Winging it: the truth about parenting

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Parenting

But you’re a woman….and a mother.

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This is true I am a woman and I am a mother. I’ve had this condition for quite a while now. I’ve been a woman for nearly 44 years and a mother for nearly 2. I’ve been to the doctors and there is nothing that can be done. I’ve described all the symptoms of being a woman and a mother and I definitely have it. I even googled my symptoms and it came up with the same diagnosis as the doctor, woman and mother. I’ve spoken to other woman and also mothers and they appear to exhibit similar symptoms. While speaking with the doctor I explained that I cleaned, laundry, ironed, cook, shopped for groceries, raised a child, had a social life, wrote a blog, co-hosted a podcast, volunteer weekly, study for a masters and keep a relationship with my partner, but struggled to get work. The doctor explained that this is a common amongst woman with children. The official name for my diagnosis is multi-tasking. My name is Lorraine, I am a woman, mother and have multi-tasking, there I said it. What makes my condition worse is I do all this on evenings and weekends as my child likes constant attention all day. My multi-tasking is out of control and taking over my life.

 

As the session with the doctor continued I explained that my partner had no trouble getting work. I think I figured out what the actual issue is. He does not have multi-tasking. As I get discriminated against for my disease I begin to discuss symptoms my partner has displayed, symptoms also described by many other woman and mothers. My partner does not clean unless asked and monitored, he is unable to finish a cleaning task without getting distracted therefore the task is not completed. Despite the fact our child has been around for nearly 2 years he has yet to figure out that every nappy needs to be put in to a bin when used, not left lying around. He also does not cook, does not shop unless asked and given a specific list, he stays in and games which doesn’t involve any organising.

So as a woman and a mother I will continue to try and find a cure for my condition, a cure that would make me more like a man.  A cure would change woman kind, a change that would enable mothers to get back in to work. A world where nothing gets done in the house, the cupboards are bare, the masters is failed and the podcast goes unrecorded. Once I achieve all this, then and maybe then I will be able to prove to the workforce that I no longer have multi-tasking and secure myself a job.

The Second Baby, or Not.

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As a mother of one I felt once I had my one child the never-ending baby questions would end. I’ve had a child, I’m now one of the ‘normal’ ones right. That’s how it works yeah, you have a kid and you are now an acceptable female, I even have a partner I’m practically perfect. A woman of my age should have all that shouldn’t she, I mean if she doesn’t then what is the point. This is what we are led to believe right! I think people fail to realise that some females don’t actually want kids, they really don’t.  As someone who had a child very late in life, 42, I was constantly asked when I was going to have a child. It was never by anyone that really knew me, most of them never saw me as someone who wanted a child as I never and I mean never expressed an interest. If anything I never understood why you’d have a child, just wasn’t me, not a maternal bone in my body. When I did get pregnant there was quite a few shocked people, but alas I had my little girl and very happy I did.

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So now I am one of these acceptable ‘normal’ women with a child the questions about having a child stop now, don’t they? Ya that is a big fat no! I’m now on to the ‘when are you having your next one’. Seriously what is the obsession with making sure people have kids and lots of them?  As I had a child I presumed it would end all lines of communication as to when I was going to have a child, now the second. It would also end the sympathetic head tilt as the look of pity is plastered all over people’s faces as I explained my reasons for not wanting another. This look I got for years when I never had one, it’s like people think you are lying about not wanting one or another.  Now it is the endless question of when will you be having a second child? I mean seriously, for fuck sake I had one can’t you just leave me be. I do not what a second child and nor does my partner so why the constant need to talk about it. Why is there a constant need to make people feel like there is something wrong because you don’t have a child or have not thought about a second? I’d like to point out, I don’t mind if people ask, this is more for the people who don’t accept my answer. After having a child it is perfectly normal to ask if you are considering another, this is just about when you say no and you get a certain response. This tends to be from people who don’t know me that well.

I could list a number of reasons as to why I don’t have a second child, but I’ll just list one. It really is quite simple. I simply do not want one. Am I selfish for not having a second child, or am I smart not having a child I do not want. Am I selfish for not giving my child siblings to play with, do all siblings get along. Am I selfish for not having a second child as apparently according to some, children without siblings have trouble socializing with other children. Let’s just put all these generalisations to bed. Children with siblings can be socially awkward as can children without.  Children with siblings can be extremely selfish and not able to share, children without siblings can be extremely selfish and not able to share. So you get the point. We are not having a second child, we do not want a second child. If you have more than one child or want a second child, that is perfectly fine, just not for me.  I know this post feels like a bit of a rant and I guess it is I’m just a bit tired of explaining myself. Anyway let’s be perfectly honest, can you imagine two of Riley. I’ll just stick with the one.

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Sometimes Your Kids an Asshole

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OK so I know you are not supposed to call your kid an asshole, but let’s face it, who are we kidding, sometimes your kid is just an asshole. Having had no experience with children before my beautiful, lovely, little girl was born I thought the annoyance from your child would be screaming the house down in the middle of the night. While the middle of the night screams are not welcomed, they don’t actually bother me that much. When your child wakes up in the night it is comfort they need, maybe they are hungry, maybe they had a bad dream, either way comfort is what they get. When your child falls and hurts themselves, again comfort is what they get. Then your child becomes and toddler and they turn in to a bit of an asshole. I don’t know if most parents actually go through this, we certainly do.  I’ve met a few kids over the years and just kinda thought they were a bit of an asshole, of course this information was always kept from the parents.  So how is your child a bit of an asshole? Here are five reasons how my own child acts like a bit of an asshole.

 

  • Crayons – My child likes to colour, so I got a colouring book, crayons, colouring pencils and thought we would have some colouring in time together. On occasion and yes my own fault I may leave her alone with the crayons, on the wall the drawing starts. When I take them from her and she has a nervous breakdown, but don’t draw on the walls. Now, you may think, she’s a toddler, she doesn’t know what she is doing. I call bullshit, she now waits for me to come back in the room, looks at me, smiles, then laughs and then draws on the wall. If that isn’t being an asshole, then what is?

 

  • Food on the floor – why does your child throw food on the floor??? I’m not talking about it falls as they eat, I’m talking about them looking at you dead in the eye and throwing the food on the floor with a sinister grin. Damien is alive and well in Riley at times. The kid knows she isn’t supposed to do it, people say they are just children and they don’t know any different. Bullshit! The look says it all, she knows exactly what she is doing.

 

  • The Poor Dog – We have a collie dog Richard, he is so old. One thing I wanted for my child is for her to love animals and not be afraid of them, lucky me she loves them. So what is the issue…she doesn’t leave the poor thing alone. She pulls his hair, she swings around on his tail and to be fair he was handling it quite well. Unfortunately this is no longer the case so she is separated from him every day as the snapping has started. She’s being an asshole towards him and when she’s swinging on his tail and I tell her off, the little shit laughs, she just laughs and carries on.

 

  • When she wants something she can’t have – We all want our own way and we all might have a wee sulk if we don’t get it, but do we have the mother of all meltdowns when we don’t get it?? Well some might. My kid is such an asshole if she doesn’t get her own way, she goes absolutely insane. An example, the handle on the window. The handle on the window is too high for her so you have to lift her to it. Now how did she figure out she wanted to hold the handle, her parents were being nice and that shit just backfired in their faces. We lift her to say goodbye to people out the window and there it was, just sitting there waiting to be grabbed. She grabs the handle while you are holding her, eventually you are going to have to put her down, so down she goes, enter Chucky. My child has the mother of all tantrums, she cries until she can barely breathe. I do try to calm her down, I know nothing but standing by that window, holding her all day will sort her out. That’s not going to happen. Eventually she calms down after she has emptied her head of snot, lovely, and then she wants the comfort. So when she has calmed down and stopped acting like a complete and utter asshole, she then lets me, that’s right, lets me……..hug her.

 

  • Pulls your hair – She thinks it’s bloody hilarious, would she think so if I did it to her. My lovely demon child likes to come up behind you hand get a good grip and pull the hell out of your hair. She comes up behind you and starts with a hug, it’s so nice and you think of how sweet she is giving you a cuddle. No, she’s just luring you into a false sense of security before she rips the roots out of your head and then laughs her head off when you try and release her tight grip from.

 

When you speak to people about how your child is a bit of an asshole (you may not use the actual word) you get a flurry of suggestions. It really is rather annoying, but we all do it, me included. We have tried every approach to stop this behaviour, nothing works, she’s just an asshole sometimes. I’m hoping she grows out of it soon and becomes less of an asshole, until she becomes a teenager and then will probably become an asshole again. At the end of the day she’s my asshole and I love her. People tend to blame the parents when their kid acts like an asshole, this has shown me that sometimes you are powerless towards the wants of your child. Others may disagree, but let me tell you, I have seen plenty of kids act like complete assholes who have great parents.

The moments when she’s not being an asshole.

