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My Body And Me

love your bodyAm I ever going to accept and love my body unconditionally? If I ever will, then when? I asked myself this question as I tried on a blouse this afternoon in a shop. Please do not tell me that I am the only person who feels this way about her body. Please tell me you understand and can relate to my feelings.

Most mornings when I look at my naked body in the mirror, she actually looks strong, healthy and beautiful. But on the odd occasion like this afternoon I find myself struggling with the shape of my body. I struggle to accept the stretched skin around my tummy that came when my daughters were born. This stretched skin has refused to go away. It just won’t budge no matter what I do. My ‘wobbly tummy’ as my daughters call it just sits there and stares back at me.

As I have mentioned in this blog before – until a few years ago, I had a big bottom. And by the way, my huge bottom was not the only part of me that was enormous. My breasts, tummy, thighs, arms… in short, every part of me was big! But it all changed when I made a decision to reduce them to a reasonable size. So, I picked a diet that I could stick to and I began exercising. This worked for me and it still does.

However, every morning I obsessively stand on the bathroom scales. With this crazy routine comes a fear – a fear that the weight I had lost may be hiding somewhere in my house eagerly waiting to pounce on me. Ridiculous isn’t it? Yes, I know! I recognise that it is stupid to think this way, but I can’t help it.

But going back to my original question, am I ever going to wholeheartedly accept my body the way it is? I do really want to accept and love her every day of the week and not just for a few days now and then. The odd thing about my feeling for her is some days… actually most days… I know I look good naked and in the clothes I wear. But sometimes, like today, I struggle to accept what I see in the mirror. I struggle to unconditionally love the body that is faithful and loyal to me. The body that has never let me down. My body that gives me pleasure with my husband John. My body that carried my two beautiful daughters for over nine months each. My lovely, strong and loyal body.

Have you truly accepted your body? If you have, I need some talking to.

Yvonne xxx

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Mummy Wars… Mothers Fighting Over Their Choices

Working mums vs Stay-at-home mothersIs it true that to be a good mother, your child must not spend time in paid for childcare? Do you think this ‘fact’ is just another way of putting a wedge between women? I believe it could well be a way of holding women back from achieving their dreams?

Before my husband John and I got married, we talked and agreed on the type of childcare we wanted for our children (if we ever had children). The agreement was that one of us would have to sacrifice his or her career for a few years. Well, at least until the children were in full-time education. And this was what we did when our first daughter was born. Practicality meant I was the one who gave up their career because it made sense to; John earned far more than me.

I remember the day I called my former employers (a well-known pharmaceutical company) to resign. I felt sad and angry that I had to give up my seat at the table. A seat I had worked hard for. A seat I was just beginning to feel comfortable sitting on. Please do not misunderstand me… I was really lucky and appreciative that John was able to bankroll the family. This must have been a big weight on his shoulders. And for this, I thank him. Not all families have the luxury of being able to make the choice we made.

For almost eight years I have lived for my children and husband. Living for them meant I was just a mummy and wife… and not Yvonne. For a long time I struggled with my identity as a woman and most especially as a human being. This identity crisis sometimes made me angry, emotional and sad. In saying that, staying home with my daughters has helped me to have a strong emotional bond with them. I have always been physically there for them, and perhaps for this reason they talk to me about what bothers them, no matter how difficult or embarrassing the problem may seem to a young child. I am not saying this bond is going to remain for ever, but we have laid a solid foundation for the future.

For some weeks now, I have worked part-time on a freelance basis assisting a Finance Director of a company based in Mayfair, London. And guess what? I love it! And surprisingly for me, my daughters and John are happy for me too. They can see that I am no longer a frustrated and angry woman who is living her life for them. I am now doing something good for myself. Something that allows me to dress up in my Sunday best, wear a bit of makeup, get on the train, interact with different people and to top it all, earn some money.

I never thought the day would come for me to say this, but I am a happier and better mother than I have ever been. I am still struggling with the balancing act needed for a home to run smoothly when both parents are working. I am getting there. So please, for those of you who are going to start pointing a finger at me – like I used to working mums – I say, judge me by how happy my children are.

I do understand why you may want to point your finger at me. Don’t forget that I was once brainwashed into thinking my daughters needed me 24/7 too. Like you, I also felt I was doing what good mothers are meant to do. I was under the delusion that good mothers must and should give up their careers to give their children a good start in life. A good start that can never be replicated if the child is cared for by someone who is paid to do it. I deluded myself into thinking these arrangements were not ideal.

