children · Honest mum · mum · Parenting

Just because I have children…

does not mean I want anymore.

I have two of the turds and have learnt the consequences of my actions. In fact, I have never been so cautious about contraception since having mine. I do not want anymore.

When I say this out loud, people look at me like I’ve just shot a puppy. It does not mean I don’t like the ones I have. It means I love the ones I do have so much, my heart/mind/body literally has nothing left to give.

To some, kids are like Pringles, once you pop, you can’t stop. But you know what, kids to me are like eating the Prawn Cocktail Pringles; half way down the tube, you start to feel a little sick and think “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, let’s stop here before I make myself feel worse.”

When 6 o’clock rolls around every evening, I am a grouchy zombie. I’m worse than the kids. I want everybody to leave me the hell alone. I’ve done a 12 hour shift in mom life, pumped out 10,000 steps getting endless tissues/wipes/washing/food and tiredness just consumes me. But alas, that is when the next batch of work rolls in with the whole bedtime nonsense. I couldn’t possibly have anymore children. I admire those who do. But it’s not for me.

I want a career. Money. Holidays. A huge kitchen diner with bi-fold doors. Unfortunately, these things do not come easily with kids. Every time you have a baby, you put your life on hold for another few years.

I want to give them the best. And having more kids, for me at least, limits that. It limits our finances, my energy levels and our time.

So no, I’m not having anymore. And that is damn well OK.

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Honest mum · mum · Mum friends · Parenting

The thing about mum friends…

Is that every conversation is about kids.

Which is nice. Sometimes. But I miss real friendship.

Friends you can just laugh with, chat about films, food music and games. Not about nap schedules, phonics books and potty training.

Of course being a mum, these conversations are inevitable but you when you pop a sprog you automatically become tied to people who you share no real common ground with. You don’t have similar hobbies, opinions or sense of humour. Kids unite you – and that can be pretty dull.

Yet you see these people so much they become your friends through definition. I could have several messages on my phone asking if I will be at said toddler group/soft play/birthday party but I think my last invitation out with people strictly over the age of 18 was about a year ago!

It’s tragic. My kids have a better social life than me. Or my social life comprises of kids. Either way you look at it, it’s depressing.

When I ask somebody, “how are you?” I genuinely want to know how they are doing. As an individual. As a person. What their highs and lows are, what they have been up to or what they are hoping to do. Not host a discussion about weaning or eczema.

I think it would be better if we could all just wear tags a little like this:

Likes: Call the midwife, crafts and when people fall over.

Dislikes: Narcissism, mushrooms and when people do not fall over.

Easy. Scan the tag, assess potential and move on.

Too much time has been wasted dillydallying in mum small talk, thinking their is a potential friend there, to then realise that this person is a big dull dud. It’s too late by this point. Too many conversations have been exchanged and by definition this person is now my friend and there is nothing I can do about it except for tiptoe about and not be myself.

Mum Tinder, here we come.


#cherishedmemories · Honest mum · mum · Parenting

Days out with kids…

Just aren’t what they’re made out to be.

  1. Travel sickness – Granted not an issue for many, but with two horrifically travel sick children (both under the age of being able to take any tablets), car rides for us are not great, to say the least. My (rather large) butt has to squeeze in between their car seats holding a bowl while singing songs, fanning and sponging two sweaty kids who will inevitably vom. Followed by me also wanting to vom.
  2. Travel time – Kids get bored. And fast. I cannot fathom how people take children abroad with flight times and transfers etc etc I can only bow down to you because I do not have the courage/patience
  3. The amount of stuff to take – We took the car for a service today. We packed a pushchair, nappies, wipes, spare clothes, snacks, sick bowl, tea towel, gloves, hats and a naked baby (toy doll, not Turdette). What the actual hell?!
  4. Novelty – “Let’s go to Slimbridge and learn all about the birds and do the Lego trail etc” The novelty wears off quick. We get there and kids are instantly terrified. Followed by bored. Then they just want to play in the park. And eat. Money well spent.
  5. Forced happiness – Day trips and Christmas is when the forced, unmovable mum smile comes into play. I am so determined to make the day happy, I will plaster this ridiculous smile on my face accompanied with helpful “suggestions” and a listening ear. As soon as we hit the front door, the lovely “Shall we share? That would be a nice idea” snaps back to the good old “Stop fighting and just let have a go for God’s sake!”

