The perils of ‘Happy’ Occasions

January brings with it hundreds if not thousands of folk exclaiming “Happy New Year” like it’s a command; like it’s a militant instruction. “It’s a new year – Be happy or else!” And they sure look happy don’t they? All the well dressed, well drunk, groups of comrades linking arms, counting down the clock and screeching “Happy New Year!” whilst I’m staring at my M&S meal deal in my dressing gown wondering what exactly I’m doing wrong to not feel happiness at this landmark at all.

These, of course are the perils of so called “Happy” occasions.

Weddings – I’ve had a couple. We hire a photographer to capture this happiest day of our lives – so you better sure as Hell smile till you can’t feel your face anymore. Everyone – and I mean everyone is watching. This is literally the end of every single Jane Austen novel. You’ve reached peak happiness. Then why do I feel so utterly anxious, paranoid and on edge? Why do I imagine everyone whispering “I give this one a year” under their breath. Why have I never been so aware of my weight? What if he is late? What if everyone is late? And worse still – what if I don’t feel the euphoria I am supposed to? I am happy to be married but as for my wedding day – I felt more happiness at a Carvery.

The birth of a baby. Well – not just any baby: your baby! Sure there can’t be any happier moment could there? After the birth of my first born I distinctly remember putting a status on Facebook “I have literally never been this happy in my entire life!” Wrong – what I was, was higher than I had ever been in my entire life on diamorphine, two epidurals and four days of starvation. The come down was brutal. I have never been so terrified in my life. I was convinced if I took my eyes off my baby for one second he would stop breathing. I pissed in a vase in the bedroom because I didn’t want to walk across the hall to the actual toilet. I was convinced the Health Visitor was going to take him away because I couldn’t get him to latch. And don’t get me started on pregnancy.

Christmas day. There was a moment on Christmas morning when my son was ripping through his gifts and I felt nowt. I shook myself – why don’t you feel happy? This is what Christmas is all about – and this is what you’ve been waiting for for months. So I got a black bin bag for the wrapping paper because that’s what mums do. I felt real joy on Christmas eve – don’t get me wrong – I’m not Scrooge. Maybe the build up is better than the main event.

Birthdays – never quite as happy as they should be. What’s happy about being Thirty Five on a specific date – you’re half way to seventy! Smile!

So we don’t feel happy, even though society tells us we have to be. So we feel like we’re in the wrong or not normal. And of course we feel like we’ve failed.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel happy on the occasions you’re supposed to. Maybe you’re just not like everyone else; and maybe that’s just fine.

I don’t want you to leave me thinking I’m downright miserable so I shall leave you with three moments of pure happiness* and wish you a so-so New Year. Be averagely satisfied one and all.

*  my youngest son dipping his feet in the sea in Scarborough and squealing with delight and happiness. I wept happy tears.

*  Sitting alone in a restaurant in Rome eating Gnocchi with a carafe of wine.

* Walking around Whitby with my first born in a sling getting coos from elderly ladies and feeling utter pride.

 

 

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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.

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?