That’s right! I truly believe you should get a cat instead of IVF!
(or do I?)
Sometimes you have to take stock of your life. This blogging malarky is just not lucrative. There are far too many of us ‘Mummy’ bloggers, parent bloggers etc. It’s a saturated market. However – I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. After reading an article in the Daily Mail yesterday (well, I read the headline – I couldn’t be arsed to read the whole thing) I know where my destiny lies.
I will become a controversial Mum writer and mark my name in history as ‘Britain’s most hated woman’ after Katie Hopkins.
My plan is foolproof. First I will write an article that is sure to enrage the masses for no real reason other than notoriety and a large boost in my stats. So far my ideas are:
Breastfeeding is for losers
couples should only be allowed more than two children if they are a member of The National Trust.
Cesareans are cheating
Controlled crying builds self esteem
Stay at home parents just want to stay in bed all day and take off the state
Working parents are neglectful bastards
leaving children to fend for themselves makes great leaders (go to Magaluf for a fortnight).
Breastfeeding should be taught in prisons, to men
I’m sure more will come to me once I start.
In no time at all I am sure I will be called to be on Good Morning Britain or This Morning to sit along side another parent and battle it out! This will make me Instagram famous. I just need to remember to shout louder and bang home my point even if I don’t really believe it myself.
Soon the money will come rolling in.
Tune in next time for my first article “Male midwives are just perverts.”
On my way home from work yesterday the news was on in the taxi. The continuing news about the Movie Producer rumbled away in surround sound before the driver angrily switched it off. He announced,
“If these women didn’t want this to carry on then they should have said something at the time! Look at them all now coming out of the woodwork!”
“mmm…” I offered out of politeness. Politeness; sometimes our downfall.
“I think it’s hard when a man is so powerful and intimidating…” I continued.
He continued to disagree with me all the way home and I tried to block most of it out because that very day, at the age of thirty five, a mother of two – I had been intimidated by a man to the point it had made me cry – at work, in front of an even more powerful man.
The man, who was significantly taller and wider than me had been rude, passive aggressive and continued to express his displeasure at me being there. My back was to him, and his colleague (bullies are always better off with an ally) as I heard him talking about me, disgruntled. I daren’t turn around.
In that moment I hated that I was five foot three. I hated that I was wearing flat shoes which made me sink even further into the ground. I hated that I was blonde – I imagined them looking at me like I was some dumb girl. I felt like I had zero status.
Out of God knows where I found myself complaining about him to his manager. There wasn’t any courage in this – it probably came from myself finding more and more truth falling out of my mouth the more stressed and exhausted I get nowadays.
And then I knew they were coming, I felt the heat in my neck. I choked and there they were. Stupid tears. Always letting me down. Always making me look even weaker than I am. The man looked horrified.
What the man in the taxi, another large in stature older man, could never comprehend is how it feels to be intimated like that.
I told the taxi driver a man had made me cry at work to which he replied:
“my daughters wouldn’t let a man do that … they’re strong.”
Unfortunately I am not that strong. I could fight a lion for my children … but myself? On a bad day – I would lie down and let it start at my feet.
The little girl in the photograph was told to say yes, respect her elders, respect her superiors, always be polite. Too polite.
The news over the last few weeks has made me think many things. The most honest and disturbing thing being – I can’t say if that movie producer had asked me to get into his hotel room with the aggression he did to that model on the recording –
I’m not certain I would have had the courage to have said no.
Nothing can be different in reality from this week to the next but the perception of that reality is completely altered. To bring this point home – I can actually take a photograph of myself and keep that photo on my phone. Nothing in that photo has changed, nothing has been edited. But I can look at that photo on a Monday and completely loathe what I see. I can look at the same photo, the exact same photo on a Tuesday and be so astounded at how attractive and slim I look I will post it to Facebook.
Nothing has changed – except on Monday I was depressed and on Tuesday the cloud had lifted. My perspective of my reality had changed.
Part of getting older is slowly learning to accept yourself.
I have depression and anxiety.
I have always had these things. While I used to be afraid of these aspects of myself – I am no longer scared. I am also honestly no longer ashamed of it. I have always ‘suffered’ from this and I say suffered because it really isn’t nice.
I used to blame teaching – I used to spend days asking ‘why?’ Why do I feel this way? My upbringing? My choice of career? Hormones? Something not quite right in my brain? The weather? Then at some point I stopped asking why and just accepted it. I accept these two things as a part of my personality.
A personality by the way that includes being extremely funny, creative, generous, impulsive, and a desperate need to be accepted and/or perfect.
When I have been depressed in the past I have looked around me to see what was causing it.
It must be the man I’m with – I’ll get rid.
It must be my hair colour – I’ll change it. I’ll change it and I’ll be cured.
It must be the job I’m in, my weight, my friends, my lack of success.
And I’ve learned it really isn’t anything external and there’s really not much I can do to change other than wait it out.
It was a surprise that pregnancy didn’t cure my depression and anxiety – it only heightened it. And it was a surprise that having children wasn’t a magical cure either. I don’t know why it should be a surprise – after all, I can’t escape myself can I?
