When You Know, You Know

We’re a few days past Valentine’s Day now, and there’s been a fair distribution of love on my social media timelines between couples, but there has also been some single friends out there posting about how they’re ‘#ForeverAlone’ or how online dating will never lead to anything etc.

So here I am, the happily married mother of one, to tell you that you’re wrong. I kid. But, seriously, you might just be.

I’m a strong believer in everything happening for a reason. I guess in a sense, I’ve had to be. There’s been some seriously low points in my life that at the time I couldn’t see a way out of, but now I look back on them and can’t see how I never saw the way out sooner. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, after all.

Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye

Is an auld Scots saying that I’ve come to live my life by. It simply means that what is meant to be will be, and you won’t miss anything that’s meant for you. Now, call it fate, call it hard work, call it dumb luck. Whatever you call it, what’s meant to happen will always happen.

I’ve been in my fair share of pretty tough relationships, I’ve been in relationships that were toxic and relationships that were simply convenient. At the time, I would think that this was what was meant for me, but again, looking back I can see that it wasn’t. Well, not in the “forever and ever” sense, but they were definitely there to teach me life lessons. To teach me that I can be bold and travel to different countries solo. To teach me about other people’s friendships. To teach me that rebounds never work. To teach me to never feel pressured into things that you’re not comfortable with – whether that’s pressure coming from your partner or from your social group. To teach me that, no matter what, no matter the mistake, I will always have people there who have my back. The main thing that these relationships taught me though, is to never give up on the hope of sheer blissful happiness.

After I broke up with a previous boyfriend, I joined Plenty of Fish (POF), a fairly popular dating site. After sieving through your typical amount of dick pics and “hey sexy” (yuck) messages, I happened to find my husband and father of my child.

Andrew and I started chatting, and quickly we were messaging constantly. It felt like I’d started reconnecting with an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to for years. There was nothing creepy or strange or unnatural about our messages, and most importantly our connection. We found out we had a tonne in common and just the right amount of differences to keep things interesting. We met a few days later for dinner, and the rest as they say, is history.

We went from dating to in a relationship pretty quickly, and we simply knew that we loved each other and wanted this to be a forever kinda thing. We joke proposed to each other regularly in those early days, talked about how we’d always want two kids, and how we’d build a Lego collection together as well as a family.

He was the first person, never mind boyfriend, to make me feel loved for every single aspect of me. I was always able to be open about my mental health with him, always able to turn to him and always able to count on him. And that’s when I realised that this was the first time I’d been in love. Not your roses and fancy dinners love, but your weekly shop and Saturday morning cartoons kinda love.

Now, I’m not naive. I know that this doesn’t happen for everyone, heck, it was the first time it had happened for me. I guess, what I’m saying is that dating apps and online dating can work. There are real success stories there, and I don’t think that’s completely down to algorithms and luck. It also takes courage and work, just like meeting any type of life partner does and should take.

So, if you’re wondering if the right person is out there for you, or you’re struggling to have online dating work for you, please feel free to read the below tips:

Five Tips for Online Dating

  1. Stay away from cliches – now, I say this even though my tag line on my POF profile was “hello, is it me you’re looking for?” ‘Cause I love a bad pun as much as the bad person, but what I mean by this is the bad online dating cliches. The creeper who wants photos sent to them constantly, the person who constantly hounds you to meet irl, the person who just constantly messages you with “hey x” etc. Stay away from cliches and be yourself. The people you’re trying to talk to are people. Ask them about themselves, be more bold than a simple greeting.
  2. Have a conversation starter in your profile – my username was a quote from my favourite Doctor Who episode, Vincent and The Doctor. I had put on my profile that if someone knew where the quote was from, then I was already planning our wedding. The first message Andrew sent me was simply “Vincent and The Doctor episode of Doctor Who”, and that got me chatting straight away. (I later found out he’d googled it, but let’s ignore that fact just now). The point is, have something on your profile that people can converse with you about, instead of just your love life.
  3. Have patience and read the other person – now, you may be super keen on someone and want to talk to them all the time, but the thing is some people have busy lives and aren’t able to be on their phone constantly. Just because someone doesn’t reply to you straight away doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like you. Be patient. Don’t rush from chatting to dating if one party isn’t completely ready. I had a guy who bought us tickets to a gig, despite us not having met in person yet, and is not having any real chemistry. He then got really pissed when I said I was in a relationship, saying how he was going to have to sell the tickets. The tickets that I did not ask him to buy. Reading the other person is super important. As much as it would be wonderful if everyone we liked, liked us back, the world isn’t perfect and it doesn’t always happen. When it does happen don’t be disheartened. Just remember that there’s no point poking a fire after the flame has gone out, and that whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye.
  4. Be yourself – it’s the most cliche piece of advice that anyone could ever give another live being, but it’s the truth. There is no point pretending to be something or someone (helloooo Catfish), that you’re not. At the end of the day the end goal of online dating is a relationship, how are you going to be in a relationship with someone if they don’t know the real you?
  5. Do not send unsolicited sexts – this should be seen as common sense. Don’t send dick pics or nudes that haven’t been asked for. Don’t send sexually explicit messages that haven’t been led to or asked for and for GODS sake don’t get pissed when someone calls you out for it.

