Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Collecting Kisses

Over the past couple of days I have been collecting 'kissing selfies' of parents and their children. Here's why.
It has been all over parenting news recently that comments have been made by Dr. Charlotte Reznick in regards to kissing your child on the lips. According to Dr Reznick we should stop kissing our children on the mouth, as she believes it is "too sexual." 
She gave the following statements in order to validate her point: 

1) If mummy kisses daddy on the mouth and vice versa, what does that mean, when a little girl or boy kisses their parents on the mouth? 

Is this a trick question? Some kind of screwed up riddle? Let me have a go at cracking it. I'm guessing that Mummy & Daddy kiss on the mouth because...erm...well...they love each other? They are showing affection? And as for what this means when a parent kisses their child on the mouth, then I'm going to hazard a guess here and say I'm pretty sure it means the same thing! Where does the sexual part come in here? Kissing is different in many cultures. Some cultures kiss on the mouth, some kiss both cheeks, and some rub noses! But the one key thing they have in common is the fact that it's a display of affection. 

2) If I had to answer when to stop kissing your kids on the lips, it would be now

Ok, well first of all I'm pretty sure no one asks the question "when should I stop kissing my child on the mouth," but let's for one weird, messed up minute, pretend that they did. 
If I had to answer that question i'd probably say there will come a time when your child no longer wants to kiss you at all, never mind on the lips. Just the same as they will stop holding your hand or needing you to tuck them in to bed at night. Kids develop, they grow. They will no longer require you to feed them, bathe them, toilet them. And at some point they will probably be embarrassed to walk down the same street as you. So don't sweat it! 
Secondly, if I were to take your advice Charlotte, are you really telling me that although I have been kissing my child on the lips for 4 years, I am now supposed to suddenly stop?
What reasons would I give for this? When my child innocently comes to me for some love and affection and I coldly push him away and do not allow him to kiss me, how do I justify this? 
How about this, "mummy can't kiss you on the lips darling as it's an erogenous zone and I don't want you to think I'm being sexual"
I'm pretty sure even my four year old would know that was bullshit!

3) Kissing on the lips can be stimulating

Wait...what? Stimulating, to me, in regards to a child means something that engages them, motivates them. A stimulating activity for my child is a walk in the park, looking at nature, different colours and shapes.
If me kissing my child stimulates him I would hope that you mean it motivates him to show affection to people he loves, engages him with the feeling that he is loved unconditionally.
But I get the feeling that's not the kind of stimulating your are referring to, in which case I highly advise you to stimulate yourself in to seeking psychiatric help. 

4) It's just too confusing

I think it would probably be more confusing for a child if their parent stopped kissing them in the way they always had. What thoughts do you think that would provoke in a child?
I think the only person who is confused here is me. 
I'm confused as to what I can and can't do with my child for fear of every action being sexualised.
I'm confused as to what I will be told I can't do next? Will I be advised not to bath my child for fear of touching an erogenous zone that may cause stimulation? Will I be advised not to Breastfeed? Change their nappy? See them naked?
Hell! Let's just make c-sections the compulsory way of giving birth to ensure our newborn children don't see our vaginas during labour and have to deal with the trauma of it for the rest of their lives. 
Perhaps Bounty could start recommending blindfolds and mitts as part of a newborn starter pack! 

Do you not see how ridiculous this is? 
Parents live their life day by day hoping they haven't done something to potentially screw up their perfect, innocent child. The last thing they need is bollocks like this, causing them to question their every move and action.
When did it become normal to sexualise our children in this way?
Let our children be children!

I am asking everyone who is as disgusted by these claims as I am to upload a kissing selfie on my Facebook thread in an attempt to show that we will not put up with this ludicrousness! 
Let's make a stand to these outrageous comments and show that we will not put up with our children and our relationships with them being sexualised! 

Let me see your kisses by clicking on the thread below!

