Reaching Out

Guest Post: His and Only Well Behaved Kids Who Love Getting Their Hair Cut and Will Sit Quietly Like Little Angels

As you all know, i love a good guest post, especially one that’s as funny and truthful as this! If this is right up your street, then why not check out Helena Pugsley’s blog for yourself. 

I usually start with the “keep mentioning it to get them used to the idea” tactic for a few weeks first. Usually met with much resistance. Then I break out the “you can have whatever treat you want” bribery mode. Also usually a total fails and I still end up having to give him treats as I’ve upset him so much with my evil promises of a hair cut that it is the only way to get peace restored.

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How to Idly Amuse Your Kids This Half Term

If like me, it feels like the last holiday was only five minutes ago, and you still haven’t reclaimed your sanity or made enough money to support another week off, don’t fret, I’ve got you.

Stupidly, we aren’t going away for half term, something to do with The Hub unable to get the week off work, even though I’ve been drumming the dates into him since the start of term.

Funnily enough, he “forgot” to book half term off. If I was a more suspicious person, I’d think that he forgot on purpose, so he doesn’t have to enjoy the fun that is a full week off with BOTH of his Spratts. I keep wishfully thinking about “forgetting” half term and buggering off somewhere for the week, but as I work from home, I can’t think of a good enough excuse that would get me out of it!

There’re a number of things I CAN’T wait to experience again this week, one of them is the over zealous screaming match over who had their eyes on the Barbie that’s been left in the bathroom for two weeks untouched, the other is the unending requests for food they want but then won’t eat.

So in preparation for all this “fun”, here are some alternative ideas for activities to whittle away the holiday in no time. Because, come on, while day trips are all well and good, sometimes just knocking around at home wearing your ten-year-old purple dressing gown and bean covered PJs is all you or your sad looking bank balance want to do.

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Collab: F*cking Annoying Gym Types

It’s guest post time, and as normal, the amazing Sam at Mouse, Moo & Me Too has bloody nailed it.

 My complete opposite exercise wise, Sam nails why going to the gym in the dead of night can have you sweating your ass off next to the…errr…more eccentric of society.

 Enjoy!       

Now that I’m the proud careful lady owner of two children who sadly can’t be left unattended in the house, I have to keep rather unsociable hours at the gym. I’m talking your 9pms, your 6ams, the real arsehole time slots that simultaneously bring out the devouts and the weirdos.

Why not join me in a game of Gymbum Bingo, and see how many you recognise? (Er, I cross my heart that all links between names and stereotypes are fictitious, honest guv.)

Mike, the abominator
Mike is built like fucking King Kong, and lords it about the hardcore weights section in one of those 80’s vests that has an armpit opening so vast, his entire torso hangs out the side. Mike is aiming to break the world HGV-pulling record, and gurns his way through the weight increments. When he approaches his one-rep limit, he likes to have a friend on standby to brace him in position just in case he drops something and manages to concuss himself, or bust a hole in the gym floor.

Jasmine, the Victoria’s Secret ambassador
Jasmine is sooooooooo fucking pert and pretty. She doesn’t even need to be in the bastard gym. She goes purely to show off her threads, bedecked as she is in garments from the Pink range at VS, with coordinating nail varnish and trainers. Do you know how much that stuff costs? Even with her NUS discount she’s probably spent a good hundred quid on that ONE look. And her winged eyeliner is perfect, and seemingly smudgeproof. Bitch.

Des, the ripened stilton
Des had a heart attack in 1994 and since then, has adopted a militant regime that has turned his calf muscles to sinewy, veined glory. Des wears a headband and pulls his white socks almost to knee height. Des avoids the weight machines in case they send something into spasm, but he will give the cross-trainer a damn good thrashing for a solid hour. He has orange squash in his water bottle, and carries his towel and spare clothes in a Head holdall. Des holds the door open, we love Des.

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Why Is a Childs Life in Syria Worth Less Then One in The UK?

