How Do You Like Your Eggs in The Morning?

I’d like mine alone.

Anyone that knows me will undoubtedly vouch for me when I say that I like to eat, it is probably my favorite hobby. Food is not merely fuel, let’s not do it a disservice, food is flavored bites of happiness and since having George he is attempting to systematically destroy all the things I love and his most recent battle is now with food. Like every other mother out there I can confirm I love my children deeply but by gosh they must bloody hate me, they strip me of my sleep, my patience, my joy in silence, because let’s be honest when silence occurs when you have children it is at the very least unsettling, at the most a mad dash to find out what the little gits are up to.

The new war that has been declared currently forces me to make numerous meals in hope that one of them will be edible to their ever changing pallets, what they would eat yesterday simply does not make it even into a possible option for today. Trying to convince a toddler to eat is a dubious task and you are likely to be bitten by their horrible sharp brand new little teeth and then they only spit it out and chuck it at you. During this game of duck the flying carrot the food that you actually wanted to eat is going fucking cold and everyone around you seems to have forgotten how to use their indoor voices. I love to hear that my food is nice, that those around me are thankful, happy and enjoying it but please don’t say 15 times waiting for me to respond because if my attention is removed from the tiny toddler of terror he is likely to throw himself from his high chair into the pile of food that he has cast aside and probably start eating it.

Imagine the scene, a mother that so much wants to eat a meal that she has not had to make is treated to lunch in a well known and busy pub, it is full of people enjoying their Friday lunchtime specials and as her food arrives a shit storm of epic proportions erupts from the mouth of her blonde haired blue eyes saint looking child. She can’t hack it, she is looking around at everyone else who just being in earshot of this angry little git is being inflicted with instant heartburn, the mothers face is going red with embarrassment and anger and before she even has a chance to take a mouthful of her salad and unreasonably request daddy to share his burger, chips and onion rings she has surrendered. This was me.

Plus the clean up is disgusting, sometimes I think he has eaten only to find that he has hidden all his food down his top, it has worked its way into his nappy and I have to clean Macaroni Cheese of his balls. Hurrah for motherhood and all its disgusting and soul destroying moments.

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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.

 

Happiness and Parenting.

Happiness is just one of the many emotions that we have within our very complex spectrum and the importance of gaining, preserving and knowing when we can expect the next dollop of happiness keeps us running towards this fleeting feeling.

As adults we should really be wiser to the allures of happiness and the unquenchable thirst that we have for it but with every passing fashion that comes and goes we are continually fooled into thinking that the next thing will make us happy and keep us happy.

In reference to how we like our happiness, it needs to quick to obtain and lasting in its effects but essentially that is not always its route and biologically there are those who are just more likely to be happier than you. So we all understand consumerism and that the we are all programmed to want, whether that’s something relatively easy to obtain like the new t-shirt that you have seen in your favorite shop or things that are likely to take longer and require a lot of commitment such as the owning of a home and we all have this feeling that whatever that it is we are striving will make us happy. This is something that we cannot in a capitalist, consumer driven society we cannot avoid.

But let’s get to parenting and consider that impact that our parenting techniques have upon the adults that our children grow into (obviously without piling all the blame upon us). When someone asks what I want for the future of my children (like many other parents) my answer is a simple and (believed to be) humble ‘I would like them to be happy’ because I strive to have happy children. I am always trying to keep them happy, I settled them as babies when they cried, I placate them with distractions when they are grumpy, I recharge them with helping them nap when they are tired, and the list could go on! Take for an example when your toddler wants a toy that someone else has you try two things, first you may try to give them a different toy and attempt to keep them happy with that toy until the occupied one becomes available (normally they have forgotten about their want) or you try to convince the other child to share the toy and encourage them to play together. Now whilst I do not have an alternative suggestion we complete this task until there is no longer a need to do so. We follow around our children trying to given them instant gratification every time they experience something that is an emotion like unhappiness. How does this translate into our adult years? How does the initial upbringing of children and the foundations we have set for them affect them in later life when we are not their to try and convince the person who got the promotion above your son or daughter to share it, because that is only fair.

I do not know how we would go about changing this instinctive feeling we have towards our rights to be happy because we don’t want to accept the inevitability that we will indeed spend much of our lives experience all other emotions more frequently than that of happiness. It doesn’t mean that when we are not happy we are unhappy, there are a whole host of other feelings and not all are negative but it really is happiness that we are all chasing, and fuck it is exhausting. So one person to another how can we help our children accept the reality that what we want for them can be tiresome, hard, fleeting and ultimately something they cannot harness for as long as they will want it?

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.

Daily Mail Mother Hating.

