The Unmarked Road

Life On The Other Side Of Mental Illness

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 9)

Are we helping or hindering our children’s mental health?

How many of us have gone through animal sounds or colours with our children? How many of us are trying to develop our little humans by teaching them correct names for different objects and actions?

How may of us are teaching our children the same things when it comes to their emotional and mental wellbeing?

Are we saying ‘I understand that you’re frustrated. What you are feeling is anger, and that is ok. Can you tell me what is making you angry about this situation?’

We fully accept that a toddler does not yet understand the difference between a lorry and a motorbike, yet expect them to know an array of different complex emotions and how to deal with them.

How many of our children are learning that their emotions don’t matter because the behaviour they are displaying is not acceptable?

How children many are learning to internalise their feelings instead of learning that all feelings are ok and a normal part of being human? Because surely we can’t expect children to handle adult emotions in an adult way? That’s what we’re supposed to teach them by helping them understand them.

With a growing number of children (and adults) with anxiety and depression, we need to look seriously at why.

Old disciplinary methods don’t really lend themselves to opening up the conversation with our children about what they are feeling and why.

If our children have a tantrum, we tell them to stop. As though they even have the brain development to be able to understand how.

If our children angrily lash out physically because they don’t understand the concept of yours and mine yet, we scold them for being naughty.

So we treat their responses to their emotions as we would adults (for whom tantrums and hitting are not acceptable) but then refuse to speak to them like adults by talking to them and trying to empathise with these huge emotional trips that they need our help navigating through.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for discipline. But if we try to see things from our children’s point of view, we will see that their actions are rarely because they are misbehaving just for the fun of it.

Usually they are needing attention or reconnection with their parents. In their undeveloped little minds, they don’t have the words or the ability to communicate with us in any other way!

They need understanding and help to ensure that as they grow into little adults, they have the tools available to navigate their own mental health effectively.

They won’t have them if they have to internalise every ‘negative’ emotion that they feel.

Why Can’t I Get Out Of My Granny Pants?

Before I was pregnant, like most women, I had an array of sexy lingerie. Nothing crazy, mostly Primark, but never the less there was lace, and thongs and most importantly  it was matching!

When you become pregnant, the most important thing is comfort. I bought big granny pants. Lots of them. Cheap ones because I was only going to be in them 9 months right? WRONG!

I am now two years down the line since becoming pregnant and my drawers are full to the brim with big parachute pants. I’ve tried putting on those nice lacy ones that made me feel like a sex goddess, but instead I stand there trying get rid of a none existent wedgy that feels like it’s flossing my arse. An arse that’s still too big for those nice french knicker style you’re all thinking of suggesting to me.

I’m happy to embrace the Bridget Jones style for now. It fits in nicely with my general frump-on and leggings that stretch very nicely as I do. They also go nicely with my boulder holder bras that I still need at the moment.

I would like to start feeling a little less mumsy at some point, even in the underwear department. But for now I’m ok with sitting here in my pjs eating cheesecake.

Mum Guilt

Everyone hears about mum-guilt. Even non-parents get a whiff of the term, usually through various media outlets. I was aware of it too, but arrogantly thought that I wouldn’t suffer because ‘I would always do what’s best for my child’, so why would I feel guilty?

Well here’s a list of things I have felt guilty about so far, even though my child has yet to have any kind of complex emotional problems for me to f up.

  • am I doing enough to develop my child
  • am I doing too much to develop my child so that he’soverwhelmed 
  • has he got enough toys
  • has he got too many toys
  • am I doing the right thing staying home
  • am I doing the right thing if I go to work
  • am I giving him enough variety of food
  • am I feeding too much
  • am I feeding too little
  • is my responsive parenting spoiling my child
  • am I responding enough to my child
  • is letting him cry going to ruin his entire life
  • is not letting him cry going to ruin his entire life 
  • is cosleeping going to make him clingy
  • is not cosleeping going to make it difficult for him to feel attached 
  • am I showing enough love
  • am I loving too much
  • does he KNOW how much I love him
  • oh god what if he doesn’t know
  • should I be cleaning the house when home with him
  • should I be spending time with him instead of cleaning the house
  • do I read enough to him
  • does he watch too much TV
  • do I need to structure his day more
  • have I structured his day too much 

And if that isn’t enough, you’re constantly questioning whether or not you’re a royally f’ing up regardless of what you do, as said very well by friend and resident blogger in her article, But am I a bad mom.

The sad truth is that we’re all going to do something wrong as parents because we’re not perfect. And that’s scary as hell! But by the very nature of feeling guilt, there’s a certain degree of relief. Because if you feel guilt, you know you’re not just doing your best; you’re also ready to change something if it doesn’t seem right. 

My guilt makes me aware of how my child is responding to my parenting, which in turn allows me to amend things so that he gets the best upbringing I can provide. 