I’m sure you’ve all heard about it. Last week, 294 MPs, my own included, voted against 3000 Syrian children coming to the UK. These children, minors I would like to add, are currently living in filthy and unsafe camps in Europe and barely have somewhere safe to rest their heads.

Could you imagine suddenly having to leave your home, everything you have ever worked for, grabbing your kids and running for your life with only the clothes on your backs and the belongings you could grab quickly? I couldn’t. I really couldn’t.

I can’t even begin to describe my fear at that very scenario. Where would we go? How would the two kids, only 3 and 1, cope with a death-defying trip across an ocean in a boat not fit for the channel then live in a camp, where disease and crime are rife. I would be devastated to think of my children alone and unable to fend for themselves in a strange country having fled the horrors of war, or worse, ending up in the hands of human traffickers.

On a recent visit to the Calais camp last month, the Guardian captured the bedlam, indecision and squalor experienced by the vulnerable children there – and the lack of any official assistance to help.

Many, and there’s no official number because we just don’t know how many there are, have already been kidnapped, sold, raped or disappeared into the hands of traffickers. These are children and NO MATTER where they are from should count.

Just to chuck a few numbers around; a third of the 420 unaccompanied minors in the Calais camp have gone missing since the French authorities demolished the southern section of the Jungle last month, according to a census by Help Refugees, a grassroots charity. In January, Europol warned 10,000 vulnerable children had vanished after arriving in Europe over the past two years. Germany also reported that almost 6,000 refugee children had been reported missing last year.

Yep, the camps are completely safe for these children…..

I find it darn right bewildering that anyone would think it acceptable that the UK sits by and does nothing to help these kids. There are tens of thousands of unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and we should play our part.

The new amendment proposed in the Lords (the Dubs amendment) is for the government to discuss with local authorities how many child refugees they could accommodate, rather than a fixed 3,000.

When I pitched this article to a friend or two they were completely outraged. Terms like “bursting foster care system”, “Europe could do more” and “it will cost too much money” were all banded about. What? When, as a nation have we ever put a price on a child’s life?

I thought we were for freedom. For democracy. Not this. When did we become a nation of such uncaring, heartless people? Is this why the Arab world hates us? Have we become a greedy power hungry people just out for ourselves? How much longer can we turn our backs on the rest of the world and say “sorry, nothing we can do” before it gets chucked right back in our face? This is our time. Our time to help and support those in a worst situation than ourselves.

And to those still doubting? I just hope, with my hand on my heart, that your kids are never in this position, and would hope that a well off country (as you put it) shows some compassion.

This shouldn’t be about money or politics. It should be about keeping every child safe and ensuring they receive the very best education and safe home life they deserve.

Sarah Brown recently wrote for mumsnet: “As long as this terrible crisis runs on and horribly on – then we have obligations to the children who are here in our continent. Our MPs now have a second chance to help these vulnerable children and we should help them to take it.”

So please, after you’ve picked your kids up from the school run, cooked them a nice warm meal and tucked them in for the night, sign this petition and ask your MP to support the latest amendment.

Please.

#CouldBeMyKids

#3000children

A Letter to my Parallel Self From a Less Judgemental Me

Dear thirty-something parallel me,

I hope you’re well.

I’m sure you’re enjoying your stressful day at the office, ordering staff around and demanding impossible things and loving every second of it.

See, that’s so you. Even back at sixteen when we first laid eyes on The Hub, you were challenging every rule and going against the grain. I wonder what would have happened if, unlike me, you decided to continue walking out that canteen door when he told us off-handily that he thought we were hot.

I’m sure you would have played it out many times in your head like I did. You wouldn’t have found it awkward at all. Far from it, you would have relished the attention back then.

I’m sure you would have still gone to college and studied Travel and Tourism, and like me, swapped after three days because the girls in the group reminded you of school and you couldn’t hack that all over again. Media Writing and Film was definitely more our thing, and the class was ace.

University would have still been on the cards. You probably had a great time. You certainly would have had a load more hangovers, properly a few one night stands and nursed a broken heart once or twice, because that’s just you.