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Dear Mummy: A Letter Of Complaint

Dear Mummy,

You have now been my Mummy for four years and one month. However, it appears that despite this length of time (which I deem to be an apt number of years for you to have perfected your skills to a satisfactory level), there are still some elements of your role that you are distinctly under achieving in. Let me give you a few examples:

1) Meals
It appears that no matter what method of communication I use, you simply refuse to accept the fact that I do not like vegetables. I have tried pushing my plate off the table, spitting the food out, screaming that "I don't like it" and transferring said vegetables on to your dinner plate. In spite of this you continue to present me with vegetables and have even had the audacity at times to hide it within other foods that I do like, hence ruining the entire meal. This behaviour needs to stop. Immediately.

2) Bedtime
I am unimpressed that you seem to have the idea in your head that I am ready to go to bed at 7:30pm. This time is just not ideal for me. I have many things to do during the day, such as play with toys, eat sweets and download apps on the iPad, and I do not appreciate being swept away from these important tasks at a time which is only convenient for you. From now on I would prefer it if you allowed me to continue with my important jobs until I simply cannot keep my eyes open, at which point you should carry me upstairs and lay me comfortably in your bed. That's your bed, not mine.

3) Work
You are spending far too much time at work. For the first year of my life you gave false ideas about your commitment to me. You spent every day with me and jumped to my every demand. Now it appears that you only have time for a mere 3 days a week with me, and this is simply not good enough. You need to prioritise and accept the fact that I come first and when I ask you not to go to work, you should stay at home. Please ensure you do this from now on.

4) School
What can I say. I'm just not happy about this "school" thing you've been talking about recently. From what you say it would appear I have to go here five days a week. Not only this but you've stated I am to wear some sort of uniform! You know perfectly well that I like wearing my Buzz Lightyear T-shirt and to tell me that I can now only wear this at weekends is just bordering on cruelty. Similar to the points I made regarding bedtime, I have many jobs to do, and this "school" place will interfere enormously with that. I suppose you're happy about this "school" as it means you will be able to go to work all the time and neglect my needs. Well let me assure you, this is unacceptable. And I won't be going.

In all other areas you appear to be meeting my needs to an acceptable standard, although this doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. I'd appreciate it if you would take note of the above points and rectify them immediately.


4 Year Old

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

7 Ways How You Should (NOT) Prepare For Your Child Starting School

1. Completely forget that they will have to wear a uniform, don't order one in time, and then run to Asda looking for a 'fake' one for them to wear on their first day.

2. Email the head teacher saying that you will be attending the 'Teddy Bears' picnic they've arranged to ease your child in to school, and sign off with your name, then in brackets  'Oliver's mum'  complete with a smiley/winky emoji

3. When asked to fill out a form on what your child can or can't do, write in neatly 'can't wipe his own Arse Anus  bottom'

4. When browsing through the uniform available (the one you will forget to purchase) at the introductory parents evening, ask if the coat donning the school emblem is mandatory or just for the geeks

5. When introduced to the PTA recoil in horror and use your husband as a human shield

6. Take your child to a morning classroom taster session, refuse to leave and instead pretend you're a TA for the day

7. Take obligatory photos of your child on their first day of school in their uniform and post it on Facebook. Although technically it will be their third day of school as you forgot to purchase an official uniform and they spent the first 2 days in  an Asda's George outfit.

So I think that just about covers all the things NOT to do when preparing for your child to start school. Unless you are me of course. Then you would obviously do all of these things and then blog about it in an attempt to create humour out of your otherwise shitty efforts at being a school starters mum!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Daily Mail Mum Wars

