Mornings: the Dream vs Reality….

Mornings are my least favourite part of the day (I like them less than bath time. That’s saying something). It seems that sometimes my expectations of motherhood weren’t even in the same ballpark as the reality. So here’s what the corporate world had me believe mornings would be like vs the sad, stressful truth.

The dream:
I wake up with sun streaming through the curtains at 6.15 and stretch and doze for fifteen minutes until I hear the baby stirring in his cot and the three year old happily singing ‘Let it Go’ from her bed. All three of us greet each other excitedly and we bound downstairs where I hand out juice and the children happily watch tv whilst I enjoy a hot cup of tea and start to prepare breakfast. While the children eat breakfast I quickly shower and they don’t even notice, and we all head back upstairs to get washed and dressed. We have time to spare so I manage to drink my green smoothie and have an espresso before heading out into the crisp yet bright morning for a leisurely stroll to nursery where we jovially count the red cars on the way in.
(This has never happened. Not once.)

The reality:
It’s 5.30am and I’ve been kicked by a moany three year old since 3.30 who couldn’t sleep in her own bed any more because of the ‘scawy shadows’. The baby hears me move and immediately panics and starts screaming so I run in to console him. Three year old starts crying as she’s been left alone in the dark and with both kids clawing at me and wailing, we slowly manoeuvre downstairs. I need to get a drink for my big girl but the baby won’t let me put him down. He’s making a loud, guttural cry and banging his head on the kitchen units every time I put him down so getting the lid on the big ones juice is like a task from The Cube.
We make it into the lounge with drinks and put on the tv on so I can try to sneak for a morning wee (I daren’t wee in the night in case I make a floorboard creak and wake a child up. True story). I barely make it out of the room before the distressing screech starts so I wee (as usual) with a 16 month on my lap and three year old peering in at the door. Breakfast is a total sham, 98% ends up on the floor with the other 2% eaten by me and I’ve made empty threats of no tv, no treats, no advent calendar, no nursery school and no lunch already and it’s barely 7am. I shower….I shan’t go into the gory details because I’ve written about it before. It’s not fun. That’s all I’ll say.
Getting dressed is like a carry on film where I chase both children round, occasionally shoving an item of clothing on them every minute or two, whilst the other removes an item. Teeth cleaning and getting washed shouldn’t be this difficult and I sometimes silently sob at this point. We eventually head back downstairs and I realise the time so run around for another five minutes shouting “SHOES, COATS, HATS!! WHERE THE *whisper* fuuuuuuccccckkk ARE MY KEYS?”
Baby resists going in the pushchair (every. Single. Day. Twice. A. Day. Actually.) by aggressively wriggling, thrashing, screaming and whacking me and I have to body slam him into position and quickly click the straps shut. Just as a final ‘Fuck you’ I allow the three year old out of the front door first and she slams it on me as I’m trying to get out with the pushchair and pegs it up the road on her own. I eventually get out of the door and I bellow after her like a fish wife as she careers towards the morning traffic.
We make it to nursery a bit sweaty and a lot harassed and as I hand her over and I still can’t believe this is how my day starts, 5 out of 7. I can remember some moons ago where a morning involved a shower, a tube and a Pret coffee.
Big. Fat. Sigh. Coffee machine on.
Because they’re worth it, eh?

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All I want for Christmas…

I often wonder where my darling daughter gets some of her diva-esque traits but long before Motherhood I was the kind of girl that might’ve produced a tabulated excel spreadsheet Christmas list for one of my long-suffering ex’s. It contained a complicated gift-combination system of standalone Christmas, Birthday (it’s in January) and ‘Joint’. Suggestions ranged from books, dvd’s and clothes to expensive make-up, beauty products and perfume and a ‘Wild Card’ where the buyer got to go freestyle and actually choose a surprise gift from a pre-selected shop (Anthropologie, Selfridges and Space NK were a safe bet).

So this year? As I sat next to my three year old with an aching wrist from dictating her absolutely massive Christmas list, I decided to write my own letter to the big fella with some very reasonable requests.