You certainly wouldn’t have fallen out with your housemates near the end like I did. You loved changing your personality to suit other people and would have done anything and everything to stay popular.

Saying that, you wouldn’t have been whisked off to New York by The Hub. You wouldn’t have experienced that utter shock and pure joy when he went down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. And there is NO way on this planet you would have sat and twisted your hand all night just to see the ring sparkle in the restaurant’s light.

I know for a fact that this would have damn right horrified you. Agreeing to marry a man at twenty-one? Forget it, sister, you have your whole life ahead of you right? You would have smiled politely and said “umm, I don’t believe in marriage, remember?” and try and crack a funny joke to ease his discomfort.

You had dreams, and high ones too. After Uni, you wanted to go to London or New York film school. You hadn’t quite decided but after three years studying for your Creative Writing degree, you knew that this is what you wanted to do more than anything.

Did you reach your goal? I’m sure you did. I still haven’t come across a more motivated yet short-sighted person than you.

God, sometimes I envy you. The days, like today, when every sound that comes out of The Baby’s mouth just grates me and I wince, knowing that’s not how I should feel. How I can feel the tears hovering when The Kid screams “mum” for the hundredth time, when all I really want is to piss in peace.

Last night I wished I was you. For the first time since The Baby was born, I wished my life was different. This would never have happened to you. You didn’t believe in mistakes, in depression or in wallowing in your own self-pity. You believed people made their own luck and depression and guilt was something to forget, that you could just take another pill for.

I miss your easy going attitude, your ability to talk to everyone and your interchangeable personality depending on who you were with. You would have never let sleep deprivation get you down. Hell, you thrived on working ten-hour shifts six days a week and loved nothing better than drinking your money away. You’d be appalled to learn that even sniffing alcohol now days gives me a headache. My last glass was on Easter Sunday and boy did it knock me for six! I know, I know. What happened to that girl who would drink a bottle of wine after a shit day at work then party till 1am with her friends, and still get up, perfectly fine for work at 5.30am? Let me tell you now, she’s gone, kaput.

I sometimes think about what you would say if you saw me now. Would you laugh at my puke-stained clothes or my greasy hair? Would you tell me that I should MAKE time for myself as nothing is more important then making sure your face is made up and your hair is straight?

I know for a fact you would comment on my kid’s behaviour, especially in a restaurant. Dad was a stickler for making sure we sat on our arses during a meal and I know you used to agree. “There’s nothing more annoying then screaming brats running around while you eat” you used to say. And I agree, but my goodness my kids are like the possessed when the clock strikes 4pm. Regardless of where we are, they seem to think mealtimes are for running, throwing and blowing bubbles in their food. I bet you would be one of those snotty nosed people who asked me to control my kids and keep it down.

You always had black and white views, I just couldn’t see it. Now, since having the babies I realised how condescending you were. You had views on everything, and if people didn’t agree with you then be damned because you were always right regardless of the topic at hand.

Breastfeeding was gross to you. Who the hell would want to get their tits out in public? Marriage, screw that. You watched your mum and dad get hitched so many times that marriage is a complete joke to you. Money? You could always make more and forward thinking was never your strong point. You always spoke before thinking, fuck how it would make everyone else feel and generally were like a bull in a china shop.

Do I wish I was you?

Today yes. Today I can’t shake that black dog that keeps following me around. Always sniffing at my heels and plaguing me with doubt.

Tomorrow?

No. I love my kids, and however much I bitch about being tired or complain I have no free time, I wouldn’t swap them for the world or more.

I love being woken up at the crack of dawn by The Kid. Her snuggly warm body fitting perfectly into mine as she whispers every morning in my ear “I love you.” I just melt. I swear and scream at The Hub in the middle of the night when The Baby has me up again and it’s not even midnight, but I declare to anyone reading this, that I would much prefer to sleep on her floor then do controlled crying like I have been told to do.

Parallel me, you are missing out on so much. Yes, my house is a complete state 99.9% of the time, and without my mother in law I would have gone stir crazy by now but it’s so worth it, I swear.

