19

‘Oh My Bags Are Packed

The big h! Not our daughter, she’s big girl h, let’s not get confused. I’m talking about holidays. If you’ve been with us from the start you’ll know we had a disastrous half term trip up north a few years ago, the trip itself, lovely, but the decision to take the scenic route home kinda ruined the experience, there’s children, car journeys and a story about poo, check it out if you have a chance and want a laugh,

My sister, who’s amazing and whose in no way slummy blog can be read here. Alerted me that Mark Warner were looking for their 2016 ambassadors . She encouraged me to apply and as part of that I’m required to blog about my ideal holiday. This is a big opportunity, the post I mean, I had planned to write a piece entitled, how not to blog about food, I even made a vegan chilli tonight and took some obligatory from above ingredients shots…. Now I don’t feel bad at all that I’m sat in bed with a child either side, a husband at the base snoring (it’s 8pm) and I’m eating a creme egg, washed down with a glass of coke….it’s a vegan creme egg…. It was laid by a vegan chicken, she had dreds, a henna tattoo and a nose ring!

Writing about my ideal holiday should be easy, Scott and I play this game every week when we mentally spend our lotto winnings before realising we haven’t won, have no chance of winning and screw up the ticket vowing never to play again. In my mind I’ve built a whole house, complete with pool and treehouse, playroom, library, games room and farmhouse style kitchen. I’ve even taken into account the plumbing system for the ensuites…. This has taken a considerable amount of time and brain power and it’s quite nice to progress beyond the house and imagine a Macdonald family holiday.

 

     As I’m a perfectionist, nothing will be spared in this imaginary foray, the journey itself will last about three hours, long enough for us to watch some inflight movies (a nice Disney) and for people to compliment us on our well behaved brood, smug smug! but not so long that we have to resort to I spy a cloud, the chair goes up the chair goes down and/or similar such desperate ‘please don’t let the children scream and get us chucked off the flight’ forms of self sacrificing entertainment. Maybe the airline will supply crayons? I remember colouring in pictures of Jimmy jet as a child and I think a similar character based book would help our lot also… Big girl h would go for pink and ask for glitter, Roo would stay in the lines merticuliously and Nergy noo would eat the crayons…. It would be like home from home, except in the sky… On a side note. The first time I went on a plane, I was four and, after colouring in Jimmy jet, I asked my mum where the dead bodies were…. Before you begin questioning hidden childhood issues, I’d like to point out that apparently I thought I was in heaven… Both sweet and creepy at the same time right? I wonder how the mini Macdonalds would react?

Bc (before children) we were champions of the city break…. A visit to Rome (obligatory when your husband is a lecturer in Classics) and Amsterdam (obligatory when you’re a new couple and trying to demonstrate that you’re a cool, aloof, adventurous and in no way threatened girlfriend). Because we are such a cool couple, we hired a camper for our honeymoon and toured the filming locations of poldark!! This is pre Aiden Turner Poldark…. Told you we were cool!!!! We kept all the national trust stumps and spent hours in empty campsite club houses perfecting our table tennis skills…. Rain and holidays are our aesthetic!SC (Since children), we have managed a break to see friends in the north, a failed trip to Scotland for Christmas where the, it’s so perfect it’s snowing, went too far and we had to cancel, lest we be trapped on the road with a Christmas tree, abnormally large Turkey and another five miles to reach the cottage we hired (it had a hot tub and everything) and more recently, a long weekend to Peppa Pig world, no hot tub, lots of rain and actually fun had by all.

  


Children are our main focus now, bet that’s a relief to hear….. We wouldn’t want childcare when away, mainly because that would also require a wet nurse for nergy noo but also because we quite like having them! So entertainment and exploration would be the core theme. Not ones to lazy about in the sun we quite fancy a giant tree house holiday with cycle paths, pottery and waterslides… A hot tub for the evening might help soothe some past hurts. Any holiday has to be combined with the teaching calendar so we haven’t actually been abroad since our hen and stag dos…. Woe be us. Lots of all inclusive food because holiday calories never count and because I’ve lost four stone this year and want to challenge myself to see how long it takes to put it all back on.

