The (ever expanding) CV of a Mother

As I embark upon the soul-shattering mission to return to work after a baby I am reminded of the difficulties of doing so on an Island where the vast majority of vacancies probably receive 100’s of applications. With merely a handful of GCSE’s to my name and an ample amount of work experience and life experience it has hard to snag more than a ‘thank you for your application, unfortunately….’ let alone even an acknowledgement of my interest and effort or even an interview. Let’s face it gaining employment is hard especially when there is not as much appreciation for the endless tasks that motherhood throws at you that happen to demonstrate your ability to pretty much cope with anything.

Breastfeeding; whilst something that I am no longer doing and certainly do not wish to do ever as means of securing a job this particular hurdle that I conquered for a whooping 6 months shows a huge amount of dedication. Breastfeeding a child is a difficult job, it requires determination, perseverance and a lot of independent working because actually no one can take that night shift for you. It requires a great deal of sobriety, care, comfort and love to do this 5 million times a day. It takes confidence to do this in public, it means being creative with a wardrobe that is lacking after you are likely to have expanded making most of your clothes redundant.

Attention to detail: a mother literally has to have eyes everywhere, you cannot barely blink without a toddler trying to do some death defying stunt. Nothing can be left, no tea or coffee, there is a place for everything and everything in its place. There is little spontaneity when you have a climber, the sudden urge to pee can often leave you vulnerable to finding your child dancing on the table.

Organisation: if I have to do anything I have to be quick and precise, I need to have a plan. I need to arrange nap time so that I can clean away everyone else’s stuff because they lack that ‘attention to detail’. I must ensure that nap is at the right time and lasts for the right amount of time as not to have a very unhappy toddler even more prone to damaging himself because he has become ‘dangerously tired’.

Multitasking: I have the ability to cook three different meals and serve them all at the same time without burning anything to make sure that everyone eats. I can then eat mine whilst feeding the toddler and catching the food that he has refused to try before it touches the floor.

Management: I can command a room, sometimes with just a stern yet gentle look, I can get an eight year old to tidy her bedroom (to a somewhat questionable/acceptable state), I can get that homework done using my abilities as a negotiator.

Time keeping: I have a tidy home, I plan my washing around the ever changing British weather and we all have clean pants. I can make sure that the milk man’s delivery comes at just the time the last smidgen of milk is used. I make sure this house is clean despite the toddler, the eight year old who likes to make sure that there is at least three cuddly cat toys of hers in each room, a partner who refuses to throw even his own contact lens wrappers in the bin himself, a rather large brown hound and a fat (forever shedding) ginger cat lives here. I sweep the floors about three times a day.

Strength: I functioned for nearly a whole year on about 4 hours worth of broken sleep a night whilst juggling everything else, how you may ask me? Literally couldn’t tell you for a million quid. It happened, I, and everyone else is still alive. Miracle.

Working with people: I have been able to sustain the very lives that have made mine harder, through love, care, comfort and nourishment. I am the one that feeds imagination, gives hope to the daughter that is bullied, encourages dreams and vanquishes nightmares and monsters. I play, I laugh, I jump and dance even when I don’t want to get my children to be happy. I am committed and loyal.

A mother is more than just someone that is able to stay at home and look after an infant, that infant is continually changing and as a mother you have to adapt to survive. There is a list as long as my arm of all the things that I would bring to a work a place that would be happy to give me the opportunity.

 

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F*@! Me it’s hot.

Heat wave

As I have already discussed rather heavily with anyone who will listen to me babies/toddlers ruin everything (at times) and whilst they are adorable (also at times) they are a force to be reckoned with.
This heat has been an ongoing battle that has made bed times harder and those lovely cuddles a damn sight stickier and whilst I would have normally taken this opportunity to shave my legs and embrace the chub rub I’ve been avoiding the outside through fear of melting and sun stroke.
We have furthermore discovered that George is (just as his father) allergic to the summer and fighting a losing battle with hay fever so when I think of heat wave I’m automatically drawn to the fear of puffy eyes, melting, uncomfortable sleep for the adults and children alike, wrestling with the factor 50 and a giant brown hound unable to deal with these temperatures. In short this year is not the year for us to enjoy the sun and realising this is like having someone crush your spirits. I can only liken the act of covering a toddler in sun tan lotion with wrestling a crocodile just with less teeth and a less deadly bite.
I love the sun and I know I sound like a moany old cowbag I have a clingy son who requires a lot of carrying and cuddling which could not have come at a worse time.
Have you ever tried to keep a hat on a one year old, granted it’s getting easier but blimey it a nightmare. Have you ever had to convince a eight year old that if they don’t keep apply the lotion they will burn? “But mummy I haven’t ever burnt before” yes well that’s because your mother is sun lotion tyrant that remembers pinning you down to keep you protected. Have you ever have to give up your picnic food because regardless of how many times you have told your child that sandy hand will equate to sandy food they won’t listen until its happened to them? They have, and will continue to, ruin summer for many years to come.
Summer used to be for beer gardens and late night BBQ’s now it’s for ice cream fights and baths ever night.