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The Forgetful Man

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I find myself constantly feeling confused by the actions of my partner. Now as I have recently stated, he is a great guy, great dad, but there are parts of his way of thinking I just do not understand. I know from talking to other females they have similar issues with just every day common sense. It seems to be foreign to some men that life could be so much easier if they just on occasion engaged their brain, say the way they would over football or gaming. Ask a man anything about his passion and he would remember the tiniest detail. Ask your man to put the dirty laundry in the laundry bin rather than on top and this turns into a constant battling of reminders on a daily basis, selective memory. At the beginning I thought my partner was just acting dumb, using the common phrase….it’s just what guys are like…if I hear that phrase again I will scream.

Let me give you an example of a conversation I had with my partner that left me speechless, he was dead serious. I basically do everything around the house, cook, clean, laundry, make him breakfast in bed, a packed lunch for work and dinner in the evening. Now I can imagine some women screaming at their screens as if I’m some sort of lunatic, I actually don’t mind. It was my idea to do breakfast in bed, not to be the oh so loving fiancé, no, it makes my life easier to do the things I do. It moves my day along smoother. To be fair if I ask him he will do it, but I do have to sometimes re-do it. So back to the conversation that for the first time actually shut me up, shut me up good. After the constant reminders and notes asking my partner to do the same thing over and over he finally cracked…don’t keep reminding me, I can do it on my own…OK that is fine, it may come as a huge shock to you but I don’t actually enjoy repeating myself every time something needs done. I stopped, this is great I thought. So one day my partner had something important to do, I never reminded him, I never said a word, I am under strict instructions not to remind him of anything, so I kept it shut. As the day passed and I never even gave it a second thought about his plans, he came to me in a panic because he’d forgotten to do it.

Dev:  ‘why didn’t you remind me?’

Me:  ‘you told me I wasn’t allowed, so I didn’t’,

He replied something so insane that I was catching flies in my mouth it was that wide open’

Dev: ‘I know you are not to remind me of things, but you are supposed to know what I wouldn’t remember to do and remind me’.

So I let it sink in for a bit what he had said, I looked at him

Me: ‘so I am supposed to predict what you will forget and remind you’,

Dev: ‘yes’!

So I looked at him for awhile waiting for that light bulb moment, it came eventually when he realised what he said. Needless to say I am back to reminding him. Now saying all this, one thing I am glad about is this is how serious our arguments get. In the big scheme of things we have it pretty good. I just thought it was a funny sorry of how my man baffles me, constantly, on a daily basis, I just look at him confused about what goes on in his end. Who am I kidding? I know exactly what goes on in his head, gaming. I am a gaming widow, but that is for another day. For now and probably forever he will just continue to be my lovely forgetful man.

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10 Things I said I’d Never Do as a Parent

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I recently had a conversation about what I was and wasn’t going to do with my child before she came in to this world. I pretty much went against everything I said I wasn’t going to do. When pregnant I sat for many a day planning what kind of mother I’d be, I’d almost say I was slightly arrogant about how I was going to be. I was one of those really stupid people who would say certain things to actual parents that now make me cringe. I mean how much of a dick must you be when you have absolutely no experience with children, when I say none I mean none and yet I bloody knew it all. As I said the things I would never do, I actually believed it, parents would laugh, and I would think I’ll show you. What did I show them, feck all, all I showed them was what a moron I was. I’m sure as time goes by future parents will say the same to me and I’ll laugh inside and maybe sometimes on the outside. So here is a list of the things I said I’d never do.

 

Peppa Pig

This was a major one, Peppa Pig, Peppa f&*king Pig, what a little bitch she turned out to be. I remember having many conversations about how my child would never watch Peppa Pig. I had a conversation with a few people about it but the one I remember was with an old boss, he explained that I will let her watch it as I crave a minutes peace. As time progressed and she was getting a bit rowdy, I remembered what people had told me about Peppa Pig, you’ll get some peace they said, you’ll be able to get things done they said. I thought about it and then said one episode wouldn’t hurt. Well fast forward to a year later and she bloody loves that pig.

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The Dummy

I was not going to use a dummy and the first sign of wailing and I stuck a dummy in her mouth. Some people don’t use a dummy and then there are the ones who don’t use a dummy, you know the ones, the ones that look at you like you in such a disapproving manner. The worst thing is you find yourself trying to justify to some over judgemental biatch why you use a dummy. Lucky for me when Riley was one we cut her off cold turkey and she didn’t flinch, so I collected up all the dummies and binned them, or so I thought. About 2 weeks later she spotted one under the bed, full of dust and dirt and in the mouth it went, I just took her off her and she went about her day. So about the dummy, use the dummy, don’t use the dummy, do what ya gotta do.

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Food

When it came to food I was going to make all things fresh and no processed foods. Bahahahahaha. I’m confused as to why I believed my child would just sit and eat all this amazing fresh food I was going to make, I mean I was a complete and utter nightmare as a child. The fish fingers, chicken fingers and pre-made meals have been purchased on more than fifty occasions. She doesn’t really have too much in the ways of chocolate though. When mentioning to a mother that I have let her have chocolate I was met with disgust, this made me chuckle. The fact I can actually remember how much chocolate she has actually had in her life, I think she’ll be fine. Now she is just so fussy, I give her what I know she’ll eat and put little extras on in hope she’ll eat them.

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Let her cry

Yes I was not going to bow to her every tear. When looking at a little baby, your baby and they are upset, how can you leave them. I did bow to every tear for a certain amount of time. I just couldn’t leave her when she cried, I was there to keep her happy and if that meant cuddling her when she cried then that was what I was going to do. These days it is a little bit different. When she starts and I know she is just pissed off because she wants her own way I just leave her to it. When she is hurt or sleepy and upset and just needs some comfort, I am all over that.

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Let her sleep in my bed

Riley pretty much ends up in my bed every night, if she wakes during the night I am too tired to try anything but pick her up, I bring her to my bed and pray she goes back to sleep.  It’s not as bad as it once was, but I probably share a bed with my partner twice a month and that never even lasts the whole night. When Riley wakes up, one of us goes in to the spare room. I’ll be honest, it’s nice having her in bed with me when she sleeps, I love waking up and seeing her lovely face. Buuuuuut, when she gets in the bed and flops around like a walrus, kicking you in the head and pushing you out of the bed, I may not enjoy seeing her face as much.

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Snacks as a way of keeping her quiet

Yes I am so guilty of this, in a supermarket and she is screaming the place down, give her a snack. Meet a friend in town for a coffee, she wants to run around, give her a snack.  You are at home and just want 5 minutes for a coffee, give her a snack. You want to wash up, give her a snack and put on Peppa Pig, double whammy.

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Post endless pictures of my child

You know what this one I said I wouldn’t do, but I do and you know what, I don’t care. When I hear people moan about what others put on their social media pages I feel like yelling at them ‘stop following them then’. I have on occasion informed them this is an option. If people don’t like what I put up, unfollow me, it really is that easy, honestly it is just a one click away….click…done. I have unfollowed people on facebook, do they know, no, well apart from my mum, sorry mum lol. So I will continue to post pictures of my beautiful girl, some love it.

 

Go multiple days without showering

Yes I have done this, I have gone 4 days without showering and I may not have changed my clothes either. I actually have no shame in this one, when the tiredness takes over it is just way too much effort. Anyway what are hair ties for? On the plus side when you do have that shower it is amazing, you feel extra clean.

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Call my partner daddy

Well this actually is a joint effort with another thing I said I’d never to. We now refer to each other on occasion as Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig from that wonderful children’s programme, Peppa Pig. My partner even went as far to use these names in a birthday card.  I just worry I’ll start calling him daddy pig when Riley isn’t even in the room.

 

Change my birth plan

Well this one is my favourite, I was basically going to walk in and cough and out she pop. I would flick back my hair and look amazing. The main thing I swore was not to have an epidural. Labour started on the Saturday, I was in hospital on Monday and by Thursday I was begging for an epidural. Everything I thought about birth was the complete opposite. You have no control over it and basically you would sell your soul to the devil for drugs.

 

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In a nutshell cut yourself some slack if you aren’t the perfect parent you planned to be. At the end of the day as long as your kids are fed, clothed and happy then who cares if they watch Peppa Pig while sucking on a dummy. Most people are doing a great job despite doing all those things they swore they’d never do.

 

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My Little Girl

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Lately as my blogs have shown time with Riley has been challenging, therefore I am constantly finding myself focusing on how hard, bad, frustrating and exhausting it is to have her. I realised I needed to change this mindset, lucky for me Riley made that easy. Riley did something the other day that made me realise how amazing she is and how I was beginning to forget that and just focus on the negative.  I try and see the positive in most things so why wasn’t I with my own child.

