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Sunday is our typical walk day, and the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the toddler was tantruming… Etc etc so today we stayed at home.. Except we used the garden and our brand spanking new BBQ!
Hell! It was hard work… All that waiting, salad prepping, Pimms drinking, I’m a ball of tiredness this evening. But, it’s the most fun we have had in a long time.
I know the family BBQ is meant to be a staple pastime, but until now we hadn’t made the most of our garden. We have a large deck which overlooks the fields and a smaller lawn area which is beautiful, but deadly…. Seriously there’s a shear drop onto the hedge below and, until this weekend, we were unsure what to do… We had this new shiny toy… Re hot death trap and a six foot drop
Out came the playpen, to bridge the gap. The children wouldn’t be able to use the garden but they could spend the day on the deck… Luckily that’s where the outside tap is. After eating, playing, snail taming (more on that later) we had a water fight…. Yes all of us! Playing catch with water balloons on a belly full of piri piri pork and burgers, we had a whale of a time. It’s days like this that make me all reflective. Who says we are not cool parents (eh H?)
We have none, well, one plastic chair (that we had to wrestle Aragog in the shed for) and a rusty old table, which I covered in a table cloth. But jeez, how expensive is your basic table and chairs set??? Last year I ordered one on Amazon…. It arrived and we collapsed into giggles… It was a kids set… So, this year I’m attempting the pallet upcycle…. Oh yes I am…. I’ve pinned it!
You see it on all the summer pictures, children prancing about in giant paddling pools with a Wendy house and supersoakers…. We (had) a tiny ring but Aragog saw to it that we will never touch it again… It’s at the back of the shed, with his babies…. But turns out, you don’t need all that stuff, the tent for our playroom served as shade, a skipping rope….
One cosy coupe… Strike that, we need two… Two cosy coupes for the love of god we need two….it turns out, playing petrol pump attendant, while your brother Flintstones around the decking is not a cool, fun job…. A job which leads to tears and screams… A job that ends in someone getting hurt. And, if you’re wondering…. It’s not a role that can be appeased with ice poles.
Today Harriet became a mother (of sorts) she took under her wing a snail, Barbara by name, slimy by nature. She protected Barbara from younger children, children who insisted she needed ‘more food’ while hurling dandelions at her and burying her under a mountain of leaves. She stroked her shell and talked in hushed tones. I was reminded of the Dick-King-Smith novel from my childhood….SOPHIE’S SNAIL?
Now I know what you’re thinking, my sub heading does spell impending doom…. But hold on to your shells, Barbara lives… But H did learn something…
‘I’m going to have to let her go….. I can’t protect her forever, it’s just too much responsibility’
Straight face, eyebrow raised emoji and a knowing nod.
If I was a Lego piece which would I be?….. This is the sort of conversations my husband and I have. Sat in the car on our way back from Drogo (national trust) on Sunday, he asks me this…… Post wondering if we could get away with just a quick sarnie for dinner cos we are too tired to cook….and after chatting about our latest eBay finds…. We actually spent a solid 20 mins discussing the personification of Lego.
We decided to jazz up the already riveting debate by assigning two pieces, one for ourselves and one for the other….. We then compared
A 2×2 for him
A single roof point for me (the one that is split into four and sits in the centre of the imaginary house)
He’s a 2×2 because he’s simple (not in the intellectual sense) but useful, the cornerstone, strong and dependable….Yes, I know I’ve made him sound boring, but truth is, you know where you are with a 2×2….. I suppose he could be a clear one? Or a jazzy colour? To set him apart from the rest?…. He’s not disappointed with my analogy though, on the contrary…. He starts taking about the building blocks of Rome….
