Saturday, 31 January 2015

Lesson 43: The Frustration of Playing 'Games' With Toddlers

When Boy One was a tiny baby he used to stare at me from his bouncer, completely oblivious to my one-way conversation, or perhaps bored to tears by the tenth round of Peek-A-Boo ('Where's Mummy gone? She's behind the blanket again, for fuck's sake'). I remember longing for him to get a bit bigger so I could interact with him properly. You know, play proper games. These days, as he climbs on me and throws Play-Doh at my head, I would quite like that baby back. Except now I have another baby. Who largely sits in that same bouncer looking worried at the flying Duplo debris and alarmed by his toddler brother's Darth Vader impression. 

The truth is, you can't really play games with toddlers at all. You can try. Oh how you'll try. But unless you have a bucketful of patience (and I don't even have a thimbleful - seriously, zero patience here) it can be THE most frustrating way to spend a day. If you don't yet own a toddler, here's what you can expect...

'I'll be Chelsea, mummy. You be Liverpool.' Excellent. Goals are set up, baby is attached to person in baby carrier/wrap to avoid impact shimmy into position to 'save' the shot that will never come close to the goal and he starts crying, 'Don't stop the ball Mummy. MUMMY! It has to GO in there.' Your explanation of the whole point of the game falls on deaf ears. So basically you stand there and compliment the goals he scores in a Keeper-less net from a 30cm range. 

This game is pretty basic. You get down on the floor and 'drive' a tiny car whilst following the path of the toddler's tiny car. Sometimes this will be a race. You will be required to make annoying engine noises. The only hard and fast rule is that you get the shittier car. And never win.
Hide and Seek
Get your best poker face and annoying parent voice ready (you know the one, and if you don't just go up a pitch) because your toddler will tell you where they are going to hide. Or, after counting to ten, you will see him very obviously lying on the sofa with only his head concealed by a cushion, giggling and/or farting with excitement, and the whole 'no sign of him here!' charade starts. Initially quite amusing, the fun factor soon wears off as you 'search' the living room for the blatantly visible small person for the seventy-sixth time. Sigh.

You can actually make this game work to your advantage by sending them upstairs to hide, then counting to at least one hundred before continuing to periodically shout 'hmmm no sign in the kitchen' or 'definitely not in this cupboard.' On a good day this can buy you ten minutes to eat a Kit Kat Chunky sort out some washing. On a really good day they will hide in their bed and fall asleep by the time you get there. Winning.

Relatively new, this one. Probably filtering into houses nationwide. The toddler will want to 'act out' the film. I was actually pretty excited about the prospect of a bit of Am Dram before breakfast - anything beats sodding cars. 
'You be Anna, Mummy. I'm Elsa. Go behind that door.' 
Excellent. Act Two, Scene One commences...
Me: *coughs ready to sing* 'Do you want to build a snowman?'
Toddler: 'YES PLEASE!!'
Face palm. Seen it one hundred times and still lacking comprehension of the main plot theme. 

Anything Crafty
Because the urge to wail "YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT!" can be overwhelming. As can the desire to scream at the mess unfolding before your eyes. 'Can we get some glitter out?' *sobs a bit.* I don't know where they find the kids on Mister Maker but mine won't follow any instruction and actually make or paint anything. In the end, YOU will paint a picture of a sheep and display it in your kitchen, with the footnote: 'By Henry, Aged 2'. You are only lying to yourself. 

Lesson 43: Don't expect to play any kind of meaningful game with a toddler without getting frustrated. Wait until they are a bit older. Or send them to Nanny's house. 
The Unmumsy Mum

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Letter To My Childless Former Self

How's your day going? I guess you have been at work, or out with friends, or at home enjoying a bottle of wine with your soon-to-be husband? Lovely.

You will probably have complained at some point today that you are fed up and/or tired. You are not really either of those things. Trust me...

There is so much I want to say to you about the years ahead. And about making the most of now

For starters, please listen to me when I tell you that you have unnecessary body hang-ups. Hips too big. Arms too fat. Dimply thighs. In the not too distant future you will long to have that same body back. You will realise that you were, in actual fact, quite slim. And toned. And the 'orange peel' you spotted was comparable in size to the orange of a borrower. Hardly worth mentioning. Post-children, people will kindly tell you you've 'lost the baby weight.' High fives. But you simply do not grow half a stone of human (twice) and come out looking the same.

