Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A New Years Promise To My Child

At 12am on Thursday night there will be people all over the world seeing the New Year in and making promises to themselves to give something up, change something or achieve something.
But this year I won't be making a New Years resolution for myself. Instead I'll be making a promise. 
To you. My son. 
I'm going to promise to try. 

I'm going to try to be more patient. You're four. You're learning. And you need patience. 
I'm going to try not to bother about what others think. Who cares what they think? It only matters what we think. You and me.
I'm going to try to take more time. More time to play. More time to soak up your infectious laugh. More time to just be with you.
I'm going to try not to make my problems your problems. You're my child. Let me solve all your problems and leave mine at the door. To be picked up again when you're sleeping.
I'm going to try to listen. Listen to your every word. Because you have so much to say, and I want to hear everything. I don't want to miss anything. 
I'm going to try not to compare you with others. Why would I? You're unique. You're special. Nobody can be compared with you. Not to me. 
I'm going to try not to worry. I don't need to worry about you. You've proved this to me time and time again.
I'm going to try to cherish every memory. Because every day you grow, you change, and you need me less. Every single minute is more precious to me than you could ever imagine.
I'm going to try never to put you down. You are perfect with all your imperfections. And I love you unconditionally.
I'm going to try to laugh more. Because you are the funniest person I know. And I'm at my happiest when I'm laughing with you.

I can't promise that I will do all these things without fault. Some days I will succeed. Some days I will fall flat on my face and will rely on your smile, and your smile only to pick me back up. 

But I will never fail to try. 
And that is my promise to you.
My precious little boy.

Here's to another year of wonderful memories.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Big Box Of Christmas Shame

There's nothing like a parent bashing Facebook post to get you in the mood for Christmas!! 
I think we all know the story behind this picture. It's rippled round social media, national press and morning television for weeks. 
The woman who posted this picture has received a bombardment of abuse and criticism for the amount of presents she has bought her children for Christmas this year and has been forced to justify the amount she has purchased and explain how she has afforded this. 
My thoughts?
Who gives a flying festive f***?
I don't care how many presents her children are going to receive!
I don't care about how much she has spent!
I don't care how she has afforded this or at what time of the year she began buying them.
Here's what I do care about.
I care about people's constant need to pry in to others lives and judge people for things they shouldn't care about either!
It's Christmas people! Can we give the parent shaming a rest for one bloody minute! 
It appears we can't.
But here's the thing. There seems to be an idea that a harmless picture on social media showing your children's presents under the tree is now insulting. It's not. What is insulting is people's need to openly shame an innocent picture that an excited parent has decided to share with others.
On Christmas Eve your social media newsfeed will be filled with present pictures. My profile included. 
I don't share these pictures to show off, to compete with other parents, or to highlight how materialistic I am. I share them because I'm excited! My child is four! He believes in Santa and the magic of Christmas is very real to him. His excitement is my excitement. I share because I'm making a scrapbook of memories for the future when that magic will inevitably fade and Christmas will no longer involve leaving snacks for Santa and 5am wake up calls on Christmas morning. 
I share because this is my life and I'm proud. I'm not proud of the amount of presents I've bought for my son. I'm proud of my little family and the memories we are making together.
Of course there are families whose children won't have much. My sharing of present pictures isn't to hurt them or make them feel inferior. It is simply a picture of my Christmas. And a snapshot of my emotions and feelings. 
Christmas isn't about what is under the tree, but who is around it. But please, don't shame parents for what they choose to spend on their children at Christmas when to be quite frank it is none of your business.
Some save all year, some start buying in January, some work bloody hard to earn money to buy these gifts, and some are in an extremely fortunate situation. But why are we justifying this?
Buy your kids what you want. They are your kids!
Share whatever pictures you want! They are your pictures! Your memories. Your experiences. 
I will be starting a #he'sbeen thread on my blogs Facebook page on Christmas Eve, where I'll be asking readers to feel free to join in with sharing their present pictures.
This isn't to show off or to compete. It's simply a message that we should be able to post pictures of our kids presents without feeling we are being judged for being materialistic or competitive.
We are simply excited parents who want to share this. 
I love seeing my news feed filled with Christmas Eve pictures and excited families and children. I love sharing in your joy and excitement. And I will never ever judge. 
Your Christmas is what you want it to be. Don't let anybody take that away from you. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Screwed. A Christmas Carol (concert)

