I’m Lucy and this is my story. I have a job, 3 children, a husband and a never-ending to-do list. The middle bit of my life suddenly got really, really busy! Between the kids, the house, the homework, the job, looking after relatives, and trying to see my friends occasionally, I was more than a little frazzled! But it wasn’t something that was unique to me….
I am privileged to have a lot of brilliant women in my life and every single one of them is overloaded. Their minds are full of to do lists that no one else has a clue about. When we get together it is joyful and soul enriching but because everyone is trying to keep their own world’s turning, we don’t see each other as much as we’d like to.
I wanted to be able to tell them all how utterly brilliant they are on a rainy day in January when they’d had a bad day and needed a pick me up. I wanted to be able to send a little something that wouldn’t cost the earth but that would make them smile every time they looked at it. Something that would make them feel as special as I know they are. The cards I found in shops didn’t say all the things that I wanted to say. And then on top of that, who has time to get to the shops to buy postcards and chocolate, wrap it, package it AND get to the post office to send it?
My Tell Her You Care Moment
After a particularly stressful time when we lost my Dad, one of my lovely friends sent me a postcard that meant the world to me, and I’ve had it on the fridge ever since. It simply said in so many words, “I see how much you are holding together, and I think you’re amazing”. At the same time another wonderful friend sent me some chocolate – so much better than flowers! The chocolate told me that she knew exactly what I needed at the toughest moment in my life and that she knew ME. These two acts of friendship made me feel amazing and loved at a time when I felt very alone. I realised then that I wanted every woman I knew to feel like that.
Tell Her You Care – Women Supporting Women
My story isn’t a one off and I truly believe that we, as women, should build each other up whenever we have the chance. We should tell people everything that is wonderful about them today and not wait for tomorrow. We should tell her you care at every opportunity. I wanted to make it really easy so that women who are themselves already overloaded, didn’t need to add 6 more jobs onto their list to be able to celebrate their friend’s wonderfulness.
I wanted anyone with 5 minutes to spare to be able go online, and at the click of a button send something yummy as a special treat and some heartfelt words that their wonderful friend could keep on their fridge as a constant reminder of their brilliance. I wanted it to be beautifully packaged in an eco-friendly way and for it to fit through the letterbox so that no one had to find time to get to a sorting office to retrieve their package.
I believe that there are lots of reasons that people find it difficult to keep in touch when someone they love is having a hard time. Maybe it’s because they are so busy keeping their own plates spinning, or because they don’t know what to say or because the people that we love the most don’t live round the corner from us anymore. I wanted to write meaningful words that the women I know would relate to. Words that uplifted wonderful women who should only ever be filled with confidence and happiness. And so, Tell Her You Care was born! A place where we could raise each other up, celebrate each other’s achievements, and stand side by side through each other’s toughest of times.
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The Time When I Had 3 Children Under 4
We had a new born, a 21-month-old and a 3-year-old having night terrors and it felt like I hadn’t slept properly in a lifetime. You’re supposed to be tired when you have a new born. It’s part of the deal that you signed up for. Snuggly night feeds with baby number 1 are actually in lots of ways such a special time (although I do remember that at the time the fear of the sleepless nights was crippling!) and you know that come morning you can just stay in bed and snuggle some more. No one was standing by your bed at 5am asking if it was time to go downstairs for breakfast or shouting for you to come and wipe their bum because they had done a poo. This picture is when Jess was about 2 days old and we were out conker collecting with Charlie and Ben because that’s what little people want to do! They don’t care if you’ve just given birth, your constantly breastfeeding or you haven’t had more than 20 minutes sleep! Bloody hell I was tired, so was my husband. In fact, we still are. Yes, it’s true, now we don’t get woken up every 40 minutes by a new baby needing feeding, but between temperatures, nightmares, wet beds, sheets that need tucking in and falling out of bed, our house at night is like playing a game of never-ending whack a mole! One child pops up, you settle them, get back into bed and you’re just falling sleep again when another one pops up with the next ridiculous emergency. My personal favourite was Ben screaming like a banshee only to discover once I was inside his room, that he actually just had a piece of rogue snot on his finger. But in the middle of the night, you are so afraid of them waking up the others that you move like a cheetah to shush them and try and get them back to sleep before you have a full blown 2am riot on your hands. I can count on one hand the number of unbroken night’s sleep we have had in the last 6 years – its relentless. When you are this tired, it’s hard to find the energy to eat properly, to call your friends, to do more exercise than trekking the kids up to school and back or to be much more than civil to your partner. Life with young children is hard right? And it was hard before bloody ‘rona when we all had to do everything we did before, but now we had to add in teaching, working from home with a child using you as a climbing frame through zoom calls, without any physical support from family and friends. And I see that written into every one of my friend’s faces as they try to balance their children’s needs, childcare, doctor appointments, homework, playdates, house work, food shopping and work. I think we all need to take a minute to appreciate just how well we are doing just to stay afloat amidst the chaos of life. I think everyone who is surviving is doing a great job! Do you know a Mum who has a lot on her plate right now? Why not send her one of these postcards and some delicious chocolate to brighten her day?