Days out with the kids are like child birth. As soon you get home, you forget all the pain and only remember the positives. Then regret it when you decide to do it again.

Honest mum · mum · Parenting · Uncategorized

Why school holidays are so difficult…

Is it just me who finds school holidays really tough? I used to look after the kiddos full time before starting school so what’s changed? Have I become worse? Granted, I am definately less energetic and cheery than I used to be but that’s not it. School children demand more stimulation than littlies do. Finding a stick is the best thing ever for toddlers but older ones need much more energy, thought and exercise. It’s exhausting!

Smug sharenters vs. the real world

Here are the reasons why I find holidays difficult:

  1. The assumption that you should be doing something awesome every day. Farm parks, soft play, bowling, pottery painting etc etc. Not helped by the abundance of photos on social media showing everybody else doing these. (Pssst by the way, those smug sharenters are not really doing this everyday, they are bumming out like the rest of us and recycling old pictures.)
  2. The expense. Linked to the aforementioned farm parks and bowling etc – the stuff costs money. And lot’s of it, especially with multiple children. Triple the cost for those lucky ducks who go away on holiday during half-term. Who can actually afford to do all of this?!
  3. How busy everywhere is. You can’t go anywhere without hordes of kids and red-faced mums. Think you can escape them in a sophisticated coffee shop? Think again. You will find a group of 10 teenagers all sharing a single frappuccino while taking selfies. (Happens to me every bloody half-term. My parents would never have given me £3 something to buy a posh drink!)
  4. The boredom. “Let’s have a lazy day at home kids, that sounds like fun…” said no parent ever. It is never fun. The novelty wears off in 2 seconds and they are running up the walls and ruining your lazy mood. In this scenario, I hide from them by doing housework thus counteracting the original proposal of a lazy day.
  5. The food. My God, the food consumption is through the roof. How do they even get by on a school day with scheduled meals? Mine are demanding lunch by 10:30 (after two bowls of cereal, banana and a rice cake).

For me, the food consumption is what I find the hardest. Constantly nagging for food they don’t even want just because they can’t think of anything else to do. This then drives me to biscuit jar/chocolate cupboard/cider in fridge, further increasing the food consumption! Never-ending battle.

School holidays = Throwing biscuits at feral children while desperately thinking of play dates to avoid having to pay an arm and leg to keep the turds entertained for an hour.

Anybody else hate them? (school holidays that is, not children. Although to be fair…)

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I hate playing with my children…

I know it’s horrible. I just don’t have the imagination/energy to keep up with them.

I will play some things; Lego, Hide & Seek and colouring. That’s about my limit.

When it comes to actively playing with action figures or pushing cars around, I genuinely consider causing an injury (to myself obviously – not the kids, that may be slightly extreme).

Toddlers are easy. They are repetitive and easily pleased. You can throw a ball of tin foil and they’re good for a while. But as they get older they become more demanding. I wouldn’t mind if they just required an occasional kick from my Power Ranger but it’s up to me to come up with the whole scenario and to be honest, I just can’t be arsed.

FML.

How many of your parents used to play with you? I remember playing with the cats more than anything else. But this was good for the imagination. I think children these days (I know I sound about 50 saying this) require us to do everything for them because we tend to be so involved now. I find my younger Turdette has more of an imagination than my older Turd because I have learned to step back and let her be bored so she can figure it out for herself.

It’s ok to sit some out sometime and let them be bored. I used to feel so guilty for saying no to playing but you may be surprised by the results (as long as you can withstand the first 15 minutes of puppy-dog eyes tying to guilt you into playing.)

The best toy they can have is their imagination.

Honest mum · mum · Parenting · Uncategorized

A little thought vs. a lot of tat

It’s the time of year for joy and excitement but for some it causes endless stress and worry – have I got enough?

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of worrying that the cost/amount determines how much you care about that person but this isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) the case.