So what was it that she did that made me have this amazing revelation? It was simply a kiss. My partner Dev was sat down and Riley randomly came up and gave him a kiss, she had never done this before. It was amazing and made him so happy, something so little just completely changed the way I had been thinking and brought me back to how amazing she is and I was missing it by focusing on the bad. Now don’t get me wrong, like most parents I am sure you have these amazing moments and also continue to have the moments of despair, but I think we as parents need these moments to bring us back. That evening Riley was getting ready to go to bed, her dad was holding her and I went up to give her a kiss, as I always do, this time I asked her for one and she gave me one, it was amazing. As my heart was melting I actually jumped up and down at this amazing moment, my little girl had given me her first kiss, and she actually ended up giving me three kisses. This moment led me on to other things she does that are just so amazing. She’s growing so fast and learning so quickly, you name an animal and she makes the noise, she screeches with excitement when her favourite nursery rhyme comes on, I’m expecting her one day to actually shout ‘tuuuune’ when the wheels on the bus plays. She gives us hugs, she laughs, she plays and she runs so fast she almost flies. She does this cute thing, when you try to get her ready in the morning she runs ahead in to her room, lays on her front waiting to be tickled, she giggles why she waits, the anticipation is too much for her, it is so cute.

Why my little girl drives me nuts I also love her more than anything. Like most parents believe, your child is more important than any man or woman could ever be. You partner becomes your second love. Riley will always be my priority, my number one and my real love. Dev fells the same, I’m good with that. I said to Dev, do we show her too much affection, nah, our child is going to have to accept she will be smothered in kisses and hugs and accept she will live a life of embarrassment from her parents.

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The Romantic Baby Free Evening Can Mean Only One Thing

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It’s here, the night has finally arrived, baby free romantic evening. So the great thing is my brother Emmett and his girlfriend Lucy every so generously offered to have Riley for the night. After not sleeping for what seemed like an eternity, we both jumped at the offer. Emmett has made it very clear that while he is happy to have Riley he will not be changing any nappies or dealing with the sleeping issues that may arise. He has generously passed those duties on to Lucy. I must admit, I was happy about this, I’d rather her be in charge. So we took Riley over safe in the knowledge that Lucy will be responsible for her welfare. As we drop her off and get ready to give a few notes and tips of how the night will go I am met with a question from Lucy, ‘how do you change a nappy, I’ve never done one before’, Emmett  won’t change one and Lucy never has. I must admit, my instant reaction was, uuuummmmmm, should I leave her here??? Uh hell ya, as long as I get her back in one piece I am not giving up my night of sleep, I don’t care that she has never changed a nappy and Emmett won’t change one. Luckily I got a text saying a successful nappy change had happened. Anyway, so off we popped, worried Riley would have a meltdown once we tried to go, she never even noticed, charming. Great, so the romantic baby free night can begin.

So as we head home, how would this evening go? Let me fill you in. First as a way of teasing each other we had a cup of tea while watching The Graham Norton Show, I even had 2 (light) digestives while Dev ate crisps, it doesn’t end there. After that things really began to heat up, I changed into my sexy pj’s and hoodie with woolly bed socks and watched two documentaries on killer kids while Dev played a car game upstairs, well you gotta have some foreplay, can’t just go straight in to it.

Eventually Dev came back down, hungry, hungry for me maybe, ummm not quite, hungry for nutella on toast. Dev doesn’t just do plain toast, he likes it messy. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any hotter we sat and watched The X Factor, me the whole show and Dev for 20 minutes. He rarely lasts twenty minutes so I felt quite the lucky lady. So as Dev left without even spending a minute to cuddle I opened a very small bottle of wine and started to move on to The Jonathan Ross Show. As family may read this I’ll keep it PG, after Jonathon Ross I may get in to bed and totally 50 Shades of Grey it up, that’s right, I’m gonna put on Netflix, watch some Brooklyn Nine Nine and fall asleep. Just to finish this crazy baby free night off I am going to kick Dev in to the spare room, I get to sleep tonight and aint no one gonna mess that up. Welcome to the life of a toddler free night.

Behind Closed Doors

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Thought I’d start it off with a funny meme before I went in to it.

It is something we can all actually say and mean ‘you never know what goes on behind closed doors’. We can judge, but you never know and maybe when you are giving someone a hard time, it’d be good to remember that. For some the safety of their home is just that, a place of safety, for others it can be a place of fear, a place of despair or a place to be how you really are and no one in the outside world gets to see. I think I sometimes have ‘behind closed doors’ Lorraine and then the show I put on in the real world. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t every day, but a lot more lately. It took me until my last blog to really say how I felt in detail about being a stay at home mum, I don’t like expressing feelings too much. I’ll be honest, my main reason is down to embarrassment (so I’ll write it here for all to see lol) and also how people respond. There is nothing more frustrating when you express something you find difficult and people belittle it. For example, I never get to sleep, the odd few hours here and there, I’m exhausted and tearing my hair out. When this is expressed you may get a response such as ‘well that’s what happens when you have a child’ really is that what happens, are you fucking kidding. I’m like a walking zombie and the most helpful thing you can say is ‘well that’s what happens when you have a child’. Seriously, how more parents haven’t been done for punching someone in the face is beyond me?

So back to ‘behind closed doors’ and do I really what to write this. Well fuck it, it might help one mum or dad know they are not alone and make them feel a bit better. As you know I am a stay at home mum and unfortunately for me it is not something that comes naturally, in fact I can go as far as to say I pretty much can’t stand it some of the time. These thoughts of course bring on the lovely weight of guilt. I think that is what being a mum is, a shit ton of guilt, followed by lack of sleep and constantly looking like you live in a bin. When I worked full time and was a mum, life was a lot easier. Personally that is what I found. It is not that I can’t stand my child, I adore her, I just don’t know what to do with her day in and day out. I don’t and never have had that maternal instinct. When I was pregnant with Riley, people who have known me since my 20s were pretty shocked. When I was younger and didn’t want kids, I really didn’t. When we decided to try, to be honest we were happy either way, we never knew any better with not having any experience with babies. So what goes on behind my closed doors? A lot of tears, a lot of frustration, a lot of panic and a lot of anxiety. My partner works all day so I get to do this in complete privacy. I never had children young and I’m sure that brings its own issue but for the purpose of this I can only discuss what I know. I left home at 17 and pretty much did what I wanted and needed until 42, when Riley was born. Bam!!! Everything just changes and I was not prepared for it. Now it is constant panic and tears over what work I can do, where I can do it and how many hours I can do all while trying to earn enough to pay for childcare and live. This in turn brings on frustration, I am trying to do my masters, plan a wedding, want to buy a house (that’s not going to happen) trying to do a blog which may or may not make money one day, but I need to put in the work to see. As I am seriously sleep deprived and Riley needs attention all day apart from the odd nap, I struggle to do any of this and keep a house because I am just wrecked. This in turn brings on the anxiety, I never really had an issue with that before. So how do I get on behind closed doors, some days fine, some days I feel I need to be committed.

This post may seem like I’m whinging, others have it worse, and I do know that. I am just struggling with the change from all angles. My own partner didn’t really know how bad it was until today, that is how good I am at putting on a show with what I feel. I can be honest, but not with my own feelings. There is a pretty little box for those to hide in. So for all the mums and dads and people in general who are just finding it hard some days, you are not alone. To all those parents or to a person in charge of the care for another and you have those days where you just wish you had a completely different life, you are not alone. I have decided with this blog to be honest from a parenting point of view, it may not go down well with some. If you thrive at parenting with no issues then I commend you, you are a better parent than me, plus I envy you. Also not all my blogs will be sad ones, I promise.

The Lonely Mums Club

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When becoming pregnant I had no idea what that actually meant from a social point of view. I knew I wouldn’t obviously be out drinking and partying, but I never realised how much of an outsider I would actually become. It almost felt like what use are you to people if you can’t go out and drink. Once you have the baby, it gets a lot worse. Enter the lonely mums club. Once having a child I felt extremely isolated, not many came knocking on my door for cups of coffee or to meet my child. All of a sudden it is you and a baby, a baby that you really don’t know how to handle. So as I took care of her, I realise that you don’t actually take care of yourself. The more alone you become, the harder it becomes to actually go and visit places. Leaving the house becomes very difficult. I guess I had no idea how much my life would change when I had a child. I believed, as naive as I was, I would all of a sudden meet other mums and we’d all hang out, have coffee, take it in turns at each other’s houses and watch our children play. That was not quite how it went, the closest I got was watching the Housewives of Beverly Hills, that’s the same right, you have coffee when they do. Oh it gets sadder, I then realised that the closest relationship I had was with my phone, and yes social media became my best friend.  You spend as much time as possible on it and every notification is like a friend saying hello. I lived on facebook, twitter and instagram. I’m sure people probably stopped following me, wouldn’t blame them. I mean how pictures of Riley did they really want to see. For me though it was my saving grace and made me feel a little bit like part of society. I felt sorry for my partner as he was really my main contact with a human. My poor partner would walk through the door after work and I would bombard him with conversation, all he wanted was to not speak after a day of speaking, but he was good about it. While he tried, he is not one for chatting.

