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?
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.
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.
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.