Something weird happened the other day. It was my turn for a lie in (which basically involves hiding in bed and dicking about on my phone without judgement) and it was uncharacteristically peaceful. More often that not lie ins are peppered with shouting, crying, squawking and children running in and out of the bedroom to jump on you etc etc.
At about 9.30am I went downstairs to investigate and survey the damage. Get this – there was none!
I could only hear happy children and I could only feel a strange sense of calm. I walked into the kitchen to find J sat at the table.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked
‘Sitting in the kitchen.’ he replied.
‘Just having my coffee…’ he explained
‘Sitting in the kitchen and drinking your coffee?!’
‘Yeh. I’ve Just been reading my book’.
‘SITTING IN THE KITCHEN, DRINKING YOUR COFFEE AND READING YOUR BOOK? WHAT?!’
I looked at him again, it was not a mirage, he was really and truly doing all of these things. They are three of my favouritist things to do in the world…
Was this some sort of fucked up, parallel universe in which being a parent allows you to do nice things for yourself?
People always have a lot of sympathy for new mums don’t they? It makes sense – they’re knackered because they’ve been up in the night feeding, changing nappies or trying to coax a windy baby back to sleep.
We reassure new mums that it will get better and it often does, at least in the short term. But where does that sympathy go when you are stuck with a toddler who has become a right pain in the arse at night? Suddenly those newborn days seem almost preferable, because at least small immobile humans don’t kick you in the head and demand you make them jam toast whilst doing an impression of a cat at 2.45 AM.
If you were to ask me ‘How are your kids at sleeping?’ I would say ‘Hmm ok. Not great, but okish… you know, depending on the day. Actually. Often. A bit crap.’
If they both sleep through the night and neither one gets up until 6 AM then that is a big win. I cannot remember the last time that this happened. At the minute our main problem is our littlest’s habit of appearing in our room and scaring the sh*t out of us in the middle of the night (I say us but tbh his father is mostly unaware).
I know we should probably make some attempt to teach him to sleep in his own bed, take him back to his room quietly and quickly, be consistent bla bla bla but OH the tired. It’s always too tempting to just go with the quickest win.
Although even I’ve never made Jam toast at 2.45 AM whilst pretending to be a cat*
Anyway the ideal scenario is that he gets into our bed and goes back to sleep immediately. It happens. Occasionally…
Unfortunately we are also met with other, less preferable outcomes. For example sometimes he becomes Chatty Kid…
Other times he is I Want To Sing Irritating Songs Kid…
Wondering how to b*llshit your way though your kids tricky questions about Father Christmas?
Yep so am I…
Q: Does anyone ever see Father Christmas?
A: No. He carries a Glock G21 and silencer – if he sees you he will have to kill you.
Q: What does Father Christmas do if you haven’t got a chimney?
A: Tries the windows and failing that he kicks the door down.
Q: How does he get the presents into my stocking?
A: He comes into your bedroom whilst you are sleeping and…
Q: BUT I DON’T WANT ANYONE COMING INTO MY BEDROOM WHILE I AM SLEEPING?!?!
A: …unless we write a note asking him to leave the presents in the car boot!
Q: Why does Father Christmas get some people bikes and other people colouring books?
A: Because capitalism.
Having kids is an ace and recommendable thing to do (mostly) but what happens afterwards? What happens if you want a career but you can’t work out how to make it work? You might not have a job that’s practical to go back to or they might not consider flexi time. Maybe you lost your job, hate it or maybe you just want to try something different?
I don’t really do promotional stuff on this blog but I really wanted to share with you a few amazing mums doing some really cool stuff. It warms my cockles to see them doing so well, please meet these 5 awesome ladies…
Molly has her fingers in so many pies she needs to open a goddam pie factory. I met up with her last week and I got a feeling of ‘OH MY GOD LET’S GO TAKE OVER THE WORLD TOGETHER’ a bit like Pinky and the Brain… or something. Anyway apart from editing the awesome blogzine Selfish Mother she also flogs these ace sweatshirts of which all profits go towards Women for Women – rebuilding the lives of women from war-torn regions. She is an inspiration.