I’m that single roof point, coz I’m pretty eclectic, I mean really not much use for anything other than the job in hand…. (The perfectionist) but once you find me I complete you…. Well, your home anyway…. Often stuck under the sofa, surrounded by dust….. Lost in a pile of toys…. But I make it worthwhile…. I have purpose…. I’m the more ‘driven’ block in our marriage…. I don’t fit in other places, I’m a bit awkward…. I like my comfort zone….. Oh and I’m red…. Red hair and perhaps a bit fiery
A 1X1 for him
A hinge for me
Apparently, he considers himself hard to find….. I mean he’s kinda right. He’s there, lots of him about, tackling various jobs always on the move, but there when it’s important…. I mean you ever built something and had that final gap left??. He also pointed out how versatile, if a little time consuming, the 1X1 is…. They’re content on their own, but also thrive as a pair of group, providing the company is of similar stature… He can’t be dealing with the bigger blocks…. The ones out to prove they’re better. Not competitive at all…..Useful and content
I’m a hinge (according to him) because I’m creative…. I mean a hinge can be a door, a drawbridge a….. Something else creative he couldn’t come up with…. He also did say hinges get squeaky and require more maintenance than your average Lego piece….. I didn’t argue…. I was too busy trying to think of another use for a hinge, but yeh, I’ll go with that…..
What about you? Crazy question, pointless post…. But I bet it’s got you thinking too….
Today, after a week of waiting I got some crappy news… As you know I started a new role recently and it’s been so lovely to get out the house and feel like me again. I found myself not only thrown into a new role where I can use my brain, but I actually getting time alone in the city…. Beautiful long walks along the canal…. The odd costa coffee…. It’s been good for the old empowerment and self esteem malarkey ….Perhaps it went to my head, perhaps I forgot for a brief while that I was a mum… Whatever the reason, I applied for a Saturday job….
An escape room
Forgetting the children for one afternoon in half term, Scott and I went to one of these attractions…. A date if you will, a rather over due one…. (2 years to be exact) and, on returning from a brilliant day, I saw they were looking for staff… My cv is colourful (no really, it’s bright pink) and I have some experience pre marriage of film set working and acting….. It was a dream job…..
For me ten years ago….
And I got an interview.
I’m not sure how it happened, perhaps it was running from my new role to this one too quickly to even glance down at my cv but blindly run I did …. into the interview, confident and feeling good…. I forgot to think about what THEY would want from Me.
My head was filled with ME and how awesome it would be for ME! Oh dear god, working has made me a little selfish…. I even left feeling confident….. I didn’t think that mentioning the children, or toddler group or even that I once worked at McDonald’s… (It was said in jest)……Would be a hindrance…. But now…. After waiting a whole week in hope, and being crushed by rejection this evening, I realise……. I’m not who I was ten years ago…. I’m a working mum and the two are entertwinded…. Not separate.
I could have gone in, been more quirky than geeky….. Not even mentioned the kids…. Bigged up the pre baby experience, shown the pre wife me…. And maybe I wouldn’t be feeling so darn crap…… And a part of me is kicking myself that I didn’t
I’d spent the best part of a week thinking about my ‘new’ life, the extra money….. I even got some new clothes….. I started up my healthy eating, been running….. All this focus on me….. And then, Bam…REJECTION
Now, I’m not saying it was discrimination, I was told the role was filled by someone who they thought was a better match….. And I realise I couldn’t agree more…. It’s an arty quirky, young person company…. And I have to accept that’s not me anymore…. if it ever was…. It’s a bitter pill to swallow…. But a firkkin important one
It’s not family vs work
It’s not me as a mum vs me as a person
It’s just me and I’m not these different boxes or labels. I’m a working mum, who is thirty (still not there yet) and a bit of a geek….. But not in the cool quirky Florence and the machines kind way….. In a slightly awkward, perfectionist but loving way….. And that is that
I’m me regardless of if I’m working or mothering….. I’m gutted, but I know there are lessons to be learnt. I looked down at my children today, h tooth fell out at dinner, Roo asked me to read his bedtime story tonight…. Nerg is poorly and hugging and lethargic and I know they’re part of who I am now…. And this selfish phase can be put into perspective and put to bed also ….. Tonight, I’m going to hug my husband, enjoy a good box set while mapping out ideas of my blog and two other jobs…. Listening out for Nerg…. Ignoring the housework…..