The time when: I was outnumbered by small people.
I have 3 kids. You’ll do one of 2 things now you know that information – take a sharp intake of breath thinking she must be mad, or feel an immediate connection with another exhausted parent who is outnumbered by mini dictators in their house. As Jess’ birthday approaches, I am reminicing about the journey that lead us to be a family of 5. When we were trying to decide if we should go for number 3, there were lots of things to consider: The world is built for families of 4. Everything from cars and hotel rooms to packs of yoghurt are made for 4 to share. How would the boys cope being 1 of 3, especially Charlie who has a such a sensitive soul?Did we really want to go back to the sleepless new born days?And most importantly, what do you do when you’re outnumbered. How do you do story time when you only have 2 arms? You are the minority. What if there mutiny aboard and we lose control completely? When we were considering the pros and cons, we quickly came to the conclusion that there is no logical reason to do it. In fact, it’s a pretty crazy thing to do, but I just knew I wasn’t “done” and that fact wasn’t going to change. I felt like our family wasn’t complete yet, there was one more piece to fit in. Lots of people think we did it to try for a little girl, (which made me really very angry and protective about my beautiful boys. Why weren’t they enough for the world, why did everyone think you needed “one of each” to get the full set?) but we were actually just as excited about the thought of having a gang of boys running about the place. Yes a girl would be lovely, but we just wanted a healthy baby thank you very much. Having seen my friends go through the heartache and devastation of baby loss, how could you ever want more than that? Then we got our beautiful baby girl and we both knew that we were complete. Yes, it’s very corny, but Jess was our final jigsaw piece. The moment that the boys met Jess was possibly the best moment of my life but does the reality of living with 3 mini people live up to the long-held dream of being a family of 5? Well…. People take great joy in telling you that 3 is the most stressful number of children to have. And it’s true, it’s not a walk in the park, especially when your eldest is just 3 and half! When I was flying solo with all 3, I have to say that I kept things simple. A trip to the park, the occasional music class was more than enough to begin with and even those quite often were too much. I treasured the quiet days with Jess when the boys were in nursery when we could have snuggly feeds for hours on end, sing silly songs, snooze and watch Grey’s Anatomy. But there is nothing like the chaos of having us all together again. Although each child loves some 1:1 Mummy and Daddy time, they miss each other dreadfully when they are apart. So yes, 3 is a stressful number, but it is our perfect number and we wouldn’t change it for the world!
Babies, Babies, Babies
Emma’s THYC Moment: I bought THYC gifts for my sister and one of my best friends who were both due to have babies as we went into lockdown. Both were really sad to suddenly not be able to see their family and friends and really nervous about the prospect of hospital. I picked out two different postcards which suited their personalities and mindsets and sent them as a surprise in the post. Both of them immediately contacted me on arrival of their gifts as they were moved by the gesture of the postcards not to mention the chocolate went down a storm!! The lovely bit about the postcards is that they can look back at them every time they’re having a bad day to remind them how well they’re doing and to give them a little boost. As for the chocolate…well that’s guaranteed to lift spirits!