Writing ‘My Story’! Intro week of ‘Get Excited About Your Life’

blackboard chalk chalkboard concept
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This week I started my Introduction or ‘On Boarding’ for my new course ‘Get Excited About Your Life’.  This is a course which will help me to look at key points of my life and help me to move my mindset to a positive place which will inevitably help my business.

We’ve had a few actions to take on for this introduction week – one being to do a Facebook Live to our group.  Now, for me it was fine as I’m a complete show off, but for some of the ladies in my group it was a real baptism of fire… and they all nailed it!

The other big task for the week was to write ‘My Story’.  No rules, no template to follow… just write my story as I ‘feel it’.  This will be used as the basis of my 1:1 sessions with my mentor Andrea.

Jeeez! Where to start with that! How long should I make it?  How much detail is required?

I decided that I would tackle this after a meeting on Thursday.  I stayed on at the venue and made the most of the unlimited coffee and continental breakfast bar!   I powered up the laptop and started to type away.

Two hours later and I’d covered a lot of ground, revisiting lots of events in my life that I hadn’t thought about for a while, stuff to be proud about, stuff that I learned from and other situations in my life that still affect how I deal with situations today.

There was a point that I found incredibly hard to type about.  The experience losing Mum.  It’s amazing how my brain has managed to cope these last two and half years and almost put a lot of the feelings into a little filing cabinet so that I am able to function on a daily basis. Now and again though, the filing cabinet is opened and the documents come falling out… or the tears come falling down.

Being sat in the middle of a Brewsters crying at a laptop is not a good look so I made a hasty exit.

When I got home I managed to finish my story, warts and all and submitted it to Andrea.

After putting it all out there I thought I would feel like a weight had been lifted, but for a little while, the opposite happened.  I felt heavy and filled with anxiety! The following day I couldn’t catch my breath and just felt generally shitty!  Was this meant to happen after baring all in a word document?

That night I was due to go out with hubby for the night, and whilst I really just wanted to join my son and put my pj’s on at 6pm, but instead I got dolled up and went out.  I’m so glad I did.  Spending some much overdue time with my man was just the tonic (with Gin) that I needed!

Since then I have felt much better and I’m really looking forward to working through all the aspects that make me who I am and turning it into positive mindset.

The course is all about putting yourself out there, having belief in what you’re doing and owning it. I have no doubt that by the end of the 13 weeks we will all be nailing it and completely owning it!

I hope you will follow along with me on the journey!

Until next time,

 

Love and hugs,

TOMD xxx

 

 

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My Mental Health Story – Part 1

Awareness of mental health in the current day is more prevalent than ever. We have so much discussion around it now with World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Self Care Sunday and people in the public eye speaking openly about their struggles.

My mental health story starts way back in 1995 when I was 19 years old (totally given my age away now!).  This was long before the days when everyone had a mobile phone (unless you were a ‘yuppy’ from the city), let alone all the social media apps and the stress they bring, but at 19 years old, I suffered with anxiety and depression.

I remember at the time, people made comments on why I could possibly have anxiety and depression.  At 19, what on earth would I have to be depressed about?  No mortgage, no money worries, happy family life, but here I was.

There was one specific night where it all came crashing down.  I remember it so vividly.  It was August and I was at a house party with my school friends – the ‘Butch Girls’ (if you’ve read an earlier blog you’ll know who they are).  You remember those parties… parents are away, house full of friends, bowl of disgusting concoction of alcohol and playing daft games and talking shit!

As I sat there within a circle with a post-it note on my head I felt a strange sensation… like I wasn’t really there.  I felt like I was actually above, looking down over us all.  As my heart started to quicken, I felt more and more panicked. I got myself outside for some air… I just had to get myself out of that room.

The next thing I remember is that I was driving home crying my eyes out.  When I got home I sat with mum and dad for a couple of hours and just balled.  I couldn’t say why I was feeling like this, but I just couldn’t stop the crying.

Unbelievably, the next day I managed to get in to see my own doctor (it was 1995 don’t forget!).  I wrote down how I was feeling… the tightness in my chest, unable to catch my breath, this dark cloud that quickly descended over me.  I was so glad I’d written it down as when I got in there I just couldn’t get the words out.