The strange thing about this feeling is it is extremely common. I don’t understand why groups of stay at home mums don’t make more of an effort to actually get together. I don’t understand why your friends who don’t have babies or have older children almost find you irrelevant. I don’t understand that when you do go to places like playgroup, you are treated like some kind of leper, not to be accepted until you pass a certain time frame and they decide whether you are worthy or not. It is all bullshit. You go through all this while millions of hormones are racing through you, so you are not the most rational person, which doesn’t help, things get to you more. So to all those people who think they are too busy, but not too busy to meet other friends, make the effort.  If you do know someone who has had a child and you haven’t been quite as present as you once were, pick up the phone, make a date, it would mean the world to them. It could be the difference between them spending the day in tears or not. I myself now live in a different place and glad to say things have now changed and I love it, I see people every week now. While it is great now it took what felt like an eternity to get there. I myself will have to take my own advice and should one of my friends become pregnant, make sure I make an effort. I was probably guilty of it myself once, but now I can say I know better.

 

 

 

The Playgroup Experience

 

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It was a Wednesday, the sky was overcast and there was an eerie feeling in the air as I was about to enter ‘The Playgroup’. The playgroup resembles that of a school yard as you figure out if you are one of the cool kids or not, whether you would be accepted or not. As you walk in the old timers huddle together like a pack of gazelles to figure out the new member. You are met with a hello form the ones designated to speak to you, but the others look on with confusion as they check not only your child out, but also you. I must say the playgroup I am in now is good, they speak to each other, there appears to be no clicks. So how does it work with the ones who have the clicks?

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To me playgroup was going to be a place of like-minded parents all trying to get through the day, the mums would see you were new and welcome you with open arms. They know what it is like to be at home all day and finally find some solace with grown ups, they were all new once. This was not the case at all and I’ve tried out a few. As I walked in to one group it was made very clear that I was an outsider. I hear you are meant to give it time to be accepted in to what can only be described as some weird mummy cult. I considered it, but they were so off, bugger this. As they sat there in their little huddle, cackling over some arts and crafts pretending to be playing with their children, they looked at me, I smiled, and they smiled awkwardly back and looked away. So I thought to myself, try and make an effort.

Snack time came so I thought this would be an opportunity to talk to people. We would all be forced in to the same area, they would have no choice but to acknowledge me. All the while I kept my eye out for any strange drink being handed around, cults do like their kool aid.  Finally a person sat next to me with their child, it just happened to be the only man on the place. Here was my chance, so I spoke to him, his wife then appeared as if she was some sort of sorceress, her feet never touched the ground, and the man didn’t answer, just looked on confused. The wife sat down and spoke, but it was more in the, I am his wife way, not a pleasant greeting. Yes my main goal of going to playgroup is to pick up a man, the only man there. I do like a challenge. So as I realised not to talk to these insane people, I looked around for another cult member to speak to, there were none, they were cackling away in a group, looking down on the table as the children ate. So I gave my child a few snacks and helped a few of the other children, still the cult members just looked down as the spoke to one another.

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The obvious thing to do was to just carry on playing with my child, after all that is why I was there, mainly. So as we played matters were made worse by the fact my child was going through a hair pulling phase, the daggers bore into my head as the other cult members looked on in disgust. I mean you would never catch their child pulling hair. Well they weren’t but that is beside the point. As my child played, she was grabbing the other children by anything she could get her hands on. To her it was a game and she was laughing and giggling, to the mums this was another reason to display their disapproval. The scary thing is that they don’t actually speak, they just stare, and some may approach and remove their child, if this is the case I apologise. This apology is met with an awkward grin that states, you must control your child.  So as I sat on my own watching my child play, I spotted another woman sat alone, I made my move, made the effort. As she was sat with her little boy, I spoke and she was pleasant back, I felt she had not succumbed to the cult status. She went on to tell me how much she loved the group, one thing I noticed was that no one had spoken to her so what was it that she liked. I was confused. She explained that her previous cult group asked her to leave because her child kept getting sick, not hard to find worse than that, only up from there. This cult let her stay so to her that was a win.

So as the morning went on for what felt like a year, I looked at my clock, had about 90 minutes left. Life is too short I thought to myself. As I looked around and realised I was surrounded by a bunch of people that I didn’t actually want to be associated with, I left. I made what I thought was an awkward exit, but nobody actually took any notice as I struggled to get out of the door with my buggy. I swore never to go back again. People say you have to give it time, but to be quite frank people shouldn’t need months to be polite, you either are or you are not. I would never act this way. So I found myself a new group which I like, they spoke to me on the first day and have continued to do so. In a nutshell they are normal people and in no way a cult.

The Granny Visit

 

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So recently it was that time of year when my mother came to visit. The experience of the mother coming to visit once she became a granny is met with joy, as this can only mean one thing for you….freedom!! You know that she is going to want to spend every minute she can with her grandchild. Hallelujah…..I get to pee without an audience. The Granny being here means you basically have most of the week off from certain parental duties. Granted, you still have the lovely pleasure of dealing with the night feeds and tending to the owies, but you get to do amazing things all week, such as have a shower during the day that lasts longer than two minutes, you get to get dressed in one sitting, you get to have a coffee and finish it, you know, the important things in life. When becoming a parent I don’t think you realise how much your life is actually going to change. You have all these ideas of what it was going to be like, what you are going to do on a daily basis…throw that plan out the window, it ain’t gonna happen…if it does happen, fair play to you.

When becoming a parent it makes you realise how much you can do with one hand and with a little person permanently strapped to your waist. You make the dinner, you clean the house and you sit on the loo, yes I now have gone to the toilet with a child sat on my lap, sometimes with a book in hand insisting to be read to. It just seems so normal now, I almost find it weird when no one is there…it’s like being 18 again in a club and you get your mate to come to the loo with ya, to chat. So having the granny over allows you to do all these things with two hands, I sure know how to live the life. While my mother has been over multiple times, I must say, this week also coincided with a few changes in Riley’s behaviour. Things I luckily have never witnessed before and choose not to witness again, the outdoor tantrum. Now I’m not saying grandma had anything to do with it, but she did become a little bit naughtier than usual, well a lot. I feel as if the manipulation between mummy and granny is already underway, to get what she wants. Putting Riley in her pram or car seat was always an easy task, trying to get her in to either has turned in to a wrestling match, she’s bloody strong for a wee one. Much to Riley’s disgust I won the battle and secured her firmly in, she hates me right now, if she could speak she’d probably say it, but lucky me I have all that to come when she’s older.  I can see out of the corner of my eye, as grandma looks on sympathetically, not towards me, god no, it is towards her little angel.

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So as the week progresses I also notice a change in Richard, my dog. He is really laying it on thick with the poor hard done by, no one ever pays me attention puppy dog eyes, while he is 15, around granny he becomes a puppy again. He sits there gruffling away if he doesn’t get 100% attention. Again enter granny, again enter the sympathetic look as my child and dog become more demanding and again, not towards me but towards the dog. It’s like when she turns her back they both have a smirk on their face, thinking they’ve got one over one me. Ya well lap it up you two, she’s going to be gone in a few days, and then it is back to me!

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The Guilt Factor

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I have debated with myself on whether or not to write about this topic, wasn’t sure how it would be received. There are probably people out there that can relate but dare not say for fear of judgement. So I am going to say it, my kid is driving me around the bend, staying at home all day sometimes, quite often….sucks! I know many go through this and I shouldn’t be whinging, but I feel like I am actually losing the plot. What are you supposed to do with a child all day, I mean people actually go to university to learn how to look after a child, as a parent you are just handed them at the door and sent on your merry way. My partner and I had no experience whatsoever and here we are with this little person. What do you do! To be honest the start for me was actually the easiest, feed, change, cuddle, sleep, that’s about it, easy right. Then fast forward to your child’s first step, they get up and tumble and get up again, it is so cute you feel the need to document every bit of it and force it on to an unsuspecting audience. You then wish for your child to walk unaided, no help and oh so proud when they do. Then the shit hits the fan, not only can you child walk, but they now become what they think is an expert in extreme sports. They can now free climb a mountain, sky dive off a cliff and free run throughout the entire house. Cute, no exhausting, how many times can one person keep taking a child off of the kitchen table?

 

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As the frustration starts to severely kick in and you wish you worked full time, anything to not have to spend all day with this monster, the guilt kicks in. The guilt kicks in because you are supposed to be happy that you get to spend this time with your child and not sit wishing your mum lived around the corner so you could dump her there. The guilt kicks in as she smiles and laughs at the same bloody nursery rhyme over and over again, yes we get it, the kittens have lost their bloody mittens and the kitten mum is being a bitch about it and not letting them have any pie until they find them. The guilt kicks in as you no longer find it amazing that she can do the same puzzle over and over again but you smile and clap along anyway. The guilt kicks in as you sit and watch your clock and pray it gets to 5.30 and your partner gets homes and takes over. The guilt kicks in as you go have 5 minutes for yourself and you spend it dreading that tomorrow it starts all over again. The guilt kicks in when she wraps her little arms around your neck, gives you a cuddle before bed and you realise that you have had such thoughts. The guilt kicks in as you realise you are just bored most days. So does this make me a bad mum, probably to some?

