Saturday, 16 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 11 UK to Dubai and it's raining here also.

I left the UK in a storm and arrived home to one in Dubai. The big difference though was it was warm with a high of 24c and a low of 18c.

I arrived home wearing jeans, jumper, boots and carrying my jacket. I was a little warm, but I need my winter gear for my next trip to South Africa in May.

I've also struggled with the 4 hour time difference and still on UK time over the weekend.

69 Sunday Up early to Gloucester to meet Mary and Sarah, it was bloody freezing and blowing a gale. Had a lovely day then drove over to Cirencester to take child 5 out for dinner and then returned to South Wales in a snow storm.

70 Monday Lazy morning, coffee and blogging and spent the rest of the day cleaning the flat and packing. Child 3 is moving in until after his driving test and his return to Australia. Collected spare key from a friend, visited the Things. So happy to report Thing 4 is going to be a girl, due in August. Called in to say bye to friend who flat sits for me, printed flight ticket and TV licence.

71 Tuesday Woke to cold, wet and windy weather. Collected mum and drove north to Blackpool, stopping along the way for coffee and snacks. Cousin and Aunt met us in the afternoon. We started a walk to the beach, got beaten back by the wind after 100yds and retreated to the pub for the evening.

72 Wednesday Breakfast, attempted a walk on the seafront but almost got blown off our feet, then off to the Crematorium for my Uncle's funeral. Took mum back to my aunt's house where she's staying for around a week and I spent the night back in the Premier Inn. So grateful I was able to spend time with my Uncle over recent years and time with my aunt and cousin on my last trip in happier times.

73 Thursday Early start and drive to Birmingham to return car hire and catch my flight back to Dubai. The drive was horrendous, with standing water, speed restrictions and several accidents. The journey took 4 and a half hours.
The flight home was good, no pain, new movies and friendly neighbours.
Bob was pleased to see me, but panicked by the thunder storm.

74 Friday So tired, went to bed at 10pm and was awake between 1am till 5am, back to sleep till midday, popped out for coffee and food shop with Peter, watched TV and bed at 9pm. The rain continued throughout the day.

75 Saturday Awake throughout the night again. Peter went out in the morning while I unpacked and tidied. We then popped out for a late lunch/early tea. Most of the day though was spent like this.

On the blog this week:

Why I don't have Mum Guilt and just what is it anyway?

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Monday, 11 March 2019

What is 'Mum Guilt?'

I have none.

Zero guilt about anything I've done as a parent.

If I had my time over again I wouldn't do anything differently or would I?

Or would I just feel that I was under the scrutiny of social media and would I feel guilty for things because I'm told I should feel guilty more?

I didn't feel guilty as a parent if I didn't breast feed, or read enough, or went to the park more often or invested in a extra lessons or the house wasn't clean. I felt frustrated, felt there wasn't enough time in the time, but I didn't feel guilty.

I don't feel guilty for sending the youngest to boarding school. Many tried to make me feel bad for sending him away in an article we were in, in the Daily Mail. Apparently 'Boarding school is a rich persons "putting their kids into care"'
With our eldest child in care due to profound disabilities comments like this are highly offensive, they don't make me feel guilty though, just angered.

I don't feel guilty for not living in the same country as my children. Of the 5 now adult kids. They all  live their own lives, 3 absorbed in work and their new families, 1 moved to Australia and 1 travels the world through his job from his base in Northern Ireland.

I don't pester our adult children into spending time with me or each other, I allow them to make their own choices, they can't drop everything just because I'm over in the UK for a few weeks at a time. I don't make them feel guilty about it, they don't make me feel guilty about being 1000's of miles away.

We don't always like our family set up but it works for us and anyone who makes us feel guilty just isn't worth bothering with.

I can apply not feeling guilty to all aspects of my life. From not only being a mother, but a daughter and a wife.

I just don't conform to stereotypes. I don't measure my life against others. I have occasional envy of other people's lives, but I don't feel I'm missing out on anything if I'm totally honest.

I don't have expat guilt.
I'm not your typical expat. I see so many women aboard having their nails and hair done, following the latest fashions and attending the right events. I could do it if I wanted, it's just not my thing.

I don't have wife guilt.
I miss my husband when I'm in the UK and he misses me when I'm juggling my time with family and friends, leaving him alone with the cat and dog to look after. My husband reminds me that the life we lead has given us and the kids so many opportunities we might not have had if we'd stayed in the UK. we don't make one another feel guilty for the time we are apart.

