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 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.

Oh no she didn’t…..

….oh yes she did!

Now let’s make something very clear, in the words of Bridie Larter ‘it’s a blog not a fucking rule book’. This is something I do for enjoyment, it’s something I do for my sanity and you are all welcome to read, ignore or even slate but this is not a guidebook and I do not want anyone to feel that what I am or anyone else featured on the blog is doing is better than you or that you suddenly have to stop and do it differently. You’ve got this, you don’t need my shitty guidance nor my acceptance. In fact I wanted to involve loads of you to demonstrate that one size does not fit all, I am a very different mother to my son than I was to my daughter at his age and do you know why? They are different children. So what I let my baby cry and learn to self settle, I did that and you don’t have to and just so you know I actually settle him myself (rightly or wrongly) during waking hours but during unsociable ungodly hours he is feed changed and put back to bed. Mother like no one is judging, own what you fucking do, celebrate your motherhood and above all spread love like is butter! 

I was told I sit on the fence, that I was diplomatic and therefore not as honest maybe as someone standing for a cause or a style, do you know what I stand for? Being allowed on my bloody fence, taking it in, being objective, never turning down or away. If you want professional advice on what is considered best for your baby go to a professional not to me, I’m just a dummy plodding along with 2 wonderful children from 2 amazing dads, a Labrador and a really fat cat. 

I would however like to express apologies to anyone offended by this blog that is SERIOUSLY NOT what I’m about, and confirm to them I’m not biased, I’ll cover any baby mumma style but what I am is not a great writer so maybe the odd thing (maybe a lot of things) slip in and I don’t own Bernard’s watch which means I have all sort of time restraints. 

Peace out ✌🏻 

The New Wave Mum. 

The trip into motherhood as I’ve said many times can be a brutal battle, you have the pregnancy which entails your body actually growing a life (I know fucking insane), the labour where that life emerges from your body (even more insane), and then the crazy many stages of baby, toddler, child, teenager, adult. Well I’ve been talking to a free spirited mumma of two who is completely rocking it, don’t get me wrong she did admit that her children can be arseholes, but hay can’t they all?! 

I got to talk to Annistasia about Hypno Birthing and whilst the conversation did quickly escalate into matters of gender identity I was highly amused with the ‘poo humming’ yep you read that right! It is a mechanism to encourage you to allow your body to deliver the baby calmly, and to practice your poo hum, instead of straining when you are ready to go, you hum your poo out. Whilst this may sound crazy Annistasia did confirm that the labour she had with her son using the methods she had learnt left her feeling complete at his arrival. Both her children were delivered by C-section but having embraced the world of Hypno Birthing she said that she felt so much more in control and informed of her choices during the labour and this is something so important! With her second section Annistasia even had the knowledge and conviction to have a natural section which she attributes to helping her feel as though this labour was under her control and an all around better experience. The course Annistasia took was not funded by the NHS and is considered an alternative method, which clearly has had some great results. We spoke about breastfeeding and the incredible support she had from the Chelsea and Westminster hospital where her daughter was born siting it as to be quite frank the only reason she was successful at feeding, she had four days of one on one care and support and went on to fed her daughter for 2 years. This in itself is validation of the help that is needed. 

We spoke freely about Annistasia’s parenting style and how she embraces the wishes her children have and encourages self development and independence. Her daughter is currently with blue and pink hair after expressing want for this for several weeks (hair chalks before anyone goes crazy). After all we only want to give our children what they want and Annistasia so wonderfully put it with ‘there are too many no’s in this would, be a yes!’ We also covered gender neutralising and I was so happy to hear that whilst her children will always be aware of their gender there is also a complete acceptance of however that may change in their futures. Annistasia confirmed that she believed that gender neutralisation could have a negative impact and blur the lines of sexuality. Yes! It’s important I feel that we let our children be who they are without boundaries and embrace whole heartedly the choices they make regarding their gender and sexuality. 

I think it’s important to add that during this interview I could tell that these children will be encouraged to flourish whilst being guided by a mother that loves them. It was really great to see how the other half live! I love my children but I know I’m an uptight mum at times, I may just need too be a little freer with them!!! 

And look at the hair:

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!