Gather round children, let me tell you about my youth… 

We would go out

on a Friday and Saturday night

and on a Thursday because the local club had an 80s night.

And on a Wednesday because they put on a karaoke night.

And on a Monday to celebrate getting through the first day back at work.

And Kate would always invite us out on a Tuesday because she knew I wanted Nachos.

We would drink

581089_112105638927645_1755772859_n

cheap, nasty wine. Bottles of the stuff. Because we thought we looked sophisticated.

Or we’d get jugs of cocktails from Wetherspoons that were 5:1:3 parts ‘ice water slop: alcohol: shit cola.’

We’d guzzle Smirnoff alco-pop from glass bottles that left a thick cement of sugar on our teeth.

704094_262506907220850_1822705586_o

We would have bright blue tongues from the WKD, or green tongues from the apple sourz – and sugar highs from the ‘fruit’ in the Breezers.

We would down shots of Aftershock that burnt our retinas,

and sambuca that some idiot suggested lighting,

or just sip Baileys in a whisky glass with ice like we were some Russian Bond beauties in a Skii lodge –

not a posse of pillocks in Birmingham.

And we’d dance.

We’d “ooh! push it (push it real good)” on podiums and wear barely there skirts.

We’d discover the bruises the next day from falling off the podiums.

We would sing,

badly on Kareoke. Eurythmics or Shania Twain or Robert Palmer.

and we’d would flirt.

we would wear corsets with jeans or mini skirts with playgirl bunny t-shirts.

We’d wear concealer on our lips, Vaseline on our eyelids and white eye-liner.

We were thinner than any of us appreciated.

525867_112104832261059_831007570_nAnd we’d snog.

We’d snog for days.

And the next day we’d laugh about who we pulled and text them on our Nokias.

We had no idea what they looked like because we had no cameras.

No smart phones.

We hovered in the dark with no flash, no selfies, no tagging, no permanent reminders.

We traveled

to cheap holidays on the Tenerife strip, and Magaluf and across the world.

10923300_502545686550303_1182326625936278820_n

and we loved 

boys who were never that important.

We stuck together.

We fought

We had tiny tiffs – fixed with a text and a bottle of wine.

We dreamed

about what we’d be when we grew up, when we were successful, when we had big money,

when we could bring anyone home

we could do whatever we wanted because we were out of mum and dad’s.

When we found ‘The One’ who would make our lives complete.

We would be free.

 

THEN5

Now

we go out

one or two nights a year

or we go on little self labeled dates (day release) with the other half while the grandparents watch our son.

But we don’t tend to.

We would rather stay in.

Going out is exhausting; expensive.

Getting dressed up. Wearing heels. We can’t take it.

And we drink.

Shots of Gaviscon.

G&Ts trying to lose the self labeled ‘baby weight’.

posh wine from Waitrose to try and tell ourselves we’re middle class – not people who should drink a lot less.

Or we are growing a baby so we drink milk or orange squash (like the children we’ve sprung).

And we dance.

like pillocks at ‘Mini movers’ to out dated nursery ryhmes

to the ‘Makka Pakka’ and ‘Tombliboo’ dance on ‘In The Night Garden‘ half way through a conversation about life insurance like it’s perfectly routine.

And we sing 

the wheels on the bus, or wind the bobbin up (what the fuck is a bobbin?) or the alphabet song, over and over and over and over.

And we flirt

with the bin men so they’ll take our extra bags of nappies and milk cartons and empty wine bottles.

with people in the queue so they’ll let you pay for his chocolate buttons real quick – so you can shut him up.

we don’t snog

and we travel

to child friendly caravan parks and detached cottages and mum meet-ups.

We love

our children.

THEN6

We love our children.

10846303_489581981180007_6134435214411698341_n

We love our children

1078622_283945295077011_1397594399_oWe love our children

10525013_418062781665261_740048860_n

We love the partner we chose – if we are having a good day.

We love our parents more.

We love our families.

We love kind strangers.

We fight

with our partners, daily It’s your turn you bastard”

with our children “Go to bed, for the love of Christ”

and with our old friends:

we grow apart, we drift away, we make mistakes, we can’t fix our differences with a text and a bottle of wine.

We aren’t the same.

We wear clothes with more stretch and functionality.