The school Christmas carol concert. Because two nativity showings aren't quite enough to give you a nervous brea...put you in the Christmas spirit. 
One thing you should know about the school carol concert (in fact most school assemblies) is that you will never get on the front row. In fact, you'll be lucky to get a seat. There's no other explanation for this apart from the fact that some parents must camp outside the doors overnight like a hoard of Daniel O'Donnell fans waiting to violently push their way to the front. 
If you're anything like me you'll stand on the side lines red faced and out of breath from running to school in order to make it on time; with two squashed poinsettia plants under your arms for the teachers, because of course you forgot until the last minute that buying Christmas presents for teachers is now the thing to do.  
The cardio from running will transcend in to muscle building exercises as you are forced to wave at your child every 0.2 seconds, who is craning their neck to look at you from the front of the hall, expecting you to respond EVERY TIME.
You lean against the wall of the school hall grateful for 5 minutes to relax and regain your breath and then a teacher waves a box under your nose. Raffle tickets. Of course. Rummaging through your purse you begrudgingly hand over your last bit of spare change and buy a ticket for that huge hamper at the front of the hall. You don't have to worry about carrying that bad boy home at least. You'll never win. That shiz belongs to the Daniel O'Donnell fans.
The carols commence and you're extra pleased to find out that you've ideally placed yourself right next to tone deaf Pavarotti who proceeds to ruin every Christmas song you've ever enjoyed and scar you for all Christmas' to come.
You can either seal your lips tightly shut to avoid anyone thinking that this catastrophe is coming from your mouth, or you can revert back to being 14 and take a sly glance at a parent stood next to you in an attempt to make them laugh.
You choose the latter.
Then you're given the eye by the headmistress. 
You wish you'd packed some alcohol. It's extremely selfish for the school not to provide mulled wine on occasions such as this.
Is it over yet?
No, you've only been here 5 minutes. This must be how time ticks by in hell. With Satan warbling 'oh come all ye faithful' in your ear.
Has nobody brought any alcohol? Nobody at all?
The kids have the right idea. They keep disappearing every 2 seconds to use the toilet. Can adults do that? Do we have to ask the teacher to be excused? 
After what seems like an eternity the concert ends. Eventually.
Right! Time for a mulled wine! You gather your things, looking at your watch. Definitely time for a winter warmer before you have to come back for the school pick up! You just have to get rid of these bloody Christmas plants first. You start waving manically to your child, glancing around for an appropriate time to launch them at him. 
What's that? Parents can take the children home early? 
It's half 2! For Christ's sakes! 
You throw the mashed poinsettias at your four year old with instructions to pass them to his teachers before he collects his coat & bag. He carries them over by their leaves. 

* And of course every time I wrote "you" throughout this post I meant "me."

Merry Christmas!!! 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up

Next term my 4 year old will be looking at the subject "what I want to be when I grow up" in his reception class at school.
It's something that my son has never spoken to me about. He pretends he's a spaceman, a dinosaur hunter, a doctor; but he's never actually stated that they are actual jobs he would like to do when he grows up. He's no stranger to the idea of working. He knows his Daddy is a 'teacher' and he knows that Mummy works with 'people who have poorly minds,' but he's never expressed any ideas of what he would like to do. 
This doesn't bother me. He's 4. Life to him is endless playing. He doesn't have to concern himself with the fact that one day he will grow up and pursue a career. If only we could be children forever!
I remember being his age. I also remember being asked the same question at school when I was 7. I wanted to be a 'novelist' and did a cute little speech about it in front of the class. At 10 I wanted to be a journalist. This progressed to 'weather girl' when I was 11. At 15 I wanted to be a singer (the next Spice Girl to be precise), and at 16 I went to performing arts college to pursue that dream. The dream ended abruptly at 18 when I went to work as a blue coat and realised that I really wasn't cut out for a plastered on smile and 3 inches of make up. 
I worked with adults with learning disabilities at aged 19 and decided I wanted to own my own company that supported adults with disabilities in the community. At 21 I changed my mind and wanted to be a psychologist. I went to university, got a degree, and now at the age of 31 I am a Mummy, mental health worker, breastfeeding peer support worker and a blogger. If you ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I could honestly say to you that I don't know. Although I like my life I can't tell you that the career I've chosen will be the career I will want for the rest of my life. I know what my passions and interests are, but there are a multitude of things I would like to do and I still often find myself in conflict of what I want to do next. I'm still not settled. Maybe I never will be.

As the subject has never come up with my son I decided to ask him. 
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"You like Buzz Lightyear, would you like to be a Spaceman?"
"What about dinosaurs? It would be really cool to find out about dinosaurs and stuff as a job wouldn't it?"
"Would you like to do that when you grow up?"
"You could be a Nurse like Nana? Or a Fireman like Grandad? Or do the same kind of thing that Mummy or Daddy does?"
"So what do you want to be then?"
"I don't know"

And that is probably one of the most sensible answers that any reception kid will come out with. Because after 31 years I have only just realised that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. THIRTY ONE YEARS!! And my child is already there. He's aware that he doesn't know what he wants to be. He knows that fine. 
I'm kind of envious. Envious that my son has it all sussed. Whilst I live in constant turmoil about what I want to do or achieve, my kid is just happy to plod along with life and not worry about it.
I want to be like that. 
And that's why I won't ask him again. He'll discover his own passions and interests and eventually they will lead him on his own path. 
Or maybe he won't? 
But for the minute he is still a baby. He has adventures, friendships and broken hearts ahead of him. I'm going to savour every single minute that I can and I'll be proud of him no matter what. And we'll worry about all the other stuff when it happens! 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Things Every Expectant Mother Should Know

Day 3 postpartum. EVERY woman should know about day 3 postpartum! You'll hopefully be recovering from labour well and settling in to a new life with your precious little bundle and BAM! You're inconsolably crying at an episode of Masterchef. "Because he made such wonderful food and he looks so tense and..I don't know ok! I don't know why I'm fucking crying at Masterchef!"
Baby blues. That's why. That bastard day 3 postpartum.