A real Brady bunch affair, where we say goodnight in singsong voices after hot chocolate and fun filled frolics of the day… Family picnics, running through the daisies…. Spilt drinks and cucumber sandwiches, you get the picture! It’s all about togetherness. 

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We are fairly quiet people, In fact when deciding on peppa pig world I had to remind my other half that a house in the countryside really wouldnt be a holiday as we currently live in a house, in the countryside. The rain of that long weekend meant there were no queues…and,as introverts we relished that there were not many people either, what a bonus!

 so, an ideal holiday for us has a shortish flight, crayons, a hot tub, lots of active and kid friendly activities, a hot tub, no other people, a hot tub, a tree house, lots of food, a hot tub, a wet nurse and possibly peppa pig (cos we know we can handle her! What do you think Mark Warner? Up to the Macdonald challenge?…..

Did I say I’d like a hot tub? Or course that is in the imaginary house that Emily build so Im quite happy to forgo that if youd like to supply a lotto ticket instead??? Now you did say you don’t need a replica of our dissertations for this blog post…. But just so you know, I got a first for my dissertation…… And my degree in fact….. Media and Creative Writing degree…… With a combined honours in ‘I’d be a wonderful holiday brand ambassador cos I’m funny and have a beautiful family’ if you’re not swayed…. Here an incentive…… It’s play money….but it’s bribed our way out the playroom and up to the dining table many times….. Only looking at it gives it away!!….. Oh I do have a SLR camera in the study charging…. Next to the passports

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Frozen Party

so last year, when on mat leave, I had time to kill. With big girl H turning 9 I knew it was prob the last princess party I would host. (Sob) I went all out planning for the big day. Here are some snaps and ideas if you’re thinking of hosting one for your little Anna or Elsa! 

   
  
    
  

    
    
  

    
    
    
   

11

Making a Comeback

Turns out I’m not such a slummy mummy! I know! those of you who have seen me answer the door in just my pjs and odd socks with a baby slung on my hip may find it hard to believe, but, 9 months of maternity leave and a er…… Break from blogging opened my eyes a little.
Turns out I’m just a perfectionist who takes on too much. 

I’d have felt a fraud if I’d continued blogging in this time, great excuse right! But it’s true. Following nergs birth I actually turned into Martha fikkin stewart!!

Septembers a good time to be born… Oh I’m not talking about the academic school year, although, as a late August baby I know this will be advantageous to him, but actually, it means mummy is work free for the most important milestones…… I’m talking about Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Bonding time with baby is good too

I spent the first few months alternating between boobing baking, cleaning, and box sets. All those buffy and Dawsons creek episodes that had built up over the years, were now within my grasp, and, when more quiet time was needed, I would browse Pinterest for my next project, 

Now I’m back to work…. Or have been since August. I miss those moments. But surprisingly I wonder if I’m happier slummy?! I’m still trying to create the Pinterest image but I think my husband likes me more now. 

I kept an immaculate (and I mean immaculate) home, the children were fed home cooked concoctions and there was time for crafts without neglecting the clean up afterwards. But I was a bit like a broken record…. I’m not sure he could not have coped with anymore conversations on which colour scheme to do this or that occasion…. Also it all seems a bit shallow now, my days marked only by the next event coming up… I feel sure I was turning into my mother in law… Who writes ‘start packing’ on the calendar a week before going on holiday. Coupled with the fact that the spouse spent the first 6 months on the sofa bed while I co slept, demand fed and drank coffee in the king size, I began to see how couples grow apart. 

We hear all the time that you should have your own identity as a couple but being a homemaker turned me into a subservient little wife. I loved it in a way, being needed by my family, everything was done, clothes washed, beds made, toilets frikkin sparkling…. A clear surrounding does improve your mood. But then what? My whole existence and sense of pride, was based upon being needed and doing things for others… Omg!! I’m selfish if I’m saying that’s not enough right?

What about the kids? Surely it was better for them, me not rushing about grabbing a homework book with one hand and the laptop in the other? answering questions on phonics while writing about parenting that I’m not actually doing. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty certain I began living through them, in manner of scary stage parent. The homemade costumes, the non parenting with biscuits… They prob missed the iPad apps and dreaded the lets browse Tesco again for craft supplies… Lets bake another lasagne from scratch when what they really want is fish fingers. Less complicated meals without the expectation of gratitude at the bottom of the plate. My eldest certainly drew the line when I mentioned marching up to the school to retrieve the worn once PE kit…. Just to give me something to wash, no questions about what this is in her pocket….. She can collect as many stones as she likes now because I’ve not turfed out her Parker for at least three months.