I read an extremely rude article (obviously a daily mail special) about how fashionable it is to be a selfish mother, drink a lot of gin and confess to the moments your mothering has been a little under par. I get it, I write openly about how hard parenthood can be and I want so desperately to remove the stigma that plagues us all with having to be the best at something that is so notoriously hard for many of us but we need to do this with a degree of restraint because glamourising dysfunctional behaviour can be very damaging. The ‘instamum’ fad is something that I follow because it’s somewhat interesting but it is far from my life, I often blog about the difficulties of every day life with a baby and child and all the washing and the bloody bottles and before that the problems I had with boob feeding but it is all required to raise my little humans. I laugh at the size of my butt and the hangover I may have once a year when I dare to make that trip back into normality, BUT to me and many other mums it is not normality! I cannot afford to drink fancy gin infused with the flowers from a Beatrix Potter like garden, I cannot afford the beautiful shoes and all the fancy clothes, I cannot afford to resume my previous job and benefit from some of the freedom that may allow. I am not bitter, I have two gorgeous children and the last thing I want to do is be judgemental but what we should do is take the things we see with a pinch of salt because these mumma’s with the thousands of followers on social media may not be portraying the reality of their life (barely anyone does these days) and in allowing others to see what makes them popular as the norm of their life may lead to the imitation of this and it could become dangerous. Let’s face it all that gin they apparently consume may be a lie, and if it isn’t they may have a really good support network of people that help them out with their busy social life.
Essentially what I am trying to say in the most nonjudgmental way possible is that for the vast majority of us parents we cannot simply (and I do not believe we should either) slip children into our lives, we need to adapt and change to what they need. It is hard to retain your original identity when you have children, and I am not saying that you will never get it back or that at times it is not okay for it to make a comeback whilst you are at the bar drinking shots but that is not the reality your children need as a common occurrence. Children need to come first, that’s right I have to take a back seat with my own needs and wants to fulfil what I want for my children. I choose to populate, I need to ensure that I do it to my best abilities.
I also am suffering from postnatal depression and anxiety and whilst I do my best at as mum I can sometimes see the lifestyles of others who are more confident, outgoing and relaxed mothers and want a slice of that, I know my limitations and I cannot afford myself to slip into the bad habits of lazy parenting because it would be so detrimental for me. Remove the stigma of accepting that some days are a little shit, some weeks, some months even, do not glamorise the notion of being a mother that doesn’t care (not saying that they don’t) is okay. You get me?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4508726/Why-women-boasting-slummy-mummies.html

 

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 Hate Everything.

So as I ponder what might be a fun activity to pass the many hours until bed time I am reminded of how much I hate activities. These are a few of the many things that I have the displeasure of doing quite frequently:

I hate Parks.

I cannot remember a time young or old that I enjoyed parks, they seem to be an area containing an inexplicable number of climbing apparatus designed to both entertain your children and very likely damage them. I swear half the ‘play things’ found in our local parks have been designed by people who hate parents and they just keep getting higher and faster as though there is any actual need for this. I know that I sound like a grumpy mumma who hates the idea of fun but actually I am just a chronic worrier which is undeniably worse. Then there are the things that really shouldn’t be in the park such as dog shit, smoking swearing teenagers, and often the very distinctive smell of weed so if we combine the antisocial behaviour and the risk of death I like to avoid parks where I can but unfortunately with two children I cannot. Bravo.

I Hate Soft Play.

Probably one of the worst ‘child friendly’ activities for the attentive parent, these places breed the notice that as long as your child is okay on their feet and they are passed a certain age (massively variable from parent to parent) it is totally acceptable to have a cuppa and stare at your phone for two hours. I also begrudge paying for my son (when taking my daughter) who is under a year old when he is confined to the smallest area of mat with a few balls and soft toys, the real issue I have with this is simply that I have to police this area for it to be safe because all those big children who cannot read the sign saying ‘babies only’ jump through it knocking over all the little ones, whilst their parents are still sipping that cold coffee and checking out what Susan did over the weekend. And breathe. Also who cleans that place? How do they clean that place? They are normally not very well ventilated and full to the rafters of children sweating like they are in a night club; I have found old socks, plasters, bits of tissue in these places. Also like if those points were not nearly enough to have to deal with let’s talk about colds, these areas of play must be a haven for germs and with the lack of possible ways to clean an establishment that has 15 ball pits in I very much doubt the child with the snotty nose and the cough is keeping himself to himself.

I Hate the Swimming Pool.

Now swimming pools are not that bad, they are clean (regardless of the amount of child piss that must be released) they are well manned by people ready to save your life and very often the baby friendly area is lovely and heated but if like me you are still carrying some baby weight mixed with some emotional weight and a good serving of exhaustion weight you might wish to avoid them anyway. There is nothing that feels me with anxiety like the idea of getting down to even a one-piece for all those people (who are not actually watching) to see, it is not just the extra padding that has found its way onto my arse, my thighs, my arms, well let’s just say everywhere it’s those unwelcome fucking friends it has also brought like Mr Cellulite and Mr Stretch-Marks (they are Mr’s for obvious reasons). Consider the time it takes just shaving for such a catastrophic event, especially when that time isn’t given freely by your baby. If like me you are also scared of the hairdressers you will know the very real threats of having people see you with wet hair, it feels me with horror that a women being paid to sort the birds nest I call my hair has to see it let alone people just heading out for some leisurely fun.