One day you will stand half naked in the changing room of H&M (where they have installed both front and rear-view mirrors, thanks H&M) and you will cry. Your tummy will be squishy, those hips you hated so much will have stretch marks on both sides, and all at one you will realise what cellulite really looks like. The dimples are visible through leggings. Who knew? Enjoy that stomach of yours before it carries two babies. Do a starjump and enjoy not worrying about pelvic-floor failure. Invest in nice face creams whilst you can still afford them...

You want more money for those nice things right now. Of course you do - who doesn't? But the truth is, before children, you actually have plenty of it. You have a good job. You go on holiday. You have new clothes. Your hair looks freshly highlighted. You bought a new TV with your bonus from work. Your company car is immense. If you can't be bothered to cook you can spend £20 on Pizza Hut delivery. Twice in one week. You don't truly want for anything. And if you do, you have the ability to put money aside and save for it. The money coming in exceeds the money going out. In time you will come to realise that this was a luxury.

Enjoy this time - you will never get it back 
Because one day soon you will have no luxuries at all. By 2015, your bank balance will be remarkably unhealthy. The 'odd trip to Waitrose' will be a distant memory you laugh about. Because by then you won't even be able to afford to shop at Tesco. This week, the week I am writing to you, you will put your Aldi food shop on the credit card because the bank account is empty. You will no longer go on holiday - in fact you won't even be able to afford to join your sister and family for a weekend at Butlins. Somewhere the Childless You would probably laugh at. The Childless You is actually pretty snobby.

By 2015 you won't have the budget to be snobby. You will check your bank balance daily because you will be genuinely unsure whether or not you can afford to fill your shit car up with petrol. Your hair will get cut twice a year at most. You will never buy nice things for yourself or your husband. Almost every penny of your significantly reduced wages will go on bills, and some months there will be no surplus at all. There will be a deficit. And any money spent on clothes or nice things will always be for the children. Your children will always come first.

Your children. I bet that sounds strange. You are imagining life with two girls, I know you are. You always did think you would have daughters. Well my dear friend, maybe start imagining having sons instead because as it turns out you will have two boys.

I hope I haven't scared you about the lack of money and the stretch marks. You will care about these things a whole lot less than you might anticipate. Your priorities will change forever. Those boys become the centre of your world.
They are so very beautiful. And hilarious. You will laugh a lot.

They are also bloody hard work. And draining. You will cry a lot.

And that tiredness you are feeling now will be blown out of the water in comparison. Did you go out at the weekend? Was it another Hangover Sunday? Well, just a little heads up. HANGOVER SUNDAYS ARE DEAD TO YOU BY 2015. Enjoy them while you still can.

I'm not saying that life gets worse in the years to come. But shit is about to get real. So I want you to capture this child-free moment and bottle it. The lie-ins, the shopping trips, the nights out, the evenings working late in the office uninterrupted and alone because it doesn't matter if you miss teatime. Your life is about to change forever and you should be prepared for that.
The you of the future may be poorer (and knackered) but in equal measure you will feel richer for having discovered what is really important.

For now, please bathe in the glory of your child-free life which is a special time in its own right.

And start doing some pelvic floor exercises.

Your Future Self (with the benefit of hindsight)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lesson 42: The Night Feed in Five Psychological Stages

The thought process cycle in those desperately shit hours...

1) Hope
As the baby drifts off to sleep, sandwiched between the soft bunny comforter and the white noise contraption (who doesn't love falling asleep to the sound of an upright fan?) you allow yourself to dream that this could be the night. Tonight will be different.

2) Denial
You have been asleep for no more than five minutes and he is awake. This cannot be so, you think. You ignore the frantic crying and whack the white noise thingy in a last ditch attempt to settle him. This is a fruitless exercise, but you have not yet come to terms with the fact that he wants feeding. AGAIN. 'Just go back to sleep' you say quietly (at nobody in particular, whilst sobbing). 