In fairness the sunshine has also brought with it use of beaches, paddling pools, splash parks and garden fun and whilst I’m not having to stop my son from emptying the pool and eating the sand it has been rather pleasant.

Hitting The Town In 5 Easy Steps.

There are many perils to consider; I mean is the freedom truly worth the hideous repercussions that you will face in the morning (which to be honest are often even worse than you thought) and if you believe that hangovers get worse the older you are that is nothing compared to what they have the capacity to do to parents. It is not only the fear of the next day you have to conquer but the acceptance that this is a night that you are likely to get even less sleep than normal, you will have to make peace with the impending sleep deprivation and the inclusion of the ‘adult headache’ so that is stage one. Stage two is getting dressed, it is very feasible that this will bring you to tears, because what do people actually wear when they go out these days? Not only is it safe to say that the vast majority of shops no longer accommodate for the size of my arse and the width of my hips I am far from ready to don the very fashionable crop tops they seem so eager to flog me, so whilst I breakdown in front of very limited wardrobe I will inevitably have my first drink. Stage three is actually leaving the house without the pram; never have my arms felt so redundant. Going out at night is super weird when you haven’t done it for the best part of 18 months, it is cold and dark and really the time when you should be in bed waiting for the party that is going to wake up everyone in your house at around 2am but hell you have done it now, congratulations! Stage four is probably the worse stage; you are no longer comfortable with being out, it happened so quickly but all of a sudden you are faced with the prospect of drinking and dancing and your first sip has already rendered you tipsy and you have no idea how to even move to the music that is being played. If you did not realise it before now; having a baby ages you, it is a mixture of the shit sleep, the lack of interaction you have following the birth of an all consuming monster and right now it is evident, you did not realise that it is fashionable to wear see-through clothes with sequinned bras, trousers with more holes in them than a golf course and that pubs appear to now be letting in twelve year olds. It is all very difficult but the vodka is making it easier and before you know it you are on the dance floor trying to perform the ‘big fish/little fish’ dance moves in rhythm to the beat of every song (that ultimately all sound the same) they are playing. Stage five, trying to get home, if you thought that getting out your house was hard you will be shocked about how difficult it is now to get back there, not only are you drunk and slow but you are hungry, really really hungry and the only thing better than a regular hangover is one that is flavoured with the reminisce of the previous nights kebab. If you are lucky enough to not have lost your keys you will still have a terrible time trying to get them in the keyhole before you struggle to try and undo the damage of all the noise you have already made by sneaking up the stairs. You may have mastered how to avoid ever single creak that is made on the journey up the stairs but that training has all been lost whilst inebriated but if you manage to get up them without waking the baby there is no way that your partner won’t be up and waiting, especially if like me you had reassured them it wouldn’t be a late night and actually it is now early morning.

But oh my gosh would I do it all again? Of course, I just may need another 6 months to recover from this one.

The crying it out method. 

So my baby doesn’t sleep, he gets up in the middle of the night for up to three hours and for the last ten months it’s been hard. It’s been so hard I nearly spoilt Christmas with my bad mood, I’ve turned down countless offers of help because of fear of what my baby is like in the night, I have single handedly caused chaos, torment and upset with my crippling up and down moods swings.

Now we are only on night one and this means we have a path ahead of us that is likely to be hella difficult but I wanted to write this to remind me of how I feel today. Last night George woke up at 12, I gave him a bottle and changed his bum and put him back down, he cried for 20 minutes, I then got him out again and gave him the rest of his bottle (he never finishes in one sitting) and he then went back to his bed for another 20 minutes crying and then slept until 6. I think it’s safe to say that today I feel like a goddess. 

I am not a bad mum but the sleep deprivation is a real struggle and today with a good night sleep I have been active, alert, happier and my patience has been restored. We have eaten better, the house is tidier and I even walked the dog solo, a massive fear for me as he is a large Labrador who pulls me down the road. 

I have thought about dinner and have retrieved what we need from the freezer, I have relied less on the tv as a distraction for George. I have been a better mum today. I haven’t panicked about naps because I need a rest. 

I know we have miles to go but I am basking in the glow of making positive steps for not only me but the rest of my family too. I want to remember this feeling because when I listen to him cry at night just wanting to be with me I can safely say that when he is with me in the morning he will feel the full force of everything I can give him, not the half measures I’ve been using because I’m a fucking zombie. 

It always seemed like a dad thing to say ‘let him cry it out’ but having mumma’s approached me when I asked for help to give me this advice I felt as though I could give it a try. Sorry dads but your advice is generally not well received, it could be to do with the fact I’m living off 6 hours broken fucked up sleep, coffee and sweets. 

Here is to what hopefully will be something we can continue! 

