Aimee Horton

It’s not all bad.

May
17

I’m worried.

Being a director on a multi-academy trust, and a chair of the local board at the school both boys attend, I think a lot about how things are going to be in the future. Not just the future of my boys, or the children in the schools in our trust, but of every single child in the country. Not to mention the teachers.

Things are not in a good way, a lot needs fixing.

I’m lucky, this year I had no child sitting SATs, however, I’ve had friends children who are, and I’ve watched and listened at how they are. My heart hurts. I’m a firm believer of a few things; children are sponges, and negativity breeds negativity. The two of them put together is just going to spiral into something I don’t even want to witness.

I could splurge my opinion on SATs and how the government and schools are dealing with them, I could voice even more frustration about holidays and even more about the day to day learning of our children, who from the minute they enter childcare are measured and assessed, and from forty-eight months they start school where there is a whole new level of expectations.

But I’m not going to…not because I’m not worried, I’m bloody terrified. But because I need to be positive so my children are positive, there is enough time for them to face the cold hard facts of life, and even though things are hard for them, it’s my job to shield them.

It’s not always easy, to find the positive when things are bad. So let’s start with the little things.

Today I have two laughing boys. I have two boys who run to me beaming, who willingly tell me about their day (playing snap with a teacher, making a superhero poster) they tell me what was for lunch (lasagne, I’d got it wrong, I’d prepped them for sausage and mash) and admitted they’d left stuff so they could go and play football for their mates.

I asked if they were happy – their biggest worry was the fact I’d made them have hot dinners and if I – and I quote – “could be bothered” to make a pack up they could have had a picnic on the field.

At the park last night, Larry – the child who this time last year used to hide in the bra rack at the supermarket so random people wouldn’t “smile at him” (EGO MUCH) approached children from school in different years and classrooms and together from the ages of five through to eleven they played tag.

It’s not just him though, his brother, their friends, children who I don’t know who I hear trying to decide how many packs of trading cards they can afford. They shout hello to each other in the supermarket at the weekend, imessage (!!!) each other notes on their latest game progress, send pictures from holiday.

Not all schools are perfect right now. The system isn’t right, and teachers are battling to do their best, but it’s not all bad. So let’s fight the things we can, but not involve our kids in that. After all, it’s our battle, not theirs, and they’re only at school once, so let’s try and let them enjoy it.

Life Lately

May
13

There are some bloggers that just get in your head (Alison, Molly and Morgana I’m looking at you), and yesterday no different.

I was sitting looking grumpily at instagram (instead of happily) then I flicked onto twitter…which I have no idea why, because that makes me always grumpy and despondent. But for once it didn’t…I happened to catch Molly’s latest post called “Life Lately” and as always, she hit the nail in the head.

Like her I have exciting (totally not meaning to be cryptic) things happening. I’m also nearly at the end of my draft of the next Dottie novel, and the sun is shining. When you’re pulled this way and that, sometimes your ideas for blogs are clouded. Right now I have loads of ideas, they’re just all pants when it comes to writing them.

So instead, I’m going to embrace Molly’s idea, and this is my life..lately..

WRITING

Me writing

I’m on fire with Dottie. Getting to THE END is going to be amazing, but I know that this draft is going to need a lot of work. I’m trying to remind myself of the quote “the first draft is always shit” one I tell myself all the time, but by golly, there’s shit, and then there’s the runs. I’ll be looking for Beta readers soon though, so please get in touch if you’re interested.

ENJOYING THE MONKEYS

Monopoly

Theo went on his residential last week. In fact this time last week I was just willing him to come home, and was very relieved he’d managed to not break something abseiling down THIS ACTUAL TOWER.

Tower

*throws up in mouth*

While he was away I feel very lucky that the school was closed for polling day, so I got to take Larry to the farm and spend some quality time with him. We used to visit the farm a lot before he started school, so it was lovely to recreate it. Even though we did end up having a very in-depth discussion about why things cost what they do in the gift shop and why we can’t cross out the prices and write a cheaper one on with pen.

Larry runs

 

I was bloody glad to get this one back though…

Theohome

ENJOYING TIME WITHOUT THE MONKEYS

Mr Aimee and I worked out that it’s been quite a while since we have managed to bin the children off let the grandparents have the kids overnight, so when our friends suggested a night out we JUMPED at the chance.

Although I have to say, I enjoyed sitting in the garden with my book thoroughly too.

Winebool

WEARING

Mainly my dungaree’s if I’m honest. I don’t care what Mr Aimee says (that I look like a drunk kids TV presenter) I LOVE THEM.

Dungers

I’ve also loving my slogan tee’s & sweats right now. I feel very proud to be able to support my fellow #Mumboss mums…well support or their tops make me feel like I might be cool one day.

