The Empty Chair at Christmas

Last night my husband very casually informed me that Leon from Gogglebox had passed away. He certainly wasn’t expecting my reaction; which was to sob my heart out. I feel sadness whenever I hear of anyone’s passing – obviously – but Leon really did upset me. The image I couldn’t get out of my head was of June sitting next to an empty chair; that famous chair we have all watched for so many years.

My husband told me this news as I was sat next to him watching TV. This doesn’t happen very often but it’s Christmas so we have been making an effort to watch things together. So here I was, the wife sat next to the husband watching the box – just like June and Leon. I sobbed further at the prospect that one day one half of our sofa will be empty too. Pretty morbid for the festive season – I apologise.

I read a quote on Twitter the other day about Christmas being about hope for the future for children, but for adults it’s always about the empty chair at the table. It was such a sad quote.

I have been so lucky in my life. I have a small, close family. I am an only child and because of this Christmas day is always spent with my Mum and Dad and that’s about it. Sometimes a boyfriend would join us and perhaps a gran if she didn’t get a better offer.

In later years I made my folks grandparents and married so now Christmas is the five of us. Our small, perfect family. I am so incredibly lucky to say I have never experienced the empty chair at Christmas.

Leon’s passing has just imprinted a picture onto my heart of an empty chair in that living room and I feel so very sad for lovely June.

If you are trying to cope with your empty chair this Christmas I am so very sorry too.

We never know when our Christmases are going to change forever. I know I am going to savour every person sitting around the table tomorrow and hug them all a little tighter.

God Bless Leon. Rest in Peace.

The pathetic tragicness of November

Mummy's writing darling

What came first? November or depression? I can’t quite tell at this point.

Picture me, if you will – I’m sat in bed, a total of five (yes fucking five) cold sores across my bottom lip and two ulcers on my tongue (a sure sign that my internal organs are waving the white flag).

My nose is fully blocked, I am hardly breathing.

Have you tried singing wheels on the bus with only one blow hole?

There is condensation dripping down the windows, my heating is on full whack and my tired brain is stressing about the bills. And mould.

I’m sipping herbal tea and shoving a banana down my throat (please now, this is not the time) because I am trying to get my body to not give up by showing it some nutrients after ten months of gorging on nachos.

The topic of the day on breakfast television is ‘The Menopause’. I’m left thinking is this all there is?

My husband texts saying we forgot that it’s a fancy dress day at the Primary school our son goes to. So now I can add “a shit school mum who forgets simple fucking school requests”to my shitty mum CV.

Not only that but every single flipping advert is a Christmas advert with cute siblings on or reformed burglars … God help me when John Lewis bursts onto my screen.

Every time Phil Schofield says “after these messages” I’m a blubbering, hormonal, cold, shit mum mess.

It’s absolutely freezing and wet – going out for a walk is not a pleasurable experience. What’s the point? The only reason I leaped out of bed this morning was to check the bastard bin men were taking our bin – so I can get rid of the three stinking ones waiting in the kitchen.

November is also just a looming reminder that it’s nearly the end of the year, another year over …. (sings) and what have you done? Suddenly the promises that you made in January are back – laughing at you!

“Remember when you were going to go vegan?” you fat cow!

The nights are drawing in – whatever that means – it’s sodding dark. The kids don’t seem changed by the darkness – in the morning or evening. Days should be shorter … not in this house. I can barely keep my eyes open writing this. The year is taking its toll.

Therefore, after much consideration, I have decided that November is horrid. The most depressing month of the year. Bring on Christmas … ho, ho, no.

Ten reasons why baby’s first Christmas is a bit crap

Mummy's Writing Darling

A baby is a Christmas miracle in itself – and it’s an absolute joy to have a new addition to the family. But get your hopes up for an amazing “baby’s first Christmas” and you may be a tad disappointed. Why? Well…

1/ Everyone knows it’s perfectly acceptable to pop open the Cava before midday on Christmas day. But on baby’s first Christmas – suddenly it’s frowned upon to guzzle prosecco with your smoked salmon blinis at 10am because you’re now the designated “responsible adult ‘parent of a tiny person’ person”. Gah. They don’t even give you any points for your sober nine months previous.

2/ Your new baby is still at the stage where they look like a misshapen butternut squash weebling in their door bouncer – and let’s face it – though you’d like to imagine otherwise, they don’t have a fucking clue what’s going on and won’t do for probably another year.