Ps the featured image is not me today, that was me a couple of weeks ago. I probably look the same to be fair because it’s only one night but I have never looked so bad in all my life. My skin is dark and patchy, my eyes look sunken and tired, I’m spotty, my weight is uncontrollable. I want to be me again, I looked better immediately after labour than I do now. George about two days old:

Sharing

You would imagine a baby/toddler/child who is constantly demanding that they are entitled to half if not more of everything you have would get the concept of bloody sharing but hay it’s just not that easy. With the eyes (and later mouths) that scream ‘I want that food’, ‘I need the remote’ (regardless of the fact that they are indeed about to change their channel and then hissy fit about that shit) and the most parent humiliating ‘give me that toy before I end you’. Nope. Nope. Nope again. Sharing is the super hard thing that not only teaches the child a valuable life lesson I would hazard a guess shortens a parents life by approximately 5 years, it can be utterly gruelling and you may find yourself saying the same sentence more times than you thought possible. The other real fucker about this sharing malarkey is that, of course with every other achievement, it comes at different times for all children! It is hard to find the tactics that work and sometimes it’s a case that they get there eventually after a painstaking play date where you nearly drop kicked little Sally. Another thing, when do the little grabbers even have the require capacity to learn this important social skill? Socialising with your tiny human can indeed be traumatic, I find I worry a lot less about the other children participating than I do mine which I watch like a hawk to make sure they are sharing but with that there is always the secret judgement of ‘that parent doesn’t care that their little boy has jumped the queue to the slide 15 times’ thought in the back of your mind. Now this is where we need to be giving that parent a break because who knows what sort of parenting shit they need a break from, we all do it, we all let these things slip and the benefit of the doubt goes a long way. However repeat offenders will be hung for their sins (just kidding). I guess I’m asking for patience for those still teaching the value of sharing and a little bit of slack.

And it’s only lunch time….

Today has been whole heap of shit, I have had a 9 month old terrorist screaming at me because he hasn’t slept enough. With all respect George you woke me up not the other way around. Where the hell do kids get off with their unreasonable demands such as I want to eat the router and stick my fingers in the plug, do they seriously not get that I’m just trying to keep them alive?? 

Oh and Millie, she is a master of the emotional blackmail card, feels like she isn’t get enough attention: cries, feels like no one is listening (because there are 1 million other things going on): cries, can’t get her coat down from the peg: cries. I’m going to have her tear ducts fucking removed. 

Today I haven’t wanted to parent, I’ve been looking through Instagram posts of people traveling and the exciting careers that they have, the nice belongings that are vomit free, their cleaned houses because they don’t have a tiny person chasing them around destroying things, their dogs are not sat on the sofa refusing to move and laughing at them secretly. 

George is asleep on me as I am writing this and I am too petrified to move him even though I haven’t peed since 8am and I need a coffee, this is the definition of parenting complete and utter fear. Some days the fear is less but it’s always fucking there. 

Tomorrow will be a day with less fear and anger. A day Millie comes down stairs and tells me about her wonderful dream that was full of fairies and unicorns, she’ll give me loads of kisses and cuddles and say I love you first. A day where George may not scream at me for hours because he is frustrated with not being able to walk, a day where I may only have to ply him away from the shoe rack once and a day where he kisses me. They push you to the point of utter torment only to completely pull it out of the bag and make you realise that they are actually the best things you could have done with your life. Then the day after normal business will resume and I’ll be fantasising about running out on them again, little shits. 


A dedication….

I’m dedicating this post to an old friend that I fear I will never see again, he was my best friend, I morn his loss. There is no feeling like the sheer upset that this whole ordeal has had upon me and I’m reaching out, someone, anyone have you seen the sandman? I vaguely remember the nights he would visit and bring me to the land of nod but I fear he detests the sound of a screaming baby just as much as I do and the imminent danger that may befall anyone who happens to even breathe loudly prior to the baby’s wake up party. 

I don’t know how I am still able to stand. 

 I don’t know how my partner has not packed up and left me after the numerous times I have screamed obscenities into his face really really loud. 

I don’t know how the police have not been involved because if I can hear the neighbors snore I am certain they can hear me turn into the she hulk. 

I don’t know how I’m not even fatter than I am because I eat an extra meal most nights/mornings between 2 & 3am. 

I don’t know how my daughter sleeps through this all. 

For the last 9 months I have had a constant headache, dark circles around my eyes, a slight odour of impending doom…you know the smell of illness, kinda like that. When I sleep I dream of waking up, sometimes I wake up and look for George in the bed in fear I have fallen asleep whilst putting George back to bed. 

I told a friend once how I just want to be run over a little bit, like 5mph or some shit, enough to be kept in observations for a night or so, no major injuries. 

In short 9 months since I have had a late night visit from a previous special friend, if you see him tell him I can be found eating ice cream on the sofa, sobbing, listening to fucking Little Baby Bum nursery rhymes. 

Come back to me old friend and bring me your sand.