Much discussion has been taking place today in regards to a Daily Mail story published about the Beckhams and their daughters use of a dummy at the age of 4.
Now I'm going to completely ignore the obvious issue here in terms of the Daily Mail being a NEWSPAPER and therefore having a duty to report NEWS, which this clearly isn't. Instead, I'm going to focus on the story itself and why anyone would feel the need to discuss this or even give a rats ass.
So it would appear that The Daily Mail are now employing Sanctimummys to write their "show business" news. Because this article reeeeekkks of Mum Wars. There's some lovely little sections in it that state the advice given on the NHS website in regards to dummies, and a few snippets of information here and there from some "parenting experts," but let's face it Daily Mail. You are just being a bitch. 
Aside from factual information in regards to the effects of dummy use lets have a look at what else the "parenting experts" have to say within the article.
Clare Byam-Cook, a former midwife, stated "I can't believe she is still using a dummy!"
And parenting expert Sue Atkins said "It is an easy option for parents, because if you give them a dummy they shut up and are quiet. It's the same as giving them an iPad really."
Whoah Sue! Low blow! Leave the iPad out of this! Is this the type of thing you say to parents when they come to you for your expert advice? Jesus! You're a maniac. 
I'm sure that the Beckhams are fully aware of the possible consequences of their daughter having a dummy at the age of 4. They don't need the likes of Clare & Sue sticking their two pence worth in stating their opinions! Just the same as most parents don't need anyone sticking their oar in! What is it with people having to comment, judge and bitch about parenting techniques! 
I can't help but feel sorry for the Beckhams in this situation. It's bad enough meeting the likes of Clare and Sue at baby groups, the park, or anywhere else where they happen to materialise with their snarky comments and rolling eyes, but imagine having it slapped all over a newspaper and the internet!
If you truly were parenting experts, Clare & Sue, then I'm sure you would have a smidgen of understanding that we are parents, not super human beings! Sometimes we actually want our kids to shut up and keep quiet! Sometimes we are exhausted! Sometimes we employ techniques that may perhaps be frowned upon like, dare I say it, dummies and iPads, just to keep sane!!
Clare does go on to say how she feels that "David and Victoria seem wonderful parents" (Ahhhh how kind of you to say that Clare! You're Not an ass hat at all!) "but, like it or not, they are role models and lots of people will see this and think that having a dummy at this age is normal when it is not."
Well actually, no Clare. I'm pretty sure that adults are capable of making their own parenting decisions without the need to look up what the Beckhams are doing. But yes Clare you are right, these people are role models. But that doesn't mean they have to be perfect.
There will be a mum out there right now who has faced this sanctimonious bullshit and is currently doubting her abilities as a mother (as we all do!)
It may be a breath of fresh air to see that a celebrity mum is going through the exact thing as them! Using techniques to keep their child content for a little bit of peace and quiet! Because guess what? It's ok to do that!
And whilst you are discussing "normal behaviour" do you know what really isn't normal? Feeling the need to judge, point out and bitch about other peoples parenting styles. It isn't "normal" to make another parent feel like they aren't good enough. 
It's not the Beckhams who aren't "normal" here. It's you! The Daily Mail! And Clare and bloody Sue! 
So Beckhams, I salute you! Thankyou for allowing us regular folk to see that we're not the only ones who get judged and stifled by all this "perfect mummy" crap! Thankyou for allowing us to see that you too employ strategies that are sometimes "not perfect" but are right for you. 

Daily Mail, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Here is a picture of my son on his iPad as I wrote this.

Screw you.