Rightly or wrongly, my GP prescribed me Prozac.  Now, I’m not about to start a whole medication vs natural remedies/talking therapies debate – but in my case, that’s what happened.  I do believe, however, that if you need a little help down the medication route then why not?  If my leg was broken I’d be given crutches and in this case my mental health was broken and I need some help to fix it.

I was immediately signed off work for two weeks.  I remember my head being a complete blur, the ability to think clearly was so difficult.  Just counting money was a struggle and I remember taking my brother to the local shop if I fancied bar of chocolate as I just couldn’t do it.   That was, of course, when I felt like eating! I found the whole process of eating meals too much bother… which for me was unheard of!   I used to constantly think about food in my teens!

Two weeks off work turned into four weeks and during that time, I was happiest driving around town in my little car on my own. Nobody to make conversation with – just to drive and listen to my music. I also remember sitting in my room watching old videos of myself, trying to recall how I used to be.

Friends used to call up (on the landline!) to speak to me and I would tell Mum to say I wasn’t home or couldn’t talk right now. It felt too difficult.

After the four weeks, I went back to work… very unsuccessfully.  I remember walking into the office which I shared with three other girls. My line manager walked in with me and nobody said a word… nothing.  As I sat at my desk I could see that my audio machine was unplugged.  It sent my heart panicking, racing, thumping in my chest. My brain couldn’t work out how to plug the bloody thing in.  Still nobody in the office said anything.  I was suddenly engulfed with feelings of not being able to cope – all because my equipment to do my job wasn’t plugged in!

I ran into another office and called my line manager.  I needed to go home. I couldn’t do it.

Another three weeks off and I was given a gradual return back to work, first doing a couple of half days increasing slowly to full time. This was much better this time as I was able to ease myself back.  My colleagues however couldn’t understand why I was depressed with one quoting “you’re 19, what have you got to be depressed about?”.

By the Christmas I was starting to feel much more like myself.  I’d lost some weight (every cloud eh!) and was feeling a lot better about myself.  Over the festive season I forgot many times to take my tablets and by the January I’d stopped.  What I wasn’t expecting was to be feeling the same again by June.  I had to go back on the tablets as the anxiety was returning.

I hadn’t addressed the issues that had got me feeling like this in the first place.

The previous eighteen months had been quite a traumatic one when I looked back.  My mum had been in hospital in Bristol for five weeks following three lots of surgery and the complications of a blood clot.  All of this was going on as I was completing my exams at college and subsequently starting as a trainee medical secretary at the local hospital covering summer annual leave!

Then six months into my employment I got a permanent job with a consultant… who I didn’t gel with. That affected me more than I realised.  During these months I thought I was ok and carried on.   However, lots of little anxieties had piled up and up until one day, one tiny thing sent my world crashing down.  That was the night at the house party.

I did get better though.  I had some counselling through work and gave myself longer on the tablets and came off them slower than I had before. I did get back to my old self and felt the stronger for it.

Over the years, as with everyone, life throws you some curve balls… and I’ve had a couple of massive ones. But this experience of having depression at at a young age has helped me to look for the signs that things are right and make sure I take on board some self care and not bottle things up.

I’m thankful for the doctor for giving me those tablets. The crutch I needed to help get me back on track.  There are lots of therapies out there, and if you’re feeling like you need some help, you need to pick the one that is best for you… with no judgements.

It’s ok to talk about mental health. The stigma each year diminishes a little more. Don’t bottle feelings up, talk to someone, because small feelings can soon turn into big black feelings, until they pile up and topple you over.

Until next time,

Love and hugs from TOMD xxx

Bras, Boobs and You!

This weekend  I had the wonderful job of going to M&S to get our teen re-fitted for a new bra.  She will not thank me in the slightest for telling you that! What fascinates me is that there are just so many there to chose from… Underwire, balcony, plunge, minimiser, T-shirt, sports, strapless, backless, multiway… and that’s just the few off the top of my head!

The money stats surrounding the bra industry are pretty jaw dropping too…

The UK lingerie market is now valued at $3.18bn (£2.47bn), according to the latest industry figures from Euromonitor’s Passport database.  The market has grown 0.7% on last year and accounts for 22% of the women’s underwear market in Western Europe, which grew 1.3% in 2016 to exceed $14.3bn (£11bn).

