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Power of calmness

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Friday, 24 April 2015
Why is keeping calm one of the hardest things to do? If only there was a special vitamin pill we could pop each morning to (non-synthetically) adopt our brains to think of open fields, pools of still water and perfect sunsets. Just think how much more effective (not to say happier and more pleasant) we would all be.

And, of course, the knock-on effect would be dramatic on those around us. Having recently spent a very calm go-slow weekend with some ridiculously calm friends, I decided to try a little experiment at home. NO screaming on the stairs to encourage the Smalls to hurry up. NO manic multi-tasking. NO rushing. NO stress. Just for one day.

I won't lie. It really did take some incredible self-control and most definitely didn't feel very me. But... the results were dramatic. At first my fellow housemates looked at me curiously, as if I had been embodied by a half-absent soul. Before long though they too picked up on my calmness.

A psychotherapist might suggest that I was 'deconstructing the ritual'. Personally, I'd just say I was less of mad woman.

My relationship with my daughter is becoming increasingly fraught

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 23 April 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
My 17 year old daughter and I have always been close, but lately our relationship has become increasingly fraught. Just recently, her father offered to pay for her gym membership so she could lose weight, and I agreed it was a good idea. Now she's so upset and wants nothing to do with us. She has changed so much in the last few months since her close friend died in a car accident, which she refuses to talk about, has stopped socialising, and spends most of the time in her bedroom eating sweets, hence her rapid weight gain. She seems to get pleasure from giving me as much stress as possible and is causing such an atmosphere in what has always been a happy household. The main issue is, that five years ago, I put £10,000 pounds in premium bonds in her name, which will become hers when she's 18. Not only is she being difficult, but I think she'd spend the money, instead of using it for university as I intended. I'm happy to give it to her when she's older and wiser, but am I breaking both a legal and emotional law by withholding it from her?

Patricia Marie says.....

If the bonds are in your daughter's name, you would be acting illegally if you spent the money yourself, and behaving unethically if you promised them to her when she turned 18. I feel the more important issue here is the problem between you, your husband and your daughter. If you love someone, you should do so unconditionally, not only if they are slim or otherwise.

It sounds as if she found her father's offer a sign of criticism and rejection, especially at a time when she is grieving for the loss of her friend. Your daughter is clearly overwhelmed with emotion, hence the comfort eating, and in much need of some tender loving care. What you should have done is asked her if she had any concerns about herself and if there was anything you could do to help.

You need to separate the issue of the money from the issue of her hurt and embarrassment.

Tell her that she will get the money, as promised, on her 18th birthday. However, remind her it was intended as a support for university, and that you would be happy if it was used in that way. Also, tell her you're sorry if you said the wrong thing and that you are wanting to get your relationship with her back on track. Do urge your daughter to contact Cruse, an excellent organisation who could offer her the professional help and support she needs and very much deserves in coming to terms with the tragic loss of her friend.

Cruse Bereavement Counselling: 0844 477 9400 www.cruse.org.uk

Breaking Rules

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 16 April 2015
Are you a rules person? It's a bit like Marmite. Either you love a good rulebook, those double yellow lines and that naughty step or ... well, you simply can't look a police man in the eye.

Our Smalls have been raised for the last decade on RULES. Coats are hung by the door, shoes in the shoe basket, bed time rarely wavers and we certainly don't entertain any fugitives after lights out. But – as they enter their second decade – I'm wondering if we need to shift into the back seat... just a little.

Because breaking rules and escaping that proverbial box is what gives us the freedom to be. (Besides, I know how much I personally need to break any rules to turn a fun evening into a proper dancing-on-the-table session). And if these Smalls can't 'be', how will they grow up to think for themselves, risk for a thrill and feel that all important dubious doubt?

So that's my parenting rulebook utterly broken. In fact, I might even go as far as developing a blind eye. But - if you happen to see some (small) people who look a bit like me on Oxford Street swinging from a bottle of gin, please send them home immediately.

My husband makes no secret of his infidelity

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 16 April 2015
For the past two years my husband has been funding his mistress in a stunning apartment near to where he works. He constantly lavishes gifts on her, and pays for them to go on expensive holidays abroad. When I found out last year, I was devastated, but have gradually had to accept I either put up with it, or lose him completely. He makes no secret of his infidelity. In fact he's glad it's out in the open. He insists he doesn't want me, but would be set to lose an awful lot of money if we were to divorce, and refuses to give up his mistress. I am still sleeping with him and try to do everything I can to make my husband happy, in the hope that he will finish with this other woman. I feel empty, weak and worthless. Please help me.

Patricia Marie says.....

Why on earth would your husband give up his mistress, if at the same time he has you submitting to his every whim? He is clearly having his cake and eating it, demonstrating a total lack of respect and being completely uncaring about your feelings. It seems he is only interested in his own pleasure, and is happy to walk all over you.

It's no wonder you are feeling so bad about yourself, but you must accept some responsibility for allowing your husband to treat you in such an appalling manner.

You say your husband is funding his mistress, yet surely this is your money too.

He is totally manipulating you, and I urge you to stand up for yourself before you end up not just lonely, but penniless too.

Instead of focussing on his needs, try to concentrate all your energy on yourself. Go and see a counsellor who will help with your low self-esteem and lack of confidence. At this moment, having your husband to love seems the most important thing in your life. However, when you feel stronger within yourself, hopefully you will begin to see things more clearly, and seriously consider ending this dysfunctional marriage, so you can begin to live the life you deserve.

I feel you would benefit from reading 'Women Who Love Too Much' by Robin Norwood.

Oh… HELLO sunshine

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 10 April 2015
Oh... HELLO sunshine. We're very pleased to meet you but did have just a couple of quick questions: Are you here to stay? Or just flirting a little warmth and brightness in our direction. You see, your big, bold entrance needs a little planning. And, if you are in fact here to stay, our winter toes and hibernation legs (ditto working upwards) need to know.

But if you're going to be gone tomorrow, we can simply relax. Bundled up in lots of layers is the only way we really know how to dress. A hot sun only confuses British fashion and – let's face – sandals are a minefield to negotiate.

Picnics, BBQs and a freezer full of ice-cream need planning too. Are lunchtime soups already VERY last month? What about sunglasses, umbrellas and that extended scarf?

So while we're very happy to hear the birds chirping, to walk home in evening light and to feel the presence of a yellow ball of glow in the sky, it's just that we need to know if you're teasing. Are you part of some big joke?

Do let us know before there's a hosepipe ban.


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