Room with a View…

th-32If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would choose to be home.  Home is where the heart is.  Home is where I am at my most comfortable.  Home is where I can be myself.  Home is definitely not wherever I leave my hat!  I am a home bird.

You may think that ‘home’ for me would be where I currently dwell, but this is not the case.  I still feel that my real home is the house  I grew up in.  My parents still live in that house and I am most grateful for that.  It holds so many memories – good and bad.  It is the place where I went from child to teenager to adult – my transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.

It is a very simple three bed council house.  My parents never could afford to buy even till this day.  We lived simply and always just had enough to get by, which in those days was enough.  We learnt about being grateful for what we had and never wished for more.

My sisters and i had a few toys each but we were happy making up our own games, playing outside and making stuff out of boxes!  We didn’t watch much Tv and never had such things as computer games – we couldn’t afford them.  We read books, wrote stories and used our imaginations!

My Mum worked as a cleaning lady in a local school and my Dad was a landscape gardener, so our house was always clean and our garden immaculate.  We were bought up with a strong work ethic and taught to help out others before ourselves.

We went through some very difficult times in this house.  My Mum has Bi Polar which was undiagnosed for many, many years, this was very difficult to deal with as a child and teenager.  It was like living with a ticking time bomb.  None of us knew what was wrong – mental health was not talked about much in those days.  No one ever thought to tell my Mum to see a doctor.  It was just a private incidence in our family.  To everyone else my Mum was just the ‘crazy’ lady who lived down the road.  My dad also couldn’t cope with all this and suffered terrible depression.  We would often find him at the bottom of a bottle of Whisky.

My sister’s moved out during this time as they found it hard to cope.  Both had there own relationships to pursue, they needed to get on with there lives.

I still love the house though.  It is the place that my parents healed and got better.  It symbolises strength and their unity, there ability to work things through.  I admire that so much and it is the main reason I am taking my family through the journey I’m currently going through.

I was the last of the three children to move out.  As we flew the nest one by one, my parents really began to struggle financially as we had all been contributing to the house keeping as soon as we became employed.  I stayed with my parents much longer than I needed just to help them out.  The last two years I was there I paid there rent for them.  I felt I needed to repay them for the period of time when they took care of me, despite their struggles.  Believe me, there were times when I hated living with them and I wanted to walk away but family is family and you support them no matter what.

They came through the bad times and my relationship with them is all the better for it.  They still struggle financially so I now pay my Mum to look after our children whilst I work.  My Mum is much better now but she still has off days, but it’s great that my children are growing up with an understanding of mental health issues which is spoken about openly in our family, (along with Daddy’s addiction and Mummy’s work with PMLD, they are going to be very worldly wise).  I am very proud of that!

So, at the moment I don’t feel like the place I have lived in for coming up seven years is ‘home’.  I actually don’t like it much at all.  I feel guilty about that as it is the place I am bringing up my children.  I then think back to my family home and all the hard times we had there and there is still a sense of nostalgia.  I hope my children will feel this about their home and I hope one day I will feel that way too.  At the moment there are so many bad memories, but I feel hope as I plan to replace them with good ones!  That is what my blog is all about!

Note:  I absolutely realise that I have gone off on a tangent.  The prompt was supposed to be a descriptive place, whereas I’ve gone on more of a nostalgic journey!  I hope you enjoyed anyway! X

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5 Principles…

th-7Stephen Covey writes a great deal about the principles on which the seven habits are based.  Here are the five principles which most effect my life daily.

The principle of service, of giving oneself to others, of helping to facilitate other people in their endeavours.

I seem to do this all day long, everyday!  I work in a residential home for adults with profound, multiple learning disabilities.  I provide full support with every aspect of their lives from personal care to helping them to live as independently as possible.  I have even helped some achieve their goals and their dreams.  Service is my job and one that I love.  I count myself very lucky.

In my personal life I take the majority of responsibility for the children.  Service is yet again the order of the day!  I don’t mind this anymore, it seems to have become easier as the children have got older and I have found ways of coping.  I love the time I spend with my children and I don’t feel the loss of identity that I once felt.  I’m beginning to get some of ‘me’ back.

I need to practise this principle more with my partner, I know deep down that he is a good person and I believe that this person will come back to me one day.  In the meantime I will do my up most to support him.

The Principle of staying positive and optimistic, radiating positive energy, and avoiding the four emotional cancers (criticizing, complaining, comparing and competing).

Well, staying positive and optimistic can be a battle when times are bad, but I try to remember that there is nothing I can do to change his drinking.  He needs to do this himself.  So, I just carry on with my life and try to help the kids understand.  (I would like to make it clear here that there have been very few incidences where he has been drinking around the kids.)  He now knows that when he is drinking, I will just stay out of the way.  I have managed to carve out a little life for myself, I started writing, learnt a new craft skill and started doing the things I loved as a child like drawing and singing.  This has helped so much and I am much happier for it.

During the day to day grind when I was unhappy and depressed I did a lot of the four emotional cancers.  I criticized the way he looked after our children, (sometimes rightly so, like when their outing with daddy was to the pub), but a lot of the time it was just nit picking because of my resentment towards him. This is probably partly responsible for why he helps so little now.  He felt like he could do no right.

I complained from the moment I got up in the morning till the moment I went to sleep.  I didn’t realise how negative I had become.  I compared our relationship to others, and wondered why we couldn’t be like a ‘normal’ couple.  I now know there is no such thing.  Everyone has their own problems.

I still have negative days, but I tend to just bite my tongue now.  Then I guess bottling up my feelings will do no good either.

The Principle of integrity – The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

I try not to speak about others when they are not present, but I admit this is quite difficult as I work in a female dominated environment.  There is a lot of gossiping and bitching and it’s easy to get sucked in.  I try to avoid these conversations and walk away and get on with my work.  If I am part of the conversation, I try to make sure that I don’t say anything that I wouldn’t say to the person’s face.

In these types of situations I try to remember that we never know what other people are going through.  My colleagues really have very little clue of the extent of the problems in my family, I hide it well.  I’m actually one of the few staff who doesn’t take their issues into work, I would never want to – it’s the one place I can get away from it all.

The Principle of patience – The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

I am very patient in my work life.  A lot of the adults I support have challenging behaviour and mental health issues.  I can be in some pretty dangerous situations, sometimes on a daily basis.  I cope with this well.  I am good at it.  So, why do I find it so hard to apply at home?

I am much better with the children now, when I was very stressed out I would lose patience quickly and feel like I couldn’t cope but I manage this well now.  I have had to set up my life so that I no longer depend on daddy, e.g. I have back-up childcare, informed my manager so he’s aware.  The minute I put these things into place my life became easier.  It is just sad that it has come to that.

With my partner things need to change.  Staying out of the way helps but it does not address the problem.

The Principle of balance – Identifying our roles and spending appropriate times in each one.

All good with work and children here but definitely need to spend more time on our relationship.  I also need to look at developing friendships as I am feeling isolated at times.

It’s just knowing where to start…