The baby blues are not helped much by the invention that is the baby bath. They're such cute little things! A lickle miniature bath for your waterbaby to splash about in and get squeaky clean after endless poonami's and spew ups through the day. But what you don't know about baby baths is they were invented to destroy your soul. You'll fill it up with lots of bubbles from your special baby bedtime bath range (to help them sleep, OH PLEASE GOD LET THEM SLEEP!) and then you'll realise you can't move the damn thing. You'll manage to do your best heavy weight lifting impression and hobble through to the next room with it only to find that you've lost half its contents (which are now spilled through the entire house) in the desperate struggle. You'll then hear your husband, who has been conveniently missing throughout the manual labour, slip and fall with cries of 'that BASTARD baby bath!!' For the fifth time that week. 

You will soon become fluent in another language. The language of your child. You'll be expected to analyse the face of the adult that your child is gobbledegooking away to, recognise a moment of desperate confusion and awkwardness, and quickly jump in to interpret exactly what has just been said.
You may sometimes have to lie about what your child has just burbled about
"Avvvvva wooooed (I've pooed)
"What did she say?"
"Oh...she said I love you"
That type of thing. 
But like it or not, your job will be Mum - Interpreter.

You'll be so busy interpreting and spending every second with your little cherub that they'll fill every crevice of your life. Knowing this you'll be desperately careful not to come across as 'that mum' who speaks of nothing but her kids all day every day. But the temptation to tell every one in the entire world that your baby just rolled over ALL BY HIMSELF will be far too strong and the internal battle of being 'that mum' and bragging about your mini genius will cause this information to blurt out at the most irrelevant times, to practical strangers. Like the postman. 

People will unfriend you on Facebook. pictures.

You'd give up your left lung for a moments peace. Seriously, you can't remember the last time you went for a wee without two round eyes peering at you and poking your face. But the minute someone offers to take them off your hands you'll become all defensive and obsessive 
"WHAT!? Of course I don't need a break! They're my CHILD! I've got this covered Thankyou very much!"
If you do let someone take them for a while you will instantly miss them as soon as the door clicks shut. 

Netflix won't be for Dexter, American Horror Story or OITNB anymore. No. It will be Paw Patrol, SpongeBob and fricking Caillou.

You will gain disgusting habits. You'll scrape your child's leftovers straight in to your mouth, even ramming that chip you found on the floor in to your mush. Anything to avoid actually walking to the bin. A task that is too tiresome to bare.
Your child's snotty nose will be wiped clean with the sleeve of your cardigan, and you'll smell their bum approximately every half hour just to check for a whiff of crap. 

You'll find trumps cute.

You will despise yourself for pre baby days when you took for granted the time you actually had to shower. Because now showers are impossible. A hot cup of tea/coffee will also be something you'll wish you'd savoured. What used to be a café latte will now have turned in to luke warm instant coffee microwaved thrice.

It will take longer to prepare to leave your house than the length of the whole trip you are planning to leave for. There will be several attempts to leave but you'll be forced to retreat back in to the house for a multitude of reasons. But mainly faeces. 

You will find that your husband/partner that you once loved beyond belief is now at times the most utterly annoying, decrepit little thing you ever laid eyes on. Where as you used to smile goggly eyed at his backside when he turned his back to leave the room, you will now aggressively flip him the bird 50 times in a row whilst mouthing "fuuuccckkk offff."
But you're in this together, even though he does disappear at bath time and nappy changes, which is why you do these things behind his back. 

You may become a hypochondriac rushing to the doctors for the smallest thing. 'She's got a rash!! Yes we need to be seen immediately!'
Only to be told that no, it's not meningitis, it's dry skin. No, one ear isn't bigger than the other, and yes, it's perfectly normal for your child to have that type of bowel movement'
All your google searches will now start with "why is my baby....?" and you'll have a semi nervous breakdown each time you have to clip your baby's nails. 

But in all this you will not realise how each stage gets more difficult in different ways.  You will be too busy being knee deep in crap, telling them 'no! We don't eat the potpourri,' and praying for them to sleep but immediately prodding them when they sleep longer than usual.
But most of all, you will be too busy laughing more than you've ever laughed in your life, loving more than you've ever loved, and being prouder than you could ever imagine.
Because every moment of despair, desperation, tears and tantrums is completely and undeniably worth it.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