Dear Santa,
I’ve been a really good girl this year. If we could just overlook the constant swearing, the road rage, the secretly laughing at my children’s dramatic cry-faces and the incessant muttering under my breath with a maniacal smile plastered on my face. Oh and the non-stop scoffing of the treat drawer despite proclaiming I am ‘Paleo’. Aside from those minor issues, I have pretty much been an angel.
So I would like to request the following:
1. To be able to run without pissing myself (aka a new pelvic floor). I exercise most days and I do yoga but after two children in two years and the nature of my last labour (where my son literally flew out of my vagina at National Speed Limit) my pelvic floor must be in tatters and after a mile (or ten minutes of jumping about to Charlottes Belly Blitz) it’s game over.
2. I’d like two boobs of the same size, that don’t resemble a tennis ball in one of my daughters knee socks.
3. I’d like to sleep for 8 hours a night UNINTERRUPTED. At least once a week.
4. I’d like my children to eat the meals I prepare for them, without complaint (them), idle threats (me) and tears and tantrums (all of us).
5. And finally, I’d like to go one whole day without wiping a nose / arse / sticky face.
And that’s it!
So I expect you’ll get back to me, yeah Santa?
*sits waiting patiently, humming Mariah ‘All I want for Christmas….’*
X

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Calm down dear, it’s only a parking space…..

Shopping with babies and toddlers is torturous on a good day and although I ordinarily opt for online shopping, trips to the supermarket are inevitable when like me, you are a bit forgetful because let’s face it you survive on less sleep than a prisoner of war and are being solidly and consistently hen-pecked for 12 hours a day by irritating mini versions of yourself.

Parent and child bays are designed with additional space around them so parents are able to unload their shopping more easily and so that they have plenty of room to grapple with car seats and the unloading and loading of their own small (and usually uncooperative) people.  If you’ve never done a solo shopping trip with one or more small children then count yourself lucky but believe me it is a whole new level of hell that is made a whole host better if you bag one of the hot-property Parent/Child spots.

I often see people casually using these spaces without the obligatory small child in tow and it really, really pushes my buttons. If I’ve not bagged one of the spaces then you will see I am carrying a handbag plus a one year old (who is either trying to jump down into the traffic for fun or is pulling my hair, poking me in the eye or his current favourite – biting my cheek). Add to this a stroppy, uncooperative threenager who *almost* fell asleep in the car and is now akin to the devil incarnate and she doesn’t give two shits about oncoming cars. It’s not fun. And this is BEFORE the shopping trip. With a trolley full of groceries and a couple of tear stained sobbing children from the tantrums it is even more shit. Which brings me to my point.  Just in case you aren’t clear, here are 10 Very Good Reasons NOT to use a Parent/Child Parking Bay:

  1. Because you have a child, but they’re not with you (you should know better)
  2. Because you have a 12 year old child and they are with you 
  3. Because you’re disabled (you have your own and quite frankly I wouldn’t dream of parking in yours)
  4. Because you’re really old 
  5. Because you’re really hungover
  6. Because you are just ‘popping in quickly’ 
  7. Because there were loads of them free when you arrived
  8. Because it’s ‘just this once’
  9. Because you drive a really massive, expensive car that’s tricky to park
  10. Because you are an utter bell-end and you just don’t give a toss

And here is ONE good reason to park in a parent/child space:

  1. Because you have one or more small children/babies in tow and YOU NEED THE EXTRA BLOODY SPACE. 

Really f*cking simple isn’t it?!?

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Spook Off……

Halloween. Love it or hate it Halloween is most definitely a ‘thing’ and with two small children, there is no avoiding it. I do actually enjoy it and see no real harm in dressing up our little ones, carving out pumpkins (turnips actually, when I was a lass!) and eating lots of sweets. 