Or am I helicopter parenting?

I know there are many many other things us mothers are made to feel guilty about. What are yours?

Some Days I Feel Like A S**t Mum…And Today It Might Be True

Today is one of those days where if being a mum was a normal job I would walk into my boss’s office and quit. And it wouldn’t be the first time. Because some days we all feel like we’re totally failing at this parenting thing. 

Some days I’m in the kitchen, dancing like a Disney princess, baking carrot/oat/banana muffins sprinkled with nothing but magic fairy dust and angel wings all full of wholesome, ethical and moral goodness. I’m might add that these days are not the norm!

Some days, today for example, my son’s diet consists of chocolate cake and cereal. 

Things he can just help himself to so that he at the very least doesn’t starve to death. 

My husband wouldn’t like that.

Whether it’s because it took over an hour to leave the house after dressing a child that is screaming as though you’re trying to murder him, or the fact that you’ve cancelled puddle ducks (again) because you can’t face stuffing those chunky thighs into the neoprene nappy, some days just seem to go to s**t. And you feel like the worst parent in the world because your child has to make do with the same old toys in the same old room with the same old mum, just sitting on her phone. Even the sun is not welcome today because going out for a walk is out of the question.

I told you. Some days I’m not a good mum.

Sometimes I lock my child in the car (let’s be real, no more than 5 minutes with the windows open!) so I can pick up all the cheerios he’s strewn all over the floor and that the cats are chasing around without having a whinging mini-me pulling at my hair like they’re reins. (Queue finding mouldy old cheerios in ever corner of the living room months down the line .) 

Sometimes I put on Stickman for the hundredth time just so I can drink my cup of coffee without him sticking his hand in it or wanting to check, again, that it is actually as hot as I say it is. 

Some days, I really do consider looking up the closest adoption agency (or kennel).

So here, my darling son. Eat nothing but cheerios and oat cakes while mummy collapses on the sofa after no sleep, yet again.

And no I don’t want to read the gruffalo again!

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Apparently it gets better. Apparently this could be a good 20 years away.

Nap Time Intentions

Every day while I wait for my son to go down for his one and only nap, I contemplate all the things I can do in that precious 1.5 – 2 hours of time. These I call my Nap Time Intentions.

For those that may not have children of their own, let me tell you now that the most precious thing in the world is not money or jewels or beauty. It is time. And as a mother of a young child, there is a distinct lack of it. Because every single thing I try and do while Ethan is awake, involves him clinging to my trousers for dear life as though he is going to be swallowed up by the floor, looking up with those puppy dog eyes and whinging at me at a pitch I’m sure only the dogs and I can hear. I assume he is wanting to help me in whatever endeavour I am attempting, however cooking on a hot hob or making coffee isn’t necessarily always doable with one hand.

So instead I spend my toddler-awake-time, playing with him (Facebook), coming up with creative ways to change a nappy without poo flying across the new carpet and trying to coax him to eat something other than crisps, an orange peel or the insides of blueberries (following Ethan around picking up blueberry skins is not my idea of a good time).

As Ethan starts the inevitable eye rubbing and quiet contemplation (I’m sure he’s plotting something evil), I begin to plan what I will do with my time. Here’s my list of things I wanted to achieve today:

  • Clear my parent’s spare room
  • Bake carrot muffins (that will probably end up being fed to the cats)
  • Properly start my novel

Here’s what I’ve achieved:

  • Eaten an extra large bowl of soup while watching some murder program on tv…

Ok so I’m winning today because I’ve also written a blog post and I’ve managed to eat something without it ending up all down my white jumper, but it’s not quite the efficient use of time I had envisaged.

And the problem is, it rarely ever is.

Because come that time, I relish being able to sit and eat without being whinged at or pulled at or sharing MY food. I love sitting at my laptop without those little grubby fingers grabbing at its keys making my computer do weird things that I can’t undo. I love being able to watch something on tv without being terrified of scarring my child!

Oh well, there’s always tomorrow right?

When The Natural Doesn’t Come Naturally: My Breastfeeding Journey

When I became pregnant, there was no question in my mind on how I wanted to feed my baby. I knew I would breastfeed. I’d heard about sore cracked nipples, mastitis, blocked ducts, cluster feeding, engorgement, leaking, milk spraying everywhere… safe to say I knew it would be hard at times.

What I didn’t know was that it might not happen at all.

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Disconnecting Realities

I feel things. Deeply. When something happens to me or someone I love, I have an immediate reaction. I cry, I scream, I laugh. I’m a wear your heart on your sleeve kind of girl.

But now I feel numb. I have no reaction. I’m floating between disconnecting realities and on the surface it seems like I am coping. What does that even mean? To cope?