I might keep up the healthy eating and running though…. 9lbs down
So the scene is set, you’ve decorated the room for a troupe of mini pirates, what’s next? here is a rundown of the food we laid out for little Roos third birthday. amazingly it was fairly simple, a few mini chalk boards from The Range and even the obligatory cheese and pineapple sticks were given a ‘jolly’; twist.
To whom it may concern
Today our little but loud family of five visited your establishment, This was an impromptu trip following a disastrous day at Tkmax and not quite soft play. The consolation prize,for our rather disheveled children, was cookies and hot chocolate in your cafe.
Please don’t think you are always our last resort, we love your Christmas displays and also enjoy a turn through your aisles to look at cute shabby chic storage and name magnets. We don’t visit the plants Im afraid, for a reason that will soon become clear….
I’d like you to know, it was us, or rather our 3 year old, who plucked that large lemon from your £50 pot on the cafe floor, but before you send in the troops allow me to explain….
Tkmax was a hastily decision, one made in desperate need, I wanted clothes and it was raining… We forgot the pushchair and the youngest was screaming before I even reached the clearance section. After running around the store (my husband after the children) we accepted defeat and decided to go to a soft play centre….. It’s the last day of the Easter holidays you see and shopping just isn’t fair on anyone.
We trooped to the car and made our way to a centre we haven’t visited before. Outside were two women having an altercation, cigarettes in hand, they were shouting at one another while a child ran between them near the busy road. Ever so politely pushing past them, I send my husband to investigate the play area. He returned quickly and announced £15 for three children to be squeezed into a ball pit wouldn’t be any easier than our store visit earlier…. We relented and decided on you instead, a haven for the middle classes…..
Unfortunately, in the excitement of not quite soft playing, our middle child had an accident….so, on arriving husband promptly took him to clean up while i carried the screaming 18 month around….promising him cookies soon …. Your staff were lovely, trying to make him smile, and I willed him to respond, he cried some more…. I really don’t understand why….. Except maybe, you know, he’d spent the morning in tkmax and an hour in the car…. He wanted nothing more than to run about your centre, I couldn’t let that happen.
We headed to the cafe. Now, I’d like you to inform the customers who were present that I’m a blogger, my photo taking was not a sign of a neglectful mother, just a Instagram mum wanting to get the cookie angle just right. Yes, I saw those eye rolls, yes I know my child needs a wetwipe and the eldest is slurping her drink…. But please try and understand….. Not one of them is crying!!!!
During our cookie binge, middle boy told us proudly that he wanted to pick a lemon from your gorgeous lemon trees….. We distracted him with hot chocolate and said No firmly….. We then enjoyed five mins of gentle chatter before the youngest decided he’d had enough. We went to leave.
Now, I have waitressed before and, I’m always careful to stack the dishes and remove crumbs from the floor before leaving a cafe, it’s only fair…. My husband, also contentious, wanted to ensure all sticky fingers were wiped before anyone went near anything shabby chic….
Unfortunately there are two of us and three children….. Somewhere between plate stacking, face wiping and finger scrubbing Roo grabbed that lemon!
I know we should have come to tell you, in fact I said it loudly several times because I didn’t want to seem like a disinterested mum…. I’d already had eye rolls….. But the plant was £50 and we had shunned the £15 soft play…. It was a rather large lemon (I snapped a pic as we marched Roo to the exit) it may well have fallen off before too long anyway, but I’m ashamed I didn’t inform you what had happened…. The eye rolly crowd probably told you about the slummy family who left it there, in the pot, all alone….. But we didn’t…. We were too broke and too mortified…
I’ve been thinking about it since and I want to say a big sorry, on behave of Roo! Who did not have any jelly for dessert tonight.
When Scott is off work for the holidays it’s always strange, our routines fly out the window and I find myself being, to put it bluntly, a bit lazy. Anyone who’s other half teaches will understand the scenario. You look forward to relaxing without the hassle of school run or toddler group rushing around and then you just kinda flop about… Even our Sunday walks fall by the wayside because there is always tomorrow. With Easter and two parties, plus job interviews and….er….netflicks, I find myself so much less productive. I have about seven unpublished posts and we didnt get out as much as we wanted. We did manage a date though….. This is unheard off.