I don't have daughter guilt.
Living 1000's of miles from my mother. I can do what I do for her from Dubai, when I'm over in the UK we do things together but not every second of the day. I don't feel guilty for spending time with friends, my mum doesn't make me feel guilty for not spending every spare minute with her.

I don't have friend guilt.
I see my friends a couple of times a year, I invest a lot of time in maintaining these friendships when I'm abroad. If I was still living here I wouldn't see as much of them, we'd be getting on with our lives, taking our proximity to one another for granted and weeks would pass us by. I don't feel guilty for living the life I do and they don't make me feel guilty about the opportunities my husbands job gives me/us, they enjoy listening to our stories of our lives abroad as much as I enjoy listening to their lives and what their children are achieving. I don't tell them they're missing out on life by choosing to do what they do either.

I just remind myself that there are many people who would like the life I have and I'm not to feel guilty about it.

I feel mum guilt/shaming is something that's internal to a lot of people and if you're in an online group where people are making comments to make you feel bad about your circumstances or the way you're choosing to live your life then I suggest you leave those groups.

Support groups are supposed to help not make you feel guilty. Sometimes people don't set out to make you feel guilty. In blogging a lot of people don't celebrate enough of their success or their hard work, as they feel people will judge them for showing off, but I think we should celebrate our successes more and just ignore the people who try to make us feel guilty for doing so.

Do you have mum guilt or do you feel it's more fear of missing out FOMO?
I know I tend to suffer with FOMO, as I travel between our two separate lives, we miss important events, we miss day to day stuff. Our lives are in the UK with family and friends and the one we have in Dubai.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 10

I've travelled a bit further a field this week to Malvern and Bath to visit friends.

It's been commented on quite a bit that I'm lucky to have lived in one place for so long to make so many friends, however the friends I've visited to date all live within a 10 mile radius of where we have our UK base in Monmouth, a place I've never actually lived in before, but it near to a former home I had when the 3 boys were young in the Forest of Dean, we only lived here for 8 years (the last two of which I met Peter. We've just all remained close and over recent years I've met one or two people in this area on twitter who have now migrated to real life meet ups.

From my birth in 1971 up until the birth of my second child in 1995, I'd lived in Newport, Leicester, York and Herefordshire in various locations. After remarrying we moved to Malvern for 8 years before going onto South Africa and our current home in Dubai.

My MIL lives in Bath and I have a friend I met online there also.

As a consequence of all the moves I don't actually come from or belong anywhere. The children list their home as where they currently live which is Australia, Northern Ireland and 3 in various parts of Gloucestershire.

62 Sunday Went with mum and child 3 to the retail park for a few hours, it poured with rain and we met my nephew at the Celtic Manor for lunch. Called in a friend's house for the evening as I heard there was cake baked by her 11 year old daughter.

63 Monday Drove to Malvern for 9am, visited the Estate Agents to sort out a few issues with the house and tenants and visited a friend for the afternoon, in the evening I visited another friend, we went out for dinner and I stayed over night. Received the sad news that my mums brother died this morning.

64 Tuesday After a relaxing morning and a dog walk around Malvern and a coffee I returned to Monmouth, via a visit with child 1 and a friend's mums house for a quick natter.

65 Wednesday Drove into Bath and met MIL for some shopping and lunch then to a friend's house for the night to catch up, eat dinner and drink a lot of wine.
Tintern Abbey toilet stop.

66 Thursday Had a nice lie in and left Gillians at 9am, sorting out British Gas contract and doing a bit a shopping on the way back to Monmouth. I spent the afternoon on paperwork and booking flights then went to a friends for tea. The flat above and below me are currently empty so no need to worry about when I put the washing machine on, on this visit which resulted in a late night for me.

67 Friday met mum in the morning, had some banking and finances to sort. popped over to see my nephew and his partner to drop off a birth gift as I won't be in the UK (probably) when the baby is due. Then off to see child 2 and 2a who live in the same village.
Sorting gifts for Easter and birthdays while I'm away.

68 Saturday Took Mum to Cwmbran for the day shopping, received some exciting news from my niece and her husband that Thing 4 is going to be a girl. Out for a curry with a friend this evening.

On the blog this week:

Around the house in Dubai for February and my pathetic attempts with #myhousethismonth
Going Green with the use of charity shops.
How do you measure your achievements? I've got a certificate for cup cake design in my kitchen.

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Friday, 8 March 2019

Around the home in Dubai - February 2019

I take part in a daily photo prompt called #myhousethismonth on instagram. I'm not picture perfect. I can't for love nor money style a photo like so many others manage or should I say I'm not prepared to rearrange the whole house to have the perfect shot.