If you’re lucky other half gave you one present that proved how much they know you – you would be thrilled! So don’t put so much pressure on yourself to stuff the tree with random stuff because it’s not worth it. My friend just bought a jam thermometer for a relative. That’s right – a thermometer. For jam. For under a tenner. But she bought it because it accompanied a lovely little annecdote how her brother always ruins the food etc etc. That shows so much more thought than a random Lynx gift set (I am yet to find a man who doesn’t receive one of these bad boys at Christmas).

The same goes for kids.

A million toys vs. one really special toy (and special does not always mean expensive!)

I am a firm believer that kids with one or two things are more likely to actually play with them and appreciate them as opposed to mountains of random plastic tat that keeps them interested for about 0.26 minutes.

So this Christmas, for that someone special, show them how much you care with a little thought instead of a lot of tat. If they are as special as you think, they will absolutely love it. If not, get them a jam thermometer.

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Dogs and children are NOT the same

Somebody once to me “I never realised having dogs was so much like having children.”

In case it’s not obvious enough, this person does not have children.

I awkwardly smiled with a little laugh as surely they must have been joking…

They weren’t. The dog apparently wakes them up in the morning. Oh and likes cuddles when they get home from work.

END OF COMPARISON.

Here is what I wanted to say/should have said:

I’m sure you also lost two years of sleep due to the pups swinging off your nipples five times a night. The chaffing, the bulging boobs and soggy bras in the morning…oh, the dog licks your face each morning? What a calamity.

I can only imagine the washing you have to do. Three loads a day I’m on. I purposefully bought an additional laundry basket to try the disguise the amount there is to do. I think the last time I saw the bottom of the basket was five years ago.

I just love grabbing the lead and going for a frolic in the woods too. Just me, the kids, the nappies, the wipes, the snacks, the gloves, the wellies and the tangles of brambles. Just a week ago, I tried to go for a walk in the woods. I ended up with a muddy two-year old stuck on my hips for THREE HOURS as she refused to walk.

Clingy? Aw your puppies like to cuddle on your lap when you get home? I know what you mean. My two literally hook their arms around my ankles when I’m cooking. They shout my name repeatedly when I leave the room. They cry EVERY FRICKING MORNING when I drop them off at school. Bless ’em, eh?

Suffice to say, I haven’t spoken to this person for a while.


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Screw the Elf on the Shelf

I love all things Christmas. Everything. Except for the bloody elf on the shelf nonsense.

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Look at it’s creepy face! My son would freak the hell out if this was pouring his cereal in the morning.

The added pressure of making some creepy elf do weird things just so the tinkertots bypass him completely to get to the advent calendar. Like I haven’t got enough to do.

It feels like this elf business is all about posting it on social media to see prove how quirky and fun and inventive you are.

I do have an elf – just a bright green soft toy that only moves when the cat knocks it down. Or when my toddler lobs it across the room (which happens on a daily basis).

 When 7 o’clock rolls round, the only thing my butt is doing is making a large imprint on the sofa until the clock hits 10:30. The only time it moves is for snacks. I have no interest in faffing with some sadistic looking elf just so I can take photos and flaunt it at others. Surely the novelty wears off after a few days…

When I was a kid, I was over the moon to get a chocolate advent calendar rather than those crummy cheap ones with the vintage pics of Santa holding a lantern inside. Things really got exciting when the picture was Rudolph.

It ties in with this whole Christmas Eve Box thing…buying overpriced Christmas pyjamas in a personalised box to be worn for a singe night. It just seem excessive. Isn’t that what stockings are for – a little night before Christmas excitement. In fact, it’s Christmas the next bloody day, surely that is excitement enough!

To many expensive expectations now surround Christmas and make you feel like a bad parent if you don’t indulge in these. Will it be Easter Bunnies doing Funnies or Grin for the Pumpkin next?

Screw the elf on the shelf. I want my kids to behave for me, not for some slightly perverted looking fella who raids all your shit when you’re not looking. That is a criminal, not a Christmas tradition.


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What type of parent are you?

The more school runs I do, the more I notice the “types”. I keep hearing the phrase “middle-class mum” thrown around but I’m not still sure what it means.