3) The Stand Off
Now you have established that he is well and truly awake (he is the colour of a beetroot, half the street can hear his screams), you lie perfectly still. Your stillness sends a body language message to your husband. 

I am asleep. I am not fucking getting up. 

You pray he will get up. 
He doesn't even stir. Marvellous.

4) Rage
You angrily turn the night light on, *accidentally* kick said husband in the ribs and declare 'How is he fucking hungry? Why is he being such a dick? This is ridiculous! Fucking RIDICULOUS,' as you whisk the baby out of his cot and commence the feed. Whilst sighing loudly. 

If your husband does wake during this stage, he can expect to hear you declare 'never having another one,' 'having another one was a mistake' and/or 'I FUCKING HATE MY LIFE.' If he doesn't wake up you will be so annoyed with his snoring* you will want to punch him in the face.

5) Guilt
The baby smiles at you. Between the swearing and the start of divorce proceedings, that little bundle of agitated loudness starts cooing and gurgling. You now feel awful for having blamed him for ruining your life. And calling him a dick. What a terrible mother you are. So whilst feeding you whisper 'Shhhh. It's alright. Is that nice? Do you like your milkies?' etc etc. 

You then put him back down to sleep, where you have approximately 55 minutes before this cycle of doom starts again...

Lesson 42: Night feeds are completely and utterly shit. Send coffee.

The Unmumsy Mum

I should add that the long suffering Mr Unmumsy does more than his fair share and I still kick him when he is asleep. Because he made me pregnant (twice). Bastard.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Lesson 41: Ten Reasons Why Work Is A Holiday

1) You can drink a cup of tea. Whilst it is hot. You can also put it down unattended and enjoy not having to scream 'Watch my tea. Watch my TEA!' as a small person toddles close to it.

2) You get to wear something which doesn't have vomit-crust on the sleeve. You may even branch out from leggings. You little minx.

3) You don't get followed to the toilet, or watched whilst you are on the toilet (hopefully). You could even sit there in silence for half an hour if you wanted to (though it might lead your workmates to conclude you are doing a Number Two, so best not).

4) Your lunch is your lunch. It doesn't get stolen. Or sneezed on.

5) Nobody in the office climbs all over you (unless you want them to - which is, of course, your business). You won't feel the urge to lock yourself in the toilet with your fingers in your ears shouting 'will everybody just LEAVE ME ALONE' (whilst crying). Yes, this has happened at home.

6) There is less risk of actual bodily harm, as the odds of getting smacked around the head with a Lights & Sounds Police Car are significantly lower.

7) You can converse all day with adults talking about Coronation Street, diets and affairs ('She DIDN'T! So she wasn't really at Zumba?')

8) You will go more than fifteen minutes without having to use a baby wipe for some kind of bodily spillage.

9) Telephones ringing, computer keyboards clicking, a low murmur of voices....all these noises are preferable to the brain-drilling chorus of children screaming over the alarm from Fireman Sam's Ocean Rescue Centre. (Incidentally 'Sorry darling, we've run out of batteries' is a lie executed daily at home).

10) Finally, you can go for a walk on your lunch break. Alone. WITHOUT CARRYING A BAG.

Whilst at work, the lesser appreciated benefits of Staying At Home might be missed. These include:
- Not having to make small talk with people you don't really like
- Eating what you fancy without being silently judged by colleagues on diets
- Not having to get dressed. Or washed.
- Watching Homes Under The Hammer

I will miss these buggers
The work day also brings with it the realisation that sometimes you will miss your children so much your heart will hurt. Hurty heart I call it. Pretty sure it's a medical condition.
The Unmumsy Mum
(Returning to work in four weeks, bit sad about the Hurty Heart but mostly feeling gleeful in light of points 1-10).

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Lesson 40: Ten Reasons Why Toddlers Are Tossers

1) They call your bluff. At the park, when you threaten to leave (Come ON, it's time to go, I will go without you. BYE THEN), they shoot you a look which says 'you do that' as they potter off back towards the slide. The little bastards. You then have to face the indignity of re-tracing your steps back through the gate and resorting to the Lift And Drag technique. As parents of well-behaved children pretend not to look.