What’s funny is no one was anymore grateful than they are now I’m back to my slummy ways. I feel crappy that I can’t do all I did then, but actually I think my other half will chose to tackle the laundry basket over listing to the drone of my voice as I describe in detail again, how I discovered an awesome new stain remover for real nappies. I think he’d rather wear odd socks than hear how I spent the last two days pairing up 3 years worth of uncoupled ones. 

Dont get me wrong, not all SAHM are like this at all!! But I’m obsessive, a perfectionist… Better I be a slightly grumpy one throwing my being into a million projects and incomplete tasks, than a neurotic one throwing herself  into two or three…. Im not sure, I’ll have to ask hubby which ‘me’ he prefers when he comes home… To our messy house, with a 17month old at the breast and no dinner ready… Hey, today I cleared my work email inbox and put the clean but un ironed washing on the stairs go me!!! 

Oh and I had no time to upload images this time so here’s a picture from peppa pig! We have reconnected with the show over the last four months, fab babysitter!!  
 

1

Return Of The Slummy Mummy

With mat leave nearly at an end (boo) I’ll be returning soon with updates from the past 8 months. Just why did I drop off of the face of the planet as D day approached? How have we coped as a family of 5? Birth stories and Birthday parties, new jobs, crazy cleaning sprees and plenty of school run mishaps to come:

For now I leave you with the lovelies…

BIg Girl H, Little Roo and our newest addition Nergy Noo
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1

The Smug Beastfeeder

I hope this this post isn’t as controversial as you may think, I’m a proud breast feeder, I’m one of those annoying women who do like to slip it into conversation whenever I get a chance. Now not many bfeeding mums will admit this, but we are bloody chuffed with ourselves and, actually it gets on our goat when we feel we have to dumb this down for fear of offending our formula feeding friends. But do we judge you for your choices? This is a difficult one perhaps outlining the real reason I breastfeed will help you see there is no prejudice.

I’d love to say that I’m motivated purely by the health of my child, that I’m selfless, which in turn would mean I consider formula feeders to be selfish right? This simply isn’t true. We hear about the guilt women feel when they give baby a bottle, the pressure and expectations on mothers to breastfeed is very very real and this is a strong motivation for me. I’m a perfectionist, I worry a lot about the opinions of others and I couldn’t cope with that guilt even though I know it is ridiculous that any mother should feel this pressure. I’m motivated by fear of judgement…. Not the health needs of my baby

I’m a ‘slummy mummy’ we know this, That is to say I’m not a domestic goddess, I had much admiration for women who have to spend time cleaning, sterilising and making up bottles, I would never call formula feeding a lazy option. I couldn’t do it, bottles would build up and cause stress and anxiety, I know myself well enough to say that if I had to deal with this endless stream of washing I would struggle emotionally, I’m motivated by my own limitations….not the health needs of my baby

Having had a turbulent childhood I have struggled to form attachments in my life, I had never been in love until I met my husband and having children does full fill a need in me to connect with others. That is not to say that I’m unaware that my children need to form identities outside of their family unit or that they are merely extensions of myself, It’s very important that our children are encouraged to be their own person right? but, breastfeeding is vital for me personally as it enables me to form a bond with my child which I may struggle with ordinarily given my history. Childhood attachment is built by many different factors and formula feeding would not prevent a strong healthy attachment from forming, however, for a mother who struggles understanding even the basics of human attachment it provides a foundation to work from….. I’m motivated by my desire to connect….not the health needs of my baby

Having outlines these reasons I hope to show that it is these reasons which kept me going in those early hours of the morning, there seems to be a misconception that if you breastfeed you were lucky, In fact I often find myself saying that to people, well my children nursed well, I had a good supply, didn’t encounter difficulties etc. But it’s not true, I struggled through pain, thrush, lazy attachments, hours of nursing, tears and arguments with my partner, feelings of being touched out etc, Once I remember going for a drive and leaving my baby and husband at home for half an hour just because I could bare to draw my baby to my breast for the eighth time that morning, but it’s for the reasons above I pushed on through…

I’m not a saint, motivated my some earth mother like desire to selflessly provide for my offspring, I’m not judging you for doing what any sane person would do given the many difficulties faced by breastfeeding … but the health benefits which are so pushed at us as new mothers are merely a bonus to me. I breastfeed because it’s the best thing for me and my child and if you formula feed well, I can pretty much guarantee you do so because you know it’s the best thing for you and your child also.