What's In A Name

So I'm sat all cosied up on the couch, after finishing a bagel with ham and cream cheese (pretending to be posh) and wondering whether I should sneak a small cap of baileys in to a hot chocolate before I set off for the blustery school run 
at 3pm. Come on its Christmas!!
The lights are twinkling on my Christmas tree and I'm in a bloody good mood, despite the fact that I fucked up this morning and found out I was supposed to have handed in a nativity costume for my four year old at school yesterday, and had failed to do so!
With the costume ordered and a good episode of Dexter on TV I'm soaking up the peace and tranquility. I pick up my phone to peruse through my Facebook news feed and BAM! 
Good mood disintegrated within seconds.
Like many mums I follow a few 'mum groups' on Facebook within my area. Mainly for information on local activities and sometimes to ask about school related stuff.
On one particular mum group I saw a post about kids names. It was referred to by the original poster and other commenters on the thread as 'lighthearted banter' but honestly, it wasn't.
The thread was discussing ridiculous names that they had heard fellow parents had called their children and how awful they were. Clearly without a thought that there may actually be parents in the group who had named their child one of the names that they were vomiting out all over the thread, they continued to mock and parent bash with each comment. 
One member of the group who actually had a pair of testicles (although not in the literal sense) actually asked why they cared what other parents named their kids? And in short told them they were being mean.
At this point the original poster told this lady (my hero) to get a grip.
Now I could have posted myself and say what I needed to say, but what is the point speaking to 10-15 individuals and getting in to an argument when I had a hot chocolate and baileys calling my name. 
No. Instead I decided to blog my thoughts in an attempt to reach not only them select few women, but a number of other women who think that this behaviour is acceptable. 
I would like to say to you women that YOU need to get a grip. Go out and live your life. Why concern yourselves with the lives of others. Now unless a parent who has happened to call her kid "table and chair" or whatever else, has come and tattooed that name on your forehead, or written it on your front door in blood then I don't see the problem. How are they affecting your life in any way?
You can call me the 'fun police' or whatever other ridiculous term you deem necessary but the idea of this being light hearted banter is ludicrous. 
Banter usually involves the person you're taking the piss out off and in return they respond with a derogatory comment about you, in a jovial none insulting manner. This is not banter. It's bullying. It's a group of women with some spare time on their hands who think "oooh! I'll post on a mum page for all the world to see how repulsive I think this name is, and how stupid the parents were to use it! Because I'm a douchebag"
I'm no saint. There have been a few names I've heard where I've thought "hmmm, bit ropey" but there's a vast difference between a quick spur of the moment thought and verbalising it for the world and his wife to see with the possibility of hurting someone's feelings.
Now some of you reading this will disagree with me. Well it would make a very boring world if we all had the same point of view.  Of course there's the old retaliation of "well it's irresponsible of the parents to name them so ridiculously."
Is it? 
What you actually mean is, it's irresponsible of the parents to name their children something different to the norm because there are horrible people in the world who will judge them and ridicule them. Like you. 
Isn't it more irresponsible to openly mock people on social media and defend your right to do this by placing the blame on the people you are mocking? 
Oh! She named her kid 'tripod' so she had it coming!
They called their kid something unusual so what do they expect!
What they probably expect is that grown adults will be mature and kind enough to perhaps think "wouldn't call my own kid that but they're not my kid, so I'm just going to carry on with my life now."
They probably expect you to teach your children NOT to pick on kids who are different, whether that's through their name, ethnicity, religion or disability. 
To all the parents out there who have called their kids weird and wonderful names. You are marvellous. You have chosen a name that YOU like. You have expected goodness from the world. It is not your responsibility to ensure your child doesn't get bullied because of their name. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure they don't raise a child who will bully. High five to you for saying "fuck you!" to society and doing whatever the hell you please. 
Now, I'm off to light a Yankee candle and drink my hot chocolate in peace before the madness of the school run begins. Because seriously, I have more shit to deal with and think about then what someone has named their kid. Like tea for example. We're having stir fry. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Week I Lost My Laughs