2) They overhear and repeat only the bad stuff. Ask them to copy your recital of the alphabet, or numbers 1-10, they become selectively deaf. Accidentally let the swear guard down due to some cockwomble's bad driving and be faced with 'FUCK'S SAKE, man' clear as day for all to hear. Come in, Social Services. 

3) They lie down on the floor. In public. Usually prompted by the earlier disagreement in the park, this little trick means they always have one up on you because they don't care what people think. They will go completely stiff and refuse to stand so you have to pick them up and carry them out of the Post Office by their coat hood. Later you will realise you forgot to post the letter. 

4) They refuse to eat the food you give them. You offer one last chance to start eating it properly before it goes in the bin. 

They don't want it. 
It goes in the bin.
They do want it.
*Scratches own eyes out*

5) They give away your lazy parenting secrets. When asked 'What did you do today?' they will ignore any of the activities where you actually tried to be a good parent (have a break from CBeebies), and instead reply 'Watched Frozen,' 'Ate chips!' or 'Watched Frozen eating chips!

Eating his tea (balanced on his fire station) in front of Home & Away. Mother of the year?
6) They poo at inconvenient times. Regardless of whether they are still in nappies (gross) or need your help to use the toilet (also gross), they save any poo action for other people's houses. Or The Range. 

7) They manipulate bribes like a hostage-taker. Many deals are agreed with my toddler on the sole basis that he will get a biscuit. 'Never reward a tantrum' they say. Of course we all agree in principle. But after zero sleep, a stressful trip to the shops and a potentially explosive toddler tantrum bomb about to detonate on the bus, I have been known to whisper 'stop whinging and you can have a biscuit.' 

This can easily be fixed with a biscuit
8) They cry because they are tired. But won't nap. Enough said. 

9) They reserve all bad behaviour for you, and are positively angelic for everybody else. This means that to the outside world, it seems you are fabricating the horrific account of your trip to town. 'But he's always so well behaved for us!' Shut up.

10) After all of this, they look so cute when they are sleeping, or when they give you a cuddle, you forgive the bad bits and accept they will be the cause of headaches for the next twenty years. Tossers they may be, but they are your tossers.

The Unmumsy Mum

Friday, 16 January 2015

Lesson 39: What You Say vs What You Secretly Think

Situation One
A fellow parent makes a comment about your child. Such as 'gosh isn't he small for his age?!' or 'wow she's a handful! Have you tried the naughty step when she does that?'

You say: 'Yes' (with a weak smile and nod) or 'thanks, we'll give that a go.'

You think: Who died and made you fucking Supernanny? (Though if we are offering unsolicited advice, you might want to teach your child to share. And wipe his nose).

Situation Two
A childless colleague yawns, then tells you they are 'shattered' after a late night.

You say 'Oh dear. You need an early night tonight then! Do you want a coffee?'

You think: I haven't slept for more than three hours at a time for MONTHS. I'm so tired I fall asleep standing up. You chose to go out for drinks or stay up late watching Breaking Bad last night because you still have free will. You lucky child-free bastard.

THIS is what tired looks like (pre-concealer).
Situation Three
Another child pushes your child or steals their toy at playgroup. The parent apologises. 

You say: 'It's fine, don't worry!'

You think: Get that toddler terrorist away from my baby. 

Situation Four
People keep asking you about your 'days off.' As in, 'what are you going to do with your days off this week?'

You say: 'Not sure yet. This and that!'

You think: That's right; my days OFF. I think I might go shopping, paint my nails, drink wine with friends, go to a fucking spa. I HAVE TWO CHILDREN UNDER THREE. What do you think I will be doing? My three days at work are more relaxing.

Situation Five
The baby starts to kick off at the supermarket checkout. A 'helpful' stranger advises: 'it sounds to me like he's hungry dear!'

You say: 'Yes he's due a feed. Impeccable timing as ever!' 

You think: No shit Sherlock. Shall I whip my boob out before or after I load these tinned tomatoes onto the checkout?

Do we look like we need your advice? 
Situation Six 
Somebody asks you how you are finding life with a baby.

You say: 'Pretty manic! But I wouldn't change it for the world!' 