If you haven’t heard of Kirsty then you should have, she is the funniest woman I have the pleasure of knowing in real life and she has written a book, an actual book! Check out her blog Eee Bah Mum and buy this literary masterpiece for everyone you know who has had or is having babies. It’s more than just a book it’s ACTUAL SANITY.
Unedited scenes from the Advent frontline…
Do you remember in the before time, the kinds of things you used to do when you went into town? Calmly walking though the shops, picking up a book to flick through, spritzing on a bit of perfume, holding a dress up to the mirror, smelling a nice looking candle just cos. I think it was called browsing?
The ability to browse dies once you have kids and is replaced by panic buying.
Even if I do get the time and opportunity to go shopping on my own I feel so under pressure to enjoy that time that I actually panic about not enjoying it enough and therefore panic buy anyway. Humph.
I still prefer it to dragging my two along with me though. I will attempt to explain why I do not like taking them shopping via the medium of Microsoft Paint…
I see this sort of stuff every so often on social media – technology is evil, we all look at our phones too much, our kids are getting ignored and will probably grow up to be… well the direct consequence isn’t usually mentioned but I assume it’s something horrific… etc etc.
My first reaction when I read these types of posts is…
Basically I DO THAT AND THEREFORE I AM AN AWFUL PARENT!
I then make a promise to myself to stop looking at my phone so much and feel a bit better. Except I don’t feel that much better because when I have time to think about it properly, I actually get a little bit cross.
You see despite the message being a good one (yes we could all probably cut back a bit) the overriding argument, that technology is to blame for everything that is wrong in modern day parenting just doesn’t wash. My problem here is three-fold: –
1, It’s not just my phones fault. I Ignore my children all the time in many different ways.
When I’m cooking dinner, chatting to another mum on a play-date and even when I’m just daydreaming about getting smashed on Pina Coladas at the swim up bar on pre-kid holidays to the Carribbean with my friend Jane.
Ignoring your kids is not technology specific. In fact sometimes I wonder if all the bad rap it gets means that parents actually engage with their kids far more than was common in previous generations. I’m pretty sure I used to get ignored frequently as a child, as did we all, because banging on about the ways parents were letting their children down just wasn’t really ‘a thing’.
To be fair to my dad he never actually told me to f*ck off but I’m pretty sure the sentiment was there. I remember crawling around on pub floors making towers out of beermats and do you know what? I bloody loved it (and still do).
There are two types of parents in this world, those who go to play groups and those that don’t.
Personally I opt in. For a couple of quid you get coffee, perimeters, mess that is not yours to clean up and a pink wafer biscuit or choccie chip cookie if you’re lucky. Yes maybe you might have to make a bit of small talk, but I don’t mind that. After all it’s still talking to other adults, and that is usually preferable to discussing why I am a stinky bum bum face (for the 100th time).
Playgroup is good. Playgroup can be fun. You just need to know how to navigate through the various obstacles to get out in one piece.
Obstacle one – Biscuits.
The other name I like to give playgroup is Biscuit Stalkers Anonymous. If you have ever tried to reason with a toddler that they can only have one of something that they REALLY like then you’ll probably understand what I mean by that. On your average session you will see between 2 and 5 small people raising hell around the refreshment counter.
Obstacle two – THAT TOY!
There’s always one isn’t there, a specific toy that every child wants. In my experience it’s usually a ride on – my heart sinks every time I walk through the doors and see a lone Cosy Coupe with a fan base of 30.
It can be pretty stressful. Spending ages explaining to your child that they have to wait their turn – then when they finally get it, they are SO EXCITED that they got it, that they run over to show you that they got it, whilst someone else climbs in and drives off in the sodding thing!
I can’t be the only parent out there that has dreamt about breaking into playgroup at night and burning THAT TOY in some sort of ritual to the gods of parental sanity.
If you are new to parenting you might be under the illusion that it’s all about a bit of trial and error and making decisions that seem best for your kid. Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that, you are also required to have an opinion on everyone else’s decisions too!