This got me thinking about the whole fascination with boobs!  Just go back to the 70’s… when every other joke on Benny Hill revolved around how well endowed the women were… or little Babs Windsor with her well endowed chest in the Carry On films. How different it was back then huh?!

However you view them, boobs play a big part in a woman’s life… big or small!  Even at the early development of those little rosebuds, that would kill when a little dickhead at school would accidentally on purpose elbow you in them.  This would be shortly followed by the excitement of getting your first bra and believing you had now entered the big world of womanhood!

Then there’s the amazing job they do in feeding our babies.  From swelling up during pregnancy to having your milk come in and feeling like you could easily pass as Dolly Parton’s niece… or great niece even! How old is Dolly these days?

If you are able to breastfeed, that is a different story for everyone.  Some women could literally feed a village with the amount of milk they express, others find it impossible to get a bottle’s worth out!  And then there’s the tremendous amount of pain and anxiety they can cause new mothers too.  Not everyone has a great time of it when they decide to breastfeed and difficulties with feeding can lead to painful mastitis.

Unfortunately, there’s a serious side when it comes to our boobies.

We also have to be mindful of checking our boobs regularly for signs of any changes.  Hands up who does this monthly without fail? I wish I could confidently put my hand up, but I am guilty of just having a prod and a poke every now and then when I remember! Whilst I know about the visual changes I should look for, I’m not so good at checking what’s going on underneath the skin!

As I was stood in the changing room with Ellie, I couldn’t help but think about my mum.  It’s pretty obvious that my daughter has been blessed… or cursed (whichever way you want to look at it) with the genes of her Nan which seemed to skip straight past me and right onto her.  Being in an adult’s bra’s (the ones with nine hooks at the back!) at age 13 is a bit shocking, both physically for her and on the wallet for me! No more 2 for £20 offer on here!  She also has such a slight frame (being blessed with a figure like her paternal Nan) that getting her boob scaffolding right at this developmental age is vital.

My mum, being small in stature suffered with sore shoulders and backache due to the weight she had to carry up front! In 1994, her GP referred her to Bristol and after consultation, she underwent a bust reduction.  What transpired was not expected.

They had found pre-cancerous cells in her left breast in what they had taken away.  This was back in 1994, and what they had to offer then was probably very different to what would happen now.  Mum was offered what was effectively be a tummy tuck, and what they took away from her tummy would be put inside her left breast.  Long story short, this operation didn’t work.  The stomach muscle rejected and mum was in hospital for a total of five weeks following a blood clot complication.

This happened at a crazy time of my life. I was 18, at the end of college completing my exams and about to go straight into the local hospital as a trainee medical secretary. I remember swotting for exams on daily trips up to Bristol to visit Mum.

I don’t remember seeing Mum get upset, she kept that to herself behind her bedroom door.  I can’t even begin to imagine how she must’ve felt. She would’ve been 45 at the time, only a few years older than I am now and even though this hadn’t developed into cancer cells, the 10% chance they gave her was enough for her to decide she didn’t want to take the risk for the sake of her family.

Instead, what I do remember is my Mum being the crazy, lovable, life loving lady, who would now and again get her chicken fillet prosthesis out at parties and make everyone laugh with her wicked wit!

I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

For advice on checking your breasts for cancer, visit: https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/checking-your-breasts

For information on signs and symptoms of breast cancer, visit  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms/

Soul Searching & Taking Action!

I swear to God, my head has been a crazy frenzy since the weekend!

Soul Searching…

Sunday of last week, the day after I attended ‘The Scaling Summit’, I had a long hard think about what I wanted to do on this new path of self employment.  I’d had thoughts the day before about re-igniting my blog that I’d set up last summer, and the workshop certainly gave me some inner belief to follow my dream.

So, taking the bull by the horns, on Sunday night I sat and wrote a blog all about my experience on Saturday… of how these three women I have never met before managed to get into my soul and make me think about achievements in my life that I’d buried deep, not really giving them any significance.  There was this huge emotional pull from that day that if you believe it, you can do it.  It was like they could see all my insecurities better than I could… probably because it’s the same insecurities that most of the women in the room had…

Am I good enough?

Can I really do this?

I feel like an imposter.