Friday, 7 August 2015

World Breastfeeding Week. You're Just Not Getting It

It's World Breastfeeding Week!  This is a week dedicated to encouraging and normalising Breastfeeding within the 140 plus countries that take part. It's about raising awareness that Breastfeeding mothers need a plethora of support from health care professionals, family, friends, the community and more. 
It isn't about making people feel bad because they couldn't Breastfeed, in fact it's quite the opposite. It's about recognising that this is why Breastfeeding mothers need more support. So they can be helped when there are issues, so they can make informed choices and know there are people there to give them all the information and support that they need.  
So why am I seeing a multitude of blog posts and negative opinions on why people don't approve of World Breastfeeding Week?
Some people are suggesting that World Breastfeeding Week is causing a divide between Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding mothers. Some people are questioning why there isn't a World Formula Feeding Week, or simply a World Feeding Week.
If you too feel this way then you simply don't get it.
You don't understand the purpose of what this week is about.
You're entitled to your opinions, of course you are. But with these negative opinions you are completely missing the whole point.
World Breastfeeding Week isn't about Breastfeeding mothers publicly displaying how wonderful they think they are. It isn't about making anyone feel bad because they chose not to, or weren't able to Breastfeed. It isn't about defining who you are as a mother.
It's about providing information, stories, and dispelling myths.
But those who think there is a divide, maybe you are right. 
As a mother who has chosen to use formula you will never come across anyone telling you that you can't formula feed and you will have to stop for one reason or another, completely and immediately changing a feeding relationship you have built and established with your child. Unfortunately mothers who choose to Breastfeed do come across this. Quite often. 
As a breastfeeding support worker I have come across a phenomenal amount of women who have been told just this. For reasons such as medication use, returning to work, low milk supply, and many more. All of which do not require ending a Breastfeeding journey, if they were only given the right information and the right support.
A friend of the family who was a teen mum shared her experiences with me recently. She was desperate to Breastfeed. Within the first few hours of giving birth she could not get her baby to latch on. Instead of being offered support she was told that it wasn't working and she was passed a bottle. With nobody there to advocate for her, and being low in confidence she assumed that she "couldn't Breastfeed" and therefore continued with formula, despite the choice she had made to Breastfeed when pregnant.
THIS is what World Breastfeeding Week is about to me. 
It is about choice. And having those choices respected and supported.
If you were to ask any of my family, friends, or acquaintances they would assure you that I am not Breastfeeding militia. I am pro choice. Every mother has the right to choose how they feed their child. One specific way may not be right for all mothers. 
There seems to be this opinion of mothers who Breastfeed floating about that we all disapprove of formula feeding mums. This may be true for some Breastfeeding mums, but let me assure you, the majority of us don't. What we do disapprove of is mothers who choose to Breastfeed and don't receive adequate support and information, leading them to have issues or having to stop before they are actually ready. And this is what we are trying to put a stop to with World Breastfeeding Week.
We are not forcing people to Breastfeed, making a divide between Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding, or judging mothers for the choices they make in regards to feeding. We are simply allowing people to hear our stories. The good, the bad, the humorous. We are saying to people that if they choose to Breastfeed there is support out there. We are reaching out to health professionals to provide more support so that women can continue to feed their children how they choose to for as long as possible. 
How can you not support this? 
It is all about choice. It always has been. It always will be.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Little Old Imperfect Me

Mums who can cook 
You're amazing.
I cannot compete with you. I can't be bothered or even have the skills to make home made organic soups, or a whole wheat chocolate zucchini cake. I can however make a mean fish finger butty with a dollop of mayo!

Mums who can clean
You are amazing
I cannot compete with you. I do not have time to bleach my skirting boards, sterilise my cutlery or clean my windows. There are occasionally dust cobwebs hanging from my ceiling which I choose to ignore until my mother comes and dusts them away for me. My home is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. I also have some pretty awesome Yankee candles that make my home smell of pain aux chocolate and other lovely things. 

Mums who are organised.
You are amazing 
I cannot compete with you. I cannot make lists, plan ahead, or successfully complete a task in a specific time frame. I'm the mum who forgot my child actually had to wear a uniform for school and didn't order one. I also just downed 10ml of Calpol as I had no paracetamol in the house.

Mums who have lots of energy. 
You are amazing
I cannot compete with you. I can't jump out of bed at 6am and get to making breakfast with a spring in my step. When my child goes to bed at night I don't have the energy to tidy round, and prefer instead to lie in my pyjamas watching Netflix 

Mums who are creative. 
You are amazing 
I cannot compete with you. I cannot do paper m√Ęche, make things out of matchsticks, or craft fake flowers. The last time I attempted such a task my dining table got ruined and is now light oak thickly decorated with glue & glitter. I do however play a mean game of "dinosaur hunting" and can make stories up on the spot at bedtime.

So No, I can't cook, I'm not the best at cleaning, I'm not organised, I'm tired quite often, and I'm not creative. But I am ME. My son is loved. He is happy. You don't have to live up to being the "perfect mum." You just have to be you. You see, the thing about your children is they are probably the only people in your life who will love you unconditionally just for being you. They will love your imperfections, your not so greatness, your flaws, because to them you are perfect, you are great, you are flawless. Treasure that. Don't waste time beating yourself up for not being the best. You don't have to be. 
Embrace the fact that you're not the best. Make that your strength. A strength that will not go unrecognised by others, who also feel they have to strive to be more.

To your children you are the best. 

Little old imperfect you.