But now, I have done a U-turn, and I say whatever works for your family is your business – so don’t go pointing your finger at working mothers. Working mothers like me. I was guilty of finger-pointing too and for this, I apologise. We, mothers are all just trying to do our best for our children. But first, we need to ask ourselves if we are really happy with our choices with regards to childcare. Or perhaps our children will be better off if we choose paid for childcare. Either way, no child deserves a miserable mother.

Yvonne XXX

Joyless Act of Comparison

Handbags for blog

Why do we compare ourselves to others? But in particular, why are women so good at the art of comparison? We are never happy with our bodies, the houses we live in, the jobs we hold down, the men or women we are with, the friends we have, etc., etc. Are you like me and constantly judging yourself?

When I started my blog, I was innocently advised by specialist blogging books to visit other blogs to see, admire and learn from them. My innocent observation of some blogs has turned me into a bad judge of myself. This Judgement is a result of me comparing my writing style to other bloggers who I think are more advanced with words. Do you know what the sad bit of my comparison exercise is? I fail to remind myself that I am just a new-born baby in the world of blogging. This unnecessary judgement of myself has sometimes left me feeling rubbish and wanting to give up.

By the way, I am not saying all women have this problem. If you are a woman who is confident and secure in yourself, please I’d love to hear from you. But, if you are like me and are struggling with insecurity because you want to be someone else, even for a split second, we must seek help on how to stop comparing ourselves to others now!

Emma Gannon’s post called Comparison is what has brought this on. As usual, Emma got me thinking after reading her article this morning. Emma’s article talked me into admitting that I have a problem. A problem which I thought was resolved when I turned 40.

You see, after turning 40 and losing a lot of weight, I completely stopped comparing the way I look to women I thought were more beautiful. I stopped comparing my looks because the mirror in my bedroom showed me the physical hard work I had put into looking strong. Looking this way makes me feel good, so I have no issue in this area of my life.

My insecurity rears its head in the parenting of my daughters. I compare and judge them when they are not the best in whatever they do. I find myself comparing them to some of their high achieving classmates. Ashamedly, I have even voiced my comparison of these children to my daughters. In my head, I compare my daughters to each other. I know they are very different to each other but I still do it anyway.

Are you wondering why I have pictures of a Gucci and a Christian Dior handbags in this article? Well, these handbags remind me of what comparison can do to your bank account. These handbags (among many) were the first designer handbags I bought on credit due to my emotional insecurity. My insecurity was born out comparing myself to a friend who bought expensive handbags. I still do not understand why I – who had so little – wanted to make a wealthy designer even wealthier.

In my defence, I can honestly look back at my journey and pat myself on the back. I am not as bad as I was. I have my own distinctive style now since I stopped following fashion trends and copying others. Don’t get me wrong, I still admire what the fashion industry does… but I am not their fool anymore.

What I need to work on is my habit of comparing my blogging style to all the wonderful blogs out there. But most importantly, I have to stop comparing my daughters to the children who are regarded as high achieving.

I do recognise that I need a new attitude to succeed in the comparison battle. It is a challenge for me but as Emma Gannon wrote “it is so simple, yet so hard to do”. Emma, I am going to give it a shot!

Yvonne xxxx

 

 

 

What Every Woman In A Relationship Must Know Now

Esposas_de_Matrimonio_1Would you leave a safe but unhappy marriage for a happier life? Would you have the strength to leave your husband or wife to have no regrets when you are on your dying bed? Would it make any difference that the partner you are thinking of leaving has been tolerant and supportive of you? I asked myself these questions after watching the last episode of House of Cards. (Warning: spoiler alert).

Yes, I know that Claire and Frank Underwood are fictional characters in a TV show, but Claire’s decision to walk away from it all left me with some soul-searching questions of my own. These are the questions I have asked you.

The underlying agreement of all married couples is to love and support one another, I have this in my marriage to John, so do Claire and Frank. But there is a difference – my real-life marriage is old-fashioned; the Underwoods modern. So, in my old-fashioned views of what I believe a marriage must be, Claire and Frank’s marriage has always fascinated me.

Claire and Frank are open about their indiscretions. I have watched them have a threesome with their security guard. Both have had extramarital affairs and they know each others secrets; she knew Frank murdered his mistress.

But Last night, I watched Claire listen to the quiet whispers of her angel telling her that life with Frank is safe but not fulfilling. She knew that she can never be truly happy if she stays married to him. So, she bravely walked out. Where Claire got the emotional strength from, I don’t know. But I believe that not having a child in the marriage must have made it an easier decision for her.

As you may know, marriage is an easy union to enter but hard to get out of. It is even harder for women because there is still a stigma attached to divorce. I believe this is one of the reasons some women still stay in an unhappy relationship.

