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.

I just don’t get it.

I guess I don’t get it, there is more I don’t know than that of which I do, I’m not going to pretend I understand, nor that I have any answers. We face an election that has come during a time where world events are rather scary, and with this in mind that many people look to the strong who say they are not scared of the fight, or those ready and willing to take the lives of others. There are no winners in nuclear wars, so why is there such a fixation on them? People talk about the environment (and rightly so) they fear for the extinction of animals, for the devastation of the rain forests, the melting of the polar ice caps, but if we embark upon a nuclear war then these ice caps won’t even have the time to fucking melt. If we allow those we don’t know to have their identities scrutinised over their religion and the actions of few we encourage the segregation that they are already facing.  When we take from our children we make their futures unpredictable, their education unstable, their national health service questionable. When we argue over what unskilled workforces should have we underestimate what they need, what they could be, what they want to be. I have said that I do not have the answers, I don’t even know what questions to ask but here are a few circling my mind.

Why would you risk the continuation of the NHS?

Why would you make unnecessary changes to the education system only to benefit the elite?

Why cannot we give more to those who don’t have?

I don’t know the cost of securing the future of the next generations, I don’t know what the costs would be to raise the living wage, I don’t know what the cost would be to save the NHS, but I do know that these things are important to so many and maybe it might be worth finding out. I’m not about concentrating on what I have, my concern is for those that don’t have or won’t have.

When you take from people who have less so you can have more that’s an issue.

When your concern is how much is being given to those that have less that’s an issue.

If your biggest fear in this election is what you get when there are:

Homeless people living on the streets.

Refugees fleeing from bombs.

Children living in poverty

If we changed the mindset from ‘it’s their own fault’ to ‘what can I do to help?’ What do you think would happen? The welfare system is always being challenged by those who feel they don’t need it.

The way I see it is it’s not what the politicians can do for me it is what they can do for people who need them more.

These may not be your wants but they are the sentiments of the party you support.

Mothering by Mothers (2) 

I want to take some time to tell you about Becky, super mum of two, who was signed up to talk all things co-parenting, mixed family and her amazing commitment to adult learning but as we were about to sign out she whipped out a boob and started to feed her daughter! Well as you can imagine I wanted to here about breastfeeding and what that meant to her and her family and it was so refreshing! 

Firstly Becky told me about breastfeeding her son to the age of two and instantly I wanted to know more, there is sometimes a stigma to extended breastfeeding and although she said she had some conflicting views ultimately she did what she did for her son and that to me is what mothering is all about! Becky also said that whilst that this time she felt confident that her daughter would go for a year before being weened off the boob. This indicated to me a knowledge of what was best for her and either of her children and whilst I do not need to praise or big up her choices I couldn’t have happier to hear such confidence in her muming! 

When questioned about her views on formula I was also happily stunned by Becky who actually said to her breastfeeding was what felt natural and that she needed to do it and that formula is so the way for some mum’s but that we need to recognise and adjust the way we perceive it. I got this. A formula feed baby doesn’t always sleep, it may not go longer between feeds, so when I gave up breastfeeding for these benefits I didn’t get them. 

Becky is a supporter of her sister boober and often praises others finding their comfort zones and offers advice and guidance where needed being an active member on a local breastfeeding support group. Her confidence in her feeding is quite clear as she regaled a story of walking around a supermarket with a young baby feeding and doing the necessary shopping! Talk about epic. 

It was also mentioned that during her breastfeeding journey she has had the occasional strange look and a comment once but wants to implore would be breastfeeders not to let nasty stories about other people’s experiences put them off, there is not always huge truth in this. 

However you feed your baby you are doing a great job, but in this post I want to here it for the boobing ladies keeping it real and often very much in sight (where it should be). Thank you Becky! 

London. 

My words cannot do my sadness for today’s event justice, but I am reminded of a conversation I have had with my mother and I think that this needs sharing. 

When I was struggling with the concept of terrorism and the fear, hurt and anger it brings my mother told me that she makes her own stand against the hate this spreads and that was not to allow it to consume her. My mother will not allow her life to be riddled with the fear and hate that these few people want to spread and that in itself is a stand against what these few want. 

I think this is an important lesson, hate never changes hate. We cannot allow the persecution of a religion or race as an attempt to cure hatred. We cannot judge groups on the acts of minority’s. We cannot allow ourselves to spread racism because of our hurt. 

I have seen some hideously angry posts which I fear will only to provoke other acts of anger.

I do not sympathise with those who act in such violent ways but I imagine those who commit these crimes are full of hate and I do not want to encourage this feeling. We are living during a time where we can take to social media to share thoughts and opinions with everyone else in the world and with this comes extreme responsibility, please do not take to your keyboard to spread thoughts of hate but simply thoughts of condolence. 

I extend my thoughts to not only those involved and their family but those who will be spending their evening turning their sadness into acts of provocation. 

Stay safe and stay kind.