What I do know is that I do adore my child; I just don’t think I am particularly good at it, the entertaining that is. Yes, I look after her and I care for her when she is hurt, she is healthy and people do say happy, must be doing something right. I guess I just wish it came more natural. It is an adjustment like no other and work life is definitely easier. Maybe this is all because Riley is going through a serious tantrum, clingy, screaming, won’t let me out of her sight phrase, it is mentally draining. Saying all that, I do clap, sing and play along, because that is what you do. I also am grateful I have an amazing partner who is happy to give me that time to myself. I know others have it harder, someone always does. I guess should we as stay at home mums feel guilty because on occasion we want to run off with the circus?? So as I write this my child is napping, my favourite thing. Again, bad mum, just wishing they’d fall sleep for an hour.

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The Fat Lass

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The joys of the never ending journey to lose weight, add the fact you had a baby and c-section to the works and it becomes an even more enjoyable ride. Since hitting puberty I had to watch everything I ate, every mouthful, up until then I was a tiny thing. Since then I have always been a bit of a fat lass. I’ve been on every diet there is. When I got pregnant I dreaded how much weight I would put on. I’m one of those unlucky characters who put on weight while someone else is eating a cake in front of you. I suck so much when it comes to weight loss that after weighing myself before I had Riley I was excited to weigh myself after, at least 7lbs would go over night right, did it hell. I weighed myself two days later, still the same. I mean really, I just gave birth and I am not ever down the size of her. I was not impressed. Unfortunately I live with someone who never puts on weight, he eats what he likes, his only form of exercise is clicking a mouse on his pc, yet he never puts on a pound. I on the other had am constantly being careful, exercising and generally torturing myself just to stay a little bit fat. I tend to dislike people a bit who stuff their face and never put on a pound. This fat lass can put on 6 pounds over a weekend and has done it, while others have ate and drank the same and don’t, fair, I bloody think not!

So when I did become pregnant I was very careful for the first 6 months, didn’t want to put on loads and never really had any real cravings, just little things every now and again. As time progressed I couldn’t believe my luck, this fat lass was only putting it on in the front…hand me that bloody chocolate. That’s right 6 months hit and I wanted chocolate, I wanted all the chocolate and god forbid my partner ate any of my stash. I spent years avoiding the chocolate but this was my time, this was my time to shine. I was eating 3 bars a day, I couldn’t get enough of it and I still wasn’t gaining, only in the front, life was good, I was finally one of these aliens that ate what they wanted when they wanted. I must say it was an amazing 3 months, not thinking about what I ate, it’s exhausting thinking about every mouthful, how many calories, how much sugar, how much fat aaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!!!! F*&k off!! Alas, this in my life.  As I got closer to my due date I knew this was going to end, my Willy Wonka life was about to end as we knew it. So I had her and of course you get a couple of months grace right, I mean I had just had a baby. The love of chocolate continued. It is kind of annoying as pre pregnancy I liked chocolate but had taught myself to say no with ease. To this day it is now another thing I have to resist, without ease.

 

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After having a baby you realise that it gets to the stage where you can no longer blame the baby, so enter the tiredness. Yes I had a new reason not to get off my fat ass, I was tired. Now my baby slept through the night but that is beside the point, I had a real legitimate reason, no one would dare say a word. So my endless love for chocolate and everything else basically continued. Then it hit, that day you catch that glimpse of yourself, you know the one, the wtf do I look like. Once I finished all the crap in the house, I mean you can’t waste it, I started the boring journey, exercise, watching what I ate, blah blah blah. The fridge and cupboard again became the enemy, I had to fill it with colourful foods, the beige look was out, it’s all about colours when you want to shed a couple of ton. So my ‘journey’, god I hate that phrase, I’m on a journey. Glad to say I have lost all the baby weight and about a stone, need to keep going as it seems to go everywhere but the place you want, yes the tummy. That lovely flap over your c-section scar is a bitch, I’ll get there. When you fit in to clothes that didn’t fit you pre-pregnancy it is worth it, but I do miss it, the chocolate. I sometimes go to the fridge, to look at my partners chocolate, the chocolate looks back, sad, eat me, eat me. Sorry chocolate, not today, triumph, I closed the door and walked away, my pal slimming world would be proud.  This gal will always be a bit of a fat lass even when she loses the weight, forever a fat lass inside fighting the never ending battle.

 

The Spare Room

 

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Pretty much sums up how Riley likes to sleep, on my neck.

Most people love the idea of a spare room as a safe haven for when guests come to stay, a place of privacy. Not in this house, the spare room in this house is our therapist. You almost feel you need two spare rooms for when a guest actually does come to stay, so as we only have one, we reluctantly hand it over, wouldn’t look good if you offered them the couch. This in turn means that one of us will end up in Riley’s room, on the floor (floorbed), while she ends up in our bed. When moving down south we knew it was essential to have a spare room to keep us sane, to keep this relationship together. My partner and I have very different needs when it comes to sleep, he needs it a lot more than I do and if he doesn’t get it, he’s basically out of action. Me on the other hand can function on very little sleep and as long as I get one night a week, I’m pretty much OK. I’m the morning person and he picks up the slack in the evening. So how do the sleeping arrangements in this house go? Sunday night through to Friday morning my partner has the luxury of sleeping in the spare room, he works, so I suggested we do this as I know how he wouldn’t function if he didn’t get sleep, he’d be handed his P45 and asked to leave.

I know some people frown upon the idea that you sleep in a separate room from your partner, for us it work. Others may be happy to lay awake all night next to their spouse as they snore, or as their significant pregnant other flops around during the night, not for us, not in this house. We are very much, goodnight, now leave me alone. I was so pleased when I realised my partner wasn’t a cuddle sleeper, no thank you. At the end of the day I think you have to do what works for you to survive. I remember being heavily pregnant and not being able to sleep, I would just lay there and wait for the morning to arrive, so I kicked him out and told him I wanted to sleep on my own. I wanted to be able to turn on the light, watch a bit of TV or read when I couldn’t sleep, he didn’t seem to mind, mustn’t be very comfortable with a walrus flopping about next to you all night with enough body heat to warm up the entire home. He agreed rather quickly, he must have been thinking about it too but dare not say it. For some reason he must have thought I was quite hormonal and didn’t know how I would react. A sign of a good man, he had many sleepless nights as he must have dreamed about the lovely big comfy double bed in the other room, just calling his name to sweet sweet slumber. Well dreams do come true, he got his wish. This was around January 2016 and we haven’t looked back since. We have said one day we will become sleeping buddies again, but at the moment it is just not an option.

As parents will know, your child does not understand the concept of the night’s sleep. As I’ve said, Riley started off so well and when that changed the spare room became more important than ever. It’s our own fault, when she wakes up we just bring her in bed with us, you are so tired you’ll do anything to just get back to sleep and bringing her in to our bed, seems to work. The problem with this is the lack of room for all three of us, Riley likes her space for a small person and my partner and I would turn in to bookends with our bums hanging over the edge. I’ve spent so much time on the edge of my bed there is now a slope, plus my bum is never covered by the blanket so I freeze my ass off. It’s not the smallest of butts so maybe a bigger duvet is in order.

So on Friday night I got to have my one night of sleep in the spare room, it was a great sleep, I slept through without waking up until 5am, a proper lie in. I have noticed with Riley, when I am on duty she doesn’t really sleep through.  As soon as my partner is in charge, most times, she sleeps through. She’s trying to kill me, wear me down, break my soul, I won’t be beaten. I know I will always have my weekly visit to the spare room, where I reboot and win the fight against my daughter for another week.

The Days You Leave the House

 

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Leaving your home is a simple affair, you get dressed, taking your time on occasions about what you are going to wear, sometimes  you may even check your phone, send a text or watch a funny You Tube video.  You put on your make up, you use both hands because you like to live on the wild side. Style your hair, on occasion you may have a coffee while doing so. Have some breakfast and even clean up after doing so, because after all, you don’t have to be to your location until 9am. I remember those days, I remember a time when I decided to leave the house and I simply left. How I took those days for granted. Cut to me deciding to have a child and that child eventually becomes a toddler. Had I know having a toddler meant constantly dealing with a crazy person jacked up on red bull first thing was going to be this hard, I may have thought differently. Just need to figure out where she is getting it from, you can’t be that hyper on fresh air. I know you are not meant to say you might not have a kid if you had a realistic view of what it would have been like, but hey, who knows if I’d had the option. I love my child dearly and now wouldn’t be without her, but what you don’t know you can’t miss, awful parent.