I started this blog because Oliver has always been a challenge. From day one he just didn't act the way other parents told me their children acted. He fed constantly and had a temper from birth. As he grew in to a toddler and then a preschooler I came to accept the fact that sometimes I just can't work him out. Sometimes he's an absolute pleasure, sometimes he's a pain in the ass. He's hard to understand, he doesn't listen and nothing is ever straight forward. I embraced him for who he was. I found the humour in it all. I began to realise that I wasn't doing anything wrong, it was just his personality and as quick as a challenging phase came, it would soon be gone and he'd be presenting me with challenges in other areas. No matter what, I have always been able to laugh. 
I began blogging to share that experience and to speak to other mums who could relate to the temper tantrums, the cheeky comebacks and the strange behaviours. I wanted to normalise the feeling of utter desperation that comes with having kids and send the message that we're all experiencing it in some way or another regardless as to how a person paints their life in public. 
But this week I lost my ability to laugh. I was tired.
Behaviours that were undesirable but had a streak of humour in them had lost their charm and I was struggling to cope. 
There has not been one day this week that we have managed to walk home from school without Oliver crying, screaming, trying to run in to a road or being aggressive. 
He has been testing the boundaries to the absolute limit.
But in doing so he has been pushing me over the edge. 
On the way home from school today whilst in a lift with his friend he decided to get on all fours and "be a dog."
Although bizarre, this is the type of thing he does. I'm used to it. It's the type of behaviour that I would usually roll my eyes at with the rest of the people in the lift and then discuss it on my Facebook blog page and laugh about it with other parents who would respond by telling me the strange things their kids had said and done that day. 
But today I just didn't see the funny side. It was clouded by the sense of dread that was taking over me for when we got out the lift and had to part ways with his friend and continue our journey home.
My nerves were on edge, terrified of what he was going to do next. Was he going to behave or misbehave in the next 5 minutes? Was I going to be faced with screaming and tantrums all the way home for the 5th time this week?
He could sense it. He could smell my terror. 
How was I supposed to have any authority when my child could sense that I was afraid of him.
Because I was.
I knew the behaviours would eventually pass and I needed to be patient, but the way I cope is humour. And I couldn't cope because I had lost my laughs and I needed them back. 
I couldn't deal with the constant fretting and analysing "what's causing this behaviour? What could i have done different today? Why is he acting like this? Has something happened that I've missed? Is something happening that he can't communicate to me?"
My brain was tired from googling possible explanations for his sudden horrific outbursts, and methods to break the cycle. Time out, sticker charts, calm approach, firmer discipline, ignoring him, positive and negative reinforcement. Nothing was working.
And then I realised. It was me. 
I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I work full time, have stresses at work, have stresses at home. I'm intolerant. I'm snappy. I'm everything that Oliver had been for the past two weeks. He was reflecting my own behaviour. It wasn't him pushing me over the edge, it was me pushing HIM! 
I needed to pull back the reigns and take control of myself. 
This realisation hit me this evening. Whilst trying to settle Oliver in to bed I was clock watching. I'd done a night shift the previous night and was back in work again at 8pm. Desperate to avoid pleas of "don't go to work mummy" I wanted Oliver asleep before I set off. I lay down to help settle him and he started singing Hakuna Matata. My teeth started to itch. I was getting irritated. 
"Stop singing Oliver!"
BAM! That's when it hit me. I had just told my four year old to stop singing. I was making my problem his problem. I can't expect my sons behaviour to be consistent when mine isn't. I can't expect him to listen to me when he is acting out if I'm telling him off for things that shouldn't actually be a problem. 
I'm a good mum, but I'm also an employee, a partner, a friend, and everything else in between. Sometimes you just can't be good at everything. Sometimes something has to give. Is it possible that the something that has got to give has been my mothering skills? Have I lacked in that whilst trying to be the best at everything else? 
Although I love using humour within my blog in order to be relatable to other parents, it's also important that I'm honest. Because everything isn't funny all the time. Sometimes things are anything but funny. And if I want other parents to feel reassured that they are not alone and that there are others out there who feel in similar ways to them it's important that the message isn't always one of humour, but also one of despair, desperation and brutal honesty. Because sometimes that's what parenting does to you. That's what life does to you. 
I couldn't get my laughs back until I admitted to myself and to others that it's ok to feel absolutely shitty. It's ok to feel like you can't get through another day like today. And it's also ok to accept that sometimes life just gets in the way of "perfect parenting."
When you realise this you can start to build things back up and start again. You can stop analysing every behaviour and accept that you've had a bad couple of weeks. If your emotions & behaviour have impacted on your child that doesn't mean that you haven't tried your best, even if your best hasn't been quite up to par. 
You can accept that whilst you know your kid can be a complete asshole, you can be one too sometimes. We're not all perfect. 
Because that's parenting. It's laughter, fun, awkward & embarrassing moments. But it's also sometimes sadness, despair, exasperation and moments where you feel like you can't cope for one more second. It's never ever straight forward. 
And that's ok. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Royal Fail

I was so excited on Saturday. My vintage shabby chic shoe racks were due for delivery and I couldn't wait to get those bad boys up in our brand new house. 
Around lunchtime I peered out my window and saw the Royal Mail delivery van pull up. 
Yay!! They were here! 
The delivery guy walked up the path and I darted to the next room to get my front door keys. Instead of a knock however, I heard something come through the letterbox.
I ran back with my keys to see that the delivery man had posted a 'missed delivery' slip without even knocking to see if I was in. 
I unlocked the door and shouted (donning a onesie and my dressing gown) 
"Wait! wait! I'm here! WAIIIT!"
He turned, looked at me, got in his van and drove off.
I rang the number left on the 'missed delivery' slip and lodged a complaint with a very rude woman who spoke over me throughout the whole conversation.
"Do yer wannit redelivered?"
"YES! Of course I do! NOW! He's literally just driven off my street! Send him back!"
"Errr drivers don't carry mobiles wiv 'em"
Who in this country today does not carry a mobile?
For F***s sake!!
"When can you redeliver it?"

Tuesday came. No parcel. At 5pm I rang again.
"Where the eff is my effing parcel?"
(I didn't really say that but you get the drift of my annoyance)
"It will be with you before 6pm."

6pm came. No parcel. I waited until the following day and then rang again, explaining the whole charade to the next unfortunate person who happened to answer the phone to me. 
"You're not going to like what I'm about to say but it's coming up on the screen that they have lost the item"
LOST IT! It's 2 shoe racks!! How can they possibly be lost! It specifically said on the 'missed delivery' slip that the items were "TOO BIG TO DELIVER!"
How can items TOO BIG TO DELIVER be lost?
They aren't lost are they. No, it's obvious. The delivery guy saw my vintage shabby chic shoe racks and thought "oooh my wife would like these. They'd make a great Xmas present! I know, I'll post a 'missed delivery' slip through the recipients door so it looks like I attempted to deliver them and then I'll just steal them. Because I'm a dick.
That's what happened isn't it?

