I don’t need to pretend

I am happy. We are happy. Nobody’s life is perfect, we all have room for improvement, but ultimately we, I, am happy.

I’ll admit I don’t share the niggles life brings us on social media and that I’m more than eager to share all the good parts in my life, but this does not mean I’m pretending to be happy.

There are things that I’d like to happen, things that could be better, things that could be changed but this does not mean I’m not happy.

My husband and I have been together for almost 9 years. During those 9 years I can probably count on one hand the amount of times we have “argued”. We rarely fall out. We make each other laugh. We could not be without each other. We can’t imagine life not together. We have no regrets. We don’t need to pretend, we do have a happy marriage.

Together we have 2 daughters. 2 beautiful, healthy, clever, intuitive, crazy little girls. Growing up it was my dream to have a daughter. I’d convinced myself that because I wanted a girl I would have boys so when our first daughter was born I was over the moon. My longed for baby girl. I won’t lie, my second baby I did hope that we’d have a boy, but I wouldn’t change having 2 girls for the world. Our girls have the sister I’d always wanted. A best friend for life. I don’t pretend to be happy with our 2 girls, I’m over the moon with our TWO amazing children.

There is someone missing from our life, someone very important, someone loved by us very much, but our sadness on this aspect in our life does not mean we are pretending to be happy overall.

I don’t need to pretend to be happy. I AM happy.

Is there a secret to a happy marriage?

On 24th May this year we will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. We got married on the date of the anniversary of our first date so this year it will mark 9 years together.

During the 9 years we’ve had plenty of ups and downs but I believe that is why we have a happy marriage, because we have faced everything together.

We didn’t have the most conventional start to our relationship. We met while I was on holiday in Portugal, and my husband lived and worked out there at the time. Just over 6 weeks after our first date, my husband flew back to the UK and he moved in with me at my mum’s house. He found a job and we started our life together.

My husband proposed whilst we were on holiday in Kenya 16 months after our first date, and we bought and moved in to our first home 6months after that.

For the first 2 years of our relationship we moved pretty quickly through the stages of our relationship, quicker than most, and granted living together was due to circumstances more than conscious decision making, but for us it worked out well. A lot happened in those first two years (that’s a post for another day!) and I believe that all that happened helped us form a strong relationship quickly and it proved to those that knew us that our love was a true one, and one that was going to work.

So what do I think is the secret to a happy marriage?
I think marriage and what makes people happy is something that is different for everyone. There’s no one big thing that everyone should do that will suddenly mean everyone is in happy marriages but I can share what works for us, and what I think I’ve seen in those that haven’t worked.

I think there’s a number of factors that contribute to our happy marriage:-

Talk
We gossip, we debate, we discuss, we problem solve, we chat, we joke, we tease, we compliment, we criticise…….
We talk about anything and everything. My husband and I talk – A LOT!

No Doubt
Neither of us have ever questioned our relationship. Never once thought “is this right?” Never split or been on the verge of breaking up. We’ve never had a disagreement where we’ve thought we should “take a break”.

Know who you are
We are individuals as well as a couple. We don’t live in each other’s pockets. It’s important to have our own interests, and our own friends. It can be unhealthy to spend too much time together. You mustn’t lose sight of who you are and what makes you as an individual happy.

We have a dream……
Our goals and dreams for the future have always been very similar and we’ve worked, and continue to work towards those dreams together. If you want completely different things in life it’s unlikely it’ll work. You shouldn’t make people want the same things as you. Compromise yes, but not change completely.

Similar morals and beliefs
We don’t agree on everything, all of the time, but our core values are the same. We both had fairly similar upbringings in terms of family values so this has meant we don’t have much conflict. This works out well especially with raising our family.

Respect the differences
You don’t have to have the same views on everything. It’s good to have differences, and it works well to have differences as you then end up complementing each other and become a team.

Do not change
Do not change who you are, and do not attempt to change the person that you love. If you love each other, and your love is true, then you love for the person that is in front of you, not the person you can turn them into. Everyone changes over time but do not become someone you aren’t just to impress.

Trust each other
Never check each other’s phones in secret to see who they’ve called or text. Never check up on them with others. Never add their friends as your friends unless you’ve met them. If you don’t trust each other, you will always doubt each other.

There’s a lot more to us and our marriage but these are what we consider as important.

This post was written for the Happy Wives Club “All About Love” Blog Tour
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Less phone use equals……

On Monday I posted about how I intended to put my phone down and use the internet less. And it’s been a good week.

I’d be lying if I said I had definitely not used my phone between getting up in the morning and putting my daughters to bed of an evening, but my use of my phone this week has dramatically reduced. So much so that my iPhone has only needed a charge at night – normally it’d be put on charge at least once, if not twice a day plus the overnight! (An obvious sign of overuse!)1

I have not logged on to Facebook at all during this time. It’s the site that takes up most of my time. I feel less stressed not using it, I’m not getting caught up in trivial things, or stressing out at things I read. No idea if I’m missing out on anything (pretty sure I’m not) but if anyone misses me those people would know where to find me outside of Facebook!

