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!!  
 

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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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1

The Shame of a Messy Car

Today, as I procrastinate on the web I find myself thinking of those little jobs that never get done. Sure, I could be working my way through them now, but cleaning the car out won’t enhance my career as a writer will it?

Of course I could do what I’m sure sensible people do and bring the rubbish in after each trip rather than letting the footwell’s fill up with wrappers, books, children’s clothing and various debris: That would be far too simple wouldn’t it? I have instead, a boot full of plastic bags, each one signifies my intention to tidy….. Before I set off on various exciting expeditions to the supermarket or the thrill of the school run, I load up the children into their car seats and add a carrier to the boot: for when I return home I shall bring in the wildlife!! On the very few occasions I have managed to achieve this, the plastic bags sit on the stairs for at least a week before my long suffering husband decides he has had enough of me walking past them and sorts them out himself….. Many a suitable child’s jumper has be worn and discarded in that car, only to be retrieved with such a lapse in time that it nolonger reaches the wrist.

But who cares right? I don’t often have car visitors. The other half has a quick jog round if the in-laws are coming for fear they will see it as another reason why I’ll never be good enough for their son….. If the MIL starts clearing it out then I know I’ve gone too far. Shame on me for allowing life to get in the way of a spotless car eh?. She does have a small point though, if passive aggressively made: It is fairly shameful isn’t it? I mean, I hate that moment just before I step out the car door, where I pray that a red bull can will not clatter out after me or heaven forbid, someone finds out we had drive-through Macdonalds a week ago… oh the shame!

Not too long ago the eldest opened her door, only for a sudden gust of wind to blow 10 sandwich bags across the playground (leftover from our half term trip, should H get travel sickness). Of course I then had a choice, do I run after them thus alerting even more people to the fact that I’m a complete Slummy Mummy, or do I leave them and risk the raised eyebrows of the few Chelsea tractor driving yummies who did see….. I opted for a third option, yes, I made it into a game…. Quick H, chase the bags, catch the bags, oh isn’t this fun….. Since that day the eldest has continued to ask me ‘when can we play the bag catch game again mummy?’….

The upside to all this however, is that as the car gets messier and messier I HAVE to get more organised in the mornings (?). I can now be found leaving the house at a reasonable time in order to avoid having to park at the school: I’m officially a walker now. The shame of being the parent who gets in THAT car is all consuming. I’ve seen more than the odd glance at the dashboard by families walking past, ‘wow mummy look at that’ the children point at the lose change, pair of sunglasses (yes, in the middle of winter) pieces of lego and wetwipes which festoon the ledge….. I can only hope that such families passing have the same walk/drive debate and can empathise…. If not, well…. Maybe they are cleaning out their cars rather than writing about not doing it..….
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3

Slummy Chic

Half term is rapidly approaching and I can’t wait, here’s why

  • I can spend some quality time with the eldest
  • I can spend some quality time with the hubby (who doesn’t work school holidays)
  • I also have the week off of work
  • I can (fingers crossed) have a lay in at some point next week, bliss
  • I won’t have to do the school run: Yay extra jammie time
  • Halloween is just around the corner
  • Hubby has offered to decorate one room of my choosing..

It’s this last one which has got me in a spin, one room, any room (bar the family room, which is open plan living/dining room/kitchen and will no doubt be in use) I can chose either mine or Scott’s office, one of the toilets, our bedroom or one of the children’s. So here’s the dilemma, which do I chose? Being a ‘Slummy Mummy’ means I have my own unique way of decorating, this usually involves the following:

  • Buying candles (lots of candles, purely ornamental mind you)
  • Buying picture frames (lots of picture frames)
  • Purchasing those mini paint tester pots (You know the ones, where you paint a stripe on each wall and it they sits there for 3 years while you decide which colour you prefer)
  • Buying cushions (lots of cushions)
  • Collecting paint supplies (we have a range of different tapes, overalls, dust sheets, brushes and rollers)
  • Hours of internet research with Google images
  • Hours of internet research with Pinterest
  • Hours of internet research with DIY stores
  • Hours of wandering around show homes, department stores and the home sections of supermarkets for inspirationhome final

So with all this, how many rooms have I decorated in the last ten years? Let’s think, 5 homes, er 0 complete rooms:

Home 1, a flat, no point decorating, this is a pit stop

Home 2, all neutral anyway, I painted a wall of the kitchen bright pink, only to have it all crumble and fall off during the winter, that was a coooold house, I did put up some stickers in the hallway and begin my candle collection though.

Home 3, painted a previously hideous brown wall: green, got cushions, used testers, added to the candle collection…. Painted H’s room and put up a border…. (I lie, I met my husband that year, and he did that for me)

Home 4….. Paid a decorator to do our downstairs and My husband painted our larder door, I then stripped the wall paper in our bedroom, got bored, fell pregnant (not cos I was bored) and stared at a half done wall for a year.

So here we are home number 5!!!! I’m pleased to say, this is our 10 year house…. So when you think about it, there’s no rush to decorate really….. maybe I’ll get some new cushions

1

Mum Flu

I’ve been a bit MIA of late, I call it mum flu, not to be confused with the male variety of this illness, mum flu is very different. For a start Mum flu is real, it’s the weight of the world feeling which creeps up on you after a week of insomnia, that run down ache which means that you crawl into bed at 8pm leaving the previous night’s washing up on the side and setting you out of whack for a good few days to come. umbra-casa-tissue-box-cover-3Having recovered enough to be up at 5am with a cupa tea I’m able to reflect on how colds and flu affect our household, because you can be sure, we all act very differently.

