellenah, this big, wide world is incredibly and undoubtedly blessed to have you in it. Exactly as you are.

I love you!

– Mama x

 

 

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Teacher Envy

I saw her black, patent shoes first. One still flashes. The other, only does sometimes.

Her cheeky, little face peered around some legs and her eyes searched for mine in the crowd of open-armed mama’s. The mama’s waiting for their favourite, little humans to clamber bulkily out of the classroom door. Book bags and lunch boxes hooked over arms. Sweaters and cardigans scrunched up in to a ball in their sweaty palms.

Ellenah held onto her things tightly and stepped forward hesitantly. Her eyes were open wide and lips pressed together, in anticipation to find me.  She shuffled on her feet, eyes scouting the crowd.

And then our eyes met.

This has quickly become my favourite part of the day. Meeting my little people again, after hours apart…Hours of being by myself, keeping busy and trying not to miss them.

Anyway… Our eyes met again and within seconds, she was in my arms, smiling…happy.

Today she showed me a picture that she spent time drawing at school. It was a little, smiley girl and a taller one , with big hair and another happy face.

I had seen this picture a lot over the Summer. It was when Ellenah discovered her love of drawing pictures of us together. Pictures of us in the park, us in the sea, us when we went camping, us having a picnic… Us everywhere, together.

Except when I asked about this picture, I was told that it wasn’t me in it. It was Ellenah…and her teacher. Shall we call her ‘Miss Mum Replacement Wonderful’.

And… It was like taking a bullet.

I remember this feeling, when Noah started school. I know that I have worse to come. The whole ‘My Teacher Said…’ malarkey.

I hated it all then and I hate it now. I’m not in the slightest a jealous person by nature. I can usually find the happiness in most things. This though, it made my heart hurt a little. I felt ‘Teacher Envy’ rise up and burn my chest.

And, it’s crazy to admit it but the idea that Ellenah likes another woman more than she likes me, is horrid. The idea that she searches for her face throughout the day, for comfort… or anything. I can’t stand it.

I don’t want to feel this insecure.

I don’t want to feel sad that ‘Miss Wonderful’ gets to see how happy Ellenah is when she feels proud of herself. I don’t want her to see Ellenah’s beautiful face light up at story time. I don’t want her to be pulled in, as part of my girls’ games.

Of course, none of this is true either.

I want Ellenah to be so unbelievably happy at school. I want her to tell me lovely things about her day. I want her face to light up because Miss Wonderful gave her a sticker for tidying up, good listening… sharing and I want her to feel cared about while she is there. A home away from home… Almost.

So… I’ll have to hold on to the weight of her as she falls in to my arms at the end of the school day. And when it isn’t raining, we’ll walk as slowly as we can so that she can tell me and her big brother about her lovely teacher, her lovely day and her lovely moments away from us.

And we will share it all with her, every step of the way.

And I will be the best mama that I can be to her, always. Every second of the day.

We will love each other unconditionally.

Teacher Envy

So when I think about it, there is no competition, is there?

Everything is actually wonderful as it should be.

With Love, Ria x

P.S. Has this happened to you? How did it make you feel? x

 

 

 

 

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Ellenah starting school is naturally something that I want to remember. Something that I would like her to look back on and remember too. So I tried my hardest to capture as much of the day as I could in a vlog (on my second channel). This new chapter for us both has at times made me feel afraid, made me feel sad, made me feel awfully strange…As bittersweet as it is, I am truly excited for her. I am excited about being a part of this new adventure for her. I’m excited for the school plays, school projects, school trips that I will nominate myself to chaperone…The school disco’s, church service’s and sports days.

In years to come, I want her to know that we chose a place that we believe to be right for her. A place that will make her happy. A place that she will enjoy going to, five days of the week. I want her to know that we chose her school in love. I want her to see how much we love her and how much these precious moments, milestones and times matter to us. How much she matters.