If you are concerned about not knowing anything about them, their background or current situation, honestly don’t be – in fact that works even better. You see (apart from the childcare bit) parenting Is mostly made up of ramming ill educated opinions and quasi superiority down the throats of others.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a few of the top issues you should be getting offended by: –
- Bottle feeding – I don’t know about you but I get so fed up with all of the lame excuses! Oh you didn’t have enough milk? It was too painful, you have infectious mastitis (again), it’s affecting your mental health bla bla bla. Get the violins out. Could you maybe find it within yourself to put your child’s needs above your own? #selfishcow
- Breastfeeding – obviously I’m massively pro BF (see above) but I can’t shake the feeling that the way some people do it looks almost er… pornographic! I mean there’s a time and a place right? Public toilets for example, or a cupboard. I saw a lady feeding an almost 2 year old the other day, sooooo unnatural. Get him on the bottle love.
- Swearing in front of your kids – I don’t care if it just slipped out. IT’S F*CKING DISGUSTING!
- Stay at home mums – oh dear your house is a tip! Don’t worry I understand, it must be hard to find the time for cleaning in between keeping all of the local coffee shops in business. Honest question – what the hell do you do all day?
- Working mums – It’s all about the nice cars and exotic holidays with you people isn’t it? Another honest question – why did you even bother having kids?
- Dummies – I’m just so sick of being up half the night worrying about the teeth of other people’s children. Just because I’ve never met them doesn’t mean I don’t care about their dental bills.
- Sleep training – Ok I get you’re at breaking point, but it’s not about you any more is it? Sit there and hold your baby ALL NIGHT if you have to, you won’t get that precious time back. I read somewhere sciency once that putting your baby down, like EVER, increases the chance of them becoming an axe wielding psychopath… #truestory
- Junk food – Eating out as a family should be about ordering exotic things off the menu and taking pictures to post on facebook, whether it gets eaten or not is by the by. Keep a super-size bag of budget chicken nuggets in your freezer and your kids can fill their tummies when they get home. If no one sees it, it didn’t happen.
- Food art – Has the world gone mad? Who has the time to carve up bits of carrot into love hearts? A cheese sandwich and a Trio was good enough in my day – stop trying to make everyone else feel bad.
- Reins – what would you rather, parade your kid around on a leash OR let them run into oncoming traffic? No-brainer – your kid is not a dog.
- Tech – You like to use the tablet to get 20 minutes of peace on a long haul flight? I’d like to see you interacting with your child! All this screen time makes me so very, very sad. Do families not talk any more? *dabs eyes with tissue*
- Crafting – I hate lazy people who can’t be bothered to craft with their kids and I also hate people that ram all of their stupid over the top crafty projects down my instagram feed.
- Style – Oh Mummy what’s become of you since you had kids? Do you know what a hair-dryer is these days? Make-up? Would it hurt you to occasionally wear something other than leggings? But obviously don’t go over the top, not like that perfect looking skinny bitch down the park, You know, the one with the non dead eyes, immaculate highlights and ridiculously well behaved children? I HOPE SHE F*CKING DIES.
A while back I was in my kitchen looking for my fridge, it took me a good five minutes to find him and when I finally did I was concerned to see he was sobbing his little heart out…
I’M A FRIDGE, LET ME BE A FRIDGE GODDAMIT!!
To cut a long story short he was fed up with being covered in bad drawings of Ninja Turtles, sunshines and stuff no one could could really make head nor tail of. He wanted at least some of his sleek shiny surface back and I had to respect that.
You see we are overrun with crappy artwork in our house, it’s EVERYWHERE and all I can do is hold my hands up and apologise to my fridge (and memo board and walls and shelves) – I’m so sorry guys!
So what to do with all this excess craft?
I had a quick Google and there are lots of options – take pictures and make them into a photo album, use them as wrapping paper, wallpaper your hallway with them, post them to your relatives (bit harsh) but whilst those ideas are lovely, you could also just do something radical like… chuck them?!