Now, it’s up to you. You can take this entire blog entry with a pinch of salt, or you can give it a bash. Let me know if you do take any of this advice and definitely let me know if it works for you!

Please don’t be disheartened if your efforts aren’t bringing what you want, just take this time to focus on you and your well being. Your well being should come first. It’s the whole ‘positivity breeds positivity’ thing.

Be positive. Be patient. Be you.

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Feeling Mushy – Mush: The Social Network for Mums

Becoming a mum is the most daunting thing that most women will ever face. You can adore being a mum, love the nighttime feeds and the conversations of babbles, but you’re still allowed to feel like you’ve suddenly been cut off from society.

One of the toughest adjustments that becoming a mum has brought for me is the isolation. As someone who has studied or worked in one of the UK’s biggest cities for the past four years, suddenly feeling confined to the sleepy little village that I live in has been a bit of a culture shock.

I mean, sure, I could bundle Hallie’s 1 million things up, get her in the buggy, make myself the human version of Buckaroo and four hours later, away we go to navigate public transport and deal with crowds of people being annoyed by my crying baby… but somedays, the thought of that makes me want to lock my door and never leave the house again.

My biggest issue is that I don’t drive, but I live MILES away from all of my friends and my family. Now, the simple thing to do would be to make more friends locally, but if you thought making friends as a teenager was bad, it’s even harder as an adult, that is until I discovered the wonderful Mush.

Mush, mush mums, feeling mushy, mush app for mums

Mush is the incredible brainchild of London mums Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor – adding to their brood of actual children. 

Sarah and Katie met in a rainy playground three years ago when they were both getting to grips with having ‘two under two’. That chance meeting led to them becoming firm friends, and left them wondering why there wasn’t a better way to find mums in the same boat.

They launched Mush in May 2016 and there are now hundreds of thousands of users around the world using the app.

The primary purpose of Mush is for mums to make friends and see that there are plenty of us out there in the same boat, not only by being able to talk to nearby mums or further afield mums (coming in the next few months), but there is also entertaining content in the form of Mush guides. 

Mush guides let us see that we’re not the only ones who think our homes have suddenly been taken over by tiny dictators who rule every aspect of our lives from now on. (They totally do rule every aspect, but lets pretend otherwise) Mush guides are entertaining, honest, and great company for night feeds, or when you’ve just got said tiny dictator down for an afternoon nap and you daren’t risk moving in fear of waking them.

What I love most about Mush is the ability to see nearby mums, and thanks to an update in Q3 2017, nearby places that those mums have recommended. Recommendations include things like price range, parking, closeness to transport, if the place is breast feeding friendly and the all important buggy friendliness!

Being able to see nearby mums allows you to interact with people within your community that you may not have encountered otherwise. The app allows you to set a distance in which you would like to search for mums (Think Tinder, but without the dick pics).

On each persons profile is space for a photo, a blurb about themselves along with their name, how many children they have, the gender of their children and how old their children are.

Mush has two primary ways to connect with other users. There’s the Mush-ups section of the apps which is a great forum for any questions that you face in the journey of motherhood, or if you’re maybe looking to pass or sell-on any of your babies things that they have outgrown. The best thing about this section of the app however, is that this is where you are able to organise ‘Mush-ups’ in your area. It’s a nice, non-formal way of saying ‘Hi, can we be friends?’, it also shows you just how many other mums are in the same position as you are.

The other way to communicate is via your inbox – for messages between you and those you connect with via the app, which is great if you find a mum nearby who you really hit it off with!

I’ve so far made one really good friend via Mush who lives 5 minutes away, has a little girl who is two weeks younger than Hallie and has recently joined the same mother and baby group that we have attended since Hallie was 5 weeks old (more on that in another blog). Meeting my Mush Mum friend has shown me that this boat may feel lonely at times, but that there is definitely always someone else holding another oar in the same boat.

I think one of the things that people forget to tell you throughout pregnancy is just how important it is to have other mum friends who live nearby, I wish I’d had the heads up as to just how isolating motherhood is and had known about Mush sooner. So here’s your rally cry – download Mush here or in the app store/Google play and make motherhood that little bit more lovely.

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NOTE: This is not a paid ad in any way, shape or form. Mush is an app that advocates for all of the things that I do, and it’s something that I feel other mums and mums to be need to know about. I’ve even praised it to my health visitor and she has also started recommending it to other mums.