Yesterday was one of the days I made the decision to leave the house. Like an amateur I arranged to be somewhere for 11am, the location was a 45 minute drive, so had to leave around 10.15. Parents have all been there when you need to dress your child. This was once an easy task, when they were a baby, but now they can move and they’re nippy little bastards. To dress my child usually involves being bent over, running along the landing with a top in my hand, trying to put at least one of her arms in, once I get one in the second does follow. I pull on her trousers with one hand, while carrying her wriggle body in the other. My child has lovely long hair, looks nice, not nice to deal with. Brushing and pulling it back is always done while running, she thinks it’s hilarious, so won’t be stopping anytime soon. My back on the other hand being a 43 year old new mum, is about to pack up. Once all dressed, I then have to wrestle her to brush her teeth, as my mini Hulk Hogan tries to grab it out of my hand, every time it goes in to her mouth. Once done, now I get dressed, whatever is closest and whatever is clean. I did get to straighten my hair though, was a great moment. Make up on the other hand, was done with one hand and child on hip. Not a good look.

Now for the nappy bag, nappies, wipes, bum cream, clean clothes, bottles, milk, lunch and snacks all to be packed up. This stage she’s getting really impatient and shoves a book at me to sit and read. OK, one quick read and then back to it. Doesn’t work, I resort to one hand for packing. Bag is finally packed, now all I need to do is get her in the car. As I carry the nappy bag, her pram and her, I realise I’m going to drop something, so I put her down and she runs to car, past car and off on to the road, luckily we live in a quiet cul de sac. Now she’s had this taste of freedom, she does not want to get in to the car. Her body becomes as stiff as a board, not the easiest when strapping a child safely into a car seat. Next is the music choice, bloody nursery rhymes. Those wheels on that bloody bus never stop going around! So as my soul is slowly dying as I pray for some Stevie Nicks and we are about to leave, there is a silence, the unnerving silence you feel when your child goes silent. I turn around, eyes bulging, face a bit red and a faint sound of someone straining. Yes, she decides now to have a poop. I sit there and sigh as I wait for her to be done. For a split second I think, she’ll be OK for the journey, but alas, I know I have to do this. Out the car, back upstairs, wrestle to change her without getting poop everywhere, back in the car, nursery rhymes back on. As you pull away, you catch a glimpse of yourself in mirror, you realise your eyes no longer pop, they no longer sparkle, they just sit there, puffy, red, dead and a little bit sad, the make-up doesn’t even work anymore.  You remember a life of what it was once like to leave the house before you had a child.

 

 

The Family Pet – Kringle

 

 

 

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog tonight, but feel I should about poor little Kringle.Today my mum lost one of her cats, a cat that barely grew any bigger than a kitten, its name, Kringle. This cat was an abandoned on the side of the road, she took it to the vet, got her all sorted and then kept her and looked after her. Unfortunately a move caused the cat to run away and despite multiple 5 hour round trips back to find her, it just hasn’t happened.  Unfortunately with cats and moving this is a common occurrence.  I know today my mum will be very sad, for anyone who knows her, knows she is crazy for her animals and all animals in general. Growing up she would return home from a trip to the shops with all sorts of animals. We would of course get the usual dogs and cats, there was a duck, various other birds, but I think my all time favourite was when she turned up with a donkey. This was in the 80s in county Leitrim, Ireland. I remember the day and I also remember that she called the police to see what they could do. Anyone who knows county Leitrim in the late 80s, can only imagine the response from the police. Needless to say to she was laughed off the phone. So what did she do, she got the vet up, tidied him up and made sure his next home was a safe one. That’s the type of person she is. We also said she should have been a vet, half the time she knew more than them.

To my mum her animals are her children. It was rather funny growing up and being told that you are sitting in the dog’s seat and almost expected to move. God forbid you sat in the front of the car when the dog was in the back. The dirty looks from that dog would pierce through the back of your head. I think the only person that beats her pets is her grandchild, my little girl Riley. She is a great with her as she is with her pets, they come first before her at every turn. She would defend them to the end as she would me and my brother. I always wish that people were like her towards animals and people, how happy would the world be, 100% cruelty free. So to my mum, you did an amazing job with little Kringle and some things just can’t be helped. Riley sends you a big hug and looks forward to seeing you next time you are over.

The Visitor

Being a stay at home mum I enjoy the visitor more than ever. I went from seeing and speaking to people at least five days a week to speaking to a toddler about how good she is when she does poop poop. When I worked full time my weekends were a bit more precious, I was more selective how I spent my time. Now as a stay at home mum I can’t wait for the visitor to arrive. I was delighted last week when I received a text from my lovely friend Ray Ray who was home for a week, she selfishly moved to Spain, now I only see her a few times a year. I decided I’d go and collect her to get more time with her. It’s about an hour each way, that’s two extra hours of talking to an adult. Things are looking up, no Billy no mates in this house this weekend.

So to prepare for the visitor I pop to the shops for tasty food, tasty snacks and even tastier wine and presecco. I have to show them this is a great place to visit so they’ll come back. So with food and drinks in fridge, off I go. I turn up a few minutes late, don’t want to seem too desperate. The drive back, I can’t control my mouth, words just flow out like a waterfall. The visitor plays along and lets me ramble on and replies at the appropriate times. When we get back to the house it can mean on one thing for the stay at home mum, I hope Riley is happy to see the visitor and will in turn what attention from the visitor. This turns out to be the case, Riley is impressed by the arrival of the visitor and continues with her ritual of grabbing a book, handing book over and then backing up in to the visitor to be picked up, placed on lap and read to, result.  I see this as an opportunity, an opportunity to do things without Riley hanging off of my leg. At first it starts of small…can you mind Riley while I pop to the loo…all seems to go well. Riley and the visitor are happy in each other’s company. Hmmmm I need to make dinner, I ask the visitor…can you just mind Riley while I make dinner, again it went well. As a result of this I saw my chance to use the visitor at every opportunity to entertain Riley while I got on with other things. I know the visitor will be happy with this, all we want is for the child to like us, once that has been established I seize my chance for 24 hours of handing her over as much as possible.

 

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Now the visitor isn’t just here for the purpose of minding the child. Once the child is in bed we then begin eating and drinking and I continue to talk, I realise I only have a small window of talking time as the visitor will be leaving tomorrow so I go for it. As the stay at home mum you have to be aware of when you may be taking up too much time of the conversation and reign it in, after all you don’t want to scare the visitor off. I begin to ask questions about the visitor’s life and listen as they respond and comment in the appropriate place. Even though I haven’t had much experience of late in dealing with the visitor, I feel my communication skills are on point.  As I see the visitor becoming very tired I see I need to wrap this evening up, I suggest it’s time for bed, this pleases the visitor. I let the visitor know she will be receiving a lovely cooked breakfast in the morning, this seems to please the visitor. The next morning I again use the visitor to entertain Riley. I do this to make breakfast so I sense the visitor realises it is in her best interest to comply if she wants a meal. Breakfast is a success, the visitor appears satisfied. I then see another opportunity, a walk in the village with pram and dog, as a stay at home mum I usually do this alone, which can be difficult on occasion, the visitor agrees to help, lightening my burden. Once back I realise I need to bring the visitor home, the visit is over. I know I only have a car journey back for talking, I talk a lot, even at some points telling myself to stop, this does not seem to happen. I drop the visitor home and realise I will be back to days of poopy talk. This is ok though as I have had my fix and it will keep me going for a while. Overall this visitor has been a welcome relief.  The visitor has helped and been of use. Overall I will be letting this particular visitor visit again, if the visitor so chooses.

The Mother V the Father

 

When becoming a parent I have my ways of doing things and my partner has his. There are certain things that the dad does that I feel could maybe be done differently. Now, before I go any further I would first like to stress that my partner is a wonderful dad, he adores our girl, he changes nappies, baths here, dresses her, feeds her and plays with her, you know all the things a mum does. Oh as the mum I also cook, clean, do laundry, deal with Riley during the night, start my day around 5 or 6 if I’m lucky and pretty much finish up most days before I go to bed. While the dad does all these things and I think it is amazing to have the help, you never hear anyone utter the words ‘ isn’t that mother great, she changes her babies nappy, or she baths her and feeds her’ ….why is this? Why are women just expected to do these things, like it is the norm and men get praised for doing the same thing.

Let us discuss an example of something we both do for our child, the nappy change. When I change her nappy, I take it off, clean her up, put on a new nappy, dirty nappy goes in bag and put in the bin, no evidence any nappy was even changed. When my partner changes a nappy, he takes off dirty nappy, cleans her up and puts on new nappy, bam!!!!! That’s where my partner’s nappy duties usually stop. Mum then goes up to the changing area, bags up dirty nappy, cleans up any wet wipes and put in bin. To be fair though, he does go that step further when changing a poopy nappy, a step that I didn’t even think of, the photo. Our poor child was constipated, I was at my brothers… Ping, I’ve got a message, aww it’s from Dev with probably a nice picture of Riley before she goes to bed….ummmm no!!! It was a picture of a brick sat in a nappy, poor Riley, but did I really need to see this before I was about to eat…he thought so.

