Monday, 15 February 2016


It's half term.

I used to find half terms rather tricky. On the one hand, it's great having all the children around and not having to do the school run, but, on the other hand, it's exhausting.

Three children and no school means constantly trying to find things for them to do that don't involve some form of electronic screen. Endless refereeing of fights and arguments. Non stop catering, inevitably ending in at least one child pronouncing that they 'don't like' whatever it is you've cooked.

Alongside all of the above there's all the picking upping, clearing upping, wiping noses, cleaning hands and minding manners, washing, drying, putting awaying etcetera ad infinitum.

And do they ever turn round and say "Thank you, Mummy, for all the effort you've put into making this half term such fun for us"? Hell, no!

Inevitably, back in the drinking days, I would not make it to wine o'clock before reaching for the vino. By the time Mr SM came back from work, I'd be most of the way through a bottle. Ten minutes into the latest box set and I'd be comatose on the sofa.

Repeat the following day. And the next. Until school starts again.

I'm much more used to doing all of this stuff sober now, but, even so, half terms and holidays would see me grappling with the wine witch from mid afternoon onwards, and getting rather grumpy, shouty and stressed.

Then, last half term (back in October) I got the cancer diagnosis (if you want to read about it, start from this post: I Need Help), and I realised that it's all a matter of relativity.

It's a bit like learning to ski. Initially the red runs look terrifying. Then, one day you take a new route down the mountain, and find that you have to ski a black.

It's terrible. You think you're going to die - or at least break something crucial. But you don't look too far ahead, and take one little turn at a time, and somehow you make it to the bottom in one piece. And, after that, those red runs look kind of tame. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.

Well, this half term is like that. Because last half term was TRULY AWFUL. Oddly, there are whole blocks of it that I can't remember, as if my brain has short circuited, blanked them out. Perhaps I have post traumatic stress syndrome?

What I do remember is being unable to sleep or eat, and constantly having this voice in my head saying you are going to die, and your children will have no mother. And all the time I'd be trying to stay cheerful and normal, and make half term as fun as possible. Whenever I could I would escape to the park with the dog and howl like a mad woman.

But, you know what? This half term: easy peasy lemon squeezy. I am zen. We are all having a laugh. It's great. I've done the black run, and this little red seems virtually flat.

(It is, however, only Monday....)

So, next time you have a really tough day, and you're white knuckling it through the witching hour, just remember that the harder it is now, the easier it'll make the days that follow.

Or, as Jane Fonda used to say back in the '80's: No pain, no gain

(Watch out, because the same principle works in reverse: if you do cave in to the wine witch, it might make today easier, but tomorrow will be truly dreadful. See my post: Borrowing Tomorrow's Happiness).

Keep going, folks! It's nearly Spring...

Big Hugs, and Happy Half Term!

SM x


  1. SM - I have come back to this as I wait for tea to cook itself (pan haggerty - great for cold nights) and I see there are still no comments. I don't want you to feel alone, so here I am, although I guess you are also involved with dinner or its aftermath. Half term is behind me in personal terms (I always found it tough when the kids were little, a good excuse for a skiing holiday later, despite the expense) although not in work terms - a good opportunity to clear out old emails as the schools are quiet. What you wrote about made me reflect on my latest obsession - why am I feeling anxious about things which aren't THAT important, when huge swathes of the world are experiencing something close to armageddon? And what is life about anyway? Why are we here? And then my son texts me about how to cook sauerkraut! It made me think about what Lucy Rocca said in the most recent Soberistas webinar about living in the moment - I think it helps to focus on being contented in the moment, rather than thinking about the bigger picture of "happiness". Seeing the views of the fields on the hills on the other side of the valley as I walk (rather than sprint) down the hill to the station. Kids managing to negotiate their way through the latest bit of life. Having decided what to cook for dinner and having the ingredients for it. And (one of my favourites) getting to bed early and reading (usually rereading) a favourite book. As ever, thankyou for guiding us to a sober solution (I am thinking of you these days as bit like a sheepdog, but please don' think of that as an insult - it's the nurturing way you encourage us to find the resources within ourselves that is so reassuring.

    1. Hello MLC! Good to hear from you! It's funny, isn't it, how quitting booze makes us ponder all those big life questions? And you're so right about living in the moment and focusing on the little things. Big hugs. Woof woof xxx

  2. I used to love holidays cos it meant that I could drink every night DURING THE WEEK!!! Woo hoo! It was incredibly hard for me to get out of bed the next day. I love them now cos I get to hang out with the kids and do stuff. It's still incredibly hard to get out of bed the next day though!! xx

    1. I used to drink every night during the week anyway! Oh dear! xxx

  3. Holidays were always an excuse to drink everyday (I always promised myself a couple of sober days but never made it) and the result was new levels of self loathing at the end of the break. I know I am doing well this time around (no half term here but then no kids either) but I feel down tonight, having just driven back to London from home (via that dump that is Andover for another pointless meeting) and 3 fucking hours negotiating the M3 and London's orbital fucking car park, specifically the clockwise section of the M25 from junction 11 to 16. Went for a walk around where I spend my working week, didn't improve my mood but your blog did - so thank you for that. My senseless rage dissipates. I am sober, healthy and will get back to the gym tomorrow. Next weekend will bring up the 50 days. Sorry about the rant, I should write my own blog rather than hijacking your space in search of a cathartic effect. Jo Wiley and a bath for me I think.


  4. Oh yes half term already! Well we've made it to Tuesday hurrah! It's so full on and my eldest 2 are arguing all the time just now. Cue me shouting "right let's go out!" then frantically thinking where to go. We've got lots of snow up here so lots of sledging which is always fun. Stopping drinking certainly gives us the time and opportunity to overthink things and ponder life's bigger questions and meanings. There are big issues I know I have to deal with but I only focus on the here and now as it's the only thing that works for me. Not drinking is awesome though and I'm feeling very very content (today anyway) with my decision to stop. Apparently 'contentment is a big aim in life' and that will do me. Enjoy the rest of the week. Last year I too, like my time to shine, would have seen it as a great opportunity to get pissed every night! !!

  5. By the way I have now hit under 11 stone.... 10 stone 10 last time I checked.... hurrah!!!

    1. Yay! I'm nearly down to ten stone now - my wedding weight. Didn't think I'd ever see that again ;-) xx

  6. Hi don't know how much I wish I could go back to the days when my girls needed the wiping noses, cleaning hands and have a do over with them at that point in their lives. A "Do Over", sober. You will never regret getting sober while your children are young. And you already know and see that. But, I can't live in the past and now my girls need me to help them learn how to cook, to help them navigate the waters of finding a great guy to spend their lives with or just to listen and encourage when things get dicey in life. And I am thankful they know I am a great resource and a pretty fabulous mom when I have my game on, sober. Also, got a lot out of " Borrowing Tomorrow's Happiness", isn't that the truth! Enjoy your time with the kiddos...time goes by so quickly!

    1. Hi Tams! Don't blame yourself for the past - I bet your kids don't - they're just thrilled to have you so 'present' now. Hurrah! Hugs xxx

  7. Hi Sm. I love school holidays! I love spending time with my little guy and not having to get up as early. I have to admit though, that I didn't drink more in the school holidays because I drank pretty much every night anyway! It's lovely to wake up without a hangover and having the patience to play with my son and just being present for him. We don't have half term here, how long does it last? A x