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0

Things that annoy me when I’m pregnant

Ok so hormones go a little bit crazy during pregnancy, and most of this stuff is my responsibility, but that doesn’t stop me breathing fire once in a while.

1. When people do a pee in the toilet I just cleaned……

2. Cooking disasters

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3. When my cup of tea goes cold

4.When people put anything other than books on the book shelf

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5.When I get up for the 3rd time that night to pee

6.and the toilet roll hasn’t been replaced correctly

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7. Having to adjust the seat in the car

8. When things are left on the stairs

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9. Forgetting why I have walked into a room

10. When the stair rail is used instead of the coat hooks

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11. Finding myself sobbing during the opening sequence to Fireman Sam

12. Tea bags left on the side

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13. Toothpaste in the sink

14. When the table isn’t cleared from breakfast before creativities begin…. mmmm toast crumb cards

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15. When my husband has hic-ups…. or sneezes, or snores, or burps…. or breaths too heavily

16. The vacuum cleaner lead….. enough said!!

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17. Discovering there’s no milk….. after brewing my cupa

18. Forgetting to remove the veg crate before using the microwave and praying for thanks that the house didn’t go up in flames

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Sucking on coins at week 14

That’s right, I’m 14 weeks preggers and I have no idea when that happened, I’m still not even sure I am pregnant (bar the scan pics but they could be faked right?)

…. I had visions of telling you all about the real side of pregnancy, the un-glossy version you don’t read about in parenting magazines, but this little bean is so different from my previous two ‘monster symptom’ pregnancies that I’d feel like a fraud if I told you I was puking every day. Oh yes I’ve been sick, but with both H and Roo I did the exorcist impression every day for pretty much my entire pregnancy (and into labour last time) this time around I’m doing so much better.

I do have that ghastly metallic taste thing for the first time though, It doesn’t matter how many times I clean my teeth you can pretty much guarantee everything tastes like copper, yuk! I’m drinking lemonade like nobody’s business to try and counteract this, but I’m pretty sure that rotting my insides with fizz is probably counterproductive, I don’t know what else I can do though, two weeks of sucking on a coin!! Given this, it’s surprising the sickness is kept at bay really…lemon

Had a call from the midwife with my blood results and looks like they need to test again this week, I suspect anaemia because it doesn’t matter how much broccoli I munch on I always seem to suffer from this, It’s a little worrying because I’ve been taking iron supplements for months now, but I’m sure all will be well.

I’m determined not to pile on the pounds this time around and I’m very proud to say that, other than family outings, I’ve not driven the car for weeks; you know that your fitness is improving when you can hold convocation with other playground mums without having to wheeze a hello after walking up the hill to the school. Having said this I’m a little miffed to find my clothes getting tighter, not a problem if I wasn’t still in maternity wear from the previous pregnancy though! I’m loving that I don’t feel I need to hide my baby belly although given the looks I’ve had, I think some people suspect I’ve put on weight, or worse, when they look at Roo then my tummy, that I must have more chub left over from 2012 than I really do, All should become clear to them when it rounds out a bit more though… bring on the summer maxi dresses.suck-in-gut1

So apparently baby is the size of a lemon now and I’m starting to look ahead to our scan in 6 weeks, Hubby is refusing to play the name game as he says we settle on one, he gets used to it then I change my mind again… he has a point! Baby Roo was always Baby Roo but we went through a few girl name ideas settling on Viola in the end (I’m so relieved he was boy as I really don’t like that now) and I still find female names harder, H was Beth for quite a while and was going to be Samuel for boy but I do prefer more quirky names now…. Hubby is set on a particular boys name and I think he reckons he can convince me of it but I’m not sure….. Difficult! I guess it’s just ‘Macfly’ for a while longer