So I will probably show her this when she is older. And I will no doubt watch it time and time again when I am too!

With Love, Ria x

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A New Chapter

They say that ‘sometimes…the things that we can’t change, end up changing us!’

In just a day, I have gone from riding on the back of someone else’s new chapter, holding on for dear life, to being fiercely thrust into my own. I innocently thought that I was preparing Noah to return to school, to work hard in year three and to look out for his little sister who would be starting school with him, for the first time. I put my energy into getting them there yesterday morning, on time and with everything they needed. I used my strength, needed it desperately so that I wouldn’t fall apart. I was determined not to cry in front of her… I didn’t want her to think that she needed to stay with me. I did sob… but I waited until she was happy playing. I waited until she didn’t look for me anymore. It didn’t take very long. She was okay… She was busy starting that chapter which I mentioned before.

And as I walked away from her, I felt lost in myself somewhere. Words weren’t making much sense and I was half way home before I realised that I was walking anywhere.

It took me that long to realise that I had been stranded at the start of my own ‘new direction’. Left to sink or swim. I haven’t been by myself in a really long time. Not for a substantial amount of time. Not like I will now.

And last night I sat…I pondered what I would do with it! The spare time? I considered what it would do to me.

Would it change my mind about how insanely I hope that we will be blessed with a third child? Will I take up baking, knitting? Will I learn a new language? Will I grow to like it? Will I remain lost? Will I grow roots in my local Costa while writing that book that I have dreamt of having published? Will I read more, create more? Will I simply count down the seconds until my favourite people in the world come home to me, their mama?

Will I become obsessed with adult colouring books?

Will I fall in love with running again?

Will I say yes to more opportunities, more invites?

Will I spend my time missing my children and wondering what they are up to?

Will I eat too much brie and cherry tomatoes?

Will I take up painting?

Will I walk for hours because I have nothing better to do?

Will I be okay?

I have to be don’t I? I want to be! I have to fall in love with this next chapter. My new chapter. I have to enjoy it because I want the children to enjoy theirs and they learn from how I live life. I want us to come back together, around the dinner table and talk about the awesome things that have happened in our happy days. And…It just makes sense to me that life is better when you are smiling, laughing.

Life is better when you are achieving, pushing yourself, getting closer to your dreams coming true and closer to reaching your goals. Life is no joke!

My new chapter will be exactly what I make it. I have to let it change me, for all of the good that it can do.

It could make me a better mother, more patient, more organised, more fun. I think that I’m a good mum now. I’m kind, caring…warm. We have a lot of fun, a lot of laughs…but it could be even better if I let it. If I strive for it. If I make the best of ‘this’. Couldn’t it?

Is it okay that my new chapter doesn’t sound so bad now? Is it okay that It will be nice to tell my children about it?

It could teach them so much, don’t you think? About how we have to keep moving forward, how we have to stay flexible because the world is always changing and we have to be able to adapt, find the good. Take a sad song and make it better?

About how we have to choose happiness and enjoy each day as much as possible. About how we all should endeavour to find the good in everything, everyone…ourselves?

About how we should try our hardest not to waste days, even the seconds. Time can be a beast but we can’t let it go to waste.

About how we mustn’t regret and we mustn’t dwell.

I think so….

I also think that this could be something wonderful for me…and of course my lovely littles… and man.

What do you think? What would you do with a chapter like this one?

Love, Ria x

 

 

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Ellenah Is Starting School

Today is the day that my beautiful little girl starts primary school. My beautiful little girl  who has lived wildly and free throughout this summer. My little Ellenah with the grazed knees, muddy tan, bright blonde hair and big blue eyes. She still smells like summer. A little like freshly cut grass, berry stained finger tips, campfires and salty beads of sweat from a lot of running around, through the tree’s and out into the open space of the countryside.

Ellenah Is Starting School

The summer holidays are officially over…and with it goes our freedom to stay up late making Pinterest smores and snuggling under blankets so that she can fall asleep, her face aglow from the flickering fire that kept us warm.