So, once the blog was complete I decided to post it out.  Admittedly, it was a little late for many people to see it, but figured what the heck!  What I didn’t expect was the wonderful response almost immediately from the hosts from the day Andrea and Emma, who loved what I had done and asked permission to share it.  What also followed was lots of lovely comments from the ladies that attended, saying how well I had articulated the day and put out there exactly how they felt.

My god!  Little old me did that!  To say I was buzzing was an understatement.  Hubby was already in bed asleep, but I made sure I was moving around loud enough that he stirred and I then promptly told him what had happened!

A Renewed Vigour

Come Monday morning, the blog had received even more views and lovely comments.  I was starting to shut up the voices in my head telling me there is no way I should waste my time on developing this blog idea further.

I’ve re-evaluated my business goals and what I want out of my new business as a social media manager (Social in Somerset).  I already have a client that I do business support and social media for and I want to help SME’s with their social media platforms – setting them up, putting together a strategy and consulting them on how to get going.  However, I’ve made the big decision that I want one more long term client and my other big client will be… ME!   I need to treat myself like I would a client in order to make this happen.

The other thing I’ve been doing over this last week is listening to audio book ‘Mum Boss’ by Vicki Psarias.  Her words of wisdom have spurred me on to take make some changes in the way I do things.

So far I have;

  • Created a lovely little desk space for me to work at during the day.  It really helps to have a designated work environment.
  • Joined a local running group to ensure I get some much needed adult interaction now that I’m working from home, and hopefully I will re-discover my love for running while I’m at it!
  • Ensure I listen to my body and practice self-care.  My monthly Reiki sessions started back up this week and I was booked in for first thing Monday morning! It was heaven!
  • I make sure I take regular breaks and don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, it might be a walk with the dog to clear my head, or I have been known to set the alarm on my phone and have a half hour disco nap!
  • I also try and get up before everyone else does to get something done, even if its a peaceful cup of tea.  Usually I would only get up to do a workout, but now on rest days, or days where I’m doing something later, I still get up 40 minutes before the rest of the family – it’s BLISS!

 

Taking Action…

I’m pretty good at the art of procrastinating… I have the good intentions but they are never fully completed… my hubby calls me ‘Half-a-Job Bob’!  Well enough of that!  I have taken some big steps this week.  I have;

  • Booked a new networking event targeted at ladies in business within the county of Somerset. If I want to work with businesses in the ‘well woman’ arena then that’s where I need to be.
  • Booked some training on using mobile video for social media – not just for me, but as part of my social media management business, I want to be able to show companies how to do this for themselves.
  • Met with a graphic designer who is going to re-invigorate my website and logo to make it look kick-ass!

I find if I don’t overthink it and just do it, it will get done! Putting it all out here for you to read is also a big push… cause I really don’t want to come back in one or two year’s time in the same position as I am right now!

The time has come to stop thinking and start doing!

Until next time,

Love and hugs xxx

💗📖

Yesterday, three women changed my life!

Attending the ‘Scaling The Summit’ workshop opened up my mind to the possible!

woman with blonde hair at the top of the mountain raising her hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending a day with three business experts and had the benefit of their life experience and advice… me and 59 other women!  We had all been invited to be part of a ‘test group’ for this new dynamic trio of Linda Davis-Carr, Andrea Callanan and Emma Van Heusen presenting their take on how to upscale our businesses.

Each of these women have been incredibly successful in their careers, faced difficulties along the way, made huge changes and sacrifices and after a lot of hard work, carved out their own successful businesses.

Andrea was our MC for the day as well as leading on the ‘Mindset’ section. Andrea did an amazing job of building the energy in the room with her infectious passion.  Even the shrinking violets succumbed to her demands for us to shout “Hell Yeah” to her motivational questions.

Three sections were covered during the day… Linda was on ‘Business’, Andrea on ‘Mindset’ and Emma on ‘Marketing’.  This blog isn’t an account of what they talked about… you’ll have to book up on their workshop to find out!  What I will say, is that the women in that room had the opportunity to assess how far they have come and start to believe that they can achieve their dreams for the future.

‘The Triple Threat’, that is Linda, Andrea and Emma, talked candidly about their own experiences in business, their fears, worries and the good old ‘impostor syndrome’ that so many of us seem to suffer from.