Don’t let my big black dog or my BO put you off having kids. I know we didn’t have the most traditional childhood, but who does nowadays and I wouldn’t change it. It made you into the strong independent yet boneheaded person you are now and turned me into the caring guilt-ridden mum I knew I would always be.

I know you think staying at home with the kids is an easy job. Any bum could do it. I wish you could see me now and I’m sure you’d eat that comment straight back up. Let me tell you now how fucking hard it is and how you get no time for yourself. I’m sure you are not having an easy time of it either. You’re very competitive and don’t make things easy for yourself. Saying that, I’m sure you’re either a famous film director or a hot shot author with five best-sellers under your belt.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’m happy for you, I really am, but that life just isn’t for me anymore.

Kids parties, play dates and slouching in front of the sofa is more me. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes right now but nothing pleases me more than a night in with The Hub, eating cake while watching The West Wing.

If you have a chance, have kids. Get married. Buy a house and stop working so much. Enjoy life and live for someone else for a change. There really is nothing more amazing then tucking your kids in at night or rocking your baby to sleep then watching as they dream with a huge smile on their face.

Anyway, I must dash. The Kid has decided to ride The Baby like a pony again and I’m pretty sure I smell dinner burning. The Hub is at work and sends his regards but says that he doesn’t miss your snotty attitude or your crap taste in music.

Much Love

Your Other Self

#MatriarchFindingHerWay

#NotTheSameWomanInThePicture

#TheUnsungMum

Gender Stereotypes Be Damned. Let Kids Be Kids I Say!

I don’t know if anyone has seen the post by Shona Campbell, an amazing woman outraged by a fellow mum who laughed at her sons socks, just because they had red hearts on.

This struck a real cord with me. I hate gender stereotypes with a real passion.

In my book, why can’t kids just be kids? Why should there be a boy/girl divide?

Until I had the girls, this didn’t even cross my mind. One of three sisters, we played with everything, from our bucket full of cars to our Barbies and dinosaurs. We were never made to feel weird about it and always thought it was the norm. Then senior school happened and it all changed. We were called tomboys for liking cars, made fun of for climbing trees and damn right bullied for hanging out with the boys instead of the make-up clad girls.

So when I had The Kid, I was really adamant that we would keep things neutral, which of course went out the door within ten minutes of her being born. The Hub shrugged, “she’s a girl. what do you expect?” Umm, more than just pink clothes to be honest. From there it only got worse. She was the first grandchild so was, of course, showered with gifts. We received everything, from pink fairy books to pink bottles and dresses. So you can imagine the reception I got from my dad of all people when I turned up frazzled from another shit night sleep to his reply of “oh, you put her in jeans.”

What the fuck?

Of course, it only got worse as she got older. She would pick out her favourite colour, pink annoyingly, and say it was because she was a girl. What? I went mad. “Boys can like pink too,” I told her sternly, to only find out that The Hub had told her he liked blue because he was a boy……

So then the dreaded pre-school party season started and it seemed to get worse. Different party bags were given out depending on gender and, of course, a meltdown ensued when one of the boys wanted the same bag as his sister. His mum seemed to whisk him away quickly, muttering under her breath that his sister had a pink party bag because she was a girl and he had a blue one because he was boy. Fine. Each to their own.

It didn’t really click until The Kid was given a party bag after a rather crazy weekend, and was told kindly she surely didn’t want a blue glow stick as she was a little girl and little girls like pink. I was seething, but let it go after a stern look from The Hub. She of course swapped, and didn’t say anything about it, but it got me going, and, of course, made me notice gender stereotypes more. They are everywhere and it pisses me off!

Surely kids regardless of gender should be free to embrace what interests them – be it mud, diggers and cars for girls, or fashion, dolls and make-up for boys. Why does it matter?

Why do we still teach our kids that certain colours, toys and behaviour are the right things for girls/boys? If The Kid or The Babe wanted to dress as Spiderman or continue their obsession with Paw Patrol, I would be over the moon. I would support them if they wanted to be footballers, accountants, bricklayers, scientists or firefighters.

