Thursday, 24 May 2012

We all know times are hard, we don't have to be told it by the rolling news banners, or the print media or the politicians who seek to emapthise. We know because it's in the lurching feeling in our stomach when we see the supermarket receipt, it's in the clothes that we don't buy for our kids, the meals we don't have with our partner.
Whether or not we agree with the path that the coaltion government have taken we all have to live with it, and do our best with it.
Our household is a fairly average, middle of the road, normal (whatever the hell that means) household. My husband earns a good wage, we have a nice house in a nice area with most of the mod-cons. I know there are people out there who are a lot worse off than us so I do not want this post to come across as a 'woe is me' post, but at the same time I am still allowed to have a bit of a moan.
I find myself fulfilling the weekly shop in Lidl's. I have absolutely nothing against the more budget end of the supermarket, err, market but I do miss the choice that I was allowed in Tesco's or Sainsbury's. And they don't really cater to the homecook much either so I still have to top up my shopping elsewhere.
My sons don't get new clothes. After a growth spurt my eldest is running around with pajama's of the ankle swinging variety but he will have to wait until his birthday (September) before he gets anything new.
I can't remember the last time my husband and I went out for a meal, and the last film I saw at the cinema was Toy Story 2.
I haven't bought a new item of clothing in over a year and buy my clothes in charity shops, our holiday this year is curtesy of my parents, and freecycle is now my online shop of choice.
There is more we could do, get rid of Sky for example (or at the very least scale it down to get rid of the crap no one watches), sort out my veggie patch and grow some of our own food (I do try and bake my own bread when I can), and I'm not great at the make do and mend thing (can't sew, won't sew).
The only thing that keeps my head up is that we are all in this boat together and it will get better. It has to. We need to keep our chins up, our hatches buttoned down and we will all arrive safely on the other side. I constantly have one foot in the past with the 1940's being my decade of choice and I keep reminding myself that families survived the uncertainty of war years on rations. Women with more children than me had to feed them all with a few eggs, half a loaf of bread and two handfuls of potatoes.
They stood and faced it. And so shall I, but I shall moan like hell about it.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My Choice

Lately I have become very aware of the fight for continued abortion rights. It's been in the news and some of my recent follows on Twitter are quite vocal in their support for the right to choose. It has made me examine quite closely my own experience and views on the subject.
When I fell pregnant unexpectedly *cough* years ago I knew that I couldn't go through with the pregnancy and so, along with the support of my partner, decided to terminate. I won't bore you with the reasons as then I would feel like I am justifying our decision and I don't need to do that.
I saw the locum at my GP's and was treated like something he had just scraped off of the bottom of his shoe. We went to a clinic but were treated like a number, a statistic, and this left me feeling awful. Luckily, at the time, I just about qualified to be seen by the Brooke Clinic where we were seen as two human beings who were making a tough choice and needed support throughout.
The appointment was made. I went in pregnant. My partner stayed in the car, fighting back tears. Tears for me and what I had to go through. Tears for the situation and the choice we felt we had to make. When I came out I wasn't pregnant anymore.
What came after is hard to explain. There were feelings of guilt but why should I feel guilty? There were feelings of loss and grief but it was my choice so why was I so sad? Why was I so angry? And who was I angry at? I worked my way through them with the help of an amazing partner and supportive and open family and friends.
I went on to marry that man and have two wonderful kids with him. My mind wanders back to that period of our life sometimes but I never think "What if..." or have ever regretted the decision we made. If anything, having two children has bought home the sheer commitment and duty involved in having children and it's so apparent I, we, weren't ready.
Today I got involved in a debate on Twitter with an anti-choicer. It was all civil and well mannered and we discussed our respective sides articulately and lucidly. And then she compared abortion to the Holocaust. Well, that put my back well and truly up. I asked her where I stand in this comparison. If abortion was like the Holocaust then who am I? Am I Hitler? Am I a concentration camp guard? Where does the woman who terminates a pregnancy feature in this side-by-side view of abortion and a humanitarian horror? I received no answer to my question.
Funnily enough there was support for me in the debate from another woman opposed to abortion. At least it shows that even in this emotive issue of abortion and abortion rights we can agree on some things.
The 'abortion = Nazi' lady also said that abortion doesn't only affect the woman. Agreed. She said that many post-abortion women have feelings of guilt and regret. Agreed. She said that women must be protected. Agreed. Where in this argument does this equate withdrawing the right of the woman to choose?
My experience was an extremely tough thing to have to go through and one that I would implore women (and men) to avoid. Is abortion a good thing? Generally, no. Is it a fair thing? Not really.