So what has putting my phone down allowed me to do with my week? This week I have:-

– attended the local Stay and play session with my girls
– decluttered and cleaned all cupboards and drawers in the kitchen
– baked muffins with the girls
– been into town and bought almost all the cards I need for the whole of 2014!
– met up with a friend and her daughter and chatted while our girls played at a play gym
– cleaned the fridge
– tidied my jewellery drawer
– cuddled on the sofa while watching tv in the evenings
– steam cleaned the downstairs floors; twice!
– scrubbed and cleaned all grouting in between kitchen floor tiles
– done the food shopping
– painted my nails
– written to-do lists for each room in the house
– played games with the girls
– read books with the girls
– tidied / sorted eldest’s bedroom

I know many people will look down that list and think “that’s not a great deal” but for me, what I’ve actually done this week is a massive achievement compared to normal weeks.

On top of all that I’ve done the normal daily chores of cooking, cleaning, washing, walking the dog, bathing the girls, general tidying up. . . .

Because I’ve not been using my phone during the day I’ve found that I’m not as inclined to use it of an evening. I’ve concentrated on the tv programmes I’m watching, chatted with my husband an do done odd jobs that need doing.

So in just 5 days putting down my phone has had a positive effect on my productivity and on my mind. I don’t know what effect it’s had on the children or my other half but I’m sure having my full attention must be better for everyone.

I intend to carry this on until it becomes habit to not use my phone, rather than the unhealthy habit I have now of continuously using it.

Less phone use equals a happier, more productive, less stressed, more focused Kerry

Putting my phone down……

Last April I wrote a post about giving up Facebook

At that time I did a whole month without using the site. Since then things have just gone back to how they were, if not worse.

My alarm goes off on a morning, on my phone, so the first thing I do is pick up my phone and before getting out of bed scroll through emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…… I read the news on my phone whilst having my morning cuppa and breakfast…… Have a quick flick through social networks again while out walking, and again while eating lunch, and during the afternoon………
I even don’t give TV programmes my full attention as my phone is in my hand.

My phone is never, ever far from my hand. My 13 month old daughter knows how to unlock my iPhone and access apps – doesn’t know what to do from there, but that is enough to show me I use it too much in front of her. Our almost 4 year old has been playing games on iPods for over 2 years now which is terrible. Both of them have learnt to do this because they see both me & their Dad constantly with our phones.

I am neglecting my children, my husband, myself, my friends and our home due to my use of my iPhone. Well, ultimately it’s use of the internet as I don’t spend a lot of time talking or texting on my phone!

Over the weekend I read this article It is an old article yet the content is relevant. So from today I am going to try to be a “Hands free mama”

After this post, my phone will be put in a pocket or put on the side and if it rings I will answer it but I am not allowing myself to check emails or social networks nor do random googling. Not until the evening when the girls are in bed and I’m sitting down to relax.

I’m exchanging my phone camera for my actual camera too and will use that for taking photos of things we do instead.

I’m avoiding Facebook altogether for at least a week. I love seeing photos and catching up on good news, but hate conflict and blatant lies. For some reason it stresses me out so that’s off completely.

But I will continue to blog with my progress and difference it might make to my life. (Only in evenings though!)

Manners cost nothing….

….so why these days do they seem to be used so little?

I’ve noticed it a lot now that we attend children’s parties, play gyms and even at the school gate.

Most children tend to say please and thank you (most, not all) but manners is more than that and people seem to be forgetting that.

Manners should be taught from the very beginning. It’s not something that is introduced later in life, it should be a basic principle taught from the word go.

The loss of manners is leading to a ruder, impatient society where everyone believes that they deserve what they want at the exact point they want it and screw everyone else.

I hate leg classes

When I arrive at The Vibe for a class and there’s no equipment set out and a pile of mats waiting in the corner I know what’s coming and dread it. Legs.

My ankles feel so weak during leg class, at some points I feel like my foot might actually become detached from my leg through the weight strapped round it sinking in…….

I literally have to grit my teeth and try and get to those 20 pulses, 20 clamps or the ever elegant “dog wees” as they are known by us all!

I’m going to have to try practice these at home although my ankle weights are nowhere near as heavy as the one Lizzie makes me wear!!

No pain, no gain right?!!

Beautiful moment…

This last week or so our youngest daughter, 13 months old, has been doing the hand actions when singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Tonight when I put her to bed, she started to do the hand actions and said “ma, ma” I lay her down and laid next to her as I do and offered her milk. She again showed me her twinkling hands and said “ma, ma” So I started singing Twinkle, Twinkle. As I did she nestled in and settled down. The song finished, and she looked up at me and once again twinkled her hands with the demand “ma ma” which i am now taking as “more, more”

By the end of the second rendition, my little Lollypop was asleep.

Beautiful moment. Our youngest baby girl is growing up too fast.