You think: I no longer sleep, or wash, or eat anything other than fish fingers. I can't remember the last time I went out, and these days an unaccompanied trip to the dentist is something I look forward toSo yeah, sometimes I actually would change it for the world. 

In hindsight, I should have got a dog.

The Unmumsy Mum

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Lesson 38: The Post-Having-Children Relationship Dynamic

Key areas of change to a once romantic relationship after small humans arrive. 

And no, I don't mean that kind of intimacy which is sadly not top of the agenda when a baby arrives (plus the only window of opportunity would mean missing Broadchurch. Silly billies). I mean openness with each other about things you would never have willingly shared before having children. Like things 'down below' (see Lesson 30) or boob-related agonies. 

One time, after Boy One was born, my boobs got so massive (or 'engorged' as they say at breast club) that my long suffering husband had to me out. Yep. Such was the agony of my temporarily enormous boobs, I had to get my husband to hand-express me. Interesting evening that one. 

Look at our happy rested faces. I hate us.
General topics of conversation, without disrespect, become quite dull. You won't realise they are dull because you are living in that all-consuming parent bubble. Time is allocated daily to discuss the meaningful questions in life, like: how many ounces of milk has the baby taken, where was the toddler when he went for his daily poo, how many packs of baby wipes are left (I told you we needed more, you weren't listening) and so on. 

You'll also learn that attempting any kind of adult conversation with small humans around is pointless. You will be interrupted every third word, toys will be thrown, sometimes at your head, and eventually you will forget what you were going to say anyway. Something about baby wipes?

And then there are the one-off phrases you never dreamed you would hear yourself say.

Like; 'Can you just give his bum a quick sniff?' and 'I think I'll give the wine a miss tonight. Can you make me an Earl Grey?' 

Or sentences which demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that you are getting old, including 'no rush - I prepped the casserole earlier so it just needs to go in the oven' and 'Friday looks set to be the best clothes-drying day.' Seriously, what have I become? Is this it?

Time as a couple
Once the offspring have landed, time alone as a couple is largely non-existent. Instead, the most loving of acts will be to facilitate five minutes peace for your better half by taking over childcare duties. If you want to have a shower (or wee) on your own, or on the rarest of occasions stay in bed past 7am, your other half must occupy the children. Likewise, if he wants to watch the football without the toddler smacking him round the head with one of two lightsabers, you must vacate the living room and take the tiny terrors with you. It is an unsaid agreement that you give each other a break. What you never get to have is a break together

(It is also an unsaid agreement that your husband doesn't elaborate too much on his work day. Particularly if banter and/or grown-up snacks were involved. Because you have been at home all day playing Star Wars in your dressing gown, and this will make you want to stab him in the face). 

And when you finally do find yourself gloriously child-free at a nice restaurant? Well, you will eat your posh meal in thirty seconds flat (subconsciously trained to expect the mealtime meltdown) and then you will spend the entire evening talking. 

About your kids. 

'Isn't it cute when....' 'This is my favourite picture of them together!' 

Our favourite topic of conversation
Sad as it may sound, you become completely and utterly obsessed with those sleep-stealing buggers. You will also conclude all conversations with 'what the hell did we DO before we had kids?' 

And realise you were lazy bastards. It was magical. 

The Unmumsy Mum

Friday, 9 January 2015

Lesson 37: Don't Judge A Mum By Her Temper

Long ago, in the land of No Children, I promised myself I would never lose my temper in public. 

I turned my nose up at parents shouting at their kids in the supermarket. How very undignified. How very common

I tutted at mothers on buses who snapped at the abhorrent behaviour of their offspring. Sometimes a bottom slap was involved. All very Jeremy Kyle.

I felt sad for the children whose parents gave abrupt answers to their questioning. Those poor little darlings were just curious, and the parents were clearly too lazy to offer a proper explanation.

Now I am a parent and I want to say this:
To all of those people I silently judged; I'm sorry.