But we must, we simply must, retain that choice. I made it. And I'm glad it was mine to make.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Right, well I'm back. And what has spurred me into action? That would be poo. When you have small children you see a lot of poo. In fact, as I am writing this my 10 month old has just sat very happily in his high chair and done an almighty rumbling poo in his nappy. I'm not looking forward to changing that one. My husband gets home in an hour and a half but I'm assuming it would be somewhat negligent of me to leave my smelly son 'till then? Drat. Hang on then. I may be some time...

... Wow. That was an up the back, complete change of clothes, can still smell it on me nappy explosion! Now where was I? Ah, yes, poo.
Last night on Twitter the talk got round to poo (it was only a matter of time) as bloggers such as @LadyCurd, @motherscuffer and @babberblog were discussing whether or not is was 'the done thing' to blog or tweet about poo and pottytraining. The general consensus seemed to be that it was. And that's where I chipped in with an off the cuff remark about eating my son's poo. Unsurprisingly, people clamoured - maybe that's a slight exaggeration - to know more.

One afternoon I was on my mobile phone to my husband. I can't remember what we were discussing but it was important enough for me to give my son some chocolate to keep him quiet while I spoke. Otherwise all I get is "Who's on the phone Mummy? Can I speak to them, Mummy? Who are you speaking to Mummy?". So I'm sitting on the sofa, slightly distracted and Toddler is sitting in front of me munching away on his chocolate. Next thing I know he is standing on the sofa beside me with some brown goo/mush on his finger and sticking it in my face.
Now, as anyone who has been around small children knows, when kids stick food in your face you go "Nom nom nom" and nibble at it at, and then go, "Mmmmmmm, that was yummy". For some reason they love this.
So my son has this brown goo/mush all up in my face and I do the whole "Nom nom nom" nibble bit (I'm still on the phone) but don't really get as far as the "Yummy!" bit as it became quite apparent rather quickly that this was not chocolate. My brain raced fast and reached a horrific, and unfortunately correct, conclusion.
Not wanting to fully close my mouth around the rancid taste I garbled "This is not chocolate" grabbed my son's finger and smelt it (yes, yes, I know - that should have happened waaaaay sooner) and my fears were confirmed.
"I've got to go" was all my husband heard and then I hung up the phone, raced to the bathroom and tried in vain to rid myself of the taste and texture of the feces, leaving a poor bewildered little boy standing on the sofa with a very messy nappy and a dollop of poo on his finger.

Now I know that you all want to know, what does poo taste like? And I consider it an honour to let you know that it tastes of.... nothing. Of waste. But it's not a tasteless nothing. It's an overpowering sense of excrement upon the palate. It's clear that the body has removed all the good stuff and left... well, this. Crap. Shit. Dung. Whathaveyou.

Lessons have been learnt from this episode and I now closely inspect and scrutinise any Unidentified Food Objects shoved in my face. After this, even those cardboard baby rice cakes taste quite nice, but I ain't taking any chances!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Writers Block

I haven't written in a while. I have a bit of writers block, I guess. There is a lot going on, especially with my toddler testing the shizzle out of me on a daily basis and Christmas coming up but whether it's the weather or the stress or the chaos but I just haven't been motivated to write anything. Come an evening all I want to do after tucking the kids in is to sit in front of Australian Masterchef with a cup of tea, and then to bed.
The washing up isn't done. A late laundry is not put on. My book remains unread and my blog... well, you can see for yourself.
And then I was oh so unwell with the rather Y2K sounding Novo virus and have lost a whole week, which when on the run up to Christmas, is a hell of a long time to lose! But after a rather windswept walk on a wet beach in Brighton I am hoping that the cobwebs have been well and truly blown away. And, in fact, I am sure I could see the big block that has been standing in my way come tumbling out and roll down the beach, being swept away by the blustery breeze that may have come to my rescue today.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