Ellenah Is Starting School

And instead of the lazy mornings spent eating fruit salads, reading stories, playing hide and seek and making the day wait for us… suddenly, time caught up with us. And instead of the little summer shoes by the front door, now there are some black, patent school shoes which light up. They go beautifully with her little, grey skirt and emblemed, blue cardigan (which make her eyes smile). She has a book bag, a p.e. bag, plimsolls and some cute little gym shorts which make her legs look like twigs. It’s all labelled. All labelled with the name that she has spent the summer perfecting how to write. Ellenah. It is all ready to go.

But is she? Am I ready for her to leap into her next chapter?

Ellenah Is Starting School

Everything that I am has gone in to raising my daughter. Ever since I saw those lines on that pregnancy test I have tried my hardest to be everything that she will ever need from a mother. And even though some days she can be defiant, strong willed and dare I say it, tough… I love her unconditionally. I have loved watching her find out who she is. I have loved being a part of it. I love how she surprises me, everyday. I love how kind she can be. And even before all of this… I loved watching her learn to walk, talk, sing and dance. I loved watching her feed herself, hold her own cup, learn how to use her knife and fork. I have enjoyed watching her learn, reach her milestones and keep achieving. I have also held it close to my heart that she has let me play my part in it. She has let me play a role in her life. She has let me care for her, teach her and be there with and for her…each step of the way.

And now, things will have to change for us both.

Today, I have to wave goodbye to her at the same classroom door that started Noah’s ‘school chapters’. I have to stand there and hope that I don’t break..or at least that she doesn’t see it if I do. I have to let her say goodbye to me and me to her. I have to walk away. Without her. I have to start letting her go. I have to start letting her grow up and find out who she is, more than ever. She needs to know who Ellenah is…away from me.

It isn’t going to be easy.

I look at her and cuddle her at night before she goes to sleep and she is still so small in my arms, still so tiny. Still my perfect baby girl…Isn’t she?!

Ellenah has been waiting for this moment. She is desperate to know how to read and she loves playing with others. Every single day this summer, she has asked me how long there is left until her first day at school. Her smile has beamed when i’ve told her ‘it isn’t long now!’

Ellenah Is Starting School

As she goes off today to embark on her school career, I will wonder which miniature chair is hers. I will wonder if her desk has a slide out tray. I will wonder who she will sit next to and hope that she gets a seat by the window. I will think of her peg where she will hang her coat and bags. I will imagine her in her first nativity play where she may be cast as an angel. I will think of the mothers day service at the church, the easter celebrations…sports day! I will feel excited when I picture her trotting out of school happily, searching for my smile in the crowd of mums and leaping over to tell me about her day. When I think about it for a few moments, I can feel her arms wrap around me. I can feel her warmth. I can hear her say ‘hello!’… and I am so excited for her.

As she goes off today to embark on her school career, I will hope that she remembers her manners and how important it is to be polite, to say please and thank you. I hope that she will be kind-hearted to her school friends. I hope that she cares about their feelings. I hope that she is respectful of her teachers and of everything that they try to teach her. I hope that my sometimes slightly feral little girl continues to blossom and shine just like she always does and in the way that always brightens every day.

Ellenah Is Starting School

Today will be hard. Everything is changing.

But…

I want Ellenah to be everything that she can be. I want her to know and understand as much as she can. I want her to know about herself, that she is a force to be reckoned with. A beautiful force of energy who can make her dreams come true, whatever they may be…but she has to start somewhere, start small. I want her to fall in love with learning things. I want her to soak up as much as she can because knowledge is power. I want her to build true friendships with people who she will treasure in her adult years. I want her to have the freedom to love school without her worrying about me missing her.

I want her to be happy, always. I’m confident that school will make her happy…so how could I ever be sad?

Love, Ria x

 

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