And we dream

of a full night’s sleep

of a night off

of a holiday

of being slimmer

976040_262506690554205_933549112_o

So we go to bed at 7pm on a Saturday night because sleep is sleep and we don’t care what the clock says.

And the neighbours are having a party again.

Probably swigging alcopops and doing shots and singing Kareoke and snogging.

And you pop another Rennie in your gob and roll over and hate them.

And the baby kicks.

And you smile.

And you think about making pancakes for breakfast tomorrow and pushing your child on the swings in the park.

10246829_378454245626115_8690973791381588399_n-2

Maybe the sun will come out.

10489800_415327808605425_7788706546507118661_n

SaveSave

Children, in twenty years, guess who’s coming to dinner?

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Sons, I want you to prepare yourself for your father and I coming to dinner in around twenty years time (or whenever you hopefully move out).

I’ll ring ahead of time and insist you make my favourite – lasagne – from scratch, and your dad’s favourite – apple crumble. As soon as we arrive your dad will take off one shoe: Just one mind.

I’ll ask for red wine but will only drink it if it is given to me in a very specific cup and if you hold it to my lips whenever I shout. I will jut my tongue in and out of it without ever actually drinking it as that’s just how I will roll.

Once dinner is served your dad will refuse to sit at the table and announce he hates lasagne. He will cry and continually request chocolate milk and a bread roll.

I will eat your lasagne … If the stars are aligned, but be warned, if I get so much as a whiff of a vegetable I will straight up regurgitate it into your open hand. Half way through the lasagne I may decide it’s no longer my favourite – I think it was a different shade last time I had it – and I’ll demand dessert.

Your father will eat the custard, and the crumble topping but then he will discover there’s apple in the bowl and simultaneously shit himself and realise he’s only wearing one shoe which will devastate him.

He will then lie on the floor and eat any old food he can find in between the cracks in your floorboards that you cooked days ago. Probably lasagne – just tastier than the fresh lasagne on the table.

At some point I will want to hold my wine cup myself and when you’re not looking I’ll just let it tip out over your most recent or precious purchase.

We will go to bed at 7pm quite easily and instead of going to bed too, you stupidly will stay up to actually enjoy your evening and watch whatever the equivalent of Breaking Bad is in 2035. You will retire for the evening at about 11.30pm.

At 11.32pm I will start screaming as though I’m being slaughtered. As soon as you get out of your toasty bed I’ll stop. I will continue this every hour on the hour until 4am.

Your father will wake up at 11.45pm and start shouting out numbers, colours, modes of transport and favourite characters from his favourite TV program.

JEREMY CLARKSON!!!

JAMES MAY!!!

RICHARD HAMMOND!!!

He will continue to do this every two hours on the hour.

At around 3.30am he will crawl in the dark on his hands and knees in search of an object – any object – then find the radiator in the room and bang his object against the radiator until you give up and get up at 4am.

(He may find a tambourine or xylophone – you probably don’t remember even buying them! But he can find them like a pig searching for truffles).

The next day we will both insist on chocolate cake for breakfast and make you watch utter shite on repeat for 4 hours.

Just when you think you can’t take anymore Grandma will pop round. She’ll give you a leaflet about the dangers of drinking too much and how it makes you terrible sons and give us a chocolate cake and a cuddle and take us off to the pub.

Prepare yourself lads,

We’re looking forward to it.

(Revenge is a dish best served cold, and that lasagne better be stone cold or I won’t touch it).

Don’t tell me I shouldn’t be proud

proud

A while ago I told someone I did something I was really proud of.

They replied with “that’s not something I would be proud of”. I got it.

The thing I was proud of was minuscule … something that required minimal effort or brains. But I was proud of myself because, for me – it was a big deal.

It meant me keeping calm, solving a problem by myself without asking a man or my mummy. It also meant a lot because my anxiety and depression can lead to me throwing my arms up in the smallest of problems and call for someone stronger.

I cried all the way home after that comment. I felt so stupid to be proud of something so tiny – that to others was absolutely nothing! Not a blip on their radar.

Today I did a few things. Firstly – I got out of bed for the first time this half term, properly out of bed. I put make up on and I took BOTH kids out (without a pram) to a Dinosaur thing in a park a fucking age away.