There are however a couple of things about Halloween that make me a teensy bit uncomfortable – one being Trick or Treating.  My daughter is a ‘why’ child. She questions abso-f*cking-lutely everything, mostly things I can’t answer. So with regard to Trick or Treating:  why is it suddenly ok for her to knock on strangers doors?   Ermmmmmm, dunno?  Why is it ok for her to accept sweets from strangers? Ummmm.  Errr?   Why is it ok for her to wear no bloody coat in October in her funny little costume?  It’s not??!!  Why is essentially begging strangers for sweets ok? It’s kind of not?!?!

It makes me cringe. Thankfully I think mine are still too little and she also has a prior engagement so I’ve got another year at least to think of my answers to the above (i.e. google them).

Moving onto my second bugbear – the outfits. There are some really, really cute pumpkins, ghosts and spiders for the small ones then the options become a bit weird. I find the plethora of witchy outfits borderline ‘slutty’ for little girls. What happened to the warty, green Grotbags proper style witch of my childhood?  Why are they glitzy and sexy these days? I do not like this one little bit.

And my final gripe is when older children who look really bloody scary are trick or treating. I don’t mind cooing at a cute 6 year old pumpkin or faux-hiding from an 8 year old skeleton but an 11 year old high on Haribo in a full on ‘Scream’ costume, wielding a fake dagger banging on my door – absolutely fucking terrifying! For me AND my kids.

In all honestly I don’t mind Halloween. But I definitely preferred it in my twenties where it was just another excuse to go out and get leathered.  Maybe a carafe of wine should be offered alongside the bucket of sugary treats?!?  Let’s make THAT a thing!  

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Mummy Appraisal. By Buddy.

Appraisee – Mummy 

Appraiser – Buddy (14 months)

Departments – ALL

Overview:

I’m generally pretty happy with your performance but I feel it’s important to document things so we both know where we stand.   And before some of the ‘little things’ turn into ‘big thing’s and we really have a problem.  It’s important for my continued development that you continue to meet and exceed objectives.

Objective 1 – Food Provision and Service:

To provide a variety of meals, snacks, drinks and breastmilk to me as and when requested

Grade ‘Less than standard’ (Needs improvement)

So let’s start with an example – breakfast this morning:  I’m bloody starving. I only woke you up twice for milk last night and then just 4 or 5 other times for a cuddle so why the hell are you looking all vacant and tired and staring at that screen in your hand instead of fixing my breakfast?

So you finally got your arse into gear and served me breakfast. And fucking brilliant. Cheerio’s. Again. Little hint – why don’t you start a rota so I’m not getting the same old shit day in, day out, otherwise it’s going to get thrown on the floor! I’m sorry Mum but I have to take the hard line now and again just so you know your boundaries. I don’t want to, but it’s for your own good.

Moving onto snacks – when you ask if I want a snack I’m thinking a Flapjack, or some Pom Bears or at the very least a twix. A snack isn’t grapes or blueberries or those shitty sugar-free wafer biscuits. Sort it out.

And on the topic of food & drink, I can see what you’re up to with your titty’s. If I pull them out I expect to have ’em there and then. Don’t fob me off with water, or worse that bloody awful soya milk in a cup. Breast is best. Surely you bloody know that woman?!? I’ll tell you when I’m ready to quit so you just carry on lobbing them out at my request.

Objective 2 – Transport:

To ferry me about to fun places in comfort and ideally luxury, at my own pace.

Grade ‘Standard’ (Just about acceptable)

So now I’m walking I don’t want to be carried anywhere. I expect you to get me ready early enough so I can potter along at my own pace. Also I hate the pushchair. For fucks sake I’m 14 months now, not 14 weeks. I will scream until I vomit should you pick me up or put me in the pushchair if I’m not up for it. Be warned.

Objective 3 – Personal Care: 

To keep me clean and dry looking flyyyyy and smelling delicious at all times

Let’s talk nappy changes. I really, really don’t like them. You know this.  I’ve been trying to drop hints for months now by screaming, thrashing, rolling about and kicking my own shit but you still keep doing it?!? I really think if you could find a way of changing my nappy while I’m still playing and moving about it would suit me much, much better?  Great stuff 👍🏻.