Fearless

FEARLESS TEE by Tease and Toes

IMG_1883

 

GIN AND ON IT Sweat from Parent Apparel.

Anyway, now I’m off for a photoshoot…she says really casually…

Internet Thinking

Aug
04

I love the internet. Really really love it. But sometimes I wonder if it’s become too much of a part of our lives.

I read a lot of amazing blogs, watching as blogging has turned into a rapidly growing industry. This is great, and as a good friend of mine said when I was discussing this with her, there are times when you can find validation through blog posts when you need it most. In fact, without realising it, she quoted what I’d always hoped to achieve with my blog. I really want parents to know it’s ok not to love every second – even if the guilt is still silently eating away at me as I sit on the sofa, child free, writing this post drinking hot cups of tea.

But I digress, as I always do.

Because she’s right. There is much needed validation all over the internet, and I gratefully devour it from my phone while I’m hiding in the toilet with a bottle of gin. But something else is happening as these blogs progress from being people writing for love, sanity, and rock n roll, to businesses and brands. We all know that baring all, questioning lives and choices publicly as a blogger is part of the job, but are us readers spending so long pouring over other peoples lives, that we’re beginning to overanalyse our own, and questioning our own choices rather than just living.

The line between a professional blogger and real life is becoming more and more blurred, bordering on becoming more dangerous to our confidence and image than a celebrity magazine is. I agree with the slamming of airbrushing – it fills me with rage actually how much this impacts young people and their image confidence. But, what worries me more is that we are failing to acknowledge – in anything more than passing jest – the overflowing camera roll and filter(s) as the perfect image is selected and manipulated, whether it’s grabbing a cushion to hide our hairy legs with our evening glass of wine, or using a bowed mirror to show off that outfit rather than the nearest. We’re all the same, my timehop proves I have increased this habit over the last few years, swaying the reality for perception.

The thing is, I don’t know about you, but reading a ‘normal’ person (as so many bloggers are branded) over analysing their Instagram-blog-post captured life, makes me question my own life. Which is why, as I was on the brink of an emotional crisis, I was amazed to get a text from my friend.

I am totally having life envy of you right now”

I was shocked, sitting in my study (room of junk doom) in my scruffs pulling my hair out with edits, wondering what the hell I was doing with my life. Being a writer isn’t glam, and having a publishing deal hasn’t made me rich and famous. In fact, quite the opposite, the house is a tip, and as supportive as my publishers are – they’re awesome – I am filled with worry about whether I’m good enough. OH, and if one more person suggests that I’m the next EL James I may punch them in the face. The necessary evil of edits made me feel anything but good about myself and my future.

I told her this, and she referred me to my Instagram. At the time, it did look pretty damn good. A couples holiday in the sun, actual people reading real life copies of my books, running, happy children and good food – I had snapped the best parts of my life, and I was loving it. But what I hadn’t snapped, was the fact we had oven chips three days in a row. Or the huge wobble I’d had when I saw somebody on my Instagram feed having a great day in the office, an office very similar to the one I used to work in. In her lovely outfit, and shiny hair, I’d looked at her picture, looked in the mirror and wondered what the hell I’d become.

Did I want that life back? I sat and battled with my mind, it only becoming worse when my freelancing contract came to an end and we lost a substantial monthly income.

Which caused me to gaze longingly at the stay-at-home mum who adores being at home with her children, who bakes, who has time to read and an immaculate house. Imagine having time to do all that, and spend time with the boys.

So I began to pour over these Instagram feeds, these blogs where people talked about working, about staying at home, and just as my friend was calmly reminding me that if my life looked Instagram glowing, then perhaps they had frozen pizza with extra grated cheese and behind them was a pile of ironing their friends offered to do (I’m unsure if it’s out of pity or disgust that my friend helps with my ironing). I poo-pooed her. Of course their lives were perfect. Except the career woman quit her job, and the happy stay-at-home-mum posted a picture of a tantrum, followed by a massive glass of wine that she was necking before they even went to bed.

I took a breath and finished my edits and the self-loathing vanished almost as soon as I pressed send on the email. I read a few more blog posts about people talking about how they were going to move their lives forward, about what changes they were making, how they were going to reach the sacred work/life balance which I don’t think actually exists for a mother, and I realised, I was done with overanalysing.

My brain cleared, I cooked yummy food, wrote some outlines for a new book, and enjoyed a work free day with the children, and another putting my house back together, fully aware that for nearly eight months I’ve ignored it. The dust behind the sofa proves this.

I enjoyed my life just doing what I was doing, instead of wasting it thinking about what to do next.