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?!
It’s funny how quickly children grow isn’t it. I mean at first when they are brand new and not doing much time seems to stand still and every week feels like it lasts forever; but before you know it three months are gone and your newborn has vanished in a puff of smoke.
They are smiling, eating, clapping, crawling, walking, talking and then wham you have a toddler, such a complicated little thing. A master at perfecting the balance of being both terribly annoying and utterly adorable all at once, for as frustrating as toddlers can be you have to admire their zest and vigour for life.
See something you like, you take it.
See someone else dong something you don’t like, whack them out of the way.
Run, see, do, explore.
Find pure wonder in a manky feather or cigarette butt.
Laugh with your whole body.
Stomp though the world like you own the whole fricking thing.
The next thing you know they are moving from toddler to pre-schooler and starting to realise that funnily enough they are not the centre of the universe; which is a good thing because you can’t go around biting people when they take something you want (unless you are a footballer). But it’s also a bit sad, because as kids begin feeling concious of the people around them and how they are perceived by them – that’s when the doubt creeps in.
How good would it be if we could all keep just a dash of that toddler magic?
When I first became a mum I did what many a new mum does, I bought and devoured a whole heap of baby books looking for THE answers.
I didn’t want my kid up until midnight every night so nailing a bedtime routine was the priority. I was a massive subscriber to it, I purchased a multitude of ‘That’s not my avocado’ type books, handed over 30 quid for Ewan the sodding dream sheep with his lulling womb noises and spent years investing into the promise of Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bath like a total numpty.
It’s three times the price of anything else because it’s ‘clinically proven’ to help babies sleep better! How do they know? Did they also test the babies with a cheap Aldi version and then interview them the next day?
Anyway I’m digressing. The point of this post was to share how I have perfected bedtime now I am an experienced *ahem* parent with over 5 years on the job. This is our foolproof routine: –
1, TV and milk – At about 6pm we begin winding down, the process starts with an argument over whether we should watch Power Rangers or Peppa Pig, follows with an argument that the milk should be milkshake and not just milk and ends in a WWF style wrestling match in which one child lies on the sofa while the other child jumps from the coffee table and lands on top of them. it’s approx a 50:50 laughter to tears ratio which sets things off beautifully.
2, A lovely bath – next up we go though a two stage #FML objection to bath time.
If you were to ask me why I started this blog my answer would be that it was just a snap decision; I was feeling a bit bored and frustrated at not being able to find a job flexible enough to fit around the kids, and considering I have always liked to write, it was something to occupy my mind.
I knew I wanted it to be honest, I read baby book after baby book in my early days of motherhood and I swear they were responsible for sending me to a pretty dark place. I didn’t plan for it to be funny and I certainly never expected so many people to read it and resonate with it.
It’s lovely, it really is. Yet it’s also slightly nauseating if I think about it too much, because I am putting myself out there for complete strangers to review…
Annoying… yes. A bit of a dick… I can be. But the drawings are crap?!?!? WTF?! HOW VERY DARE YOU!!!
You see more the stats grow the less people seem to see that it’s just one person sitting here, X Factor on in the background, writing about her life, warts and all.
I don’t know what happens to people when they are sat safely behind computer screens, it seems to bring out the vilest of their sides. In real life if you disagree with someone or find them annoying, then for the most part smiling and politely nodding before making your excuses to leave, is enough.
On the internet however the reaction can commonly be…
And yes that was a real quote too. One of my particular favourites!
We’ve been talking about potty training our youngest for a while. He’s 2.5 and to all intents and purposes seems ready. The delay was partly down to the fact that we couldn’t be arsed, obviously there are advantages to ditching the nappies but there are also weeks of dragging around a potty and 5 pairs of trousers which make it slightly less appealing.
However the excuses were running thin on the ground and it was time to man up – we’d read Pirate Pete’s Potty a hundred times and I’d bought stashes of Minion pants (his favourite) from Primark. There was nothing left to do but get on with it…
After taking off his morning nappy I show him his very exciting new pants. However instead of making him happy they just make him VERY angry.He right out refuses to put them on! I manage to negotiate with him and in the end he agrees to put on a pair of his brothers’s old pants with footballs on them. Kids are weird.
The morning goes well with no accidents, he wees on the potty once at home and comes back from a trip to the park, dry. I start feeling a bit smug.
My sister and her girlfriend come down to visit us in the afternoon and J makes a lovely lasagne for us all to enjoy.
And then the boy does a massive wee all over his chair and the floor.
‘Sorry about the wee I hope it doesn’t put you off your lunch!’
It all goes steadily downhill from there.
If you were to ask my opinions on soft play I’m not quite sure what they would be – I neither love it or completely hate it. Like most activities aimed at young kids it simply helps fill up the day until you get to
gin time the bedtime hour.
We go to soft play for a number of reasons:-
1. It’s raining
2. They are destroying the house
3. I want a latte
4. They have chicken nuggets and I can’t be bothered to make dinner
5. I fancy a bit of adult conversation (even if it’s just saying thanks to the guy who puts the shoes in boxes)
6. The boys have got dirty stinking colds and it only seems fair to share their snot back into the germ pool that has cost us £400 in pointless nursery fees so far this year
7. It makes happy go on their faces
8. All of the above
We have a few soft play options near us, The nicer posher ones that cost about £50 to get in. And the one round the corner which is a bit old, a bit dirty and a bit violent. I usually go with the latter, cos that’s just how we roll.
I’ve observed over the years that there are two types of parents at soft play:-
Category 1, The parents of older kids who read Grazia, look at their phones, drink steaming hot coffee and deserve to die.