The man of the house: now I’m very lucky that the man of this household doesn’t suffer from man flu. Instead, his bunged up snoring could keep even the most run down of partners awake, a little shove in the side serves only to irregulate the rhythm….

When the OH has a cold you can be sure it’s a gamble at night, do you leave him to his earth trembling wheezes? or risk awakening the snot ball with a jab in the ribs? My husband is far too polite, which increases my annoyance, a quick poke and request to stop is very often followed by a heartfelt apology, a few blissful seconds of peace then a volcano like explosion of the snores withheld during the altercation…..ill just leave him to it, maybe leave a passive aggressive note on the notice board in the morning…… I can’t possibly send him to the sofa if he is ill…. Can i???? Might have to get a sofa bed for his man room/office, I’ll put that on the to-do-list!Lemsip-Logo

In the day he’s fairly good at getting on with things, now, this may seem ideal to you mummies who’s other halves lay about on the couch demanding Lemsip and sympathy, however, to me, when the hubby is ill and trooping on, that means the cold can’t be that bad.

Inevitably he starts the cycle off meaning not only does he get the blame for giving me the lurgy, he is more than likely two days ahead of me in its development. No matter how I feel, he has been there and done that 48 hours before…. No lolling about for me.

The only thing I can possibly find to fault this annoying man with is, that rather than use one tissue until it disintegrates, which I’m charged with doing, he manages to: a, sneeze once into every tissue in the house leaving me with kitchen roll and b, leave a loo roll on the dash board of both cars, not great if you’re trying to play yummy mummy on the school run that day! This annoying bugger always remembers to put his tissues in the bin though… far too perfect if you ask me!!

Baby Roo: Now this little monster is always bloomin ill, a mouse could sneeze 10 miles away and you can be sure ‘little boy’ will turn into a giant ball of snot by the end of the day. Does he suffer in silence like his daddy?? Oh no! he likes to mix it up a bit, see what other ailment he can add to it, just to get maximum attention. So far this week (and remember its only Tuesday) he has had the cold, appears to have an 8th tooth on the way (ridiculous as he is only 9 months old) DSCF3178and has decided to try his hand at letting go of the sofa when cruising about, that’s not an ailment you say? Nope but tripping on your own feet or head-butting the stair gate is….. therefore my day is spent (remember I’m ill too) changing snotty clothes locating the loo roll from the cars, and allowing the baby to latch on for most of the day. Does this send him into one of those ill, but cute 2 hours naps? Nope he sits on boob, trying to breathe through blocks nostrils, playing with his toes…. The rest of the time is spent feeling very sorry for himself and rubbing is little eyes, demanding to be carried and refusing his cot…. Sensitive, serious little boy!!

Big girl H: What a miracle child, she’s like Bruce Wills in that underrated superhero film, Unbreakable, this little girl never gets ill, she sneezed once but I think she just had a tickle under her nose…. She’s fantastic at playing the big sister/caring nurse maid, inevitably it is her who: retrieves the loo roll, tuts about the disintegrated tissues left in various locations, and sneaks the occasional soother from the packet (she thinks I don’t know). DSCF2757Harriet is a smart girl, far too wise for her own good, she had learnt from who knows where, various phrases to use when the rest of us are ill. These include….. ‘the best thing you can do is let the air get to it’ (we’re talking about a sore throat here) ‘an apple a day, mummy, you don’t eat enough fruit….’, and ‘pull yourself together, it’s not the end of the world’. All these sayings while v v funny, neglect the real issue…. That is to say, you can be 99.9% sure SHE was the one who carried the beastly virus into the house to begin with.

3

The to-do-list

The best thing about a to-do-list is that writing a job down is productive in itself. I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when a chore is out of my head and in black and white, so much so that I can then forget about it for a few days…. weeks…. months.

The problem with such lists however, is that most household jobs don’t stand alone do they? Everything is connected. For example, I need to hang the washing out, this cannot be done until the baby is either A. asleep (pfft) or B safely occupied: In order for said baby to be safely occupied I need to sort out the wires from the Television. We recently had it put on the wall and there is now a copious amount of leads within the reach of small arms…. In order to sort these leads, a shelf needs to be put on the wall for the digital box and the DVD player…. Do you see where I’m going?? The list is pretty darn long… having said that, it’s very satisfying when you can scrub off 6 items on the to-do-list in one go.

In our previous house I had a pretty awesome board in our kitchen for all those little things that I needed to remember. We (meaning my husband) painted the larder door with blackboard paint.

larder door

This was also a fantastic way of reducing (outward) family conflict, not only do you ensure you never run out of loo paper (shopping list section)…. You can leave passive aggressive notes for your loved ones… ‘Tidy your bedroom’, ‘put up shelves’ etc

Unfortunately no such board exists in our new house and we don’t have a larder…. We have taken to writing sticky notes and leaving them around the kitchen.

These notes waft around every time someone enters the room, I’m pretty sure the shopping list is down the side of the dishwasher at the moment. I have however, purchased some funky pink chalk paint for my office wall….

Just need to write a post it…

post-it-pink1 - CopyOh, and while I have the pad….

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(I got hungry at 10pm last night and ate six petit filous)

Not on the high street is my favourite on-line shop at the mo…. not least because they have a solution to the odd sock problem…… normal_1779_the_sock_exchange

………but they also have some great notice boards for those all-important lists……. (Just don’t forget to write a passive aggressive post it for the other half, telling them to ‘put notice board on wall’ – of course, if you’re sensible, you’ll just add it to your own to-do-list….. I however, cant put up the notice board until I have hung out the washing………… humph…..

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