3/ The only thing your baby is good for at this point is dressing up as novelty Christmas items. The retailers know this and will sell you an over priced Olaf outfit that you’ll only put on them for ten seconds while you take a dozen photos to upload to Facebook before Grandma pulls them out of it because they’re terrified it’ll ignite with the LED lights.

4/ They’re not much fun on the day. They’ll sit there like an undercooked stuffing ball in their Christmas tree outfit looking at you with the same disdain a dachshund would if you dressed them up as little bo peep on Halloween.

5/ You’ll waste money on shite tat for them they don’t need and don’t understand. They can’t even open the things. Next Christmas you’ll have to buy less because you’ve got no room to put the new crap because of all the overpriced “baby’s first Christmas” shite that you were duped into purchasing last year because you were so excited it was “baby’s first sodding Christmas”.

6/ Everything you used to decorate your home with or that you used to love is now considered a baby death trap device. Say goodbye to Christmas candles, tree lights, fancy glass baubles and say hello to the chore of vacuuming up bloody pine needles every two hours in case your baby inhales them up while he’s rolling about the floor getting caught up in tinsel and trying to eat the glitter off the wrapping paper. Who put the chocolate brazil nuts on the coffee table? Abort, abort.

7/ What’s that smell? Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Freshly cooked Turkey? No, that there is the stench of baby’s first Christmas turd. And guess who’s changing it? You. Muggins. “No bread sauce for me actually Dad, on second thoughts”.

8/ Say goodbye to any presents for you from now on from parents and relatives. From now on you’ll hear the immortal words “Now Darling, we won’t be getting anything for you this Christmas – we’ll just be treating the baby / babies / kids – ok? I mean, you don’t really need anything now do you?” Er… yes. We need wine. More wine than ever. I also need oven gloves, a year’s supply of Cillit Bang and, it appears, a nose hair trimmer. What. The. Hell?

9/ The day will be long. Like every other day. And you can’t even enjoy the late night Christmas telly. You’ll be in bed by 7pm, annoyingly sober and then up at 11.45pm, 1.27am, 2.16am and so on. Merry Christmas.

10/ You’ve now got to gear yourself up for “baby’s first New Years” which may well involve tears, calpol, colic and not counting in the new year pissed again for eighteen years.

In a couple of years of course they’ll start to understand Santa – and then it’ll be pure magic. But until then – don’t believe the hype. And you can stick your elf on the shelf up onto the shelf in your arse.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas.



The Stay at Home Mum Christmas Party

stay at home mum christmas party

It’s Christmas time. There’s no need to be afraid. At Christmas time – the workers of the world get all giddy.

It’s a festive Salted Caramel coffee on the way in to the office. And look at Doreen! She’s rocking her Christmas tree light up dangly earrings!

And Stan’s got his Christmas bauble jumper on – the maverick. The canteen are doing mulled wine (one glass mind) and mince pie lattices. Look at all those pigs in blankets. They’ve put tinsel around the fire exits!

The halls have been buzzing since November with the count down to the Christmas break. The office is filled with the thrill of secret santa and you’re off to get inappropriately pissed at the Christmas lunch (four courses / steak house).

And then they’re off their heads practically elated typing their “out of office” email “back next year” fuckers.

Then there’s a Christmas party with them all linking arms wailing out “Fairy tale of New York”. Christmas hats on. The boss snogging Pauline in the third loo from the left. His wife won’t be happy.

And here we are – the stay at home parent.

“Are you ready for Christmas?” they ask us.

Christmas? It’s Christmas? What is the actual date today?

“Have you done your shopping?” No.

“Are you excited about your time off?” What time off?

There ain’t no point in wearing my Rudolph antlers and snowball earrings – no one is impressed here.

There’s no festive canteen treats – I am the canteen. And you’ll get what we’ve got in – beans and egg from now till Tuesday.

There’s no excited countdown to a “holiday” or break and when the other half puts on his “out of office” you think oh God – they’re home for how long? There’s going to be fights – and one more fucking person to hoover around.

There ain’t no secret Santa. You’re on your tod. And the only surprise parcel you’re gonna get is poop.

There’s no lunch, no party – none of that feeling – that ecstatic feeling of “It’s Chriiiissstttmassssss“.

Other half arrives home, rosy cheeked, party hat lop sided on their head, they’re wearing Doreen’s Christmas tree earrings … on their arse – “I’m home for Christmas love! You ok?”

“Muh” you snarl. “The eldest is constipated and the youngest has shit all up the door bouncer. Merry Christmas.”

Stay at home parents. Really – Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?