To answer my questions to you, I am very lucky that I am in a safe and happy marriage. However, if today, my marriage becomes unbearable, I will not be walking out. I have always had the strength to cope with unhappiness but never the strength of walking away. In saying that, I may just have some strength in me that I am unaware of. Plus, I have not really been unhappy since I met John and had my daughters.

So, over to you. What are most afraid of when it comes to leaving a marriage or a partnership that no longer brings you joy? Is it financial fear? Do you feel powerless because you have become completely dependant on your husband?

Until recently, I was a stay-at-home mother. My husband, John, was the breadwinner and my daughters and I were solely dependant on him for everything. But unlike many stay-at-home mothers, I was and still am very involved in our finances. Also, luckily for me, John is not a power or money hungry man.

But people are capable of showing  you a side of themselves when a union breaks down. Nene Leakes of The Real Housewife of Atlanta knows this too well. She claimed to have seen a different side of her ex-husband when they were getting a divorce. Some years later, when they re-married, she made him sign a prenuptial agreement before she walked down the aisle again with him. When asked why she wanted a prenuptial agreement signed, she explained that you will never really know the person you are with until you are in court.

For now, I am happy in my marriage and hopefully you are too. If it ever goes wrong, I hope we can walk away like Claire Underwood did.

Yvonne xxx

Exciting News about RealYvonneBlog

Moved_by_Kadoku

Dear RealYvonneBlog followers,

RealYvonneBlog is growing at an incredible rate. So, I’ve had to move it to a new hosting service.

What this means is that WordPress won’t be sending you any more email notifications about exciting things happening at the RealYvonneBlog.

But please don’t worry! There’s a new and easy way to sign up all my juicy news, adventures and worries.

Signing up takes just a few seconds…

1. Please go directly to RealYvonne.com

2. On the right-hand side of the page, just pop in your Email Address and Name. Be rest assured that you are still on this journey with me.

Thank you for supporting me over the last few months, and I still need your support for the future.

Yvonne
xxx

Monica Lewinsky And Me

Yesterday, Monica Lewinsky came into my home and made me cry. “That woman” reduced me to a crying mess as I prepared dinner for my family.

If you do not know Monica Lewinsky, she was the 22-years old graduate and Intern who fell for Bill Clinton. But, without me going into details of the scandal especially the semen-stained dress, Monica publicly paid for falling inappropriately for Mr President.

What Miss Lewinsky and Mr Clinton got up to was made public by her so-called friend who secretly recorded their conversation about the affair. The recorded conversation was handed over to a lawyer and voilà, we all knew what they were getting up to in the White House.

Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky

Not related to this but do you know what happened to that friend? If you do, Please let me know.

Anyway, after the scandal broke on-line instead of the more traditional route; Monica went into hiding but she was never forgotten as the “slut” who tried to bring an institution down. Mr Clinton, on the other hand was impeached but acquitted.

So yesterday, as Monica shared the pain of her shame with me, I stepped into her shoes and felt her pain with her. This pain made me very sad. I wept hard. And by the way, she was only 22-years old when she had to deal with all of this mess.

The empathy I felt for Monica made me cry so loudly, my husband and children ran into the kitchen to find out what was going on. I could not answer their questions immediately; I just pointed at the little screen sitting on my kitchen worktop and said “why”.

I was asking why we all treated Monica so badly. Why didn’t we all stand up for her? Why did she pay so heavily for her mistake? She was only in her early 20s- we all make mistakes at that age. An age where we don’t even know ourselves.

After a few minutes of composing myself, I was ready to listen to her again. But she had stopped talking about her ordeal of over 15-years ago, she was now preaching about the empathy deficit we are suffering from.A pitfall of social media. She further explained that the empathy deficit has now contributed to the growth of cyber bullying.

I could not help but watch, listen and connect with this person talking to me. This being,who was once known as ‘That Woman’. She wasn’t just talking to me alone, she was addressing the audience at her 2015 TED talk. (The price of shame)

The standing ovation after her talk made me cry even more. The effect of Monica’s story made me decide to empathise more and judge less.

I was 23 when Monica’s scandal broke in 1998 and without empathy; I judged her and threw stones at her since I liked Clinton. But, knowing what I know now, I should not have thrown those stones because I had no moral standing to throw them.

Thinking back to my 20s, like Monica, I made terrible mistakes too. I fell in love with the wrong men, made bad decisions about things, ran away from home and gave everyone around me hell. The difference between my mistakes and Monica’s is that Monica’s was public and mine private.

So for all the Monicas out there, I am sorry for shaming and not sympathising with you. And I do hope you can all forgive me for throwing stones at you.

 Yvonne xxx