#IAMWHOLE

It’s 22:21pm as I write this… but better late than never. It is still #worldmentalhealthday and Rizzle Kicks star, Jordan Stephens has launched a mental health campaign to normalise the stigma around mental health and to fight for the support that the campaign needs, for young people and simply for us all.

More than one in three people between the ages of 11 and 24 suffer with mental health difficulties. That is quite a statistic. That is a scary amount of young people in this day and age who feel like they are alone, who feel like they shouldn’t speak up and get the help that every human being deserves. Jordan created the hastag #IAMWHOLE to soar throughout social media giving anyone suffering in silence the opportunity to click on it and have their eyes opened to a circle of people, holding out a hand so that they don’t have to feel isolated anymore.

Like my photograph above, many of us have joined in with the campaign by drawing a black circle on our hand. We have joined in because we have personally been touched by the effects of mental health difficulties, we want to help raise awareness to a cause that matters or like me, have suffered personally.

It took me a long time to accept that the anxiety attacks that I would have, the ones that would frighten me and effect my life so dramatically, fell under the mental health umbrella. I don’t know why but when I finally realised how I was ‘labelled’, I felt ashamed of myself. I felt weak, alone and embarrassed to admit it to my friends and closest family. It defined me for quite a long time. I was afraid a lot of the time, it stopped me from enjoying life as much as I wished that I could. I hardly said ‘yes’ to anything anymore, I limited myself completely and when I got so bad, my chest would go so tight, beads of sweat would drip from my face and I would be convinced that I wouldn’t get another chance to breathe. Panic would take me over completely and I was left, crying on my bed…a shell of the person that I used to be.

It was incredibly hard, to accept and to fight.

I know how it feels to feel so far from who you used to be, so out of control…So tired.

I want to help anyone who feels like I once did. I want you to want to help. We have to help.

I am a mother. This campaign matters for the future, for our children. For us all.

#IAMWHOLE

Are you?

With Love,

-Ria x

 

 

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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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One of the Channel Mum topics this month was to talk about Baby Names. Why we named our children what we did, the reasoning behind them and maybe any other names that we may like. And this is a topic which I was very excited about.

Matt and I love the idea of another baby, one day. We can but hope that we will be blessed with a third little cherub to add to ‘Team Langner’- that is something that we know, something that we both agree on.

Names however, well… that is a completely different story.

During both of my pregnancies, I would search for hours on end for the perfect names to send our children out in to the world with. And… One by one, Matt would obliterate them all… Then offer up the most ridiculous joke names that he could think up. He thought he was funny. I didn’t so much.

Strangely though, as I finished editing my video where I talk about the names that I chose and the names that I like, Matt did suggest a beautiful boys name which I have never considered before. I think if we were ever lucky enough to have another boy, he would have a name. For now though, that name will remain a secret.

Names have always fascinated me. The responsibility to pick a good one is something that weighs heavily on any mother-to-be. You want to give your child the best chance at opportunities, making friends easily and to like who they are completely, right?

Let’s take my name for example! My name is Ria. While I like that my name spells ‘air’ backwards and that it is a little unique… I was named after the old lady from ‘Butterflies’ who couldn’t cook and wasn’t a particularly happy soul. My name also left me wide open to playground torment, since I can remember.

So I guess what I would like to know is, what names do you like? And why? And even though you like them, would you use them?

With Love, Ria x

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Sometimes things happen that stop you in your tracks, right? Sometimes things happen that make you feel a little unsteady, forced to prioritise and a little like you are just about keeping your head above water. Well… As you may know, lately I have been on the verge of a New Chapter. Ellenah has started school and as amazing as it has been for us both to search Pinterest each night so that she can choose next days hair and to constantly take photographs of her in the morning before she trots off happily…Normal hasn’t yet started! All of the extracurricular clubs have started back up which have kept us busy but Els is still not in school full time. This week she is staying a little longer and her cute, little Disney Princess lunch bag goes with her each morning. As of right now, I still get to keep hold of her in the afternoons to play together. This does mean though, I have had to change my shift pattern to complement her settling period in school and because I don’t like to write and create too much when she is around (because this time together will run out in a few days and I want to make the most of her)… I haven’t been able to sit here, at my desk with a brew (and by that I mean the coldest beverage I can find as I write this in the 31 degrees heat…In Autumn??) to write and to give myself to anything that isn’t my children at this time.

I’m currently trying to focus on creating a new back to school routine that works for us. Like many Mama’s, I have to find a way to make sure that homework is done, we have read together enough and they are attending their clubs…all of this as well as ensuring that they are enjoying their childhood. Always in the back of my mind, i’m reminding myself that this is their time. My main priority is to help them shine in all that they want to do and achieve… and shine with happiness from their beautiful little souls.

That is how I envisioned motherhood. That is what I strive for. They will always come first!

Next week, it will all change once again. Ellenah will be in school full time with Noah and my work pattern will balance out. In my spare time, I will be (as I’ve said before) embarking on a new chapter and in that time I will be focussed on giving my little blog the time and  attention that it deserves. I will also be looking to create better video content for my YouTube Channels – The Sweetest Life & Ria Langner (Which runs alongside Channel Mum). For the kind of person that I am, it takes great courage for me to hold my hands up and say ‘I can’t do this right now, well I can but not well!’ and it takes great courage to remind myself that I am one human, doing all I can and trying to make it work in a way that my children are blissfully unaware because they have everything that they need from me’.

Next week, let’s meet here again, shall we? Next week I will have a plan to share with you, a new lease of life. Next week I will be able to tell you which days I will post new blog posts and video’s, so that we all know where we stand. Would that be okay? It will be here at 6.30am on Thursday 22nd September.

For now, I will be enjoying the rest of the time that I get with my sweetheart and I will be pouring time and energy in to Noah who is now in year three, key stage two… A big deal! So far we have made a turtle (Els), read a lot about planet Earth (Noah), practiced how to write ‘M M M M M M M’ (Els) and revised number ordering (Noah)… As well as reading a lot of lovely stories together. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I love watching them create things, learn things and have a sense of achievement… It’s just amazing! I love that they let me be such a big part of it all.

A New Lease Of Life

See you back here next week? In the meantime, leave any questions, comments, blog or video requests below and catch me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, I will try and keep things lively over there when I can.

Big Love, Ria x

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