We did make it to the park yesterday, I even had a go on the zip wire (picture NOT INCLUDED) So here’s a couple of snaps. I expect once we settle back into routine I’ll finally get round to sharing more…. Some advice for other bloggers…. Don’t get it right, get it written. Enjoy! And I hope you all had a wonderful Easter break.
Despite claiming this blog is about juggling motherhood and a career, I have to admit there’s not been a whole lot of juggling recently, it’s more a game of grab the balls when you can….. Yeh… I’ll just leave that one here for parents all around the globe to relate to also…..
But in seriousness everything blends into one…. We are back to talking responsibilities now…. I work to a loose schedule, fitting in 14 hours work around the children, washing, blog, housework etc. some days, when roos at preschool and Nerg having a nap, I find myself in bed, with the boob monster, going through emails, flagging to action and staring at how dirty the mirrors are.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post on this and it got me thinking more about what I want to do in life, oh the cliche.
Working from home just hasn’t been working for me since I returned from maternity leave. My responsibilities and priorities mesh together into one big ball of guilt. I’ve been considering dropping down some tasks at work so I can focus more on others. I flit about between roles and it has taken it toll on me. I was hoping I could hold on until the boys went to school but my head has been filled with a never ending to do list, which when your whole life is based at home, you just can’t switch off from it….. Every evening I’ve been playing a game of me vs house. I mean, we’ve just got Netflix and I kinda wanna enjoy it! So I took the plunge and applied for a job. Great reasoning hey?
Two interviews (six changes of clothes) and a chat with my current manager later, and here I am, ready to embark on a new journey, one which knocks my home working hours right down, but forces me out of my comfort zone, and the boys….Into childcare….and h into after school club. Luckily, Scott’s teaching hours mean he can take on some childcare and we can keep our mothers help, which is so important as she’s been in our lives nearly three years. But we do need a further care and that’s scary! I have mothers guilt from Hs babyhood still hanging over me and at 18 months Nerg hasn’t been away from me for more than a couple of hours. I’m faced with one and a half days away from him now but the only thing I feel guilty about, is my lack of guilt.
We visited a nursery when Roo was 6 months old and I couldn’t bare it, I don’t know why, but I felt that I would be abandoning him…. But nerg is so sociable that I find myself saying ‘he’ll love it’ and I actually mean it.
If I didn’t have to work, I guess I’d carry on at home… Use my crafts as a creative outlet…. But I don’t have the choice to be a SAHM and, if I have to work… I want to bloody well enjoy it and feel I’m giving my all. This new role is tremendously exciting and my perfectionist side is so relieved that I can finally do justice to my current job also.
Working from home with little ones just isn’t doable on a large scale, not for me anyway. I can get out, earn the pennies, build a career and the house will be in the same state I left it in the morning…still piles of washing…..but nothing added, it will feel so strange to be me, not me as a mum….or sat I’m my laundry room office for hours trying to focus through the dirty pants….its still the same amount of balls…. but, more juggling space.
Maybe I really can have it all? And, if I feel tired or overwhelmed, well, I can sit down with a glass of vino in the evening and watch Netflix!!
A week ago I wrote a poem to my not so little girl. Tonight she is having a sleepover, they have made a music video and I was invited to watch, it was hilarious and once again reminded me how grown up she is becoming. I popped my head around the door a few moments ago and excitedly announced ‘chubby bunnies?’ While holding aloft two bags of marshmallows. They put down their iPads (big girl h doesn’t have one) and eagerly accepted the challenge…. I was not invited to take part, I was, however, offered the second bag and, cheeks full of fluff, returned slowly, dejectedly,downstairs to Scott.
