It’s Not You, It’s Me

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This little guy with the big purple eyes is Monkey. Monkey with a capital ‘M’ – he goes by no other name. We acquired Monkey during a trip to the toy shop around the time of Catherine’s first birthday. It wasn’t love at first sight for me, but Catherine wouldn’t put him down, and so he came home with us (we paid for him like!).

Like many other toys he settled into life in the toy basket, now and again being pulled out and discarded before being thrown back in the toy box, never really making the cut with our then one year old  who was way more interested in Iggle Piggle at that stage. Then, one day, just like that, he became so much more important than the others. It was as if Catherine had made him a secret promise that she would never leave his side. And suddenly Monkey came everywhere! No longer were we a family of three, we were most definitely a family of four, with Monkey elevated to the position of favourite toy, comforter and constant companion.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, he stinks, he looks like he has cataracts and his fur is quite matted, but non of this matters to Catherine. He is her Monkey. That is until quite recently. Don’t get me wrong, he still holds the esteemed position of number one bedtime companion, but I’m starting to notice that’s he’s not hanging around (like a bad smell) quite as much as he used to, and although I don’t miss the brief panic when I hear the words ‘where’s Monkey?’ I’m feeling rather sad about this slow separation.

Catherine is now at nursery school and her horizons have broadened massively in the last six months or so. She has made new friends and developed new interests. She has become very confident and outgoing, and she doesn’t seem to need Monkey for comfort anymore.

This time last year she wouldn’t go to playgroup without him. She held his hand tightly wherever we went. He came shopping with us, out for dinner with us (and never once offered to pay) and, on the one occasion that we were allowed to wash him, Catherine stood by the machine the whole time. I loved her steadfast commitment to Monkey, and as our little girl grows and he slowly slips away I worry that in years to come she won’t remember how important he was. In saying that, my best friend brought her comforter to uni with her, so all is not lost!

Monkey is in almost every photo of Catherine up until she started nursery, and then he’s just not there, replaced by friends of another kind. I’m glad she’s able to stand alone without him (Mr McC used to joke that he would be walking them both up the aisle), but in true Toy Story fashion I can’t help but wonder what Monkey thinks of it all. He has been a truly loyal companion, a comfort to a shy little girl until she found her voice, and a comfort to her mummy when I handed her over to playgroup knowing she’d be OK if she had Monkey.

Monkey hasn’t changed, but Catherine has, so much, and so quickly. I don’t think she’ll ever fully separate from her trusted pal, but I might start giving him cuddles while she’s at nursery, just to make sure that he knows that I know how he feels.  Because now that she’s a bit older and so much more independent she doesn’t grip my hand quite as tightly anymore either.

The Storybook Mummy

xxx

First blog post

Welcome to my little space!! I decided to set up a blog to document my life as a self-employed mother, struggling to drive my business forward while being there for my little girl. Sometimes it’ll be light-hearted and fun, other times it’ll touch on more serious issues, just like life. I love chocolate, wine, shopping and books, so expect plenty of those. I’m not so fussed on football or being sensible with money, so don’t expect the latest scores or financial advice.

I’m the Storybook Mummy because I sell books, tell stories and because I’m a mummy. I started my own business in 2016 after leaving my full-time job in a local bank (after my daughter was born I was refused a part-time role, but that’s another story). I wasn’t happy, in fact I was miserable, anxious and distracted by thoughts of a better balance for me and my family. After much deliberation and soul searching my husband (from now on I’ll refer to him as Mr McC) and I agreed that it would be best for our family if I left my job and stared working for myself. The only problem was that I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I thought and thought and thought so much but I couldn’t come up with anything that I could make a career out of.

Then one day I was sitting with my daughter (then 2 years old) in a mother and baby class, not mixing with anyone else, dying to chat to the other mums, but not really knowing how to strike up a conversation, and that’s when it came to me. I decided that I was going to start my own class for babies and toddlers, somewhere welcoming, a small community for those who have suddenly found that their world has become very small whilst on maternity leave. Somewhere for little ones to engage with other little ones without being expected to behave. It took a lot of research, training and support from friends and family, and eventually Toddlepops was born out of love and a real interest in building a community for mums and their little ones.

That decision to start Toddlepops set me on a totally new path, where I was in control. I decided when, where and how I worked, and I still can’t believe the direction that things have taken. In 2017 I decided to become an independent organiser for Usborne Books, it felt like a nice fit with Toddlepops and I loved the books. That led me to Instagram and blogging and I just thought I’d give it a go. To document my journey, our journey as a family, our everyday struggles and triumphs. To celebrate the community that we are a part of and to share my hopes and aspirations.

So yeah, I’m going to give it a go and see where this path might lead. I’d love for you to join me.

The Storybook Mummy  xxx