I'm sorry because it has since occurred to me that when you screamed your child's name in the Co-op I had NO IDEA of how she had behaved for you in those hours before. I'd hazard a guess and say she had probably refused to put her shoes on, cried in the car and demanded unhealthy bribes to sit in the trolley. So whilst running away in the tinned food aisle wasn't the biggest crime, you were perfectly justified in losing your shit. I lose my shit every day. Every. Single. Day.
I'm sorry because all things considered there wasn't a lot you could do on that bus. Your kids were quite frankly an embarrassment, and shouting and/or restraining them was just about the only way you could show the other passengers that you didn't think their anti-social behaviour was okay either. Sometimes, I have zero control over my children. Sometimes I shout at The Toddler because he runs away from me. Sometimes I shout at him because he DOESN'T FUCKING LISTEN. And sometimes I just shout. Not really at anyone, just a verbal manifestation of my rage to accompany the baking tray throwing. 

I'm sorry because the day you said 'hmmm' and 'yes dear' and 'be quiet' in response to your child's intelligent question, I had not witnessed the MILLION AND ONE other questions that had come before it. 
Like 'Why is it Wednesday?' 
'Can I have a treat later?' 
'What is cereal? What IS cereal? WHAT IS CEREAL? What is it though?'
So to all the Co-op Mums, Frazzled Bus Ladies and 'Because it is' respondents...I'm sorry because I know now. When your child is being a complete arse I will NOT tut at you, I will give you the Nod of Sympathy instead.

I have your back.  

The Unmumsy Mum

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Lesson 36: The Doctors Surgery

Yesterday, I had the misfortune of taking both children to the doctors. Sat in the waiting room, with ten minutes to spare before the baby's appointment, I thought I was doing quite well. We were there on time and nobody was crying. So far so good.

Things started to get a little hairy when The Toddler lay down on the floor of the waiting room. When I asked what he was doing, he shouted 'I'M RESTING!' What do you even say to that? He wasn't screaming, so I gave up and let people step over him on their way to reception. 

And then at the exact moment The Baby started kicking off, The Toddler decided he needed the toilet. Excellent.

After it became apparent he couldn't hold it ('it's going to come out Mummy!') I had to pass the baby to a random but very kind old lady so I could fulfil toilet duty. With my first baby, I am relatively certain I would not have left a total stranger in charge. This time, I think I would have considered leaving him with the homeless man from the subway if it meant we'd avoid a toilet accident. It was a good job we didn't chance it, as said toddler decided THIS was the appropriate moment for his daily poo. FML. 

I'm not going to go into great detail, but it wasn't pleasant and I'm sorry to anybody who visited the loo after him - there wasn't a toilet brush and we were in a rush to check the baby hadn't become plot inspiration for the next series of The Missing. 

She hadn't snatched him thank goodness. In fact she was holding him up in the air and he was laughing his head off, obviously delighted with his new Grandma. Granny Stranger. 

Granny Stranger then informed us that during the time we had spent in the toilet we had missed the call for our appointment. Of course we fucking had. 

So the now hungry and tired baby had to wait another twenty minutes for the doctor whilst The Toddler proudly advised the other patients 'you must wash your hands! Bottom bottom farty pants.' 

Lesson 36: Don't take two children to the doctors. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Lesson 35: The Sugar Coating of Social Media

For years I've wondered how others make parenting look so easy. They all look so happy all of the time. And gradually it has dawned on me that social media is like an imperfection filter. Any flaws or moments of unhappiness are sifted before we hit the share button. 

Our timelines are full to bursting with happiness. Beautiful shots of our kids on beaches, selfies on sofas, posh meals out, loved up couples and happy family times that rightly deserve a like and a comment. The good bits.

This is, of course, only natural. We hit delete on the photos that give us four chins. Or those where our children look anything other than cute. We share statuses reflecting good news, good friends, good times. 

But what lies beneath? What about the other times? I don't mean the 'I'm so pissed off right now' cryptic statuses that wind everybody up (if you're not going to share why you are 'absolutely fuming' then don't bother telling us all, just a thought). 

I mean the everyday gripes of normal life. For every nice shot of my boys I know I have ten more that should never see the light of day. For every 'this little monkey got me up early' status there are ten 'this little shit is bloody hard work, pass the wine' thoughts underneath. Our instinct is to share the airbrushed version, the Instagram edit, the specially selected statuses.