Whether I’m single and free in Rome elbow deep in gnocchi and red wine, or I’m in my house for the seventh consecutive day cleaning and looking after two children not having time to shower or eat a decent meal – I’m still me.
And I have depression and anxiety.
On a bad day things can seem hopeless but after living with these aspects of my personality for thirty three years I am lucky enough to understand that this feeling, though entirely real to me, isn’t permanent and will eventually lift.
On a good day I am overjoyed with the beauty and luck of my life.
So children, mummy might be depressed but there’s nothing to worry about, she knows all about it, she’s been living with it for a very long time and
it’s got absolutely nothing to do with you.
It also means she’s adequately adept at understanding and helping you with any feelings you may have in the future.
If you’re the mummy who just like me last week is sat today crying in your pyjamas, unable to get dressed, the house going to pot around you, just getting through the day feeling utterly hopeless and like you’re failing – it’s really ok. I know how that feels. I know how it feels to feel completely exhausted, done, to feel like you can’t be mummy – that you don’t want to be mummy anymore.
Try not to trust your perspective of the situation right now and know that you won’t always feel like this. Tell someone, you’re not alone.
The rain was falling hard. Last week I excitedly picked up my four year old school boy child from his minder. The door opened, I saw his pocket sized face and all the work day’s crap melted away. “Come on darling!” I said “Now put on your coat, it’s really raining outside.” And it was – great big pelts of angry water thudding on top of my yellow mac.
“I’m going your way, I’ll give you a lift” the lady said. “No, no, that’s fine” I argued. ”
I insist” she squealed, half watching the rain wondering why I wouldn’t take her up on her kind rescue.
“No, really, no thanks.” I said seriously, and I led my son towards our special short cut in his matching yellow mac.
She is a lovely, kind lady. She’s a life saver. But I wasn’t going to let her take the walk in the rain with my son away from me.
What she can’t understand is what that walk means to me.
I work hours that mean I can’t take him to school, I can’t even pick him up from school – but I can pick him up from a childminder and walk home with him, whatever the weather.
This isn’t just a walk. This is when I have my precious boy all to myself, his attention purely on me. It’s a time I get to hear what he did at school, which is, granted, only usually ever “I can’t remember,” but that still matters.
It’s the time we get to take our own special short cut that only we know. It’s the time we get to stop and look at the leaves and their different shapes and colours, and even pick a few and stuff them in our macs like we are sharing an exciting secret.
It’s the time he can use expressions I have never heard before like ‘therefore’ or ‘terrific’ which results in me bursting into spontaneous laughter for the first time that day. It’s the time he can tell me his feelings in soft, safe quiet. It’s the time he can tell me my shoes are beautiful (out of nowhere) before asking me if that’s a nice thing to say, because he always wants to say nice things.
On our walk I can tell him he makes me happier than happy, and he can tell me he wants to always make everyone happy.
I can say a silent prayer, as the rain falls, that he will never change. Then we can get his younger brother from the nursery. Finally, the three of us are together, completely together. Nothing else matters.
God willing, when they are older, I’ll remember these precious gifts – these simple walks, hand in hand with my boys – the only things that matter in my entire world.
Our walk, our time together, is as precious as life. We might be sodden, we might be cold, we might slip and slide, but we can warm each other, keep each other grounded, and some days we might even get to share a rainbow.
I am a big fan of Binky and I love to escape into the scripted reality world of ‘Made in Chelsea’, watching young, nubile, supermodel types supping champagne whilst I shove fistfuls of space invaders into my gob and neck merlot out of a tumbler. It’s pure escapism, so far removed from my life as a stay at home mum. And I was thrilled to see that Binky is with child. Congratulations to her.
However, something about it being on that show made me uneasy. The same uneasiness I get when I see adverts for Sam Faiers Mummy Diaries.
The uneasy feeling is one of wanting to shout at anyone watching the programs who hasn’t experienced pregnancy and motherhood first hand:
THIS IS NOT REAL!
Maybe people aren’t as stupid as I take them for but I know a lot of young people aspire to be like these reality folks and it worries me that they are seeing a glossy perfect version of pregnancy and family life with a strong filter that will put ideas into their heads like “ooh, that looks lovely. I should do that. I can be just like Binky.”
Except you won’t. Not at all.
I fear the version of pregnancy and motherhood we are going to be projected on Made in Chelsea will be about as realistic as a Chicco advert.
What we won’t see on Made in Chelsea, I can almost guarantee is:
Binky gaining four stone in pregnancy weight that she won’t be able to shift for four years after the birth of her child regardless of how many Zumba classes she does at the local leisure centre
Binky crying her eyes out on the toilet trying to have a movement whilst singing wind the bobbin up for the sixth time in a row to stop the child from crying
Binky struggling to cope on tax credits and frantically selling everything she owns on eBay just to be able to afford the wine she needs to get by
Binky calling JP a complete c#ntwaffle in the middle of the night for not hearing the baby and for ruining her life
Binky typing “should I LTB because he forgot my nipple pads?” onto mumsnet at 2am in the morning
Binky feeling overwhelmed and unwelcome at baby groups, struggling to make friends and only socialising with her cats for six months after the baby has been born
Binky arguing with a health visitor for implying the baby is behind in his development because he can’t pick up a raison with his pincer grip