He is making a pirate sail in the kitchen for Roos party…. Turning away from the poster paint he asks me ‘are you going to take up some rice crispy squares?’ with a grin…. I had to blog about this. Rice crispy squares of course symbolise that I’m in ‘Molly Weasley’ territory, which, for my younger two is pretty cool….. But I guess its decidedly uncool to a tween… I’m not saying I want to be Mrs George (see mean girls) but I did think I would be a ‘hip’ mum….. My sister pointed out to me earlier that that will never happen, no matter how many shapes I throw, no matter how many times I recite all the lyrics to Little Mix’s Black Magic, or learn all the ‘in phrases’ or make silly jokes…. I will always be a regular mum… Unimmune to the eye roll…. Forever an embarrassment.
But I’m a young mum….. Or I was…. I’m not 30 yet, I’m down with the lingo…. In with the kids…. I have a crush on Harry styles too (it’s the hair). Woe is me!!!!
I want to offer some words of wisdom to mums everywhere at the start of their journey…. Don’t say no….. If your little girl asks to paint a picture with you! Do it! Washing can wait, that news article can be saved, that job, is just that, a job! …. Build that tower…. Read that second story…. Hold their hand a while longer…..One day, you’ll find your presence isn’t requested so much…. They will always need you, but those constant invitations to join their little world will be more selective. As they grow and mature….. They need space to find who they are….. Mum may not be the biggest influence in their life…. Friends take your place and it’s bloody scary.
Big girl H has some lovely ‘BFF’s’ and I’m proud that she has a solid friendship group, unfickle, sensible and polite….. It makes letting go a bit easier. If you had told me when I held that little baby in my arms at 19, that the letting go process began at 10, I would have laughed. I would have thought…. Don’t make them grow up too quickly….pop songs, iPads, Harry frikkin styles! No way! I won’t let her! But how could I know then what I now realise…. She’s growing at her rate, the rate of all tween girls around the country…. 10 isn’t the new 13…. It’s just the start of the next chapter…. Where one day, she won’t turn to me first….
But for now, every-time she calls for me, every time she asks for my advice or shares her racing thoughts with me, I will listen…. I will savour….Unless she’s telling me again how much she loves emojis….. I won’t tell her I love them too, because then she’ll think I’m trying to ‘be cool’ and I’ll never be invited to play chubby bunnies.
I’ve been reading some lovely posts from established bloggers on their 10 signs. Although I’ve been blogging for three years, I’m only now beginning to link in with the parent blogging community, therefore I’m not in humble brag territory just yet, no PR companies begging for collaboration…. . Just the odd acne treatment… And no regular linkups being hosted…. Although I’d love to host one one day… Therefore my ten signs are more for the writers out there trying to blog their way to fame…. I see myself as the Bridget Jones of the blogging world… Not the famous diary bit… But the big Spanx bit, the glamour fails and the constant use of ……… (Mainly because I ramble and am got great at punctuation)
Any who here are my 10 signs
1. When buying (charity scouting) for children’s clothes, I look for items that would look good on Instagram…. I’m talking bright yellows and orange… I don’t care how cute that jumper is, if it’s beige it’s a no no
2. Despite appreciating what a huge decision having another child is, more than once you have thought ‘wouldn’t it be great for my WordPress stats’
3. Those lovely crafts and designs you did with your children during the day?….. Yeh, you might have remade one for your blog images….
4. You have more draft posts in your iPad notes than you’ve had hot cups of tea…..
5. Rather than saying ‘are you going to call your mum/sister/friend’ after an argument, your other half says ‘suppose your gonna blog about it now’
6. When talking to someone, you’re never quite sure if you should reuse you antidote of an event… Because you’re never quite sure if they’ve read the blog version or not
7. A parenting debate appears on Twitter, rather than reading and moving on you wonder if you should blog your stance….. A Lot…. Then it dies down and you regret missing out on that #
8. Your personal social media is neglected in favour of your blog page…… It’s ok aunt Julie…. If you want to know how the grand nephews and nieces are getting on pop over to ‘slummy mummy’ on Facebook and give us a like
9. You have called your children by their blog nicknames more than once. Sorry H, little Roo and Nerg…. At least mummy got you the right way around for once
10. You are crazily proud of your little corner of the net, you drop your url into most conversations and even have that little link on your CV… Just I case prospective employers want to read about Dawsons creek and nappy disasters