The original photos, the days we would sell a kidney to have some kid-free time and the mundane everyday statuses are the real 'news feeds' that go unreported.

The picture I chose to share five days after I had given birth. I put make up on in the car.
The reality of life five days after giving birth. Still in my pyjamas at midday with unwashed hair.

Since starting this blog, I have received an overwhelming number of messages from other mums who tell me they have at times really struggled. They have felt like they are failing. They have felt alone. They have largely felt that it has simply not been okay to share moments of difficulty or boredom or frustration when everybody else is coping so well. Or so it seems. I've come to realise this is probably why people bother to read my random blog musings at all - because regardless of whether my posts are any good they have always been based wholeheartedly on real life.

Of course I will continue to use Instagram (way slimmer in Valencia) and periodically pose my boys for snaps, and tell you when I am so very happy. But I will also balance it out with the other stuff. A montage solely of the best bits is not who we are.

Lesson 35: If you are having a bad day (or week) just remember that your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed should come with a disclaimer. You may feel like everybody else has the life you want but in reality they may not even always have the life they want.* Social media is not real life

*Though if you are anxiously waiting for the masses to comment 'I'll PM you hun' maybe just send a text?

The Unmumsy Mum

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Lesson 34: Having Kids - The Best and Worst Bits

The worst bits:

The crying.
The crying. And the whinging. Sometimes relentless, it drills into your skull and makes you throw a baking tray across the kitchen (apparently...) 
Soundtrack to a bad day 
The inability to ever leave the house on time again.
Last minute nappy changes, the toddler's daily poo (30 mins with a magazine, yes really), tantrums, and shouts of, "Where the fuck is his fucking coat?" ensure you are always late. And grumpy. 

The mess.
Unless you have the luxury of a playroom (we don't), your living space will now resemble the Early Learning Centre. Sure you'll tidy up, but little humans insist on getting all of the toys out all of the time. They particularly enjoy tipping out toys with lots of small pieces. This results in having baskets full of non-matching puzzle pieces, random blocks of Duplo and half a Sofia the First tea set, because quite frankly you cannot be arsed to sort them all again. Sigh. 
The basket of crap
Or lack of. Such an obvious negative to becoming parents but MY GOD I never realised how much my general sense of wellbeing relied on sleep. I can't remember the last time I wasn't awake at 3am. I bloody hate 3am.

Children's TV.
A lifeline in all manner of situations, you will adopt a love/hate relationship with Kids' TV. Some of which is truly insufferable. Like Bubble Guppies. And one day you will worryingly realise you have seen every episode of Peppa sodding Pig ("I think this one's my favourite, Peace and Harmony in all the world!") and formed theories about the residents of Ponty Pandy. Like could Norman Price be Fireman Sam's secret love child? No sign of Mr Price and they are both ginger...just saying.

DNA test?
But in amongst the mess and the cartoons and the stress and the noise, there are moments of brightness and brilliance. The best bits:

The cuddles.
Those little arms around your neck, a little face snuggled in to your chest. Knowing that when they hurt themselves only Mum or Dad's cuddles will do. Special times.

The laughter.
Yes sometimes I cry (a lot). And sometimes I comment on how bloody hard life with kids can be. But the flip side of that is the laughter. Our house is filled with laughter everyday. Funny things the toddler says, hysteria due to tiredness, winding each other up. This house feels warmer when filled with our boys. 

The future.
I mean that's what it's all about, isn't it? On the darkest of sleep-deprived days, when I can't have a shower (or a wee) in peace, when I throw out the skinniest of skinny jeans because they are no longer realistic, when I wonder if I will ever have an uninterrupted meal again...I think ahead to five years time. Ten years time. Twenty years even. When my babies will be causing havoc at school, or bringing girls home as teenagers, or having babies of their own. All the times to come when I will be so very thankful that two became four and we created arguably the most important recipe for happiness.

A family.
Love these little buggers
Lesson 34: Having kids will provide a wealth of memories you will treasure forever. An eclectic mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly (potty training), I'm sure someday we'll look back fondly on it all. Won't we? Please tell me we will...

The Unmumsy Mum