Something happened to someone I love. Something I don’t want to put into words. People ask if I’m ok and I tell them that I’m fine.

The truth is, I’m scared to fall apart in case I cannot put myself back together. 

Hello Old Friend

It’s been a while since I have posted anything, and more than anything, it’s been a while since I have wanted to. Not only am I completely physically and emotionally shattered from my now nearly 6 month old baby boy, but I haven’t had any real inspiration. That’s not to say my life right now doesn’t inspire me. It does, on so many levels that I can’t quite comprehend myself yet.

But for reasons I can’t quite fathom myself, my inner voice – the one from which I write – abandoned me. Be it pregnancy hormones and then baby hormones; even when the desire to write may have struck, the ability was somehow lacking to it’s usual standard. I felt like whatever I wrote was, for lack of a better word, crap.

I have read old articles and posts of mine and am amazed I had the ability to be so articulate, so insightful. But if it was there once it will be there again, or so I hope!

And it appears that the light switch has suddenly been turned back on. A couple of days ago, the thought of coming on here and writing didn’t fill me with fear and guilt of having not written for so long. The feeling I have now is motivation and a desire to do it again.

As you may know if you have followed me for over a year, there is a book in the pipeline. This is a book that will potentially take years due to the amount of research that will need to go into it. Think Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games.

But there is a second book. A story that I should have been telling all along, right from the start. A story of loss, fear, adventure, love, and a happily ever after. A story that’s true. A journey that’s my own.

All of a sudden it is this story I want to sit down and write. It’s this story I want to tell more than any other and that has got the creative juices flowing once more. Like an old friend getting in touch after years apart, I feel the inspiration seep back into my being and for the first time in a long time I’m excited by the concept of writing again.

There is one other thing that has become an important part of my journey as a mother. This is something that will be separate to my blog but feel important to mention, because life is like that isn’t it? It throws you curve balls that you can either put away in the back of your mind as a bad experience, or you can use as a way of helping others in shining  a bright light on to it. And that’s what I want to do, so watch this space.

To all my loyal followers, thank you for sticking with me. I promise the ride is going to get more exciting and fun 😉

What Do You Mean It’s November!?!

I have completely forgone my site. Please forgive me! I have not forgotten any of you but my newborn son has been taking up every ounce of time and energy I have! 

I have been updated my Facebook page more if you are keen to see updates on the unmarked road of being a new parent! 

It’s safe to say that this journey is the most exciting and challenging one to date! 

The road wouldn’t be unmarked if it didn’t throw in some surprises here and there 😉

Anniversary And Birthday – Photos

The last week has been absolutely wonderful! Not only did Mr J and I celebrate our very first wedding anniversary, we hit full term in our pregnancy (37 weeks) and it was also my birthday weekend!

Wedding Anniversary – Monday 4th July

Being very close to popping out our mini Batman, Mr J and I didn’t want to go too far away from home or the hospital. Also these days emptying the dishwasher feels like running a marathon so our usual adventure plans were impossible, and so we decided instead to go punting down the River Cam in Cambridge, eat lots of ice cream and generally look around a beautiful city. We were lucky with some gorgeous warm weather,  and learned a bit about the history of some of the incredible buildings.

Here are some pictures:

IMG_3332 IMG_3333 IMG_3334 IMG_3337 IMG_3339 IMG_3340 IMG_3342 IMG_3343

I didn’t last more than 3 hours! And on our return home we ordered too much takeaway and watched Lord of The Rings – since Hobbiton, New Zealand was our first date 3 and a half years ago. Perfect day. <3

37 Weeks

My hands and feet are swollen and I’m well and truly carrying a watermelon under this shirt! My lower back is almost constantly achy and broken sleep through needing to pee has become the norm. But I can honestly say I will miss being pregnant. I’ve enjoyed many parts of it and as I prepare for the final few weeks before labour, I am anxious about the next stage; a new phase of my life that will change it more than anything else before!


I AM looking forward to steak, pate and Brie!!

My Birthday

This Saturday was my 31st birthday. While originally I’d had planned a BBQ for family and some friends, the weather had other ideas so I booked a table at our local family-friendly restaurant.

Apart from hubby telling me the night before that we would probably not make it in time as he’d messed up the timings  with picking up his best friend from the airport (dog-house!), and my poor sister getting food poising the night before, it was a truly wonderful day; low key and chilled out. Exactly what I wanted.

No photo’s I’m afraid because I’m actually a bit rubbish at taking pictures when i’m organising something, but I couldn’t have asked for any more this weekend. I even got cheesecake!

I did spend all of yesterday eating leftover pizza and cake and nothing else, so I saw am extra few length this morning,

I hope everyone else has had a great weekend and has as many wonderful people around them as I do. I have felt truly blessed for a while now and can never quite believe how lucky I am, made evident again this week.

Dani xx

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