One of the most poignant parts of the day was during Andrea’s Mindset section. Now, I’m a very open minded person when it comes to ‘the mind’ so I was looking forward to this, but I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  We were asked to stand up and put our hands by our sides.  When then did some breathing in time to Andrea clicking her fingers.  The energy in the room shifted and we were all receptive to her every word.  As she clicked 1,2,3,4… 1,2,3,4, Andrea started to talk about our memories, asking us to go back to a time when something amazing happened.  A memory that made you feel like you could do anything, a memory that we could see, a memory that we could feel.

As I stood there breathing in and out, a few visions flashed in and out of my mind, but there was one memory that came back to me, so I went with it.  It wasn’t anything to do with the kids, or my husband, or my job… it was just me.  I thought of the day when I had made a massive decision in what was undoubtedly the biggest crossroads in my life.  You know the one, where which ever decision you make, you know your life will never be the same again.  I won’t go into what it was about, that would take all day, but the overwhelming feelings I had was that I could do anything I put my mind to.  I did it once and I can again.

As Andrea continued to talk us through the exercise, I was unable to stop the tears from pouring from out of my closed eyes, it really was that powerful.  As we came out of the meditation, I looked around to see that so many of the other ladies were feeling the same!  Tissues were passed around as we gathered ourselves together and it was clear to see that Andrea was also clearly affected by what she had just witnessed… lots of women in one room connecting with their emotions.

We did many other tasks during the day that made us think about how amazing we are… and if we didn’t think it at the beginning of the day,  by the end, we were starting to believe it.  It’s not something that will happen overnight, it has to be worked at but undoubtedly, having a tribe of women to support you like the ladies in the room is only going to help.  Sometimes, just having somebody else saying that you are capable, you are valuable and you can do whatever you want to do is all you need to give you the push to do it.

What I came away with at the end of the day, was the thoughts that I had been playing around with the last few days were now confirmed. I want to get back to blogging, and build this little corner of the internet called ‘Tales of a Mother’s Daughter’.  I want to create a place that shares information on all the things I like to talk about and feel passionate about.  I want to work with companies that support women in all things ‘wellbeing’ or produce amazing products that make women feel good – shoes, bags and make up are obviously top of my list!  This is all going to take time and hard work, but other people do it, so why shouldn’t I?  If you have the drive, you can do anything.

The blog I started last June about our little girl’s Autism story had already started to evolve and despite being neglected for the past nine months while I up-skilled as a Social Media Manager, it’s time to get back to it.  Time to get a re-brand and create an awesome website and go with it.  It will take time and I’m not going to pressure myself into doing everything tomorrow (which is usually how I think)… I need to plan, make shit loads of lists… but I can make this happen.

As women, we are all daughters, and a lot of us are mothers too… and what was highlighted yesterday is that we all have our tale to tell, so lets tell it!

Until next time….

 

Love and hugs xxx

 

 

 

 

Sorry I’m late… I’ve been a little busy changing careers!! 😳

apple computer cup desk

Hello! Long time no see!  Today I noted that it’s been almost three months since my last blog which is unreal… where do the months go? Considering this time last year I was bashing out at least two per week, you could say it’s been a little neglected!

The truth is, my life has been overtaken by social media… literally, as it’s about to become my job and my source of income from September 1st!

So, let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to these last few weeks and how my decision to do a course last September has ended up becoming my new career.

Have you ever got to a point in your life where you fancy doing something a little different in your career?  Or maybe you would like to do something that could earn you a bit of extra cash alongside your employed job?   Well, I was in both of those camps. I’ve always wanted to work for myself but have never been creative enough to do something that I could sell. Being a PA for 20+ years is all I know!

Then a friend of mine suggested doing something with social media.  She figured I’d be good at being a Social Media Manager given that I have my phone permanently glued to my hand (rude!).   I hadn’t realised this was even a thing!  She suggested a course run by Digital Mums; a six month course learning all the skills required by doing lessons remotely and learning the practical elements by running your own community campaign, across three social media platforms.

I sat on the idea for a good eight months, not sure if I had the balls to get back into education.  It had been 14 years since I had done any kind of learning and following the kids, I seriously doubted that my brain could hold any kind of information!