I believe in bringing the kids up to understand that they can be anything and achieve everything. I want them to be able to figure out who they want to be, not who the rest of the world wants them to be.

So blow all the pink dresses that were bought for The Babe, and see you later to all the Barbies and princess gowns The Kid was given at Christmas. My kids will play with whatever they like, regardless of what our closed minded society says!

#FuckGenderStereotypes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding vs Formula Shouldn’t Even be a Debate

I’m bracing myself for a kicking here, but how we feed our babies seems to always turn into a particularly nasty kind of mud-slinging.

Why?

When I had The Kid, she took to the breast like a fucking pro. At an hour old, she crocodiled up and suckled my tits, much to my absolute disgust. It was a breeze, so I went along with it while I could, while it was easy. Then it became hard. My boobs started bleeding, they looked like massive rocks and hurt like fuck. I hated it.

Then the second one came along, and I found out not all babies suck well. She was lazy, couldn’t be bothered to feed and wasn’t interested at all. I was pissed off, frustrated and lost. How the fuck was I going to feed my baby?

So I expressed, and let me tell you now what a fucking joke that was. With an almost two-year-old yanking the wire and the baby screaming at the top of her lungs, I almost killed the Hub when he mildly mentioned that twenty mils wasn’t going to be enough.

And don’t get me started on when your father in law just ‘pops in for a chat’ mid pump. Like I don’t feel like a fucking milk cow already.

Let’s just say I breastfed the baby for as long as I could and she self weaned at 11 months. Properly because I was slipping her a bottle of formula and an extra slice of toast.

Did it effect my bond with the baby?

Course not.

If anything I think I loved her a tiny bit more. I got to chill. I got to leave her with the family more, got more sleep and generally became a better me.

Are bottle feeding mums failures? Sure, if breastfeeding mothers are too.

How you feed your baby doesn’t matter. Shouldn’t matter. Matriarchs don’t fail. They change their mind, then change it back again, they pump all night for little reward, full asleep against the sterilizer and some have their own god dam choices taken away. But are they failures? No, and NO ONE should be made to feel that way.

So let’s make a pact here and now. Let’s stop the Us vs Them, let’s stop the bitching and the finger pointing and just say this:

Do you feed your baby?

Yes?

Then you’re fucking fantastic in my book!

#AllForOne

#MatriarchsRock

You’re NO Crap Mum, So Stop That Guilt

Unsung Mums guess what? We all feel guilt about being crap parents, but we really shouldn’t. Honest.

My toddler generally spends the first three hours of her awake time in the same old nappy she slept in.  I’ve had four hours sleep all night and can’t be fucked with the tantrum i know will come.  Doesn’t make me crap.

It’s Frosties for breakfast again as it’s the only thing my kid will eat right now without a major meltdown. Nope, still not crap.

The baby has dried Weetabix in her hair and the kid refuses to have hers brushed, making her look like a child delinquent and causes my mother in law to scowl and tut intravenously.  No crap here.

I swear in the car daily because some twat cut me up again, said no to singing Let It Go for the tenth time this journey and gave both kids snacks in the car, knowing full well they’re meant to have lunch with my parents in half hour. Doesn’t make me crap.

While the baby is throwing food and the kid keeps shouting “this is pregusting” every five seconds to a much put out family member, i wish for thirty seconds that i made the Hub use a condom that night and listened to Dad about why having two kids so close together was a shit idea. Still not crap.

Even though I’ve served fish fingers, waffles and beans for dinner for the third night in a row because i’m so fed up with cooking just so the floor can enjoy it.  Definately doesn’t make me crap.

Yes, I’ve forgotten the cakes i said I’d bake for the Pre-school summer fair. The extra book a night I promised the kid  gets left again coz I’m just too tired. Toddler groups get missed, playtime slashed in half and TV time upped because today life is just that extra bit too hard. I’m still not crap.

Mums are fucking heroes in my book. The matriarch of the family. The glue.

Because one thing is for sure Unsung Mums. Crap mums feel fuck all guilt!

Fact!

#TwofingersUpToGuilt