I am also confused as to whether my partner has lived in the home for as long as I have. You see, certain things are in certain places and have been since we moved in, yet I still get asked where they are. Take yesterday for example, while putting a pot away he asked where it went….well Dev, it actually goes in the same place as its always been, but to fair it has only been 6 months. Then there is the term used for when a dad minds his child if the mum is not in the house….babysitting…no, babysitting is what you pay a 16 year girl to do, the dad is looking after his child. I’m just confused as to why when a dad minds his child, washes up or makes the bed I should be on my hands and knees showing  my gratitude (and not the dirty kind for those who went there).

Having said all this I know there are some men out there who don’t lift a finger, the house and the child is the woman’s job. Like I said Dev is an amazing dad and partner…just think we need to level the playing field and recognise that mums do an amazing job too.

The Toddler and the Hangover

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I remember the days in my late teens and 20s when I would go out clubbing, drink to 3am, get up for work then next day with a hop in my step. Once 6pm rolled on, I’d go home, have food, a power nap and then do it all over again, this was pretty much my life and I loved it. It also helped that my partner in crime, Irene, was also up for this. We worked, lived and partied together. As I got older the hangovers started to progress, but I was single and had no children so was able to wallow in the self pity I so rightly deserved. Waking up with last night’s makeup stuck to the pillow and garlic mayonnaise in your hair was the norm. I’d then crawl down to the sitting room and be so grateful that I had planned for such an event the day before. In my kitchen were crisps, dips, food for a fry up and more fizzy drinks than your local shop has on offer. I made myself a picnic on the couch and only moved to change the channel on the remote control.

As a parent the hangover is now a different experience. My first real night out after Riley was born was a big one. Now you have to remember that I never drank at all through my pregnancy, plus, I never really drank for about 7 weeks after she was born, just a glass here and there. The night I went out out, I didn’t drink the normal amount I usually would as I just couldn’t handle it, but the small amount I did have, certainly did its job.  I stayed at a friend’s house that night so the agreement was that I would have Riley the next day…what a stupid agreement to make..rookie mistake. So the next day as I felt like my head was being smashed in by a hammer, I begged my partner to mind Riley, he refused. My partner doesn’t drink so when you are dying he has a bit of a smug look on his face, plus he has zero sympathy for you. Well my logic was that this was my first night out so he should have stepped in, he disagreed. Luckily at this time Riley was only little and a good baby but every move with her was torture, a poopy nappy made me gag, the spit up from milk almost made me pass out and god forbid there was a snotty nose, then my life would be over. So I struggled through the day pleading for the night to come and take me and Riley to bed. When that moment came, I felt that was the best moment of my life… Now Riley is no longer a little baby, but a boisterous toddler and one of her favourite things is to bounce up and down on your tummy when you lay down. I no longer get to sit and wallow in self pity and lay on the couch all day watching reality TV. My hangover now would be to sit and pray for a quick death..bit dramatic I know but try and deal with a hangover while listening to a child screaming with excitement as she watched Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly or Little Baby Bums, oh my god…Little Baby Bums, those bloody nursery rhymes..So is it all worth it…hell yeah, we all need a good night out but I’m a little bit more sensible these days and don’t get quite so drunk…I feel this may happen again, but for now it seems to be ok, my hangovers tend to go away with a couple of aspirin. I must be growing up, only took me to get to 43 before that happened.

 

The Children’s Programme

 

When becoming a parent or any form of child minder you unfortunately get introduced to children’s TV. Now I believe this is entirely my own fault. When pregnant, we were full of ideas about how we would raise our child, that all changed once she came along. When Riley came along, for the first ten months she was a delight, slept through the night, never really cried, just sat there happy in herself. When that changed I found myself trying find a way to get myself a few minutes peace…enter the television. Now I swore Peppa Pig would never enter our home, other parents laughed at my ignorance while I stood firm in my belief that this would never rear its ugly head on our TV. As Riley continued to become more of a handful and I needed five minutes peace, I thought, why not, just an episode I said, just one I said….yeah that didn’t quite go to plan. Now she bloody loves that psycho pig. Seriously, now this next part actually shows what a bad parent I am, but also shows what I will do for a bit of peace and be able to make the dinner. I let her watch it, despite the fact that Peppa is nothing but a little bitch, she’s so horrible. With a statement from her such as ‘you are not going to be any good because I can’t do it’…when she hangs up on her friend because she can whistle and Peppa can’t…when she wins bike races that she blatantly didn’t, she just decides when the end is. All she does is demonstrate how to be a little spoilt piggy. I keep saying that I’ll stop letting her watch it, but not yet, things need to be done in the house.

The worst thing about all of this, you find yourself then becoming interested in the stories. Dev became excited because he managed to do the woof tweet song in one go. An episode would come on that you hadn’t seen before and you would be happy to watch it, something new, I’d hear Dev utter the words, ‘oooh I haven’t seen this one’ and then take his time to leave the house to see what happens.  I’ve tried to play Disney and Pixar, but she isn’t interested yet. One day she will be, that will be a good day

The Fussy Eater

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Karma has come back to bite me in the ass big time when it comes to Riley and her eating habits. As a child growing up I was the fussiest eater ever, every meal was a nightmare for my mother. I couldn’t eat anything without dissecting it first to make sure there wasn’t anything foreign in it. When I say foreign I mean foods such as tomato, onions, broccoli and other exotic foods. My meals became a game to me, how was I going to get rid of all the food on my plate without actually eating it. I even remember sitting at the dinner table for two hours as my dad said I couldn’t leave until I ate it all. As there was someone in the room and I sat and ate every pea one by one in defiance.

I had some pretty disgusting habits as a child. To say I was fussy, it didn’t stop me chewing on the other end of a marrowbone while our German Sheperd, Kaiser, would chew the other end…eeeewww. But you couldn’t get me to eat a tomato because of how disgusting I thought they were. When eating I would usually push my food onto my brothers plate and he would then have to finish my portion when my mother saw his plate full. When my brother wasn’t an option there was only one logical thing to do, find a new home for my cooked food. Now being a creative soul I managed to find plenty of places to hide my uneaten food. Now most people would assume the bin, god no, not me. In our kitchen you were afraid to open a drawer for what you might find. It didn’t stop there, due to having animals in the house my mum kept a mop and bucket at hand to clean up any accidents. Unfortunately for mum the mop bucket was not always clean, a sausage here, a potato there. That’s right…this had become one of my dumping grounds. You’d think it would end there, but no….in our kitchen we also had a washing machine and the common fridge..ah another hiding ground. I would dread the day my mum decided to do a big clean. As she pulled these away from the wall, all my sins fell to the ground, weeks of uneaten cooked food.  As she questions me on where the food came from, I would of course deny any knowledge of the rotten food…after all I ate all my food…that’s what I told her. My mum asked me one day when I could hide my secret no more, why did I not feed it to the dogs, after all hide the evidence. Apparently I told her because I was afraid the dogs would tell her…She told me they could talk and being a mug I believed her.

So now dealing with Riley who shy’s away from most food except snacks, cheesy goodness and fish fingers, I feel as if I am getting my just desserts. I guess going forward I will just make an effort to clean behind everything in the kitchen on a regular basis.

 

The Tantrum

I count myself lucky as a parent that I have managed to go 17 months with Riley without having witnessed the mother of all tantrums. This all changed on Thursday, this is when our lives took a turn for the worse and would never be the same gain….bit dramatic I know…guess ya had to be there and unfortunately for the city of Bath, they were. Picture the scene, you decide to take a leisurely stroll around the picturesque city that is Bath. As you sit outside a coffee shop, sipping you pumpkin spiced latte with pure excitement that they are back in season, you hear what can only be described as someone being murdered. You try to decide should you flee and leave the first pumpkin spiced latte of the season while kicking yourself that you didn’t get it in a cup to go, or are you going to ride out this storm. As the noise gets closer, from around the corner you see the cutest little girl with pigtails, at that time her sweet cute innocent look does not match the awful shrill that flows so easily from her mouth. Now as a member of the public you have a decision to make, pity or disgust. As the poor mother walks through the town, she is very much aware of the looks of pity and disgust, I’ll take pity please.

So for those of you who don’t have children, but have a partner, who is a little bit grouchy in the morning, you’ll be able to relate. You know that morning where you brace yourself before waking your partner, well I have one of them also, forget about Riley, every morning I have to contend with Dev. So unfortunately for me, Riley is definitely her daddy’s daughter when it comes to her sleep.

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On the way in to town she has herself a little nap. The issue with the journey to Bath is it is only about 30 minutes away, so not long enough for her to sleep and therefore wakes up like a possessed demon, you know that moment where you wonder if your child is actually a real life Damien, you almost go looking for the three 6’s, but you refrain for the fear of what you might find.