Apparently they are going to request a full search of the office which can't possibly be done until the weekend. 
That's great. If the thieving postman hasn't already taken my shoe racks home, he now has plenty of time to do it before he gets caught red handed.
I can just imagine his shoes stacked up on MY rack as I type, whilst my footwear remains homeless, miserable and piled on top of one another. 

So thanks a lot postman twat. 

There's just been a knock at the door.
It's my shoe racks
*insert embarrassed face*

Friday, 13 November 2015

In Defence Of Parents With Children Who Believe

I've stewed on this blog post for two days. I feel like I have things to say in retaliation to a recent blog post titled "Why I'll never tell my children there's a Father Christmas," but at the same time I don't want to come across as little miss judgey pants, because I try and live by the Mommitment.
When I first read the post I jumped on the defensive, but I couldn't understand why? Here was a woman who was saying that when she has children in the future she won't be telling them that there is a Santa. That's fine. Why was I bothered? I'm never usually affected by other people's parenting choices. 
At first I thought it was just that she'd broken my Christmas spirit a little. But there's more to it. I realised that here was a woman who was not yet a parent, justifying her future actions, but in doing so was actually placing judgment on present parents. She was already involved in mum wars before she even was a mum.
Now I can take the mum wars, I'm used to it. But mix the mum wars with Christmas and I'm one pissed off mummy. 
I have to retaliate in defence of all the 'believers' out there.
So here goes! 

"We all know that spoiling a child senseless does nothing but help shape them into an ungrateful, entitled adult, yet so many parents have a complete disregard for the consequences. I've heard of countless kids ripping open a whole room full of presents, without even a pause or a thank you. It's disgraceful."

I fail to see what the belief in Santa has to do with this comment. You can't put all parents who choose to go along with the 'Santa Story' in to a Christmas wrapped box and stick a label on it entitled "parents to spoilt, bratty kids."
Having children who believe in Santa doesn't automatically mean that they are going to be greeted with a room full of presents. We are all in different financial situations. Some parents choose to have one or two gifts from Santa, some choose to have them all from him. Some children will have a room full of presents, and some will have 3 or 4, sometimes less. 
Some parents who do "spoil" their kids at Christmas perhaps do so for a reason; reasons that only a parent will understand. That's not a dismissal of anyone's opinions or values who currently don't have kids, it's just a fact that until you have experienced the classic guilt that comes part and parcel of parenting for a number of different reasons, you will not understand the urge and temptation to sometimes spoil your children. As wrong as it may seem to you it's just something that we can fall in to, despite the knowledge of possible consequences. But that's our choice. 
I also wouldn't use the term 'disgraceful' to describe a child ripping open presents without a pause on Christmas Day. I'd be more inclined to say the behaviour is due to joy and excitement, and just being a child! But maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm disgraceful too?

"In a time when so many are living in poverty, how can you raise a child to just expect a whole hoard of anonymous gifts from some mysterious man in the sky? I love giving presents, but I want my children to know where those things came from, and that they are lucky to have them, as some people have nothing."

What is actually being said here? Its unacceptable for you to allow your children to believe Santa brought them presents when you have actually bought them? Because you love giving presents? So is this about you wanting to feel the benefit of someone receiving presents from you, or is it about kids in poverty. I'm confused. If you want to teach your kids about children who are less fortunate  how is the belief in Santa relevant? Kids living in poverty believe in Santa too you know. We're not all upper class snobs with bratty kids and money growing on trees. 
You can teach your kids about those who are less fortunate throughout the entirety of the year, not just Christmas. Teaching kindness, selflessness, lack of judgment and empathy are lessons you can teach as a parent every day. They are not values that can only be highlighted at Christmas. 

"I asked my mother if she was Santa. Rather than carry on the charade, she told me the truth - that it's just a nice story parents tell children to get them to behave."

Wrong. This is not the truth. We don't ALL tell our kids about Santa in order to get them to behave. Believe it or not we are not so incapable of being parents that we have to rely on mythical beings to keep our kids in check. There's this thing called "parenting" where you lay boundaries and instil discipline. How do you think we get on for the other 11 months of the year? Some of us tell our kids about Santa because we want our kids to be kids, have an imagination, believe in magic and fairy tales whilst they are still innocent enough to do so. Because we enjoy seeing the excitement in our children's faces at the whole idea of Santa, his elves and reindeer. In a world that is full of cruelty, wars and all the other sick and twisted stuff, perhaps we just enjoy the fact that for now, our children believe that the world is a more magical place than it actually is. 
Aside from this, the tale of Santa is not just a 'nice story.'
Santa is based on St Nicholas who was a real person. The story of St Nicholas is one of kindness and selflessness, some of the values you want to teach your children about Christmas whilst simultaneously disregarding the fact that this person ever existed. Because after all, he's just a made up man in the sky who stops your kids from misbehaving. 