I'd have to go out and buy large pot plants to put on the bedside table and who on earth has fairy lights casually lying on the bed and trailing on the floor? Besides, how much money do people actually spend?

Here's my attempt at 'bed linen'

Anyway here's our home for February.

Lovely the winter in Dubai, once the cat is put in her room, the doors can be opened. I risked it with the balcony doors, but the cat made a bid for freedom, she can't be trusted.

The only staging in this photo was actually moving the wine glass into shot.

The hosue feels so bright at the moment, with the daylight flooding in, but it won't be long before not only the doors are closed but the curtains also, to do everything we can to stop the house heating up in the Dubai summer.

I've also been making the most of sitting outside in the garden, the plants have been moved from the opposite wall for optimum sun light at this time of year.

Sadly there is also this to deal with. Rain storms. Yes it does rain in Dubai and more than you'd think. We've had trees blown down in the past and inaccessible roads due to severe flooding.

With the rain comes the sand, this lot was swept off the balcony. It's also very windy at the moment and the air is full of sand, so in between the rain when the sun is out and the doors are open, sand slowly fills the house.

Back upstairs to the mezzanine. We've not really done anything with this space before. We had garden furniture up here, but never used it, other than the dog sleeping on it. 

Now we have this custom hand made corner sofa, delivered 2 weeks ago. It's so comfy, I spend most of my time up there, having set up the TV and the internet range extender correctly now.

I'm in the UK the rest of February and most of March. Peter has been away from Dubai most of the time I've been in the UK so I'm hopeful of returning to a clean house, the same as the flat was when I arrived a few weeks ago.

I doubt either will be up to my standard as child 3 is moving into the flat next week while he re sits his driving test before returning to Australia (hopefully before I come back in June) and Peter has been working full time. but apart from dental treatment I don't have much to do when I get back and I'm looking forward to choosing the new office furniture.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

How do you measure your achievements?

I have two certificates on my kitchen cupboard door. 

One for a cup cake class I attended in South Africa, another for the golf marshalling in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour.

Doesn't sound like I've achieved much over the past 8 years, but these certificates mean I was and am being successful in our lives abroad.

Have you ever lived overseas? We had no plans to move abroad and only 3 months notice for both international moves and none existent support from my husbands company. It was offered, part of the contract, but managed badly, leaving (mainly) me to sort everything out, from family visas, finding somewhere to live, opening bank accounts, setting up utilities, wading through pages of medical aid information to work out before finding a Doctor and a Dentist. Getting sim cards, sorting the internet, whilst doing school runs, learning to drive on the other side of the road, making new friends and all the while managing our home in the UK, evicting tenants from hell, repairs, building work and all the paperwork and bills. Tax forms as we are registered over seas as a landlord. More recently purchasing a UK property from abroad and managing my mums finances and house move after my fathers death.

I cook, clean, wash, iron, walk the dog, pay the bills, do the food shop, organise holidays, book flights and car hire.

I've achieved a lot for my family and others. I've raised a family of 5 kids into adult hood, they all still speak to me, we spend time together, they come and visit us on their holidays, we keep in touch almost daily.

I just don't feel I achieve much for myself on a personal level. I never seem to have a good length of time to start things before we get visitors or I fly to the UK.

I've sewing projects to complete, a stack of magazines to read, a pile of books accumulating in the lounge, I've a bike a rarely ride and membership at a pool I've not used since the middle of November. There are movies recorded on the TV and a whole stack of Netflix programmes lined up in favourites.

I just don't feel I'm achieving a lot personally. Always waiting around for the next thing to happen, using it as an excuse not to start anything as I may have to give it up, put it on hold to sort something out somewhere else.

Everything I've done and do of the above doesn't actually take that much time to organise and to do now I have a system, but in the early days of both our moves I didn't have the time and energy for a job or studying while I learnt how everything worked. Now everything is set up I have no excuse not to get a job, learn something new, other than my proven fears of having to give it all up at any moment in time, move somewhere new and start all over again.

I'm a great believer if you really want to do something then everything will eventually fall into place, there will be few cons and those that you do think of, you will dismiss as 'not that hard to overcome' So I'm guessing that nothing is really taking my fancy, grabbing my attention enough to make yet more sacrifices to get on and do things.

There's our sons wedding in September and until that event has taken place, I'm just not motivated to get anything new started as I know I'll have to put it on hold or not be able to dedicate the time needed to it, while I focus on more important things.

I guess that's just life. What about yours?