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By Zoe Hatherall
Black Cat Books
St Marychurch Precinct
Hi! My name is Zoe and I own and run a little bookshop in St Marychurch precinct. I am an only parent to an eleven year old boy. I get up at 5am every day to feed our 2 dogs and 7 cats and then I workout for an hour. I work around 60 hours a week, 6 days a week, 51 weeks of the year. I'm deliberately single and fiercely independent. I'm a Supermum, but not because of any of the reasons I just stated. I'm a Supermum because my son thinks I am and that has nothing to do with my being a hyperactive, workaholic, exercise addicted control freak with severe commitment issues. In fact he thinks those are all a bit annoying. We have a fantastic relationship and every day I know that I am a great mum and that he thinks the world of me, but it wasn't always that way.
My son's dad and I were together for 5 years before we had a baby. 5 months later I left him, knowing that I was killing him, but having a baby had changed my priorities and I had to do what was right for my son. 3 months later I received the phone call I had been waiting for: after a lifetime of devastating mental health problems, the love of my life had finally succeeded in ending his. The effect, on everyone who loved him, was catastrophic. For me it was like an invisible time bomb going off inside me. I had no guilt, we were at peace with each other and I had thought I was prepared, but I don't think you can ever truly be prepared for something like that. All death and grief is transformative, but suicide has its own way of making people question their own lives and of changing their outlook forever.
For the first 3 years I seemed alright. I was a great mother, worked hard, my son was happy, secure and confident. But then I started to unravel. I made increasingly appalling decisions, drank too much, gave up work and our secure home. I dragged my little boy from pillar to post until an argument with a neighbour left our home vandalised, our things destroyed and us homeless. Around this time I remember my beautiful boy telling me that I didn't feel like his mummy anymore, because I was never there, physically or emotionally. The shining love was gone from his eyes and thinking of that even now still makes me cry.
We found a new home and life began to settle down. I knew that I had a lot of work to do to undo the damage I had done to my son and our relationship over the past 3 years. He was now 6 and desperately insecure, low in self esteem and unsure of my love. I reinstigated the routine we had always had - bath, bed, story, and we kept to it religiously. Every night, no matter what the day had held, he had my complete and undivided attention while we shared a story, talked about our days, cuddled and grew comfortable together again.
When it comes down to it what our children want from us isn't material, it's not toys or games or consoles, it's time. They want us to show them how much they mean to us by giving them our time. It doesn't matter if it's a game of football, a board game or a bedtime story, it's the undivided attention that shows them that they are important to us, that they matter more than work or washing up or Facebook. Though I've given my son my time in many other ways, that special, quiet, bedtime story time probably did more to heal our relationship than anything else. Reading the stories opened up channels of communication and conversation - 'I don't like the way he is acting; I think that mummy shouts too much, what do you think of how she is behaving?' And it gave us quality time together. It may sound trite, but I truly believe that that nightly ritual helped to salvage our mother-son bond. I'm not saying that because I own a bookshop - I own a bookshop because of that.
These days with our busy lives it is all too easy to say we don't have time, to put on a dvd or tv instead for the kids at bedtime, but if we can find the time - just a few minutes to give our little ones at the end of each day, it's not just they who benefit. We do too. I gave my son my time and he gave me back my life.
Torbay Nice Mums come along to the Easter Fun Day in Ellacombe Park, Saturday 19th April 11am - 4pm.
Meet the Ellacombe birds of prey, Make Easter crafts, Easter colouring competition, Decorate a cake, Make a mask, Create your own Easter chick, Pavement art Scrapstore workshop, Recycle your unwanted electrical goods, Buy a recycled bike and most importantly say hi to me (Steffi) as I'll be there representing Nice Mums and collecting your recycling for our collection!
Apologies again its been a while! The joys of being a working mum I guess! On that subject I read a lovely piece just yesterday, a letter to a stay at home mum and vice versa, I can't remember where I saw it to credit the writer but wow. It really was a piece to make u sit up and take notice. As humans/mums/women we judge everything about others from the way they dress, the way they talk to the way their children behave and their parenting skills in general, the question really has to be asked "who are we to judge", everyone's circumstances are different, everyone has their own trials instead of judging why aren't we offering a reassuring smile, a friendly ear, a shoulder to lean on. Are we really that self righteous and self absorbed that we think we are better than others or we just don't have time? People even out and about don't even use their manners they are free and literally can make someones day! I challenge you as well as myself to be kind, smile, try not to judge, offer to be there for someone even if they don't seem like they need something maybe just offer to listen over a cuppa! Go out there spread the positive vibes!!
After much thought and discussion we have finally chosen the charity Nice Mums Devon will be supporting with our recycling and events this year. We've gone with one that some of our members suggested and that we feel are hugely deserving of any help we can give them so I hope that you will all be happy to hear our chosen charity is Torbay Holiday Helpers Network who are a charity organisation who help families from across Devon and the UK by giving away free fun filled holidays, to families who have seriously ill children, families who are recently bereaved - having lost a child or parent and to families who have a terminally ill parent. For more info see www.thhn.co.uk
To help us fundraise all you have to do is keep recycling, a minimum of 2p per piece of recycling that you collect goes direct to THHN.
We will still be collecting for Torbay SCBU up until the end of the month so if you specifically want your recycling to go to them then make sure you drop it off by 30th April. As of 1st May all funds raised will go to THHN.
Nice Mum Card holders can now get a free play voucher for Play Cafe Torquay for each friend you refer to our discount scheme.
To get your free play voucher take your friend in to Play Cafe Monday to Friday between 9.30-11.30am. If they sign up for a card you will recieve a free play voucher to use on your next visit. You can refer as many friends as you like and will get a voucher for each referral, so tell all your friends!
For more information on the NIce Mum Card scheme and the 50+ discounts it can get you please see www.nicemums.com/nmd-discounts