I am PROUD of myself. I am proud for going out – alone. I am proud for getting there. I am proud my son didn’t have any accidents in his pants. I am proud we were all able to manoeuvre the portaloos. I am proud I had wipes in my bag for when my youngest fell in the mud.  I am proud I found something they would both eat.  I am proud I used maps and uber correctly. I am proud we were all just out of the house and clothed appropriately. I am proud of being out of the house.

Yes – there may be many who say “That’s not something you should be proud of.”

But do you know what – I won’t let anyone tell me what to be proud of anymore.

Yes – maybe you ran 10k today, maybe you got a PHD, maybe you won an award… good for you!

I had a wash and took my kids out for a fun day – good for me.

Be proud of yourself! You’re worth it.

 

writing mummy's writing darling

You won’t be like Binky … beware ‘reality’ TV mummy diaries

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
  • Binky’s crusty bleeding nipples
  • Binky only being able to holiday at a child friendly caravan holiday (Hell hole) site 
  • Binky losing most of her friends and feeling utterly isolated
  • Binky shoving a dreadful sausage bap into her mouth at the soft play satanic cesspit (do they even do soft play in Chelsea?)
  • Binky buying peppa pig yogurts and only being able to get her child to eat potato smiles and fish fingers

What I think we will see is a beautiful, scrumptious, glossy, perfect version of motherhood and pregnancy – which I for one will be watching and enjoying as much as I usually do.

But I will take it with a pinch of salt, a bag of wotsits and a glass of red.

 

Motherhood – not quite what it says on the baking tin

About six months ago or more I bought a Peppa Pig cup cake pack from T’co-op.

I saw it, in between the cheese aisle and the wine aisle and I had a vision: There was me in my kitchen, two ankle biters next to me on cute stools. We were all wearing matching novelty aprons. My eldest was cracking an egg into a giant bowl. My youngest was adorably licking the wooden spoon. Icing sugar filled the air as we all chuckled spooning the mixture into the cup cake holders.

“Just think of the instagram pictures!” I thought! Just think.

Well six months passed and I glanced at the packet between making mountains of toast and wiping arses and cleaning and laundry and drinking and the time never came.

This morning – I don’t have a clue what possessed me but the baby was napping and my three year old was on his tenth tantrum of the day and maybe I was still drunk but I thought – let’s do it! I announced to the child “shall we make some cakes?” with smug glee.

I was finally going to be one of those mums who mother fudging BAKES BABY!

He looked at me with about as much enthusiasm as the average person would if I asked them if they wanted to help me lance a boil.

We weren’t wearing aprons. We were both wearing sweaty onesies. We weren’t in the kitchen as we can’t possibly fit in due to the bags of recycling and wine bottles as well as the oven being a death trap. No icing sugar filled the air because we are renting and I am a control freak.

Did he want to crack the egg? No.

Did he want to pour the mixture in? No.

Did he want to stir? Hell no!

Did he want to lick the spoon? (obviously the best part of baking). Did he bollocks! He looked at the spoon of creamy goodness like it was a pile of cockroach anuses on a Bush Tucker Trial.

He actually started crying like he was being tortured.

Then came the pleasure of waiting for the fuckers to be cooked. Turns out 12 minutes in child minutes equates to 100 hours of pure Hell. Then having to explain we couldn’t put the icing on (which I had already managed to fuck up) until they were cool brought another trauma no doubt he will be reliving to a counsellor in twenty years time – or Jeremy Kyle.

This is not how I envisaged mother and son baking time to be. And no I didn’t include the baby – are you crazy? Bull in a china shop springs to mind. A piglet in a cake factory would be a closer analogy. I have enough problems. The two of them would probably gang up on me and I would end up being pushed into the oven like the witch.

So we eventually iced the bastards and popped a sticker on the top.

They were as hard as rocks and tasted like scrambled egg. Despite this he seemed to enjoy eating them but I have a feeling Mr Kipling would have made him happier.

I am not deterred though – I want to make Gingerbread men this Christmas, but now I know the truth and my vision has shifted. Just like our vision of motherhood changes after being slapped in the face repeatedly with the wet kipper that is reality.

Instagram / Pinterest – they lie! Our perfect visions of motherhood are utter bullshit. Motherhood – not quite what it says on the tin.

“We made a cake didn’t we?” I chirped to him.

“Yes” he said.

“Is making cakes fun?” I asked.

“No” he said firmly and went back to watching Paw Patrol.

15293502_783319678472901_855326795_o

 

SaveSave