Then in June of last year, I once again found myself Googling about the Digital Mums course.  I chatted it over with friends and family who all reassured me that I could do it. So, during the Summer, I did it… I signed up! I can’t lie, it was the most busy, stressful six months of my life, but it was so totally worth it.   I’ll write a separate blog about what its like to go through the training… but for now, let’s skip forward eight months…

It’s May…  I have graduated as a fully fledged Social Media Manager,  just returned from a two week holiday in Florida (that’s for another blog!) and I have a gut feeling that I will soon be made redundant! Holy shit… this could get real!

So, once I got over my post holiday blues, I decided to start making strides in what I was going to do as my new business.  Thankfully, a very well timed workshop held by Digital Mums was booked for mid-May, about utilising your LinkedIn profile to help you promote your business.  I also got to meet all the lovely ladies who had been learning alongside me, especially those within my close cohort – my Frida K girls (more on that the blog).

I then played around with some ideas for a brand name.  First of all, I tried out ‘Tales of Social Media’ trying to tie it in with this blog… but after a few weeks, it didn’t feel right.  I knew I wanted to keep my brand local to Somerset, so I decided to re-brand my Digital Mums community campaign which was ‘Somerset State of Mind’ to become my new business… ‘Social in Somerset’.

Mid-June, a few days after I’d put my new logo together, guess what happened?  I got told I was ‘at risk of redundancy’ due to a huge restructure.  However, being the PA to the Regional Director, it’s pretty much a done deal and I now leave on August 31st.  I have been with the same colleagues for 15 years so it’s going to be very strange to leave, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet!

So, shit just got real! I now need to make this work as my new career!  It was at that point that I decided to add Virtual Assistant services to my offerings as I have more than a little experience in that field… I suppose you could say it’s my comfort zone!

As you can imagine, with this new self-employment adventure, my head is full of so many things I don’t know a whole lot about… Business plans, HRMC, insurances, business bank accounts, business cards, to name a few!  Luckily, I have secured some funding from TDA (Torbay Development Agency) who run the ‘Growth Support Project’ to support small businesses, so I have a little bit of hand-holding as I go through this process.

One big recommendation from the meeting with Phil at TDA was to start networking.  Networking!  Since leaving college, my working life has been sat behind a desk. I’ve never been worried about talking to anyone, but this is a whole different ball game… I now need to sell myself and what I can do! I started to doubt myself and everything I had learnt in the past eight months!

Thankfully, I found a networking group that was right up my street.  ‘Letstalkbiz’ is a less presenting, more connecting networking group and as soon as I walked into the meeting I felt at ease and ready to chat about how I could help people.  I felt relaxed and able to be myself, there was no pretentious business bullshit, which is just how I like it.

From that event, I’ve already got a couple of meetings lined up with people that want to know more about what I can do, and I’m also delighted that I have secured my first client doing VA work for his new business.

So all in all, its exciting times ahead… but I am going to make a plan to start blogging again. The six weeks holidays are coming up and tapping thoughts out on the laptop helps to keep me sane… along with a large G&T… of course!

Until next time,

Tales of a Mother’s Daughter

xxx

Ps… if you are a business looking for social media or VA support, you can check me out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under @social_somerset and ‘Social in Somerset’ … or just drop me an email at socialinsomerset@gmail.com

Autism Vs Social Media… The ongoing battle!

I’m sure you’ll agree, teenagers and social media are not a great mix.  I don’t know what they get up to on their phones at that age, but with all the trolling and the ‘haters gonna hate’ mentality, it’s a brutal world online for a young, impressional teenager.  Add into the mix the Autism (Aspergers) aspect and it can be a recipe for disaster.

For months and months, I was debating whether letting my daughter have social media on her phone was a good thing or not.  Up until just before Christmas we’d had a few occasions where she was not using the phone appropriately.

This wasn’t anything really bad at the beginning, mainly over messaging people, declaring her undying love to her best friends (who aren’t actually her best friends) and asking people to say ‘ilysm’…  (that’s ‘I Love You So Much’ to anyone not down with the lingo!).

However, Ellie had also put out a couple of posts asking if people would miss her ‘if she died’.  This upset me so much, as not only is she opening up herself to piss take, but worse still, showing everyone how vulnerable she is and leaving herself wide open to bullying and, it’s too horrifying to think about, but also ‘grooming’.