Other areas for discussion:

So that’s actually it for now.  I’m not an unreasonable baby and I know you work hard. But let’s be honest. I’m really small, don’t ask for much and it shouldn’t be as difficult as you make out a lot of the time.

Lets review progress in a week or so and see how you’re coming on. Keep your chin up. You’re doing very well and remember – I do love you.

(And finally please can you stop calling me ‘baby-cakes’ and ‘Mummy’s little soldier’. It’s really unprofessional and my mates take the piss something chronic)

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The Mum Games

The competition of motherhood begins when pregnant…..an unexpected and unwanted element to early pregnancy. 

You announce you’re pregnant and everyone asks how you’re feeling. Your answer of course is “crap, tired, sick & huge”.  And to yourself, you *are* the most crap, tired, sick & huge you’ve ever been. But more often than not you won’t hear “oh you poor love” you’ll hear “I/my sister/best friend had morning sickness 24 hours a day/was so tired they tested for narcolepsy/was so huge she needed maternity wear from 6 weeks etc etc”

You’ll discuss how gigantic you are at every opportunity only to find that no matter how big you get Sarah from Marketing will tell you how much bigger she was and no matter how duck-esque your waddle, you’ll be ‘walking like a catwalk model’ compared with Julie from HR when she was pregnant. 

Your horrific labour (that will remain the most traumatic experience of your life) will always be out-laboured by everyone you tell and everyone’s newborn will be the most frequent feeder ever known.  Those early days are pretty rough without the constant competition about the size of your baby and the rapidity of their growth. A bigger baby is the ultimate badge of honour as you exclaim “She’s huge! She never stops eating” and your friend tells you her baby was the size of a Shetland Pony at your baby’s age. 

Breast vs boob – who can hold out the longest without giving formula? Whose nipples bled the most? Whose milk squirted the farthest?  How many tubes of Lanisoh did you get through? 

The ultimate competition of course is sleep. You will fall into one of two categories – good sleepers or bad sleepers and you will compete to be the best / worst in the respective categories.

Sleep isn’t always a solo game – teams can be formed. Teams of the non-sleep category will stick together and defend the honour of their poor sleep-deprived peers whilst teams of the sleep-through brigade join forces.

It does settle down a bit once the babies get to toddlers.  I think as we mature as Mums and as our precious babies transform into precocious little shits we seize the opportunity to join forces and complain about them.   We finally realise that it doesn’t matter one jot what age your baby walked/talked/slept through they’re still highly likely to turn into a massive twat as a toddler / threenager.

And lets face it – everyone’s a loser then….

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Kiss and Make-Up

Make-up. It seems to be a bone of contention in Mummy circles. Especially when doing nursery/school runs or attending baby groups. You either do wear it or you don’t. And while nobody particularly cares if you’re of the au-natural ‘don’t’ camp it seems that the ‘do’ crowd can ruffle some feathers & aggravate their au-natural sister’s from another mister.

Personally, I’m of the ‘do’ camp and I wear make-up all the time. I always have done and I always will do. Even in the house with a brand new baby I barely showered or dressed and I spent most of my days crying with one of my breasts hanging out BUT I still always washed my chops and slapped on a little slap because that’s just what I do. (Time wise a brief cover up can take me less than 60 seconds). I’ve worn make up every single day since I was a teenager albeit my application skills (& taste) have moved on from then (Spice girls glitter eye’s & a fake mole were some of my specialities) and to me it’s just part of my life.   If it’s not part of yours then I whole heartedly understand and quite frankly, don’t care (in the nicest possible way).

The reason I wear make-up every day is :   Absolutely not because my children sleep 12 hours a night. Or because my routine is better than anyone else’s. Or because I am more organised. Or because my kids are angels. Or because I’m a better Mum.  Or because I’m trying to impress someone. Or because I want to make anyone feel bad.  Or because I’m insecure.  None of the above.

It is quite simply because to me it is as normal as cleaning my teeth, or having a poo. I do it every day without thought or consideration (And if I’m being totally honest, I feel like I’m missing a limb without it).  And in the words of Topsy and Tim’s simpering Mum ‘that is that’!

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