"Not only are you essentially lying to your little ones, you're showing them you (or Father Christmas) doesn't keep their word either. So when you tell me I'm going to be a 'terrible' parent, please just keep that in mind"

I believe there is a vast difference between lying and allowing your child to believe in something that brings them joy. I'm sure most kids get to an age where they realise that the whole thing is bullshit, but I'm yet to meet an adult who has been scarred by the realisation that Father Christmas isn't real and feel that they have been lied to and betrayed by their parents. Like it or not, there are probably going to be a million other ways that we will let our kids down at some point that will be completely out of our control, Santa or no Santa. 
I'm really sorry that before even becoming a parent you have been made to feel that others would have such a negative view of you, but here's the deal. Most of us don't care what you want to tell your kids. They're your kids. But this is what we do care about. We care that in your defence of being a "terrible parent" you have ultimately stereotyped and judged a large percentage of mums and dads. If you are going to write an article defending yourself, you cannot expect your justifications to be respected or taken seriously when you attack others whilst doing so. 
You will not be a terrible parent for not telling your kids that Santa exists. But we are not terrible either for telling them that he does. 

Life with Baby Kicks

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

I Hope You're Going To Smack Him For That

Yesterday a complete stranger instructed me to smack my child. He hadn't actually done anything wrong but that's beside the point. When did this become acceptable?
The statement came as such a shock that I actually stood there and tried to justify why I wasn't going to smack him. To a complete stranger. 
Is this what we have to do now? Defend ourselves in the street when our parenting style is frowned upon by others?
When I stated that I didn't believe in smacking as a form of punishment (that was me justifying my actions, or should I say lack of them, right there) the man asked me why. 
"Because I don't believe in teaching children that physical aggression is ok"
I was then accused of being a tree hugging, vegan hippy, whose son would grow up to be a delinquent.
At that moment I was wondering if actually now would be the time to show Oliver that sometimes physical aggression is ok and punch the man standing in front of me square in the face. 
I resisted. 
Instead I explained that I hadn't hugged any trees recently and quite enjoy a nice bacon and egg sandwich, but thanks for the stereotyping and judgment. 
"My father used to hit me when I did something wrong and it did me good!"
I beg to differ my friend. You see, you are now stood before a complete stranger encouraging them to hit a four year old, berating and quite frankly verbally abusing their mother and in all honesty it appears to me that all those beatings have turned you in to nothing but a pain in the arse. 

I was going to blog an open letter to this piece of shit but everything I felt needed to be said I did say before ordering him to get away from us immediately. 
But for the rest of the day I was left feeling angry. Angry to the point that I've felt the need to write about it. 
So I'm going to turn that anger on its head right now and say thank you to the awful little pea brain instead. Thank you for showing me that no matter what people say to me, they can never change my morals and values when it comes to the way I raise my child. Thank you for reiterating the exact reason why I DON'T smack my child. So he will grow up to respect other human beings and hopefully not randomly approach people in the street and make rude remarks. Thank you for allowing me to illustrate to my son that your behaviour yesterday was unacceptable and for enabling me to show him that people like you can be dealt with by a smart mouth and a willingness to stand by your own opinions. 
I don't care if people want to smack their kids. If that works for them, that's great. I don't want to smack mine. And I especially don't want to be instructed in the street to do so by a complete stranger. We all have different morals and values. This was just an undiluted version of typical judgment that mums have to go through every day.
In the past I've been judged for co-sleeping, breastfeeding, working full time, not having a clean enough house, having a child who won't eat veg, having a child who knows what zombies are, letting my child speak to strangers, and allowing my child to chase pigeons in the street. I can take it. I can take it all. I know I'm a great mum. I'm not up to some people's standards, but I don't care. I don't strive to meet anyone's standards except my sons, and my own. I know that hitting is just a total deal breaker for us. 
So seriously people!
Because this tree hugging, hippy vegan with a delinquent son has had quite enough! 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

But Why?

It's a well known fact that once your child gets to a certain age the dreaded 'why' question will enter their vocabulary. 
'Come on we're going out'
'Why mummy?'
'Because we need to get some food shopping'
'Because we need to eat'
'Because we wouldn't survive otherwise'

But when you have children there are a few 'why?' questions you may ask yourself.
There are many things I've found myself asking 'why?' to over the past 4 years. Too many to mention. But here's 10 that spring to mind

1) When your child eats a sugary treat and they get some on their face, if you don't wipe it off immediately why does it turn in to black fluffy goop? 

2) If your child has a late night, why do they wake up earlier than if they'd had an early night?

3) When you go on a journey, why does your child fall asleep approximately 20 seconds before reaching your destination?

4) Why is your child a fussy eater at home, refusing to eat anything 'wet' or containing vegetables, yet when you pick them up from school they say they've devoured a plate of chick pea curry? 

5) Why does your child bellow for you to come in the room and help them with something when their Dad is sat right next to them?

6) Despite Goofy & Pluto both being dogs, why can't Pluto talk? And despite all of the Mickey Mouse crew being animals, why is Pluto a pet? 

7) Why is it that even though your child has pushed you and tested your limits/insanity throughout the entire day, you kind of miss them as soon as they go to bed?