I had a strong word with her about what doing this could result in with negative comments from people etc and asked if her friends write this sort of thing. Not surprisingly, the answer was NO.   We had tears, apologies galore and an assurance that it wouldn’t happen again.

Well, guess what, it did happen again.  Several times!  Dressed up slightly differently but the tone was the same. Thankfully, I have friends with sensible children who keep an eye out and let them know if something like this goes out.

At Christmas time enough was enough.  It didn’t seem to matter how many times I explained that she must not do this, it wasn’t going in… so the phone was taken away until further notice.

Things plodded along as they normally do (hormones plunging up and down like a rollercoaster) but without the phone Ellie got even obsessed with her other love… Coronation Street! Watching old episodes from the past, over and over! I’ve really not got a problem with this – maybe it’s her connection to my Mum (I’ve not watched it for a few years now since the Hayley cancer storyline). So most conversations at the start of the year involved the names Carla Conner and David & Kylie Platt… but if it keeps her happy and calm, I’m was going with it.

We got to the end of February and had a weekend away visiting friends over in Wales, so we decided that Ellie would be allowed her phone back (purely for selfish reasons – the ability to drink Gin in relative peace) with strict instructions not to post stuff on Instagram like she did before.

Well, we had a brilliant weekend away… a lot of Gin was consumed (there’s a drunk video somewhere on Facebook), George played with his two buddies and Ellie kept herself entertained on her phone.

Having said I would be checking her phone, I didn’t get around to doing it after our weekend away and it wasn’t until the following Friday that I got a phone call from a friend who had been given the heads up that Ellie was putting ‘what if I died’ messages on again.

We were devastated, and bloody fuming!  I looked up her account on Instagram and saw what she had been putting. I went up to her room and frankly, lost my shit!  More tears, more sorry (not sorry).  The phone and the Kindle (which I’d forgotten had IG on) was taken away…. again!

All was going well until the following weekend when she had gotten devious.  I’d asked a dozen times for Ellie to pick up her stuff on her bedroom floor, like you do when you have a messy teenager, and in the end I went up to make her bed and pick up her crap. On pulling back her duvet back, there was the bloody Kindle! WTF!  Not only that, but she had been on IG, changed her username and continued using it. Sneaky cow!

Thinking that I would hit her where it hurts (not literally), but in terms of consequences, it was time to get real!  I was going to take away… CORONATION STREET!… along with The Ingham Family (her other obsession).  This meant a weeks TV ban in her room and no ‘Corrie’ or ‘Ifam’ downstairs.  I also told her that if I caught her watching it,the ban would increase to two weeks, then three weeks!

In the end, the ban went on for four weeks!  From sneaking the TV on, pinching her brother’s remote, and going through my drawers looking for her phone, the TV ended up coming off the wall!  She literally had m no sense of consequence for her actions.

I suppose that’s how it is though. If you think teenagers think the world revolves around them, an Autistic teenager, well certainly mine, thinks the entire Universe begins and starts with them! If she wants to do something, then why shouldn’t she do it?!

So, four weeks without TV upstairs and no social media!  Pure Hell?  Actually no.  It was really nice to have her company and the Easter holidays were so much calmer than any other holiday we’ve had, plus I didn’t have any conversations about how missed Deirdre Barlow is!

From last weekend, the four weeks were up! The phone reluctantly came back, but the only thing on it now is messages and YouTube so she can watch her Ingham Family.  The parental lock has been put on and social media apps removed.

I felt a little mean doing this, but amazingly, Ellie has said that she is much happier not having Social Media in her life.  I don’t know if this is lip service but I’m going with it.  I just need to remember to check that bloody phone each night!

The ironic thing in all this, is that I have just completed a six month course to become a Social Media Manager, so its so hard for me to practice what I preach! I’ve constantly got my phone in my hand!  Difference is, “this is for work”!! 😬🤥

Like with most things in life, it’s a case of do what I say, not do as I do!

I’m sure the social media will make its way back in the future, but for now, I’m loving her not having it!

Until next time,

Love and hugs xxx

Some pics from us visiting our Welshie buddies! The kids didn’t know until we went over the bridge!