My toddler is in a big boy bed.  Or rather, he's not. He's mostly out of it. I've waved a bitter sweet goodbye to daytime naps. I don't really see the point of trying for an hour and a half to get him down for a two hour nap so we are ploughing through the day without naps.
Bedtime is another matter. Charlie has always slept well. We have always been firm that bedtime is bedtime. We sleep trained at 6 months and it seemed to work. He goes down at 7pm and gets up at 7am ninety-nine per cent of the time.
I thought I was a tough Mum. Not tough like "You there, kid, shut up!" but tough with pragmatism. I am not a soft touch and I do use the naughty step but I know that what I do is providing good lessons that will help them later in life. People that push, throw and scream tend not to be so popular!
The big boy bed came about because he could basically get out of his cot in seconds and he was up, out and on the floor before we were out the door of his room.
First of all we tried the Super Nanny approach. That lasted four days. Then we put up a gate at his door and let him get on with it. He would get to the door and just cry. Sometimes for me, mostly for Daddy. I felt like I was caging him in. I wanted to teach him to make the right decision to stay in bed, not have that 'choice' forced upon him. Part of me wondered what the big deal was. After all, what was a cot but a smaller version of a room with a door gate? And we'd have him cry out in his cot, so why not his room? But always there was the nagging feeling that else where other parents are tirelessly traipsing up the stairs carrying their protesting children and doing it the 'proper' way. But no! It seems that globally the door gate is 'a method'. Dads at play groups use it. Mums on Twitter use it. I am not alone. I am not a terrible Mum for letting my son cry himself to sleep on the floor and then scooping him into bed. This is just another life lesson that he has to learn. We all had to do it and don't seem too scarred by the experience.
The little boy in question has just gone quite after 30 minutes of extreme protestations. I sat it out (with a glass of wine!) feeling terrible and searching for support. With validation received I say, bring on tomorrow night!

Fully Dressed

I tried. I really did. On Thursday I had a 2 year old birthday party with a few other Mums. The only one I knew was the birthday boy's Mum. I turned up with no make-up and I got quite a few sympathetic looks and lots of "Not going well, huh?" type questions. I must have looked so tired and rundown. For the first time that week I felt exposed and vulnerable. It made me self conscious. Like a self fulfilling prophecy, because I looked stressed out and tired and felt stressed out and tired.
Thursday night was a tough one with Baby Max. I awoke on Friday morning feeling very very tired but with places to go and people to see. I couldn't face feeling like I did at that birthday party so I slapped on the slap. With a splash of red lippy to really perk me up. Is it wrong of me to get a buzz when people at the toddler 'dance' group told me that I looked well. I haven't been without make-up since.
Am I weak? I can't work it out. The scores (!) of you that read this bog, I would appreciate your opinion. I can normally reflect on why I couldn't see a personal challenge through but this one has stumped me. I thought I didn't care. I thought I was strong and unvain (invain? not vain?). Do you wear make-up? Would you go without?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


My make-up is my mask. Everyday I put it on, deciding who I want to be. Shall I have smoky eyes with red lipstick? Or shall I go for the 'natural' look with nude shades? Either way, I do not leave the house unless I have put on foundation, blusher and mascara - at least. Say I oversleep in the morning and my son is running late for the childminders, do I throw on a pair of jogging bottoms and rush out the house sans make-up to make sure he gets there on time? No. I will be 20 minutes late rather than have a naked face.
So, in my own inimitable style, if it's not easy, if it's a challenge, i will impose it on myself. This week I am mostly going without makeup.

Monday: I got my son to the childminders on time (!) and go for a coffee with my sister-in-law. She mentions how tired I look. And I do. I have very dark circles under my eyes, always have. A makeover lady one one of those posh department stores asked if I had Asian blood in my family as my circles were so dark. Also I am quite pale. Not 'pale and interesting' pale, but 'my god! are you okay?' pale. It came in handy at school. All I had to do was not wear make-up and I could quite easily get away with going home 'ill'.
On Monday I also went to see Britney Spears in concert at Wembley Arena with my sister. It's one thing pottering around the local high street without make-up but it is quite another to venture out to a teeny-bop concert showing your wares! Luckily it was so dark and people were more concerned about whether their schoolgirl skirt was short enough to really care about my face. And then it struck me - people DON'T care. It's just me. I'm the one who cares. People are too busy going about their own business. Of course, this is me walking around in the dark so it's easy to say!
On the plus side, my sister said my skin looked clear!
Tuesday: Totally loving the time it takes to get ready in the morning! And if the kids wake before I have finished getting ready, so what? I no longer have to fear Charlie smearing my lipstick over his eyes while I am otherwise distracted. This was an odd day. My husband fell down the stairs with baby Max in his arms and once he had passed the baby to be he collapsed and started to fit. I called an ambulance and he was taken to A&E (more of that later - he's fine now) so the fact that I picked my son up and then walked to the hospital without make-up didn't seem so important.
Wednesday: Husband can't be alone in the house so haven't walked out the front door.

Tomorrow I have a children's birthday in the morning and then a playdate in the afternoon. I am not afraid to say that I am not looking forward to doing either of them so.... so exposed. To be honest, I am not sure what I am trying to achieve with this latest plan of folly. To loosen up a little, maybe? To find an inner confidence? To be able to face the world without my mask? Either way... here goes...