8) Why do nappies randomly leak through the night, even if they are definitely the correct size?

9) Why do kids have so much energy the second they wake up?

10) Why, when your children go to bed, do you sit down, relax, and continue watching Kids TV?

These are but a few of my musings as a parent. There are plenty more! I need answers god dammit! 
Why? Why? Why?

Friday, 23 October 2015

Snailing To School

I've been AWOL for a few days due to a house move and zillions amount of stress. 
What stress? I hear you ask. Well let me tell you..THE SCHOOL RUN.
In the old house I had timed the school run almost to perfection. However, the new house is further away and therefore entails a longer walk. With longer walks comes more 'snailing,' where your child literally walks and dawdles at the pace of a snail for the entirety of your journey. 
Being smug and setting myself up for failure immediately I worked out that it took me approximately 25 minutes to walk it to the school from the new house. Taking 'snailing' in to account I added 15 minutes on to this time and came up with an estimation that if we left the house at 8:00am we would arrive at school at 8:45am.
How wrong could I have been?
I've underestimated 'snailing.'
I didn't think there could be more to 'snailing' than what I had already witnessed. 
So off we set at 8:00am with the wind in our hair, a school book bag, and a Goofy soft toy for show and tell. We make it to the end of the street before Goofy wants to walk and therefore we have to slow right down so his feet can touch the ground and he can be dragged along the dirty floor for several hundred yards. I'm getting slightly impatient at this point. This has added 3 minutes on to the journey. 
We then approach a subway, which we don't need to use but of course Oliver decides that it exists and therefore he must use it! So 2 minutes are added on so that he can walk down the steps and then come up the ramp at the other end, where I'm stood waiting for him and gritting my teeth. 
We finally make it in to the town centre. I look at my watch. We have to be at school in 15 minutes. 
With a town centre comes shops. Shops that have prematurely dressed their windows in Christmas decorations. Great! Let's stop and look at every single Christmas tree with snow falling from it and snow globes! (Yes Clintons, I'm talking to you!)
After many sighs of "yes that's a Christmas tree, come on! Yes I can see the snow, come on! Oh yes that's a snowman in that snow globe COME ON OLIVER! We finally make it the market stalls, where someone has thoughtfully laid out a box of McDonald's toys going for 50p.
Let's rummage all through these toys, identify the ones that we already have, sitting in a box at home going dusty, and pick out the ones that we "always wanted but never got!"
We now have 5 minutes to get to school. We're never going to make it. This is just bloody ridiculous. I shoo him along with false promises of coming and having a look after school and continue walking.
We approach Morrisons. Oliver wants an apple. 
"You can have an apple at school!" I tell him..well..beg him actually.
But no, that isn't good enough. We have to go in to Morrisons and buy one singular apple. But low and behold, what greets us at the entrance? An array of Halloween treats! Shortbread bats, cupcakes decorated with spooky icing and toffee apples. We have to stand there and admire them before Oliver picks up a bat and proudly announces, "I'll have this one"
"But we came in here for an apple!" I splutter!  
And here comes a tantrum. So we exit the shop with no shortbread and no apple. I'm now running with him in my arms and sweat dripping down my forehead. I swizz him round so I'm now giving him a piggy back. I'm resorted to piggy backing my 4 year old to school just to get there in time. 
We make it. Although I now have sweat patches and my fringe is stuck to my forehead.
I decide that after school I will let him browse at everything on the way home to try and lessen the chance of snailing the next day. Do you know how long it took us to get home? ONE HOUR AND FOURTY FIVE MINUTES!
And did he reduce his snailing the next day?
Did he buggery. 

Life with Baby Kicks

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Moving House With A 4 Year Old Is So Much Fun

Moving house with a 4 year old is great isn't it? 
Just great!
It's so much fun when you're trying to pack things and are repeatedly asked the question "what's this?" As you rifle through dusty old crap that you shoved under a bed years ago in the hope that it would cease to exist, and are now being forced to actually sort through it.
I absolutely love it when you have to gather up games that were locked in a closet for your own sanity, only to jog your child's memory that in fact all these games are "their favourite" and they simply must play them now, amidst the chaos of clothes, half packed boxes and crates.
It drives me to alcohol in no way whatsoever when you nearly pack one box and then find your child's arse hanging out of it, gathering something from the bottom that they absolutely need or they cannot continue with life. I find it simply adorable when you have your best china, ornaments & photo frames in boxes, taking up the whole of a room, and your child decides to use them as an obstacle course with his bike. His bike that he pedals backwards, and then asks you to push him on.
I don't mind whatsoever when you've made up a bunch of boxes to pack up the last of your things and then you find your kid playing "Boxtrolls" in them. And I'm not at all pushed to breaking point when the Boxtrolls break out of their boxes, completely severing the tape that was holding them together.
I am completely calm and relaxed. There isn't a vein throbbing in my head at all. I have not developed a twitch. And I am not contemplating a 5:30pm bedtime so I can search for wine somewhere in this god dam forsaken tip of a house. 

So that's where we are up to with the house move! Just fanbloodytastic. 

Life with Baby Kicks