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We arrive into town, put her into her pram and the crying starts instantly, there is no stopping her. I pick her up and give her a cuddle, still no use…at this stage I know she is not going to get better, I’m only in for more, but I persevere hoping for a miracle. We meet Riley’s aunt and my mum is also there, as we walk down the street she continues to wail, I pick her up and this seems to calm her, but being an old one of 43 my back is pinching, teach me to wait so late to have a child…my 20 year old is slapping me..then it hits me, the one thing that always tames her and makes me what to rip my ears out…the little bitch that is Peppa Pig…really she is such a bitch, but that is for another day. I feel letting her watch that show is bad parenting skills, but when she is wailing through Bath, I’d stick on The Exorcist if I thought it would give me two minutes peace…l load Peppa Pig on the old iphone and wait for it, I hear something, the sweet sounds of no screaming. In we go for food, now we’ve calmed her down, it’s time to eat, at this stage I am hangry. We sit down, it starts off well then enter Damien, cut to food being put into take away bags and then off to a park bench. No cutlery and we proceeds to eat food that isn’t designed for fingers, we become desperate and my mum starts scooping up her food with a lid of a sauce, I’m surprised that at some point we haven’t been given some spare change. This isn’t going well at all, let’s pack up and head to the car. Think it is time to accept that I will be avoiding certain locations for a while.

The Intimacy Factor

As a parent we all want to keep the fire alive in our relationship with our partner once that little bundle of joy enters your life.  How do we do that….Now I hope you are not expecting the secret to a successful jiggy jiggy life while having child, can’t have it all ladies and gentlemen.  Enter…. The Intimacy Factor post child. Let us start at the beginning. You get home from hospital and no matter how that kid came out, you don’t want anyone near you ever again, this is made very clear to the other half who proceeds to look at you like Shrek’s Puss n Boots…you can see the despair n his eyes as the reality sets in that he may not be getting any loving in the near future. You are just glad you have a reason to say no that he can’t argue with, all the pain was worth it. This grace period of using that as a reason does eventually wear off unfortunately… this is when he perks up like a meercat with a sparkle in his eye and a hop in his step. He knows that maybe one day, in the near future, he just may be getting some action. Enter the seductive dance.

Now ladies and gentleman we have all witnessed that moment, where you have given them an inch of hope, that there may be a chance….giphy

So as he stands there in all his glory of boxer shorts and ever so sexy socks, he starts to try and impress you with his Magic Mike moves, sorry but there is no Channing Tantum in sight…sigh…but ya gotta gives him points for trying. As this seductive dance continues, the smile on his face grows more and more. He proceeds to take of his socks, oi oi, pulling out the big guns, he’s making it special. No matter how chilly it is, he’s taking off those socks to show you how much he really loves you and to let you know he is gonna blow your mind.  All the while you are sat on the bed in your chequered baggy pj’s, oversized jumper, fluffy bed socks and greasy hair tied back, looking at him all like, move along, we don’t have time for all this, she might wake up.

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While you sit on that bed, looking like a bag lady, to him you look like Cindy Crawford, he’ll say anything at this point to up his chances. While he’s dancing around the room like an excited puppy,  you’re just thinking about how cold the sheets will be on your bare butt, but you’ve let it go this far, no going back now. So you allow the ‘cuddling’ to happen and all the time you are praying…please don’t wake the baby…Now I’m not going to go into detail, we all know what happens when Don Juan comes a visiting. Once he has rocked your world, the only decision is how long do we have to hold each, whispering sweet nothings to each other before falling asleep…not in this house…he’s off to the spare room to get a good night’s sleep,  it’s his turn to try and get a full night of uninterrupted pleasure while I deal with Riley when she wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Who said my man doesn’t know how to woo his woman.

The Flopper

We’ve all been there whether it is a child, partner or dog. We’ve all been a victim of The Flopper. By Flopper I mean that person or animal that flops around all night long making your night of sweet slumber a no go. Enter Riley….to be fair when she wakes she usually comes in to my bed, milk in hand, drinks then sleeps, it’s all good. Last night was a different story, enter the dreaded invisible evil puppeteer that resembles the work of Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, he came out to play. She was up, walking to the end of the bed, flopping about like a drunken thunderbird. You would think that would be enough fun for her at 3.30am, but alas, I was yet to experience the Alien sucker face experience. After her drunken walk back from the end of the bed she continued to perform the ritual dance of The Flopper. She proceeds towards my face, mouth wide open, all wet from the milk and chuckling away to herself. The lips now lock on and the Alien sucker face begins, it’s pretty gross if I’m honest. Lets face it, no matter how much you love your child, you don’t want their milky baby spit all over your face. So once the spit was all over my face I now get the other end of my delightful child, the arse. She sits on my face with a lovely waft of pee up my nose followed by a machine gun of baby farts, she thinks this is hilarious, me not so much.

 

By this time it is about 4.30am and I am by no means a religious person, but I was praying to all the gods in the sky to have mercy on my soul and put her to sleep. My pleas were not answered, probably because God was thinking…fook you…you can’t believe in me when your desperate and expect me just to step up and sort it…you are on your own you atheist, burning in hell heathen. As the night continued she just continued to flop around like a baby seal while kicking me in the face and pushing me out of the bed. Eventually at about 5am she fell asleep so I managed another hour before the glorious sound of my alarm bellowed through my head, not waking Riley of course. I am going to pray tonight that she doesn’t act this way, because after all if I pray enough then God will finally answer my plea for help. So to all you out there that have been a victim of The Flopper, I feel for you and for the love of God, if you haven’t prayed before, start now for a head start so that when you really need God to step in, he will. Apparently that is how it works.

Poopin in the bath

On Sunday we were all driving to my soon to be in-laws house and discussing our wedding plans, out of the blue my partner asks the question that all women want to hear when discussing your wedding day. ‘Do you think if Riley didn’t have a nappy on her poop would be the same shape as a normal poo’? Now I know what you are thinking, romance isn’t dead…As tempted as I was to ask him to pull over so I could have my wicked way with him with such electrifying pillow talk, the kinda talk that made me realise he was the one for me and I wanted to marry him, I held back.  I told him I’d never thought about it and the subject just changed.  Anyway, move onto bath time on Monday evening. Dev always gives Riley her bath, it is his way of getting in some daddy and daughter time as he has been at work all day.  While I can hear the splish splash of the water and the chuckles coming from Riley as Dev makes silly noises, it all suddenly changed. No longer do I hear the delightful giggle from Riley, but an unbelievable cry, the ‘hurt myself cry’, followed by the cries from Dev ‘oh nooooooo’…what could have possibly happened…I run up the stairs to find Riley crying with a huge poop hanging from her butt that then proceeded to fall into the tub, I then fished it out without thinking.  So I asked Dev why is she so hysterical, to which he explained that the way he said ‘oh nooooo’ caused her alarm and hence the cries of a banshee wailing through the house. Realising that all is ok and she is not harmed, just a little shocked, Dev turns to me and says….’well at least that answers the question about the shape of the poop if not done in her nappy’…yes it was indeed a ‘normal poo’.

In the beginning…

ON IN PARENT LIFE / LEAVE A COMMENT

So here I am to pass on all my wisdom on being a parent, guess it will be a short blog. Like many, I do not have much of a clue about parenting, we both pretty much wing it. So here goes…..So our lovely little Riley came into the world a day before my partners 30th birthday….Happy birthday Dev :). It wasn’t the easiest birth, but that is for another day. Children were something I never considered until I hit my late 30s and realised time was tick tocking away. So we finally decided and try and then there she was. She came out with so much hair, and no I didn’t have heartburn. Apparently if your child comes out with hair then you are meant to have heartburn…old wives tale that didn’t apply to me. She was such a great baby, didn’t cry too much, slept through the night and just never seemed to complain. Fast forward 10 months and then that all changed, a phase I said, it will pass I said….it didn’t! Fast forward to today and she is now 17 months old and crazy as fook. (Few pics from the day she was born to current dayish)

 

 

 

You ever think that there is something mentally wrong with your child?? Due to my serious lack of experience with children I worried that her behaviour wasn’t the norm, screeching, screaming and shouting all day while running into an inanimate objects that got in her way….apparently this is normal behaviour. So life now consists of trying to find new ways to entertain her and general try and figure out what she needs and when she needs it. So as she has grown, so has the craziness and the decimal level is off the chart…my ears are bleeding some days…and the mess, oh dear lord the constant mess…it drives me nuts!

Sooooooo, I am hoping that documenting my day to day life while be therapeutic. Having a kid changes you. I don’t mean from, how amazing it is to have a child point of view, more from the, I love my child but sometimes I can’t believe I sit here day in and day out watching Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly while reading the same book over and over again…I wouldn’t change it, well maybe a bit for like an hour a day, but she is pretty cool and worth it. I guess just sometimes us mum and dads need an outlet and I guess this is mine. Some days you may not speak to anyone but your child all day, can be tough. I guess I just want to be able to say things and not feel bad or guilty for saying them, having certain thoughts doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person. Anyway enough of me banging on, I’m off to watch 30 Rock 🙂 Stay turned, there’s more to come!

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