Fitness Bunny:  Slender and toned, she’s dressed in the latest gym gear yet is still wearing a significant amount of make-up. Nobody truly knows if they actually go to gym after school or if it’s all a front.  NB: My friend once told me she did this to fit in with the other mums and went straight home after drop-off so I’m suspicious of them all.

Stay-out-of-its: These mums are here for business. They get in, drop off and get out. No chit chatting with the other parents or signing up for PTA stuff. Usually full-time working mums who arrive bang on time to avoid any socialising. Pretty wise to be fair.

Little Miss Sunshine:  She flounces in, a bundle of smiles, everything is handed in/paid for on time, usually a member of the PTA and just loves everything. A little but too much. While this sounds like a great person to be around, she makes everyone else look inadequate and you may want to hit her from time to time. Also, when she does occasionally lose it, she seriously flips her lid.

The Dad: I know it’s sexist but let’s face it, when there is a dad on the playground all the mums treat them differently like some sort of hero. It can’t be helped. Dads are always quite friendly but nervous which is understandable.

Scary Mums: The mums whose kids you never want to mix with yours. They’re loud, verbally offensive and quite frankly scary. Could be nice as pie, but when they’re shouting at their child to shut up/hurry up/man up, everyone feels awkward and pretends not to notice while secretly hoping their kid never wants a play date with these.

The Scared: Not to be confused with the Scary Mums. These ones are like quiet and frightened mice.  Also pleasant and smiley when spoken to but never one to say what they’re really thinking, making them equally sweet as they are dangerous.

Working mummies: I don’t mean the majority of mums who manage to hold down a career while being a parent (i.e. my idols) I mean the ones who are so keen to let everybody know they work in every single conversation. Even when it’s not relevant. Like the pencil skirt and blouse wasn’t enough of a hint.

 NCT Mums:  So overly competitive but in such a smiley and almost modest way you just don’t know where you stand. They think everybody is interested in how little their kids wakes during the night or how much her kids could eat carrot sticks and houmous all day long.  And of course, how often they meet up with their “NCT mums”. Massive culprits of the #cherishedmemories and #feelingblessed.

Which of these sound most like you??


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Picture Perfect?

  

   I reluctantly signed up to social media recently (to keep up to date with all the school stuff) and the reason for my reluctance is because of the false parenting snaps all over my news feed. Cheesy smiles from perfectly behaved kids who enjoyed an enriching craft morning followed by baking afternoon. Please.

   I wish more parents would open up about the realities of parenting and break down this taboo of not loving every second of it.

I would love to hear somebody answer with a “Do you know what, today I’m just not feeling it.” It makes you human. And makes you more likeable as a person. I’m so tired of hearing “Oh I’m great, we’re off to swimming because 1 year old George is an absolute water baby, just loves it. And then we’re going to the local farm park to feed the lambs and buy some organic produce to make courgette cakes with etc etc etc”  That person has neglected to include the tantrums getting into the car, getting into the pool, the poo in pool, the not-hitting-the-lamb-with-said-bottle and then lobbing the courgette cake up the wall. But again, the Instagram photos only capture the good.

   I think we should start a riot. A revolution – let’s post the god’s honest truth about how your day with little ones really is. Admit that sometimes it sucks. Give somebody else the courage to admit it is hard. Yes of course it is rewarding, heart warming and all that other jazz but let’s unite in the brutal reality of parenting and help reduce the devastating wealth of mum guilt and jealousy. No photo shopping life.

I’ll start:

Picture perfect:
For my daughter’s birthday, we went to farm park with the kids and their cousins to choose a pumpkin and do a fun Halloween Trail. Social Media Mum would post something like this:
Cant believe my snowflake has turned two! She loved the pumpkin trail. Time for the cake her brother helped make! These two are my world!

Reality:
One child was sick in the car while the other whinged the whole way. Birthday princess moaned all around trying to keep up with the trail then refused to get into the family photo. My cake got stuck in the tin and after many attempts at scraping it and trying to squish it back together, we ended up buying one from Sainsbury’s while all six kids (not mine, thank god) trashed my house. Cider and chocolate also slipped into my shopping basket next to the Oscar the Bear cake.